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Old 05-25-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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My son who recently turned 17 has been working at a nice restaurant for the past few months. He applied for a part time job saying he could work 3 days per week with specific days he wouldnt' be available due to school. From the start, he was scheduled for five days per week and often he was scheduled for the days he said he was unavailable.

Since he's 17 years old, I have been encouraging him to talk to his manager about his scheduling needs. Every time he would talk to his manager about the days he wasn't available, his manager would be great about it and say he'd make the adjustments in the schedule. My son would endure another week and then discover the next schedule would have him scheduled for the days he was unavailable.

Two weeks ago, they had him work for 10 straight days without a day off. He was origionally scheduled with one day off, but they had asked him to come in. Thursday was the end of his 10 straight day run, and he had Friday and Saturday off.

On the way to work this afternoon, he was complaining about the job. He is completely burned out. He called me from work wanting to quit because he works too many hours. I told him that they deserved notice and that he should look for another job before quitting a job. (Just trying to instill a work ethic here!) Instead of quitting, I recommmended that he tell his manager that he is only available 3 days per week. If his manager says no, or ignores this when making the schedule again, that he would have a right to quit without notice.

Here's the rub. I've looked up my state's employment laws and they have been breaking the law since day one. The law is as follows:

During the school year:
No more than 8 hours per day
No more than 28 hours per week
No later than 11:30pm at night.
Uninterrupted 30 minute break before 5th hour of work.

In the summer:
No more than 8 hours per day
No more than 44 hours per week.
No restrictions on quit time.
30 minute break before 5th hour still applies.

He has always been scheduled to work 12 to 13 hour shifts on the weekends.
He sometimes does not get done with work before 11:30pm.
Last week, he worked 41 hours (and it's technically still the school year).
The prior week, he worked 29 hours.
He usually works between 33 to 36 hours per week.
His break times are always interrupted.
They never asked for a work certificate (which is required by law).

I don't want to get involved. Since he is 17, I really want him to learn how to manage his affairs. He'll be an adult next year. I'd also like to add that he most certainly wouldn't want me to get involved either.

I'm at a loss. How can I help my son stand up for his rights? In his mind, it's all or nothing. He's ready to walk out the door without notice. But he hasn't really even addressed any of his gripes---except for being scheduled for specific days off. He has just been saying "yes" to every single request they have. He needs to learn that he has to speak up for himself or people will take advantage of him. Keeping quiet and suddenly walking out the door doesn't solve anything.

On the phone this evening, his father and I have tried to encourage him to inform his manager that he is only available 3 days per week, as origionally agreed when he was hired. I dont' think he'll do it. He thinks it won't matter---that they'll just keep scheduling him.

What would you do?
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Right where I want to be.
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Legalities aside (which he should have know about before taking the job...the fault is just as much his...or yours as the parent, IMO), I'm confused as to why he didn't bring this up with the FIRST schedule that ignored his requested hours. Did the management agree to his preferred hours when he was hired? Why has he been going on for months if it's not what he wants? When he's on a break and they 'interrupt' him he should say "I'm on a break." He's not a slave, he's an employee, he is CHOOSING to work more hours than he wants and on days he doesn't want to have work. If they can't give him the hours he wants he should quit and go elsewhere.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:03 PM
 
47,576 posts, read 58,745,541 times
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I think you shouldn't go the lawsuit route. That could get around town and hurt his chances for other jobs. I'd just tell him to put in his two weeks notice and find some place that sticks with agreements better.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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First, let me clarify that my question is more of a parenting question instead of a legal question.

How do we encourage our soon to be adult children to be advocates for themselves?

Don't get me wrong. My son has never been a doormat. Yet, he has a hard time saying no to an employer for some reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCyank View Post
I'm confused as to why he didn't bring this up with the FIRST schedule that ignored his requested hours.
The first time he was schedule for a day he couldn't work, he did speak up. The manager did his work that day so he coud have off. Subsequent weeks, he would let the manager know. On occassion, the manager would make arrangements. More often than not, the manager would ask him the 'favor' of doing 'this week.'

