Scenarios: My boss won’t let me go on vacation to my sister’s wedding, what should I do?
On the Gee and Ursula Show, hosts Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin take listeners’ advice questions and discuss what they think you should do.
Scenario: I’m a nanny for a great family, I take care of their two kids as if they are my own. I’ve never asked for time off, and I’ve worked for this family for almost five years. Well, six months ago, I told them about my sister’s wedding, and then asked if I could have the week off to see them. They said no problem, so I added it to their calendar and I even offered to get temporary help while I was gone. I’m supposed to leave in two days, and last night, they told me they needed me and couldn’t find anyone else. They apologized and told me they couldn’t let me go. I told them I really needed to be there for my sister, I had spent the money and was planning to go already but offered to come back two days early if that would help. They told me that if I went on this trip and left them alone with their own kids, I wouldn’t need to come back at all. I asked if I was fired. This is a big thing for my sister and for me. I love my job and the kids. But I don’t see how I can turn my back on my own sister. I really don’t know what to do. I want the job. I want to be there for my sister. If I don’t go, she may never forgive me. And if I go, I will be out of this great job, or maybe they’re just threatening me. I mean, they can’t find someone to watch their kids for a week, how would they find someone to take my place?
Ursula Reutin: I would absolutely go to the wedding and take the risk of losing that job. The employers are probably bluffing, so she’s correct that they will not be able to find someone. But do you really want to work for someone like that, who waits until two days before something that has already been agreed upon, and then takes back their word? As much as you love the kids, unfortunately, it may just be the cost of doing business and the ones that are going to suffer are that family. Obviously, the kids are going to be fond and attached to you already as their caregiver, but it sounds like the family agreed to something and then didn’t plan for it, didn’t do anything and then, two days beforehand, changed their mind. That’s not cool. Do you want to work for that person? I’d say no. Chef?
Andrew “Chef” Lanier: I really hope you live in Seattle because you have one heck of a lawsuit brewing here. This is retaliation and employment discrimination. If an employer has given you time off for your vacation, then canceled your vacation and fired you because they won’t let you go, that’s employment discrimination and you should absolutely sue. And by the way, if you worked in the city of Seattle back in 2018, we passed a law that gives you rights like meal breaks, rest breaks, things average workers have. I can guarantee a job that does not offer you vacation after five years has been violating those rights as well. So I hope you sue the pants off these people.
Ursula: The thing with lawsuits is, first of all, they’re time-consuming and they cost money too. You have to have money to get money.
Chef: You know what, in this situation, I’m sure there are a lot of law firms who I’m sure would be happy to do this pro bono for the exposure of all the other domestic workers who would know who to call in that case.
Gee Scott: They would do such a great job on this. They’d end up having the family pay for the attorney fees.
Ursula: But in the meantime, just go to the wedding, don’t miss the wedding for this.
Gee: This is a time for me to show love towards unions because these types of practices would still be going on today by a lot of employers, if not for unions stepping in all over the country over the years. There are employers that would love to get away with stuff like that. And as a matter of fact, even though we’re listening to this, and we’re like, ‘oh my goodness, you need to go to the wedding.’ It’s really easy as low-hanging fruit for me to tell you, number one: Go to the wedding and number two: These are not people you want to work for. They don’t care about you. You’re attached to the kids and they’re using your love for your job and their kids against you. Get away now!
Nick Creasia: Well, I know there are times of help that can be last minute occasionally, but it’s unfair to wait until the razor’s edge in this case. I say go to the wedding, act like you missed the call. It’s not like you’re sitting next to the phone all day.
Ursula: Sorry about these terrible people. First, they lied. They can’t take care of their own kids. Chef, dido to all your comments about these crappy people.
Gee: The thing is, there is somebody right now that’s dealing with this exact thing, but they’re too afraid to say something, or they don’t have the money to start a lawsuit. It’s almost like that in this world that rich people are allowed to do stuff and poor people can’t say anything because they don’t have the money. That’s a consistent theme going on in this country.
Ursula: No job is that important. Your family needs to be a priority.
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.