After being unemployed for 24 weeks, a good friend of mine recently became a shift manager at a local pizza shop. As a father of three kids with two enrolled in private college, he's thrilled to be working again. He's a foodie, and he loves their deep dish pizza. Unfortunately, in his capacity as an evening shift manager, he recently began to experience a dilemma at work.

The night shift employs two pizza delivery drivers on weekdays (Mon-Thu) and four drivers during the weekend (Fri-Sun). Drivers are typically expected to work at least two days Monday through Thursday, and two days Friday through Sunday (and the shift managers allocate the balance of the remaining hours according to demand and driver availability). The owner's daughter, who is a high school senior student, is one of the drivers. She tends to be on-time for her weekend shifts (which typically yield more volume and better tips), but she is frequently tardy and absent for her weekday shifts. It's well known that the weekday shifts are less lucrative and she doesn't take them seriously at all. In fact, last Wednesday, she was scheduled to work until midnight, and she abandoned her job at approximately 10:13 PM to "go party with her boyfriend." In fact, she literally told my friend two days later, "If you have a problem with my job performance, then go talk to my father."

So, what can my good friend do in this situation?

For obvious reasons, he can't lose this job, so he can't get on the owner's bad side. On the flip side, he must ensure that all pizzas are delivered in a timely manner, so he needs to make sure that all shifts are fully staffed. Other shift managers told my friend that the owner's daughter has behaved like this since she began working there when she turned 17. A previous shift manager told the owner about his daughter's behavior. Two months later, he began working at a competitor's pizza shop without a two week notice and without telling any of his coworkers. [Apparently, he was an introvert.]

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    How many actual late deliveries/ missed deliveries/ complaints has this caused? Other than putting an unreasonable workload on the coworker, is this actually costing the owner $$ or not?
    – smci
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 5:57
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    @Pete that's probably why OP's friend was able to get this job, because the last person did that and got fired for it when she cried to daddy.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 4:39
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    – jmort253
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 9:57
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    Your friend is a shift manager, are there other shift manager and a store manager he can talk to or is the owner the only other manager and directly above him? I hope he didn't find out about the last shift manager because the employees are all talking about his daughter behind his back and just assuming nepotism. Maybe the other shift manager got a great opportunity from another company that needed him right away. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 6:27
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    what if you called the boss when she leaves and there is a pizza that needs to be delivered and ask him who would be the best person to call in to fill in for her
    – zoplonix
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 21:12

9 Answers 9


Quite obviously talk to her father (the company owner). This would be different and trickier if she was the daughter of someone higher up in the hierarchy of a company but not the owner, because accepting unacceptable performance say from the daughter of your branch manager is defrauding the company. But in the case of the owner, it's his money (to some degree).

The owner should tell you whether you should (a) treat her like any other employee, including firing her if necessary, (b) accept her performance as it is (or possibly to some degree), but telling father / daughter / both your objective opinion about her performance, (c) accept her performance as it is, without comments.

Even in case (c), try to make sure that this doesn't lead to unfairness towards any of the other workers, and that it doesn't damage the business beyond the cost of her salary, and report hours worked / paid correctly to the owner.

"Possibly hostile workplace implications" were mentioned. Well, "ask the owner" must stand. I would hope that the owner doesn't give guidelines that damage the business (beyond overpaying the daughter). If he does, that's another question. And treating all the other employees fairly is important. If others are angry that she gets away with things, tell them it's the owner's money that gets wasted. If she treats other employees badly, talk to the father (if it was my daughter that's where I would draw a very strict line). If she refuses to do things that are part of the job that everyone hates, or tries to work only the hours that make the most tips, compensate the others or stop it (after agreeing with the father what to do).

It was also mentioned that she shouldn't be handled in any special way. But she is special because she is the owner's daughter. Let's say it's her word against your word. It's not 17 year old delivery driver vs. shift manager, it's daddy's darling daughter vs. shift manager. That's also why you need to talk to the owner / father first and clarify the situation, so that the situation is discussed at a point where he doesn't doubt the shift managers word.