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCyank View Post
Did the management agree to his preferred hours when he was hired?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCyank View Post
Why has he been going on for months if it's not what he wants?
I'd have to check. He has just finished his 6th or 8th week. At first, he loved it there. He was trying to be a good employee. He has been frustrated, but he didn't outright start to hate it until after he worked 10 straight days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCyank View Post
When he's on a break and they 'interrupt' him he should say "I'm on a break."
They have a rule that all work needs to be done before taking a break. He makes sure his work is done prior to going on a break, but then work piles up while he's on a break and they come and accuse him of taking a break without his work being done. He goes inside to defend himself. And his coworkers defend him too. It's the assistant manager who always does this to everyone, not the manager. And it's always when then owner is at the restaurant----like you're not allowed to take breaks when the owner is there because the assistant manager doesn't want the owner wondering why an area is unstaffed. It's very random when the owner decides to stop by or hang out at the restaurant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCyank View Post
He's not a slave, he's an employee, he is CHOOSING to work more hours than he wants and on days he doesn't want to have work.
I agree! That's the entire point of my post! HOW can a parent help a teenager learn how to stick up for himself? I thought if I showed him the labor laws, he might feel empowered to stand up for himself and learn how to set health boundaries in a professional manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCyank View Post
If they can't give him the hours he wants he should quit and go elsewhere.
Again, this is a parenting issue. I'm trying to inspire my son to stick with something when it's hard and learn how to work things out. If he must quit, I don't want him to just walk out the door. He won't learn anything that way.

The only way we feel he should walk out the door is if he makes his position CLEAR and they do it again. I don't want him to feel that he can walk out the door just because he's frustrated or upset. It should be a last resort. Even then, I TRULY BELIEVE IN GIVING NOTICE---no matter how terrible the job, every employer deserves some notice. Then there's also that lesson about finding another job before you quit a job. It's all tied together.

This is his first job. They LOVE him. I'm just trying to help him learn a work ethic AND be proactive for himself at the same time.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:05 PM
 
1,986 posts, read 3,468,487 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
...How do we encourage our soon to be adult children to be advocates for themselves?

Don't get me wrong. My son has never been a doormat. Yet, he has a hard time saying no to an employer for some reason.
It's very difficult to teach a teenager to stand up for himself to someone in authority when all his life he is taught to not question authority and do what he's told. That's why we, as parents have to start when our kids are small to know when and how to draw the line.

Your son IS being a doormat, and his boss knows it. He has to find the strength to insist or he's going to have the same problems for years to come.

Maybe ask him how right he thinks it is that he's being taken advantage of, and role play so he is prepared to say no next time. If he practices with you, or another non-threatening adult, he will gain some confidence.
Quote:
The first time he was schedule for a day he couldn't work, he did speak up. The manager did his work that day so he coud have off. Subsequent weeks, he would let the manager know. On occassion, the manager would make arrangements. More often than not, the manager would ask him the 'favor' of doing 'this week.'
That manager needs to hire another part time employee, or resign himself to doing that job when your son isn't there.
Quote:
I'd have to check. He has just finished his 6th or 8th week. At first, he loved it there. He was trying to be a good employee. He has been frustrated, but he didn't outright start to hate it until after he worked 10 straight days.
As has been already posted, a lot of that is your son's responsibility because he doesn't say no. It's up to him to be able to.
Quote:
They have a rule that all work needs to be done before taking a break. He makes sure his work is done prior to going on a break, but then work piles up while he's on a break and they come and accuse him of taking a break without his work being done. He goes inside to defend himself. And his coworkers defend him too. It's the assistant manager who always does this to everyone, not the manager. And it's always when then owner is at the restaurant----like you're not allowed to take breaks when the owner is there because the assistant manager doesn't want the owner wondering why an area is unstaffed. It's very random when the owner decides to stop by or hang out at the restaurant.
Breaks on a regular basis is the law, not only for kids, but for adults as well. The employer should know that.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Right where I want to be.
4,507 posts, read 7,829,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
They have a rule that all work needs to be done before taking a break. He makes sure his work is done prior to going on a break, but then work piles up while he's on a break and they come and accuse him of taking a break without his work being done. He goes inside to defend himself. And his coworkers defend him too. It's the assistant manager who always does this to everyone, not the manager. And it's always when then owner is at the restaurant----like you're not allowed to take breaks when the owner is there because the assistant manager doesn't want the owner wondering why an area is unstaffed. It's very random when the owner decides to stop by or hang out at the restaurant.
Oh, this is easy. Ask the assistant manager to SIGN OFF on the fact that his area is done and he is going on break. It's called CYA...your son needs to learn to do it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
I agree! That's the entire point of my post! HOW can a parent help a teenager learn how to stick up for himself? I thought if I showed him the labor laws, he might feel empowered to stand up for himself and learn how to set health boundaries in a professional manner.


