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One works early morning to afternoon (say 7 AM to 3 PM) and the other comes in 11 AM to 7 PM. So for several hours during the day, they overlap. The later time receptionist is also chronically late by a good 10-15 minutes, sometimes even 20 minutes EVERY day. The early receptionist says nothing just stays polite and professional and covers for her. Then the late receptionist decides her makeup needs doing or hair needs brushing and disappears for another 10, so she's not really officially ready to start working until 11:30-11:40. This leaves the first receptionist, who comes in a good ten to 15 minutes BEFORE 7 AM to come in, get the office lights on, papers picked up, etc.and ready to answer phones online at 7 AM to work alone another 40 minutes when late receptionist is already on the clock to be working. The chronically late receptionist takes long breaks throughout the day, disappears to make multiple phone calls or have Facetime with some friends and family at all times throughout the day, almost every day, or spends her day scrolling her phone barely looking up to answer the phone after every 10 the early receptionist happens to pick up, so the early receptionist doesn't "fuss" and just picks up the slack, answers email, and gets "told" what else to do by the later receptionist who seems to pick and choose what she will do if it's too complex she hands it to the early receptionist.

Here is the dealbreaker: The early receptionist has her reminder set to go off five minutes before her shift ends, to remind herself to start shutting down for the day. Five minutes gives her time to go to the bathroom, tie up what she was doing on the computer, shut down the computer and put her coat on and pick up her purse.

This seems to bother the later receptionist who is always chronically late by 10 to 15 minutes every day, and has become passive aggressive by outright disappearing when it gets close to departure time despite being told by later receptionist that it's about time for her to go.

The early receptionist has tried to meet this chronically late receptionist halfway by setting her reminder 15 minutes prior to help the later receptionist in case she needs to get her own ducks in order (go to the bathroom, get a water, stretch her legs, etc.). But with the understanding the later receptionist will be there to cover when the early receptionist leaves, usually about two minutes to three minutes before her shift ends. This didn't work and the late receptionist just shrugs it off and says you have to go, go.

Today it came to a head as she disappeared for 40 minutes. No one was around to cover and the early receptionist stayed put because there was no one to answer the phones. The late receptionist strolls in her coffee and asks, "What time is it?" The late receptionist up to this point had not been called out for her chronic lateness or overall lack of professionalism.

If you were the early receptionist, what would you do?

Is being 10-15 minutes late every day better than leaving 2 minutes early?

EDIT FROM ANSWER

This is in New York City, USA. The later receptionist is playing games and spends a lot of time NOT working as well as being late every day. But this ONE thing, is the thing she wants to focus on, never mind the early receptionist is covering her on EVERYTHING.

There are lunch breaks, and the late receptionist makes excuses not to go out saying she's way too busy and tries to get the company to pick up her tab for lunch! She complains about things a lot at work and the early receptionist just politely listens. Ironically, the late receptionst talks about not letting these people take advantage of you, yet she does the same thing!

closed as off-topic by Masked Man, scaaahu, Rory Alsop, JasonJ, Michael Grubey Apr 4 '17 at 1:27

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  • Thank you for such prompt replies! This is in New York City, USA. The later receptionist is playing games and spends a lot of time NOT working as well as being late every day. But this ONE thing, is the thing she wants to focus on, never mind the early receptionist is covering her on EVERYTHING. There are lunch breaks, and the late receptionist makes excuses not to go out saying she's way too busy and tries to get the company to pick up her tab for lunch! She complains about things a lot at work and the early receptionist just politely listens. Ironically, the late receptionst talks about not – no patience Mar 28 '17 at 3:18
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    The OP had attempted to clarify via an answer, which I have edited into the question and migrated to comment (truncated). – Jane S Mar 28 '17 at 4:29
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    Are you the early receptionist? This is something that should be handled but her and her manager. – JasonJ Mar 28 '17 at 13:25
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Short answer: The early receptionist should do exactly what her shift and duties entail.

If the late receptionist gets in trouble for not being where she is supposed to be, then she has to be answerable for her unprofessional behaviour to those who employ her.

Otherwise, don't play tit-for-tat games, just do your job, be visible doing what you are being paid to do. Be the professional and if the late receptionist can't do likewise, she will soon find herself unemployed.

9

I assume that supervising the late receptionist is not part of the early receptionist's duties, and that they are both non-exempt employees.

The early receptionist should, as recommended in Jane S's answer, do exactly what her job entails, including quitting at her proper leaving time, no earlier and no later.

If the late receptionist is not there when the early shift ends, she should inform a manager immediately. Management would have a number of options, such as authorizing overtime for the early receptionist, calling the late receptionist and ordering her to work, covering the desk themselves, or leaving the phone on an answering machine. The choice is a management decision, not one for the early receptionist to make. Working uncompensated overtime could get the employer into trouble.

She should take the same approach if the late receptionist is not available to cover for her lunch break at the proper time.

In general, she should document and discuss problems with her working conditions, which are her business. The rather bitter discussion of the late receptionist in the question would be very counter-productive. It frames the issue as a conflict between the receptionists.

  • @JoeStrazzere I could improve my answer by incorporating the ideas from your comment, with proper attribution. Any objection? – Patricia Shanahan Mar 28 '17 at 15:59
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Starting tomorrow, you need to start cataloging all of the behaviors of the "later receptionist". Compile a complete dossier on this person. Write down the time when she leaves and comes back during her "breaks". Write down the unprofessional remarks she makes and, if possible, record them. Use your cell phone camera if you have to. Timestamp EVERYTHING. From the information gathered during your investigation, form a makeshift timeline of her days. If she is as bad as you say, it should take only a week or two of observation to prove this is both egregious and consistent violation of work expectations.

That was all step one. Step 2: Start working on presenting your findings. Consider organizing them into a PowerPoint presentation. Be concise but detailed. You might consider creating an actual timeline of her day and go through it with slides. Pictures or recordings of the behaviors will enhance the impact of your presentation dramatically. Make the information accessible and your findings clear.

After that, the ball is in managements court and how they react will tell you a lot about your work environment and whether or not you want to stay there.

  • Or she could just do her job during the time she is supposed to be working and let the late receptionist handle her own mess. – Edwin Lambregts Mar 28 '17 at 13:56

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