Store manager is fired for not giving time off to woman with son on life support

A Michigan mother is providing plenty of reason why workers need some protections when dealing with family emergencies.

Crystal Reynolds Fisher, of Albion, Mich., let her convenience store manager know she wouldn’t be able to work the other day. Her son was in the hospital for reasons that have not yet been made clear.

The manager was having none of it, so Fisher posted her text exchange on Facebook on Saturday.

So my son is on life support and I tell my boss 48 hours before I am to work again that I will not be able to work until my son is off life support and this is what she tells me!

Posted by Crystal Reynolds Fisher on Saturday, June 30, 2018

Fisher said she gave her boss 48 hours notice of her inability to work, according to Michigan Live.

The manager said she would consider Fisher had quit.

“Would u be able to go to work and function if ur child was on life support?” Reynolds Fisher wrote.

Her boss said: “Yes I would, I still have bills to pay and something to keep me busy and occupied. We don’t just get to come and go as we please at Folk Oil. I have tomorrow and Monday covered. Your son is in the best place he can be. I have to a store to run and that’s my focus.”

Not anymore. The manager has been fired.

We’d like to follow up on the issue brought to our attention recently regarding how an employee time off request was…

Posted by PS Food Mart on Monday, July 2, 2018

  • Barton

    All I can say is, people suck.

    • AmiSchwab

      got that right. is there something in the water that makes some people so awful?

      • signalfire1

        No, it’s in the White House. Setting an extreme example in psychopathy.

    • boB from WA

      To play the devil’s advocate here: consider the manager who may have been promoted to this job with out the adequate skills or training to be a manager (technically good, but poor on people skills). She/He may have had other people also out, so how to cover the shift. there may not enough applications coming in to hire anyone qualified. As manager she/he may have been covering multiple shifts already and at this point had had enough (been there done that, and no t-shirt!). Because of that he/she may not have enough sleep where critical thinking may have been compromised (including asking for help from her/his supervisors because of reason #1) .

      I’m not defending the actions of this individual but ask that you would possible consider what the manager may have been going through.

      • Jack

        The manager needed to call HR. That should have been step #1.

      • 212944

        Firing someone over social media – the gutless act of firing someone over social media – does not solve the immediate problem, though.

        • X.A. Smith

          They didn’t fire her over social media. It was a text exchange.

          • 212944

            True.

            Firing via text … poor form.

          • X.A. Smith

            Firing her at all was poor form. Immoral, in fact

          • signalfire1

            Welcome to Capitalism which by definition is dog-eat-dog. I’ve had plenty of jobs where if you didn’t show up for work (or were famous for your ‘drama’) you were considered to have quit. I wonder if ‘corporate HQ’ sent someone to cover those shifts or if they’d be fine and dandy if the store was just closed for those hours? It’s not like a convenience store and gas station has a slew of extra employees standing by. Maybe the manager had her own family issues/responsibilities and couldn’t cover the extra hours herself.

        • signalfire1

          Um, if you don’t show up for work at most jobs, after so many days it’s considered that you quit. The ‘reason’ often doesn’t matter; there’s nothing about Capitalism that mandates compassion. It amazes me that no one is getting the part in this exchange about ‘drama and schedule changes’ – this may not be about a reliable employee with a one-off disaster to deal with. I’m increasingly suspicious of people who post social media as a way of shaming (or suing) people they’ve interacted with. Seems manipulative. Or ‘dramatic’ as that manager might have called it. She’s better off not working with these people. Let corporate HQ roll their sleeves up and come into town and keep the doors open…

      • 212944

        And sometimes, you just put a sign in the window and lock the door. Customers understand family emergencies.

        • boB from WA

          Been there and done that as well. One hopes that upper management will also understand.

          • signalfire1

            Nope. They fired her rather than said ‘this is how we handle things at ‘corporate’ and send someone down in a white shirt and tie to take over. Bet they never considered that.

      • Dan Lind

        The store manager’s compassion should have forced critical thinking and problem solving…not the other way around.

        I can’t imagine anyone having a first reaction other than “Oh my God, I’m so sorry to hear about your son. You do WHATEVER you need to do. We will figure out how to cover your shifts. Don’t worry about work, just be there for your child.”

