Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My nephew “Ken” is 29 years old, a high-school graduate and still lives at home with his mother — along with his pit bull that his mother reluctantly takes care of. Ken periodically works as a carpenter and has racked up a lot of debt. He is also an alcoholic.
My sister is single and helps him financially but does not have the money to continue. Ken broke his hip last year while riding with a friend who was drunk. He recovered but is unable to climb ladders. His attorney told him not to work since they are suing the insurance company. Now Ken mows my mother’s lawn or does odd jobs for a little spending cash. He is not happy, and my sister is miserable. She claims she feels too guilty to kick him out, and his grandmother has already offered to let him move in with her if necessary. Is there any hope for this man? — Concerned Aunt
Dear Aunt: When Mom and Grandma get tired of supporting a grown man, they will cut him loose. That will provide the incentive for him to grow up, although the longer they wait the harder it will be for Ken. We know you find this situation frustrating, but please stay out of it. These are not your choices to make.
Dear Annie: Four years ago, my sister “Karen” moved to our area to assist our ailing mother, who died a year later. Karen stayed, and I helped get her a job working with me. She has no car or driver’s license, so for four years, I’ve been taking her to and from work and driving her around to do her errands. I’ve also had to change plans to accommodate her.
I am tired of doing this. She needs to get her license back. She lost it over 10 years ago because of DUIs. I have hinted to her that she needs her own transportation, but it hasn’t sunk in. What can I do? Am I unreasonable to not want to go through another year of being her chauffeur? — Unwilling Driver
Dear Driver: You are not being unreasonable, but Karen doesn’t want to change her convenient set-up. She also may be worried that she won’t be able to get her license after all these years. (We trust she no longer drinks and drives.) Stop hinting. Tell your sister you can no longer drive her everywhere, and offer to help her work on the driver’s test. Give her two months to apply for a new license, and then hand her the bus schedule and say she’s on her own. If she sees that you mean it, she will work on other forms of transportation.
Dear Annie: My blood pressure rose after reading your response to “New York Employee,” whose elderly boss berates the staff.
The federal government has imposed rules and regulations for companies. The boss has created a hostile work environment at the company using intimidation tactics. The employees can file charges with the EEOC and labor board. It didn’t sound like there was a Human Resources Department (which also should be made aware of the situation, as it is their legal responsibility to correct it).
Illegal practices are not tolerated in a work environment. Employees have rights. Your advice, in my opinion, was essentially to ignore the problem, but each employee, by not doing anything, is an enabler to a boss who is breaking workplace laws. Please correct your position. — Research Assistant in Buffalo, N.Y.
Dear Buffalo: You have stated a common misperception (which we, too, have made). It is illegal for a boss to create a hostile work environment based on someone’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or age. It does not protect employees from a boss who is an equal-opportunity pain in the behind. Sorry.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.10.09