General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Does this scenario apply to the work place, and does my employer have any right to interfere with this situation?

Asked by tinyfaery (36006 points ) April 24th, 2009

This is what happened: A co-worker (empl 1) got into an accident. Another employee (empl 2), who is also a friend of empl 1, went to pick her up at the hospital. He is also going to take her home, and set her up at her house, and then come to work.

Might I add that the accident happened last night, and empl 2 decided to do all of this today instead of coming to work on time.

The office manager is not happy. She is going around to each employee and saying that this is unacceptable because both employees work here and they should be responsible and professional about their jobs. Empl 1 is out because of the accident, which is fine (said the office manager), but now empl 2 is going to miss half the day. The office manager also noted that had the accident happened today, instead of last night, this issue would be more understandable. Empl 1 had all night to find a friend or family member to help her out, but instead she chose to call empl 2 today to help her out.

Is my employer stepping out of bounds on this? Do they have any right to dictate why an employee chooses to be late or not come in? He could have told the office manager that he had car trouble and I don’t think it would have been an issue.

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16 Answers

TaoSan's avatar

Supervisors are human too. I would certainly not look fondly at the situation.

On the other hand, if my office manager would run around yapping like that about individual employees I’d certainly take her on a shorter leash.

Rule of thumb, A had to help B with XYZ is always discretionary. Whilst I personally wouldn’t kick up a fuss, I can see how some would.

tinyfaery's avatar

@TaoSan It’s not really gossip, it’s more of a memo, without the paper. She wants to let us know that she does not think that this behavior is acceptable.

elijah's avatar

I guess it matters if she had anyone else to call or not. If she could of asked someone else, she should of. Does emp2 make a lot of excuses for taking time off or is this a rare happening? I don’t really see why it’s such a big deal if it’s only a half day and it doesn’t happen very often. Your office manager is being very unproffesional to talk about employees with other employees. It’s really no one elses business why someone isn’t at work. It should be discussed with the offending employees.
Maybe your office manager should take a second to be thankful the girl wasn’t killed.
The bottom line is the business needs to be run, and in an emergency situation everyone can pull together and take on a little more work for a few hours. Hopefully they would do the same for you if you ever need help.

TaoSan's avatar

@tinyfaery

Yeah, it pretty much seems like a “case of bad atmosphere”.

From the human side, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. From the legal side, I can only speak for the State of Nevada, and here this absence could be reprimanded as being unauthorized, as only immediate family is a “valid” reason to be absent without sufficient advance notice.

Maybe they should just stick their heads together and talk it out. But then, your office manager is still rather unprofessional imho. Praise in public, criticize in private, that’s a very basic rule of doing good business.

Judi's avatar

@tinyfaery ; The office manager is not wrong for setting a policy that states that helping out fellow employees is not considered “family leave” and should be done only outside of scheduled work hours, but she IS wrong for using this circumstance as an example and singling specific employees out. The correct thing to do would be to, in writing, clarify office policy and deal with the two employees privately. Lurve to Tao. I didn’t read your post before I posted. We seem to be in sync today, wanna go for a drive? ~

Darwin's avatar

What Judi says.

Why didn’t employee 2 simply just request leave citing a private emergency?

RedPowerLady's avatar

You know what I think this is perfectly acceptable. I don’t know employee 1 well. But I do know that some people cannot trust their families to take care of them. Perhaps employee 1 feels more safe having employee 2 take care of her. I don’t see a problem with it one bit. It is empathy and caring for another human. And we know that it is legitamite and that employee 2 isn’t just using this as an excuse to get off work. In fact I think it is quite ridiculous for the supervisor to think that he/she has the right to dictate who employee 1 can call in case of an emergency. Now I do understand it sux having two employees out but such is life. I think the office manager needs to take a “chill pill”. Especially if employee 2 is using his/her own sick time/vacation time which the employer cannot legally dictate how that person uses their time off. Also if the employer grants the time off even without sick leave and such they have no say on how that time off is used. So legally I believe it is stepping outside of bounds. I also believe it is so morally as well.

Oh and I also want to note that it is silly to say that after someone has been in an accident they should be able to call someone up in the few hours before the next day. Even psychologically speaking. If it happened a week ago okay then yes. But the “it happened last night” argument seems quite silly to me.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@TaoSan but if the employer grants the time off (with or without advance notice) they have no more legal sayso in the matter. They could have legally said no, you are right about that. But after they say yes then they have no say on how employee two uses that time.

I suppose we don’t know if the employer said “yes” or “no”.

tinyfaery's avatar

Empl 2 did not come in and leave, he called in before shift and told us he would be late because of empl 1. I think if he had said nothing it wouldn’t even have been an issue.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@tinyfaery Did he talk to the employer directly or leave a message? If he talked to the employer directly then he must have had it “okayed” meaning the employer should just move on. It’s none of his/her business after they say “okay”. Now if the employer said “we’ll have to talk about this when you come in…” Yikes that’s another thing.

TaoSan's avatar

@Judi

Phroooom Phrooom! Revving it…

hug_of_war's avatar

I don’t think it’s okay. You make a commitment to work, I expect you to be there. Surely employee 2 could have found someoone else get employee 1 setttled. Surely employee 1 has some other friends besides employee 2.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@hug_of_war So if your best friend went to the hospital after a horrible car accident you wouldn’t take half a day off work to care for them?? I say friends and family over work anytime. Guess we have different world outlooks.

tinyfaery's avatar

Empl 2 called in, however, both of the attorneys and the office manager were out of the office this morning, so he basically left a message with another employee.

@hug This was the point the office manager was trying to make. She thinks that empl 1 could have called someone else, and empl 2 should not have agreed to pick her up, etc.

I understand the office manager’s point. Plus, today was payroll day, so it was a big inconvenience for her. And since the attorneys were out of the office this morning, there was extra stuff to do. What gives me pause is the fact that had empl 2 just called-in and said he had car trouble, for instance, there wouldn’t have been an issue (which I mentioned before).

Just for the record, I am empl 1’s back-up, meaning I have to do her job when she is out. My day was sooo busy, and I came home with a giant headache, but I am not upset at empl 1 at all. She backs me up when I am gone. If I were the office manager I would have just let it go. We are a really small office, and being able to work together and have good rapport is important.

Darwin's avatar

No one can demand that employees not also be friends, and no one can insist that employees not help their friends.

However, an employee can make things flow a bit more smoothly by not allowing friendship to impact job performance. In this case this would mean calling in and saying “I have a personal emergency and must take the morning off. Please prepare a leave slip that I will sign as soon as I am back in the office.” There is no need to explain in detail anything more than necessary for the office manager to determine which sort of leave should be applied, sick leave or vacation leave.

With that said, the office manager is behaving unprofessionally also. Yes, it made things more difficult at work to have two employees out, but she should have refrained from saying anything to the rest of the office and simply have spoken to employee number two about how to handle things next time.

filmfann's avatar

Tell your boss that the employees are bonding. That can’t be good for business…

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