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keithslawnc
02-13-2012, 06:28 AM
Need some employee advise. I have a guy that has work for me 7 out of the last 9 years. He is my head guy. His rate of pay is $ 14.00/hr and is paid a 35 hr a week salary Nov-March. He also gets 5 paid sick/personal days per year and his choice of two paid of the following Holidays Labor,Memorial or the 4th of July). Thanksgiving he gets Thursday,Friday paid and $100 grocery gift card. Then at Christmas he gets Christmas day, New years eve, New years day, and 5 day paid vacation. Depending on how the days fall, he has had 11 straight off including vacation.

Now the problem is he has a bad sense of entitlement, he resist doing anything like cleaning the office/bathroom, washing trucks or mowers etc. Also he is 47 y/o and is not capable of working over 45 hrs a week and during the winter months he never comes close to his 35 hrs. The problem is last year he had some health problems that later was linked to the 10-12 beers he drinks Monday-Thursday and the 16-18 he drinks Friday-Sunday. He doesn't feel that this affects his performance(which it does). This leads to him missing 10 working days last year,which I paid him for. Now this year, as of this am he has called in 3 Monday's in a row and has wanted me to pay him his sick time and his salary which he has only work approx. 27 out of the 35 hrs. He has also told me the last 3 years that this is going to be his last year but never leaves.

Now for the positives: he is very good at his job, good with the crew, great with the customers and you never have to check behind him.

The problem is his sense of entitlement, he will not push the employees much past an 8 hr day, misses a fair amount of work and is never happy with what he gets. he always tries to work the system and get more from me.

What would you guy suggest to do! Thanks Keith

DanaMac
02-13-2012, 08:55 AM
You need to spell it out for him in clear terms, probably in writing. Have you come up with an employee handbook that all employees must sign? The duties should be written out to include all the field work, as well as shop work. If he can't clean the toilets, then he shouldn't use the toilet. You are more patient than I am, as I would have let him go a long time ago for consistently calling in "sick". You are paying him for WAY too much time off considering his track record. If he wants all the vacation and sick pay, he needs to show up when there is work to be done. Remember, you are the employer, he is the employee. You take the risk, not him. You lose money when he doesn't show up, not him. Take away the paid sick days, and have them available for "incentives" for him to show up.

MarkintheGarden
02-13-2012, 10:51 AM
Keith, it sounds like you know what you have to do, but want to bounce this off of the rest of us to make sure you are thinking this through.

LET HIM GO!

We all see this, a guy who is good in some ways, determined not to be any good in other ways, and feels like you need him, but he does not need you.

Yes, you have worked with this guy for a long time, and he has probably come through for you in the past, maybe even gone the extra mile. You hope that he can improve when it comes to the drinking and not showing up for work.

The thing that tells me this is the end of the road is the alcohol and sense of entitlement that you speak of.

This is your business, your income, your future and all that you have in this world. You know you have worked for everything you have and that it is up to you to earn what you want and achieve your goals. The guy you have described has a point of view that is opposite of yours, it is counter productive and a recipe for failure. I expect that you knew all this.

You mentioned the man's age so you are suspicious of what I can confirm. In the next few years this person is going to render himself disabled with the alcohol. Anyone over fifty can tell you that the human body becomes less capable of performing a manual labor job at the age of fifty, and if you add a lot of alcohol and the other health related issues that come with it the prognosis is extremely bad.

The only thing you can do to help this poor fool out is to fire him. Maybe that way he will be forced to take a more reasonable look at his situation and be motivated to make the changes.

If you are not familiar with alcoholism and it's effect on a persons ability to be rational, then consider this situation a learning experience. Alcoholics have the strange ability to justify absolutely outrageous and unacceptable behavior. They ruin their careers, families, and lives, all the while telling themselves that it is not their fault. Often they say (and actually believe) that the reason they drink is because of their wife, job, responsibilities, economy, etc. They can create great hardships for themselves, family and employer and then turn around and blame the victims for the problem.

I am like most people when it comes to firing someone. I obsess for days and hate to have to do it. The few people that have a lot of experience firing people will always tell you, just do it and be done with it, and it does no good to delay or look back. In many cases like this, you are doing the person a favor of giving them the wake up call that is probably long overdue.

What you need to do is give someone else the opportunity to do right by you and give you what you are paying for. If you think that it is hard or unfortunate to let this guy go, then consider how unfair it is for you to not get what you are paying for, and even worse how someone is being cheated out of the chance to make good for themselves and for you.

93Chevy
02-13-2012, 12:07 PM
Maybe I'm coming from the wrong angle here, but you're paying him $14/hr after he's been there 7 years?

If I worked that long for somebody and only made that much, well, I wouldn't be there that long.

What about trying to get him help for his alcohol problems instead of just passing him along?

