Yowzer, how do you handle this one??

Hogskin

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We hired this young gal a few months ago and she's been a great employee - quiet, hardworking, really smart... and not too hard on the eyes . She's Thai and just recently came to the US so maybe there's a cultural thing but... she dropped into my office a short while ago and gave me a Christmas present. Which automatically felt a little akward because I feel strange taking presents from my employees. So she hands me the present and says, "I hope you get lot of enjoyment and good use. Merry Christmas" and then leaves my office. I went ahead and unwrapped it and it's "The Photographic Kama Sutra".
Did somebody just turn on the heater? I don't know what she gave my other partners but I'm feelin' mighty uncomfortable right now. Kinda need a smoke, too.
 

One Track

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Wake up! Wake up! You're having a crazy dream!

Dude, I'd invite her to my house for dinner, tonight!
 

Orygun

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Hey, where's the 10 foot pole emoticon??

First thing to do is document that she did this. File it away. Also, have a chat with her with a female employee present. Explain that even though you may have enjoyed the gift, it wasn't really appropriate. Or at least let her know that she has set a workplace behavior level which she may not be comfortable with in the future. Even if you personally don't mind that your recieved it, it could come and bite you in the butt (in a bad way) down the road. If she isn't aware culturally that that is an improper gift, she should be told.

Basically, you get this book, you think maybe she's pretty mellow and can handle workplace behavior which is lowbrow. Down the road you give her a gift or say something that could be considered harrassment and you haven't documented similar earlier actions on her part, your looking at cutting her a big check. Hopefully there is a competant governmental employee who deals with stiff like that you can be of help.


Heck of an ego boost for sure
 

beastslayer

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There is a definite message there and there's no cultural misunderstanding.

Though both is Asian, Kamasutra is India and not Thai. Thai is hard massage which kind of break your bones in several places.

I hope this helps. What's her number?
 

Big_C

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I think Orygun summed it up pretty well. You've got to CYA regardless of her intent (thanks, ACLU!). So document it, witness it, and don't take advantage of it (until you get home to your wife!).
 

Hogskin

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Orygun, I'm way ahead of you. Some other folks got some similarly racy stuff as well. I've got an attorney on staff and my partner is going to talk to our EPL carrier to see what we ought to do. If this was happening to anybody else I'd be laughing and I guess it is kind of worthy of a few yukks but I don't need the headache. If I bring the dang book home my wife will fail to see the humor in it, that's for sure. The sitdown with a female employee is a good idea. Maybe follow it up with a generic memo to the whole staff about what's appropriate and what's not (we have that in an employee manual but who actually reads those things?).
 

Speckmisser

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Paul, it's funny from here but I'd hate to be in your shoes.

At the very least there needs to be a conversation that is bound to be somewhat awkward. It's the worst kind, because you're not disciplining her and you don't want to hurt her feelings (I assume). At the same time, you have to CYA for something that's probably NOT gonna happen, but it could and it does. The conversation, by its nature, implies that she might have some hostile intent, even though you're probably fairly certain she doesn't.

It sucks, but it'll suck worse if you don't handle it now.

Good luck. And if you piss her off and she quits... I may be hiring.
 

Hoback Hunter

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Gently of course, she's young!


OK, that's probably not the answer you're looking for...

Man, you sure you didn't make this up? The title alone is worth a few jokes... I might get myself put in time-out over this one.

Seriously, if it were me, I'd be thinking hard about the implications of such a gift... but you probably are
Please, someone stop me!

Orygun is right
(unless of course, you're single; own the company and have a great attorney!)... OK, OK, OK - with a straight face now.

Not sure what kind of work you're in, but mine is pretty heavily regulated by policy and procedure on this stuff... that said, here's what I'd do.

Return the gift and verbally reprimand her about inappapropriate workplace gift-giving. Proceed to council her on the types of gift-giving which are appropriate between employees and supervisors (if it is at all). Do so in the presence of your supervisor or an Employee Relations person (not a subordinate - many companies have privacy statements that cover employee rights during disciplinary actions - especially union employees). Document the reprimand and your discussion and require her to go through a conduct and ethics training. Move swiftly and don't feel bad about going a little overboard... The alternative might be a harrassment lawsuit later against you or another co-worker. Not to mention, dealing with it early may prevent an otherwise productive employee from repeating her mistake.

All jokes aside - that's as scary as it is provocative.
 

Pasco

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A customer of ours is a British ex-pat living in Hong Kong. He married an Asian gal. When he travels his wife always tosses in a handful of condoms for the road. Cultural thing, I guess.
 

Caninelaw

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Yeah, you gotta CYA...in the "good 'ol days" this might have been an invite but now it's an invite to a lawsuit if you're not careful.
 

beastslayer

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Ok, I'll get serious now. For the Asian perspective.

This incident is largely cultural since she just arrived in the U.S. Besides she is smart and hardworking and you don't want to lose her -- nor demotivate her.

Asian office environment is a bit less formal than the U.S. counterpart. They can exchange off-color jokes with each other, peer to peer and boss to peer and vice-versa. Some of the jokes can be racy stuff that out here can be considered sexual harassment. In Asia there is no such thing as sexual harassment -- or very rare. As an example, a boss can even joke, within earshot of his subordinates, that the main complaint of his staff is that they are not sufficiently sexuality harassed.

Be careful in talking to her. It is a big personal matter for an Asian to "lose face". It is like losing honor for a Japanese.

I don't know when U.S. working environment turned into stiff collar atmosphere like now. But apparently, expats who worked in Asia liked the Asian office environment better. Some of them choose to look for another employer in Asia once the project is finished. As an aside, in one project I worked for, 80% of American engineering expats divorced their wives for an Asian woman.
 

Big_C

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Hogskin @ Dec 21 2006, 01:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
I went ahead and unwrapped it and it's "The Photographic Kama Sutra".[/b]
Was that the color or black & white edition?
 

EL CAZADOR

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where I work, that book would have been passed around and talked about like it was a Hallmark card. Nobody would have flinched. But then again it's not too uncommon for folks to be walking into meetings with a beer or other stuff
in their mugs.
 

Jean

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The guys here covered this really well. You have a good crowd here. Maybe I missed it, but could this be more about job security on her part, or even advancing position?

Hope that doesn't nail the ego boost in the head.
 

Hogskin

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Heh, you said <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
advancing position[/b]
The situation is getting more and more interesting, nothing I could share on this forum without being banned for life (you guys would lose your mind if you knew what she gave some other folks in our office). I don't think this is anything malicious on her part I think she just is totally out to lunch. We're going to handle it aggressively but (hopefully) with tact.

Thanks for all the responses.
 

Big_C

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (EL CAZADOR @ Dec 21 2006, 07:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
where I work, that book would have been passed around and talked about like it was a Hallmark card. Nobody would have flinched. But then again it's not too uncommon for folks to be walking into meetings with a beer or other stuff
in their mugs.[/b]
Are you hiring?
 

Marty

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
you guys would lose your mind if you knew what she gave some other folks in our office[/b]
Maybe she was pressed for time and picked out all of the gifts at the same shop? You know, the one one the corner between the smoke shop and the video store?
 

MULEY51

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
I don't know when U.S. working environment turned into stiff collar atmosphere like now.[/b]
Ask the ACLU...
 

beastslayer

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Got picture of her?



And a list of her other gifts.

We can ask Jesse for moratorium on banning posting of "inapporiate" materials in this site.
 


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