Support staff workplace responsibilities -Trainer's guide
Scenario 1 – Janine
- ethical conduct
- misuse of position
Jo works part-time as a supervisor at XYZ Business Service. Janine, one of the supported employees in Jo's section, knows that Jo earns extra money selling information booklets about the West Dunes Diet. Janine is overweight and asks Jo to sell her some of the booklets.
This scenario is primarily about:
- ethical conduct
- misuse of position.
You need to be aware that discussing this scenario may generate some stereotypical comments, particularly regarding body image and women. There is also likely to be a diverse range of views about what appropriate behaviour is.
It is vital that all viewpoints are valued and comments are allowed to be made in an open discussion. However, you will need to focus on the importance of supervisors maintaining a professional relationship with employees and what that entails.
Your preparation should include knowing your organisation's policies and procedures.
Jo - a part-time supervisor at XYZ Business Service
Janine - a supported employee at XYZ Business Service
Jo has been employed part-time as a supervisor at XYZ Business Service for the past two years. It's a job that Jo really loves and she'd enjoy the opportunity to do it full-time if the chance comes up.
In the meantime, Jo earns a bit of extra cash selling information booklets about the West Dunes Diet. It's an exciting diet program that is getting a lot of publicity on daytime television.
Last Tuesday, Jo was working in the office at XYZ when she was approached by Janine.
[Janine – sounding a bit tentative]: Hi Jo, how are you?
[Jo – cheerful]: Good morning, Janine. How's that photocopying coming along?
[Janine]: Um, yeah … it's almost finished. Um, Jo, you know those booklets …
[Jo]: What's that, Janine?
[Janine]: You know that diet thingy that you sell?
[Jo]: Oh, yes …
[Janine]: Can you sell one to me?
[Jo – trying to stall]: Oh Janine, you don't want to bother about that do you?
[Janine – pushing to get what she wants]: Yeah, I'm really fat and I heard that that diet is meant to be really good.
[Jo]: Well … I don't have any with me right now. Maybe on Thursday.
[Janine – sounding disappointed]: Oh, OK then.
[Janine]: I don't think Jo likes me.
[Janine]: Well, you know those diet books she's always talking about?
[Janine]: Well, I asked her for one. I mean I was going to pay – I didn't want it for free or nothing – and she wouldn't do it.
[Co-worker]: Maybe she thought you didn't have enough money?
[Janine]: Well, she didn't ask me.
Concerned about Janine's request and how to handle it, Jo calls Chris, the district manager of the West Dunes Diet distribution. Jo explains what happened with Janine.
[Chris]: So, what's the problem?
[Jo]: Well, I don't know if I should do it. I mean I don't want Janine to think that I think she is fat.
[Chris]: Does she have a weight problem?
[Jo]: Yeah, she's a bit overweight, but she doesn't need me to tell her that.
[Chris]: Jo, do you believe in the West Dunes Diet?
[Jo]: Sure, you know I do.
[Chris]: Do you think this girl deserves the chance to lose 15 kilos in 15 weeks?
[Jo]: Yes, but …
[Chris]: No buts. It wouldn't be fair if you didn't help her.
[Janine]: So, can I have one of those diet books?
[Jo]: I'm not sure if I should sell it to you, Janine.
[Janine]: I have plenty of money – I've been saving up.
[Jo]: No, it's not that – it's just that you have to eat a lot of special food on the West Dunes Diet. It might be hard for you.
[Janine]: But you'll help me with it, won't you?
[Jo]: I'm a bit busy right now.
[Janine – walking away, sounding a bit angry]: Fine.
[Jo – thinking]: Bummer – I think I've upset her … I suppose it wouldn't hurt to sell her the booklet … I could do with the money … but what if she wants me to help her with it all the time …
- What do you think Jo should do now?
- What do you think she did do in the end?
- What are the key issues here?
- What would you have done in Jo's place?
- Has anything like this ever happened to you?
- What might Jo have done differently?
- Which Disability Services Standards does this scenario relate to?
- What are your organisation's policies and procedures in relation to this kind of scenario?
- Are there policies and procedures in your organisation that you need to revise or update as a result of examining this scenario?
- Are there legal or other issues that relate to this scenario? What are they? Is there any legislation you should be aware of that relates to this scenario?
- How are relationships important in the scenario?
- Has Jo misused her position?
- Would the issues be different if:
- Janine had asked for the diet booklets outside work time
- Janine was not overweight
- Jo had asked her manager at XYZ for advice?
- How did you feel about us discussing this topic?
- What did you learn?
- How will you apply what you have learned?