For six years I have worked in the Dental field. Such time yielded experience enough to position me as “Back Office Supervisor” at the last Dental Office I worked for.
During my tenure as Supervisor, besides of being in charge of ordering supplies and to coordinate Dental Assistants’ duties, I developed a good working relationship and communication skills with fellow employees, as well as I was keen enough to develop a great professional relationship with each and every one of my patients, something I have noticed Management had struggled to achieve with other Dental Assistants. As such, my job was related to duties performed as Dental Assistant, initially; and secondly, in the Front Office, confirming appointments with patients, gather insurance information, check for dental benefits, create patients charts in the system, coordinate the delivery and receipt of dental cases from different laboratories, etc.
Unfortunately, almost from the start, I noticed a very unwelcome attitude from one employee who worked at the Front Office.
It was as if my Hispanic background alone had been the cause of an all outrage of discriminatory behavior by this person. Though I did not care much about it in the beginning; after three months that “plain” condescending attitude of his had turned to rude and racial comments of intolerance directed to my Hispanic heritage and/or to me, of course. My job required me to have direct contact with him, which made my workday a very stressful journey. I did not know how to approach him without receiving a rude answer; whenever he had the chance, he would make a racial remark. Also, his premeditated ignoring to my requests about important information regarding patients, cases, etc., caused me a great deal of falling behind my job’s responsibilities; thus, making me look bad in front of the Manager. Thus, I started to come in the office earlier to get the information I needed for the day by my own, instead of asking him for it; the less contact I had with him, the lesser stressed out I would become. Nevertheless, such emotional stress had already been, and unfairly enough, the culprit of frictions between me and Management. In plain English, he had become “my daily bread” for some great emotional pain and stress, I did not need.
So, it is fair enough to mention a racial remark, or two, he made about my race and culture. As such, one instance was that he would complain about my accent; and, about how Mexican food had a bad smell (even when I am not of Mexican descent); or, that Hispanic people’s being too short and not educated at all... I knew this situation was not going to get any better, if I just let it go. I know racial remarks against a different culture are discriminatory and not, supposedly, permitted at a workplace.
So, I was ready to put an end to this situation by having a talk with the Office Manager. But, I wanted to keep it as professional and discreet as possible, because I considered there was a misconception about my culture. For as the Back Office Supervisor position was a great deal for me and that I had not been given this position before; I felt needed to take care of my own image and how to react to this difficult situation. Thus, I referred to the Employee Manual, where it outlined the process of presenting a complaint to the Office Manager.
I had taken notes and dates in which most incidents had occurred.
The first step I took was to contact the Manager and express my concerns. I did this verbally and in writing. Next, a meeting was scheduled, for Me with the Manager only. During this meeting, I was able to express myself about the situation and I pointed out the different scenarios in which it had happened. A second meeting followed, for the Manager with the fellow worker I was having the conflict only. And, as final meeting, the Manager, fellow worker, and Me.
At the beginning of the meeting, I felt very overwhelmed about…