On saturday night my manager (late 40’s) did a stupid thing by squirting chilli sauce at a young (15) worker in jest. It caught him in the eye causing great pain.
My assistant manager (17) took immediate control of first aid and then the manager took over. While the manager was doing first aid to the boy he kept apologising for his actions and became distressed for hurting the kid. The boy told him he didn’t want to work for us anymore - understandable.
First I heard of it (I was working the front of shop) when manager came to me distresssed and told me. I then took over first aid and then called boys mum as he wanted to go home (understandable).
While I was doing first aid my manager collected his things and told staff he wouldn’t be back and rushed out of the store and went home (middle of rush time). He phoned me in a very distressed state and told me he was remorseful but was resigning. I told him to get over it and get back to the shop, but no show.
I phoned the boys mother and she came and collected him. While she was in the back of store I showed her our comprehensive first aid station and assured her we work under strict Health and Safety guidelines (but unfortunately this time something went badly astray). I gave her all our details and told her to get any medical attention if required under our workers compensation policy.
Later in the evening I contacted the mother to check on the boy and everything was OK except that he didn’t want to work here anymore (she wants him to because he enjoyed the job and the people).
The next morning the manager phoned me at home and was very dsitressed and apologising. He reiterated his resignation which I refused.
The reason for refusing the resignation was that due to the employment situation here I wouldn’t be able to replace him. This is the same manager that fell down the cliff and broke bones in his hand and left me to do 17 weeks 7 days a week. I had to let him go as he was off too long with a poor prognosis for the injury.
When he was off for so long I tried to replace him and got 6 replies - 1 who wanted $25 per hour plus, plus, plus who I told to shove it, 2 who were ex Domino’s who couldn’t put two words together, 2 who were unemployed and were probably just applying so they could fullfill conditions for unemployment benefits and the other who only left Domino’s as a store manager the week before. He fitted the bill for what I wanted but an hour before he was due to start he texted messaged a weak bulls*#t excuse for not starting. Ended up being Domino’s spying on us. In the end I rehired the original manager after getting the all clear to return to work.
We are in a situation where business of all descriptions cannot get staff,so I have had to keep the manager on. I don’t think his foolhardy, iresponsible actions (especially as store manager) are worthy of firing but require more so of discipline. The boys mother agrees.
The manager wanted a couple of days off to regroup but I said he could have Sunday off and I expected him back on Monday (both my usual days off).
I went to the store today (Monday) before staff got in and spoke with the manager and let him know that as store manger he has to set examples and show leadership and act responsible. He was extremely remorsefull and upset. I reiterated his responsibilities and said what was done was done and could not be undone and any ramifications we will face, if any come forth. It was brief but concise and straightforward.
The manager also told me that he is suffering a relapse of a longterm depression and his medication is not working. We spoke about it and he is going to the doctors for more treatment.
I am not comfortable about his actions in fooling around and “running” away, but I empathise with his sickness and that it may have caused him to act irresponsibly and then to panic and flee because he hurt the boy and potentially hurt our business.
I am in the “dammed if I do and dammed if I don’t” situation by keeping him on, but in the end of the day he knows he did wrong and let me and the staff under him down. He is a nice guy and I like him. He is an extremely good worker, knows and carries out his duties well and importantly is very honest and trustworthy. Unfortunately he carries a lot of personal baggage.
I have been in constant contact with the boy and his mother to ensure everything is OK and it seems to be.
This episode has really re-awakened the fact the you can never relax on the operational standards and expectations that are to be adhered to, no matter who they are.
I guess to some I am wrong and to others I am right in the way I handled it, but unfortunately due to circumstances I have no choice.
I guess my father-in-law’s saying rings true in this situation … “when you’re right you’re wrong, and when you’re wrong you’re wrong to hell”.
Sorry about the long post (often a fault of mine) but it was a pretty traumatic experience all round.