Post # 1
I work in an office made up of people from all over (China, Phillipines, Israel, England, US, Canada – and there are only 7 of us here…)
Many of our sub-consultants that we have on retainer are also not native born Canadians.
Last week, one of our sub-consultants and I had a disagreement over the phone regarding the preparation of some drawings. He was being rather rude to me and speaking to me in a disrespectful manner and I may have been un-professional in the way I spoke back to him as a result (no one actually insulted the other, no swear words were used…) the call ended with him hanging up on me.
I told the 2 partners involved in the project about it, they kind of laughed and brushed it off as ‘well, there’s a cultural aspect to all of this…’. This subconsultant is now refusing to work with me. I’ve been here 2 years, I’ve always gotten along with this man (although I’ve never been a huge fan of the way he talks to me, but I deal).
The consensus is that the next time he’s in the office, I should bite the bullet and apologize for my behaviour as it’s what’s best for the office and this is largely a cultural issue having to do with me being female and there’s nothing we can do about it.
This really bugs me. I’m willing to do it as it’s the best thing for the office, but the fact that someone can act this way simply because I’m female and it’s allowed because it’s ‘cultural’ really irriates me. (I have no idea where the consultant in question is originally from).
I’ve had this issue with one of the regular office members as well, but he doesn’t hold a grudge so we get through it.
Post # 2
So your coworkers are saying you should apologize for him talking down to you because you’re female? Um, no.
Post # 4
MsGinkgo: if you were in his country then I would say biite the bullet because you would be fired over him. But if you are in a country with equal rights for everyone then he is the one that needs to apologise. I would check your countries legislation and make sure what your bosses are saying they want you to do is legal and to check that both the sub-consultant and the partners behaviour/response to the situation is within the sexual harrassment legislation.
Post # 5
Westwood: they’re saying that I should appologize for the manner in which I spoke to him after he was being disrespectful to me. They’re basically letting him off the hook because ‘it’s cultural’. This seems to be the office excuse for when 2 people in particular treat the women in this office (there are only 2 of us) poorly. More often than not I’m the one they have issues with because I’m a strong willed individual, the other girl is far more passive.
Post # 6
MsGinkgo: tell them you will apologise after he does. Tell them it is in your culture that you must talk like that to any man that behavies that way towards women.
Or threaten legal action because that sort of behaviour creates a hostile and unsafe working environment.
Your bosses sound like as big a jerks as the guys that treat you the way they do. In fact your bosses are treating you they way these guys do.
Post # 7
MsGinkgo: It has been my experience within a corporate environment that apologies don’t really happen. Rather, the employees are reprimanded by their bosses and told to change their behavior. But no one gets to refuse to stop working with someone else. Or at least, no one gets granted that request. So, I think it is rather sexist of them to tell you to apologize but not him. It’s all or none. But apology or not, I believe both of you need to speak respectfully to one another. His boss should tell him he has to show respect to all employees regardless of gender.
Post # 8
Any “cultural differences” should be left at the door when entering a workplace IMO. I’m assuming you have equal rights as a woman where you live, and what he’s doing could be seen as sexual harrassment.
tell them you will apologise after he does. Tell them it is in your culture that you must talk like that to any man that behavies that way towards women.
^I also agree with this.
Post # 9
MsGinkgo: Agree with JJ, if you were in his country apologize. But he needs to realize that it is cultural for YOU that women are treated with the same respect that men are and you deserve an apology for his unnecessary rudeness due to your gender.
Post # 10
Westwood: I’m in Canada so you bet I do!
howtobeawife: The apology is expected to be somwhat false, the one partner (that I actually respect, the other is a jerk) understands my point and agrees that the other is in the wrong as well as me.
The whole thing is just frustrating, it just really bothers me that because you’re allowed to keep your culture when you come to Canada that somehow manages to extend to ‘we’ll let it slide if you’re a bit of an asshole’.
I know that I can be a tough person to get along with, I know that I’m a strong woman (the type of woman who is often called ‘aggressive’ but if I was male it would be normal behaviour) and not everyone likes that, but you shouldn’t be able to refuse to deal with me just because you prefer women to be meek, mild mannered, and listen to what the men say.
Post # 11
I’ve gotten into a lot of shit at work before because I refused to apologize for something that I wasn’t sorry for, but I wasn’t about to “bow down” just to make amends. The person I was told to apologize to, didn’t speak to me for months, nor did I speak to her, but obviously we didn’t need to. She was a supervisor for a completely different deparment, and I wasn’t sorry for what I said.
Stick to your guns girl.
Post # 12
MsGinkgo: Yes you are allowed to keep your culture but not if it breaks the countries laws.
For example just because polygamy is alowed in someones culture does not mean they can get married to a second wife in the country they reside in.
Post # 13
“I know that I’m a strong woman (the type of woman who is often called ‘aggressive’ but if I was male it would be normal behaviour) and not everyone likes that, but you shouldn’t be able to refuse to deal with me just because you prefer women to be meek, mild mannered, and listen to what the men say.”
if I could post gifs from my iPad, I would post the one of Mariah tearfully crying and clapping. You shouldn’t have to apologize unless he does as well, and this culture excuse is a crock of bull, in my opinion. Cultural differences don’t mean you get t be an asshole, and I don’t think that we need to respect other people’s cultural differences when it comes to treating someone unequally for superficial reasons.
Post # 14
j_jaye: Exactly – I was just about to comment on this to. I’m half Chinese, half “white” so I am a little sensitive to the subject of cultural difference. For example, my Chinese grandparents moved here when my mom and her brothers were 6 and under and even after living in Canada for over 40 years, they still do not speak fluent English. It makes me see red when people judge others for “not being able to speak the language, not doing this, or doing something weird” because you’ve moved to another country for a better life.
I’m in the boat as to if you’re not hurting someone else, and you’re not breaking the law, you should be allowed to continue on as you were, while embracing your new life/country/reality to the best of your ability.
Post # 15
“It’s cultural” is not an excuse for blatant sexism. I’d “apologize” but explain that you expect to be treated with respect and his behavior toward you was not appropriate.