Advice in a Work Situation

  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Sep 08, 2009 6:20 PM GMT
    Hello Gentlemen,

    I'd like reasonable advice in an upsetting work situation. Here's the picture: I received notice that my scheduled Firefighter Exam is on September 23rd at 12:30 with San Francisco. I have emailed my supervisor a notice if I can have that day off. I have been reasonable with work and have not taken any major vacations this year, so far work has turned down my request to have Sundays off for I have to work on Sundays. Back to the situation, my supervisor calls me and tells me no for we are understaffed and one of my co-workers is on vacation that week and everyone is absorbing her job in the meantime. I asked if maybe I could leave at 11 or 11:30, basically negotiate if so I can leave that day. Once again, denied!!

    I am frustrated, sad and angry with work. I know the economy is getting back on its feet so its going to be hard to look for another job. At first I was thinking, maybe its not meant to be BUT a golden opportunity, even though it may not be a high chance of acquiring it I'm going to give up? Hell to the fuck no! I need advice, what should I do? Should I empower myself and just take the day off? What else gentlemen can I do?

    And thank you SO much for the advice!
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Sep 08, 2009 6:44 PM GMT
    And one more thing, I can not reschedule, this is a window of a chance with SFFD.
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    Sep 08, 2009 6:57 PM GMT
    Call in sick that day, if you've got sick time coming. I'm not sure, but, if your supervisor gives you hell about it, I think he may be violating the law.
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Sep 08, 2009 6:59 PM GMT
    Even if she say's no already? I am giving notice today but she's saying I can't take that day off due to being understaffed and everyone has to absorb this one person whose going on vacation that week. Should I just call that morning and say, "Im am going to take a personal day off today?"
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:01 PM GMT
    You'll have to decide which is more important to you: keeping your current job, or MAYBE getting a new job.

    No one here can decide that for you. You'll have to do that for yourself.

    On a side note, get used to the idea of working on Sundays. Unless you hold a particular false belief system, Sundays are like any other day. We live in a 24 hour global economy. Certainly, emergency services don't take days off over false belief systems. You'll have to accept that; quite complaining about it, or find a different career.

    I worked in commercial broadcasting for 11 years. Essential services require everyone be working when they're needed, no matter what the day.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:02 PM GMT
    Even in an understaffed enviroment one can become, and retains the right to become sick. I know that here in NJ, once an employee calls in sick, we're not even to call them at home to ask if they're feeling ok. It can be considered harrassment. In CA, with far more left leaning labor laws, I'd think your boss would be fired on the spot if even accused of giving you grief over a sick day, regardless of circumstances.
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Sep 08, 2009 7:02 PM GMT
    I work on Sundays, due to the company lay offs I have to work Sundays. I even work on days when I requested it off. But this one is important for me and I don't want to back down.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:05 PM GMT
    Call your state's employment offices. While they probably won't advise you, they can give you the facts that will help you with the wiggle room you need to take the day off.
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Sep 08, 2009 7:05 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidYou'll have to decide which is more important to you: keeping your current job, or MAYBE getting a new job.

    No one here can decide that for you. You'll have to do that for yourself.

    On a side note, get used to the idea of working on Sundays. Unless you hold a particular false belief system, Sundays are like any other day. We live in a 24 hour global economy. Certainly, emergency services don't take days off over false belief systems. You'll have to accept that; quite complaining about it, or find a different career.

    I worked in commercial broadcasting for 11 years. Essential services require everyone be working when they're needed, no matter what the day.


    First off, I thought you hate but but I do appreciate the advice, really.

    I am weighing the situation due to the economy and so forth. Will I get fired over this? Should I contact HR, skipping past my manager (which would totally break the chain of command)? Will it be worth it even if I don't get the job for its a long shot especially for any firefighting position?

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    Sep 08, 2009 7:06 PM GMT
    With regard to calling a sick day, unless you'll truly sick that's a misconduct violation (dishonesty) for which you can easily be fired.

    Understand, with the exception of government / quota jobs, you work at the will of an employer and have no entitlement to a job. If your employer decides they don't want you working for him, then, you're not going to be working for him. There is nothing illegal about firing an employee for almost any reason. Folks can scream foul, but, you can be fired for having a personality conflict with your boss. YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A JOB unless you work in a quota job, created for EEO, where it's a numbers game.

