Discrimination or just mean?

I’m trying to figure out a situation at work. I’ve been at this place for a month, and at first my boss seemed rather fond of me and said I was doing well. Recently, she’s been saying that I’m too slow, has said some really negative and unfounded comments about me (she asked a coworker to go shut a door that me and another worker hadn’t been able to close, saying that I had probably put things in the unit wrong and that’s why it wouldn’t close), and has gotten mad at me for doing the same things that my coworkers do (like getting a drink of water…which isn’t a wrong thing to do).

All this seemed to start after she noticed my handy dandy pump tubing in my pocket. She didn't really say anything about it though. So I'm wondering...is this discrimination or is she just mean/I stink at my job. She's never said anything about my diabetes, so I'm not even sure if that's the issue and if it is, how I can prove it. Oh, and none of the other supervisors have had anything to say about my performance. The biggest complaint I've gotten from them is that I'm just quiet and need to break out of my shell a little more. But maybe she's just got her underoos in a bunch.....

She’s being a boss. Or she’s being human. There’s no reason to think that her behavior has anything to do with seeing your tubing - assuming she even saw it or knew what it was.

How about asking her if she’s angry or displeased with you for some reason. Don’t approach it as a personal matter (why don’t you like me? - Bosses hate that.) but as a business matter (am I doing my job wrong? If I am, how can I do it better.) because you want to know if you’re doing a bad job and you want to do a good job. I

Make it all about the job, not about you and not about her. Since you’re new there, your feelings won’t much matter to your boss yet.

Good luck,


Do your work…strive to be the best in what you do. Do not give them the reason to dislike you…boss or any co-worker for that matter. I agree with Terry…you can request for work related feedback (being a new employee), with the intention of improving output and professional relationship.

Wish you the best.

I’m a manager with 3 employees, so here’s what I suggest:

First, document the behavior. Keep a small notebook and every time you have one of these encounters, note the date & time and the specific act that concerns you. This might sound a little paranoid but if it ever does come down to a discrimination case, you’ll be mighty glad you did this. And if it doesn’t, no real harm done. Be scrupulous about it: if you hear of something she did or said about you from a third party, make sure you note that too. And listen to what your coworkers say about her too; is it JUST you she’s doing this to, or does she do it to everyone? Some people are jackasses on a rotating basis–they pick one person to be crappy to, then when they get bored, they switch to someone else. She may be picking on you not because you have diabetes, but because she’s a mean-spirited you-know-what who likes to play head games. The point of keeping a journal is to show that there’s a pattern of behavior directed at you and only you - that’s what discrimination is, after all (if she’s a bitch to everyone including you, there’s no case to be made for discrimination!).

Second, talk privately to one of the other supervisors about it (preferably someone senior to the woman giving you trouble, if that’s an option), but take the tack that you thought you were doing OK but that the criticisms and attitude of this one supervisor has you wondering if your performance is an issue. DO NOT suggest that you think this woman has a personal vendetta or is discriminating against you because of your diabetes, just say that her behavior is making you feel concerned and has you wondering if there’s something you need to do to improve your performance. If there IS an issue with your performance, this gives the supervisor the chance to help you correct it [and if she’s being mean because you stink at your job, then once you no longer stink, in theory the problem is solved :)]. BUT if the problem ISN’T that you stink at your job, talking to the other supervisor will alerts him/her to the existence of a potential source of conflict and quite possibly gives him/her the motivation to drop a word in the ear of the person causing the problem (that’s why I suggest you choose someone senior to the woman in question). If she’s generally a ■■■■■ who picks on her employees, you won’t likely be the first person to mention it. If she’s not, the complaint will stand out as an anomaly to be paid attention to. Either way, if the supervisor IS discriminating against you because of your diabetes, by talking to another individual in authority about the issue, you’ve taken another step toward documenting the problem (but don’t neglect to note in your journal that you discussed the matter with this person, keeping tabs on when and with whom you conversed, and what was said.)

If you do all this and the harassment continues or increases, then the next step is to approach the second supervisor again and ask him/her to help you confront the woman who is causing the problem. At this point, you would have documented multiple instances of inappropriate or excessive behavior, unwarranted reprimands, and so forth, enough to show there’s a distinct pattern of unprofessional or disruptive actions. Hopefully a 3-way sit-down will wake this woman up to the ramifications of her behavior. Under NO circumstances confront her without a witness/referee.

If it goes beyond this and you still haven’t resolved it, contact a lawyer.

that’s my 2 cents…

Hey Bek,

Before I retired I was a division head and had 32 employees along with supervisors that reported to me for 10 years. Each supervisor just like each employee has their strengths and weaknesses. What happens though is that when you are a supervisor your strengths are amplified but more so are your weaknesses.

Some supervisors like to have a lot of drama on the job and like to stir things up keeping their employees on edge. It gives them a sense of control and power. Often this is a sign that they dont know how to supervise individual employees and is the first sign for me they dont know how to communicate. A good supervisor is very much at ease and can get results.

Some employees are easy to supervise while others you just have to use more tact and try different methods. Your story sounds all too familiar to me as I mediated problems like this when I worked.

These are difficult issues in the workplace and you will have more success changing your behavior rather than changing hers. As Terry mentioned trying to communicate keeping the conversation to business would be my first step. You might want to read “How to Manage your Boss” too.

My guess is that it has nothing to do with your pump and “D” but rather her issues she is bringing into the workplace and this has happened to other employees too.

Good Luck

my son has d1, but as a counselor I find quite a few people who are coming to counseling for being picked on by their supervisor. Responders Elizabeth and Pauly offer some practical tips as do the other responders. To their advice I add, tell a family member or friend who has a lot of self control; and, keep the journal thing going - at least jot it down at the end of the day with a trusted family member, this is painful but needed. ( you say you are a quiet sort, so telling someone who is a family member or close friend will also help change your ability to share for the better.) If things keep getting worse, then call upon this friend or family member to go with you to the supervisor’s boss and demand that that the bullying stop.Sometimes asking for help is the only way to stop a bully.

I hope that you find joy and satisfaction in you work