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Let Your Employees Heal, For F***’s Sake!

, , , | Working | June 8, 2022

I worked the night shift as a senior carer. One morning, I had a spasm through my neck and shoulder and couldn’t move my head at all. I needed help to stand due to pain. I hoped it would ease through the day, but by 3:00 pm, I still couldn’t move.

I contacted the off-duty seniors to see if I could cover the shift and got a possible yes. I called work at 4:00 pm — my shift was to start at 8:00 pm — and spoke to my superior.

Supervisor: “Can’t you just come in?”

Me: “I can’t physically f****** move without help. [Husband] is having to help me go for a f****** piss. How the f*** do you expect me to assist anyone with anything? I’ve tried to sort cover for you. Next time, I won’t f****** bother.

And then, I hung up. I expected to get written up but surprisingly didn’t.

If I’d Known I Was Going To Do It, I Wouldn’t Have Done It!

, , , , , | Working | June 7, 2022

I was due to start an afternoon/evening shift as a care worker, but I had to take my phone to be fixed that morning. It was raining heavily that day, and I slipped in the street and whacked my ankle hard on the way down. I called work.

Me: “Hey, I just took a hard fall, so I’m going to go get my ankle seen by a doctor.”

Boss: “No, you need to come in for your shift!”

I went to get it checked out anyway, and it turned out that it wasn’t broken, just badly sprained. I was sent home and told to put my leg up and try to stay off it for a day or two. I’d just gotten back home, and work called.

Boss: “How late are you going to be?”

Me: “I physically cannot do the shift. My ankle is sprained and I have to stay off it for a couple of days.”

I got written up for not telling them in my weekly availability that I intended to slip and sprain my ankle!

Wrong Number, Wrong Attitude

, , , , | Right | April 11, 2022

I work in assisted living as a carer. Our setup involves a collection of bungalows that are rented out to people who can’t live independently and an office that we are based in at one end of the lot.

One of our service users is a severely disabled man who is non-verbal and doesn’t have the capacity to manage his own bills, so his sister and social worker make decisions for him. I am allocated to him one morning when I hear a strange beeping.

I start looking but it stops, and I give up only for it to start up again a little later. Eventually, I realise that it is coming from a strange phone I hadn’t noticed before by the door. I pick it up and someone answers.

Caller: “Hi. I wanted to pay a bill, but your office is closed.”

Me: *Slightly confused* “Oh, I don’t handle bills. Is this for Mr. [Service User]—”

Caller: *Cutting me off* “Yes, but this was the number to call!”

Me: “Well, this is a private phone, so you would need to call the office directly.”

Caller: “But the number to call was this one!”

Me: “I’m not sure why that is but I can’t process bills.”

Caller: “Then transfer me.”

Me: “I can’t; this is a private number.”

I see a manager walk past toward the office.

Me: “Hold on, I’ll ask a manager. Is this about Mr. [Service User] or someone else?”

Caller: *Silence*

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Are you transferring me or what?!”

I decide I’m not dealing with them anymore and go outside to call the manager over. The manager is as confused as I am but picks up the phone.

Manager: “Hello, I’m the service manager. What is it you are trying to pay?” *Pauses* “And is this in relation to Mr. [Service User] or one of our other service users?” *Pauses* “I’m sorry, but you’ve called a private number—”

The caller’s voice audibly rises.

Manager: “This is a care facility. I don’t know why this number is on your bill, but we can’t help you.” *Pauses* “I just told you this isn’t the right number. I’m hanging up now; please don’t call again.”

The manager hangs up and passes the phone back, shaking her head.

Me: “I asked her if it was about Mr. [Service User] and she said yes.”

Manager: *Shaking her head in exasperation* “I’m sure you did. I don’t know how she even managed to call that phone; that should be impossible!

Turns out the phone was installed a decade ago so that if someone rang the doorbell you could answer it and speak to them. That’s why I never noticed it before and why it beeped instead of a normal ring. We never did figure out how she called it.

Care For Your Employees So They Can Care For Their Clients

, , , , | Working | March 21, 2022

I work for a multi-national care company. I say care, but they do everything — adult care, child care, schools, hospitals, rehab, celebrity rehab, etc. — and it’s worldwide.

I work in the UK. Our area is in adult care. These are adults with learning disabilities which range from severe, needing twenty-four-hour support including personal care — washing, dressing, shaving, toilet, etc. — to those who only need minimal support like checking on their progress through the day.

I am working on a site with tenants who have their own bedrooms and share all the other areas of the house, including the toilet/shower room. The staff has to use the same toilet facility as the tenants; there’s no separate area.

One fine day, a message goes out to all the staff by text and email from our management team. Now, remember, this is a multi-billion-a-year company and a major provider of various types of health care, education, and child services. We even have sites in Dubai! This message went out, effective immediately, that the company was now making cost-cutting decisions and would no longer supply toilet roll for staff use.

Toilet roll! I mean, toilet roll? Come on! We were told to bring our own or ask the tenants to use theirs.

Now, in the UK, as staff, you cannot ever use a tenant’s property for your own use. This includes food, drinks, or other items, including toilet roll. It’s classed as theft and also can be covered under various types of abuse, unless there is a proviso in place, which is fully covered in writing, in detail. There were no provisions like this in place at any of our sites.

I was just dumbfounded at this directive, and I was annoyed. It’s a simple thing, but when you have no toilet paper, it’s no longer a simple thing!

