Criticism and Discipline; Rules and Policies

tHe alterNate day off

Primary Topic—Employee Problems and Problem Employees

Additional Topics—Criticism and Discipline; Rules and Policies

Early in June licensed practical nurse Susan Butler approached her supervisor, nurse manager Mabel Wesley, and volunteered to work on the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Although Mabel was well aware that Susan was volunteering to work a day for which she would be paid time-and-a-half, she accepted Susan’s offer because a number of people had asked to have the holiday off and staffing would be tight, as it usually was on holidays.

Thus scheduled to work the holiday, Susan was entitled, by staffing policy, to take off an alternate day as her holiday. The policy simply said that the alternate day must be taken within 2 weeks of the legal holiday.

Susan Butler took her alternate day off 1 full week before the actual Fourth of July holiday. She said that she especially needed this day; getting this particular day off was the reason she volunteered to work on the Fourth of July. She pointed out that the policy that said the alternate day must be taken “within 2 weeks” of the holiday could be interpreted as meaning before or after the holiday. Mabel, however, could not recall a case in which the employee had not taken the alternate day within 2 weeks after the holiday.

Susan Butler, having already taken her alternate day off, came to work on the Fourth of July. However, she stayed less than half of the shift; shortly before 11:00 am she said she did not feel well and punched out and went home. Mabel’s unit had to function for the balance of the shift with less than its required staff.


1. Do you believe Mabel Wesley should take any action regarding Susan? If so, what action might she consider taking?

2. What—if anything—could Mabel do regarding the alternate-day-off policy?

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