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    When you do this be factual. "You are trying to schedule shifts, but when you have scheduled his daughter she doesn't always finish her shift, or skips, or whatever the issues is, leaving you short staffed. How would you like me to handle that?" If he asks what you would do you could offer to not schedule her weekdays, or schedule 3 drivers, 2 regulars plus her, and just give her the overflow, or whatever you feel is fair for the privileged prima dona (don't use those words) Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 16:10
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    Another option is to mention that you need to hire or extend the hours of certain drivers to cover the shifts during the week because you can't schedule the daughter during the week anymore due to the shifts not being covered. This will immediately put a weekly cost into his mind and also cut into her bottom line (which may make her shape up). Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 17:57
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    I feel like saying "obviously talk to her father" completely ignores the possible hostile workplace implication of that action, which is one of the major concerns OP stated. Even mentioning something about a superior's child could lead to you being on his "bad" side and seeing a decline in opportunities, especially at a small business.
    – user30031
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 22:46
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    @BillLeeper depending on my relationship with the owner, I'd probably be more likely to present the problem as well as the various solutions. After all, as a manager it's your job to solve problems. Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 12:16
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    +1 for letting her father and find out the expectations he has. At the end of the day if he is the owner, he has the last say.
    – Terry
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 15:52

Informally talk to the owner, more in a "I think your daughter is not very happy with her shifts during the week; maybe we can find a solution which is compatible with school and social life" way than in a "let's discipline her" way.

If the owner realizes he may be losing money because of this (which is what happens if you deliver pizzas late), he may have a word with his daughter.

EDIT: One aspect which I forgot is the following: You consider the daughter to be the special, protected pony. However you don't know if she ever liked the job or if her dad decided that she is old enough to help in the family business.

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    This is a very good way of dealing with it. You are treating the issue as if you are concerned for the well-being of a colleaguem, which — in an ideal world — is how all superior / subordinate interactions should be! Carrots & Sticks is not an effective way of doing it. This is a much more caring way of doing it, while at the same time doing your duties of keeping the deliveries going and dealing with issues.
    – MichaelK
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 7:45

What can my friend do in this situation?

Your friend can treat the owner's daughter as he would any other employee. If that includes some sort of discipline, then he must do the same.

If your friend is that worried about the situation with the owner+daughter, your friend could talk to the owner first, explain the situation, then explain what he plans to do and why.

If the owner indicates that such discipline can't happen, then your friend needs to either suck it up and do what the owner requires, or find another job then leave.

As Bill Leeper correctly indicates in his comment, this many be a delicate situation that requires special handling. If the daughter has preferential status, you will have to work with that. If you discuss this with the owner you may choose to indicate that his daughter is leaving you short handed and ask how he wants me to handle that. You may be in a position where you have to let him figure it out. And although you could offer options, they may need to more along the lines of not scheduling her weekdays, only weekends kind of thing.

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    This is a more delicate situation that normal. The daughter has preferential status, so you have to work with that. It is more,your daughter is leaving me short handed, how do you want me to handle that? Let him figure it out. You could offer options, but they need to more along the lines of not scheduling her weekdays, only weekends kind of thing. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 16:12

Let's take a look at this issue from a different perspective.

Imagine you are the owner of a small business. You have a teenage daughter who is generally lazy, ambitionless and an underperformer in every job she had. You think it would be best for her when you would get her to take a permanent employment, but no place wants to keep her with an attitude like that. What do you do?

You can not just give her up and look how she turns into a welfare case or even a criminal. So you give her a job in your own company. You wouldn't give anyone else with that attitude a job, but she is family, after all.

You know she is a bad employee and you know this causes a headache for everyone who needs to work with her, but you also know that firing her would be against your personal interest. Firing her might cause a conflict in your family which could destroy your whole family life and it might destroy the life of your daughter.

So when a middle-manager approaches you who says he can not work with her, then you have to choose between a stranger who works for you and your own family life. You have to decide if you want to act as a businessman or as a family father. What is the right thing to do? Maybe if you would have tried to be a better father than a better businessman in the past ten years you wouldn't be in this difficult situation. When you consider your business as a means to support your family, then the decision is obvious: Family goes first.

How would you expect your middle-manager to act instead? You would expect them to support your course of action.

Maybe you consider the employment in the company as a parental correctional measure hoping to turn her into a halfway employable person. Then you would expect your middle-managers to report about her behavior, but not take any disciplinary actions without your approval.

