New employee wants to be addressed formally; man says, ‘She is three levels below me.’

Source: Reddit

I have been with a company for six years now. We are very informal with each other and have a fairly laid back culture. The company president is Dave, my boss is Lou, I tell employees who call me Mr. Smith (fake name) that my name is Dennis and that there is no need for formality.

We recently hired a new employee. The fake name I will give her for this post is Ginny Potter. In coming on board with us, Ginny signed all of her e-mails Ms. Potter.

When she answers the phone it’s, “Good afternoon, this is Ms. Potter speaking.”

When she calls me, it’s, “Good Morning, Dennis, this is Ms. Potter.”

And my response is always, “Good morning, Ginny, how can I help you?”

If I send an email to Ginny, the response is signed by Ms. Potter. Emphasis hers.

She is three levels below me in a different line of report in terms of company hierarchy. So her supervisor’s boss reports to someone on the same level as me, if that makes sense.

It got back to me that she thinks I’m disrespectful for not calling her Ms. Potter when I speak to her. When I spoke to others about it, most state that they just ignore it, don’t use a name to address her, respond to her queries, and let her call herself what she wants. My boss thinks it’s idiotic and that she’s not at any level within the company to demand that.

When I told my wife, she replied that it’s obviously a button for this woman and I’m being an AH by antagonizing her. My counterpoint to this is that nobody in the company gets addressed formally and if I don’t call my boss or his boss by anything but their first names, I’m not going to formally address another employee several layers down the hierarchy. Am I Wrong?

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