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AIBU to think this is an odd request from a new work colleague?

(244 Posts)
Jellyhater Thu 04-Apr-19 21:05:57

I work in residential care and have just employed a new member of staff. We discussed sleep-ins and she said that she would be able to do one a month on average but would try to be as flexible as possible.

She is now saying that sleep-ins are going to be a problem for her as the other member of staff on duty for that shift is male. He will be in another bedroom at the other end of the house if he is sleeping in, or will be working in the office/ laundry area if he is doing a waking night shift.

She has asked that I facilitate her husband being able to meet this particular member of staff to alleviate his anxieties about her being away from home. There are other men that work in the home, so any of them could cover this shift at any point - does the husband want to vet the whole staff team?!

I want to be a sarky cow and remind her that she had many weeks to tell me that this is going to cause problems but has chosen not to. I am feeling a bit frustrated that she thinks she can manipulate the roster to her benefit and that she is implying that the male staff are not trustworthy. I absolutely will not be arranging any meetings for the husband. A tiny part of me is concerned that this might be some kind of DV issue.

I've not been able to discuss this with anyone at work but AIBU to think she is probably going to be more trouble than she is worth?

ChariotsofFish Thu 04-Apr-19 21:07:44

I’d be extremely concerned that it is a DV issue and I’d try to gently address that with her.

Jackshouse Thu 04-Apr-19 21:07:59

I’m with you on the DV issue.

EvaHarknessRose Thu 04-Apr-19 21:09:40

Likely coercive control sad. I think you should politely decline to the request.

Whynotnowbaby Thu 04-Apr-19 21:10:20

It sounds like he is very controlling and although she is being difficult for you, she may be terrified of his reaction and desperately trying to square his demands with holding down the job. I would support her as far as you reasonably can rather than dismissing her comments as unreasonable.

S1naidSucks Thu 04-Apr-19 21:14:55

Could be an abusive relationship, or possibly due to her religion/culture. If it’s not due to the latter, then I’d be very worried about her. If it is due to the latter, it’s a really difficult one and you might need to tread carefully. You might also need to ask for legal advice

catinboots99 Thu 04-Apr-19 21:15:21

Really? This is work. Nobody should have to have their spouse 'introduced' to new work colleagues. I would be questioning her professionalism tbh

Her DH and home life is not relevant to her new role

Imstickingwiththisone Thu 04-Apr-19 21:18:00

If it was an abusive relationship though, would she not have just lied about who she is on shift with?

newtlover Thu 04-Apr-19 21:19:08

not sure how you can best handle it though
it's obviously an unreasonable request, but she may already be very aware of that but have no choice about asking.

1CantPickAName Thu 04-Apr-19 21:22:17

She is a new employee who can’t fulfill the requirements of the role, I’d give notice

newtlover Thu 04-Apr-19 21:24:18

are there any other worrying signs eg
does he always bring her to and from work? text her at work, frequently?
does her pay go into her own account or his?
does she seem worried if she gets delayed at work?
please don't think she's more trouble than she's worth, you have a duty of care surely to your employees and you may be her one chance of help

MaryBoBary Thu 04-Apr-19 21:24:46

@Imstickingwiththisone what if her husband will be picking her up from shifts and will see a male member of staff leaving too?

OP I would tell her that it could be various men on shift with her. I would speak to the male staff member (who she would most regularly work with) and ask him if he would be open to meeting her and her husband. If everyone is agreeable then why not facilitate it this once? I too think this may be a DV/DA situation and would try and support her. You can make it very clear to her husband (if the meeting goes ahead) that it is happening once and once only, and that he should not be involved any further in her work life - he is not your employee.

Ginkythefangedhellpigofdoom Thu 04-Apr-19 21:25:50

Before you and then in reply others mentioned dv abusive relationship that what screamed out to me.

newtlover Thu 04-Apr-19 21:30:45

do not arrange a meeting between the husband and the male worker/s
this is both insulting to the worker, validates the husbands controlling behaviour and disempowers the woman

smallereveryday Thu 04-Apr-19 21:34:48

Is there a cultural/religious issue. Many religious groups do not 'permit' women to be alone with men they are not married or related to. (Not saying that's ok - but nevertheless a fact)

AJPTaylor Thu 04-Apr-19 21:35:00

She might have dv issues. She might just be a cheeky fecker who doesn't want to do that shift
If she had said originally she couldn't what would you have done?

polarpig Thu 04-Apr-19 21:35:23

If it was an abusive relationship though, would she not have just lied about who she is on shift with?

