my manager posted a “wall of shame” of people who didn’t volunteer to work more

A reader writes:

I work in a small unit (20 people) that provides direct patient care and is part of a very large healthcare organization. Like a lot of healthcare units, we’ve struggled with staffing for the past few years. It’s been 2+ years of being short-staffed, working mandatory overtime, being asked to pick up shifts, etc. Sometimes the incentives are worth it (when overtime is mandatory, we are paid double time) and sometimes they’re not (i.e., “Do it for the team!” when the whole team is burned out and people have been coming to work on their days off for months).

Recently, we had a staff meeting where, essentially, the first part was “Everyone needs to volunteer to work more” and the second part was “Your attitudes are poor and I want to hear less complaining and more positivity.”

Our supervisor is brand new to management (she was our coworker six weeks ago) and her superior (my manager) has historically been okay but hands-off, and as he’s decided to become more hands-on, leaves me unimpressed. He’s more interested in making sure that we look like happy employees on the surface and tends to blame any problems on the person who pointed out the problem. I am side-eyeing him as I remember a time there was some harsh criticism on an anonymous employee survey and that person was encouraged, several times, to come forward to “give more details.”

A new voluntary overtime program is in place for the summer to attempt to help cover vacation time. It’s tiered, so the more shifts you commit to, the higher your reward. Great carrot! Unfortunately, my supervisor is presenting it as mandatory and reminding everyone that we all need to sign up for extra shifts because we’re a team and we need to help our teammates.

The final straw came today when a List of Shame was posted in our unit. The verbiage was hostile and passive-aggressive. It listed all staff members, how many hours of PTO they’ve requested this summer, and how many extra shifts they’ve signed up for. If you haven’t signed up for any shifts, your name is highlighted. A coworker said she saw our supervisor posting it and said, laughing-but-not-really, “You’re not really going to make a Wall of Shame, are you?” and our supervisor laughed and said, “Yeah, [manager] told me not to, but I know our unit better and I’m doing it!”

Obviously, I am one of the people who haven’t signed up for any extra shifts. For the past two years, I’ve helped out regularly. I’ve come in on my days off to provide lunch relief, worked a few extra weekends, signed up for extra shifts, been willing to move my scheduled days as needed, etc. I truly feel like I’ve done my part. But right now, I just can’t. It’s a combination of mental health and transportation issues, but the thought of coming to work more often than I’m scheduled is overwhelming. If it was mandatory, I’d focus on the paycheck and make it work. But this is allegedly VOLUNTARY, and I just need to tap out this round.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to divulge this. I shouldn’t have to say, “My mental health doesn’t allow for extra shifts right now.” I know there shouldn’t be a mental health stigma, but there is and I haven’t said anything to anyone at work. And since my supervisor is new and I don’t particularly trust my manager, I don’t WANT to say anything because I don’t trust them to respond correctly.

I have not yet had a direct talk with my supervisor. I anticipate one next week and am planning to ask, confused, “Oh, I thought it was voluntary! Did it switch to mandatory?” and be all concerned. Then I’ll say, sadly, but firmly, “Oh, I just can’t right now. I can’t do extra shifts this summer.”

I know you don’t recommend going to HR very often, but we do have a robust HR department and they were involved a few years ago when we had a provider issue and I have a pretty good impression. Is this something to submit to them? On our company website, there’s a generic form to contact them that states the person you’re talking about is NOT notified and there’s a place for attachments. Should I fill that out? Or chalk this up to a new manager mistake and ignore it? I am at a loss.

I think you could definitely talk to HR about this, framing it as, “For the past two years, I’ve helped out regularly, come in on my days off to provide lunch relief, worked extra weekends, signed up for extra shifts, and been willing to move my scheduled days as needed. I have less flexibility with my schedule right now because of some things in my personal life, and I don’t think I should be publicly shamed on a chart listing how much PTO I’ve requested and how many extra shifts I’m volunteering for. If this is mandatory, please say so (and, I assume, provide the accompanying double time). But I think this chart should be taken down.”

