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Support staff workplace responsibilities -Trainer's guide


Scenario 1 – Janine

Scenario outline

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.

Key points

This scenario is primarily about:

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.

Workplace story

Jo - a part-time supervisor at XYZ Business Service

Photo of Jo

Janine - a supported employee at XYZ Business Service

Photo of Janine

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.

Photo of Jo work as a part-time supervisor

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.

Photo of Jo talking to 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.

Photo of Jo talking to Janine in front of a printer

[Janine]: I don't think Jo likes me.

[Co-worker]: Why?

[Janine]: Well, you know those diet books she's always talking about?

[Co-worker]: Uh-huh.

[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.

Photo of Jo talking on the phone

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.

Photo of Jo and Janine

[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.

Photo of Jo

[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 …

Focus questions

Exploring the issues

Debrief questions

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