Probably not, the consequences when her husband found out wouldn't be good if he was abusive.

ilikemethewayiam Thu 04-Apr-19 21:36:10

Be careful of introducing him to staff members! If it is a DV issue and her DH is is unhinged you could be putting your male staff members at risk.

Thankssomuch Thu 04-Apr-19 21:37:06

Is she on probation? If she isn’t able to meet the requirements set out in her Job Description - for whatever reason - then this needs addressing ASAP.

SouthernComforts Thu 04-Apr-19 21:38:30

Could be an abusive relationship, or possibly due to her religion/culture. If it’s not due to the latter, then I’d be very worried about her.

How can it be fine if religion is involved, but abuse if religion is not? Genuine question as an atheist I just can't wrap my head around it.

DuckbilledSplatterPuff Thu 04-Apr-19 21:39:53

Are you actually within your rights as an employer to ask an employee if she's experiencing DV? Its a very tricky situation both for you and for her, poor thing, from the sounds of it.
Can you quietly get advice on this?
Also I agree with what @newtlover said.

AnneOfCleanTables Thu 04-Apr-19 21:40:04

It could be an abusive relationship or it could be that she has a history of abuse that makes her wary of being alone on shift during the night with a male. I'm not sure how you balance her right to keep such a past private with your feeling that she's manipulating the roster. I'd also assume that she wasn't able to tell you earlier as she wrongly assumed it would be a female staff member.

Jellyhater Thu 04-Apr-19 21:41:29

She drives herself too and from work
She isn't on her phone
Her wages goes into her account
She turns up about 15 mins before her shift starts and leaves on time which matches the culture of the organisation
Doesn't seem jumpy or anxious, if anything, she seems quite over confident
I don't think it is a religious/ cultural need (but I could be wrong) but why not say this? This is a protected characteristic

I'm not taking part in organising any meetings regarding the husband.
I think the male member of staff will feel very uncomfortable about this and I don't want to put him in any difficult situations. He is a good worker.

shatteredandstressed Thu 04-Apr-19 21:41:34

Has she signed a contract yet?
She doesn't sound like she can fulfill the job role regardless of the husband. Definitely do not facilitate any request for the husband to meet the male workers. That is downright unreasonable.
It may be DV but that's not really your concern; your priority is your residents presumably vulnerable & your existing staff.

wigglypiggly Thu 04-Apr-19 21:43:28

There are women only care jobs for special circumstances, tell her to look, at these as an option.

NailsNeedDoing Thu 04-Apr-19 21:44:38

I can imagine plenty of women being uneasy with their husbands staying overnight with male colleagues, it's just that the husbands wouldn't ever tell their employers that and would expect their wives to deal with it.

It would be understandable if a partner in this situation were anxious if they have personal insecurities and get jealous easily. They should get over it and deal with it like a grown up without expecting to vet their partners colleagues, but they shouldn't automatically be assumed to be abusers!

Sounds to me like the employee is just trying to get out of doing nights!

Weepingwillow5 Thu 04-Apr-19 21:45:23

This is a strange request , and one which sets off alarm bells that this lady may have problems at home . I’m surprised that some are saying that a co worker should be asked to meet the husband though . If the husband is controlling the co worker could end up as a target. I think you need to say no and ask why she’s asking .

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 04-Apr-19 21:48:09

"She has asked that I facilitate her husband being able to meet this particular member of staff to alleviate his anxieties about her being away from home."
My first thought was coercive control sad. My second was, his anxieties are not my concern. My third thought was - no.

Jellyhater Thu 04-Apr-19 21:48:48

I am speaking to our remote HR service tomorrow for guidance as I feel this is a weird one and isn't going to be straightforward.

She is three weeks into the new role, so still on probation so I do have that as a back-up.

I initially thought it was her attempt to get out of doing the sleep-ins and the tone of her email really annoyed me but something just doesn't feel right.

JessieMcJessie Thu 04-Apr-19 21:49:11

How does the husband even know that the colleague is male? She must have told him, which would mean that she herself also thinks it’s an issue. Weird. I suppose he might have forced her to tell him.

