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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?

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.

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