Problems with a co-worker

I’m having some problems with a co-worker of mine and I’m not too sure what I should do about it. I thought I’d put it up here to get some advice from some good catholics outside of the situation.

There is a person like this in every workplace, I know. She calls in sick at least once a week, or goes home early sick. She has a zillion health problems (all related to a very poor life style), so she has a note from her doctor stating that she MUST have a ten minute break every two hours, no matter how busy we are. (We are cashiers in a super market) When she goes away for her ten minute breaks, she’s gone for at least fifteen minutes, sometimes as long as twenty. The supervisors never seem to notice. This part of her work ethic doesn’t affect me that much, except I have to work faster to pick up the slack while she’s standing outside talking to everyone (on the clock, I might add). The problem comes at lunch break time. She takes an inordinate amount of time putting her things away before lunch and ends up clocking out ten minute late. Then, when she comes back, she once again takes an inordinate amount of time getting ready to come back and by the time she relieves me for my break, it’s 25 minutes later than it should be.

We got into a little “tizzy” over it the other day because I had come in at 8 and didn’t get lunch until 1 and my hands were trembling because I was so hungry. I told her that she needed to hurry up because other people needed their breaks. My husband had been sitting out in the 85 degree heat for the last half an hour waiting for me and he actually said something to her also. She decided to wait until I returned from break to chew me out over him coming up to her (while I was waiting on a customer). I simply ignored her because I felt that this wasn’t a conversation to have in front of customers.

This is NOT the first time something like this has happened. It’s a regular thing. It doesn’t always happen to me because she’s not always my relief, but I’ve seen it happen to other people as well.

Should I say anything to my boss about it? It’s really starting to get to me. I’ve been working with her for two years and everyone just seems to let her lazy behavior slip by. A couple of people have told me to just mind my own business and that it’s not my job to police the other employees. However, the company I work for is strictly owned by its employees, so when I see people wasting time (which equals money), I feel like it is my “business”.

So what’s the Christian thing to do? Just turn the other cheek? Just pretend like nothing’s wrong like I’ve been doing for the last two years? Or is there a “friendly” way to handle the situation. I don’t want her fired, I just want her to follow the rules that the rest of us have to adhear to.

No, it is not wrong of you to say something and to expect her to adhere to company policies. Schedule a time to meet with your boss, lay out the facts (not the emotions) and ask your boss what he/she plans to do about the abuse of breaks, lunches, and other employees.

If your boss doesn’t do anything, you have your answer-- a boss with no backbone. You then need to find another job because if the boss won’t deal with her misbehavior (and trust me, she knows EXACTLY what she’s doing) then the situation will not change.

I agree with 1ke’s response…

Definitely approach the boss on the subject, and it he doesn’t do anything then you have a pretty lousy boss.

There are enough grocery stores in FL to find another job fairly quickly… or if it’s a chain you can ask for a transfer to another store…
I wouldn’t put up with that kind of behavior if you have the ability to find another equal job fairly quickly.

Talk to your boss just as 1ke said. The Christian thing to do is to NOT let her continue to SIN. Many people don’t understand that stealing time from your employer is a SIN. We are required to give an honest days’ work for an honest days’ pay. Taking excessive breaks is theft, plain and simple.

Also just because her doctor gives her an excuse for the break doesn’t mean it’s fair to other hard working employees to be affected by that. Ask your boss to schedule more help if she is going to continue to delay your scheduled breaks. I’m sure he/she knows there are labor laws concerning scheduled breaks.

Sue, if this person is causing you to take your lunch breaks later than normal, I would definately speak to your boss about it. Some people think the world revolves around them:shrug: ! If everyone that had a problem with this person went to the boss, chances of resolving this would be most likely favorable to you & the other employees who show up to actually work!

so do you think it would maybe be a good idea to gath up a couple of people and go together? I don’t want it to seem like I’m ganging up on someone, or stirring up gossip. gossip is a weak spot for me, so I am trying to avoid doing it at work. (it’s SO hard). How can I approach some of my co-workers about getting together without falling into gossib or b----ing session? any advice?