ReallyReallyNo Thu 04-Apr-19 21:49:25

Tell her it’s a completely inappropriate request and it will not be happening, point out the requirements of the role again and ask her if she’s able to meet them or not.
Leave her to have a think and see what she decides.

newtlover Thu 04-Apr-19 21:51:28

OK, so no obvious signs of DA
Maybe just be straightforward- make sure you can speak to her alone and say
'Julie, you say your husband wants to meet your co worker. This is a very unusual request, is there any special reason for it- like a religious requirement? It's not something I'm prepared to do, but is there anything I can do to help?'
make sure you know of local DV services and leave some of their literature (plus other useful stuff, say Samaritans or local wellbeing orgs) in staff room/toilets

newtlover Thu 04-Apr-19 21:56:09

also remind her that all staff have enhanced DBS (they do, don't they)
I absolutely do NOT think it normal for anyone to feel anxious about their partner working in this way- I wouldn't remotely worry about DP in a residential setting with female colleagues (actually that's where he is right now- had never occurred to me to worry)

Jellyhater Thu 04-Apr-19 22:00:47

Maybe the husband has seen a copy of the roster and that's how he knew. I'm not sure.

She does have a contract and a copy of the job description.

I've just reread the email conversation between us both and the more I read it, the more I am convinced she is trying to manipulate the situation.

CantStopMeNow Thu 04-Apr-19 22:01:50

she said that she would be able to do one a month on average but would try to be as flexible as possible
She doesn't want to do sleep-ins and fulfill that part of her she's probably using her husband as an excuse.

sunshiney78 Thu 04-Apr-19 22:02:27

It’s most likely cultural, however if the job requirements go against her cultural beliefs, then it’s not the job for her.
For example if I were a vegetarian due to religious reasons, I would not expect to work at a butcher and ask not to be exposed to meat.

Jellyhater Thu 04-Apr-19 22:04:44

Yes, enhanced DBS and safer recruitment processes.

I trust all of the male support workers implicitly.

Littleraindrop15 Thu 04-Apr-19 22:07:21

Do not facilitate the meeting and I would say if she can't fulfil the job requirements that she has signed up for then unfortunately you will need to cut her loose.

fattylawmaker Thu 04-Apr-19 22:14:05

I am a frontline NHS professional.

I had a student placed with me & day 1 she informed me that she couldn’t see men alone or deal with men less than fully dressed. She was early 20’s.

50% of our patients are men & this was clearly part of the job! I discussed it with her & she said it was her husbands wishes and that they were Christians. She also has to leave on time to have his dinner ready. I talked to her about this but she was adamant that it was just ‘their religion’.

I spoke to her uni about my concerns and they discussed it with her but said they were not worried & advised religious tolerance! We botched our way through a 6 week placement but about 2 years later she contacted me via FB to say she had left her abusive & controlling husband & to thank me for trying to help her sad

Ilovemypantry Thu 04-Apr-19 22:18:34

I think she’s just trying to dip out of doing the overnight shifts.

Aquamarine1029 Thu 04-Apr-19 22:19:04

Facilitating a meeting between the husband and male staff is completely inappropriate and a total violation of the male workers privacy. You could, and should, lose your job over that if you complied. Obviously, you're not going to. I think I would give this new staff member notice. She sounds like nothing but trouble going forward.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 04-Apr-19 22:19:16

She is three weeks into the new role, so still on probation so I do have that as a back-up

Just as well

From experience, I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you facilitate this situation with such a new employee it will get a LOT worse. I therefore agree with the PP about telling her that her suggestion won't be happening, reminding her of the job requirements and inviting her to consider whether it's really the job for her

mrstinky Thu 04-Apr-19 22:28:46

She sent you an email and did not say this to you.

Brienneoftarthiloveyou Thu 04-Apr-19 22:30:16

Agree with @Puzzledandpissedoff I've had numerous employees in the past who seem to think that they can say anything to get their foot in the door & then manipulate you to agreeing to their specific demands once they're settled.

Jellyhater Thu 04-Apr-19 22:34:48

Yes, she emailed me this yesterday and I have been pondering on it for 24 hours.

She has not said anything to me in person and has seen me a number of times since she started. She was emailing me on a frequent basis before she started to chase on progress of DBS, references, start date and other obscure questions. She had plenty of chances to speak to me but emailed instead. We worked a shift together earlier on this week and she said nothing.

KaterinaPetrova Thu 04-Apr-19 22:35:49

She sounds like she could be a nightmare employee. Only three weeks in and is already setting her own rules down and trying to get out of doing the full job requirements.

Absolutely right you shouldn't facilitate her DH meeting her coworkers. As others have said, that would be huge mistake. It's invading their privacy. They're fully DBS checked so there's really no need.

CaptSkippy Thu 04-Apr-19 22:37:25

I think you need to talk to her in person about this and found out more details.

vivariumvivariumsvivaria Thu 04-Apr-19 22:40:03

emailed with him standing over her shoulder giving dictation you, did she?

