Boss giving co-worker a hard time about missing work - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 13 Old 10-26-2006, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh, where to being. A little background - my coworker (it's not me, really!) has had to miss a few days of work because her 3-year-old son was sick. It's maybe 1-2 days ever couple of weeks. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Kids get sick, you know? It seems to go in spurts, and right now is one of those "spurts". She only works 4 days a week so when she can, she'll come in on her off day to make up time. Her husband doesn't have paid time off so if he misses a day it's without pay, and lots of times he's out in the field so he can't even get the day off, so 99% of the time she's the one that has to miss work to take care of her son. She has no family in town at all.

Our boss has just recently really gotten on her case about missing work. Our boss is insisting on a meeting with her next week to discuss it. She's also making my coworker see one of the psychologists on staff (we work at a hospital) to discuss her support network (what, like the psychologist will take off work to take care of the sick son, or make one of the members of the new-found support network take care of him when he's sick?). Our boss has even gone as far as telling her to tell daycare to just give him some Tylenol to get the fever down and just keep him there : This last time he had a 102 fever and one of the other kids had just been diagnosed with strep! And our boss has 2 kids that were sick ALL THE TIME when they were kids! But that was back when she was just a lowly employee, not a supervisor. The job we do isn't something where you need to find someone to cover for you if you miss work, either, the work will just sit there until it gets done. Her work schedule has no effect on anyone else in the department.

I guess I'm just venting about this, I feel so bad for my coworker! I thought she was covered under FMLA but when I went to the DOL website it looks like that doesn't apply in her case. Our boss used to be so nice back when she was just "one of us" (to most of us, anyway, she and this coworker have always been at odds, which I think heavily plays into this situation), but since she's become a supervisor she's let the responsibility go to her head.

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#2 of 13 Old 10-26-2006, 05:40 PM
 
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You know, I realize that some people take advantage and think they should be give everything, just because they have kids. Before I had kids, it was assumed that I would work all holidays, etc, because "well, YOU don't have kids". Annoyed the heck out of me.

But, it seems like your co-worker is trying to make up for her time she takes off and is not taking advantage. There has got to be something she can do about this.

If more companies were considerate of their employees, childed or not, things would be a lot better and they would see that they have more productive employees.

If she gets fired, hopefully there is some legal remedy for it. This supervisor should not be able to treat employees badly and get away with it.
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#3 of 13 Old 10-26-2006, 07:10 PM
 
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You know, I realize that some people take advantage and think they should be give everything, just because they have kids.
I think it's more often the case that employers expect that your family shouldn't matter... since after all, work should take priority over, well, everything.

I'm not sure where this attitude comes from, but it's extremely prevalent in the workplace.

If someone has a vacation day scheduled, even if they have something scheduled specifically with family or friends (something they would miss out on if they couldn't go on vacation), if something comes up at work it just seems to be expected that the vacation day will get cancelled. I just don't understand this outlook at all. Is doing inventory on a certain day more important than spending time with a child?

I've seen this happen so many times in the workplace and it really peeves me.

I hope your coworker finds a resolution to this... it sounds like the supervisor does not value or respect her. Maybe she should look around, eh?

Sorry this is happening, but I can totally relate to your frustration... even if it's not happening to you, it's still unfair! And next time, it could be US it's happening to!
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#4 of 13 Old 10-26-2006, 10:06 PM
 
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I get so pissed off when I read something like this. I work for a mental health agency and I have had comments thrown my way when dd is sick.: I think your friend needs to document everything this boss person says. Ethically, I think the psychologist would be crossing boundaries for having such a discussion with a co-worker whether they directly work together or not. And besides, who cares if she has a support network of one or twenty.... when kids are sick, they need/want their mom.

Kim, proud CPS mom to Marnie and my 4 legged kids, Jess, Zander, Oliver, Stumpy and Eddie.
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#5 of 13 Old 10-27-2006, 07:47 AM
 
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Our boss... (is) also making my coworker see one of the psychologists on staff (we work at a hospital) to discuss her support network...
This is sending big red flags my way... I can't quite put my finger on it, but this does NOT seem right. It seems that there is a risk the psychologist could make a mountain out of a molehill here.

Is this even legal?
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#6 of 13 Old 10-27-2006, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is sending big red flags my way... I can't quite put my finger on it, but this does NOT seem right. It seems that there is a risk the psychologist could make a mountain out of a molehill here.

Is this even legal?

Boss says it is (she says she also has Human Resources on her side), we have something called the Employee Assistance Program where we can have 3 hours of mental health visits for free, and she's saying this is a supervisor-requested visit.

