What would you do??

Hello Everyone,

we have an employee (High School Senior) that is requesting this weekend off because she says she has plans with her family for easter ALL weekend. She is only scheduled to work Friday Night until 11:00 and has the rest of the weekend off. We told her no that she needs to work this Friday night. Well she is having a fit because she doesn’t want to miss part of her family function and said that if we needed off for family, we would get someone to cover for us (we are the owners). She came in and worked last Saturday for about two hours and went home sick, we found out later that she was partying the night before and had a hangover.

There is a big festival coming to town this weekend (Fri & Sat) and I think this is what she is wanting to go to. She posted on her Twitter (she doesn’t think we read that) that she was excited for this festival coming up with a hashtag of #partypartyparty.

I don’t want her to miss her family function, but she does have a job and that sometimes has to come first. I think she isn’t being truthful, but have no evidence.

What would you do??

I think in this day and age of social media that if you spy on your employees you will only drive yourself crazy and end up with employees that resent you. You need to trust your workers and they trust you. People have lives outside of work. They also have responsibilities to both sides. You have to build a working relationship between the two. Give and take both ways. If you can cover then let her have it or find someone to cover. Make a note…and if this happens again…ask her to explain her position further. She is also a kid and you reading her way to vent to her friends is not productive. She will try to make you out as the bad guy to protect “face” with her friends if she ends up working the shift. The going home sick…maybe she was hungover…is she normally a great employee? Kids party. It is near end of the year and she is a senior. You hire lower wage kids and yes in return comes a few more headaches. Also remember her 2 line vent to friends is one thing…having 100 of her classmates writing a 2 line rip on your pizza would probably hurt a lot more. Bottom line…even with temp or young employees…build a working relationship and not a dictatorship. Sometimes people and employers need to give and take a little to make things work. You say she works till 11 on friday and off sat and sun…can she work until 8-9 and leave early? Still have time to hook up with friends on friday? Try and compromise so both parties leave the table happy. Then you get the Tweet about her great boss that let her off early…etc! :idea:

Qcfmike, thanks for the reply.

She is a good employee when she is there. It is the dishonesty part that really irks me I guess. We moved her to only weekdays about 3 months ago because she was constantly having excuses about not being able to work the weekends. She started doing pretty good at work so we told her that we would give her a raise provided she agreed to work one weekend day a week. This was 3 weeks ago and she worked the first one, came in but left with a hangover last Sat, and now wants out of this upcoming Friday shift. She already has a week off after graduation and will come back and work over the summer up until she goes back to school. I know she is a Senior and has a life outside of work, but she also has obligations to her job. I don’t think that is asking too much??

We are short-handed right now and she knows it. There is noone else that can cover her shift since it is a Friday night. They are out of school this Friday and the festival is all day Friday and Saturday. So even coming in and leaving early would not be an option because she would already be hammered by her shift at 5.

All kids do things like that - its part of the routine. Let them have their time off, and hire more of them to work. Don’t put them in adult positions (like investigating their whereabouts), think development. When you hire a young worker, by default you’re agreeing to help develop them into productive adults.

I had a situation like this where I had given the staff a month advanced warning there would be no time off on a particular night. Two of the staff came to me 2 weeks prior to the day and said the NEEDED the day off or they were giving their resignation notice. I accepted the resignations. I will not have my staff hold me hostage for a party. You may have to go the route of no show, no job if it is a big deal to your store.

No offense pizza2007, but how is rewarding her with time off for dishonesty helping to develop them?

I know this comes with the territory and that she is still just a kid, I was there once too. But at some point you have to accept the responsibility of your job and put partying second.

It may be different if we had someone to cover for her, but why should i feel obligated to give her time-off to party when I know my customer’s would be the ones most affected with slower service?? We are a small Pizza shop in an even smaller town, so we have a small labor pool. It is ‘all hands on deck’ for friday nights. We are short handed right now becasue we had one person move on to another job that doubled her pay and hours (driving a truck). She has two kids and knew she was trying to find something that could offer more.

