DEAR ABBY: I have an attractive friend who was bypassed for a front-office promotion. "Miranda" is pleasant, clean, efficient, energetic and had the same qualifications as the individual who was promoted. A management team member confided that the reason for Miranda's lack of advancement "might" be due to the numerous tattoos - difficult to cover - on her arms and wrists, which the manager said isn't the image the business wants to convey.
Is this discrimination? I think it's unfair because Miranda is a good worker. She keeps asking me if I have any ideas why she was bypassed. Should I tell her? I don't want to violate the manager's faith in my confidentiality, even though I will be retiring soon.
- Loyal Friend in Massachusetts
DEAR LOYAL FRIEND: Your friend's obvious tattoos prevent her from presenting the corporate image your employer prefers be conveyed to clients who visit the front office. To my knowledge, people with tattoos are not members of a protected class, which would put an employer at risk for a discrimination suit.
Because Miranda continues to ask why she wasn't promoted, and you have nothing to lose by telling her what you were told, I think you should level with her. She might prefer to work at a company where her chances for advancement aren't stymied.
DEAR ABBY: I have two children who are not yet old enough for school. My mother-in-law watches them for free a few times a week. She has been "trying" to quit smoking for the last couple of years.
Nine out of 10 times when I take my children to her, she asks me to bring her a pack of cigarettes. I feel obligated to do it because she watches my children for free.
I know I'm not doing her any favors, and I have asked others how I should handle this. They say I should make excuses like, "I don't have any money with me," or, "I forgot to get them." I figure there's only a few more years before she won't have to watch my kids, so after that, I'll never feel obligated to bring her smokes again. Any advice?
- Smoked Out in Wisconsin
DEAR SMOKED OUT: Yes. When you are done reading this, go online and see what the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association have to say about the effects of secondhand smoke on children. Then, rather than lie to your mother-in-law, the next time she asks you to bring her a pack when you drop off the kids, summon the courage to tell her no because it isn't healthy for your children.