Poor cow.

ememem84 Thu 04-Apr-19 22:43:53

Did she Actually email you though? If it was me and I’d asked for something like that I’d bring it up in conversation.

I agree it’s a difficult one. And sounds odd but there may be a legit reason for asking--not sure what though--

Peterpiperpickedwrong Thu 04-Apr-19 22:49:39

My first thought was rape/SA victim rather than DV. However, if she can’t fulfill her contractual requirement then yes..
she is probably going to be more trouble than she is worth?

Regardless of the situation I can’t think of any worker in any situation that would be happy to have a co workers husband ‘check them out’ for suitability to work with their spouse-insulting! I also can’t see someone who was abusive to be so obvious in their OH probation period that they had an issue with them staying overnight.

am feeling a bit frustrated that she thinks she can manipulate the roster to her benefit and that she is implying that the male staff are not trustworthy.

This does seem the most likely possibility.

notacooldad Thu 04-Apr-19 22:55:05

How does the husband even know that the colleague is male?
Maybe he asked about the staff team?

she said that she would be able to do one a month on average but would try to be as flexible as possible
Blimey she wouldn't last a couple of days at our place.
We are currently on two a week and it is always a male , female rota from 10.00pm. The bedrooms aren't even in different parts of the house but next to each other!
It sounds like she is trying to manipulate the situation.

Ilovemypantry Thu 04-Apr-19 22:59:24

I would try to speak to her about it face to face rather than have emails going back and forth, especially if you see her and worked a shift with her.

timeisnotaline Thu 04-Apr-19 23:01:32

You definitely shouldn’t facilitate the meeting but I would pretty much do as newtlover suggests. Have a one to one and say this is very unusual, I can’t possibly facilitate it. Can you tell me what the reasons for you to ask this are? and we can see if there is anything we can do to help, but residential are a job requirement...

Ellapaella Thu 04-Apr-19 23:02:00

Absolutely do not agree to her husband coming in to vet the male co-workers. That is incredibly insulting to them and totally unprofessional.If she doesn't want to be on shift alone with a male colleague then she's chosen the wrong job unfortunately and that is what you should explain to her.
If this woman's husband is abusive then that is not the concern of her male colleagues and you should not pander to his demands. She either takes the job accepting she will be working shifts with male colleagues or she will have to consider whether this is the right employment for her and that is all you need to say to her.

nettie434 Thu 04-Apr-19 23:03:13

I've not been able to discuss this with anyone at work but AIBU to think she is probably going to be more trouble than she is worth?

Probably no! Like her, the male worker will have had an enhanced DBS and so she must know that the male worker should not need to be ‘vetted’ by her husband. From your replies, my reading is that it’s more likely she doesn’t want to do nights or sleep ins rather than coercive control at home. Think you are very wise to discuss this with HR while she is still on her probationary period. Very frustrating for you to have got this far without her mentioning sleep ins as a potential problem.

It is also likely to cause friction with other staff if she is seen as getting preferential shift patterns, but you know all this. Think it’s probably best to go with your instincts.

MitziK Thu 04-Apr-19 23:06:28

Over confidence can be an attempt to hide DV. One of the biggest arses I ever worked with was being harangued constantly by her husband, as he was convinced she was going to be shagging a bunch of 19 old trainees and the caretaker.

She also had a hell of a lot of 'silly accidents, ha, ha, ha, aren't I clumsy?' - she was more of an arse to others on those days, plus several times where she was wearing a lot more foundation than usual and clothes that completely covered her from neck to ankle.

As soon as he was out of the picture (he'd turned up at work and kicked off, she'd gone home with him, been off suddenly for ten days and returned shortly before going back to her maiden name), she changed into a quite pleasant, but certainly less over confident person, as she didn't need to bluster her way through her days anymore.

I know one of my exes would be fucking obsessed by the idea that there was a man sleeping somewhere near me and that I couldn't possibly work there without feeling compelled to sleep with him - or that the 'working overnight' was an elaborate ruse to sneak away to spend the night with a lover. I didn't apply for such jobs as it wasn't worth the hassle I'd get. Got rid eventually, thank fuck, but it would have been absolutely non stop had I even thought about a job that carried the requirement - even considering one would have been proof I was trying to come up with a way to fuck randoms.

