'You're the Manager': Boss Slammed for Making Sick Staff Find Replacements

Members of a popular internet forum banded together in response to one viral post calling out employers who force employees to find coworkers to cover shifts they can't work.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/antiwork, Redditor u/lemonite99 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) questioned why employees who are sick, or facing other emergencies, are responsible for finding their own replacements, instead of the managers and bosses who regularly create schedules.

Posed as a hypothetical, the viral post is titled, "You ever call out of work and the manager is like 'find someone to cover your shift?'," and has received more than 18,000 votes and nearly 1,300 comments in the last 10 hours.

Addressing managers directly, the original poster was adamant that the burden of scheduling should not fall upon distressed employees.

"You're the manager," they wrote. "Where [the f**k] did this trend of managers getting the one calling out to find coverage [come from]?"

"What if we're sick?," they continued. "Or have an emergency?"

"You're the manager my guy, manage," they concluded.

In the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act requires certain employers to provide up to 12 workweeks of job-protected leave for new mothers, those suffering from serious health conditions, and those responsible for caring for somebody with a serious health condition.

Employee calling out sick
Redditors bashed employers who require employees to find their own shift replacements when sick or facing emergencies. Zinkevych/iStock / Getty Images Plus

For workers experiencing less-serious health conditions, however, there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Despite certain state and city laws which require employers to provide employees with a certain amount of unpaid sick leave, there are also no legal guidelines for who is responsible for finding coverage for unexpectedly vacant shifts.

In a guest column for USA Today, Society of Human Resource Management CEO Johnny C. Taylor reiterated that there is no clear-cut answer, but made it clear that forcing employees to find their own shift replacements is counterintuitive.

"Requiring someone who's not feeling well to call around to find their replacement doesn't seem like the best way to make sure things get covered at work," Taylor wrote.

Throughout the comment section of the viral Reddit post, numerous Redditors echoed that sentiment, and agreed that the burden of scheduling replacements should fall on management, rather than employees.

In the post's top comment, which has received nearly 10,000 votes, Redditor u/stormaggedon23 detailed their own experience in a scenario similar to the one described by the original poster.

"When I quit my last job, my boss asked me who I was giving my responsibilities to," they wrote.

"Like dude, [I don't give a f**k], I'm leaving, you figure that sh*t out," they added.

Redditor u/xmattyx, whose comment has received nearly 3,500 votes, shared the boilerplate response they routinely give when asked to find their own shift replacement.

"Yeah, I usually say it's not in my job description or, 'I'm not management I can't adjust schedules," they wrote.

"My canned response to this was always, 'You're the manager, you'll manage,'" Redditor u/NeverEnoughCharacter added in a comment which has received close to 2,000 votes.

In a lengthy comment, Redditor u/tehtinman recounted a time when their request for a holiday away from work was approved, but then rescinded without warning and replaced with a written reprimand.

"I let my boss know a month in advance that I would be out of state for my shift on Christmas Eve. I got my coworker to sign up to cover that shift, signed and approved by the manager," they wrote. "[One] month later I'm being called Christmas Eve morning...[and told] that I just had a no call, no show."

"Apparently my manager [scheduled] my coworker for 40 hours already that week and didn't want to pay overtime so it was my responsibility to telepathically know this and find a new person to cover my shift," they continued. "I got written up for this."