    As an employer I don't have to hire fat asses, folks with an accent, folks who can't read, folks who can't show up on time, folks who are illiterate. I don't have to give someone a job that complains, is hard to deal with, or that threatens me, etc.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:07 PM GMT
    It's California. Call in sick.
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Sep 08, 2009 7:07 PM GMT
    I can call in for personal time off, it doesn't have to be a sick day. I wouldn't be lying. But she already knows that I tried to request the 23rd off, but she wont' budge.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:11 PM GMT
    How "hate" got involved in common sense is beyond me. That likely speaks to some deeper issues that you need to work through.

    With regard to your HR department, understand, HR is there to protect the company. If you call in sick, falsely, you can be fired, period, no ifs, buts, or ands about it, HR, or not. If you fail to report to work, and you get fired, with after being told you couldn't get the day off, that's called willful misconduct, and you'll be disqualified from any unemployment benefits. I'd wage a Diet Coke that HR will NOT override your manager, in any event. It just doesn't work like that.

    Now, even if you claim sick, unless you work for a quota employer, they can STILL fire you, just because they feel like it. You have no entitlement to a job. If your current employer feels retaining you could cause problems (lost time, complaining, etc.) they can fire you on the spot. Again, they can fire you for a reason as simple as not liking you. Unless you work for quota employer, you work at the will of the employer.

    If you were told you couldn't use personal time off, and that your presence was required, that's called willful misconduct (you value yourself more than the employer) and you can be fired for refusing a direct instruction from your manager.

    In almost any event, if you're fired, you will almost certainly be fired "with cause." If you're fired with cause, you'll be penalized for 9 to 11 weeks on unemployment.

    There are very few cases that you can be fired without cause. Downsizing is one. Failure to honor a disability requirement is another.

    From an employer's perspective, and the law, too, you have to be dependable. If you fail to work when scheduled, and are told you're essential, and fail to report to work, you'll be guilty of job misconduct. That's how it works.

    If you're thinking about working for essential services, you really need to get used to the idea of being at work when the employer wants you there.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:12 PM GMT
    Sick days also include "mental health" days and can be taken, within the limits of the company policy, without having any physical ailments. One can just be "tired" or need a break from work.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:13 PM GMT


    ....gosh, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. If using sick days - don't take just the one off. Be absent for a few days. That's how real illness is. It probably hurts to do this, as you are after all, withHonor.

    An alternative is to hit up your co-workers if any are off that day, to come in and cover you for half a day. Being the kind of man you are on this site, we'll both bet a couple will do handstands for you.

    Once you come to an arrangement for coverage, THEN go back to the boss saying you have arranged coverage etc etc. If that boss still digs heels in, then go forward to HR and ask what you're doing wrong.


    So, two scenarios, one a little below the radar and one above board. Both are good options when dealing with a recalcitrant boss.


    best of! -us
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Sep 08, 2009 7:13 PM GMT
    Well let me say I think it says something about your employer if they can't grant you the day off. This is what I'd do...


    1. Evaluate how important it is to take the exam on the day noted vs. rocking the boat with your employer. If you want to pursue the exam, then proceed to step #2. Also I'd evaluate the employer. I'd be ready to go someplace else if were me. Regardless of what you do... start looking for a new employer.

    2. I'd do whatever I could... skip the supervisor, go to HR and explain your position... talk to your supervisor's supervisor. Stress your reliability to your current employer, your work history and the importance of having that one Sunday... Evaluate every possibility to get that day off, including as some have said above, taking a sick or personal day.

    3. I'd also be tempted to get input from an attorney that specializes in employment law. Know what you legally can and can't do and the employer as well in your state. This step may sound pretty extreme... but if you want to
    take the exam and this is "your time"... you may want to consider it.

    4. Make you decision and live with it. Only you can decide this, not us.
    You must decide if you are willing to take a chance or live your life as you have.
    Think carefully and take action. Don't blow it off (and I know your not!)....
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:15 PM GMT
    Tell her you will not be able to make it. It should never have been up to her in the first place. This is a great opportunity for you that will not come around again, right? The scheduling issues are hers to deal with. If she tries to fire you go to HR. You've given her plenty of time to plan for your absence and you a test to take that will not come around for a long time.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:18 PM GMT
    It gets down to how you wish to manage your exposure / risk. Are your odds favorable for the fireman job? Can you withstand being fired from the economic perspective?