        From a leadership perspective, that’s the message you deliver to the employee. The second step is to call corporate, explain the situation, and ask for guidance.

        • boB from WA

          Unless you are in that situation you cannot for certain know how someone is going to react. Compassion may take a back seat to wanting to keep one’s on job as well. Again, I believe this goes back to the skills and training (our lack of them) that this person may have had.

          • Dan Lind

            I understand what you’re trying to say. However….

            Should a human being really need to be “trained” on how to show compassion and understanding? A robot can be programmed to handle the situation in the manner that this store manager did.

            And based on the response from corporate, it does not sound as if said manager needed to treat their employee like this in order to fulfill/save their own job.

            I’m sure it was a difficult situation for everyone involved. It simply makes me sad that “put people first” no longer seems to be standard operating procedure.

          • boB from WA

            RE training: yes I do believe that there are those who should be trained how to show compassion/understanding, if not at least to demonstrate what that looks like. Its training that should begin at home, but if it doesn’t occur there then where else are they going to “learn” it? Depending on the organization, most companies have or should have semi-annual retreats for management to remind them of the core values of that company and what it takes to be a “manager of people” (although I really dislike that term , as if people can really be managed). Do the role plays and the “what-if” scenarios so that the larger organization can train/instill those values to those who are responsible for their particular location.

            And I do agree that putting people first is no longer a priority in a lot of peoples lives (‘cos its ALL ABOUT ME!). But as Mr Collins reminds us, there are folks who do put others first (see next article), which gives me and others hope in this self-centered society we live in.

          • signalfire1

            Most of the managers I’ve had, have been devoid of ‘compassion and understanding.’ They have credit card bills to pay and mortgages and don’t give a flying F about anything else – welcome to Capitalism and what it really does to people. Remember, in the end, we’re talking about keeping one crummy little store open. For an 8 hour shift into the foreseeable future (if the manager believed the employee, looks like she was somewhat skeptical for good reason that this was a made-up problem. And most corporate HQ don’t give a damn about their employee’s private lives until it appears that publicity is making them look bad.

      • Jim in RF

        I’m not going to let the manager off the hook, either, but sometimes the manager is just the one willing to work beyond 40hrs for no overtime.

        • boB from WA

          Willing or forced? Typically mangers are considered exempt employees thus are not eligible for OT. They may be forced to work in order to keep the store open.

      • Jeff C.

        True, and good to keep in mind. I’m also willing to bet that this is not the first time that this manager did something that their superior disliked.

        • boB from WA

          And that is possible, but then its up to those higher-ups to recognize this and step in to correct the situation. rather than having to react (again?) to something this particular manager did.

        • signalfire1

          You realize we’re talking about a low level underpaid ‘manager’ of a small store, right? Not someone with an MBA?

          • You realize you don’t need an MBA to have a sense of decency, right? It’s an instinctive thing now.

          • signalfire1

            It’s not about decency. It’s about ‘now what?’ from the POV of the manager here. She mentions ‘drama and schedule changes’ which makes me think this isn’t the first time the employee wanted an exception made for her, regardless of the good reason. Was ‘Dawn’ supposed to cover her shifts? For how long? Maybe ‘Dawn’ had her own family to attend to…or was exhausted by working enough hours without good ‘ol corporate helping out, or paying enough to get reliable employees…

          • “Drama” is a subjective word in this case. “Schedule changes” is the reality of being a manager.

            Not everyone is cut out for it.

          • signalfire1

            You’ve apparently never worked with drama queens. There are some people who are forever causing chaos, claiming home issues that prevent them from showing up or paying attention at work. Or it turns out they’re alcoholics or drug addicts or someone in their family is… How long are you (as a manager) supposed to keep them on the payroll before you try to find someone more reliable and less toxic? I’ve had good managers who were compassionate but they were largely in big firms, able to cover for one missing employee without an issue. Small stores are too tightly scheduled for this sort of thing to be easily managed. I agree that ‘not everyone is cut out to be a manager’ and hope in the end, the fired individual finds less stressful employment.

          • Drama QUEENS. You see this as a gender issue, do you?

