Difficult colleague, any perspective appreciated!(4 Posts)
I have this colleague that the management are tiptoeing around for various reasons. Some reasons I understand wholly, many I don't.
This colleague I'm talking about has been working for the company for approx 15 years. By her own admission, she has mental health issues. Roughly every six months (without exaggeration, sometimes its less than six months, sometimes its a bit more) she routinely takes a sick line. I can't go into her reasons why without citing hearsay.
My issue is that this lady has been making my colleagues and my working life difficult, mainly because of her preferential treatment. I have been working for the company for the past ten months- Mon-Fri she works in the morning, I usually work evenings, full-time. We work in a shop, and the responsibilties in the morning include checking expiry dates before the shop opens. She fails to do this, every morning (that I am in, anyway) and also she doesn't follow stock rotation procedures. Both of these failures result in at least 200 hundred pounds of waste every week (we waste more than this, because of a surplus of ingredients. But she makes silly mistakes, which I and other staffhave to record/ deal with.
The management kowtow to her because she has mental health problems. I understand this to a degree (I've had issues myself, not really relevant but I am sympathetic to a certain degree). Whenever a supervisor or manager has approached problems with her, most of the time she will deny any wrongdoing, and then go into the staff canteen and cry. She has even threatened colleagues with food preparation knives on at least two occasions, one time she said 'I'm going to kill someone' while waving a knife, and has locked herself in the customer disabled toilet with a knife while banging her head against the door. I feel like this is a vital point to make, as I don't feel like she should be working with knives like she does every morning. In fact, if I am being honest, it outrages me.
I got pulled up the other day for writing a perfectly innocuous note to her for the next morning, stating that if that she didn't have time to put the stock in order then she could leave me a note. (I keep making mistakes because I expect first-in-first-out to be followed, I work in food preparation in the shop) Apparently I was in the wrong because I hadn't been working there as long as she has, and she was offended that I was 'telling her what to do.' None of the management seem to put the other staff, customers, or the actual business first. She seems to have a hold over the managers.
Any advice would be appreciated, thanks for reading to this point.
Blimey, you need to get onto "management" now! She's clearly not safe to be working with- waving knives around and threatening people would make me run a mile! You have the right to work without fear from this sort of thing, let alone all the other problems she's causing. The so-called management need to make sure you can work in a safe environment where you aren't dealing with this sort of thing.
Agree with catlovingdoctor. You need to have a minuted meeting with management about this, for the safety of all employees, including this lady herself. I think the managers might think that they are being kind to her but it sounds like she needs help from a psychiatrist or counsellor of some sort and is perhaps not fully fit to work. They are doing her no favours. Perhaps they are scared of being sued, but really they should, if they don´t have sufficient knowledge, seek advice from legal and human resources experts in how to deal with this situation properly.
Next time she brandishes a knife, one of you should call the police.
dh had a colleague like this. Both were supervisors in a shop role. he ended up taking all the flack for her missing things like dates etc and not rotating. she couldn't even cash up properly. she had the management wrapped around her little Finger. DH got to the point that he couldn't take anymore of being her fall guy and he left. he was very unfairly treated and it sounds like you are too. I dont have any advise but I do feel for you.
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