We often hear about the employers that don’t treat employees well; but you know, it sometimes works the other way as well.

I had a call from a gentleman who was at his wits end as to what he could do with an employee that he has had on his payroll now for 5 years. This employee is running the entire show! He’s a bully and the employer is to the point that he is actually afraid of him – not in a physical sense –but in the sense that he’s afraid to stand up to him because– oh no – heaven forbid – he may lose him!

The employer has completely lost control of this fellow because he never had the courage to set any boundaries or expectations from the start and his leadership has been extremely inconsistent. So, how did this happen, you may ask?

The background:

The business owner has a small restaurant. He and his wife and brother-in-law opened the restaurant about 7 years ago. The business started to grow and he brought in the employee in question to help them out. At first, the employee was really good and the owner gave him more and more responsibilities, to the point that he felt fairly comfortable in leaving him to open up on occasion and actually assist with the business decisions, etc. The business continued to grow and he hired a few more people, mostly part time, to work during lunch and dinner times.

After a few more employees were hired, the original employee (we’ll call him Joe), started to exhibit some less than desirable behaviours by coming in late; opening the doors and then within 15 minutes, he would go out back to have a smoke break (virtually leaving the business open without anyone inside, which the owner found out by coming in a couple of mornings right after Joe and finding the place empty); talking on his cell phone right in front of customers (putting the customers on ignore while he chatted away on the phone); and when the owner tried to speak with him, Joe just held his hand up right in the owner’s face shutting him down. On occasion, when Joe decided he’d made enough tips for the night – he would just leave – an hour – sometimes two hours before his shift actually ended! To heck with the schedule…he’d had enough…too bad…so sad.

It has now gotten to the point (according to the employer) that Joe comes and goes as he pleases and in fact, he has told the employer that he can’t do anything about it because he’d have to pay him to terminate him. The employer, unfortunately, does not know his rights in this case – and he has let it go on for so long now that he is getting treated this way by all of his employees. The example has been set!

The saddest part of all is that the employee tells the employer what he will and will not do and the employer has no one else that can step into this fellow’s shoes because everyone else is part time and does not have the same level of restaurant business experience. At least, that’s what the owner believes at this time.

So; how did we go about finding a solution to this problem when up to this point in time nothing was documented?

Navigate to part 2and we’ll show you what was done to improve the situation and what advice was given to the employer.