Morticiaismymumgoal Thu 04-Apr-19 23:09:42

This is a difficult situation to be in because obviously the email screams dv. But you are a manager/ employer and not a friend so questioning her about it along those lines would be inappropriate. You don't want to let a woman in a possibly abusive relationship go because of her possibly abusive husband but at the same time the request is all kinds of wrong and you absolutely wouldn't/ shouldn't put any other member of staff in the position of having to meet (be vetted by) her husband.
What kind of cf gets out of doing overnight shifts by asking this though? Surely if it's real she's asked because she's desperate, wants the job but has terms put on her by her h. A cf would know they'd be let go for this wouldn't they? And if they wanted the job but not overnights would go down a different route?

NameChangeSameRage Thu 04-Apr-19 23:18:50

When I was a teenager I worked in a place where there was a woman whose partner was odd like this.
- He'd randomly turn up at the workplace to check on her, not every day, but at least weekly.
- She'd make casual references about being glad it was an all female team (due to the nature of the place) because he didn't like her talking to males
The man gave me the creeps even then. With a bit more experience, I wonder what became of the poor woman. She used to be a nervous wreck watching out for him.

AWaspOnAWindowReturns Thu 04-Apr-19 23:37:10

OP, I was ridiculously over-confident at work (especially around male colleagues) when I was being bullied and coerced by my abusive twat of an ex. I also desperately needed to keep the job so I could squirrel away some funds to leave him. Things came to a head when he insisted on attending an out-of-hours event with me (that staff were expected to attend but partners weren't invited to) to "make sure I behaved myself", then phoned HR to check I was telling the truth about partners not being invited, forced me to make my excuses and back out. HR had a word with my manager, who supported me 100% and gave me the push I needed to LTB sooner rather than later. Like a PP mentioned I also frequently befell "silly accidents" that l passed off as nothing at work. Please OP, give this woman the benefit of the doubt. Best case: you find out you're correct and she's trying to manipulate the rota, she makes up the time and plays by the rules or she resigns in exchange for a decent reference. Worst case: you sack her now and remove her means of building an escape from an abusive marriage.

TheInvestigator Thu 04-Apr-19 23:41:44

It's one thing for co-workers to become friends and meet each other partners but it's completely different to force a meeting.
You don't know this man or the real motivations. He could threaten your make staff or harass them or hurt them of he thinks they want to try something. He could also be perfectly lovely and sue could have cheated in the past so he really is just looking for reassurance... But you don't know. You cannot force your staff to meet him.

ScrimshawTheSecond Thu 04-Apr-19 23:52:58

Are you sure it's her writing the emails? Is the tone so different, and she hasn't spoken to you directly about it, is it possible her husband is writing them or dictating them?

I'd strongly suggest a face-to-face, and absolutely no way facilitate a meeting with the husband/other staff; that's absurd and not going to help anything, whatever the reason for the emails.

AWaspOnAWindowReturns Fri 05-Apr-19 00:06:18

Apologies, I don't think my earlier post was clear. I wasn't suggesting that a meeting with the husband would be a good idea. In fact I think it's a terrible idea. What I meant was, would it be possible to let the new member of staff off the sleep-in shifts until you get a better understanding of what's really going on behind the scenes?

Jellyhater Fri 05-Apr-19 00:10:45

The tone of the email matches all of the other emails received from her. I would recognise her writing style. I do genuinely believe that she is writing the emails.

I worked the shift alongside her on Monday afternoon and I received the email on Wednesday morning.

I will speak with her and just to confirm, I will not be arranging for the male member of staff to meet her and the husband for vetting.

Jellyhater Fri 05-Apr-19 00:15:36

Every residential setting will know how much stress is created by the rota. We have just gone through a massive rota change and her coming on board was to ease one of the specific issues we had, not create additional issues that are pulling me away from the things I should be working on!

AcrossthePond55 Fri 05-Apr-19 00:39:58

I will speak with her and just to confirm, I will not be arranging for the male member of staff to meet her and the husband for vetting.

I agree 100%. If my boss had told me "Jim's wife would like to meet you before Jim can work with you", I'd tell my boss to tell Jim's wife to do one!

Incywincybitofa Fri 05-Apr-19 00:56:23

I'm in the camp that you shouldn't facilitate her request it's offensive to her colleague, it's offensive to the residents families who accept he's safe enough to care for their relatives without extra vetting. It's offensive to suggest a Male worker makes this woman vulnerable because he's Male.
IF he is abusive then pandering to him is what everyone else does and it doesn't or won't pacify him something else will crop up

TheLastNigel Fri 05-Apr-19 06:31:04

Aside from being concerned about her and her controlling relationship you would have to tell her it isn't possible for her husband to meet her colleague to 'vet' him. That would be totally unprofessional and could potentially put the colleague at risk. What if the husband decided he didn't like what he saw? (Given that he's clearly batshit enough to ask to meet his wife's colleagues that doesn't seem a remote possibility).