Or maybe you consider her a lost case and just want to keep her off the street. Then you would expect your middle-managers to work around her.

When they are not sure which course of action you prefer, you would expect them to talk to you about it. But they should do so in a respectful way without insulting her. You know you failed at raising a good daughter and you don't need a reminder. When they talk bad about her they are also talking bad about you. And you do not need to take that from them.

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    "[...] either she goes or he does" - reading the OP's question I cannot find anywhere that this is the position of the manager or even an option for him - the question is precisely how to resolve the situation without necessarily taking this stance.
    – CompuChip
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 11:51
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    There is little or no indication at this point that the owner is even aware that his daughter is an underperformer, and if he is aware, there is certainly no evidence that he has asked the manager to "support his course of action."
    – Hellion
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 14:56
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    Agreed in principle. I work for my family. I am lucky that my son has very high work ethic in relation to his peers (and is 7... so, maybe less relevant currently), but if I didn't think my kid would be able to make it without me, and I decided that "not making it" was off the table, then I would prefer to give a paycheck for poor performance and lose money in taxes/morale/quality/etc. than to just hand cash to him. Then there is at least hope.
    – CWilson
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 15:49
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    I'm not sure that giving a job to a kid in high school keeps her off the street, unless you mean it gives her something to do other than running around with her friends. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 15:57
  • I agree, she has special privilege. Give her that privilege, but ask the owner how to best handle that. Do you not schedule her weekdays? Do you schedule more drivelers? Give him a chance to solve the problem first. Bear in mind she may get pissed and bad mouth you back. Be sure he communicates in written form with her in all cases. Also, make sure he protects himself. Treat this employee like a youth sports player or as a boy scout leader. 2 deep leadership. Make sure he is NEVER 1 on 1 with this person. Keep journals etc. This may not end well. Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 16:16

Start with collecting daily performance stats on how fast pizzas are delivered to customers, who delivered them and the times that each member of staff arrived and left. Even phone a few customers each evening to see if they are happy with the pizza and delivery. But do the same for all staff.

Additional weekend hours should first be offered to drivers that have a record of working all their shifts correctly, along with drivers that are willing to cover for other drivers at short notice. Likewise if there is more than one driver ready to take a pizza out at the weekend, the driver with the best record should get to take it….. But this must all be done based on a set of formal rules and records that are crystal clear to everyone.

The above could form part of a formal report given to the owner each month……. Then maybe ask the owner what he wishes you to do about drivers that are not keeping to their hours….. Also it is clear that drivers are not happy with the amount of money they make late at night on weekdays, maybe the owner will agree to a bonus for all drivers that correctly work all their weekday shifts.

The owner's daughter maybe off to university soon, if so, this is a short term problem.


Assuming the owner is aware and tolerates this behavior (as it sounds is likely, though definitely verify this by asking the owner, trying to be nonconfrontational about it), there is a fairly straightforward solution.

For those shifts she is not going to be on time for, treat her like an extra employee. Staff as if she is not going to be there. Make sure that the other staff are getting the majority of the work. It's not optimal or fair, but that's the position created by the owner. The staff will know about this, and they won't be happy, but that's how it is.

Then let the owner know that's what needs to happen in order to meet the pizza shop's service goals. Let him know that she can't be given as much work, since it would seriously impact morale on those days. Consider asking if she would only work on weekends - that's not ideal either since it means taking good money and not doing the less valuable work, but it might be a better compromise for the others (as at least on the less profitable days they'll get more work). Consider, further, asking the staff what they would prefer - having her be an extra hand those nights, or getting some extra money.


Easy....don't assign her any important tasks and encourage her to bail regularly.

Then replace her tasks with a new employee. When the manager asks why the employee budget is much higher, explain to him she's not suited for such menial tasks but super "smart" so she's still on payroll but in a role not involved in the day to day operations like job shadowing management as training to be a future manager or book keeping stuff nobody cares about.

He either has to admit his daughter is useless, be proud in a perverse way, or will simply approve a budget increase with no negative judgement....unless this is his way of instilling responsibility into his daughter but chances are he'd let the last manager run her ragged if that was the case.

