Difficult Employee...What do I do?

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    I am having a tough time with an employee. Lately she has been giving me grief over the smallest things. She is on disablilty and is only able to work 60 hours a month. She doesn't want to work more than 6 hours at a time. She doesn't want to work 2 days in a row and the previous manager gave her a set schedule of Wed and Friday with one weekend a month. It has been tough, but I have been trying to accommodate all her requests. This past month while making my new department schedule I had a hole in the schedule I needed filled an no one else could do it. I asked her if she could and she replied, "Well, I usually take my art classes on Tuesdays and I like to spend my Mondays doing my art so I'll have to check but probably not." ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? I would love to sit at home and do other things too, but this is your job! Were it not for the set schedule I would have just scheduled her to work and been done with it! I am tired of catering to her wants and desires. I want to fire her, but I don't know what to do! Should I counsel her that this set schedule business doesn't work? Should I cut her hours down to nothing? What do I do? Oh, also, she has 2 worker's comp cases open against our company. They have been open for over 1.5 years and occurred under questionable circumstances. HELP!
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Have you talked to your HR and legal departments about your options?
    Valerie Salva likes this.
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    HR is hesitant to let me fire her because she is under worker's comp. They are afraid she will file for unemployment and/or re-injure and have yet another claim against us. They advised me to cut her hours down to nothing and force her to quit. I think this is a poor technique to use and I would guess that she would re-injure if I did that just to recoup some lost wages. I really feel like there is no way out of this horrible situation. She owns us and she knows it. HELP!
  6. 2
    I think you cut her hours down as low as you feel you can and then "take her when you can get her" without counting on getting any more hours of work from her. Then, stop agonizing over it. Pretend she is not really a part of your regular staff -- but just a trained worker who comes in occasionally to add to your staff.

    You might want to try canceling her set schedule while complying with her "no 2 days in a row" need. For example, tell her that she might be scheduled for either a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday, but that you would never schedule her 2 days in a row. I doubt her disability paperwork says that her scheduled day must be a Wednesday. That would give you some flexibility to help your schedule and give her a little less power in your relationship. It would help you regain some control.

    As for scheduling other activities on days she knows she will have off ... well ... that's every employee's right and you simply have to get over that. We are all free to schedule other activities on our days off. Don't waste your energy focusing on something that is a basic right. Instead, focus on the real source of your anger -- that this employee is taking advantage of the situation. Focus on regaining some control by not guaranteeing her a set schedule so that you can better staff your unit. Then let her decide if it is a job she still wants.

    Good luck!
    JJGRN and elkpark like this.
  7. 0
    Unless she has a contract, there is nothing that says you have to continue with her "set schedule." You should speak with her and explain that you need her to be more flexible with the schedule, and that due to your staffing needs, you cannot accommodate a set schedule for anyone. I like llg's suggestion for scheduling, which will allow you more flexibility and give you back the control over the schedule.
  8. 0
    I bet your worker's comp division/lawyer would like to know about her art classes and needing to practice her art. If you haven't made that call I would do so immediately. They can advise you exactly of the agreement as far as how many hours a day she can work, how many days in a row, etc. If there is no contract for a set schedule then see if they will let you schedule her as needed keeping within the 60/month guideline.

    She's dictating things she shouldn't be allowed to. I guess they fear another lawsuit. It would be best if she just quit and not keeping her schedule might be one way to do it. Maybe every other weekend would do the trick if that is what most nurses there work.
    Last edit by Batman24 on Feb 13, '08
  9. 0
    I'm not in management but what I have heard said in the past is that you are scheduling for the employee and what the unit needs so you would try to do that to the best of your ability but ultimately everyone cannot be accomadated so she would have to do her part to be more flexible since she is only allowed so many hours a month she needs to be more flexible because you cannot place her at a time when the floor is covered otherwise. Its not right to the other employees who work what they are supposed to. If she can only work 60 hours a month they need to be hours that can help the unit also not just her.
  10. 0
    Does she pull her own weight while at work?

    She sounds like the kind of employee that I would not care to work with. Workers with injuries get a tad old after you have to continually do half their job and your own.
  11. 0
    A new DON got rid of the DSD one time by incrementally decreasing her hours until the nurse was forced to quit. She commuted about 50 miles one way to the workplace. I work in home health. When the agency doesn't want you around, they don't call you for cases. That is effectively a schedule with zero hours. I would very much suggest this method of getting rid of her. And if you think this is bad, how do you think an organization can be that has a Director that comes to work no earlier than 10 in the morning and is consistently gone by 1 in the afternoon? When not "working" her reduced hours, she leaves for family matters on a regular basis. Another disability case, who should not be in nursing, even a desk job. When this person is around, you don't get any response from them that looks like they are engaged in that activity called "work".

    Art class. How splendid.
  12. 0
    UGGH!! I hate workers comp situations, there is nothing stickier. You should absolutely get your HR involved, she should have a work comp caseworker that you can be in contact with. I would set up a meeting with your HR so you know exactly what the policies are and so you stay within the rules. Unless you have a work restriction that states those specific requests are required to meet her disability, you do not have any policies allowing set schedules and you are not allowing other staff to use set scheduling.. You should be able to give her fair notice of what the policies are for the schedule and let her know that you will not be able to accomdate her "requests". You allow her to decide if she is wanting to stay and continue working with the schedule as you post it or you will not be able to meet her needs. The kicker is though that is she is disabled due to a injury occuring at work you facility will have to pay for her one way or another, so some facilities may choose to keep them on in atleast some capacity. If you are not able to meet her needs maybe there would be a different department that would be able to accomdate her.
    Good Luck!


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