But I think you should talk with your manager as well (maybe before you try HR, since your manager might take care of it on his own). I get that you’re not terribly impressed with him, but the chart-posting supervisor did say that he had told her not to do it — so there’s a good chance he’ll want to know that she did it anyway and will shut it down. Plus, she’s a brand new supervisor, and he needs to know she’s fumbling badly right out of the gate (not to mention directly contradicting his instructions). Use the same framing as in the language for HR above.

And no, you don’t need to disclose that your mental health is what’s in play. It’s enough to point out that you’ve been super helpful for two years, but right now you can’t. You can cite “things in my personal life.” You can cite “some health stuff I need to take care of” if you want (mental health is health, and you don’t owe more specifics than that). But you don’t need to get more detailed.

And if that chart stays up, ignore it. In fact, reframe it in your head from “wall of shame” to “wall of pride” — you’re demonstrating to your coworkers that you and your team mates can have good boundaries and can say no. Sometimes everyone on a team will give in because they’re made to feel like they’d be the one hold-out if they don’t; you might be doing a good thing for other people by modeling that “no, not available” is an option.

Read an update to this letter

{ 333 comments… read them below }

    1. Butters*

      This is exactly it. My last boss was like this when we asked for some relief on scheduling regular patient appointments on weekends were were on call and doing daily treatments. Our schedule was normally M-F 7:30 am to whenever he would let you leave (usually around 7-8 pm) and we had one weekend a month plus one day a week on call. Being the only ambulatory vet service in the area who would see non-clients we were SLAMMED. We said we needed a break after one of my patients never got its scheduled treatment between regular client appointments, client “emergencies” (lost their paperwork and boss considered it a priority), and actual emergencies.

      All we asked for was nothing non-urgent on weekends. He threw a massive tantrum and threatened to double our on call schedule so we wouldn’t feel short staffed. Between that and his other toxic management antics half the vets quit as soon as they found new jobs. These managers are always shocked that there are other opportunities out there that don’t abuse the staff and often pay more.

        1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          100% yes.
          Or a note that says something about how this wouldn’t be an issue if the organization would staff appropriately.

      1. no ducking on the dance floor*

        My vet’s office is screaming busy like this. Super frustrating that they can’t at least hire a new intake person to go with the 2nd clinic location they opened.

        1. Clumsy Ninja*

          Unfortunately, they may be trying and having no luck. Every vet clinic is drowning and getting a lot of people no-showing for interviews and ghosting after starting work. It’s an industry-wide phenomenon right now.

          1. BabyElephantWalk*

            It’s a workforce-wide problem, not just industry. At least for employers who don’t pay enough/offer the hours/overall compensation to make the jobs worth it.

      2. gltonwry*

        Having just taken one of my furry guys to a different vet than our usual today because they would let me accompany him in the room (more for my anxiety than his!), may I say how much I appreciate your service, always, and particularly during pandy-times!

        1. Books and Cooks*

          Ha, I’m in the process of switching from the vet we’ve had for four years now to a new vet, because Old Vet won’t allow me to accompany him into the room anymore and New Vet will.

          1. mdv*

            My vet didn’t let anyone for a while, but once everyone was vaccinated, started letting owners back inside the building. On the plus side, a friend of mine got a job in my vet clinic early in the pandemic, and so it was nice to be able to hand off my pet to someone I know well.

      3. Eleanor Abernathy*

        Yet they wring their hands and wonder why our field is so short staffed.

        1. Amadeo*

          Backbreaking work with what feels like more than it’s fair share of abusive clients all for peanuts level wages. I was a CVT once, in what feels like another lifetime.

          1. Eleanor Abernathy*

            CVT/LVTs are criminally underpaid. And it is so physically and psychologically demanding. I don’t blame you for getting out!

    2. Carol the happy elf*

      Someone has to say this:

      “And you will all need to row faster, because the Captain wants to go waterskiing this afternoon.”

