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Need help dealing with a co-worker
  #1  
Old 07-06-2019, 10:52 PM
snugglegirl05 snugglegirl05 is offline
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Default Need help dealing with a co-worker

I need advice regarding how to deal with a co-worker of mine.

He is a special needs co-worker. When you have a conversation with him, you notice that there is a disconnect in his brain. So, getting your point across to him is challenging.

Both of us are cashiers working for a major grocery store chain.

He makes noises while working such as “yee haw, yahoo!!” and so on which is a distraction for me and for my co-workers. My co-workers and I have talked about how distracting he is at work.

Front-end management and store management have spoken to him about his behavior, but he continues to act this way.

He also acts like a supervisor even though he is not. He reminds you of what you need to do as a cashier.

He also reaches over the cash register where you are to grab the receipt for your customer, and then gives it to them. This happens when he is working at the cash register in front of you.

He keeps track of his co-workers’ schedules, and when you either start work early or leave later, he says to you “aren’t you supposed to work from x time to x time?” This happens when you are either asked by a supervisor or a manager to either come in early or stay late.

Many of us are losing our patience when dealing with him.

Last edited by snugglegirl05; 07-06-2019 at 11:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2019, 04:35 AM
Pixelated Pixelated is offline
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Ouch. This is particularly tough because he IS special needs.

Nonetheless, somebody has got to let him know this kind of behaviour isn't acceptable.

How harsh are you allowed/willing to get with him?

When he reaches across you to grab a receipt, can you push his arm away and tell him, sharply, to stop it?

CW: "But I just want to give them their receipt!"

Cashier: "You are on your own register. You give them the receipts from YOUR register, not from other people's."

Admittedly, this would mean doing so in front of customers, so I don't know how well it would play out. But if somebody doesn't stop him, I predict that sooner or later some poor staffer, driven to distraction, will REALLY blow a gasket and that will be far, far worse.

When he reminds you of how to do your job, ignore him. If he tries to repeat it, look at him coldly and say "I KNOW that." Then go back to what you were doing. If he tries to justify explaining things you already know, just keep ignoring him.

When he questions you about your work schedule, can you say "I don't have to explain it to you; go ask management"? (If he does so often enough, management might finally decide to deal with the situation.)

About the noises, I can only imagine how frustrating that must be. I suspect the only way management will deal with it is if the customers complain, since your and your coworkers' complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears.

I'm sorry if this sounds cruel, but this is a work environment and not a social situation. You can give a lot more leeway to people with issues in the latter than in the former.
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2019, 06:44 AM
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Seanette Seanette is offline
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Honestly, as a customer, I'd find this guy off-putting at best. Is he not paying attention to HIS customers while he's grabbing stuff in other workers' space? The weird vocalizations would also be worrisome.

As a cashier, about the third or fourth time someone made a grab at MY register, I'd be blowing my stack about apparent theft attempts.
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  #4  
Old 07-07-2019, 02:37 PM
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It sounds like he may be stuck where he is because HR don't want to risk anything, but they're not helping him and they're not helping you all either. Whatever issues he may have, they obviously aren't compatible with working front end in a respectful manner for all concerned.
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2019, 03:03 PM
snugglegirl05 snugglegirl05 is offline
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Quote:
Quoth RealUnimportant View Post
It sounds like he may be stuck where he is because HR does not want to risk anything, but they're not helping him, and they're not helping you all either. Whatever issues he may have, they obviously aren't compatible with working front end in a respectful manner for all concerned.
So what should I and my co-workers do about that?
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2019, 12:12 AM
TheSHAD0W TheSHAD0W is offline
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I'm familiar with special needs. In many cases you need a firm response to teach them to not perform bad behavior - responses that would be highly improper in a retail situation.

The only solution I can think of is to do some training for him after hours, performing some fake transactions, and then yelling "NO!" when he behaves improperly. Physically hitting him with something soft, like a pillow or an empty plastic bottle, would also help reinforce the training.

And to everyone who recoils in horror that you're treating a human being like you're training a dog - yes, there's more than a little in common with that. There's lots in common with classical army training as well.
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  #7  
Old 07-15-2019, 03:40 PM
snugglegirl05 snugglegirl05 is offline
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He has been & still is insubordinate to the front end supervisors, the assistant front end manager & the front end manager.

He has stated that he “had put his foot down” when he is told to go on break either by one if the front end supervisors or by one if the front end managers because he did not want to go on break at that time.

He has also stated that he has told the front end manager that he will not go on break when told to when does not want to at that time.
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  #8  
Old 07-15-2019, 04:36 PM
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Based on a cursory reading of this thread, it's possible that your co-worker is on the Autism spectrum.

It's possible that he may need a "lesson" (as it were) on "expected" versus "unexpected" behavior (i.e. snatching the receipt from another cashier is "unexpected behavior"). It may just be a "coaching" issue. Not that he isn't being coached, but whatever they're doing to "coach" him isn't working. It sounds like there's a bit of rigidity there, too, in that he "expects" to do things at certain times (or, in the case of noting when employees clock in/out, also expects others to do things at certain times).