I can sooooo relate!!! I don’t know if saying something will actually get anything done considering the circumstances. It could make you look like a whiner if you don’t address it properly. Maybe start out talking nice to the woman first, “I know you need to take a break, but do you think you could give me about 5 minutes to use the restroom before you go?” or “What time will you be back from lunch, I would like to tell dh what time I will be going so we can go together” Something like those, very non threatening statements/questions. If that doesn’t work, possibly talk to your boss like this: “Would it be possible for me and XXXX to switch lunch times?” and when he asks why, “Well, I really need to watch my blood sugar and eat a bit sooner than I have been.” If you feel you can talk to your boss pretty openly you can add in about feeling bad that you make XXXX feel uncomfortable because you feel the need to ask her to hurry when coming back from her lunch so you can eat.

I know how resentments build when you have one co-worker that takes advantage of everyone. I have one of those where I work too. Only thing is my boss is often out of town and doesn’t see alot of what she does. If I talk to boss about it… I am a whiner, but if I don’t I am a doormat. Part of the problem I have is that she really believes she is second in command around here…which is funny when you consider that I am the Director of Information technology, other co-workers are the Head Chemist and the President. How an office manager outranks us is really beyond me. We had a blow-out last summer due to all the stuff she pulls. It got ugly and she went running to the CEO and told him I was being “mean” to her because I had money problems… Yeah…nice!!! So he sat down with me and I told him about the things she was doing… leaving work to run her daughter to work, leaving early, taking hour and a half lunches, calling in sick when he was out of town, doctor appointments on the clock, hair and nail appointments on the clock…the list goes on and on… Bottom line… he told me to pray about it, specifically to pray for her (don’t ya just love a Catholic boss???) and then he told both of us if we couldn’t get along, we were both fired. So for a year we have tip toed around each other and now that it is June again (boss vacations the whole month) she is doing the same stuff again.

OMGosh… she went to the doctors 4 times because she was constipated!!! Then she got mad because the doctor asked her how much she drinks (way too much). She drives her daughter to work again…only this time her dd works 2 part-time jobs so she has to shuttle her back and forth. One of the jobs is 2 blocks away from home… no kidding!!! When I suggested that dd could walk she got mad at me and said, “I’m not like that!” insinuating of course that I am a bad mom for not driving my kids everywhere.

I have sat back and prayed that someone else higher up than me would say something. Well, the Head Chemist finally saw her in action when she told him she was in charge and proceeded to give him orders… whew!!! Can you say mad??? So as soon as CEO gets back he plans to talk to him. My prayers are about to be answered!!!

No. This should be a conversation between you and your boss. I wouldn’t advise a “group” going to the boss.

Your discussion should be based on observable behavior and the impact it is having on your job and on morale. Have notes of specific dates and times. But, yoru boss already knows about the clocking in late and late breaks/lunches since he reviews the timecards. You need to be prepared to present the business impact of the behavior-- the impact it’s having on the store, employes, and customers.

If others bring up the subject to you-- in the break room or whatever-- then you should tell them to go talk to the boss if they want something done. Complaining in the break room doesn’t solve the problem.

Let me adress this from the standpoint of an employer-I cant fix a problem i dont know about. Even if your employer knows about it he may assume ti is not causing a problem since no one has complained. Go to your boss-be blunt,

I wouldnt advise going as a group.I always resent it when a group of employees corners me to gripe-makes me feel like I am facing a lynch mob. If this is bothering other employees they should speak to the boss on their own.

You know, there is Biblical precedent for this situation in terms of how you are handling it…first go to the person, then to the a group then to The Church.

In this case, first to the person and then to the boss and then a formal complaint in writing to the boss’ boss (if the situation is not addressed).

You and your husband have both spoken to her. It didn’t work. The boss is the next step.

From a prayerful standpoint, ask every morning for Our Lord to ‘re-seed the ground’ at your place of employment. I said this prayer when there were lots of weird vibes and bad feelings and anger going on in my unit. Within 24 hours attitudes changed.

I work full-time at a very stressful job. I have RA and CFIDS/FMS to deal with and sometimes I am not a good worker. I try very hard to carry my weight. One of the most difficult things I have had to do is be honest with co-workers when I am having a lousy health day. Oh it is so humbling to have to say to someone, “I am moving kind of slow today. I may need some help sorting the cases. I am sorry to have to bother you, but could you help me?”.

She may feel the same way about her physical problems (believe me, I am sure mine are related to the once not-so-healthy-life I was leading so I take full responsibility for the wreck I am now) and it is coming out as anger and resentment towards others.

Anyway, try the prayer before you go to your boss. I would also suggest that you take the time to write out what you want to say to your boss so it is factual, to the point and presented in a business-like manner. This way you do not run the risk of just sounding like someone who is throwing her own little tantrum about another employee getting special treatment.

Does that make sense?

The fact that she chose to make a scene in front of customers is something that the boss should definitely be made aware of. This is simply bad manners and bad customer relations.

I had this happen once when I was shopping in an H.E.B. in San Antonio. A supervisor came up and started telling the cashier something while I was being checked out. The cashier started getting upset, tearing up and started arguing back to the supervisor (using some unladylike language). She actually stopped checking my groceries! The people in line behind me were getting antsy and upset. I finally broke in and said, “Excuse me, I don’t know what’s going on, but this is NOT the time or the place to be discussing it!” The cashier ran off crying and the supervisor said to me, “well, there’s some issues that needed to be addressed.” I said, “Right now? Right here? When she’s in the middle of her work shift and there’s ten people in line? No, ma’am, you get someone to take her register and then you take her in the back to a private office and talk to her, NOT here in front of all these customers!”

Believe me, if your boss has any concern at all for his customers, he will not tolerate that sort of thing going on. It doesn’t matter who owns the business, it’s the people in the checkout line who are paying the salaries. I want employees who focus on ME, the customer, when I’m in front of them, not on everyone else’s (or their own personal) drama!

And I work on the other side of the counter… I KNOW my boss would have conniptions if we ever tried to start an argument with another associate while trying to help a customer!

I would only gather up others if they have made it known to you that they are fed up with this person’s behavior as well and want to REALLY bring it to your boss’s attention. Otherwise, I’m afraid you are on your own. But in the end, even though there are no guarentees, nothing will have a chance of being resolved if SOMEONE dosen’t speak up. I agree with LSK to thoughtfully write out what you intend to say & say it in a business-like manner. God Bless!

IMHO - go to the boss, on your own.

The complaint to your boss is that you are not getting your scheduled breaks at the scheduled time. Have a docmuent of at least one week’s worth of the time, when your breaks were scheduled and when they were taken.

When/if he/she asks if you know of a reason you did not get your breaks on time, state that you were not releived to go on break and could not leave the checkout unattended. It is up to the BOSS to see who was scheduled to relieve you (unless they ask you) and to take it from there.

This way, your grievience is with a broken process, not with a specific person.

It actually may be more advisable for the other employees who are having problems with this same co-worker to also seek a time to speak to the boss in private and separately.

If the boss hears that the co-worker is causing work-related problems to several employees - then he/she knows its not an isolated case and must take action.

Make sure these other employees only speak to their work related issues with co-worker. No hearsay, no emotion, just the facts about what work related issues (late, long lunches, etc.) that they observe that have affected them personally.

If nothing is done - search the want ads and move on. Good luck

Sue, let me clarify that I do not think everyone should go to your Boss about this person at the same time, as a group, but do so individually. :slight_smile:

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