          • signalfire1

            Before you post further, you might want to have a look at ‘Crystal Reynolds Fisher’s FB page. First class drama queen. I’m OUT of this discussion. Yee gawds, people are unbelievable. Maybe followup up on this over the next few weeks. See how well ‘corporate’ lives up to their hype.

          • Actually there’s nothing on her Facebook page to merit your characterization. In fact there are only two public posts, one of which is her original complaint. The rest are pictures of her.

  • jon

    More job openings than unemployed, and yet, this is still the way we treat labors…

    Still nice to see that the invisible hand from corporate came down and slapped some one over it.

    • Joseph

      Only because they were made to look bad in the media. Without the public bad publicity, I doubt they would have acted.

      • 212944

        I suspect you may be right about that.

        Transparency cures many ills. Sometimes.

      • BJ

        Maybe. Maybe if it had been brought to their attention privately or though corporate channels it would have been the same. Looking it’s a pretty small company as gas station and convenience stores go. 35 locations. They have many long term employees and family members in the corporate office.

        Being that small and family owned, being kind to people usually is a hallmark. I see their annual fundraiser PR, the language in those releases and this is very similar.

  • Guest

    Which is cheaper for a company:

    Hire a tough nosed manager that drives people away thus having to pay more to keep people willing to put up with him.

    OR

    Hire a manager that people WANT to work for???

    • Erik Petersen

      Its a narrow range of people that a convenience store company can hire as store managers. Id venture to say these people are less enlightened and less enlightenable than people working other professions. They get who they can get.

      • The Resistance

        Unfortunately, it’s that thought process that helped Democrats alienate so much of the American elecorate that is their natural base. If we think of all of us as enlightened or elightenable, we’ll be much more successful in bridging divides. Have conversations with convenience store managers. You may be surprised that some are more enlightened than a hedge fund manager or software developer.

        • Erik Petersen

          Meh, its the truth and you are virtue signaling to flatter yourself with high mindedness to say otherwise.

          I look at this situation, and see the biggest problem as the manager bullying the employee over whether its going to be job abandonment or termination….

          Somebody who’d been employed in something of a first world, fortune 1000 environment with its accompanying professional human resources hierarchy would basically know that you cant do that.. AND…. someone who’d been employed in something of a first world, fortune 1000 environment has a skillset that makes them overqualified and too expensive to manage a cc store.

          So again, they get who they can get for what they are willing to pay and this is a class of workers whose un sophistication will cause problems.

          • The Resistance

            If I were intentionally virtue signalling I’d be using my real name and photo and taking credit for my self proclaimed high moral standards and rectitude. But I’m just a stupid anonymous Shepard Fairey feline ripoff that no one knows or cares about on Newscut.

            If I came off as sanctimonious that wasn’t my intent. I can be as closed minded as the next person. Truce?

            All I meant to say is that there’s gotta be at least a few people in the convenience store manager realm that are enlightenable and if we are all going to find a way to walk out of TrumpWorld we can’t really afford to alienate that entire class of people.

          • Jeff

            I care about everyone on NewsCut (well, most everyone).

            I’m much less sanguine, I think you might be able to peel off a unenlightened few but I think the more you appeal to reason, play nice, and use facts the more most of them just cling harder to their belief system. I think this has been scientifically demonstrated.

          • The Resistance

            I don’t know how we move forward if we (and I’m basically talking about the Democratic party) don’t start reaching out to a whole group of people and letting them know that Trumpism is hurting them and offering them better options. Many of these people came from solid Democrat families that were once with us. I’d like to think they could be again if there were more outreach to them, rather than simply writing them off as hopeless cases from hopeless towns and opiod addicted red states that we have to just ignore. Maybe I’m naive and just clinging to false hope.

          • Jeff

            I hope you’re right and I agree that we should treat everyone with respect if you hope to convince them and just in general excepting those directly responsible for what’s going on, maybe (I’m on the fence about that).

    • merry_rose

      When I was in high school, I worked for the County Seat store near me. The woman who hired me was new to the store. She handed me a application and asked if was available that Saturday. I’d literally just walked in and asked if they were hiring!

