Warned About Work Problems Caused By Childcare

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about child care:

My situation is that I work at a hotel and have two young kids. I was told by my supervisor at work that I was going to get a written warning because I could not give them 7 days notice of not being able to get a babysitter so I could work a night shift when my husband had to work too. They are aware that I have kids and know about my circumstance. Would this come under the discrimination act?

Signed, Worried Working Mom

Dear Worried Working Mom:

I’m so sorry this is being a problem because I know the stressful aspects of trying to arrange childcare at odd hours.If you work for a company that is large enough to have an HR section you may want to talk to them about this matter. The key will be what the rules say and if you were aware of them. Seven days notice seems like a lot. On the other hand, consider their viewpoint: If you know you can’t be there, they need to schedule someone else. If you don’t give them advance notice, they may have trouble scheduling someone else if the time is less than a week. So, they probably are careful to not refer to WHY you can’t give 7 days notice, just that you didn’t or that you can’t, and that it is a violation of the rules.

It is not a violation of any EEO requirements that I can determine. However, it could potentially be a violation if only women were required to do so or if men received a different sanction for it than women.If you sense there is something biased about women you should document that and contact an attorney to ask for a free phone consultation during which you could explain the situation. Or, you could use the Internet to see if there is a nearby EEO office which could provide assistance.I doubt that there is a violation though. It’s unfortunate that you are in this situation, but from a business viewpoint, they need to cover their shifts and need to know if someone will be gone. One thing you might consider is writing up your concerns and presenting it to your supervisor. Explain why you can’t always let them know a full week out, that you can’t be there and ask for their understanding. They probably will not change their policy, but it might at least let them know you are trying to comply.I’m afraid there is no magic wand to fix this situation. But hopefully you will not often be completely without options for childcare. Best wishes to you as you work it out.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.