Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Isn't it *fun* to deal with people like that?

During the drive in this morning, where I saw people whipping back and forth from lane to lane to get wherever they were going as quickly as they possibly could, regardless of the slop on the street we all were driving in, I couldn't help but think about mixed up priorities. As if I wasn't already focussed on them as it was...

Leo has been having a hard time at his job for around the past 6 months. He suddenly has a target on his head that apparently invites his boss to regularly threaten his job ("If you can't do it right, then maybe I need to find someone who can..."), give him shit for having to tend to other peoples' mistakes (unloading the delivery truck, not knowing that there was supposed to be $600 worth of filets in the delivery, only to find out later that they weren't loaded at the dock, but the restaurant was charged for them in their order...and Leo somehow was at fault for not knowing they were supposed to be on the truck in the first place), and just generally treat him like a slave.

Prior to this, he's been sailing along in an ok way. But for some reason or another, the boss has it out for him now, and I'm frankly tired of the way he fucking threatens him all the damned time. I wish he'd either grab his balls, and fucking fire him already, or just shut the fuck up and recognize Leo for the hard worker that he is.

But yesterday took the cake. Leo and I have decided to head out to California on Saturday this week, seeing as the funeral will likely take place on Monday, and there's some spending time with the family that I'd like to do both before and after. Leo has been dreading telling his boss about my father's turn for the worse. He's known that my dad was terminally ill, but he hasn't been all that sympathetic about it, to be honest. Not that I expect him to be, but still...some level of human decency toward a tenured employee and his spouse was expected.

I don't know what I was thinking.

After I spoke to Leo yesterday afternoon and gave him the update on dad, and told him what I'd like to do for our trip to California, he went back to the restaurant to tell his boss, and to request the bereavement time off. (I think his company allows for 3 paid days off for a loss of a parent-in-law. That's what Leo said, anyway. And it makes sense. It's at the management's discretion, though, hence the request for the time from his boss.) Amazingly, that jackass decided to bring up our trip to California in September (although he was talking about it having taken place in November, which was when we had originally planned to take vacation this year, but that fell through when my family asked me to visit dad instead), saying that he didn't understand Leo's need to go, since he "went to pay his respects already."

Cue my brain shifting into shocked, amazed, and ultra-pissed mode.

He went on to say that Leo could take the time, but he needed him back by Thursday, not Friday, and he only thinks its fair that he warn him that because of him taking this time off, he'll be reducing Leo's hours starting in January. He'll only be working 4 days/32 hours a week at that point.

Fuck. That. Shit.

I decided to write a letter to the general manager of the location that Leo works at. I didn't know if Leo would want to actually give it to him, or if he'd just like to use it for his own reference when discussing the time off with the HR lady in the office there (he wanted to make sure he was going to get pay for the bereavement days, so he planned to talk to her today), but regardless, it was a cathartic letter for me to write. Here's the final version, in case you're interested in all this crap:

"To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to address the treatment that my husband, Leo Smith*, has received from his manager, Whackjob in Charge, due to my father’s death and funeral plans in southern California. My father passed away this week after a long fight with a terminal illness. Leo’s subsequent request for bereavement time was met with derision and anger from his boss.

First off, as I understand it, WiC is trying to say that since Leo and I went to California at the end of September for vacation to visit my father and other family members, that Leo should have no reason to need to attend the funeral at all next week. This bothers me very much because it was earned paid time off that Leo took to go to California for vacation. Regardless of what it was used for (which is none of anyone’s business, aside from Leo and me) it was paid time off that was earned per company guidelines. So the fact that WiC is bringing that up as a reason why he can’t give Leo the bereavement time the company allows for is irresponsible on his part.

Secondly, Leo’s father-in-law has been suffering from late-stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis since 2002. His brother passed from the disease that year, which lead him to get diagnosed along with his other little brother. He was lucky enough to receive a single-lung transplant in 2008, and survived until this time in a slowly degenerative state. We knew that he would not survive the disease, as there is no cure, but we had no way of knowing that he would be going through the stages of death right before the holiday. We were honestly hoping that the new lung he received almost 2 years ago would carry him through at least another 5 years of life, if at all possible. Unfortunately, he started getting very sick on Thanksgiving weekend, and continued to get worse until he died just 2 weeks later. I realize how busy of a time this is for the [place of work], particularly in the kitchen, and believe me…if I could have this any other way, I would never choose to lose my father during this time of year! It’s unfortunate, but obviously unavoidable. When I started dating Leo several years ago, I quickly learned that giving up holidays with our families was going to be the name of the game for as long as he was working in a kitchen. And we’ve done just that, for most years that we’ve been together. I understand the importance of having him there to help. But I would certainly hope that his family issues involving death wouldn’t be looked at as being something of a nuisance by his managerial team. It’s frankly disgusting to consider that anyone would see it in such a way.

