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Support staff workplace responsibilities -Trainer's guide

Chapters

Scenario 9 – Patrick


Scenario outline

Patrick is a supervisor at a business service organisation. He is a mad sports fan and he likes to look after his supported employees when they have sporting commitments. He charts their games and if they are playing the next day he places them on light duties. He says that this also helps him to avoid absenteeism.

Key points

This scenario is primarily about:

This scenario may be a bit controversial. It may seem reasonable that staff with sporting commitments are given special consideration. It may even be said that sport is a healthy pastime and should be encouraged. However, what if you are unable or prefer not to engage in sporting activities?

The main point of this scenario is that staff are being treated differently at work based on irrelevant criteria. This has consequences on the workplace culture, values and rules.

You will need to have your organisation's policies and procedures about light duties, grievance mechanisms and privacy on hand. It would also be useful to have a user-friendly definition of the term 'discrimination'.

Workplace story

Patrick - a supervisor at a small supported employment service

Photo of Patrick

Jess - a new supported employee

Photo of Jess

Maureen - a co-worker of Jess's

Photo of Maureen

Photo of Patrick

Patrick is a supervisor at a disability business service. He's a mad sports fan and he likes to look after his staff when they have sporting commitments. He charts their games so when they are playing the next day he can place them on light duties. He says that this also helps him to avoid absenteeism. Jess is a new employee.

Photo of Patrick talking to Jess

[Jess]: Excuse me … Patrick?

[Patrick – calls out]: Come in, Jess.

Photo of Patrick talking to Jess

[Patrick]: Hi, Jess, thanks for coming. I'm just finalising the roster for light duties this month. It's very important to our team that we all work our best and we look after each other.

[Jess]: Sure.

[Patrick]: Well, one thing we do here is roster our sporting stars on light duties before a game. Are you the sporting type? With thighs like that I reckon you are!

[Jess – blushing]: Ummmm.

[Patrick]: Come on, Jess, don't be shy. What's your favourite sport?

[Jess]: Um, I don't have one really.

[Patrick]: That's OK. But you won't mind working the late shift on Friday then will you?

[Jess]: Actually, I was planning on going out.

[Patrick]: Now, Jess, you want to be a team player, don't you?

Photo of Jess talking to Maureen

[Jess – in a lowered voice]: Excuse me, Maureen, can I ask you something?

[Maureen]: Yes, sweetie, what is it?

[Jess]: Patrick just asked me about if I play sport and he said I have to work Friday night. Is that what happens?

Photo of group discussion

[Maureen]: Well, um, yes, it is right – he's a bit of a sports fanatic.

[Jess]: Really?

[Maureen]: Yeah, but to be honest, it's mostly the blokes that get it easy. Most of us women don't play sport.

[Jess]: Well, I like to go ballroom dancing on a Friday night but if he is going to roster me on I can't go.

Photo of Sarah

[Sarah]: You'll be lucky if he thinks that's a sport.

Photo of Jess

[Jess – thinking]: I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to stop dancing but I don't want to rock the boat.

Focus questions

Exploring the issues

Debrief questions

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