Problems with a Co-Worker (longish)

The following situation happened in Work tonight and basically iIjust want to know how you would deal with it.

Lately in work I’m left in charge of checkouts, and have to tell the operators what to do etc. So tonight in work Im in charge but as its Good Friday, its really really quiet at the checkouts so the manager comes up to me and says Im going to take operators A, B, & C, to help out on the shop floor, thats fine no problem. Im left with operators D, E, & F. So lets say operator D is the person who I have the problem with, operator F is constantly leaving vheckouts to go for walks, I call him on it and make him sit down but operator D gives me shit over it. Fine whatever I can take it. Anyway it comes to the end of the night, were all getting ready to go home, I announce that the shop is closing and could all our remaining customers please come to checkouts, they do so, and the operators that were sent to the shop floor earlier in the evening come back up to the checkouts. But instead of sitting back on to the tills, Operator A gets her til and waits at the desk to go home and operator B tidies up some rubbish. Operator C sits on her checkout though.

Operator D proceeds to have a freak attack because shes been working all day, and why the f*ck should she be the one to serve the last customers and why shouldnt operator A sit back on.

Now this is how I see it, it doesnt matter what time you’ve come in at, if your full time then those are your hours, shut the hell up about it already. If your sent to work on the floor for the night then Operator A, B & C dont have to come back to checkouts and would be right not to sit back on.

Now there are some other things to note,and these are that Operator D screamed all this at me in front of several customers, they were obviously appalled by her behaviour. Operator A didnt just stand beside me doing nothing, she did go and pack for operator D. And then Operator D didnt even serve the last customers! Operator C did!

Anyway my question to you is, if your still reading, what should I do with regard to Operator D? Im stuck on should I make an official complaint about her attitude and behaviour? Should I just ask the personnel manager to have a word with her about it but not an official complaint? Or should I just leave it go?

I’ve never complained anyone I work with before, and dont particularly want too, but this girl thinks shes better then those of us who only work evenings because she works there almost full time, and shes always making scenes and behaving like this. Its got to the stage where I hate having to work if I know shes going to be there.

So, to you, what do you think I should do with the situation?

There are several problems here concerning Op D. This person definitely needs to be called on her bad behavior. Though doing so will not likely win you any points with this person. But you’re probably not going to get them anyway with someone like this.

I think the biggie here is lack of respect for the chain of command. Uh, hello, you are in a supervisory position to both Ops D and F. It’s your responsibility to make sure your team is doing what they are supposed to be doing. Op D has no business whatsoever interfering with your supervising of another employee. Op D, in this case, has no respect for your authority and is attempting to undermine you. Not “fine.” You can’t be effective as a supervisor if she succeeds.

And this person is still on the clock while s/he is sitting there waiting to go home? I’m sure you can understand why other employees who are working might be a tad pissed about this. However…

…this is definitely not the way Op D should have handled it. Typically, employees throwing tantrums in front of customers is not good business. It’s offensive to customers and makes a generally horrible impression. At the moment Op D started making a scene in front of customers, I would have removed Op D from the floor. “Excuse me, please head to the back and take a moment. I’ll be right in to discuss this with you.” This employee needs to understand that that behavior is unequivocally unacceptable. All employee grievances are to be aired away from customers.

Op A seems to have realized her mistake and did what she could to defuse the situation. But I think it would be more effective for you, as a supervisor, to have handled it by directing employees to where you judge they are needed and most effective. You are probably in a position of authority because your superior(s) deemed your judgment is sound and you’re capable of handling your duties.

Obviously her piss-poor behavior impeded her from doing her job. She wasn’t focusing on her own duties and had effectively tossed customer service out the window. Again, if she had any grievances, she should have waited for a more appropriate time and place to air them.

