I work in a pool teaching water classes, and I have a fairly nice boss who means well; however, she is very forgetful.

For example, once a year the pool is closed to be cleaned for a week, but I only found out when the members/public did. I was (hopefully understandably) upset as I generally like to be notified of these major closes in advance, but when I confronted my boss about she insisted she told me and said that there were signs up everywhere, and didn't seem to get that was not the point - I could have scheduled a vacation or planned to sub at another location or offered land based classes or what have you.

Another example: there's a lifeguard who always falls asleep in the chair working the early shift. Obviously this is normally grounds for dismissal, but while members and coworkers along with myself have all brought it to her attention, she has done nothing (apparently, the kid is a family member).

The problem is, I like my job, but this is untenable - someone could sue over the sleeping lifeguard, especially if someone got hurt, and I could get caught in the aftermath. Upper management has done nothing to help. Is there anything I can do to retain my job while improving the management situation?

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    The sleeping lifeguard is a serious issue that could see someone killed if nothing is done. I'd suggest notifying your boss's boss (ideally in writing) if you can. If there's no one higher than her you can contact, you might consider whistle-blowing (although you may want to seek out a lawyer who specializes in such things before taking it outside the employer's walls.)
    – Steve-O
    Oct 29, 2018 at 0:00

2 Answers 2


You ideally need to separate the situations out here. One of them is annoying, but hardly critical (no notification of pool closures) and the other one is a serious H&S issue that could lead to death & manslaughter charges (the sleeping lifeguard). I'd suggest ignoring the first, and elevating the second as high as you can.

If it were me, I'd email the manager, CEO (or equivalent / highest person you can get to in this way) as well as HR and highlight the repeated nature of the issue. Mention that you've tried to bring this to their attention informally in the past, but nothing has ever been done, so you now feel like you have no choice but to take this further up the chain of command.

If that fails, then you're onto the realm of whistleblowing externally - but that's a much more dangerous place to tread, so I wouldn't do it lightly (nor without external specialised help.)


Speaking as someone who is forgetful by nature, the first issue sounds like just that: forgetfulness. It's an irritating lack of communication, but it's not dangerous or harmful to anyone and will probably not endanger your job or well-being.

The second issue, however, is serious. It could absolutely cause major ethical and legal trouble if someone is hurt on the sleeping lifeguard's watch, and the fact that they are a family member and are being kept on despite this obviously dangerous behavior reeks of nepotism and willful negligence. I'm sure there is no malicious intent here, and you don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but you also don't want this to lead to worse problems down the line. That is definitely what you need to focus on in this case.

I agree with @berry120 that if the potential harm this could cause concerns you, you should report the lifeguard issue to someone higher up, ideally a manager, in a professional and polite manner. The fact that they have taken no action until now might just mean they don't know about it or don't realize how important it is. You want this taken care of before something happens that everyone will regret. Keep talking about your concerns until they're fixed.

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