I work in end user support at a very small company (less than 10 people). We have 1 supervisor for everyone, who is also the owner of the startup.

Another end user support agent is scheduled to come in from 8:30-5:00, but always comes in at 10:00am and often leaves at 5:00 anyways. He will schedule client meetings at 8:30, not show up, and then the other agents have to improvise and make the meetings work. This has been happening for months.

We are technically paid hourly but there's no time clock, so our boss just assumes we work 40 hours per week. His tardiness has put a great stress on the rest of the agents, because early in the morning there is always a lot more work.

Our boss knows about this, and has talked to the employee several times about it. But the boss is very busy with tons of projects all the time, and so hasn't really taken any punitive action.

What is the best approach? We don't want to rat out a fellow agent, but he is making our lives harder. Is there a nice way to approach it?

A few possible solutions:

  • Implement time tracking (no other employees really need it, however)
  • Tell our boss that he is negatively affecting our work (what kind of punishment can even help in this case?)
  • Provide some kind of incentive for coming in on time
  • 1
    I didnt get from your question - you said you talked to the boss what was the boss's response?? I would focus the question just on that one option - talking to the boss and find out why that didn't work or how to make it work. e.g. Time tracking, incentives to actually come in and do your job?? Is it your responsibility to implement those things
    – Brandin
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 16:19
  • 4
    If the boss doesn't care, you as a peer are in no place to fix the situation. This question is a rant. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 16:53
  • 3
    Can you start inviting your boss to the 8:30am meetings this person is scheduling? Let him see first hand the damage it's causing for the team and client relations.
    – Tyanna
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 16:57
  • possible duplicate of How can I encourage a culture of punctuality in a software company? Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 14:18

4 Answers 4


Setting up appointments at 8:30 AM and not showing for his own appointments, letting others who are unaware of the details to scramble to cover for him? There are several words which describe this kind of behavior, three of which are "high handed", "irresponsible" and "inconsiderate". There are no telling what the client thinks of the organization when they are at the receiving end of these no-shows no matter how well the rest of you improvise. Because you are necessarily showing up at these meetings unprepared while the client have done their homework in preparation for the meeting.

This individual's behavior is, in my opinion, a fireable offense. He is showing disdain and disrespect for the efforts and the priorities of the team, the firm and the firm's clients. As a member of the team, he is clearly a burden to the team.

You, as a team, need to schedule an 8:30 AM with the owner and make the point that this individual's services are no longer required and that this individual's presence has not added anything in terms of effectiveness to the team. Quite the contrary. The meeting should adjourn shortly before 10 AM at the latest, in time for him to collect his walking papers. As a colleague of mine used to say: "Non-performing assets get liquidated".


There is a much bigger issue going on here. Your co-worker is quite likely damaging the reputation of the company by his handling of client meetings. Even if your boss/owner doesn't care enough about the imposition on your team to take action, (s)he certainly should care enough about the company to be motivated to action.

Present this as an open concern about the company when you talk to your boss and you may get more of a response.

  • 1
    Would the down-voter care to comment why?
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 19:04
  • Also, change (often) doesn't happen without pain. The co-workers would be well-advised to "make it hurt" by not covering for their crappy co-worker. The responsibility for dealing with an angry and offended client who showed up for that 8:30 meeting is on the person who scheduled it and didn't show. Don't enable that kind of behavior.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 2:57

Our boss knows about this, and has talked to the employee several times about it. But the boss is very busy with tons of projects all the time, and so hasn't really taken any punitive action.

What is the best approach? We don't want to rat out a fellow agent, but he is making our lives harder. Is there a nice way to approach it?

Since your boss already knows about this, your best approach is to let him deal with it (or not deal with it, as the case may be).

Going over your bosses head to rat out someone isn't a good career move. Your boss will certainly resent it, and it's likely your bosses boss won't be happy with you either.

You could consider talking with your boss privately, and pointing out in what ways this is "making our lives harder". Don't just complain that it's "unfair", since your boss clearly knows that already. Instead, point out specific instances where this tardiness means yor and/or the team cannot get the required work done, and ask what your boss would like you to do (if anything).

Be prepared for your boss to just say "I'll deal with it" and then having your boss move slowly or not at all. He may just wish to wait until review time to deal with it. Like it or not, that's often how these things play out.


EDIT: Request for plain language:

  1. Talk to your co-worker personally, explaining the issues.
  2. If trouble persists, ask other co-workers to join in you explanation.
  3. If trouble persists, involve your boss.
  4. If trouble persists, advocate termination or other measures.

Be respectful at all times.


Without hopefully providing any controversy with my choice of source, I think the following is a great way to address this issue:

Matthew 18:15-17 (my comments):

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.‘ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church (your boss); and if they refuse to listen even to the church (your boss), treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (advocate termination with the utmost respect possible).

If you really have to incentivize someone to do their job, they probably aren't the best fit for your company. However, if someone doesn't operate under they assumption that they are impacting their ability to work with their actions, a gentle personal reminder is order. To establish your credibility, you may have to bring along some other members of your team. And failing that... well. Do what you have to do to survive as a company.

  • 2
    Maybe the answer would be better if you just plainly say it (in own language). Do you think the answer is better/carries more weight because of where you got the inspiration?
    – Brandin
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 16:22
  • I didn't feel comfortable not citing the source. Whether it carries more weight or not is up to the reader to decide.
    – Calvin
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 16:30
  • 13
    Citing the bible at folks has the potential to be extremely uncomfortable and awkward for the recipient. It is inappropriate in an actual workplace and, personally, I found it inappropriate here. Your answer gains nothing from the inclusion of scripture and loses a lot.
    – Nahkki
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 17:13
  • I would be happy to discuss the appropriateness or inappropriateness of usage of historical or anthropological documents in another question, but one thing that is never appropriate is plagiarizing well-known sources. I also believe a lot of the other responses lack the respect I would expect co-workers to be treated and fail to provide evidence for compelling reason (beyond rhetoric) not to act with the utmost respect, so I will preserve this answer and stand by it.
    – Calvin
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 14:36
  • 1
    Making references to any religious text to support an opinion at most offices would be highly unprofessional. Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 19:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .