late coworker: what should I have said?

My department is 24x7. My shift ends several hours after the rest of the day people, and the two night people should be arriving as I leave. However, they are always late – my guess is that they usually arrive about 40 minutes late. Yesterday my manager said to me, “When you see NightPerson1 and NightPerson2, would you give them a message?” I said, “I probably won’t see them.” Manager said, “Why not?” I said, “I never see them.” Manager looked surprised and pissed off.

I was aware that my manager did not know about the night people’s habitual lateness. Since he could’ve easily figured it out if he’d been interested, I didn’t think it was my place to bring it up to him (there are several day people who are also chronically late).

Should I have protected the night people? If so, what should I have said?

Incidentally, their lateness ticks me off. I occasionally wind up working late because they haven’t showed up, and it bothers me that no one is at work when we are supposed to be 24x7.

Have you mentioned to the night people that you’re stuck there until they show up sometimes? Have you mentioned they need to be there to guarantee full 24x7 coverage? If so, scroom.

If not, you’re kharmically ambiguous. Sadly, behavior of this sort is often perceived (by the latecomers only, usually…) as part of the company “culture”. “Oh, we’re very laid-back where we work–we don’t punch a clock or anything, it’s really casual.”

I don’t see any reason why you should have protected them. Your manager asked, your answered honestly. Best case scenario: the lateness will stop.

You did nothing wrong. Your boss asked you to do something that you felt you would likely be unable to do. To accept the message would impose upon you a task made a burden by the night crew’s bad actions. You merely indicated to your boss that you would, in the normal course of your work, be unable to fulfill the task.

Now, if, as the first step toward rectifying the situation, you actively sought out your boss and told him about the night crew’s serial tardiness, that would be another matter. However, it is apparent that this is not the case, therefore you did right. After all, the first rule of business is CYOA.

I’m afraid that since you answered both his questions practically the same way, without giving him the reason why as he asked, your manager might be thinking you don’t usually see the late arrivers because YOU LEAVE EARLY. If no one ever tells him about the wrong-doers, how is he to know?

I agree with the CYOA idea, and to follow up on MizQuirk, I’d recommend casually mentioning to your boss that you are sticking around as late as you’re scheduled to. You might even put it in the form of a question. “Say, Bob, you know when I said I don’t see the night shifters? I just wanted to be sure that you know that I’m staying for my whole shift, right? I realize that I wasn’t entirely clear…”

My manager knows that I don’t leave early. Each shift has to email a turnover report before they leave, and the email is time stamped.
Both my manger and the tardy coworkers are aware when I have to stay late because I make a point of putting something in the turnover like “startime - endtime: problem with XYZ system traced to user who set coffee cup on Enter key.” (this has actually happened)

It is absolutely not my place to say anything to the coworkers about their tardiness. My manager gets paid a lot more than I do to deal with these problems, should he choose to do so. He usually isn’t aware that someone is slacking off until it hits him in the face, and then he over-reacts, which is one reason I felt kind of bad about being an involuntary squealer. Truthfully though, I’ll be quite happy if the tardiness is brought to an end.

40 minutes/day x 3 days/week x 46 weeks / year = 92 hours / year.
These people are taking the equivalent of an extra 2 weeks+ a year off – they’re just doing it 40 minutes at a time.

I think you were presented with an opportunity to bring a problem to your manager’s attention without being a squealer, and you very rightly took advantage of it. (You didn’t tattle on them; he asked if you’d do something and you explained why you could not.) I see no reason to cover for people who are occasionally taking advantage of you, consistently taking advantage of your company, and whose conduct irks you anyway. (As it would irk me; why should they get paid the same as everyone else while doing significantly less work?) I think you did the right thing, and I wouldn’t give it another thought.

Either you have the world’s shortest work weeks, or you mean 2+ days off :smiley:

Or I’m a complete idiot :smack: What the hell was I thinking??

To recap:

You = right.
Me = jackass.

Interface2x but sometimes it does feel like I’m working 46 hour days, so I quite understood your misscalculation. As to the OP, if the work is 24/7 then people need to be there on time, so the coworkers lateness has to stop somehow. Better this way, than a problem turn up five minutes after you leave and the shit really hitting the fan. You probably saved your coworkers jobs without knowing it.

I don’t think you did anything wrong. You didn’t whine or complain, you didn’t seek out your boss to tattle, you didn’t go into detail about their lateness. You just stated a fact in a pretty neutral manner.

