Staff Rendezvous

I’d been working a week at this sports bar when I was asked to attend a compulsory staff meeting that had been scheduled for AFTER hours on a Tuesday night. By after hours, I mean 12:30AM. On a Tuesday. When I wasn’t even scheduled to work that night. Oh, and it was unpaid. I had lectures the next morning and politely asked if it would be possible to have the meeting before the bar opened rather than after it had closed. I was told it was scheduled for that time because it was a “social” meeting, whatever the hell that is. I have worked in many bars in my time and at no point have I ever been asked to attend a compulsory, unpaid staff meeting scheduled for after closing time. I did not attend and received a written warning.

During my second week, a regular customer came in that I had not seen before. The other staff on told me his nickname was “Eminem” because he was quite strange and used to mutter weirdly and would make even weirder hand gestures. It took me three seconds to work out the poor guy wasn’t weird or crazy, and the “weird” hand gestures were in fact sign language. The guy was deaf and none of them had realised this, choosing instead to mock him openly for quite a long time. A week later the entire staff got written warnings because someone forgot to turn the dishwasher off one night. I never went back for another shift.

Comments (16)

TedJanuary 10th, 2011 at 8:05 am

“A week after that, a tornado ripped through Oklahoma… I never went back for another shift.”

JeffJanuary 10th, 2011 at 8:25 am

On the one hand, good for you for not attending the ridiculous meeting. On the other hand, none of this seems bad enough to me to be worth quitting the job. I can only assume we’re not getting the whole story here.

efaneoJanuary 10th, 2011 at 10:49 am

Quite frankly I think it’s enough; a pretty good indicator that they were going to make you suffer even for other people’s mistakes and that those other people were insensitive assholes, unlikely to double-check their own work to prevent everyone from shouldering the burden of their mistakes.

If you stayed longer you’d probably have people leaving comments going “OMG why didn’t you leave sooner?!”

Garter SnakeJanuary 10th, 2011 at 10:54 am

Mandatory, unpaid staff meetings should not exist, but I’m not surprised the management declined to reschedule a meeting because of a conflict with one person’s schedule. If I were a manager and a brand-new employee asked that I move a meeting to a time more convenient for him, I would be pretty taken aback.

JChiefJanuary 10th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

“I was told it was scheduled for that time because it was a “social” meeting, whatever the hell that is.”

I’m guessing that they planned to hang out and drink after the “meeting”. Most places I worked – the staff would party their butts off after closing time, and they often want you to hang out with them. Very social creatures, they.

TVDinnerJanuary 10th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Garter Snake, the meeting was at 12:30 AM! It’s insanity to demand that employees show up at that hour, and even doubly so because they weren’t paid for it. Props to the OP for putting school first.

Garter SnakeJanuary 10th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

12:30 AM isn’t a ridiculous time for most bartenders I know, who are usually at work that late anyway. I can’t imagine they would have wanted to do it at 12:30 PM, because they probably would have been sleeping. I agree with you that unpaid meetings are unfair, which is why I mentioned that in my first comment. As for the school thing, If the OP wants to put school first, good for him. I’m just saying that’s his responsibility, not the responsibility of his employer. I still don’t think it’s wise for a brand-new employee to ask to have a meeting rescheduled to better accommodate him.

MeshellJanuary 11th, 2011 at 11:24 am

GarterSnake – The time of the meeting was moot. It was a required, unpaid social meeting. Sounds pretty silly to me, and I highly doubt the OP expected the manager to switch schedules, rather provided a reasoning why they would not be attending. Example : “I am unable to attend that meeting at the scheduled time. Is there a possibility for a reschedule during the day? Otherwise, I will not be attending due to prior engagements.” LIKE SLEEPING.

I’ld assume the OP had that much professional sense since they were able to gather that the staff had been mocking someone with a hearing disability.

clever nameJanuary 11th, 2011 at 11:31 am

In American if you want someone to come to work, you got to pay for them to be there. Good job for getting the hell out of there. If you work for people to freakin stupid to be able to tell ASL, and label disabled people as “weird and crazy” then it is hight time for a new job.

Garter SnakeJanuary 11th, 2011 at 1:43 pm

It does not seem like the people who are responding to my comments on this post have actually read and processed what I wrote. Oh well.

AdamJanuary 11th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Hmm so not one person in the whole place realized the guy was deaf? That’s beyond unbelievable. You would have to be working at the dingbat factory for me to believe that. Are you sure they did know and were just making fun of him anyway?

It also seems highly unlikely that he would just assume everyone knows sign language. I used to work at a gas station with a few deaf regulars they would either just hand me the amount they wanted or get my boss to yell out the amount once they had paid. One guy even had a little dry erase board and he always put a little smiley at the end. That was my favorite customer and we never shared a word.

ValerieJanuary 14th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Ted- I think the OP is just pointing out how unfair the treatment was. One person left the dishwasher on and the manager punished everyone. That’s like in sports when one person messes up and you all have to run laps.

Call 911January 15th, 2011 at 12:07 am

Adam – The deaf guy might not have been signing to the staff expecting them to understand him but may have instead been signing to friends that were with him. Or he may have been able to speak well enough for them to understand him but signed at the same time (possibly force of habit). Where I live has a very large deaf community because of a few deaf colleges and it amazes me, the number of people who think they are mentally challenged or something because of the way their voice sounds when they speak or because they don’t realize what the hell sign language looks like.

Garter – I agree with you a little. If I were a manager and a single employee asked me to reschedule a meeting because it was inconvenient for them, I’d probably be a little taken aback but I don’t think that’s necessarily the point of this. I think the point is that the managers schedules this “social gathering” and even people who weren’t at work were required to show up. While it might not be a late hour for someone who’d already been at work, it is a little ridiculous to ask someone who didn’t work that day/night to show up after midnight for an unpaid “social gathering” that they were REQUIRED to attend.

hellcatJanuary 15th, 2011 at 12:28 am

So…this is this person’s worst job because they were forced to attend one stupid after hours meeting? I mean, I totally agree that it’s ridiculous to have him come in for an unpaid “social” meeting, but it was just one time.

Although it’s true that they seem like shitty people for not realizing the guy was deaf and making fun of him…at least he couldn’t hear them teasing him…

Garter SnakeJanuary 15th, 2011 at 2:49 am

@ Call 911, I do agree with you on that. It was weird and possibly illegal to expect employees who weren’t working to show up at 12:30 for an unpaid social meeting, and I don’t blame the OP for speaking up; I just thought that it was unreasonable of him to expect that the meeting be moved, especially considering that 1) he was new and 2) most bartenders work until 2AM or so, and 12:30 wouldn’t be past bedtime for most of them. Thank you for actually reading what I wrote and not thinking I was saying that unpaid meetings were okay.

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