Again, this is a parenting issue. I'm trying to inspire my son to stick with something when it's hard and learn how to work things out. If he must quit, I don't want him to just walk out the door. He won't learn anything that way.

The only way we feel he should walk out the door is if he makes his position CLEAR and they do it again. I don't want him to feel that he can walk out the door just because he's frustrated or upset. It should be a last resort. Even then, I TRULY BELIEVE IN GIVING NOTICE---no matter how terrible the job, every employer deserves some notice. Then there's also that lesson about finding another job before you quit a job. It's all tied together.
Well what is it that you want, for your son to handle it himself or handle it the way you want him to? He might first have to learn to stand up to you before he can stand up to his employer. Look, I know you are trying to help him but you keep saying what you want him to do or what you don't want him to do. What does he want to do? Remember, even if he doesn't handle it the right way or the best way, we learn as much from failures as from successes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
This is his first job. They LOVE him. I'm just trying to help him learn a work ethic AND be proactive for himself at the same time.
Of course they love him. He works when he doesn't want to, he doesn't protect himself against the assistant manager so the AM always has someone to point the finger at when the boss man is around..."Oh, I guess Tony took his break and left his area a mess...". I'm sure this AM does the same to others, no??
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
14,313 posts, read 20,573,599 times
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I think NCyank makes an excellent point. First your son has to decide what he wants to do, and follow through with it. Kids learn as much from their mistakes as they do their successes. You have given your son all the tools he needs, now let him make the decision, and learn from it.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:21 PM
 
6,585 posts, read 22,395,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormy night View Post
It's very difficult to teach a teenager to stand up for himself to someone in authority when all his life he is taught to not question authority and do what he's told. That's why we, as parents have to start when our kids are small to know when and how to draw the line.

Your son IS being a doormat, and his boss knows it. He has to find the strength to insist or he's going to have the same problems for years to come.
Oh, so true!!!
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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I have some good news!

After my son talked to us, he noticed the schedule had been changed while he was off for the past two days. It was switched to all of his requested days off---plus the manager tossed in next Friday and Saturday night again too. Apparently, my son was able to get through to his manager the when he last saw him on Thursday.

My son says his manager had been complaining that he had been working for 4 straight days, and my son responded, "Stop whining. This is my 10th straight day in a row." My son guesses that caused the manager to realize why my son keeps trying to talk to him about the schedule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stormy night View Post
It's very difficult to teach a teenager to stand up for himself to someone in authority when all his life he is taught to not question authority and do what he's told. That's why we, as parents have to start when our kids are small to know when and how to draw the line.
That's why I'm so perplexed. My son has a natural rebel personality. He's never been a loaner rebel---always had a large number of followers even in preschool. He was so much of a leader personality at a young age that we put him in cub scouts as soon as he was old enough. There's more than one type of leader, and I recognized the importance of making sure that mine wasn't going to be a destroy-the-world-type leader. LOL

He has never had a problem drawing the line---even with teachers or anyone for that matter. Trust me, my son was always the type that dared to defy authority when he felt something was unjust for himself or someone else. It was one of our main challenges as parents with this child. We focused a lot on chosing your battles and the best strategy to achieve desired results. I've encouraged him to study law. He's a natural activist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stormy night View Post
Your son IS being a doormat, and his boss knows it. He has to find the strength to insist or he's going to have the same problems for years to come.
That's why I started this thread!

I think it all comes down to his figuring out what it means to be a good employee. It's a whole new forum for him. They already promoted him and gave him a raise within this short period of time. He is being rewarded.

Thank you for the responses. I was just stressed out after he called and posted here.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:26 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 89,044,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veuvegirl View Post
I think NCyank makes an excellent point. First your son has to decide what he wants to do, and follow through with it. Kids learn as much from their mistakes as they do their successes. You have given your son all the tools he needs, now let him make the decision, and learn from it.
Thanks veuvegirl! You're absolutely right! I'll remind myself of that next time!
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