Uncomfortable Huddles

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Dec 6, 2018
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#1
Hello All, I am looking for a little feedback here. I have worked for Target for three years. My store has a relatively new STL who regularly runs huddles. In his huddles he often calls out specific people and puts them on the spot when he knows they will not know the correct answer. I feel he should be more positive and use the huddles to teach versus belittling team members. This has bothered me for a long time and I feel so bad for new or younger employees. Last night I arrived a tiny bit late to huddle after helping a guest. The huddle discussion had clearly not started as other tms were still arriving and treats were being passed out. He made some usual huddle comments and asked we go around and hear from the team. Many but not all tms at this point were mentioning specific promotions in their work center. When it got to me I said I did not really have anything to add but said my name and the area I was going to be zoning that night. After all team members had spoken he asked the tms that did not speak to move to the center of the circle. He listed my name along with another middle aged woman and two minors. I then said - "oh I spoke." (they had too.) He said that since I did not report on something in my area it did not count. If he did announce this new huddle idea it was before I made it to huddle. We have regular huddles in our store and this has never been done. I then, minorly unhappily, moved to the center of the circle. He told us four since we did not report on our areas we had to sing a Christmas Carol for the other tms! We all just stood there when he further stated that it did not matter which one and we could choose the song. The young girls looked mortified. I then stated, " I do not sing in public." He then said we should pretend we were just singing in the SHOWER!!! Gosh, I was sooo uncomfortable and was slowly shaking my head no. I could feel my cheeks burning red. In my mind I was running through ideas of when and how to quit, and how to help these poor young girls if this went further. He finally relented and said instead we could just name our favorite Christmas movie. He went on to tell the group this is meant to be in good fun like the way he makes the huddles sing happy birthday to people who are not having a birthday. All this is going on while the store is extremely busy and guest are ringing call boxes all over the store. I feel he crosses the line between having good fun and making people feel ridiculed and mocked. I think this falls short of harassment because he does not single out any one particular group. I do know myself and many many other team members have come to dread our huddles because we fear we might be singled out and degraded or have to silently witness others become uncomfortable from his negative style. What do you all think? Am I overreacting? Would you follow up in any way after this, and if so to who?
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2018
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#4
What is hazing?
Hazing is any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.
 
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Joined
May 22, 2014
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#5
With all due respect, since you asked, I think you're overreacting. If you feel like he went too far, express that to him in private.
 
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Joined
Nov 29, 2018
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#7
Bad idea.
If he'll ridicule & shame TMs in a huddle, what do you think he'll do/say to a TM who calls him out privately?
At the very least, talk to HR or discuss it with him in the presence of a witness.
I would have to even disagree with you on the HR thing.

HR leaders are not your friend... not at a store level anyways...

You need to have a friend anonymously call the hotline... be as specific and descriptive as possible without anything specific enough to point to you.

And be seeking other employment. The STL is clearly immature and idiotic and the bad news is that if the store makes sales and payroll they’re not going anywhere unless they want to.
 

seasonaldude

Waiting for your kid to get out of my way in toys
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#8
With all due respect, since you asked, I think you're overreacting. If you feel like he went too far, express that to him in private.
No, what he did is borderline illegal. Employees cannot be forced to sing Christmas carols. Christmas is a religious holiday and most well known carols have explicitly religious lyrics. Any reprecussions for an employee who did not wish to sing a Christmas carol could be construed as discrimination based on religion. Even though the idiot STL relented here he never should have gone down that path. If one of the TMs did not want to participate on religious grounds because they aren't Christian or even are Christian with an objection to the commercialization of their religion, they should not be put in a position where they need to explain that to other employees or management as their religious beliefs or lack thereof are no one else's business the knowledge of which could lead some employees or managers to treat them differently.

Should any of corporate's attorneys have happened to stumble across this thread, they are now desperately trying to figure out which store this happened at so they know which STL to cuss out for his stupidity.
 
Joined
May 22, 2014
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#10
Bad idea.
If he'll ridicule & shame TMs in a huddle, what do you think he'll do/say to a TM who calls him out privately?
At the very least, talk to HR or discuss it with him in the presence of a witness.
Retaliation takes things to a whole different level. I don't want to down play OP's concerns, but the HR hotline isn't all that anonymous. Just given what's described here, I think the best first step is to talk with the STL and express your concerns. We're all adults here. Issues like these are often resolved through direct communication.
 

tholmes

Electronics TL
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
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#11
We're all adults here. Issues like these are often resolved through direct communication.
That's incredibly wishful thinking. Spot is known for ETL/STL culture that regularly strays into cliquey at best. Adults by age only, not by maturity, and based on OP's description I agree with redeye. It's not likely to go well by talking to him one on one.
 