In fact, I don’t think you’d have been that out of line even if you had gone to your manager to say that you frequently have to stay after your shift to wait for late replacements. I know others may disagree, but I think if it’s a common occurrence, you have every right to approach your manager about it.

I have no problem covering for a co worker who has an emergency or just plain overslept once in a while. However, if they’re consistently late and taking advantage of me, that’s entirely different. I would bring it up with my co workers first to let them know I was having problems with their frequent lateness. However, if they continued to be late, I would speak to my manager.

I think you did exactly what you should have done - you shouldn’t cover for people who are habitually late, especially if you barely even know them. Don’t they punch a timeclock? When you say it’s a 24-7 workplace, does that mean somebody has to be there, like desk clerks at a hotel, or that somebody has to be there if something goes wrong? If their being late is a danger to the company or to people, in a factory setting or something, or results in loss or dissatisfaction of customers, like not having somebody on the hotel front desk when people call for wakeup calls, then you should have said something earlier, definately.

I’d especially have said something to somebody if you often have to stick around until they get there. You shouldn’t have to work your shift and part of theirs too!

But it’s nice if they have to clock in, so somebody notices this sort of thing. I’ve noticed friends on shift work who would normally as salaried people not be on the clock have to clock in anyway, to prove they were there when they were supposed to be there. In a job where you’re the only one there from 11 PM to 7 AM, I think that’s reasonable.

I am no longer feeling bad about accidentally squealing on my coworkers.

To answer a few questions…
We do not punch a timeclock. We are exempt, but the nature of the job requires that we be at work at specific times.
In theory we are supposed to have someone onsite to answer the phone all the time. Due to illness, vacation, etc., sometimes no one is there. There is always an oncall person in addition to the onsite people, and most of our callers know to beep us if the phone isn’t answered.
Serious problems are infrequent. If a serious problem ever occurred when someone was supposed to be at work and wasn’t, there would be some nastiness. However, the guilty party could easily blow it off as a one-time thing by saying they had a flat tire or something.

I know it’s late, but 40 minutes X 3 days a week is 120 minutes…two hours per week.
Two hours a week x 46 weeks is 92 hours in a year (You only work 46 weeks out of the year?)
A work-week is 40 hours, so 96 hours is 2 work-weeks and two work-days off per year.

Or did I miss something really obvious?

I have a somewhat different view here. You could have left notes for these workers yet chose not to do that. It seems to me your motivation was to use this opportunity to inform your manager about something that was annoying you - that two people are always tardy AND that the manager should have known that and done something about it, just because he is the manager, and as you put it, gets paid to know these things.

While I agree with the others that you have done nothing “wrong” nor do I consider it squealing, I wish you had seen your way clear to discuss continuous coverage issues directly with your co-workers at a much earlier point in time. Handling issues amongst those impacted is clearly a preferable path. By saying this I am not implying that the reason for doing this is to keep the manager in the dark about what everyone is doing, but to simply say that talking directly usually gets better results for everyone, including you.

Am I correct in assuming that you are putting those extra minutes on your time card as overtime??

If not, why the hell not???

  1. Always tell the truth. If you lie to protect someone, you are complicit in their actions.

  2. Your manager cannot correct a situation he/she doesn’t know about.

  3. Consistant tardiness = stealing from the company.

  4. Their behaviour not only takes from the company, it takes from you.

What I was trying to say was that the time missed by being tardy added up to more than 2 weeks per year.
One of the night people has been with the company long enough that she gets 5 weeks of vacation per year. This year, for complicated and boring reasons, we all got an extra week of vacation. We get 7 holidays and 2 personal days per year. Add in a week of sick days and this person has close to 9 weeks of available time off per year, so she actually only has to show up 43 weeks per year.

I do not have to work late because of them very often – maybe once or twice a year (of course it always seems to happen when I really need to leave on time). I always report my additional time so I get comp time.

It would be absolutely inappropriate for me to speak directly to these coworkers about their tardiness (and, as I told my manager, I never see them). If I were to make an issue of it with my manager, in all fairness I would also have to report the day people who are chronically late, who take 2 hour lunches, who disappear for hours at a time without telling anyone they’re leaving, etc.

My manager is coasting toward retirement, and obviously he has chosen not to look for problems that could rock his comfortable boat. Several years ago he was critical (justly) of one of the night workers, and she escalted the matter to Human Resources.