      Sorry, but those of us in healthcare need sleep, not overtime.

      1. Heffalump*

        That’s actually the bad-news part of a “good news, bad news” joke. The good news is you’re getting seconds at lunch.

        1. Carol the happy elf*

          Lunch? You are using a word that my species have heard earthlings speak, but we have never seen it. Could it be an ancient myth in your culture?
          Thank you for adding that; my husband was in the Army for 12 years, and he told that one until our little son (aged 5) started telling it in kindergarten.

    3. Yep, me again*

      lol! Thought the same thing!

      OP- if they are more interested in making people look like they are happy instead of making you guys happy, they are not good managers.

      GET. OUT!

    4. NerdyKris*

      Does anyone know where that line is originally from? I feel like I knew once, but I can’t remember it.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        From a cursory search: the origins of the exact saying are unknown, but it possibly evolved from “There will be no liberty on board this ship until morale improves” which appeared in the Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations in 1966.

    5. JustaTech*

      Oh so much this.

      We had a (day long) seminar on “grit” at my work that repeatedly referenced how hard health care workers had worked and pulled together during early 2020. Which is nice and all, but you can’t burn a candle at both ends and also expect it to last twice as long.

      In the immortal words of Scotty “I canna give her any more, captain!”

  1. Hills to Die on*

    Oh Heyall no.
    Snarky / sarcastic option: Be super passive aggressive and take it down, replacing with it with a healthy boundaries chart. Give supervisor the lowest score and highlight their name. Only their name.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Hahaha, that would be awesome. Too bad it wouldn’t probably be a great idea for OP to actually do this because I’d pay real money for OP to do this.

    2. anonymous73*

      I actually wouldn’t take down the chart. I’d just put the healthy boundaries paper over top of it.

      1. Zelda*

        This was my immediate reaction upon reading the post title– a little after-hours application of a Sharpie to turn that into “Wall of Healthy Boundaries” of people who hate this manager.

    3. Murphey*

      In all seriousness, I would probably find a way to secretly remove the chart or at least deface it. I know that isn’t the most professional response, but you can only push people so far.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Living up to my username, I would be tempted to just write “F*** YOU” on the poster.

      2. Lea*

        If you’re not going to deface it, take it down and slide it under managers desk with a ‘not ok’ comment taped to it

    4. High Score!*

      Love this solution! I’m an engineer, and all the tech people I work with would do this in a heartbeat. OR engineers might decide it’s a challenge and refuse any further overtime.
      Adopt an engineer attitude!!!

    5. mariona*

      I don’t think you even need to take it down – just change the “List of” heading to “Employees With a Healthy Work/Life Balance” or “Employees Who Prioritize Their Mental Health” or “Employees Who Refuse to be Shamed Over Voluntarily Working Themselves to an Early Grave”

      1. Mid*

        Ehhh…I’d not do this, because the people who are doing overtime might need the money, or might enjoy it, or whatever else. People shouldn’t be shamed for doing overtime, or for not doing it. There were times when I loved OT because I was barely scraping by and OT allowed me to breathe financially. So, maybe just no shaming anyone for what they do/do not work.

        1. Lea*

          100% there have been times in life when I wojld be thrilled to get some double time pay.

        2. Lily*

          Seconded! How about we not shame anyone for making the best choice for themselves, and not making assumptions about co-workers’ motives for choosing differently than us?

        3. mairona*

          That is a good point, and I too have worked a lot of OT when in a bad financial spot. But I still think leaving it up and changing the title would make more of a point about how it’s coming across to those who don’t want to (or CAN’T) work OT, I just swung too far into the righteous indignation end of the spectrum lol. Maybe someone more eloquent than myself can come up with a better heading for the chart that conveys the insulting nature of the chart itself without accidentally snubbing those who actually WANT the OT.

