To wonder if this is even legal?

(52 Posts)
SherbetVodka Mon 28-Jan-13 10:21:39

Sorry, this is a dull one about work.

Last week I started a new part time job in a big supermarket (transferred from another store so new to the store but not the company).

They have strict rules about workers not being allowed to carry anything on them during their shift (even a bottle of water is forbidden in case you've added alcohol to it) so you have to put everything in a locker.

Well, when I started last week I was told that they were short of lockers so I didn't have one yet and would have to leave my handbag behind someone's desk in the HR office. I wasn't too happy about that but obviously complied and went to work my shift. Then my manager noticed that I still had my engagement ring on (I never got told to remove it at my old store so forgot to this time). She held out her hand to take it but I said I'd keep it in my pocket.

Anyway, when my shift finished, I went to the HR office to get my bag. When I asked for it, they didn't know what I was talking about and insisted that it must be in the managers office, not theirs. I kept saying no, it's in here and they finally had a look for it and found it. They also said that my manager had left for the day, so I was very glad I hadn't given her my engagement ring to look after as god knows where it would have ended up if they've got such a casual attitude to looking after people's stuff.

So the day before my next shift, I phoned the store and asked if I'd have a locker arranged for when I came in to work. Was told to come in ten mins early and go to HR. When I did, I was told that there were no lockers and that I'd have to leave my bag and coat in the HR office for my entire 9 hour shift as there would be nobody around and the door would be locked.

So I put my lunch in the canteen fridge ( hoping it would still be there when I went for my break) and went to the shop floor then got told by my manager that she'd moved my things to the managers office which is unlocked all day (and unattended much of the time). I asked if I could, in that case, keep my valuables - money, cards, phone, keys - on me as I felt uncomfortable with them being in an office that anyone could access at any time and she said no, that would be a disciplinary offence.

I asked her if she had any idea when more lockers would be available as while I can leave most things at home, I'd really rather not come out without any money or any means of contacting DH or my mum who's looking after my child. She told me that she had no idea, it may not be for some time and that "lots of people are in the same boat".

Well, I understand that lots of other people are in this situation too but that doesn't make it ok, surely?? I feel really uncomfortable about this and am wondering if its even legal for an employer to force its' employees to leave their personal possessions somewhere unsecured and out of (their) view for their entire shift.

I also really, really dislike the implication from my manager that I'm being precious and demanding for minding about it. I was very polite about it, by the way. Probably too passive, if anything. It makes no difference to the situation, I know, but if she'd shown some sympathy or said something like "yeah I know it's shit, I'm sorry, we're trying to get it sorted as soon as we can" then I might not be feeling quite as narked about it as I am. If I was a manager, I'd feel awful if a new employee was left either without access to her things all day or was forced to leave them in an unlocked and unattended room.

It's not just the inconvenience and worry, it feels like a contemptuous way to treat staff. And isn't there a potential issue with something being nicked and then the store being liable for it? That's why I'm wondering if they're acting legally by doing this confused

CaptainVonTrapp Mon 28-Jan-13 19:29:57

What a disgrace. I understand their rules but if they expect you to follow them then clearly they need to uphold their side of the bargain and provide you with somewhere to put personal posessions (cash, keys, phone,medicines etc) which may or may not be valuable but are certainly important.

I would certainly approach the store manager and ask who would be replacing my posessions if they went missing and how long I would be waiting for a locker.

I can't believe people think its acceptable and that you should just go and do a nine hour shift with a bus there and back with no posessions! Stand up for yourself!

If something is stolen it will cause much more trouble involving the police and claiming on insurance.

HollaAtMeBaby Mon 28-Jan-13 19:50:30

Agree that this sucks.

Surely whoever looks after your DC will have the store's number to call in the event of an emergency so that you can be paged if you're on the shop floor? It's quite normal not to be allowed your mobile.

I would suggest locking the zip of your handbag with a tiny combination padlock and/or securing it to something like a desk with a cable padlock

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