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Don’t let family step between you and the boss

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “My husband is very angry with my supervisor. I work the late shift in a hospital laboratory and usually sleep for a while before going in. The other night, my supervisor called and asked if I was available. When my husband said I was sleeping, my boss explained that he needed me to come in early because of a 'medical crisis.' My husband refused to wake me and suggested calling someone else, then hung up rather abruptly.

"When I arrived at work, my supervisor called me into his office. After ranting for ten minutes about my husband’s behavior, he said, 'You are a wonderful employee, but if this ever happens again, you will not have a job.'

"Now my husband is furious. He is protective of my sleeping time and insists that management can’t make me come in early because there is no 'on call' policy. He also says my supervisor had no right to threaten me. 

"I have considered taking this issue to my supervisor’s boss, but I’m not sure whether further discussion is indicated. Does my supervisor have the right to make me go in early? And how should we handle any future calls?”  Losing Sleep

Answer: "Further discussion" is definitely indicated, but with your husband, not management. Hanging up on your boss may have been rude and politically stupid, but refusing to inform you of a medical crisis was appallingly irresponsible.

Your supervisor rightfully expects to discuss work issues with you, not your family. If he calls during nap time, your husband should simply say, "She’s asleep. Should I wake her up?" And if the answer is yes, the only appropriate response is "Okay, I’ll get her."

Unless you have a contract which dictates otherwise, the hospital undoubtedly has the right to call you in during a staff shortage or emergency. Depending on the laws in your state, they may also be able to fire you for refusing.

You are a capable and responsible adult, not a child who needs protecting. If your husband continues to behave like a parent, this will not be the end of your problems.

Worried about losing your job? This quiz may help to determine whether your fears are justified …  Quick Quiz: How Secure Is Your Job?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Human Being December 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Unless a job has you ‘On Call’, and you entered the job knowing this in advance, the employer has zero expectation that you will be available for them after normal work hours. This article does not highlight that aspect of the situation described and thus any response would be based upon faulty information.


ehab hegazy December 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm

im general manger in pharmaceutical company. i think that it is not plite bhavier from supervisor he should keep good relation with her family becouse this will affect on the work


Real Advice November 30, 2012 at 7:55 am

Your husband has every right to make that complaint.
If you are not scheduled or on-call as agreed with the employer, the supervisor has no right to make such demands and threat.

In fact, the supervisor’s action may be construed as hostile work environment, and if you are fired, you can claim retaliation.

The advice written above is pure non-sense.

I would document this and write a letter to the HR and to your supervisor’s boss. This should be documented, as you want to preserve such evidence if any adverse action is ever taken against you.


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