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#12
No, what he did is borderline illegal. Employees cannot be forced to sing Christmas carols. Christmas is a religious holiday and most well known carols have explicitly religious lyrics. Any reprecussions for an employee who did not wish to sing a Christmas carol could be construed as discrimination based on religion. Even though the idiot STL relented here he never should have gone down that path. If one of the TMs did not want to participate on religious grounds because they aren't Christian or even are Christian with an objection to the commercialization of their religion, they should not be put in a position where they need to explain that to other employees or management as their religious beliefs or lack thereof are no one else's business the knowledge of which could lead some employees or managers to treat them differently.

Should any of corporate's attorneys have happened to stumble across this thread, they are now desperately trying to figure out which store this happened at so they know which STL to cuss out for his stupidity.
I think you're blowing this out of proportion.
 

LearningTree

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#13
I disagree with other comments saying HR is not your friend. Hotline is definitely an option and if want to remain anonymous then go for it. But if anonymity is not an issue for you, then just go talk to your ETL-HR. Tbh based on your description it doesn't sound like your STL was being malicious. I think it's just bad luck he singled out TMs that would be uncomfortable with public singing. However it is good feedback for him that his actions made TMs uncomfortable.
 

tholmes

Electronics TL
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
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#14
I think you're blowing this out of proportion.
Perhaps on one level, but remember that the legal system we live in is known for blowing things out of proportion. Spot is no stranger in covering their butts against things like this (even when they appear small to an ETL). If nothing else, this STL's behavior shows a problem with store culture and morale if this is how they choose to handle participation at huddles or similar.
 
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#15
That's incredibly wishful thinking. Spot is known for ETL/STL culture that regularly strays into cliquey at best. Adults by age only, not by maturity, and based on OP's description I agree with redeye. It's not likely to go well by talking to him one on one.
But at least you can say you tried. You're much better off communicating up your chain of command to reach a resolution on this one than to go right over your STL. I've learned that you can gain a great amount of respect from those around you when you handle conflict directly and communicate with someone you disagree with rather than go over their head. But that's just my advice.
 
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Black Sheep 214

Kiss no butts, give no fox
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#16
You need to have a friend anonymously call the hotline... be as specific and descriptive as possible without anything specific enough to point to you.
^This. I was going to say hotline anonymously, but this is even better. HR is not your friend, and an STL so immature as yours would probably not take criticism well, or at all, without retaliation. No one should be embarrassed at work, and especially not at a mandatory huddle by the supposed ‘leadership’.
 

LearningTree

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#17
But at least you can say you tried. You're much better off communicating up your chain of command to reach a resolution on this one than to go right over your STL. I've learned that you can gain a great amount of respect from those around you when you handle conflict directly and communicate with someone you disagree with rather than go over their head. But that's just my advice.
I second this whole-heartedly. No matter how cliquey the ETLs/STLs got, they had a much better view of TMs that talked to store management first instead of going directly to the hotline. In my personal opinion, going to the hotline first is most likely to backfire. It sounds like your STL is trying to create a culture where you guys have a space to loosen up and joke around a bit. That's a lot more than my STL ever did. Going directly to the hotline instead of trying to resolve it in-store is going to stop that right in its tracks.
 
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#18
I disagree with other comments saying HR is not your friend. Hotline is definitely an option and if want to remain anonymous then go for it. But if anonymity is not an issue for you, then just go talk to your ETL-HR. Tbh based on your description it doesn't sound like your STL was being malicious. I think it's just bad luck he singled out TMs that would be uncomfortable with public singing. However it is good feedback for him that his actions made TMs uncomfortable.
You’re wrong. HR is not your friend. HR primarily exists to make sure the company doesn’t get sued.

Everything you tell HR is going back to the STL unfiltered and you’ve given away anonymity. Given that it’s already established that the STL is a bully and an idiot, what do you think the response will be regardless of the source of feedback?

The hotline is going directly to the STL also but you have a good shot at staying anonymous if you’re cautious and borderline paranoid with steps taken to remain as such.

Even if you went to the DTL all they’re going to do is report it to the STL.

That STL is not an actual adult regardless of age and you need to seek other employment. They’re not going to change.

OP, I am giving you the best advice in this thread.
 

seasonaldude

Waiting for your kid to get out of my way in toys
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#19
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#20
Retaliation takes things to a whole different level. I don't want to down play OP's concerns, but the HR hotline isn't all that anonymous. Just given what's described here, I think the best first step is to talk with the STL and express your concerns. We're all adults here. Issues like these are often resolved through direct communication.
The hotline is completely anonymous, if you choose that option. You'll be asked what store number and the location and whether you wish to remain anonymous. The company you call is not target-owned.
If you do choose to report it, the stl can only guess it was one of the people at the huddle. For example, say "I was at huddle on this day and the stl called out these people and made them do this thing and i felt he was embarrassing or humilating them" would be non specific enough, with whatever details are important included.
 
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#21
HR exists to protect the company, not you.

For those people who think this action was cute, you're wrong.

If I read the post correctly, were all who were directed to the middle all female? And the STL is a male? I want to know this before I say anything further.
 
