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Support staff workplace responsibilities -Trainer's guide


Scenario 4 – Betty and Sue

Scenario outline

Betty is a supervisor at a Disability Business Service. Her daughter Sue is an employee at the same Disability Business Service. One of the employees has been suspected of stealing other people's belongings. Betty asks Sue to have a quick peek into the employee's locker as she opens it to get her lunch. Sue lets Betty know that she saw the items that belong to other employees.

Key points

This scenario is primarily about:

This scenario seems straightforward and it may be very obvious to the learners that it is inappropriate for a mother to ask her daughter to carry out this task. It is important that you focus on the consequences of this request for everyone concerned, particularly Sue.

Consider the power relationship that exists between Betty and Sue. Is it a form of workplace bullying to ask Sue to spy on a workmate? Does it make a difference that Betty is Sue's mother?

In order to be able to work in a team effectively and have trust and respect, you need open communication. You also need to be able to refer to policies and procedures and everyone needs to have confidence in the integrity of the process.

Workplace story

Betty - a supervisor at a Disability Business Service

Photo of Betty

Sue - a supported employee and Betty's daughter

Photo of Sue

Kylie - a co-worker of Sue's

Photo of Kylie

Sam - a co-worker of Sue's

Photo of Sam

Photo of Betty talking to Sue

Betty is a supervisor at a Disability Business Service. Her daughter, Sue, is a supported employee at the same employment service. One of the supported employees has been suspected of stealing other people's belongings.

[Betty]: Sue, I wonder if you could do me a favour.

[Sue]: What's that, Mum?

[Betty]: Well, you know how we've been having problems with things being stolen at work?

[Sue]: Yeah …

[Betty]: Well, I've heard a whisper that it might be Sam doing it.

[Sue]: Who told you that?

[Betty]: Never you mind who told me that. The thing is, I want to be sure before I say anything to her, so what I want you to do is hang around her in the locker room and try to get a peek over her shoulder and into her locker and see if you can see anything. Can you do that for me, honey?

[Sue]: I guess so. What if she catches me?

[Betty]: Well, just make sure you are careful and don't say anything to her. Come back and tell me what you see.

Photo of Sam talking to Sue

[Sam]: Hi, Sue.

[Sue]: Er, hi, Sam.

[Sam]: What are you doing?

[Sue]: Er, nothing.

Photo of Kylie approaching Sam and Sue

[Kylie]: What are you looking at in Sam's locker, Sue?

[Sam - slams the locker shut]: What??

[Sue]: Nothing!

Photo of Kylie talking to Sue

[Kylie]: C'mon, what is in Sam's locker?

[Sue]: I can't tell you. It's a secret.

Photo of Betty talking to Sue

[Sue]: Mum, I saw into Sam's locker and I could see John's lighter and Chantelle's scarf and Kylie's belt and some other stuff too.

[Betty]: Oh, OK, Sue, thanks for doing that.

[Sue]: I think Sam saw me but.

Focus questions

Exploring the issues

Debrief questions

A useful resource to use with this scenario may be the workplace bullying fact sheet.

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