As a care manager myself I meet some absolutely unhinged staff (care does attract some randoms it has to be said). I've found it best not to in any way condone them-just as we have a responsibility to the people we are caring for.

Itssosunny Fri 05-Apr-19 06:58:32

Her request is insulting to the male colleagues.

mollpop Fri 05-Apr-19 07:00:38

I’d gently say to her that it’s an unusual request and one that you won’t be able to accommodate. Definitely get some advice from HR and document everything you do. If you have any conversations with her about it, follow them up with an email, just so there are no misunderstandings.

It's a really difficult situation and screams coercive relationship to me. If you're able to fully understand the reason for her request, it might be easier to see a way forward or signpost her to services who could help. I know I'm making a lot of assumptions here and she could just be a PITA but it seems unlikely.

HogMother Fri 05-Apr-19 07:07:36

do you have male residents? If you did and she was only concerned about male staff, that would be a bit odd.
But no, you can’t facilitate this can you. I hope it’s nothing untoward, and just cheekiness

Margot33 Fri 05-Apr-19 07:16:11

I wouldnt organise any meetings with the husband and male staff. I would just explain that its an unusual request and may feel intimidating for the male staff.

keepingspiritsup Fri 05-Apr-19 07:17:56

I find it a bit disturbing that most people on here would jump to the assumption it's her husband who is the issue and there is DV in the home! If anything she is nervous about staying with another male she doesn't know in close quarters overnight and perhaps has had a bad experience in the last - perhaps some sensitivity wouldn't go amiss.

You might trust your male staff but let's be honest here she doesn't know them and no one can really know someone's real character when they are only colleagues to you

AWaspOnAWindowReturns Fri 05-Apr-19 07:30:40

@keepingspiritsup I can't speak for everybody on the thread but the reason I personally jumped to that assumption is because I've been in a very similar position myself.

BlackCatSleeping Fri 05-Apr-19 07:31:07


That doesn't really make sense though as I'm sure the OP would be fine about the worker meeting the staff beforehand, but why does her husband need to meet him? That's what so odd about the request.

If I were you, OP, I'd deny the request, but do so in a "nice" way. While we understand your concerns we are sorry we are unable to fulfill your request, blah blah. Whatever is going on with her and her marriage, it's not your job to fix.

FriarTuck Fri 05-Apr-19 07:39:50

I read it, given that she'd got in early with her 'would be able to do one a month on average but would try to be as flexible as possible', that she doesn't want to do overnights at all and was setting your expectations lower at the start while pretending to be trying ever so hard to be a team player. Then she pretends that her husband isn't happy so 'unfortunately' she'll not be able to do them after all.
You may need a new employee.

notacooldad Fri 05-Apr-19 07:55:49

Just supposing you did facilitate a meeting between the husband and Male worker.
What if the husband wasn't satisfied or still suspicious of him?
All a meeting would do is feed his demands and I'm guessing put more pressure on you and the team.

mrstinky Fri 05-Apr-19 07:56:39

The other worker has a right to feel safe at work as well. Show some compassion all she wants is her husband to go in there and intimidate him. Listen to keepingspiritsup she makes a lot sense.

I think FriarTuck has a point she knows you're not going to allow her husband to have words with him.

Get rid she sounds like more trouble than she's worth.

Fruitsaladjelly Fri 05-Apr-19 08:00:35

I have been in a coercive controlling relationship. This sound exactly the sort of thing that my husband would have asked. I am out going and appear confident. No she wouldn’t lie about who she was on shift with, the point is you are conditioned to be afraid and anxious about telling any sort of lie. He may not be using his phone to be controlling, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. I would email back that no this would not be within your power and her husbands vetting the colleague would be unfair. She asked and that may be enough to keep her out of ‘trouble’ with the husband and may give her back up to something she is already thinking.

notacooldad Fri 05-Apr-19 08:04:56

I hear what you are saying keepingspiritsup but sleeps are part of the job expectation.
You say she could be nervous but she is saying her H wants to meet the male staff. That would mean he would turn up to a meeting should it be facilitated.
Anyway you look at it, the demand is unreasonable. If she requests one sleep a month and everyone else is averaging 4, that wont be fair.
The woman would have had a chance to talk about number of sleeps, work rota, days off, staff team at the interview.

