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I put in my two weeks at my (food service) job because I'm going to be moving soon. I got an email back from my manager telling me I need to find people to cover my shift times for the week AFTER I quit because they're going to be "really busy." Can they do that? Isn't that their responsibility?

Management has a notorious overstaffing problem so I know there is a good chance they don't actually need someone to cover those shifts.

Does anyone know what I should do here? I've never had this happen before and I'm already stressed enough getting ready to move; I don't want to deal with this, too.

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    "my manager telling me I need to find people to cover my shift times for the week AFTER I quit". To clarify: were you still employed by them when, during work hours your boss asked you to do that? Put that way... the answer is pretty obvious. If that's not what you meant, then please clarify.
    – RonJohn
    Apr 11 at 2:08
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    Would they have asked you to find someone to cover your shifts during planned vacation?
    – alroc
    Apr 11 at 10:30
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    Is there something which prevents you from doing this task while on the clock? Sounds like the manager is going to pay you to find coverage for your shifts instead of your regular tasks so what's the issue?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Apr 11 at 11:42
  • @MonkeyZeus I suspect it's in addition to, not instead of.
    – Barmar
    Apr 12 at 15:04
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    This poster also sent this question to Ask A Manager.
    – stannius
    Apr 16 at 16:48

8 Answers 8

96

Can they do that?

They can delegate any task you are qualified for to you (assuming the task is not against morals, ethics or laws, or dangerous to your health). And given that they are your boss, and you are perfectly qualified to ask your coworkers "hey can you take a shift on day X", and it is well within the operation of that company, not at all unethical or dirty or dangerous, it seems like a no-brainer.

Please note that you do that during your paid time at work. And if you have asked all available people, a list of all people where there is a "no" behind each name means you have successfully done your job. It is not your job to get a yes, or to hire more people.

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    And if he asks you to fill a shift after your work time ends - feel free to say yes, and then quote a hourly rate 10x of what you earn now.
    – TomTom
    Apr 10 at 22:36
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    (Note: Only do as @TomTom suggests if you'd actually be willing do do the shift for that pay. If it's a "couldn't pay me to keep working here" situation, or just at an inconvenient time, also feel free to decline.) Apr 11 at 1:12
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    "It is not your job to get a yes" - RIGHT ON THE MONEY!
    – MonkeyZeus
    Apr 11 at 11:39
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    @TomTom Please don't assume that managers must be male. Apr 12 at 6:59
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    @GregMartin - Please don't exclude also the possibility that a manager can be, in a hypothetical scenario, referred to using an old-fashioned gender neutral pronoun. Apr 12 at 10:42
44

Yes, they can do that, but you do not have an obligation to succeed in that task.

It is a simple work task that has been given to you, however the entrepreneurial risk in succeeding resides with the employer.

Which basically means you can try do that and if it doesn’t work out, it is not your problem, neither are you liable.

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    I would add that during the time that OP is still working there, they can definitely be asked to spend a little bit of their worktime to find a replacement. This may succeed or not. As you wrote, once OP stops working there it is not their problem anymore.
    – quarague
    Apr 10 at 7:27
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The purpose of two weeks notice is to permit orderly transfer of your knowledge and responsibilities.

I would say that it isn't unreasonable for them to ask you to help find and train your replacement during this period. Help, not do it all yourself; it's ultimately Management's responsibility to assign someone to pick up those tasks.

If you're in the mood to be an ass about it, you can refuse, or "try" and fail. But unless you truly detest these people, they are still paying you during these two weeks and you owe them value for that money.

After the two weeks are over, it's their problem, and whether you offer further assistance or not is entirely up to you.

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cover my shift times for the week AFTER I quit

I think this language is probably triggering, as when you were working there it had an implicit threat. Find someone else or you have to come in. Finding someone else is your deterrent and punishment for calling in. The weird subtext of "or what" might dredge up the unconscious fear of not being allowed to quit.

If they want to pay you on the clock to call people and ask nicely if they want the shifts, by all means go ahead and do it. They are paying you after all. As said in other answers, the job is done when you have called everyone even if nobody says yes.

Alternatively if they want you to do it in your off time for the "reward" of not coming in a week after you quit? No. No, thank you. If they want you to hound your former colleagues and call in all of your personal favors? Hard pass. Unless you like really need the two weeks of pay, the risk is pretty low.

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I have to laugh at the audacity of employers today.

OP, they can ask you this all they want. Whether you do it or not is a different story.

Part of a manager's job is staffing. At no point is staffing something the "staff" needs to take care of as part of their job.

Your response to your manager making their staff shortage your problem should be, "While I appreciate the promotion to manager, I have already given my two week notice. Staffing is your problem to solve, not mine. Have a great life! *

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    The way I understand it the manager is not asking OP to work after their termination date. The manager is not trying to refuse OP quitting their job. The manager is simply assigning a task to OP while they are still employed. The only thing one could argue is that management/planning is (probably) not part of OP’s work contract.
    – Michael
    Apr 12 at 7:53
-4

An employer can't make an employee do anything. You're free to refuse their demand whether you continue your employment or not. Consequences may vary for refusing their demand, but since you're leaving their aren't any real consequences. If they try to withhold your final pay, inform them you'll be hiring an attorney to bring a case against them for wage theft.

Finding coverage is the responsibility of management, not the employee.

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    A real consequence could be getting fired before the notice period is complete. Apr 10 at 6:49
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    Yep. Putting in your resignation is not stopping to work - and refusing a valid order during your still work time can easily be constructed on a violation of law and thus an immediate termination, with all possible consequences.
    – TomTom
    Apr 10 at 22:38
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Of course they can

Send them a contract stating the hourly rate you require as a recruiter for them (which should be considerably more than your rate as a fast food worker) and, when they sign it, do the work.

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    They have to find replacements now, while they are still employed, to cover for when they leave. It's a pretty reasonable ask and should be covered by the current contract and salary.
    – Jemox
    Apr 11 at 8:14
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No. You had quit. It is their responsibility. They are being unprofessional.

You can remind them that you won't be there any longer. But don't let it bother you.

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    Working your notice period should not be equivalent to 'downing tools'. It's a reasonable request, but ultimately the employer's problem
    – morsor
    Apr 10 at 9:46
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    I think you've misread the question. The employer is not asking the leaving employee to actually work shifts after they've quit. The employer is asking the employee to look for someone else to work those shifts.
    – brhans
    Apr 10 at 14:00
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    Not really - you must have had bad experiences in your past. Some people terminate for reasons of not being an ass - and quite often they work until the last moment. In the above case, the OP clearly states he did quit because he MOVES - that does not mean he is unwilling to fulfil the reminder of the time or - cough - has a bad attitude.
    – TomTom
    Apr 10 at 22:39
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    @DogBoy37 You have misread the question completely and that's the reason for your downvotes. Just read the first sentence of the question again: "I put in my two weeks at my (food service) job because I'm going to be moving soon. I got an email back from my manager telling me I need to find people to cover my shift times for the week AFTER I quit because they're going to be "really busy."". Does it make sense with the italics now? The OP is currently doing the last 2 weeks of their job and it is during this job that they are asked to find someone to cover for them for after they leave. Apr 11 at 18:29
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    Since they are currently working, even though they left, it is within reason for the restaurant to ask them to do a specific task that is relevant to their job. Apr 11 at 18:30

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