Patriot Services
02-13-2012, 12:11 PM
14hr plus those benefits would be a good deal in FL. He basically gets paid to sweep the shop in winter. An alcoholic has to want help and admit he has a problem. I grew up with one. Its agonizing.
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93Chevy
02-13-2012, 12:44 PM
To the OP, how many employees do you have, and how long have the others been there?

What makes him different than your other employees?

Is he one of the only employees working in the winter because he's on salary?

How do his pay/benefits compare to the other employees?

djagusch
02-13-2012, 01:30 PM
The let him go theme is good but I would look at the timing of it.

Do you have someone already in mind to replace him? Someone trained? If not it might be good to wait, train one in during the season and let this guy go before the winter gravy train comes.

When does mowing start for you? If soon, you have invested his winter pay to keep him for the profitable season. Are you willing to loose the investment?

Also how much documentation do you have? The UI will take a hit if you don't have it documented. If he has a drinking issue he might milk it out.

If he is toxic to the crew dump him now without thinking of the above.

Just some things to consider.
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MarkintheGarden
02-13-2012, 01:41 PM
Maybe I'm coming from the wrong angle here, but you're paying him $14/hr after he's been there 7 years?

If I worked that long for somebody and only made that much, well, I wouldn't be there that long.

What about trying to get him help for his alcohol problems instead of just passing him along?

Getting him help would be great, and it would work in a perfect world or a disney movie. But the truth is most of the time people who reach out to help end up being blamed, resented, or worse. That is the crazy nature of the "disease".

In reality, what you are suggesting is that the employer continue to pay for the work that is not getting done and also spend time in an effort to help him to do what he can only do for himself, and what any employee must do before reporting for work. What next? Raise the prices of service and call it a hangover surcharge:drinkup:

I cannot help thinking that in an area with an historic unemployment rate, that there is not someone out there that can get to work, do the job, and be happy to be doing it.

93chevy, how much are landscape foreman earning in your area? I do not think that there are many better deals to be had in Florida. And even if there were, the guy would have show up for work.

93Chevy
02-13-2012, 01:52 PM
I wasn't asking him to get him help, I was merely suggesting the possibility. Sorry.

And second of all, he's been with you seven years. Doesn't that count for anything?


And Mark, I'm a landscape foreman as I'm no longer self employed. I started 11 months ago. I started at 10.50, and I'm currently at 12.50 and due for another raise at my 1 year anniversary. Another foreman who's been at my company 5 years makes about 35k salary, and the maintenance manager makes a little over 45k salary and he's been there 7 years. Plus every employee (after a probationary period) partial medical, 6 paid holidays, partial portable phone reimbursement, large pay increase for snow, plus an increasing amount of paid time off (2 days after 6 months, 7 days after a year, 14 days after 3 years, etc)

WHIPPLE5.7
02-13-2012, 03:39 PM
I've just gotta ask. Is that beers total daily or 10-12 over the course of 4 days? What kind of health problems? I would think a guy could have 3 beers a day without problems but if its 12 daily that's alittle differant.
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DA Quality Lawn & YS
02-13-2012, 03:56 PM
If the drinking is affecting his performance (i.e. coming in hung over) then he needs to be gone. I know I would have 0 tolerance for that.

wbw
02-13-2012, 05:23 PM
Good employees are hard to find. I would sit down with him and lay out the expectations. If he is willing to meet them I would also break into my wallet a little deeper. Btw I don't find toilet cleaning to be very motivational for a lead man. Set the example and do it yourself or do it together.
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Patriot Services
02-13-2012, 05:35 PM
Contrary to what many believe, lawn crews mostly get laid off in the winter months in FL. Unemployment maxs at 275 a week. He is doing him a favor by keeping him on even if it is doing routine work. Nobody in my business (myself included) is above taking a turn at latrine duty. 14 an hour for a 7 year foreman is about right. Ocala is a little out of the money belt here. I disagree with rewarding poor performance with more money. He is a 50/50 employee at best and a huge liability. A 6-12 beer a day, everyday problem is serious. :usflag:

keithslawnc
02-13-2012, 05:45 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys. He drinks 10-12 per night and more on Friday,Saturday and Sunday. He started out as a part time employee on weekends because he work for another LCO. He then became a full time employee, which I later found out had a raging cocaine addiction. I delt with trying to get him help and it bite me in the but. So I let him go and re-hired a few years later(no more coke problem just drinking). Also $14/hr plus benefits in Florida is pretty good pay. He made over $ 30,000 in change and didn't work over 30 hours from Nov-mid March. We run 4 guys and myself in peak season and my foreman and a labor that gets 25-30 hours in the winter.

