Problem EE-What do I do in this situation?

The admin. assistant is constantly late or just calls in sick, on personal calls most of the day, complains about the workload, complains to anyone that walks near her desk about the comany, sets a bad example for new and current employees, forwards the phone to other employees to answer even if she is at her desk, etc. Her manager seems to think she walks on water ("She does good work when she's here." is said after anyone mentions her bad points). Her manager currently wants to promote her to a position where she would be doing some of my HR work and move her desk to a different location and hire a new person to take her position.
Her manager wants to speak to me about her promotion today. Any advice on this situation? How can I make her manager see I don't want to have this ee under my supervision?
Please help me!


  • 13 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • My gut tells me the supervisor wants to shirk their duty by dumping a problem on your lap. Just say no. I wouldn't even offer an explanation. If the supervisor is trying to get rid of a bad ee, offer to teach the supervisor the proper way to go about it.
  • If you are on the same level as the shirking manager, you can tell him/her that you will not accept his proposal. If not, it will depend on the internal politics there. If push comes to shove I would have to ultimately tell all the decision makers exactly why I do not want her in my department, not withholding anything, laying it all on the table. You are fighting for the future integrity and survival of your very department.
  • Thank you both for your replies. Her manager is the Executive Director of D & O and he is actually 2 levels above me. He used to be my manager and then he promoted someone to be in between us. For most things it comes down to his way or his way. He will ultimately do what he wants. It doesn't always mean it's good for the company. I just spoke with someone else in the company closer to his level that aparently just wanted to let me know that she had spoken to him regarding her and maybe his tune is changing. I don't know. We'll see. He does know how I feel about her. If it comes down to it I will lay it out for him. I had a problem employee in the past (atitude/ego problem). I straightened him out. I don't know if he hopes I can do the same to her.
  • You have two problem EEs here. The one you may get saddled with and her manager. What does your policy say about tardiness for exammple? If this EE is always late and gets away with it, you cannot be enforcing your policy consistently. This is just one example of a way to get the manager to hold this EE and themselves accountable.

    I agree with Don as to putting your foot down. You should not reward a person for this kind of performance.

    I would also say that others in your shop have the responsibility of not carrying this EEs load. She should be confronted about her attitude and complaining, perhaps even in a public setting. If others allow the behavior, there is some level of responsibility for promoting it.
  • Just there a position already or is this manager just creating something? If there is already a position is there a job description? Maybe she wouldn't even qualify. Maybe others would be more qualified or want to apply. Do you really need the help? I agree with the others and would just say no if at all possible. If I had a few more details, might come up with something more specific to tell the manager. Regardless, good luck and let us know how it turns out.
  • This is not a newly created position. It's a position that was vacated about a year ago and never filed due to budgetary constraints. This is just a slightly modified postion (includes one thing she is currently responsible for). She does meet most of the qualifications. The position entails filing, making sure staff members are licensed to do their jobs (some of our positions require licensing), new employee orientations, insurance enrollments, and assisting me with open enrollment and also being her current manager's assistant. I do need the help as I also manage the accounting department. I just don't want it to be her. Some of this is concerns for the affect on the accounting staff. We , acctng & hr, share the same office.

    I will let you know how it goes.
  • I know if it was here (understanding your shop may be different) I would certainly make the case that the position should be posted or advertised so that others would have the opportunity to apply/interview as well. You could make the point that to not do so would play havoc on morale. If you end up stuck with her, give her a chance BUT set your expectations up front (in writing) and hold her to them. If she doesn't, hold her accountable and follow your disciplinary policies.
  • I just returned from my meeting. He mentioned having talked with the person near his level and said he was having 2nd thoughts about his decision. Though he did say she would have been sitting in his office and still answering to him. He claims he doesn't want to shift a problem employee around. He also is now realizing that she's not that reliable and says he has been getting upset lately because he's been noticing a pattern of her not coming in for work or calling in saying she will be an hour or so late for work. "I'm not a morning person, so I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning." This is the excuse she told him when he asked about her tardiness. He just told her to try harder, but did not document the conversation, much to my dismay and against what I told him. x:o I told her manager that there is no way an unreliable person should even be considered for this position. He did agree. xclap I hope for everyone's sake that he sticks with this decision. xpray
    Thank you everyone for all of your advice. It made me feel much better. I have had an awful week.
  • Is there any way you can get this manager to start creating documentation?
  • Several hunches tell me the manager is not being honest with you. He has the ability apparently to make these decisions and really does not need others to buy into his scheme. Why would he keep the employee in his area and simply be shifting your overload over to her? That doesn't make sense. It makes more sense that he was fed up with her, did not want to (or could not) effectively supervise her, wanted for some reason to see her retained, and wanted to dump her on HR while still being able to assign his work to her. He thought that would be the dream solution to his problems. Be prepared, with a list of things you write down this weekend, to fight this battle again by confronting the issue head on. You will of course have to lay some clear cards on the table regarding her weaknesses and performance. You may also have to at some point make a statement like this: "If you want to entirely destroy the credibility and effectiveness of my Department, this is certainly a way to do that." I don't agree that accepting her in your department and working with her and disciplining her will work. If he has shielded her all this time, he will not allow discipline to result in her termination. Why would he?
  • mdm,

    I can't imagine letting this person handle any confidential matters, including ee files. Can you insist on chosing your own assistant?

    One question. Does anyone else get counseled for absences or lateness? If I were another employee and was disciplined for either, I'd be in HR wondering why. Believe me. The other staff here would jump on that one in a heartbeat.

    Hope you'll let us know the outcome.

  • I have asked him to document things in the past as he has always mentioned the importance of documentation. I have asked him why he hasn't been documenting things and his response is "I'm busy and will get to it later." Later never comes. We have a reaccreditation process to go through ever few years. I was suppose to have a review prior to the reaccreditation and it never happened (it's been almost 3 years since I started here and 1 1/2 since our reaccreditation). My current supervisor hasn't given me an evaluation either. It's the I always tell you haow you're doing. Discipline for the admin assist is non existent and I have disciplined my staff for tardiness and lack of professionalism. It's tough to reinforce something that other people don't enforce. It drives me crazy!!!!

    I am currently on the hunt for a new position.
  • The latest update..... The problem ee is moving to a new department. Not mine. Her new supervisor is on medical leave and the acting supervisor doesn't know how to say no. The supervisor on leave does know what happened, she knew about the possibility before it happened. I know that when the supervisor on leave returns (end of February), she will not put up with the tardiness or anything else. She will document everything and follow disciplinary procedures. She does that with her current staff.
    One of the things that really bothers me about the move, other than transfer of problem ee to someone else, is that they only "interviewed" her. They were suppose to interview other applicants for this position and they did not. There was an ad in the paper and they received resumes, but did not interview any of them. All of this against my advice. xx(
    We'll see how this works.
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