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to refuse to go to a funeral?

(24 Posts)
Ellybellyboo Thu 21-Jan-16 09:11:13

Vert sadly, one of my colleagues suddenly collapsed and died just after Christmas and it's his funeral next week.

Our bosses are very keen for all management to attend and "show their face" (his words, not mine).

I didn't actually know this man, the company I work for has 300+ employees, spread over 2 buildings that are a couple of miles apart. He worked in the other building in a department I had no dealings with. I recognise his name and after his photo was printed in our local newspaper I realise I've seen him around from time to time, but that's the extent of it.

Many of the people in my building do know him really well and want to go to the funeral, but we aren't all able to attend as some staff will need to remain at work.

The big boss seems to be operating some sort of upstairs/downstairs system here as he seems to think management should be attending over and above the production staff - who actually knew him well and worked closely with him

AIBU to think it's totally inappropriate for me to go? I would be intruding on people's genuine grief and really don't think it's my place.

Plus, given some of us need to remain behind in the office, it would make far more sense for me to stay and let others who actually knew and worked with him go.

It all feels like a bit of office politics point scoring going on between the senior management and a funeral isn't the time or place so I am extremely reluctant to go

Namechangergeneral Thu 21-Jan-16 09:13:46

Yanbu. You should stay behind so others can go.

Grumpyoldblonde Thu 21-Jan-16 09:16:25

Yes I think you are completely right, I would hate people just to turn up to any funeral of a relative of mine in the way you describe - close co-workers of course. Not management people putting on a show, it is the opposite of showing respect. The company should send flowers/make a donation, not show up mob-handed. can you explain that to the seniors? The insensitivity of people makes me gasp sometimes.

HooseRice Thu 21-Jan-16 09:18:45

Don't go. Someone needs to hold the fort at work.

I had to go to the funeral of the wife of a senior colleague once as my manager said I had to (he even arranged my transport). I'd met her once. It was very sad but I felt like an imposter. Also the funeral itself brought back grief feelings for my own loved ones who had died.

Topseyt Thu 21-Jan-16 09:22:39

Management need to be represented, but that doesn't mean all have to actually go.

You didn't really know him, whereas many production line staff di? Is that right? Say that you are willing to hold the fort in the office on that day, and offer to donate to any collection being made in his name instead.

That should be perfectly acceptable IMHO.

LumelaMme Thu 21-Jan-16 09:22:41

Can you suggest to someone senior to you that you think some of the production staff go instead of you, as you feel it would be more appropriate?

Because it would be.

Topseyt Thu 21-Jan-16 09:23:41

* did!

Ellybellyboo Thu 21-Jan-16 09:30:29

Not management people putting on a show, it is the opposite of showing respect.

This is exactly how I feel. Especially as management putting on a show will be at the expense of colleagues who actually new him well and worked closely with him.

If I go, my team's supervisor can't, and he's worked with hi previously he's and is a close friend out of work as well.

It's totally inappropriate as far as I'm concerned, and I have explained this several times but senior management seem to think it's more important to "show your face"

Duckdeamon Thu 21-Jan-16 09:32:41

It is clearly unreasonable for an employer to demand that employees (at any level) attend a funeral!

MaidOfStars Thu 21-Jan-16 09:35:23

I think management representation is nice, as is allowing close coworkers to attend. But it might not be so easy to allow production lines to shut down for a morning, nor is it obvious that management could cover the jobs.

MatildaTheCat Thu 21-Jan-16 09:37:19

YANBU. Just tell management that X&y who were close to the deceased will be attending and you will hold the fort.

If it is held in a crematorium there will likely be very limited space. I would not be at all happy if a bunch of strangers (to me as well as my dh) turned up and took space that his actual friends and family needed.

MaidOfStars Thu 21-Jan-16 09:37:54

senior management seem to think it's more important to "show your face"
They're making it all about them and the company reputation.

AdoraBell Thu 21-Jan-16 09:43:00

Agree with pp, those who worked wth him attend and you hold the fort.

skyeskyeskye Thu 21-Jan-16 09:45:57

I would suggest that your team supervisor goes in your place as he is a personal friend of the deceased and that you will stay and manage the team working.

missnevermind Thu 21-Jan-16 09:52:14

When FIL died he had been retired for quite a few years. We had worked together also.
At his funeral his wife thought it was wonderful how many of his former colleagues were able to attend and was also pleased to see people she recognised.

MackerelOfFact Thu 21-Jan-16 09:57:23

YANBU at all. It would be deeply inappropriate for genuine friends to miss the funeral just to make the management look good for showing up.

By all means send flowers or a donation from the company to pay respects, but don't deprive genuine mourners the chance to say goodbye.

Ellybellyboo Thu 21-Jan-16 10:05:01

I would suggest that your team supervisor goes in your place as he is a personal friend of the deceased and that you will stay and manage the team working.

That's pretty much what I've already agreed with my team

My team supervisor plus about 50% of my team want to go so we've rejigged their shift pattern and work schedule a bit, those that want to go have offered to make up the time so it will make no difference what so ever to anyone else, the only person affected is me as I have to come in earlier and leave later. I've already authorised it and we were all set

It's this upstairs/downstairs mindset that is pissing me off. Because I have 'manager' in my job title, I'm somehow more important than those genuinely grieving

Potatoface2 Thu 21-Jan-16 10:10:56

i dont think bosses have a right to say who has to and who cant attend a funeral....its right about putting on a 'management show' and its in bad taste...and its telling others that they arent entitled to grieve....its really rude to the poor guys family too!

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 21-Jan-16 10:43:36

Either they send appropriate people or shut down for a couple of hours, but what they are suggesting is mad.

Completely agree with you.

LalaLyra Thu 21-Jan-16 10:44:55

I think what you've done is the best thing. My Grandad worked in the same factory in various roles from when he left school until he died. On the day of his funeral we were oblivious to who was there, but later when I realised that Billy, that he'd done a certain task with every day for years, and Donny who he sat with at lunch and various other people whose faces I could match to stories had come I was really touched, as was my Nana. So your stance that the people that knew him go is so right.

Topseyt Thu 21-Jan-16 20:15:15

Your approach is the most sensible one. Stick with it.

iciclewinter Thu 21-Jan-16 21:17:37

YANBU. Funerals aren't about people "showing their face". Don't go, and say you'd rather stay at work so that someone who knew him better can attend.

LuckyBitches Fri 22-Jan-16 15:56:26

YANBU - I don't want work randoms showing up at my funeral! How disgusting that management are using a human being's funeral for political reasons.

Kewcumber Fri 22-Jan-16 16:01:01

I think you should stick to your guns. Say that in any other situation you would of course agree with your boss (try to say it without sarcasm grin) but in this situation you have already arranged it with your team and would hate them to be disappointed now.

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