Single mom to 3 boys
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#7 of 13 Old 10-27-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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A couple of things...if her child is getting sick in the daycare environment a lot (let's face it, daycare is germy and if your kid catches things easily...), perhaps they would be better off finding an in-home provider who cares for fewer children?

Also, there is sick-child care available in some places.

Finally, has she exceeded her paid sick days? Because you shouldn't be penalized for using your benefits!

She would be wise to talk to a lawyer about this issue.

breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!

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#8 of 13 Old 10-28-2006, 06:30 AM
 
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I can see it from both sides, to be honest.

From the employers perspective, missing 1-2 days every couple of week is a lot! I would be annoyed if my co-worker was missing that many days, let alone an employee of mine. Yes, kids get sick and that's understandable, but it's also a sign that this mother needs to also find alternate childcare.

From the mother's perspective, though, she can't send her child to daycare if he's sick. I totally get that. For the days her son is really sick, someone does need to stay home with him. But if it's gotten to the point where her job is in jeopardy, then I think it would be more worth it for her husband to take time off without pay when he can.

Perhaps she could network with moms in her area and see about any SAHMs who wouldn't mind being "backup" and watch a mildly ill child. If the price is right, there may be someone willing.

I don't like the idea of her boss requesting visits with a psychologist -- what exactly is that supposed to achieve? EAPs typically have more to them than just counseling sessions. I know mind also provides assistance in finding childcare, for one. . .maybe this is what she really needs.

As far as her using her paid time for these sick days, I'm of two finds. Firstly, if she has the time acrued, she should be able to take it. However, if she's always calling in and not scheduling her time off in advance (which I imagine happens most of the time) then that can get old too. It just comes to the point where there are too many unscheduled absenses that it's affecting production of the department.

I really wish her luck. Finding quality childcare, especially when your child is sick, is incredibly hard.

Mama to Boy (2) and Girl (5)
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#9 of 13 Old 10-30-2006, 07:04 PM
 
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This makes me appreciate my job more. Even though its not perfect, a sick child is considered a reason to not be at work ~ no questions asked. I really feel bad for those who don't get the same consideration in their own workplace.

As far as the psychologist visit, maybe there is more going on that you are privy to and that is the reason for the requested visit?

Maggie
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#10 of 13 Old 10-30-2006, 09:49 PM
 
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If an employee misses a lot of work due to illness, that is certainly one of the reasons that the employee assistance program therapist would get called.

The supervisor knows why she's missing the work, but probably didn't mention that to the therapist.
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#11 of 13 Old 10-30-2006, 11:15 PM
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Maybe your co-worker could offer to be available to work from home on days she has to stay out of the office b/c her child is sick. If you don't need someone to cover, it seems like the work is probably of a nature conducive to taking home.

Even just availability for telephone and email through the day would probably help, from the boss's perspective.
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#12 of 13 Old 11-01-2006, 02:23 PM
 
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This makes me appreciate my job more. Even though its not perfect, a sick child is considered a reason to not be at work ~ no questions asked. I really feel bad for those who don't get the same consideration in their own workplace.


My last boss was alot like this boss you are venting about. I used my paid time off to be with my sick DS. I tried using sick childcare for him once and all he did was fret the whole time I was gone. I couldn't imagine anything worse than being fretful about your mom leaving AND being miserably sick. I won't be doing that again. Fortunately my DS hasn't been as sick as he was that first year at daycare. It does get better for most kids so its only temporary. I lost so much respect for my old boss with the way he acted over this issue. I left as soon as I found a decent job. He got demoted shortly thereafter because upper management finally realized that he was running people off with his attitude. My new workplace is very flexible and very laid back about the sick kids issue. I feel very fortunate.

Kim
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#13 of 13 Old 11-01-2006, 08:11 PM
 
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Oh, I feel for you co-worker. Ds1 was sick frequently his 2nd year of life and I was so thankful to have an understanding boss and co-workers. Your boss probably doesn't realize that she hates calling in as much as your supervisor hates to get that call.

I always felt bad about calling in, but not because anyone had a problem with it - I just felt like I wasn't holding up my end of the bargain, YKWIM? It speaks volumes that your co-worker is willing to come in on days off. And, it's too bad your supervisor can't see that this really is for the short-term. Her kids won't be little forever.

I hope that your co-worker can talk to her boss about this and work something out. It's hard enough to be a parent without a support system (been there) and I definitely wasn't willing to leave my sick child somewhere else - I always thought he needed me.

Steph, wife to C, mama to O :, E , and I :.
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