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Woman's Boss Refuses To Use Her Name & Only Calls Her 'You There' — 'I Need Advice On How To Handle This'

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Woman at work, boss, email

When it comes to women in the workplace, we might deal with many microaggressions that are seemingly harmless, but can cause psychological damage and decreased morale.

One woman turned to Reddit readers to get advice on dealing with a manager who refuses to address her by her name. She posted in the r/job subreddit to get input on what her next steps should be.

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Her boss calls her 'you there' and refuses to treat her with respect.

She started by giving some context, saying that it had come to her attention that one particular manager at her job will not use her name when trying to get her attention. He manages a department where she spends the majority of her workday, so she is forced to deal with him regularly.

When it is time to initiate contact with her, the woman says of the manager, “He will say “excuse me” or “you there” or something else. When I have my headphones in and he wants my attention he will make some noise like slam a water bottle hard on the table or shuffle the trash can to get my attention instead of just saying my name.”

To make matters worse, the disrespected worker claims that she is the only person he does it to and that everyone else is addressed by their name. “When he wants to grab someone else’s attention, he will lightly pat them on the back to get their attention instead of slamming something hard on a table,” she said.

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Readers advised her that she needs to be more assertive in the workplace. They wanted her to confront the issue head-on and directly ask the manager to use her name when interacting with her.

Though microaggressions are often subtle, they are meant to make a person feel inferior to their counterparts. It can be a form of discrimination and might be compounded by bigotry if the woman experiencing it happens to be from a marginalized demographic.

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Nevertheless, two-thirds of women at work have been forced to shoulder sexism sent their way. They make for a toxic workplace and contribute to the burnout that is plaguing female employees.

Refusing to call a woman by her name is no better than calling her ‘sweetheart’ at work, using sexist humor, or derogatory language. It inhibits her from doing the best work possible and undermines her success.

The situation undoubtedly needs to be addressed by the woman. If she is certain she is being targeted by the manager, there are productive ways to respond. First, she should pull the manager aside and explain her feelings before asking for clarity. Then she should listen for understanding and document what was discussed in case the behavior persists.

Addressing these things can be especially scary. There is the possibility of retaliation because you had the audacity to call your manager out. This can show up in the form of negative performance reviews, limited access to systems, tools, or information, or outright termination. Women who stand up for themselves at work are often labeled ‘aggressive’ or ‘difficult to work with.’

But the cost of minimizing such acts is much higher impacting your mental and emotional health and well-being. Use your voice with authority and document every interaction to make sure you hold your company and manager accountable for your negative experience.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.