Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Immature Boss

Every week, Mallory and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: My boss makes fun of my hearing loss.

Nicole: Yeah, unfortunately, all you can do is be firm in the moment and job search. “I don’t want to talk about my finances at work,” “That’s not really a topic for work,” “I’d prefer you didn’t draw attention to my hearing loss unless it’s necessary for work,” etc

Mallory: God, what a sentence.

Nicole: But your boss is bad and HR doesn’t care, so you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth leaving over (if and when you have another option!)

Mallory: It really highlights how awful and inappropriate that behavior is, to just dispassionately name it. “Please don’t feign sign language at me as a joke.”

Nicole: YES. Ideally, hearing that said out loud should chasten her.

Mallory: Given the sign language component of that last stunt, is that not discriminatory? Would the ADA apply here?

Nicole: That’s not an ADA thing, really. If she had asked for an accommodation to be made for her disability and started the process of doing so, she might get taken more seriously by her boss, but one offensive statement isn’t going to rise to that level.

She should DEFINITELY think about whether she does need reasonable accommodations for her hearing loss, she has every right to ask for them.

I wish an accommodation could be “this lady needs to stay ten miles away from me.”

Mallory: it’s so awful that bosses can just text you now.

all managerial phones should lose employee contact information between the hours of 6pm and 9am unless it’s medically necessary


Mallory: I mean, I understand that many office jobs include the periodic running of errands that might not be 100% in your initial job description, and that’s fine

but it’s one thing to ask an employee to pick up some ice cream before work (which, let’s be generous and assume it was for an important business deal or something)

and quite another to then follow up with comments about their tax return/suggest that an employee shouldn’t attend a friend’s wedding!