You’re Too Late To Save Yourself

, , , , , , | Working | January 5, 2018

(I’ve noticed that since summer ended, one of my employees has been routinely late, but clocks in almost exactly 20 minutes after his shift starts. Most of the time, however, I see him before his shift, early. Too many tardy notices and we have to let someone go; its corporate policy and out of my control. I like to give people a chance, so I call him into the office to see if I can help him.)

Me: “So, there’s the trend I’m noticing on your clock-in times. Can you tell me what’s going on?”

Employee: “Well, in the mornings, I put my kids on the school bus, because I don’t like them standing alone in [Sketchy Part of Town]. Then, I take the bus that stops a block over to work. But sometimes the school bus gets there late, I miss my bus, and the next one isn’t for 30 minutes, so I’m late those days.”

Me: “Okay! Well, I wish you’d brought this to my attention sooner. Here’s what we are going to do. I’m moving your entire shift back a half hour. That way, if you catch the later bus, you’ll be on time, and you don’t have to stress.”

Employee: “Seriously? That will help so much. Thank you!”

(Two weeks go by, and I notice the employee is up for a written warning for another three tardies, having clocked in 20 minutes after his new, later start time. I pull him aside.)

Me: “What’s going on here? I moved your shift so that we could fix the issue with you being late, but you’re late more often now!”

Employee: “I’m sorry! It’s just… I don’t want to stand at the bus stop everyday for a half hour. It’s a really bad part of town. So, I’ve been going home to do a few things, and I get distracted, I miss the bus.”

Me: “You’re going to have to figure out how to fix that.”

Employee: “Okay, can we push the shift back another hour? A half hour isn’t much extra time, but I can be back if you give me another half hour.”

Me: “I actually need the 11:00 to 7:00 shift covered, so I’ll allow it, but I need you to understand: this was your last warning. If you are late at all in the next three months, I have no choice but to let you go.”

Employee: “Okay! Thank you!”

(A few days later, the mans supervisor pulls me aside.)

Supervisor: “Just so you know, [Employee] called you a b****.”

Me: “What?”

Supervisor: “He says he took the 10:00 to 6:00 shift specifically to be able to pick up his kids from their after-school program by 7:00. Now, you changed his shift, and he can’t get them in time.”

Me: “Okay, let me tell you what really happened.”

(The situation resolved itself when [Employee] showed up a half hour late two days later. I let his supervisor handle his termination papers, because I was still furious with him.)

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