      I ended up working for Karen for four years. In that time, I think we had a total of eleven employees. Yes, over four years, we had eleven people. Some stayed a year or so. Others, that whole four years. I watched two of my coworkers become Karen’s assistant managers. We were a cohesive and well oiled team. When Karen had emergencies happen, she knew we’d do what had to be done and she could handle what she had to. We also knew that she had that same respect for us.

      Then Karen herself was promoted to something in marketing, our district manager had to take over the store for a few months. She managed to destroy a team that had made Karen’s little store the pride of the company and had gotten Karen noticed in the first place. In the three months after I was let go for not being available at the drop of a hat (I was in college by that time), Julie had turned over the staff five times. Five! And this was during “back to school” and leading into the holidays. How that woman ever became a DISTRICT manager, I’ll never know. She sure as hell couldn’t manage and inspire the staff she had at one small strip mall County Seat clothing store.

  • AL287

    It shouldn’t take fear of what public humiliation and exposure does to the bottom line for a company to do what’s right by its employees.

    Unions were established near the start of the last century to prevent these kinds of abuses. They are the reason we have 40-hour work weeks and most of us, weekends off.

    You can say what you want about the political arm of union organizations but they are no worse than lobbyists used by the oil industry, the insurance industry, the healthcare industry and a host of other “special” interest groups.

    Politicians don’t run Congress. Political lobbyists do and retired congressmen and senators are the worst of the bunch.

    I’m sure Donald Trump is delighted by the latest Supreme Court decision on unions.

    https://aflcio.org/2016/7/12/when-donald-trump-had-choice-he-chose-nonunion-labor-his-construction-projects-ibew

    • KTFoley

      This situation would have come under the Family Medical Leave Act, which applies to workers without regard to union affiliation.

      • Jack

        Depends on size of company. Really small companies are exempt.

        • KTFoley

          Yes, companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt.

          Folk Oil’s website re-directs to PSFoodMart.com, whose Employment page says they are proud to have more than 400 associates.

          • Jack

            Is there a minimum employee count in a certain geographic area? It’s been years since I’ve had to know this for my job.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        I suspect this is the reason the corporate response was what it was and as quick as it was.

  • KTFoley

    Reading the exchanges displayed in the screen shots (and not everything is visible), I have to hand it to the employee.

    Her manager texted “I will not tolerate drama … end of conversation … too much drama” and she retained the presence of mind to inform her she would contact corporate regarding this situation.

    • signalfire1

      It sure looks like the employee had her share of wanting schedule changes and being a drama queen (proven by posting this stuff on line) – how much is the manager of a tiny store with probably only a few bodies available supposed to deal with (and cover for herself) before she just says ‘you’re abandoning your job for whatever reason and I have to replace you?’

      ‘My son is on life support’ pretty much means ‘I won’t be in to work for days, weeks or months’ – at this level of employment (one tiny step above minimum wage slave labor) there’s few protections. Meanwhile, there’s no followup except manager was fired – what about the kid? Any word on him or is that not germane to this whole kerfluffle?

  • The Resistance

    This would be a good time for the employees of Folk Oil/PS Food Mart to establish an organizing committee to determine if they should form a union to protect themselves.

    And it’s also a good example of why employees in right to work states are so vulnerable.

    And why Joe Hill did not die in vain.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Hill

    • JamieHX

      >> why employees in right to work states are so vulnerable <<
      That should be: "why employees in so-called "right-to-work" states."

  • signalfire1

    Looks to me like there is another side to this – the comment from ‘Dawn’ about ‘drama and schedule changes.’ How the hell is someone in a tiny store with just a few employees supposed to keep the doors open for the apparently magnanimous and warm hearted ‘corporate HQ’ when at least one employee keeps wanting schedule changes and calling in unavailable, for whatever reason? Would corporate be fine if she simply locked the doors for that 8 hour shift? How much chaos is too much? Unreliable for whatever reason is unreliable. Jobs aren’t a given or a right, they’re earned by showing up and doing the job every day you’re scheduled. Only big outfits can cover for endless amounts of schedule changes. Was ‘Dawn’ supposed to cover an extra 8 hours a day herself? Hire someone with one day notice to cover…?