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Thread: officially pissed off

  1. #1
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    officially pissed off

    I talked to my department supervisors about the smelling like smoke issue with J. I have documented 3 conversations already, and in other jobs often this is officially documented. They advised that I talk to him, so I did that today at the beginning of program instead of later. I did talk to him, his response was odd. He thanked me for looking out for him. I am not looking out for him, I said that I was frustrated with him based on the previous conversations. I also asked him how he is doing this, and he is going off property across the street.

    This is just stupid, No matter what the job you do not get a smoke break for a 4-5 hours shift. And he is experienced in this work. So I simply said he cannot go off property on his shift. Two sentences, no fillers or conversation since he seems to misunderstand (more likely playing me). I have been very professional in addressing things before or after program instead of calling him on it in the moment, but I have had a surge of confidence and feel more grounded in my job.

    Here is the pissed off, my colleague worked with him over the summer. Apparently J would walk out of program, not tell anyone where he was going and come back reeking of smoke. My colleague and the director I took over for did not address this with him ever. They also did not address the issue of him taking more authority than he really had in his position. At least now I am getting more of the story, and I get to deal with it. And I am not letting anything go anymore, or worrying about politeness with someone who appears to be stupid or playing a game.

  2. #2
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    Good for you. It ticked me off at my last job that smokers took a 15 to 20 minute break every hour and would even take their nonsmoking friends outside with them to gossip about me. My great sin? Not doing their work for them, because I was doing my own while they were lounging around. The boss sided with them - as they were many and I was one, there must be something wrong with me. I am so glad to be out of there.

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    Yes, I agree it sucks. And I have nothing against smokers. I was on and off for a long time, quit about 2-3 years ago for good. I however never took a break during a program I was running.

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    I agree with you that "breaks" that are not built in are dangerous when staffing is so critical. A situation regarding immediate attention can happen at any time and an employee off premises without permission is not "working". I would say that if you see it again, it would have to be documented as an employee issue and as a safety issue too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
    I agree with you that "breaks" that are not built in are dangerous when staffing is so critical. A situation regarding immediate attention can happen at any time and an employee off premises without permission is not "working". I would say that if you see it again, it would have to be documented as an employee issue and as a safety issue too.
    I agree, being off premises while being paid and expected to be on site is a complete NO.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I can't stand cigarette smoke and something like that would make me take my kid out of the program. That being said, there are state and federal laws that dictate how many breaks employees are entitled to and for how long. Here in CA, an employee is legally entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours worked (and a 30-minute lunch break if you work more than 5 hours). So you should definitely check your local labor laws. If smoking is not allowed on premises, which seems likely, I don't know if you have legal grounds for making him stay on premises for his rest break, which he might be entitled to depending on your state laws. I suspect he is smoking in his car and that makes him reek even more. Very gross.

    Because the smoke might be a health issue in working with young children, I would recommend sitting down with your manager and HR to figure out how to address this issue legally.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I was curious so I did a quick search and came up with this from the Colorado Dept of Labor & Employment: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/breaks

    Rest Periods


    Every employer shall authorize and permit rest periods, which, insofar as practicable, shall be in the middle of each four-hour work period. A compensated ten-minute rest period for each four hours or major fractions thereof shall be permitted for all employees. Such rest periods shall not be deducted from the employee's wages. It is not necessary that the employee leave the premises for said rest period.

    You could probably implement a site policy that would require employees to remain on premises during their break (and with the safety issues in working with children, it's probably a very good idea), but you would need to enforce that equally. If J can't leave to smoke, neither can Suzy to buy coffee. And if such a policy were implemented, you would want to hold a staff meeting informing everyone and letting them know that a violation could result in disciplinary action. Since you are new, it would probably be wise to run this by your manager first.

    Of course, that would not necessarily solve the smoke smell issue because J could just smoke up before clocking in or during lunch when he can leave the premises. That issue I think would best be addressed with the help of your manager and HR to make sure you cover all your bases and tackle it in a legal manner.

    (It's worth noting that many employers give a 15-minute break even though the legal requirement is only 10 minutes. Every company I've ever worked for has done that. So you might want to ask your manager what the official or unofficial policy is in your district.)

  8. #8
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    I keep on losing my replies, so they are getting shorter and shorter.

    I talked to my supervisors and they had some specific language that I need to use in case this needs to be escalated. Words that refer to district and department policy as well as licensing rules. We all agree we really don't want that but I am also both pissed and incredulous. What exactly is NOT making sense of NO. And how has he been employed in this type of work for so long while doing this? In any case if he is entitled to this type of break in our line of work there is still NO WAY that you tell someone you are going to the bathroom and duck out the side for a smoke. We already have all the policies in place however, and nothing is new in this job as compared to all the other programs I have worked in for ages. There is a reason there are very few smokers in this line of work. Ratio and the safety of children and program come first. It is clearly stated that on field trip days staff should be prepared with everything they need such as lunch, water bottle, swim suit, etc. It also says and we reinforce that you will not be able to leave to purchase lunch during your shift.

    He has said things like thanking me for looking out for him and and another time said he considers us all equal. So my next conversation that I want to have on Monday is just stating that these are not friendly hints, I AM his direct supervisor. This goes for when I ask him for plans on a certain date or direct how he addresses the students or anything really. He was hired a few months before me and his first supervisor were really low key and never dealt with any of these issues. Maybe no one was clear or he is really playing me on this one.

  9. #9
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    It does appear that the employee is entitled to a ten minute break. You may find it helpful to set up a time for that break period so that you know and can plan for his absence for those few minutes.

  10. #10
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    Yesterday we had a full day program and we scheduled him for a 30 minute, off the premises, break. He did not come back smelling like smoke. I will follow up saying that he cannot come in smelling like cigarette smoke even if he was off the clock and off the premises.

    Meanwhile we took all the kids outside and had one person inside to answer the door and clean up. We keep in contact with walkies quite well. I was outside until the inside person was off and then went inside. My co-supervisor called in that he was bringing kids in and what was my plan. I clearly said 'table top' since it was close to attendance (they have to clean up for attendance). All of us were on walkies to hear this. The kids came in with one staff and told me Mr J said it was all open centers. I immediately called him and asked him if he told them open centers because I had already said something else. He said he had and sorry. My staff who came in told me the guys decided this outside, told the kids and sent them in. I am documenting this, and will have a follow up with him. We are all working together this summer but it is my site so I will have very clear, detailed rules. Actually less rules then these 2 guys want. Some rules are just unnecessary and can be added if we actually have a problem, rules for using tape are just stupid. Correct the kids if you need to without creating a rule for 70 kids to follow.

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