For the first week, I took my own paper.

The following week, I forgot. Oh! Oh! Now I had a problem.

We had two tenants at this site, and one of them didn’t like me very much as I’m not the type of worker to just sit on my butt like so many others do in care. I do my best to support my clients in every way I can. This one didn’t like having boundaries and tried to get me moved out by making false allegations! Thank God for other staff as witnesses. I was not going to ask him for toilet roll; he would enjoy saying no.

I couldn’t ask the other one as he had limited understanding, and trust me when I say that you shouldn’t touch anything in his room without gloves on. Anything! So I was not going to use his toilet roll, either.

For the whole day, I clenched like you wouldn’t believe until I got home. I was angry. To be honest, all the staff was angry at this no-bog-roll mandate.

I decided to check out this management decision on toilet roll and see if it was legal. First off, I call ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service). They were wonderful people, always handy with advice, and of course, once I explained the situation, we both had a laugh at the ridiculousness of it. They weren’t sure but advised me to check out the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website to see if there was anything there. This HSE laid out all the legal requirements of employers and employees in the UK.

Eureka! I found what I needed. The HSE listed it as follows under workplace facilities that employers are required to supply:

“Employers have to provide:

  • Enough toilets and washbasins for those expected to use them — separate facilities for men and women — failing that, rooms with lockable doors.
  • Clean facilities — preferably with walls and floors tiled (or covered in suitable waterproof material) to make them easier to clean.
  • A supply of toilet paper.
  • For female employees, somewhere to dispose of sanitary dressings.
  • Facilities that are well lit and ventilated.
  • Hot and cold running water.
  • Enough soap or other washing agents.
  • A basin large enough to wash hands and forearms if necessary.
  • A way of drying hands, such as paper towels or a hot air dryer.
  • Showers where necessary, for particularly dirty work.”

I emailed the managers — all of them, from the operations director all the way down — explained the situation, and quoted the HSE, pointing out that it was a legal requirement to supply toilet paper. I was very professional.

Within two hours of my email, management sent out a staff-wide text and email stating that they would be supplying toilet roll for all staff at all sites.

You cannot imagine how relieved I was — no pun intended — and how big my smile was.

Dial 7 For Murder

, , , , , | Right | January 13, 2022

I work in a residential group home for individuals with physical disabilities. By some odd coincidence, our office phone number is only different from our local hospital by one number: a one instead of a seven. This would be only a little annoying, with the usual amount of mistaken calls, except that the hospital’s website uses a font that makes ones and sevens look almost identical. Since I know exactly what the problem is, and I know the number that people actually want, it’s normally a quick five-second exchange each time I get someone asking for lab work, a patient room number, or a doctor’s name.

Not this time.

I was working one day when the phone rang, and I answered it with my usual spiel.

Me: “Hello, [Agency], this is [My Name] at [Facility]. How may I help you?”

An older lady replies.

Caller: “Hello, I’m calling for [Doctor]. My husband had a test last Thursday and I need to know what the results are.”

It’s obvious what happened.

Me: “Ah! I’m sorry, but I think you’re trying to reach [Local Hospital]. Their number is just one off from us. You need to call [correct number].”

The woman on the other end seems to acknowledge me and hangs up. A few seconds pass and the phone rings again. I think to myself, “It couldn’t be…”

Me: “Hello, [Agency], this is [My Name] at [Facility]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, hello? I’m trying to reach [Doctor]’s office because I need to know the results of—”

I cut her off at this point, trying very hard not to learn any medical information I shouldn’t know.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is still the wrong number; you need to call [correct number] for the hospital.”

Caller: “I’m not trying to call the hospital; I’m trying to call [Doctor] about the results of [test]!”

I’m surprised by her sudden aggression, but I assume she just didn’t understand. I now regret that.

Me: “Ma’am, this is a residence, not a hospital. We don’t have any doctors here and we don’t do testing of any kind. Please call [correct number].”

She hangs up then, and I hope for the best. A few minutes pass, and then, of course, the phone rings again. I see the caller ID and groan.

Me: “Hello, [Agency], this is [My Name] at [Facility]. How may I help you?”

Caller: *Practically screaming* “You need to train your people better and get me [Doctor] right now! This is inexcusable treatment! Your idiot staff has been trying to give the runaround and I’ve had it!”

I’m not paid to do customer service, and I have clients who need help, and I’m fed up.

Me: “Look, lady, I can’t make this any more clear. You need to call [correct number]. We. Are not. A hospital.”

She screams something unintelligible and hangs up. A full ten minutes pass until the phone rings again. I recognize the caller ID and consider letting it go to voicemail.

Me: “Hello, this is still [Agency], this is still [My Name].”

Caller: “What are you people doing there? I need my husband’s test results and the little Mexican boy keeps giving me this number and I know this is the right number!”

I take a second to try and process that, trying to think if she’s calling someone else in between calling me.

Me: “Ma’am, this is a residential facility with no doctors and no ability to run tests of any kind. Please, look up the correct phone number for whoever you are trying to reach, and stop calling here.”

Caller: “You’re murderers! All of you are murderers! I need help and you’re murdering my husband!”

Me: “Ma’am, I cannot help you. Call the hospital, and they will be able to do something.”

The woman just shouted “Murderer!” once more before slamming the phone down. Fortunately, she didn’t call again. I do hope her husband got whatever he needed in time, but I have my doubts.