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To have told a colleague off - long but please help

(35 Posts)
catloony Sun 28-Oct-12 02:41:23

I work in organistion that visits older people at home to help them, a new member of staff visited a family at their home to help them, cant really go into what or why we go but just trying to paint a picture that we are there to help. Any way after one of her visits to a house of a family, she came back to the office and started telling the story of her visit. There was 2 people there including me and her.

She started the story about how dirty their house was, then said they were the fliddy family and the man came in with his weird hair.

This was as far as I let her keep talking.

I said excuse me what did you just say?

She was unaware of anything just basically said "what"

So I said you do realise what you said is very offensive

She then said what is

I said that is an quite offensive thing to call someone

She said why no its not.

She was completely clueless to what it meant.

She then said whatever.

This is when I said, I am offended by what you just said, you don't even know what it maens, I don't think we are the organisation to be giong to visit vulnerable people at home and then come laughing about then in the office.

Noone else is at all like this.

The other person in the conversation said nothing, she opened her mouth but then shut it again, then said " oh go on" , kind of trying to get back to the general talk about the visit.

She then said well i cant tell you about the visit cos shes offended.

Then nothing more was said it all went silent.

I have said nothing more about it but she now has been very diffilcult to work with. She is saying i am making more out of it than it is.

Other than the three of us there noone else knows about this, she says there is nothing wrong with the word fliddy, i say there is. She has become nasty about this.

AIBU in thinking describing someone's family as "fliddy" is massivley inappropriate?

StuntGirl Sun 28-Oct-12 02:44:22

What does it mean? confused

Loveweekends10 Sun 28-Oct-12 02:48:12

It mean phelidamide. A drug that was given to women in the 50s and 60s to stop morning sickness when in fact it led to a load of birth defects in the babies causing the victims to have deformed hands and feet.
I doubt the person that said it even knows what it means. She is just ignorant and sounds like she should not be working in care.

bragmatic Sun 28-Oct-12 02:48:49

I think offended/offensive is an over used term these days.

That's by the bye though. I'd have had no hesitation in telling her she's unprofessional and if she's not up for community service she'd better find herself another job.

catloony Sun 28-Oct-12 02:53:38

This was point, when I said I don't think you should be visiting vulnerable families and then coming backi into the office laughing about the state of their house and basically riduculling them.

YerMaw1989 Sun 28-Oct-12 05:15:44

you were right to challenge her its shocking how many ignorant and poorly educated people work in care.

saffronwblue Sun 28-Oct-12 05:21:58

The drug was thalidomide. No idea what fliddy means but if it is pejorative then you were right to rebuke your colleague.

cornybeefhash Sun 28-Oct-12 05:32:57

You were right to say something
That's an awful thing to do
If she is worried about the state of somebody's home, then she needs to refer on to her line manager to try to get that vulnerable person some more help, not gossip about it.

WofflingOn Sun 28-Oct-12 07:01:26

What on earth is she doing in this job, she sounds completely unsuitable for it.
Her attitude, her prejudice and her lack of discretion are a disaster waiting to explode and contaminate the rest of you.
She needs to be referred to her line manager for further training and reminding about the basic rules of your organisation, or to be put on a warning.
If I was involved through the family, as a friend or relative, I'd raise hell over it, so better to sort the situation whilst it is still within your organisation.
Her attitude is one of the reasons why so many vulnerable people are reluctant to seek help, she is ignorant and dangerous.

MrsWolowitz Sun 28-Oct-12 07:06:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ENormaSnob Sun 28-Oct-12 07:15:03

She needs sacking IMO.

Thumbwitch Sun 28-Oct-12 07:21:35

Flid is up there with spaz etc. - it is used to refer pejoratively to people with disabilities (and is derived from thalidomide).

Her use of the term, whether she knew its origin or not, demonstrates her unsuitability for the role she's taken. Coming back to the office and effectively gossiping about the family she has just visited compounds this. Refusing to then understand that she had done anything inappropriate means she should be let go and should find a job more appropriate to her levels of understanding and empathy.

Funnylittleturkishdelight Sun 28-Oct-12 07:36:06

Horrid word! You were right to correct her. Where is her empathy??

Boomerwang Sun 28-Oct-12 07:46:13

Extremely unprofessional and ignorant. She's in the wrong job if she wants to bitch about the people she works for.

I once called someone a flid before I could stop myself. It's not a word I'd EVER used before, I have NO idea why it was on the tip of my tongue and I was shocked and mortified, and so was the person I said it to. I said it in jest whilst laughing but we weren't laughing after that. We were both care workers so it was more important to us. My only excuse was that I'd heard someone say the exact same phrase when I was younger and for some reason it popped up.

