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I got reported to HR

Posted
katie92 katie92 (New) New

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to post this somewhere to rant... because I can't mention this to any coworkers...

The other day, we had a resource tech/aid on our floor, who was African american with a unique name. And while we were all sitting around the nurses station talking, I said to her "Did your momma name you xxxxxxxx", in which she replied "No my grandma did" -- the only reason I asked this question was because I was curious if the name was a birth name or nick name.

About half an hour later, she told me that she thought what I said was rude to her. She walked away and I followed a minute later and apologized (for what? I don't know, still did anyways)

Today, I found out she reported me to HR for this incident. I don't know whether I should be worried or not because I almost find this ridiculous... and at the same time, if she's playing the racist card and HR is making the decision about it, not my unit director... I could be long gone already?

It's sad that you can offend someone so easily over something so small or innocent. I'm genuinely the kindest person, always helping out and trying to make people laugh! I said this in a total non-malicious way and everyone around us was aware of that. I'm almost angry at the fact she went to HR because there is no way in heck she actually thinks I was trying to be mean!

Should I be worried? Do you find what I said completely inappropriate?It's sad that the lesson I learned is you can't talk to people you don't know I guess. I really enjoy working on my unit... I get along with all the staff so well. I'm just at loss for words right now.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

Well if you're not close with her I guess she could've taken offense to what you said. I would've asked her in a different way, but that's just me. If you have no marks on your record at work, I'm sure you will be ok.

What was wrong with asking if her name was a birth name or not (if that's what you meant)? What you said was rude. And if you can't see how it was and have chalked it up to someone being offended too easily, you absolutely should be worried.

The racist card?

You're telling on yourself.

The racist card?

You're telling on yourself.

Okay! That's what I get for trying the internet for advice. I would defend myself but that'll just continue on and on. I'll just deal with this on my own. Thanks anyways everybody.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

Yeah, the racist comment was a bit much. I'm sure HR just has to talk to you about what happened.

calivianya, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

People can be really sensitive about unusual names sometimes, or even normal names with unusual spellings. If I am curious about a name's origin, I'll say something like, "What's the story behind your name? It's really unique." Asking about someone's name is one of those things that you have to be really careful about, especially if the person you're asking is of a different race and the name in question is ethnic.

I would not have said that to anyone I barely knew.

That's weird, the verbiage... "Your momma" (yo momma?) that's usually followed by an insult... So I'm not sure how you're failing to see how this could be taken negatively.

Honestly that would have made me uncomfortable. I wouldn't have reported you, but I certainly see where he's coming from.

How about "that's unique, is that your full name?"

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

Your wording does sound odd. I'm assuming from your post that this gal has a 'black' sounding name? I'm referring to some of the creative names unique to that community.

She might be quite sensitive about her unusual name. Some parents of all races get too creative. She might have been teased in the past.

Then you throw in the minefield of race relations. I learned a long time ago to tread very carefully. Some folks take offense very easily, it's not worth the risk.

Of course, her running to HR sounds like a total overreaction. But you could have avoided the whole thing by being more careful.

Op, I am sorry that this happened to you. I really try not to get up close and personal with anyone at the nurses station. Personal questions no matter what the intent can and do get misinterpreted a lot.

I am African American and have an African name that is very unique. Ppl of all races ask me often "where did your parents find that name? It's very UNIQUE". I don't take offense to it at all.

Some people are quite sensitive when it comes to their name. The whole "your momma" and all of that may have made her think you were mocking her. I think she should have spoken with you first before HR.

The way you went about it can sound offensive to someone with a different culture background, that's all.

Karou

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 1 years experience.

I think the way you asked her about it could easily be interpreted as offensive. You could have been more polite and came across as sincere. The half joking thing, "did your MOMMA name you THAT?" makes it seem like you are laughing at her. People with unique names get sick and tired of others pointing it out or making a joke of it. I can understand why she would have thought you were rude.

Do you know she is saying you were racist? She could have reported you for just being plain old rude.

Even if you DID say it rudely, reporting one mildly rude comment to HR seems like too much effort to go through. It's equivalent to, "MOM! She looked at me funny!"

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

I am African American and have an African name that is very unique. Ppl of all races ask me often "where did your parents find that name? It's very UNIQUE". I don't take offense to it at all.

Some people are quite sensitive when it comes to their name. The whole "your momma" and all of that may have made her think you were mocking her. I think she should have spoken with you first before HR.

Agree, but the OP did talk to her, and she still reported her.

Back to the OP.

Since I wasn't there, I don't know how your tone was and in what context the rest of the conversation was about, you left that out.

I remember a conversation that a doctor had about African Americans and I felt uncomfortable about it (as an African American) and went to my unit manager, over 15 years ago-I was 19 at the time and I wanted to ensure if anything else happened I at least expressed how uncomfortable I was with the situation.

Maybe this coworker wanted a paper trail because she was uncomfortable. She may have spoke to you, but she still had a right to go to someone; especially if she saw in the exchange that it wasn't enough or your lack of understanding why you were apologizing (it could've been apparent in your apology as you expressed here) and wanted a paper trail.

You may not understand it or think it was right, but whatever happened, your coworker still felt uncomfortable and exercised their right to go to someone else of authority about the incident.

Miss Rayanne

Specializes in LTC/Rehab, Pediatric Home Care. Has 9 years experience.

I don't think I would have reported you to HR, but I do think you were out of line. I could see where someone may have thought you were rude. If you think about it, How is it any of your business how she got the name? I was not there, so I don't know the full story. Personally, I would not have gone to HR over this.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

Why on earth would you say to someone you did not know, did your momma name you that? There was a much better way to say that.

People are constantly offended in this world. But if someone is offended, they are. It's a feeling. You can't tell someone they can't be offended over something.

OP, you have a lot to learn. You, especially in the workplace, need to be sensitive to other people and how you are perceived. Not everyone at work is your best bud. Turn on CNN sometime and see what is on there every single day. It's all about racial tension and equality for humans with the LGBT community. I would apologize to this coworker. Ask them why they were offended and what you could do to make this better. Otherwise, I see you not lasting real long in the real world.

Social skills are just as important as nursing skills. Your workplace needs to ensure you will not be offending your patients, their customers.

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

What you said obviously offended the woman who reported you.

If I had an unusual name and someone asked "did your momma name you that?" I would be offended. In fact if anyone I didn't know at work asked me any question about my "momma" I would find it rude and infantilizing. I guess if this is the way people talk in your region, then okay. But where I'm from "your momma" usually prefaces an insult or joke.

You need to learn a lesson here about how you ought to talk to people at work whom you don't know. That's all.