    6. ferrina*

      Make it into a sticker chart? Give yourself a sparkly star for each day/week you don’t do overtime

      1. Hills to Die on*

        ‘Days you volunteered because you wanted to not because you were shamed into it” sticker chart!

    7. Vio*

      replace it with
      preferably with the least flattering photo of them you can find

  2. NotAnotherManager!*

    WT Actual F. I’d send this straight to HR with a note about how challenging the past few years have been to healthcare personnel in general and that you’re concerned your supervisor is trying to circumvent pay policy by calling something that is actually mandatory (double-time) voluntary (time and a half) but then publicly shaming people who don’t “volunteer”.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I honestly don’t understand how it is legal in the US (although I have no doubt that it is) to expect people to work more than 45 hours for no extra pay. I know there are so many fields where it’s common that if you don’t put in 50 or 60 hour weeks you’re going to be penalized, but I guess I was hoping those were jobs like Big Law where you’re making literally top .05% salaries. OP doesn’t sound like someone who is making top-tier money (nor would I personally choose to make that tradeoff, but I know there are people who would). I guess a reminder to OP that if she’s making less than a certain amount they have to pay you overtime, you can’t “volunteer” to work more unpaid.

      1. Commenter*

        As I understand it, OP would get paid more, but still doesn’t want to do it (as is her right!). Think it’s like ‘for your first extra shift, you get paid 1.5x; you get paid 2x for every shift OVER 5 shifts that you pick up.’ So it’s not unpaid.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I think you’re right, upon rereading. This does makes me feel a little better. There are plenty of salaried jobs where picking up extra hours does not increase your compensation but it sounds like OP doesn’t have one.

      2. acmx*

        Where I work, you can volunteer to pick up extra shifts and you are paid OT and DT as the hours warrant.
        When we do not have enough coverage we can make overtime mandatory and employees get paid.

        When we’ve been really crunched, we automatically paid anyone who worked more shifts double time. I didn’t read this letter as they didn’t get paid at all.

        1. Lizzo*

          I think the use of the word “volunteer” is what’s throwing people off–this isn’t volunteering in the sense of working for free (like you might for a nonprofit).

          1. Broadway Duchess*

            Yeah, this could be it. In my org, we call it being volun-told; you’re still doing the extra work, it just looks like it was your idea.

      3. no ducking on the dance floor*

        A lot of employers don’t follow the law. Read Not Always Right for some interesting accounts of managerial fuckery.

      4. Student*

        The technical answer is twofold:

        (1) There is a distinction between jobs that are “exempt” and jobs that are “non-exempt” in how you are paid. Exempt jobs are not entitled to overtime, though their employers can offer it, as long as they are still making at least minimum wage. Non-exempt jobs must be paid overtime at a specific rate bonus for any hours worked over a specific amount in a week.

        There is a duties test and a salary test to determine whether any given job is exempt or non-exempt. This is dictated by the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you make less than $35,568 per year, you are automatically non-exempt. The duties test I won’t try to summarize here – you can go read up on it – but basically, if you can argue the job needs “advanced knowledge” or if you give the employee any marginal decision-making authority (like shift lead at a fast food restaurant, not necessarily someone with hiring and firing power), you can get the job classified as exempt.

        The salary requirement doesn’t get adjusted automatically over time; it only gets updated rarely, and it’s considered a big political football. If we inflation-adjusted the original salary requirement when the law first passed, I believe it’d be about $54k/year now.

        (2) Enforcement of employment laws is not very good in the US. The people most impacted by employers cheating on the exempt/non-exempt rule, or scamming their employees out of overtime pay, are the people with the least money to afford a lawyer to fight their case and the least ability to change jobs rapidly to exact a free-market labor cost on the employer. The organizations that are supposed to enforce the law are understaffed and tend to prioritize cases that are “easy” or that won’t ruffle anyone “important” like local business leaders.

        1. Lea*

          Where I work, your ot pay also goes down the higher your pay goes (after a certain point) iirc.