    Understand, there are lots of folks out of work, and you could most likely be replaced with relative ease.

    Understand, most things worth having in life involve some level of risk. You're confronted with that today.

    Make your decision, and live with it.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:20 PM GMT
    I'm not sure what your attendance history is like but if you get fired for that then you were on shaky ground to begin with.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:24 PM GMT
    withHonor said
    First off, I thought you hate but but I do appreciate the advice, really.

    I am weighing the situation due to the economy and so forth. Will I get fired over this? Should I contact HR, skipping past my manager (which would totally break the chain of command)? Will it be worth it even if I don't get the job for its a long shot especially for any firefighting position?

    Did you tell your boss why you needed the day off? If so, that's probably why she's giving you a hard time. Whenever I go on job interviews while I'm currently employed somewhere else, I just say that I'm going to a doctor's appointment. No questions, no hassles.

    Talk to HR. Explain to them that you offered a compromise to your boss, but she turned it down. If they don't want to help either, then go ahead and call in sick. The worst they could do is fire you. But at least you'll be able to collect unemployment for a while. If you quit on your own, you won't qualify for unemployment.

    If you do get fired, consider applying for firefighter jobs in neighboring cities. The application process can be long, and I'm sure there are hundreds of other people applying for the same job. It might be in your best interest to "shop around" in other cities.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:29 PM GMT
    Actually the advice above is WRONG. If you're fired for cause (not showing up for work) you'll be penalized for unemployment. No ifs, but, nor ands about it.

    As I said, if they fire you, it will be "with cause." In your case, failure to report to work. It's considered unforgivable by most unemployment law.
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:39 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidActually the advice above is WRONG. If you're fired for cause (not showing up for work) you'll be penalized for unemployment. No ifs, but, nor ands about it.

    As I said, if they fire you, it will be "with cause." In your case, failure to report to work. It's considered unforgivable by most unemployment law.


    Except a single day that you call in for isn't justified cause for firing and no company is stupid enough to try to deny an unemployment claim if they do firre you for a single day absence
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    Sep 08, 2009 7:43 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidActually the advice above is WRONG. If you're fired for cause (not showing up for work) you'll be penalized for unemployment. No ifs, but, nor ands about it.

    As I said, if they fire you, it will be "with cause." In your case, failure to report to work. It's considered unforgivable by most unemployment law.

    Chucky, you live in Texas. I and the OP are in California. We have different employment laws. I've known people that got fired for worse things, and they still were able to collect unemployment.
  • Rookz

    Posts: 947

    Sep 08, 2009 8:01 PM GMT
    I truely understand that the economy is not where its at, having health benefits is a blessing at the moment. Work is getting worse, supervisor said that the staff can not take April, May, September and October off of next year, order from our vice president. Work refuses to hire a part time receptionist which we need for everyone of the staff has to sit at the front desk to cover to phones and answer questions; we had to absorb that position amongst our jobs. Work, oh, when I mean work, my supervisor and HR fired someone and made sure she could not claim unemployment. I don't know how they did it but my coworker tried but they said its too late for the claim.

    I am uphappy with my job but glad to have a steady paycheck and benefits. I understand that this is my decision, I am not going to blame any of you for its ultimately my own but for I need other people's perspective for it's valuable. Yes, even from you Chuck. I'm not going to lie to work about being sick, but I'll just say I need the PTO (part time off) which is part of my benefits.
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    Sep 08, 2009 8:24 PM GMT
    Man, your workplace sounds kinda shitty. I think getting fired might be a blessing, regardless if you get unemployment or not. If you have enough money saved up to sustain your living expenses for a few months, I think you'll be ok.

    But seriously, take my advice on shopping around. I'm not sure how bad it is in SF, but here in LA, the waiting list is long for LAFD. And last I heard, they stopped taking in new applications because our city is freakin broke. icon_confused.gif

    Good luck and I hope things work out for you. icon_cool.gif