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Support staff workplace responsibilities -Trainer's guide


Scenario 6 – Chris

Scenario outline

Chris is 20 and a new supported employee of a medium-sized Disability Business Service. Her father Barry has been a friend of Kevin, the manager of the service, for years. Barry has asked Kevin to keep an eye on Chris and let him know if any problems arise. He has also requested that Chris's pay be deposited into his account as he does not let Chris have her own account.

Key points

This scenario is primarily about:

This scenario portrays a dilemma that may be faced by many supervisors. Parents and carers may ask for access to private information about employees' work performance and entitlements.

It is important to focus on ethical work practice. Supervisors need to be aware of both their own and the employee's rights and responsibilities, and how to manage their relationship with the significant others in employees' lives.

It is important to foster a workplace in which integrity is paramount, and also to have empathy and understanding for everyone involved. The focus needs to be on achieving a win-win outcome.

You could invite your organisation's human resources manager and/or a union representative to be involved when you discuss this scenario with the supervisors.

Workplace story

Kevin - manager of an employment service

Photo of Kevin

Chris - a new supported employee

Photo of Chris

Barry - friend of Kevin and father of Chris

Photo of Barry

Kerry - Barry's wife

Photo of Kerry

Sally - office staff

Photo of Sally

Chris is 20 and a new supported employee within a medium-sized Disability Business Service. Her father Barry has been a friend of Kevin, the manager of the service, for years. Barry has rung Kevin to check on Chris' progress.

Photo of Kevin talking to Barry on the phone

[Kevin]: G'day, Barry – how are you?

[Barry]: Good thanks, mate. I'm just ringing to see how Chris is going.

[Kevin]: Oh, she is settling in well.

[Barry]: That's great. Is she making friends? She's quite shy, you know.

[Kevin]: Don't worry Barry, she's doing well.

[Barry]: So, ah, how much does she make an hour?

[Kevin – sounding evasive]: Ah, sorry, Barry – there's someone waiting to see me. Great to hear from you, and don't worry about Chris.

Photo of Kerry talking to Barry

[Barry]: I'm worried about Chris, love – I rang Kevin this morning and he sounded like he was avoiding my questions.

[Kerry]: He was probably just a bit busy Baz, don't worry. Chris is as happy as Larry. Anyway, Kevin and Mandy are coming over tonight for a barbie – you can ask him then.

Photo of Kevin talking to Barry

[Barry]: Thanks for looking after Chris for me, mate. How's she going really?

[Kevin]: Yeah, I told you Barry, she's going fine.

[Barry]: But I mean, is she keeping up? Is she getting along with everyone?

[Kevin]: It's probably better that you talk to Chris about that, Barry.

[Barry]: I already did and she told me about as much as you have. It's a bit unnerving for a parent. I only want what's best for her.

[Kevin]: I understand it's a bit hard when you've got a child with special needs. But she's a big girl now and you've got to let her stand on her own two feet.

Focus questions

Photo of Kevin talking to Barry on the phone

Two days have passed and Kevin isn't all that surprised when he picks up the phone and Barry is at the other end of the line.

[Kevin – joking]: You again, Barry? We'll have to install a direct line!

[Barry]: Yeah, sorry. I just wanted to say thanks again for watching out for Chris.

[Kevin]: No worries, mate – we look after all our employees here.

[Barry]: It was good to catch up the other night. Oh, I forgot to say. Here's the bank account details for where Chris' pay should go.

[Kevin]: Oh, yes?

Photo of Kevin talking on the phone

[Kevin]: OK, Barry – got that. Thanks. Gotta rush.

Photo of Kevin talking to Sally

[Kevin]: Sally, I've got some banking details for Chris here. Didn't she already give them to us?

[Sally]: Yeah, I think so. Hang on a sec and I'll take a look.

[Sally]: Yep, here they are. No, wait … they're different. Look – these are for the Credit Union and the ones you've just given me are for a different bank.

[Kevin]: Hmmm. I better ask Chris about it. She can probably sort it out.

Photo of Kevin talking to Chris

[Kevin]: Chris, just a quick question. You know those banking details you gave us the other day.


[Kevin]: Well, they're different to the ones your dad just gave me.

[Chris]: You're kidding.

Photo of Kevin talking to Barry

[Barry]: Kevin, did you tell Chris that I gave you her bank account details?

[Kevin]: Well, yeah, I spoke to her – the bank details were different. Was it meant to be a secret?

[Barry]: I don't like her to have access to the money. Mate, you know her. Do you honestly think she can look after her own money?

Focus questions

Exploring the issues

Debrief questions

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