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    "encourage her to bail regularly" If you did this then when the owner goes to her and says, "Your manager says that you leave work early a lot, what is up with that?" she can say, "Well my manager said I could and encouraged me to leave early, so it's his/her fault!", which then makes it your problem again, and you're putting your own job at risk.
    – Kevin
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 1:18
  • Her hanging around sounds like a liability
    – deek
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 3:24
  • But encouraging her to slack off even more only makes it your fault when her parents find out
    – Kevin
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 15:56

I've never managed employee's before. I work in a field where I am contracted. What I do when I get a difficult and contradictory request from someone who unfortunately believes their BSA makes them more informed than the Associate with several years of experience in IT, I start putting pressure on the attacker. I start making their life as difficult as possible usually without tipping my involvement. The more they push, the more I push. I never lie or use deception. I use simple physiology. Unless they have that kind of porn or snuff on their systems. In that case I just report them. Illegal trumps revenge. It's not as satisfying, but it solves two problems.

As for this person. When she says to call her dad, do it. Right in front of her and make her stand there for the call. Don't do it behind closed doors either. Do it right in the kitchen in front of your other employees. This makes an example out of her and shows the other employees that you care about/will destroy them. It also shows that you have their collective interests in mind and that the powers that be, don't. The best part of this approach is that it will embarrass the girl and if her father sides with her, you can make sure everyone listening in knows it. She might get the moment, but her fellow employees will make sure she pays. You won't have to lift a finger. You can also be lenient on revenge dealt against her. She'll whine to her father, but eventually just like calling wolf, she'll be ignored. Make sure prime assignments go to better drivers. Take orders that you know pay well and hide them from her. Finally she'll quit due to increasing stress and bad assignments. Then you can hire someone more desperate to fill the position.

Some people are horrible. They use any means to stay in power. It's your job and the job of humanity to weed these people out.

There is also the chance that the father will agree with you. This will spare both you and her. She'll either quit in defiance or reluctantly submit to your rule.

  • Horrible people are sometimes very successful. It is the OPs just to CYA not extract vengeance.
    – JasonJ
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 17:58
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    Unfortunately, this answer shows why you don't (and shouldn't) manage employees, so I downvoted it. There is some good advice here, about calling the girl out, but the general approach is not what I'd expect a manager to be doing.
    – PeteCon
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 18:39
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    Winning respect and influence among the people you manage is useful and important when you work in an office, managing professionals. It's quite a bit less useful when you work at a pizza parlor, managing delivery drivers. In a political confrontation with the owner, your influence among the young, easily replaced, minimum wage delivery drivers won't gain you much leverage.
    – Torisuda
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 5:10
  • Respect among your employees is far more important in low wage position. Low pay breeds mistrust and stress. Unlike profession positions, low wage employees can and will attack you. From cutting your break lines to waiting for you near your car. Never dismiss or belittle low and minimum wage employees. Doing so creates a circle of mistrust and hate. A division between you and them. You show respect to them and believe it or not, you will retain your staff. A retained staff is a trained staff is an efficient staff. High turnover is a sign of a bad manager/owner, not a bad staff.
    – Kayot
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 15:07
  • Self righteous people should be rooted out just as well. If @Kayot really acts as he claims he does, he might be source of the most toxic workplace environment possible. Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 10:43

If she is on time during the weekends but tardy during the day then I'd imagine it is due to school. Plus she lives at home so her parents would know of her lateness. Overall I would just leave this be and just handle it by assuming she's not dependable to be on time. If you do talk to the boss, be prepared for whatever consequences may come out of it. It may be he's nice but he could see it that he likes his daughter there and rather not his workers undermine his family.

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    "last Wednesday, she was scheduled to work until midnight, and she abandoned her job at approximately 10:13 PM to "go party with her boyfriend."" - doesn't sound like it was due to school... Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 16:39
  • "just handle it by assuming she's not dependable to be on time" How exactly can he do this? Shift managers frequently cannot decide to schedule another person to make up for her flakiness, so how should they handle being a person down?
    – Kevin
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 18:11
  • She's a daughter of the owner. Chances are he knows she is "undependable" but considers her a "must hire." If you come between the owner and his daughter, you best prepare to face some consequences. It isn't fair, but it is a truth. He may see the employees as just someone he can hire and fire at will.
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 18:27

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