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Closing The Store And Closing The Door On Employee-Manager Relations

, , , , | Working | October 13, 2021

I was working at a restaurant for six months on probation. Lawfully speaking, if a restaurant wants a person to continue working, they are obliged to provide a full contract to the employee; otherwise, they are breaking labor law. However, most companies get around this by “goading” an employee into quitting if they don’t want them by slashing hours or scrutinizing their work meticulously. It’s a scumbag tactic and this restaurant is no exception.

It’s a late Saturday afternoon and I am due to finish at 6:00 pm. Our supervisor, who is the biggest brown nose you will ever meet, has talked non-stop about his friends who are out on the town this night, directly implying that he wants to go out with them even though he is closing. He knows that I am busy on Saturday evenings with my own podcast, so he hasn’t asked me if I would be interested in closing. At 5:50 pm, the following message appears on our Facebook group.

Restaurant Manager: “[Supervisor], you can leave at 6:00. [My Name] will close tonight.”

For the record, I would have happily considered closing, if I were asked. But now I feel that I am being forced to so the supervisor can have a good night, so I decide to stand up for myself.

Me: “No, I cannot close tonight. I’m busy.”

Restaurant Manager: “[Supervisor] is not feeling so good, [My Name], and nobody else knows how to close. You haven’t had many hours recently, either, so you can close tonight and make up for them.”

Me: “And that’s my problem, because? You decided to cut my hours this month, and even if I closed tonight — which I am not doing — I would be looking at only two hours, tops, if we’re lucky. It would not make any difference to the hours I normally did before. Sorry, [Restaurant Manager], but I am not closing.”

Restaurant Manager: “What are you doing tonight, then, [My Name]? Going out?”

Me: “Not that it is relevant, but I actually have a podcast lined up.”

Restaurant Manager: “Nobody cares about your stupid videos, [My Name].”

Now I’m DEFINITELY not doing it.

Me: “Do you honestly believe that saying stuff like that is supposed to encourage my decision? It has, just not in the way you want. I am leaving in five minutes, as my shift ends at 6:00 pm.”

Restaurant Manager: “[My Name], if you leave at 6:00 pm despite being told to stay, you will not get your tips for this week.”

Me: “Hmm, yeah, I really think that’s not happening. I’ll tell you what. Let me offer you a different choice. How about I still leave at 6:00 pm, I still get my tips, and you get the benefit of my silence when I do not report this conversation to my union. How does that sound?”

I had applied and joined a union when I started because of a previous issue that happened exactly like this. The restaurant manager had no choice but to keep the supervisor on that night, which he hated me for, but honestly, I couldn’t have cared less. I left that job the next week and entered a new job that I love.

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