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I am currently working part-time as a Head Cashier at Home Depot and facing a challenging situation with one of my cashiers, an older lady who often displays an unwarranted attitude. For example, when I ask her to take over the cashier role at the outdoor garden center, she scoffs and tells me to send someone before my first break. While she could remind me politely, her behavior is becoming increasingly frustrating.

Just the other day, she informed me that she plans to call in for her next shift because she does not want to work at the garden center, as she believes it's cold and will make her sick. My hands are tied since I can't go against my store manager's directives and close the garden center. To address this issue, I have devised a solution to rotate cashiers every hour so no one stays out for too long, hopefully satisfying both parties.

As Head Cashier, my goal is to create a comfortable work environment for my cashiers, without the micromanagement often found in other retail settings. However, this situation has led me to question if there is a reason for the seemingly rude and cold behavior of management in some workplaces.

I have considered addressing the situation directly, saying, "If you don't like to work, no need to show up. I can talk to the managers and let them know you don't like working here. But please spare me the attitude. I don't get paid enough to put up with that." I am unsure whether this is the best approach or if my anger is clouding my judgment. Simultaneously, I feel the need to stand up for myself and command respect in my role.

How can I handle this situation professionally? Are there any strategies or recommendations for dealing with a difficult coworker, maintaining a respectful workplace environment, and ensuring my cashiers feel comfortable and well-supported in their roles?

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    It's difficult to lead if people are unwilling to follow and you don't have firing authority. All I can suggest is that you have someone who does have that authority "counsel her strongly"... Or assign her to the shifts she doesn't like and let her try to explain to management why she objects to a fair rotation. If that causes her to skip shifts and get fired, that's her choice. REASONABLE accomodations for health and so on should be made, but there comes a point at which it becomes unreasonable.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 4:04

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How can I handle this situation professionally?

First, you should clearly explain to her that you have devised a solution to rotate cashiers every hour so that no one stays out for too long. This rotation should be fair to everyone.

(BTW, did you get the permission from the manager to implement that rotation ?)

You can tell her that the rotation applies to everyone including her so that it is fair to the whole team.

she informed me that she plans to call in for her next shift because she does not want to work at the garden center, as she believes it's cold and will make her sick.

Now, if she has a medical condition or disability and she can't work outdoor due to the cold weather, then you should tell her to talk to the manager and then you can give her the exception of not having to work outdoor. In this case, it may help her significantly if she can present a doctor's note to your manager.

Or, you can be proactive and ask the manager if he is willing to give her the exception because she is an "older lady" (as you wrote) who says that she gets sick when she has to work outdoor under the cold weather. Then, it is up to him if he wants to see the doctor's note first or just gives her the exception anyway based on his own analysis.

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  • That's approved from the managers and all cashiers know it. It's just some of them scoff when I ask them to rotate. Sometimes it gets under my skin because I can't do anything to improve this situation.
    – shuberman
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 16:52

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