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Choose Your Battles Wisely - Favoritism & Nepotism In the Workplace & How To Address HR

One of my coworkers is a total slacker.  “Melanie” has been here long enough to know exactly what’s expected, but she avoids extra work by saying no one told her what to do.  If Melanie dislikes certain tasks, she will complain to our supervisor that they are too complicated for her.  Then those unpleasant duties are given to the rest of us.

People say Melanie gets special treatment because she has friends in management.  She is even allowed to wear inappropriate attire which is a blatant violation of our dress code.  This obvious favoritism has everyone upset.  I’m ready to go to human resources, but would like to get your advice.

Marie’s Answer

Since you’re looking for advice, here are three suggestions.  First, pick your battles wisely.  Instead of unleashing a torrent of accusations about favoritism, friendships, and dress code violations, stay focused on the unequal distribution of tasks.

Second, talk about issues that matter to management.  If you can show how Melanie’s refusal to do her job is adversely affecting quality, costs, schedules, or customers, you are more likely to get their attention.

Finally, don’t become the messenger.  If you are the sole complainer, your HR manager may view this as a personality conflict, so take some concerned colleagues along.  Otherwise, you might discover why “killing the messenger” became such a popular phrase.