For those unaware, although the reason for the word is already explained, people use the term to refer to anyone who has profound physical disabilities.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 28-Oct-12 07:46:58

If I employed her I would send her on some training, and if there was one more comment like this she would be out.

you were totally right to challenge her, and the fact that she has not reconsidered her position on this now is indicative of the fact she probably is in the wrong job.

PurplePidjInAPointyHat Sun 28-Oct-12 07:48:55

Mocking someone's lifestyle behind their back is disgusting behaviour, but isn't always challenged in RL.

A "flid" is a derogatory abbreviation for someone with a disability caused by thalidomide (used to treat morning sickness in the 60's, causes malformation of the limbs) like spaz for spastic or nigger for negro.

YANBU and pretty brave to confront someone like that, doesn't happen often enough because most people are either too gobsmacked or too polite. I would have a quiet chat with my line manager (have worked in similar environments) and explain what happened, and the resulting behaviour. It's not gross misconduct so i imagine the other woman will be sent for further training.

ErikNorseman Sun 28-Oct-12 08:18:03

You need to raise it with your manager/s ASAP.

GhostofMammaTJ Sun 28-Oct-12 08:25:09

I have done a similar job. I have discussed people houses with my colleagues and they with me, but this was not in a making fun way, it was more in the way of concern.

I would not expect anyone who worked in that kind of job to think it was ok to use that term either.

Talk to a supervisor.

PurplePidjInAPointyHat Sun 28-Oct-12 08:28:47

Agreed, MammaTJ, "X family are really struggling, we need to get them more support" is fine. "Ha ha, X family live in a pig sty" really isn't

And that's without the discriminatory language!

HeinousHecate Sun 28-Oct-12 08:33:51

You need to escalate it.

At the very least, she needs training.

If someone working for an organisation that is supposed to help people, doesn't understand the very basics of respect for your clients, then there's a problem.

Allowing this to continue, and escalate, is how you end up with cases like that care home.

It doesn't start with someone starting work on monday and turning a hose on someone on tuesday.

It starts very 'small'. It starts with a lack of respect for your clients. It starts with a bit of a laugh.

now, I am not suggesting that your situation has the potential to escalate in that way, but it is a very important point - the need to respect the people you work with and the culture change that can theoretically happen within an organisation that does not ensure that.

She should not be coming back, laughing about them and using insulting language.

She certainly should not act like the victim when she is challenged on that language.

schobe Sun 28-Oct-12 08:37:12

If I were you I'd focus on the fact that she thinks it's ok to visit a family and then come back and gossip with colleagues about it in a non-complimentary way. Otherwise she's going to plead ignorance about the word she used and just get a rap on the knuckles.

coronalover Sun 28-Oct-12 08:46:24


i work for a charity who visits vulnerable people in the community and this sort of behaviour would be grounds for disciplinary action - appalling way to discuss clients imo

Charliefox Sun 28-Oct-12 09:29:10

We have carers in 4 times a day to help mainly with my dad and a bit with mum. We have a regular group of carers and there isn't enough money in the world to pay them what they're worth. If, however, I got the slightest inkling of any kind of derogatory attitude from them, they'd be gone in an instant. She needs taking through a disciplinary process. If you're her line manager, start the process. If you're not, report her. If nothing is done about it, then you're working for a very unprofessional outfit.

catloony Sun 28-Oct-12 11:07:45

Me and the colleague are equal levels at work, i said what i said and then have left it at that, kind of hoping she would realise and behave in a more professional way, this incident happened a week last thursday, all last week there were little snidey comments to me and dramatic stories about her visits still. I do have a line manager that I get on fine with and I know she would not be happy, I was wittling all last week whether to go and tell her, the reason I posted her was to get opinions on how out of order she was. It seems pretty clear cut that everyone agrees with me that you should not talk about clients like that.
I very often read things wrong in situations and usually things get turned around back on me so I am very wary about doing anything usually. I think i will go and just have a chat with my line manager about her in general and bring it up, said member of staff is 50 so not young and inexperiencd in life so her views and attitude are now probably deep set.
Iworry that she is totally wrong for our job.

Mammatj - exactly what you have said, is the same with our people, how she is talking is wrong

Tabliope Sun 28-Oct-12 11:28:17

I think Thumbwitch summed this up properly and the term you need to use to your supervisor - she used the term perjoratively. I'm surprised it's not in the training that perjoratives terms can't be used. Hold your ground. You did the right thing but I think you need to take it further.

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