update: employee keeps asking coworkers for food and money


Remember the letter-writer whose employee kept asking for food and money from her coworkers? Here’s the update.

I wish I could say it has gotten better, but every few months I get complaints. What sucks about this for her is that she is a great performer otherwise.

It is not a food scarcity issue because she also brings her own food every day. This all seems to be part of a deeper issue. She has asked for food from someone’s plate and crashed other department’s closed celebrations.She borrows money from her coworkers and does not pay it back. Usually it is change but sometimes it is more. She doesn’t contribute when we take up a collection for something, which is her choice, but she will ask coworkers for money if it is something that requires payment for participation.

Favors are usually small such as grabbing something off the printer for her or getting a drink, but on at least two occasions she has asked someone to run a personal errand for her.

I tell the people complaining to firmly tell her no and that they can ask her to stop asking them. I’ve had multiple one-on-one conversations with her, and we even had a group meeting a few months ago about office etiquette that touched some of these scenarios.

Each time I have sat down with her, I have first approached from a place of concern for her and then talked how this behavior could impact the team and her career. Each time she has pretty much denied that there is an issue. She becomes deeply offended and then will make several petty retailiative complaints about her coworkers in the days following the discussion. We are talking extremely petty … this person smells like Lysol … that person clipped their fingernails at work … the person who complained about me asking for food asked someone for ketchup. We have discussed this pattern as well. I met with my manager and HR to let them know of the situation.

The employee and I had another sit down a few weeks ago after I received a complaint from someone outside of our workgroup. I told her that we’ve discussed it multiple times and any additional complaints would result in disciplinary action and a mandatory EAP referral. We documented the conversation. I have little faith that this behavior will stop, and I realize now that I should have done this much sooner but I was hesitant to come down so heavy on someone who may be in need.

update: employee keeps asking coworkers for food and money was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.


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December 1, 2016 at 05:39AM