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#22
No, I'm not. You need to review Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That you are an executive in a business and do not know this is frankly concerning. It is very basic employment law stuff. You can give yourself a basic review here: Religious Discrimination - https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/religion.cfm
Wayyy out of proportion. If I were 16, I'd probably share your diatribe. But at some point, most of us realize life is filled with nuance and not everything that hurts our feelings is worth a lawsuit.

This reminds me of the time I was like 10 and Chuck E Cheese was giving out tokens for kids that had all As on their report cards. Well being the B student I was, the kid behind the counter joked with his female co-worker and said something like 'you gotta work on your grades.' I swore up and down I was going to sue them. But of course, I was only 10.
 
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LearningTree

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#23
You’re wrong. HR is not your friend. HR primarily exists to make sure the company doesn’t get sued.

Everything you tell HR is going back to the STL unfiltered and you’ve given away anonymity. Given that it’s already established that the STL is a bully and an idiot, what do you think the response will be regardless of the source of feedback?

The hotline is going directly to the STL also but you have a good shot at staying anonymous if you’re cautious and borderline paranoid with steps taken to remain as such.

Even if you went to the DTL all they’re going to do is report it to the STL.

That STL is not an actual adult regardless of age and you need to seek other employment. They’re not going to change.

OP, I am giving you the best advice in this thread.
Look I understand this site is mostly for TMs and not leadership and with that comes a lot of leadership-bashing. With that I don't jump at every opportunity to defend upper level management. I understand most of you come on here to complain and that's fine. However, everyone should take any ETL/STL-bashing with a grain of salt. I don't appreciate you telling me I'm wrong. It's fine if you disagree but in situations like this there's more than one solution and only OP can make the decision about which would work best. I'm just here to offer my opinion.

In most situations and with most complaints, the ETL-HR's first thought is not "Is this going to get us sued" but rather "Are we going to lose this TM/Do we want to retain this TM". HRBP's primary concern is liability in the case of a lawsuit. I don't think many of y'all realize this but with that kind of thinking even the HRBP is going to side with the TM 99% of the time.

Now, OP, if your HR is doing their job correctly, your conversations with them will be confidential. They will share names if they feel it will help resolve the situations. If you really don't want them to, let them know you want to remain anonymous. You have every right to feel uncomfortable and offended. I'm not trying to downplay your feelings or the affects the STL's actions had. He should definitely be held responsible. However, it's not conducive to a positive work environment for anyone to immediately call the hotline and start talking lawsuits without first trying to resolve the situation. Especially, in this situation where it does not seem the STL did anything maliciously.
 
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#24
Look I understand this site is mostly for TMs and not leadership and with that comes a lot of leadership-bashing. With that I don't jump at every opportunity to defend upper level management. I understand most of you come on here to complain and that's fine. However, everyone should take any ETL/STL-bashing with a grain of salt. I don't appreciate you telling me I'm wrong. It's fine if you disagree but in situations like this there's more than one solution and only OP can make the decision about which would work best. I'm just here to offer my opinion.

In most situations and with most complaints, the ETL-HR's first thought is not "Is this going to get us sued" but rather "Are we going to lose this TM/Do we want to retain this TM". HRBP's primary concern is liability in the case of a lawsuit. I don't think many of y'all realize this but with that kind of thinking even the HRBP is going to side with the TM 99% of the time.

Now, OP, if your HR is doing their job correctly, your conversations with them will be confidential. They will share names if they feel it will help resolve the situations. If you really don't want them to, let them know you want to remain anonymous. You have every right to feel uncomfortable and offended. I'm not trying to downplay your feelings or the affects the STL's actions had. He should definitely be held responsible. However, it's not conducive to a positive work environment for anyone to immediately call the hotline and start talking lawsuits without first trying to resolve the situation. Especially, in this situation where it does not seem the STL did anything maliciously.
I was an ETL Logistics when I quit at an 80 million a year store and I was with Target for 10 years. I know what I’m talking about. I saw it with too many STLs and ETL HRs... more than I can remember.

I don’t care that you don’t appreciate it. You’re wrong and you’re giving bullshit advice about asking the HR to remain anonymous and them magically complying. LMFAO. Clueless.

I’m trying to give the OP actual advice to not step in shit at work before being in a safe landing spot, unlike yourself.
 
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LearningTree

Guest Experience
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485
#25
I was an ETL Logistics when I quit at an 80 million a year store and I was with Target for 10 years. I know what I’m talking about. I saw it with too many STLs and ETL HRs... more than I can remember.

I don’t care that you don’t appreciate it. You’re wrong and you’re giving bullshit advice about asking the HR to remain anonymous and them magically complying. LMFAO. Clueless.

I’m trying to give the OP actual advice to not step in shit at work before being in a safe landing spot, unlike yourself.
Alright it's unfortunate you had such a terrible experience. We'll just agree to disagree.
 
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