I work in Long Term Care and one of the policy is that staff cannot eat remaining food from the residents' meals (the food that has not been served). It goes in the garbage at the end of the day. Some staff argue that they would rather throw it away than eat it.

I work as a server and some staff in other departments don't bring their own food and are always asking us once all residents have been served. But some of us have to follow the rules because we can lose our jobs for giving them food even though it's going in the garbage.

There are some staff that works overnight shifts at other homes and directly come to our work. They don't have time to go home to prepare breakfast and lunch. So this puts me in an awkward position. I feel bad that they are starving. But at the same time, If I give them I risk my job. Then there are some who just don't bring their own food and are always asking. As a matter of fact, another staff member was reported by a family member for giving CNA's food and she was given a written warning.

How would you address this issue?

  • 1
    Should this issue be directed to HR? Staff are always eating residents leftover food - Yes, it should.
    – joeqwerty
    Mar 25 '19 at 0:31
  • 2
    Tell them you're only allowed to serve residents, if they're not happy they can approach your manager, and he can approve it or not.
    – Smock
    Mar 25 '19 at 15:43
  • If the company is against it being given away for free, could you approach your manager about having the leftover food having an option to be purchased for cost? That way they can make up some of the cost of the food rather than it go in the garbage, and all transactions can be logged.. Mar 27 '19 at 1:14

I work in Long term care and one of the policy is staff cannot eat remaining food from the residents meals.( the food that has not being served). It goes in the garbage at the end of the day.

another staff member was reported by a family member for giving CNA's food and she was given a written warning. How would you address this issue?

You aren't supposed to give the food away. And you have learned that you could get a written warning for doing so. It could even end up costing you your job.

So don't give the food away. Put it in the garbage at the end of the day as you are directed.

Either continue to say "No" when asked for food and remind them of the rules, or bring it to your manager's attention. Ask something like "How should I handle it when others ask for leftover food?"

The policy seems silly to me and I might be tempted to ask my manager why we had such a policy. I do understand that not having such a policy could encourage having folks intentionally withhold clients' food so as to have more leftovers. Perhaps there are other reasons.

It wouldn't be worth risking my job to intentionally violate the policy no matter how I felt.

Note: I just noticed that you wrote in another question that you were to be questioned by HR about hiding food to take home later. In that question, you indicated that you ate the food at your workstation, and that you felt the policy was unclear.

So are you trying to get other people in trouble? Or are you still unclear on the policy? If the former, let it go. If the latter, talk with HR until you understand the policy correctly. You don't want to get fired over this.

  • The meeting never took place as my manager and uninon concluded that a displinary meeting wouldn't be fair to me since eating food is an everyday occurrence with other staff. I was targeted basically. Now they are now enforcing the no eating rule in my department. but the problem is other departments also take food. They don't see it or know about it unless someone reports it. I'm not trying to get into further trouble with HR and want to follow this policy but it's difficult since not everyone follows it
    – Jenny99
    Mar 24 '19 at 22:34
  • 4
    Since you're wondering why this policy exists: One thing I often heard in a similar place was that it's supposed to suppress any incentive to deliberately misreport the department's inhabitant stats, e.g. keeping people longer on the list than they are there or not reporting someone who cancels food orders etc. and that way increasing overall cost by ordering more food than is necessary for all the patients and potentially creating other problems, e.g. bills for patients that are higher than they should be. Mar 25 '19 at 0:52

I'd suggest that you talk to HR and ask them to raise awareness about the rule to the whole staff. There's no point having rules which are not known, not followed or unfairly enforced.

Currently most staff don't follow the rule, either because they don't know it or they think it's fine to ignore it. This means that so far HR doesn't communicate properly about it. They should make sure that all staff know the rule, what they risk if they don't follow it, and preferably explain why the rule is in place (it's always easier to accept a rule when we can understand it).

Once everybody is made aware of the rule and the consequences of not following it, it will be much easier for you to answer your colleagues. It's even likely that they will stop asking you.


I’ve been in similar situations where my coworkers have tried to coerce me into breaking a rule (and this especially applies to rules that I personally think are dumb and pointless) and my standard response is:

“Sorry, but I’m a rule follower. It’s just not worth it for me to break the rules even if I don’t agree with them. I’ve seen the consequences and it’s just not worth it to me. I’d rather keep my job.”

They’ll probably move on and try and find someone who will break the rules. Most people will understand and the ones that don’t probably won’t be around for long.

To answer the title of your question: no, this is not something you should go to hr about. You should follow the rules if you don’t want to suffer the consequences and mind your own business if others are breaking the rules and it’s not really hurting anyone.

Also note that this rule probably exists because at some point someone took advantage of being able to eat leftover meals and now no one is allowed to.


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