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Being held back for no reason

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? What is the name of your state?OR

Hello. I work in a commercial print shop and computers have been my forte for several decades. We have a new machine for manufacturing (computer controlled) and was told I would be running it by management. My immediate supervisor however has other ideas. He had no problem with me learning how the machine works but blatantly disallows any hands on experience unless it's a real simple task. Anything that requires some degree of thought is taboo with him. We have a new kid (I have nothing against him) which gets most of the hands on. My supervisor kind of pushed him in front of me. I have been with the company over a year with no infractions but my supe is always doing things to put me in a negative light. There was never a problem until my last supervisor left and this one started. A few examples:

1) The machine is a box maker for custom cartons. We have the ability to create a box type and save it as a file so we don't have to manually enter the type and dimensions again. He said he didn't want me doing that because "You would screw it up". I have no idea what he's talking about. So any time the assembly line asks for boxes of non standard dimensions, I have to recall and manually enter the parameters each time. It does take a bit of time and it makes me look as being slow. He encourages this other coworker to save articles to get it done quickly each time. It's controlled by a standard Windows PC with a really easy web interface.

2) I'm forklift licensed (the other coworker with the same job title isn't). Any time the material needs changed, the supervisor tells me to get more down for him and change it out (all the manual labor). He also tells me to do dangerous tasks. He once told me to use the forklift to move some material to an empty top shelf. The reason the top shelves are empty in that area is due to a water line running parallel to it where there is no way to set anything on it without the forklift mast hitting the line. A coworker witnessed this exchange and went to the plant manager who told me not to. I wouldn't have anyway (it just couldn't be done and I don't see any way he couldn't have saw that) but like similar tasks that couldn't be done, he would tell me I'm not doing my job.

3) This one is really petty but that's the point. Some of the boxes I make require the use of a staple gun. Which is susceptible to getting jammed. Before this supervisor even started, if it jams, I take 30 seconds or so to fix it and carry on. Once it jammed while he happened to be standing there. He is always watching me and it kind of gives me the creeps. I'm a male, he's a male. Another coworker once whispered to me, "I don't know if you realize this but you have an audience. He's been watching you for a while." I look back and there he was just staring at me. But I digress. Back to the stapler. He took it away while I was getting my tools and took it to a coworker who runs a printer. When I turned around all I saw was him and my staple gun being gone. I asked a coworker if he saw what happened. He pointed in the direction where he went. I went over there and just picked up the stapler to look at it. The print master (understandably so) just tossed his tools on the table and said, "You fix it. I don't know why I'm being asked to do your job anyway." I don't blame him for that. He seems like he's walking around eggshells around me now. We're about the same age and got along great before this so now I just subtly avoid him.

That's only a few examples which don't seem bad but it's an ongoing thing and it's really wearing me down. I don't know what he has against me. I know my jobs, do my jobs and go home but he is constantly throwing in wrenches. ALL other coworkers he talks to in a professional manner and he goes out of his way to show disrespect toward me. All I can think of is my age but he's keeping it hidden. I'm the oldest one in our department and I have proven myself capable but he acts like he has to instruct me how to do my job constantly.

I would just like some recommendations going forward.


Junior Member
Have you discussed this with HR?
No I haven't. I have been trying to find out how to find HR through the company website but it seems to be buried. I want to keep it as quiet and less dramatic as possible so I can casually ask someone (maybe a supervisor in a different department) how to get hold of them. Thank you.


Senior Member
If you have a forklift license and CNC skills you could get another very good job quickly in this economy.


Senior Member
It is entirely possible that your supervisor was told, when he came to work, that one of this job's requirements for him would be to get rid of you, and /or other older workers. It does happen. And my question is, are you the only person this seems to be happening to? Are you the oldest employee? To have an EEOC age complaint, they like to see a pervasive pattern of discrimination against older workers, not just discrimination against one person.

As the word implies, they could be discriminating about another aspect of you that they don't like besides your age. In any case, if you want to pursue an age related complaint, your first steps would be to make sure you have let the company know you have a problem and try to solve the problem by going up the chain of command. From the sound of things, you have an off site, hard to reach HR department not actively involved in the day to day operations of the business. You do need to quickly get something on record with your employer, not jut your supervisor, that you feel that you've being treated this way directly due to your age, and that you do not intend to let the situation continue as it is.

But neither here nor there, do I believe this situation can be "fixed" in any meaningful way. Just because they aren't supposed to discriminate against you (due to age or just because they don't like you personally, or because the company higher ups have some issue with you) it doesn't mean it's not happening, or that it will not continue to happen. The question is how long are you going to be willing to endure it, and what would you prefer to have happen?

The standard wisdom in HR functions says, "No one can continue to resist diligently applied progressive discipline indefinitely." If they keep picking at you and picking at you, treating you this way, finding fault with everything you do, making you the bad example no one else wants to work with, it will first of all drive you crazy. Secondly, you'll start getting write ups for performance, justified or unjustified, if you get enough of them, you'll find yourself being put out the door for performance reasons. You don't want to find yourself going to the EEOC after you've already been terminated for cause.

If you are, as you say, fifty six (believe me, that's YOUNG) and have all the skills you say you have, given the current job market conditions, I'd go rather than stay and try to fight. For one thing, doing an away from work job search while going in and putting up with the petty little insults of your supervisor will do your mental health a lot of good. And think how wonderful it would be to walk away and do better, without having had to fight it out with these turkeys.

I never have seen anyone fix a bad workplace, or even get reasonable satisfaction out of a bad workplace, though I have seen a few suits prevail. It just doesn't happen often or in much of a good way. Sometimes, you can rock the boat enough to worry them about you and the possibility of a discrimination complaint. But working in an atmosphere like this wears you down, and you stay in constant conflict and misery. If you've only been there a year or two, there are a lot of other places you might find that would be nicer for you, instead of hanging around and trying to make these people, as represented by this particular supervisor quit treating you poorly, for whatever reason they're doing it.
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