I’m assuming that you’re not in any position to initiate corrective action. But your manager is in a better position to do so if you have fully documented the events. If you don’t, you run the risk of your authority being undermined to the point where she will continually take advantage of you, knowing there are no consequences. Other employees may see this as an opportunity to do the same. If you’re a wuss, you’ll get walked on. Anytime customer service is negatively impacted by , it’s not small potatoes and needs to be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

If you do decide to document this, I highly recommend that you word your statement carefully. State only the facts. Do not make any character attacks or suppositive statments. Be sure to include the actual effect the event had on your ability to do your job, that of other effected employees, as well as any customers involved.

Taking this action demonstrates that you take your job very seriously and that your goal is to maintain a pleasant enviroment for both employees and customers. Also, it shows you have a backbone which is absolutely necessary for any supervisory position.

I do hope that you have a supportive and effective manager. If you don’t, this is going to be that much more difficult. As a supervisor myself, I’m interested to hear how it works out. Good luck! :slight_smile:

Well, I was gonna reply but CinnamonGirl here seems to have covered all the bases. :smiley:

I definitely think you should say something, because s/he did it in front of customers…not professional at all.

A shouldn’t have been just standing around, initially (which is what I assume set D off)

And why is F allowed to go on walks? :confused:

Operator D threw a tantrum and then got away with it. By not making her wait on the last customers you (without intending, I’m sure) sent the message: “If I pitch a fit then I don’t have to work as much.” I’m sure she’ll be pitching more fits in the future since the results were to her liking. Even worse, A, B, C, E and F all witnessed it, and may try the same tactic.

If it happens again I’d say you should send everyone ELSE home. Don’t “reward” her for bad behavior. Keep her until everylast customer is gone, and then make her clean the windows. I’m sure there’s some sort of employee handbook which would include “other cashiers duties.” Even if it keeps you there long, make her do her ALL of her job.

If you lose this control with D now, you’ll lose it with more employees eventually. As stated above, you’re the boss for a reason. You have some power. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Good Luck ~S

Delly, I’ve had many problems in jobs over the years, and any complaints I’ve made were ignored or not dealt with in any manner. I caught a co-worker stealing - I lost my job and she’s now General Manager of the place. I’ve complained to HSA, the Labour Relations Comission, and the Department of Employment (and something - whatever it is, they keep changing the name) And not a sodding fecking thing was done about any of it. I’ve gone to Solicitors and had letters ignored by employers, and other Solicitors tell me not to waste their time. In other words, nothing’s likely to get done about it (and if you do get something done about it I’ll be the first to congratulate you!), so leave it alone. Piss of a thing, but that’s life (I’ve lost 4 jobs in the last ten years because of someone else’s behaviour :frowning: )

Ok, firstly, thanks for replying.

To Cinnamon Girl, thanks for that… very detailed, let me address a few of your points: Everyone knows Op D behaves like this, Im talking from the smallest part timer in the shop to the regional manager for the area. It just seems that no one is willing to make an issue of it in case she gets upset or whatever. And yes thats completely ridiculous, but it seems if they wont do anything about it, what can I do?

Your right also regarding Op F and the levels of respect for the chain of command, but I know that I get very little respect in there from some of the checkout operators. Why would they respect me? I work there maybe 20 hours a week, and deal with those people a possible 10 hours, well thats there way of thinking anyway. Plus we started together and some nights Im not in a supervisor position, other nights I am, thats part of the reason they think they can do what they like. I dont think I mentioned earlier though, I did make Op F sit back on his checkout, and to be fair he did stay there for the remainder of the evening, my point regarding that was, I had questioned Op F on what he was doing, told him to sit back on his checkout, yet Op D still gives me sh*t over it despite the fact that the situation had been dealt with.

Now with regard to Operator A waiting at the desk to go home, I neglected to mention that all of this happened in the space of two minutes, I felt there was no need for her to sit back on a checkout, we all thought that the customers Operator D was serving were the last people, it wasnt until the other customer came up to her that we realised there were more people around and at that stage Operator A was sent to pack for Operator D. Operator A was probably standing at the desk for 45 seconds to a minute max.

