Today’s post is brought to you by a restaurant manager who has had it with employees who have the audacity to get sick and need a day off. The above screenshot, which was shared by someone who shall remain nameless, came from a private Facebook group for a restaurant. Manager Heather has decreed that if you miss a shift because you are ill, that shift will be permanently removed from your schedule. No matter that you may have worked every Friday night for eight months; if you get sick one Thursday evening and cannot make it to work the next day, she thinks that means the shift will never ever be needed by that employee again. She also requires that you go see a doctor.
When can restaurants understand that we are allowed to get sick? I’m not talking about someone who went out and did shots all night long and woke up with a hangover. I’m talking about honest to goodness sick, like runny nose, fever and coughing up big globs of split pea soup-looking phlegm. It happens because servers are human beings with immune systems. Until restaurants are fully staffed with robots and iPads kiosks, expect a server to get ill every once in a while. And since we aren’t a cable box or a laptop that can be unplugged to reboot, we have no choice but to suffer through the sickness for a day or so.
Also, telling us to go to the doctor every time we get sick is an unfair expectation. First off, what if we don’t have any insurance? A visit to the doctor without insurance isn’t exactly free. In fact, it’s fucking expensive because this country is overrun with greedy doctors and even greedier insurance companies that have jacked up the cost of a doctor visit so it lines the pockets of the already well-off. And for some people who do have insurance, maybe they don’t want to pay a $30 co-pay just for a nurse practitioner to tell them, “Yeah, you’ve got a cold. Nothing we can do about that, so just rest and drink plenty of fluids. Bye.” You’re better off spending that $30 at Rite-Aid for some NyQuil, Ricolas and a bottle of aspirin. Enough with the stupid “you must get a doctor’s note” bullshit. How about bosses just accept that we sometimes get sick and we need to stay home? Besides, would they rather we show up to work with a fever and a cough so we can infect everyone else at the restaurant too? Would that be better?
Heather also is “more than happy” to accept day off requests, so if you know you are going to be sick sometime in late February, make sure you let her know now so she can schedule you off. However, she can’t guarantee that you will get that day off either, so be sure to have a back up plan.
Restaurants need to respect their employees more. Most of us don’t want to miss shifts because we know we aren’t going to get paid for a sick day and we will just be making less money. If we need to call out because we have bronchitis or diarrhea or a sore throat, it would be nice if the manager said, “Take care of yourself. We will get this covered for you and just call us back tomorrow to let us know how you are feeling.” How wonderful would it be for a server if, when we were sick, we would be able to focus on getting better than having to worry about getting our shift covered? We can dream, can’t we?
I know that Heather will eventually see this and I don’t care. Maybe by seeing it written out so clearly, she will realize how callous and uncaring her Facebook post to her employees came across. It might not change anything, but it will let the servers at the restaurant know that they are not alone. Restaurant workers across the country are all dealing with their own version of Heather.
Heather, if you’re reading this I ask two things of you:
- Try to learn some fucking empathy.
- Try to learn some fucking punctuation.