Thirdly, the company handbook states that employees can get up to 3 paid bereavement days, at the management’s discretion, for the death of a parent-in-law. At many companies, the maximum days are given when extensive travel is involved, like when the family lives in a state that requires a full day of travel to get to and from, which is the case for my family. They are in California. It takes a full 7 - 8 hours to fly there and back, which pretty much wipes out the entire day, particularly when returning to the Midwest from the west coast. Hopefully, it might be understandable that during this time, I would like to be with my family (including my husband) if at all possible. My own job gives me 5 days paid bereavement, which I plan to take the entirety of.

Leo regularly has Sunday and Monday off every week for his “weekend”. He is requesting to leave on Saturday the 12th, and return to work on Friday the 18th. That would be only 4 days off from work, since his weekend falls in the middle of that week. We would be traveling on Saturday, to arrive and help with preparations for the funeral (which will take place either Monday or Tuesday, depending on church availability), and then need to deal with a fair amount of family business in the day(s) following the funeral. I would like to have Leo there with me for support throughout those difficult days. We would return on Thursday, not arriving back in town until later that night, due to the time difference from west coast to Midwest. Leo would take Thursday as an unpaid day off, if allowed.

I am only 35 years old. My mother died when I was 25 (after a 10 month fight with liver cancer), and my father was only 69 himself. My father’s disease and subsequent death has been incredibly hard for me and my family to deal with, emotionally and physically. My husband is my rock, and is the only familial support I have locally. He is an amazing employee for the [place of work] (for over 2 years now), never calling in sick, and never showing up late for a single shift, give or take a few minutes on occasion. He is probably one of the most ethical employees that anyone could ever hope to have, particularly when it comes to kitchen staff! So I would hope that when WiC was threatening to cut him down to 32 hours a week starting in January, saying it was due to him requesting this time off to return with me to California to attend my father’s funeral with me, and help me get through the other difficult tasks that attend such an event, he was just upset at the time, and didn’t mean anything serious by it.

I appreciate your attention to this matter, and sincerely hope that my husband will not be punished in any way for being a decent, kind, and loving spouse to me during an extremely difficult time in my life.

Faith Smith"

*Names have been changed or removed all-together, of course! ;)

I know Leo took the letter with him to work today...not sure why. He didn't sleep a wink last night, and his stomach was so upset this morning, he couldn't eat. He was planning on talking to the general manager maybe on Friday after his shift was over, so he could tell him about the fact that his boss was retaliating against Leo, using my father's funeral as a reason to cut his hours in the coming months. But he's afraid of what his boss will do to him when he gets back if the general manager brings it up while he's away. And he has every right to be afraid...his boss has anger management issues, going so far as to punch a former employee prior to pushing him down a set of stairs that leads to his office. The man is violent and irrational. Leo asked me how bad it would be for us if he lost his job. I told him that his health wasn't worth it, and he should follow his gut. I also told him that if his whackjob of a boss even hinted towards bringing up the bereavement time Leo is taking next week, he should ignore him, except to reply that his wife thanks him for making an already very difficult time even MORE difficult for us.

Why are people such DOUCHEBAGS???


Erin said...

So he's gone.
Sorry, Faith.
Thinking of you, wishing you safe and easy travels and lots of time with your family (and LEO!).
Lots of love,

Fin said...

Geez, Faith, I'm so sorry you have to deal with this right now. It amazes me how heartless people can be!

Your letter is extremely well written and I think gets the point across very well. Hopefully this will turn into a non-issue!

Janet said...


Ms. Pants said...

