Co-working relationships can be rife with drama, and often made awkward by the fact that, even though we depend on these people on a daily basis, we’re not actually friends. The question of what we owe them, then, can be a complicated one.
That’s a lesson this woman found out the hard way when a woman who shared her very limited speciality asked her to cover her hours while she was out on maternity leave.
Okay, so I (32F) work at the biggest hospital in my area. I have been working here for almost ten years now. I started out as a contracted, full-time employee but then had my daughter (4F) and asked to be switched to per diem, which allowed me to work less hours and have more flexibility.
Now, one of my coworkers at another wing of the same hospital is Dani (38F). Over the years, I have heard comments about her not putting in the work or slacking off, but our specialty is very much in demand in our area and I guess that’s why she never really suffered any consequences. Dani also works per diem, as she has a contracted part-time job elsewhere.
Almost two years ago, she got pregnant. She told me she intended to stay home with her son for the first few months, and asked me if I would cover her shifts at this other wing so they wouldn’t bring in someone else.
OP agreed for a short term coverage agreement, but as the other woman stayed out with her baby longer and longer, OP started to get annoyed with never knowing when or if her term – and extra hours/money – would end.
When she confronted the other woman and told her she was going to speak to HR, nothing changed.
Since it was only going to be about 6 months, I said yes.
The thing was… Her baby was born, six months passed, and while she went back to her other job (being a contracted employee, she had to), she kept telling me to hold on just a little longer because she was “adjusting” to getting back to work. A few more months passed and she kept telling me the same thing.
At this point, I had already adjusted to working that many hours again and was okay with it, but I don’t deal well with uncertainty and the not knowing was really wearing me down, so I told her that I hadn’t signed up for subbing for her for this long, that I needed to find something more stable and long term for myself and that I was going to talk to HR about getting someone else to replace her if she didn’t come back.
She said she would come back “soon”. She didn’t.
So, she was good for her word and went to HR, planning to tell them she could no longer cover the extra shifts/hours.
They offered her the job permanently instead, and she accepted.
So I went to HR, let them know that I wanted to go back to my old wing only, and they let me know that they thought I had done a really good job and were interested in keeping me long term.
They ended up offering me a contract to work both this new wing and my old one and when I asked what about Dani, they told me that she would be welcome to take up any shifts that arose upon need, but that she probably wouldn’t have as many hours as she used to.
They talked me into believing it was her fault for leaving me (and them) hanging and I ended up accepting the contract.
Not wanting to deal with the drama – or perhaps just being a person who doesn’t love confrontation – she asked HR to deal with letting her co-worker know about the change.
This naturally upset the other woman, and now OP is wondering if anything makes her the a$$hole here.
Now here’s where I might have been TA: I asked them to talk to her about it and didn’t tell her anything myself. I thought it was their responsibility, since it hadn’t been my initiative and I had solely accepted their offer. It took her a couple of months to contact me again, letting me know she was coming back, and I realized immediately HR hadn’t talked to her. So I told her to talk to them.
Not even one hour later, she calls me absolutely fuming and calling me all sorts of names for blindsiding her and asking me if I was the “b****” who had her job now. I feel really bad for not telling her now, but I truly thought that they would talk to her back then so I never thought about it again. AITA?
Let’s see what side Reddit comes down on, yeah?
The top comment believes this is absolutely HR’s job, and always should have been.
It does seem a bit like OP was avoiding drama because she knew this woman would cause drama.
No one thinks OP should feel badly about how things went down.
It’s best to give HR a head’s up, when you can.
It’s giving us anxiety just thinking about it, honestly.
I feel sorry for this woman, even though it’s nice she’s come out well as far as shifts/respect/hours.
Do you think she should have manned up and told her friend the truth? Was HR the ones who dropped the ball?
Drop your thoughts in the comments!