PregnantSea Fri 05-Apr-19 08:10:52

This is a weird request. Agree with others that it is possible that it's an abuse situation.

If not abuse then it sounds like she's just taking the piss and being difficult. If she's not able to perform the duties as stipulated in her contract then maybe it's time to look for someone else?

winbinin Fri 05-Apr-19 08:16:30

I also thought he sounded abusive but you don’t think so and you are the one who knows her and read the email. Your gut feeling is she is being manipulative so you are probably right. So you can probably set aside any concerns about protecting her from DA.

Tell her that it would be totally inappropriate for someone from outside the agency to meet or vet a trusted and established employee, it is not the responsibility of an employee’s husband or partner to decide who is suitable to work for you. If that is a condition of her doing the overnights then you will have to terminate her employment within the probationary period.

keepingspiritsup Fri 05-Apr-19 08:19:25

Perhaps her husband is just genuinely worried about her? It doesn't have to be any more sinister than that? Perhaps she's gone home and told him she's worried and anxious and him being a supportive partner has said well why don't I come in and meet them to help put your fears at rest? See....logical explanation for everything that doesn't involve demonising the husband!

I do agree perhaps it's more trouble than it's worth and sets a precedence - I think there is a sensitive way of declining the request and reminding her of the requirements of the job - if it's that much of a problem for her then she will quit and then problem solved

MudCity Fri 05-Apr-19 08:23:48

She either does the shifts on the rota or finds a new job. End of. It never fails to amaze me how many staff try to manipulate the rota to suit themselves despite this having been explained to them pre-interview and at interview.

Obviously there are more tactful ways of putting it, but that is the essence of it! Just be clear that you had explained the rota to her from the start and she accepted the job on that understanding.

Introducing her husband to everyone? Piffle.

ConfCall Fri 05-Apr-19 08:26:37

Talk to her in person and take it from there.

The oh-so-generous “one per month” offer implies to me that she doesn’t want to do overnights and that this is an excuse. She thinks you’ll acquiesce because she has a foot in the door and you’re short staffed.

However, I may be wrong - it could be more sinister like domestic violence - although there’s no other evidence of this from what you say.

Goldmandra Fri 05-Apr-19 08:26:56

The tone of the email matches all of the other emails received from her. I would recognise her writing style. I do genuinely believe that she is writing the emails.

What you mean is that the same person has probably written all of the emails.

It may be that he has written them all or supervised the writing of them all.

If it is a DV situation, she will do everything in her power to convince you that it is not, that she wrote the emails and she is responsible for the request for her DH to meet her colleagues.

You have three choices here. You can make the assumptions and accept the evidence that is convenient to you; use the fact that she's in her probationary period to get rid of her so it's not your problem any longer or you can remain open-minded to the fairly significant probability that she is a victim of coercive control and make sure she knows that she can always turn to you for support.

You gut is telling you that there's something not right about this situation for a reason. How you respond to it will speak volumes about you.

Ellapaella Fri 05-Apr-19 08:27:42

Absolutely ridiculous to even entertain for a second that the husband should be allowed to vet the male colleagues. Incredibly sexist - it's assuming all men are potential rapists or sexual predators or men that can't be trusted not to try and jump into bed with his wife.

OffToBedhampton Fri 05-Apr-19 08:30:12

There's two separate issues
1. Her request is not appropriate and you cannot facilitate it. She has duties and needs to consider can she fulfil them or not.

2. The fact is you are mindful of duty if care to your employers, you can offer supervision to discuss her request, tell her it's not possible and strange to ask, ask gently about home. Say you are worried this might be a sign of domestic abuse at home and give her information about women's aid & NDVH number. Sensitive employers do this, they don't collude with the abuser which is what she's asking (if that's the case). It's not religious or she would have said it.

FactsOfLife Fri 05-Apr-19 08:33:44

That sounds like a controlling, possibly abusive husband!
Sounds like she could do with a 1-1 chat.

TheCraicDealer Fri 05-Apr-19 08:33:45

I think if you facilitated a meeting it might cause problems with the other employee- they may feel victimised or that there's an implication that they aren't trustworthy, and I don't think it's sensible for an employer to encourage that.

I would respond to her something along the lines of "all of our existing members of staff, male and female, have undergone the appropriate background checks. There is no business reason for us to facilitate a meeting between any male employee and your husband and so we cannot assist you in this regard.

I am aware you had indicated previously that you were prepared to do one overnight shift per month. If the above causes issues with your ability to fulfil that please let me know and we can discuss this further at your next review".