Also on a similiar point, Operator A had been sent to work in a different department for the night, so in reality there was no basic need for her to come back to the checkout area except that she had to put away her til. Its practise in the store that if you are called to work in a different area of the store when you should be on checkouts, then when your leaving, you just go.

Back to Operator D, I was embarassed by her reaction, definately not the way to behave, but like I said, there wasnt really anytime to call her on it. If this happened during the course of the evening, I would have called her on it, or had a manager call her on it. But due to the fact that I would have held her up in work even longer then was necessary, I knew that she would have had another freak attack… besides, I was also aware that she needed to calm down before she was spoken too.

Operator A did realise there was a problem, and maybe I didnt say it in my previous post, but it was I who made her go pack for Op D, I thought maybe that would make Op D feel better, evidently it didnt! Maybe looking back I should have made Op A pack for her as soon as she came up to the checkouts, but as we thought she had the last customer then, and was finishing up, I didnt think it was necessary.

With regard to the advice you gave, thanks, but Im not sure it will work, Ive only heard the details of one other case like this before, and its not even that similiar, basically a grievance between 2 people, what they tend to do, is get the two people involved into a room with the personnel manager and talk about what the problems are. I dont think that this would work in this situation because while our personnel manager is a very good manager, I know that Op A would go immediatly on the defensive and wouldnt listen to what I had to say.

LolaBaby, You know I have no idea why Op F is constantly going for walks! Hes been called on it by me and others but he still does it, I think he has friends on the shop floor or something… not an excuse but maybe an explanation.

Sami41, Technically she didnt just get away with her tantrum, because it was basically the customers choice whether they went to Operator A or C, granted as soon as she saw a break in the customers she got up and started to put away baskets or something. But I dont think she felt as if she got away with anything. With regard to her having more fits in the future, well to be honest this will happen whether she gets her way or not, shes 21 but acts 2.

I personally dont think the rest of the operators would take this as a sign and behave this way themselves, its really only Op D & F where the problem lies, and considering F has been called on it, he should be fine. The rest of them are usually very nice and do as they are told. Theres always the one or two oddballs that make life awkward for everyone else.

Lobelia Overhill I know I cant be fired for questioning another employees behaviour, thats why I dont mind going further with this.

Now as long as this post is, heres an update on the situation:

I found out a couple things today, mainly as too why this all happened in the first place. Firstly Operators A & D have a history of not getting on very well, it all started about two weeks ago, because A went for a toilet break before D did! Yes you read that right. D has been causing hassle with A since, now thats juvenile behaviour.

Also A told me today that she didnt see why she should sit on checkouts when the week before, when D was supposed to be on checkouts she walked off checkouts for about three quarters of an hour, and came back and laughed at the rest of the operators when she saw the queues (I wasnt supervising that night-not technically my problem).

So there some of the reasons as to why the arguement took place. With regard to what I have done, well nothing yet, I was working in a department on my own today and didnt get a chance to talk to the personnel manager. However I heard from several different people that Op D has been ‘dissing’ me, and several other Ops from friday night to anyone that will listen, so Ive decided that on Tuesday(when I & the personel manager are back in work) Im going to tell her what happened, tell her I want something done about their behaviour, and Il see where it goes from there.

Again sorry for the length of the post…

Don’t apologize. It’s like reading a little soap opera. :smiley:

Keep us updated, dear.

There’s so much to said here. You really do need to have a sit-down with your boss and seek some advice on how to handle a situation he already seems to be aware of.

In the meantime, I found this article about dealing with employee conflict. Though it’s written for the restaurant industry, you may gleen some useful info that may help you (or your boss) end the mini-war between Ops A and D.

By the way, I’ve recently been promoted to my first supervisory position and I’m working through many of the same challenges you seem to be having. I’ll be entering our management training program in the very near future, so I’ve been very focused on learning how to be an effective supervisor. It’s great to be able to talk to others about supervising challenges. Good luck and keep us posted.