How would you handle this employee infraction?

It looks like my assistant manager took the phones off the hook about 30 minutes before we closed on new years eve. My thoughts are this requires termination but just figured I would see if there was a consensus.

Employee has been with me for a bit shy of a year, shows up to all shifts on time, no issues other than this, works good. What are the opinions out there? I’m fine with terminating but lately i’ve had a few times where i have been told I am too harsh in certain situations.

but lately i’ve had a few times where i have been told I am too harsh in certain situations.

Yeah… Me, too.
Think about it for a bit.
No wisdom on the situation… other than thinking about it for a bit.

I would ask him why? And then take it from their.

Yep, you’re too harsh. It’s his first EVER offense … he may have an excuse, but even if he doesn’t, he deserves the opportunity to say he’ll not do it again. Good help (and you’ve described him as even better than good) is very hard to find. I say he gets another chance, and I’m bettin he shows his appreciation by meeting high expectations.

Did the person accept that they took the phone off or are you assuming so?

If the person did accept, did they give a reason and does that reason sound convincing to you?

If person did accept their mistake and provided a valid reason or genuinely apologized, I would lean towards keeping them after a warning.

Have you ever covered the topic with staff? Were there stated consequences?

How much business do you think you missed?

I would dock that manager $100 from the next bonus.

They were off the hook when I came in the following day so I checked the cameras and saw her take them off.
She works tomorrow so I am getting some advice right now.

I don’t think I have ever covered 100 percent don’t sabotage the phones, but I may need to revisit and revise that.
I think I lost minimal to zero business, we already were pretty much done for the night and people could still use online ordering.

I appreciate everyone’s input, I’ll have a chat with her tomorrow and I think docking the bonus sounds like a good idea.

They were off the hook when I came in the following day

Well, there you go- THAT was the biggest infraction: Stupidity! :slight_smile:
See what she says.
Once had a manager steal $50,000 over a period of several years and he got caught because he was throwing DOOR sheets in the trash. Old DP guys know what they are, but they are the order sheets- 10 to a page… you can do the math.
When he was asked if he learned anything, the reply was “Yeah, don’t use clear trash bags”

Were they insanely busy and felt they couldnt keep up the quality and delivery times? Bc ive taken the phone off the hook to catch up with orders in the past. Nowadays I answer the phone and tell the customer I cant take anymore orders for a bit because of what I mentioned above. This approach works much better bc customers want to feel acknowledged not ignored and it makes your store seem even more popular than you already are.
Anyways give her a chance to explain herself dont fire her either way good help is sooo hard to find. Espically an employee who doesnt give you shit for working on new years eve when all her 9-5 friends are out partying.

At my store if this was done at a slow time just so they could clean up and go home earlier without having to make and deliver a last minute order I would(and have) fire the manager.

What about all those times she didn’t forget to put the phones back on the hook before she left?

My thoughts exactly, it’s probably not the first time it’s happened, just the first time you caught it. That’s a serious lack of integrity.

After hearing more of the story I come back to whether you have ever talked about it with the crew and the fact that it did not cost you a lot of money.

In the end it is not her decision to make but it is on your shoulders to create clarity in what responsibilities and range of decision making your managers have.

I would explain to your managers that, first of all, it is not within their scope of authority to adjust the hours of operation. Further, that it is not only about the $$ potentially lost that night but also the customer perception of consistency and reliability and the fact that a customer who tried to call might not try you again the next time they want pizza at that time.

I would assume that this was not the first time this has happened and I would not give the employee the opportunity to lie and say that it was.

I would not fire an assistant for this on a one time basis as I would feel that a small part of the responsibility was mine but I would dock the bonus and make it clear that future events would be firing offenses and I would do this in writing.

If any part of the responsibility is his, why dock her bonus? She didn’t know she couldn’t do that, right?

Because she still should have known better.

We all handle things differently. For me, that small part of responsibility that the owner holds is why this would not be a firing offense for me… doesn’t eliminate the responsibility that the employee holds.

I know we had dozens of calls NYE and NYD just asking “what time are you open until today” We were open normal hours (until 9:30 PM)
I’d be embarrassed to find that they called and were unable to order. Certainly at least a write-up is in order.

My first week in the business I fired 4 people for door sheet tossing. They left them right on top of the trash. They put their initials on each order so they could keep track of how to divide up the stolen cash.

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You know… sometimes I think I could write a book. That goes for all of us.
Right down to the lady who used to answer the door in nothing but a short t-shirt and would leave her purse WAY on top of the fridge so she’d have to stretch WAY up to get it. And she’d always say “now where is my purse?”
Same thing every time. And I never minded.
One night we were really busy and I had like 6 stops in the car and she started the “Now where is my pur…?”
“Top of the fridge!”

You may want to check older videos to see if the person, or other folks do the same thing closer to the end of the shifts, to find out if this problem goes deeper. May be they picked this habit from their earlier employer, where it was acceptable to do so, and have continued here too. In which case you would need to factor in your training processes to ensure the employees are onboarded and trained properly, Bodegahwy said.