Obviously check with your HR dept or provider, but frankly this is just a sign of things to come.

runandbehappy50 Fri 05-Apr-19 08:39:33

Can't believe anyone believes this should be accommodated! What's her husband intending to do? Quiz them on their intentions? No.

Can you imagine? It would be so uncomfortable and unprofessional

Maybe she's previously cheated on him and he's got trust issues now.

vdbfamily Fri 05-Apr-19 08:39:48

Do you deliberately have a male and a female on every night shift for balance or could you rota her on with another female just to call her bluff?

elfies Fri 05-Apr-19 08:42:20

I think the trouble may come if the husband turns up to collect his wife and sees a man..any man leaving too . Is that other member of staff safe if there is a confrontation .
I would be very worried and make official enquiries about where you stand , obviously not allowing this lady to dictate , but to protect other staff members . Perhaps you will have to let her go , I doubt it would be seen as unfair dismissal

Goldmandra Fri 05-Apr-19 08:52:49

I think the trouble may come if the husband turns up to collect his wife and sees a man..any man leaving too . Is that other member of staff safe if there is a confrontation .
I would be very worried and make official enquiries about where you stand , obviously not allowing this lady to dictate , but to protect other staff members . Perhaps you will have to let her go , I doubt it would be seen as unfair dismissal

The only trouble there is likely to be is the husband knocking the employee about as punishment for being around other men. Coercive controllers are usually sweetness and light to people outside the abusive relationship.

thecatsthecats Fri 05-Apr-19 08:54:16

My first thought was direct abuse.

However, given you mention no other concerns in that area, what PP say about her being unwilling to do night shifts might also make sense with a codependent relationship.

notacooldad Fri 05-Apr-19 08:54:25

Do you deliberately have a male and a female on every night shift for balance or could you rota her on with another female just to call her bluff?
Seriously? The issue needs working out now not playing games to see if she rises to them. Even if she was accommodated on a female only basis what's going to happen if someone rings in sick and a male covers the sleep?
The needs of the service are the priority for the OP.

EL8888 Fri 05-Apr-19 08:59:37

@MudCity exactly!

I would not feed into this. Let’s be realistic if she is not doing nights or doing a reduced amount, then other people will need to do more. It’s not fair on everyone else. I would have a quiet 1:1 chat with her and ask if you can assist in anyway. Make clear no one will be “meeting” her husband, it is a ridiculous request after all. I wouldn’t even justify why not

Sparklybanana Fri 05-Apr-19 09:04:11

Another perspective, but considering how many rapists, murderers, friends who sleep with their best friends wives etc manage to do this without being caught, how exactly is the husband going to know whether the male colleagues are 'ok'? He can't. The only possible conclusion is that he doesn't want to vet them but actually to threaten them and assert his dominance over his wife.
I used to have a job where I was away frequently with me and my husband was perfectly fine with that. Although he was more concerned when he met one of them saying 'he's so big and tall I'd want a hug myself!'. grin

GottaGoGottaGo Fri 05-Apr-19 09:09:57

I can understand why people think of the DV angle. But my first thought was that she has cheated before in similar circumstances and the DH is concerned and my second thought was that she just doesn't want to do nights. Third thought was cultural which is an easy one to rule out. If it was a DV situation, she probably wouldn't have been allowed to apply for the job in the first place. Surely she would have asked about the sleep-in set up in her interview if she had known it was going to be an issue for her "abusive" husband or it was a cultural thing?

And also, if it was a problem to sleep in the same building as men, surely some of the residents are men, and presumably some are mobile. Why does the husband not want to meet them too?

TatianaLarina Fri 05-Apr-19 09:18:58

Could be da, but equally her dh may have anxiety/other mental health issues.

FermatsTheorem Fri 05-Apr-19 09:24:11

My first thought was DV, but as others have said, you can't know for sure.

However, she took the job knowing it involved overnights. It would be totally unreasonable and unprofessional for her or you to put pressure on the male member of staff to meet her husband so he can be "vetted." She doesn't sound like she's a good fit for this kind of work.

Ultimately, even if it is DV, there's a limit to how much you can do for another person (I know, my sister spent 20 years in an abusive relationship). And while it may be that the financial independence she gets from this job might be what enables her to leave eventually, at the same time, agreeing to the meeting would be colluding in her husband's world-view, and would actually be detrimental to her attempts to leave in the long run, by having an outside authority figure normalise the weird shit that's going on in her marriage. If it is (again, we don't know).

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