WHIPPLE5.7
02-13-2012, 05:51 PM
If I could get paid like him I wouldn't even run my own biz.
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wbw
02-13-2012, 09:31 PM
If I could get paid like him I wouldn't even run my own biz.
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If I got paid like him I would stay home.:drinkup:

zimmatic
02-13-2012, 11:51 PM
Quit trying to find reasons to keep him. You are being held hostage by an employee. Let him go even if you dont have someone lined up. It will be a huge wieght off your shoulders your company will survive, learn from your experince hold the new employee accountable. On his next payday sit him down with the last paycheck in your hand tell him you thank you for his service and let him know that he is no longer employed. Dont give a reason --you dont need one."loose lips sink ship" Its like ripping off a band aid. Good luck

DuallyVette
02-14-2012, 12:19 AM
On a couple of ocasions, I've fired people for coming in to work, looking like they drank until 2 or 3 am and already tired. two warnings and the 3rd day your gone. Just say good bye.

Dr.NewEarth
02-14-2012, 01:13 AM
We aren't talking Canadian Beer either.

I had a senior, hard working employee that drank alot. It got to the point where he wasn't much good to me until after he ate lunch. He's gone.

MarkintheGarden
02-14-2012, 09:59 AM
I wasn't asking him to get him help, I was merely suggesting the possibility. Sorry.

And second of all, he's been with you seven years. Doesn't that count for anything?


And Mark, I'm a landscape foreman as I'm no longer self employed. I started 11 months ago. I started at 10.50, and I'm currently at 12.50 and due for another raise at my 1 year anniversary. Another foreman who's been at my company 5 years makes about 35k salary, and the maintenance manager makes a little over 45k salary and he's been there 7 years. Plus every employee (after a probationary period) partial medical, 6 paid holidays, partial portable phone reimbursement, large pay increase for snow, plus an increasing amount of paid time off (2 days after 6 months, 7 days after a year, 14 days after 3 years, etc)

93Chevy, I am sorry! I did not mean to come off snapping at you or your suggestion, rather I wanted to address the harsh reality of the situation for the benefit of the OP.

It is a good suggestion to try to help this guy, because seven years should count for a lot. And if I was not so certain of the fact that the odds are so highly in favor of this approach not working and in fact increasing the problem, then I too would be suggesting that.

Thanks for sharing the info about pay rates where you are working. I am often surprised at how different things are from state to state. The rates your company is paying would be rare here in the midwest, and I am not sure if it is even possible for a landscape foreman in Florida to earn 45K per year in salary, maybe total compensation.

Here in the midwest landscape incomes are daunted by the long off season and little or no snow work to generate revenue. It is a difficult situation to cope with, but on the other hand, I do not think that the competition factor is as difficult as it is in other areas because of this.

Wherever you are, and whoever you are, your income should be commensurate with your ability to generate revenue. There are always things that must be done before the first dime of revenue is generated, so if that means cleaning the shop including the toilets, then that is the job.

I do not have all the facts and factors involved in this particular situation, but I do not think we would be having this discussion if it was not clearly a case of the employee not performing up to the level of his income. So, I cannot help but think that it is past time to find out if someone else should be given the chance to step up to the plate and produce.

If you think that this kind of "what have you done for me lately" is not fair, then maybe life is not fair. But I think that it is not fair if the next guy does not get his chance when the opportunity is presented.

PerfiCut L&L
02-19-2012, 02:35 PM
Sounds to me like you know what should be done, but you just don't want to do it.

LET HIM GO!

Getting rid of an employee can be one of the hardest things you as a business owner has to deal with. It's difficult to cut someone loose who has potential but fails to perform. More so, when that person has worked for you for several years.

My neighbor has been in this business for 20+ years. He fired one of hit top guys years ago for drinking on the job. This after several warnings. This same emplyee then came to me the next season looking for a job. As much as I wanted to bring on someone with the experience that this guy had, I did'nt allow myself to get drawn into a difficult decision. Unfortunately, however, the following year he returned asking again. I agreed to bring him on part time under strict supervision. Any sign of alcohol use and he was gone. The first 6 months went well without any issues. He came in one morning still drunk and I sent him home for a week. The next time he did it I sent him home for good. Not a difficult choice for me, because I look at as a liability issue. I will not allow anyone to risk injury to themselves or any of their co-workers. If they really hate me because I ensist on keeping everyone as safe as possible then they have bigger issues.

It's hard, but get rid of him. You can non allow your company to be put at risk because of a preventable action by one employee.

It might take a some time, but you will eventually find a replacement and one that will ultimately be better for you and the company.

Ticolawnllc
02-19-2012, 03:55 PM
He's 47. Lay him off or take away some benefits if he doesnít shape up let him go.

A guy at 47 canít have other jobs lined up. A few weeks or a month off without pay should scare the hell out of him. If not heís beyond repair.