Q&A: How should I deal with a veterinary boss that shouts and curses at me? - Firstline
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Q&A: How should I deal with a veterinary boss that shouts and curses at me?
No team member should have to deal with that verbal abuse. It's time to take the veterinarian aside.


FIRSTLINE

The veterinarian shouts and recently cursed at me when I was discharging a patient. How can I deal with this situation until I find another job?
—EMOTIONALLY BRUISED


Shawn McVey, MA, MSW
DEAR BRUISED:
First of all, no one should have to put up with verbal abuse of any kind at home or in the workplace. If you're actively looking for another job, I would pull the doctor aside and tell him that you expect to be treated with respect and courtesy for the remainder of your employment at the practice. If your boss laughs it off or doesn't seem to care, say something like, "If you continue to disrespect me then I will hire an attorney to pursue a workplace harassment suit." If that doesn't motivate him to straighten up, I don't know what will.

Alternatively, if you would like to continue working at the practice—or have no choice but to stay—I would recommend taking the conversation in a different direction. Bring the issue to your boss's attention in a stern yet professional way. Let him know how serious it is—maybe he didn't realize how often he lost his temper or how much it hurt you and his practice. Set up a private meeting time with your boss and start out by saying something like, "I really want to work here but I cannot tolerate being verbally or emotionally abused. Please stop cursing at me and insulting me in front of clients." Let your boss know this is the last time you're going to have this conversation with him. Be sure to tell him point-blank: "If you continue to verbally abuse me, I will have no choice but to leave the practice and protect myself." —SHAWN

Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics editorial advisory boards and is CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Phoenix. For videos and articles containing more of McVey's tips and tricks on issues relating to veterinary personnel management, conflict, and communication, visit http://dvm360.com/mcvey/.

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