Tell Leo (text him) to file an official harrassment complaint against his boss today. The threats are harrassment and are against the law. Cutting his hours due to a death is retaliation and is against the law. File the official harrassment complaint against the boss, make sure you get copies of the forms that are going into the files, make sure the district/general manager gets copies as well. And also, check out your local labour board's website. They may also be able to help. (You can also lodge a complaint there.)

Faith said...

Oh, and I didn't even mention the time he called Leo up to his office to show him a picture of a naked chick he'd pulled up on his personal computer that he, for some reason, brings into the office with him each day.

And his son is the salesperson that sells him the food he purchases for the restaurant. Who fucks up orders every week, and Leo gets blamed for not catching the mistakes.

I've been trying to get Leo to file a harrassment charge against the guy for a looong time. I hope he does this time.

Hyperblogal said...

The simple answer is: napalm.

I'm very sorry about your loss.

Applecart T. said...

yes, sorry to hear about your dad. and the complications from our stupid society that treats death or family like "nothing" or a commodity to be packaged.
i agree that l. should get some kind of true documentation / suit going …
and then find a better restaurant to work for. : (

Tony said...

Had to read this twice to really get the point. Sorry for your loss. Excellent post.

Faith said...

"Had to read this twice to really get the point. Sorry for your loss. Excellent post."

What? Wait, so you comment on my apparently shitty writing skills...then you give me your condolences...and then you compliment my writing skills?

Tony, go the fuck away. Jeezy...

Catherine VandeVelde said...

A big hug from me, too. Good for you for writing that letter. If it's possible, I think Leo should look for another job. Really, he should get the a-hole to fire him so he can get unemployment for a while! :) But really, that's lame of the boss, especially right now.

Bill the Painter said...

Sorry for your loss. My ex is dealing with the same thing trying to get time off for our daughter's surgery (we had no control over the tight schedule). Seems like the bosshole was going out of her way to make it difficult. Thankfully my boss (me) is a little more flexible.

Also, my apologies for Tony, I don't think he knows any better.

JOCOeveryman said...

Oh man, unfortunately I know what you are going through with your dad. I'm so sorry about your loss.

clw said...

I'm so sorry for your loss and for everything you and Leo have to deal with this dumbass boss he has. I hope things work out.

faithstwin said...

SUCH a great letter! VERY well written, very clear, Leo needs to do something about this dumbass...

The letter is very clear- I don't know what Tony is talking about. Maybe Tony doesn't know what Tony is talking about...

Dan said...

So sorry for your loss, Faith, Faithstwin, and everyone else who loved the man.

As for your letter to Leo's boss - bravo. It takes a lot of strength to write so analytically about something that hurts so much. You two are lucky to have each other - you are good for each other.

Faith said...

Thanks everyone! Leo is looking for a new job, but part of the trouble is that he's so disillusioned with the restaurant industry after having worked for two tyrants in a row, he wants out now. Which is totally fine! But he doesn't know what he'd like to do instead. Nothing like an early-30's life crisis! I remember going through it, too, back when I was 31 or 32. Poor dude.

He's just gonna keep his head down, do his work, and get out as soon as he can. But thanks again for all the kind words, guys. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. :)

Ms. Pants said...

I totally went right into HR mode and went all "harrassment!" without even mentioning your dad.

I'm so sorry, Faith 1 & Faith 2. I send you all my love love love. xox

Nora said...

I am saddened to hear of the loss of your father. Having gone through this myself, I feel for you.

And having to deal with the bullshit with Leo's boss is not helping. I can take care of him for you. All I need is a backhoe and a bag of lime.

You, Twin and the family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Erin said...

I think Tony meant that he missed the point of your dad being gone - it was easy to get wrapped up in the drama, then realize - omg.... he's gone, that's why any of this is going on.

I wish I had contacts in the KC restaurant biz. Good luck in sorting out next steps for Leo.

PlazaJen said...

I am so sorry for your loss, and the extra layer of bullshit you've been given, courtesy of your husband's employer. Just because the times are on the side of the employer, with so many people out of work, doesn't mean it's a license to abuse people. He should start looking and considering a hostile work environment claim - if only to minimize the crap while he's still there. (My company never even sent a card when my dad died - they just never got around to it. Nice. Glad I'm not there anymore!)
Safe travels and may your memories of your father be of comfort you.

me and me said...

Faith, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I know this might not be the right time but in the future try not to write a letter for your husband. It makes him look weak.