Daddio, that is what we have told her. No show, no job. We will hate to lose her, but we don’t have any other choice. If we let her get away with this, what kind of message does that send to her or any of the other employees?


I would make her work. If she is telling the truth about family functions then her family will understand that she is being responsible and working a scheduled shift on a busy Friday night. They will get to enjoy her company Saturday and Sunday. She needs to understand that in the real world, even if she is only working a part-time min. wage job that she will NEVER be able to do all the “fun” things that come up in life. Could she possibly switch with an afternoon person? If not, make her work. We have a very strict attendance and tardy policy and we mark off no request weekends on the calendar. I rarely have problems!

Debbie, thats just it, its a Friday night and me and my wife both already work every friday night. There is no one that can cover it. It wouldn’t be as bad if it was one day during the week, but a Friday night is a tough one to get coverage for.

Tell her that you don’t have anyone else to cover, and that she needs to come in as scheduled. Also, tell her that you will do whatever you can do to get her out earlier than 11 if at all possible.

The real problem here is that you are screwed either way. If she doesn’t show up and you have to fire her, you are screwed. If she does show up and doesn’t want to be there, she will do a bad job and you are screwed.


“Pizza” and “Q C Mike”, thanks for your perspectives. I have learned from your thinking, and it will be helpful going forward.

What is the RIGHT thing to teach this young person?

Lie and I will take care of it, or your choices have consequences!
She wants to go play and you have to pick up the slack and still pay her and provide a job for her?
I hire people to solve problems (be that doing tasks that free me to do marketing, planning, analyzing or assessing opperational standards and procedures or even simply to spend time with my family) I DO NOT HIRE AND PAY TO HAVE SOMEONE CREATE MORE PROBLEMS FOR ME!

If they want a job (min wage or not) their are other people willing to do it. you just need to find them with the time you are saving by not solving her Issues!

Sorry if I am ranting…It took me along time to not just learn this but to put it into practice!

2 cents from Thin2win

Debbie, yes we are dine-in, carry-out & delivery. We normally have a full house on friday nights. We have 5 people (including my wife and myself) on Friday nights and there is almost no downtime.

I just spoke with my wife, and she told her that she will not work this Friday. She said that she has missed too many family functions and will NOT miss another one (she hasn’t missed any functions because of work since she hasn’t worked weekends in over 3 months). My wife explained to her that there was no one that could cover for her and she doesn’t seem to care. She told my wife that if we had a family function that we would have them work for us. Not only is this statement wrong, I think it is very disrepectful. My wife and I have missed many family functions because of the shop, but we do not complain to them about it or even let them know.

I just see this as a total lack of respect on her part. She is telling us she will NOT work regardless of the circumstances. I will hate to lose her, but she is giving us no choice but to fire her.


Thanks Debbie. It is what it is I guess… Like I said, I hate to lose her, but she has backed us into a corner with her statements. She should have at least come into the shop and discussed this with us instead of all of this via text messages.

We had to fire an employee a month or so back and his statement to us was, “I don’t understand why I am losing my job, everyone else has gotten away with alot worse.” If we give in now, we come off as pushovers and this behaviour will continue. If we stand our ground, we lose a good employee.


I appreciate your frustration(s). But since this pony has been ridden, lets not miss an opportunity to learn and develop. DON’T let yourselves be cornered. Take control and determine the outcome. Believe me, this can always become a win/win. If theft and dishonesty are not the problem, everything else is behavior. Behavior can be developed, modeled, and controlled. Good luck.

Pizza, what would you suggest that we do differently next time? I’m not trying to
come off like a smart alec, but we have no 1 else to cover her shift. There really are no other options and once she told us that she will not work regardless, what else can you do?


An hour ago I had one of the staff referred to in my previous post come and ask for her job back(16 months later). I said I was not going to hire her because I will not be placed in a position like that again. Staff will not manipulate me the way she tried.