Wedding Woes

Valid complaint, not responsible

I live in a huge apartment complex with about 500 tenants. I happen to live on the back side of the complex, with a window facing the Dumpster in the alleyway. Many of the maintenance workers hang out in that alley when they’re not working. I’ve been working from home for six months now, meaning I spend way more time overhearing their conversations than I used to. They probably spend three to four hours a day just shooting the breeze. They laugh loudly, speak at a way higher volume than necessary, and tell an endless number of sexist jokes in Spanish (I speak Spanish fluently so I can understand every word). I hate having to listen to sexist vitriol for literally hours every day. I’ve tried headphones and a white noise machine but neither block out the sound.

I finally gave up and emailed management. Three of the guys were fired. They have been replaced with workers who spend significantly less time joking and hanging out in the back alley. I view this as a win: I don’t have to be subjected to this for hours every day, and the guys learned a valuable lesson about not going on sexist rants at work. My partner, on the other hand, is angry at me. They say I should’ve just talked to the men myself (which seems naïve, considering they clearly hate women) or, in my email to the complex, asked for the men not to be fired. I disagree. All I did was speak up about an issue that affected me—it’s not my responsibility how the complex chooses to handle it. My partner is basically saying I’m a monster for getting blue-collar workers fired. We cannot seem to move past this issue. Did I do the right thing? What can I do now to get my partner and I past this difference of opinion?
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Re: Valid complaint, not responsible

  • I agree with your title - valid complaint, not responsible.  And I really don't think a woman going up to them to ask them to stop would have worked.  In fact, it could have ended poorly for LW.  I think they did the right thing.  It sucks that the guys didn't get a warning and a chance to correct the behaviour before being fired, but that's not LW's fault.  I somehow doubt they learned a valuable lesson though.

    charlotte989875
  • This letter format and details is more like something I'd read in the sub-Reddit AITA, lol.

    So I'm giving my response in that format, lol.  The LW is NTA (Not the Asshole), though it's possible they could be a little bit depending on what was in the e-mail to management.  If they kept it to the facts that the conversations were too loud and they were offended by the subject matter, so they want the workers to either lower their voices or find somewhere else to hang out, then that is perfectly reasonable.

    Sure, they could have gone down to speak to the men themselves.  But they don't have to.  This is a concern that is perfectly valid to address with the apartment complex, because it is their employees.

    In a perfect world, the apartment complex would have spoken to these people and put them on notice that their actions needed to change.  Given them a chance to correct things, now that they know there is a problem.

    HOWEVER, neither the LW nor their partner even know why they were fired.  Maybe what the LW thought was their "off time", really was not and they were shirking their work responsibilities.  In a situation like that, I don't see an issue with them being fired without a warning (or maybe they already had warnings).  
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  • I do not think the men learned a valuable lesson.   They probably think that some "Karen" had nothing better to do than sit home and complain about them.

    You aren't a monster for getting blue collar workers fired if they're not doing the job they were hired to do.  
    short+sassyMesmrEwe
  • It sucks but these men were representing the company when they were going on these rants. If you don’t want to be fired for sexist comments don’t make sexist comments. 
    STARMOON44
  • You 100% did the right thing. 
    short+sassy
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Absolutely did the right thing. Plus who knows if these men had been spoken to before and this was a continuing issue. 
    short+sassy
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 15
    These guys were routinely spending 3-4 hours per day screwing around by the dumpster. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they haven't been stellar job performers all along. It's quite likely that this wasn't the first time they'd been reprimanded. 

    To borrow @""short+sassy"'s theme, play stupid games, win stupid prizes is what reddit would say.
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • LW didn't email to get them fired.
    If they got fired, LW may have been the 10th email they received. I doubt it was just "1 and done"
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If LW wasn’t exaggerating and they were spending 3-4 hours in the alley messing around then it’s a no brained why they were fired. That’s not even counting loud sexual comments. But my money is on the time theft. 


    image
    banana468MissKittyDangershort+sassyei34
  • levioosa said:
    If LW wasn’t exaggerating and they were spending 3-4 hours in the alley messing around then it’s a no brained why they were fired. That’s not even counting loud sexual comments. But my money is on the time theft. 
    Mine too!  It seems to be universally frowned upon in the employment world, lol.
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    levioosaMissKittyDanger
  • You emailed management with a reasonable complaint and had no control over how management decided to deal with that complaint. I wouldn't be surprised if they were already not happy with these guys or if other people had complained about them as well. Honestly, I think you need to stop beating yourself up over this and your partner needs to calm the hell down.
    image
    MissKittyDangershort+sassy
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I live in a huge apartment complex with about 500 tenants. I happen to live on the back side of the complex, with a window facing the Dumpster in the alleyway. Many of the maintenance workers hang out in that alley when they’re not working. I’ve been working from home for six months now, meaning I spend way more time overhearing their conversations than I used to. They probably spend three to four hours a day just shooting the breeze. They laugh loudly, speak at a way higher volume than necessary, and tell an endless number of sexist jokes in Spanish (I speak Spanish fluently so I can understand every word). I hate having to listen to sexist vitriol for literally hours every day. I’ve tried headphones and a white noise machine but neither block out the sound.

    I finally gave up and emailed management. Three of the guys were fired. They have been replaced with workers who spend significantly less time joking and hanging out in the back alley. I view this as a win: I don’t have to be subjected to this for hours every day, and the guys learned a valuable lesson about not going on sexist rants at work. My partner, on the other hand, is angry at me. They say I should’ve just talked to the men myself (which seems naïve, considering they clearly hate women) or, in my email to the complex, asked for the men not to be fired. I disagree. All I did was speak up about an issue that affected me—it’s not my responsibility how the complex chooses to handle it. My partner is basically saying I’m a monster for getting blue-collar workers fired. We cannot seem to move past this issue. Did I do the right thing? What can I do now to get my partner and I past this difference of opinion?
    I don't think the LW is a monster. The fact that those fired workers were blue-collar doesn't excuse their obnoxious behavior. The management didn't have to fire them, but they weren't doing their job, let alone being respectful of the people could hear them.
  • So here's the thing - were they fired for the comments or were they fired for shooting the breeze on company time well beyond the standard breaks and lunch time... I'm actually going to guess it was that rather than the commentary...

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    short+sassy
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