My boss wants to know my ethnicity

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I’m a senior manager at a large global company. I recently had my appraisal and shortly after getting feedback that “I needed to be a more vocal leader” my interim manager (now former boss) asked me if I was Hawaiian (I’m half Asian). I interpreted him to be saying that my style as a leader was due to my ethnicity, which I clearly can’t change.

I’m considering filing a complaint with HR. I don’t think questions about your ethnic background should come up in a performance appraisal. I no longer report to this person but he is a peer of my new boss and I fear I will be labeled a trouble maker and cast aside if I complain. I also fear that this person will just continue to be insensitive to others and feel obligated to do something about it.

Any advice Evil HR Lady?

To read the answer, click here: My boss wants to know my ethnicity

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2 thoughts on “My boss wants to know my ethnicity

  1. Whenever someone asks what my ethnic background is I always answer truthfully – i’m a mutt.

    German, English, French, native American, and a wee bit of Scots blood – mostly a European mutt then I guess; but an American bred and raised mutt!

  2. I’ve been in situations like this too, but I think it’s important to really evaluate whether that was the purpose of the question or not. Sometimes people just ask odd questions at odd times. I might sound naive saying this, but the person asking the question might have meant nothing by it. I would be hesitant to file a formal complaint with HR over something like this, at least until I found out how the review turned out.

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