I know this sounds an awful lot like controlling and conditioning, and it may well, be, but it sounds like he may need some good guidance on social skills and different guidance (i.e. reasoning with him in a different way) regarding workplace behavior.
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  #9  
Old 07-21-2019, 08:25 AM
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AkaiKitsune AkaiKitsune is offline
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So I do have some experience in this area as my brother is autistic and some days itís unnoticeable and others he needs managing constantly. This is a list of things that I have found work in the past as my brother exhibits some of the behaviour mentioned.

Sit him down and explain in detail what is his responsibility. Be very specific, the more specific the better. Include things you wouldnít normally include (the stuff that generally goes unsaid because itís already generally accepted as being a part of the job). Donít do it in a way that comes off as ďhey cut this shit out weíre getting complaints from staff and customers.Ē But rather as clarification. More of a ďhey we arenít sure what you have and havenít been told but letís go through everything together just in case things were missedĒ. Clarity is key.

Some of what you are describing sounds like an extreme case of mimicking or mirroring. He probably knows heís Ďdifferentí and he wants to show you he knows the next thing that you are supposed to do. (Such as grabbing the receipt after an order). Unfortunately this isnít appropriate behaviour. What heís doing is mimicking what he has seen and mirroring the action that he knows comes next. Itís not a conscious thing but part of the disconnect. He wants to show you so he does it at your till.

One thing that has worked for my brother (who has no understanding of social cues or personal space sometimes) is to take coloured tape and simply divide they till in two with a straight line. Everything on one side is his responsibility and everything on the other is the other cashiers responsibility. One way to word it too is that you have seen he can do a good job and you need everyone to work just as hard. It sounds like he wants to be helpful but doesnít understand what is helpful and what is not. If you word it so that everything and anything he does on his side is helpful and everything on the other side of the line is not then itís easier to understand as he seems to miss the social cues that people are annoyed. Using the line made of tape gives something visual and consistent that he can clue into. Itís hard for people who donít naturally read body language to understand what is going unspoken as different people will display emotions differently. Itís not a constant thing that someone can say if they do this then they mean that.

For breaks and refusing to go on them explain that each person requires a break by law if they work there. Explain that the breaks are in a certain order at a certain time to ensure that nobody gets missed and that everyone is where they are supposed to be. He will likely never grasp why it has to be at that specific time as opposed to an hour later. But if you show him the break list and how itís decided his own mind will work against him. Itís a schedule and just like the schedule that says when you start/end your shift it is something that can be understood. Right now it probably seems like a bunch of arbitrary numbers scrapped on a paper. He doesnít understand thereís a format to it. Perhaps start with something he understands already like how people start at x time and end at y.

For telling you what you need to do. Try telling him every once in a while that you have to do x,y,z and a few other things next. Make it less of a come up and tell him and more an overheard remark. Like youíre talking to yourself almost. He probably keeps a mental checklist and he will likely check those items off in his head and do the equivalent of ďokay she knows what to do next I donít need to remind her.Ē If he does try to tell you what to do next cut him off when he is about to list something with what you should be doing. Eventually he will understand that you do know what youíre doing. Itís a similar situation to when a teacher calls on a sleeping student to answer a question, expecting confusion, but getting the right answer instead. His mind sees you as the sleeping student who doesnít seem to him to be following the lesson but you are really the student who already knows the material so when prompted you have an answer.

For scheduling I assume you have a binder or some such at the front like most FE jobs. Is there any way to highlight his hours and let him no personally that these are his hours? Sometimes typing up a sheet separately and handing it personally will also help because heís not being overwhelmed with information. With a highlighter he would be drawn to the bright colour over everyone elseís schedule and he wouldnít be as focussed on reading everything to ensure he doesnít miss anything.

Donít know what to do about the yelling as it may be entirely involuntary. In the sense that he may feel an overwhelming compulsion to say this and no matter how hard he tries he needs to scratch the proverbial itch. I know there are redirection exercises that sometimes work. Like having to do a certain action every time he wants to yell out. For instance my brother who is autistic self harms. He will slam his head against the nearest surface, he will claw his arms with his nails, he will punch walls if heís pushed too far. Instead of doing these actions heís knows now that he has to knock three times slowly on the nearest surface before he can do any behaviour when heís frustrated or angry. This interrupts the compulsive behaviour with something else and forces him to concentrate on something that is less harmful (or in your case disruptive). By the time heís finished the action heís not in the same state of mind as he was before. Because my brother has a very physical reaction weíve used a physical approach to solving it by requiring him to knock. Itís a physical action to interrupt a physical compulsion. Since your coworker is verbal try repeating a phrase instead.

Hope this helps. If you want you can PM or email me at 1989kitsune@gmail.com
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2019, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Quoth AkaiKitsune View Post
{snip for awesome advice}
I'll be keeping a note of this elsewhere for other applications... that's really helpful, thanks!
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