A business owner is being slammed for a work protocol he will not budge on.
At the request of his mother, Redditor No-Needleworker-3227 hired his stepdad – which went against the owner’s policy of hiring friends and family to prevent accusations of favoritism.
The business owner eventually realized he should have stuck to his initial instincts by not hiring his stepfather.
When he was denigrated for enforcing his non-negotiable formality on employees, he visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for forcing my stepfather to call me ‘sir’ or ‘Mr.lastname’ since he works for me and I require my other employees to do it?”
The Original Poster (OP) began his post by describing his controversial rule.
“I own my own business, and one of my rules is that my employees have to either call me ‘sir’ or use my last name. They are not allowed to call me by my first name.”
“I’m not old by any means, but this was always the rule when I was coming up and I think it is a good rule especially since a lot of people in the work force today don’t know how to behave and take advantage of the freedoms they are given.”
“My mother and stepfather came to me recently and asked me if I could find work for my stepfather. I usually don’t hire family or friends. It is asking for trouble IMO, but I made an exception this time because of their financial situation.”
“I did mention my rule to him when he had orientation, but either he wasn’t paying attention or decided not to follow it and ended up calling me by my first name. That didn’t bother me because sometimes new employees make mistakes.”
“I politely pulled him aside and reminded him of the rule. He said he understood and it wouldn’t happen again except it did.”
“I gave him another polite reminder, but that didn’t work either. That is when I gave him a warning. That still didn’t work, so I had a meeting with him and told him point blank that this was becoming a problem and if he couldn’t follow my workplace rules I would have to fire him.”
“We had an argument about this. He feels disrespected by me since he is older and my stepfather and doesn’t think I should enforce the rule in his case. I told him tough luck but that’s not how it goes. I don’t make exceptions.”
“The rules are the rules and they apply to anyone who works for me. If my wife worked for me she would follow the same rules. If one of my children did, the story would be the same.”
“As a little backstory, this previously was my dad’s business and before that my grandad’s. When I was in a junior position I had to follow the rule with them, so I have gone through it all myself. I’m not asking anyone to do something I wouldn’t do.”
“He told my mother about our conversation, and she begged me to be more understanding and show him mercy. Her view is that he is an older man with a lot of pride and I humiliated him. She thinks it wouldn’t hurt to make an exception this one time, but I strongly disagree.”
“If I make an exception for him the rule loses its meaning and I would be playing favorites. I told her there would be no exceptions and financial difficulties or not if he makes the mistake again he will be fired.”
“I discussed this with my wife too and she sided with my mother. She thinks I am being too much of an authoritarian, possibly to both my stepfather and my employees, but I disagree with her. I treat them fairly and have never received a complaint by anyone who has worked for me.”
“Everything I have done seems fair to me, but my family thinks I am the a**hole.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors from different corners of the globe had plenty to say about the OP’s unpopular rule.
“N-T-A for enforcing a company wide rule.”
“YTA for making people call you sir, or Mr. D*ckbrain or whatever. If a boss told me that that’s what the job took, I would keep calling them by their first name. Or if this was at an interview I would laugh in your face and walk out.”
“You do realise that this is peak arrogance. Like I have no respect for you, just because you DEMAND it. You suck.” – DingusMcF*ckstain
“I’m from America and I’ve never seen anyone call their boss sir or Mr. Blablabla.”
“Unless they’re someone suuuuuuper important, like the president (although I can’t imagine what it’s like to work for the current president.)”
“Adults call each other by their first name. Unless OP is from Japan or another country where last names are commonly used instead of first names, all I see is some AH trying to make himself look as superior as possible.”
“If my boss pulled that sh*t, I wouldn’t find him very respectable at all.” – terra_terror
“I am from Australia, and am 35. I have never called a boss by their last name except when asking for them at my job interview. Eg. Good morning, I have an appointment with Mr/Mrs Lastname.”
“Every interview I have had, or given, have used exclusively first names.”
“I have recently returned to study at a university, and their isn’t a single lecturer/professor who goes by anything but their first name. Even the vice chancellor insists on you using her first name.” – DingusMcF*ckstain
“I’m UK and first name is normal here too – even at a FTSE100 company with 15000 staff, junior staff addressed Directors by their first name.”
“Only exception I can think of would be uniformed services – Armed Forces and Police for sure – where rank/sir/ma’am would be used rather than name.” – GrumpyOldFart74
The stepfather, however, wasn’t exactly exonerated for his refusal to act in accordance.
“I work in high tech. (Very white collar; except that a lot of the engineers wear t-shirts.) If I bumped into the CEO of the whole damn global company, I’d call him by his first name.”
“The only workplace I’ve seen this done differently was with a friend who was a firefighter. He was ‘Loot’ (for Lieutenant) to his crew. It surprised me but then I got it. So if OP works at a place where chain of command has to be automatic in split second life or death situations then sure.”
“I do think stepfather is a TA for taking this personally and not following the rules. But the rules are an eye-roller for me too.” – fizzwitz
Others commented on the OP’s character.
“People who demand respect are the most pathetic.”
“Im assuming OP is insecure because he inherited his daddy’s company (which colors any sense that he earned what he has now), so he needs people to validate him through this sort of title.” – Tinker_Witch444
“I actually snorted when he thought it was necessary to tell us that he got daddy’s company, like we hadn’t already guessed he got his position handed out to him just for being family.”
“Makes his insistence that he didn’t want to hire family, treats everyone equally, no special treatment, etc hypocritical. ‘I have principles: the only one who should get favors for being related to the boss is me!'”
“And in the comments, he’s pretending he didn’t get the business because he’s family. How deluded! Who is he fooling apart from himself? Did daddy make him work hard before he handed him the business? Yep, I can believe that.”
“Was OP the most qualified person for the job and it’s a coincidence he’s the owner’s son? Of course not. He inherited it because it was daddy’s business.”
“If it wasn’t obvious, YTA.” – No_regrats
Overall, most everyone in the comments admonished the OP.
But this Redditor had the right idea in making their declaration.
“YTA. Sorry. I mean YTA, SIR.” – Gibodean