          In practice ot is reserved for very special occasions as we are all exempt. Comp time hours are a little easier to get

          1. TK*

            If you’re all exempt, though, the “overtime” pay you’re getting is just a perk your employer offers, not anything to do with the law. So how it changes depending on your pay is just your employer’s policy… it’s not something they have to offer at all.

            If you’re non-exempt, you have to be paid time and a half (1.5X your normal wage) for any hours over 40 that you work in a week.

            Plenty of employers do offer “comp time” for exempt employees if they work over 40 hours/week, though it’s illegal for non-exempt employees to receive comp time in lieu of overtime pay (unless the employer is a public/government entity).

            1. AcademiaNut*

              And when being exempt is being done in a reasonable way, it means flexibility – you work extra long one week on a deadline, or need to do something on a weekend/evening, but then you come into work late or take an informal comp day after the deadline while you rest, and you can leave early sometimes or take an extra long lunch to run errands without taking PTO. So flexibility, and some control over your own schedule.

              The toxic version is when the employer demands a minimum of 40 hours and a maximum of whatever they demand, so you can work an 80 hour week for a deadline, and then be expected to take PTO if you want to leave early for a doctor’s appointment, or to catch up on sleep after a gruelling week. Or they just demand 60 or 70 hour weeks every week and are then totally baffled when people keep breaking down or quitting.

        2. AnonToday*

          Some states are an exception to what you said about enforcement of employment laws not being very good. The state labor board in California is very helpful to employees who have even informal documentation of working shifts they weren’t paid properly for. (I got paid for hours documented by emails/texts referring to “hey when do you want me to come in?” and the tag-on & tag-off times at the commuter rail station. I also filed for misclassification as exempt to avoid paying OT at a previous job around 1992. I didn’t have an attorney, either.)

          They even have ad campaigns urging employees to report wage fraud and warning employers of all the ways the state can recover funds or block them from getting contracts.

      5. WillowSunstar*

        In the US, things are usually legal if there’s not a law against them. Now that doesn’t mean the things aren’t also immoral. However, immoral and illegal are not always the same thing here, even though they probably should be.

      6. Karia*

        I’ve experienced it in low paying roles, but they were also high turnover roles where the bosses tended to be confused and and a bit aggressive when people didn’t want to work overtime for £23k a year and no benefits.

    2. Mid*

      I also question the legality of posting peoples’ PTO time. If someone is taking off more time than other people for FMLA reasons, that seems like a no-go legally. Or if someone was sick often. Or if they were on maternity leave. Or bereavement leave. So it would be shaming someone for taking leave they are legally entitled to, which could veer into discrimination and harassment. I’m not sure it meets any legal lines yet, but it’s a bad precedent anyway.

      1. Lea*

        I think if it’s just vacation time that’s pretty normal though, as far as sharing it goes people sometimes need to know when you’re off.

        Sick leave is a little dicey

        1. Mid*

          And it depends on if this PTO sharing is just vacation time or if they’re post all time people take off. I’d say roughly half the workplaces I know of don’t differentiate between sick leave and vacation, it’s all PTO.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        We keep a calendar for coverage planning, but it does not specify anything other than “NAM! OOO” and the dates. No indication of whether it’s vacation, medical, unscheduled sick leave, etc. I have someone who just hit their 20th anniversary with the organization and is taking an extended vacation to celebrate – I’m sure people could look at that an assume that, given the length, it’s medical leave, but it’s not labeled in any detail and it’s also none of their business what it is. All they need to know is if they’re covering anything in his absence or if they need him during that time who they should call.

    3. lilsheba*

      wait….mandatory OT is double time? My husband has been doing mandatory OT for years and getting time and a half!

      1. Jora Malli*

        I don’t think double for mandatory overtime is a legal requirement, I think it’s just the policy/contract where OP works.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      Ooh, that’s a good point, the fact that mandatory overtime is paid higher and they are skirting the line of voluntary vs mandatory with this list.

  3. kittycontractor*

    I’d autougraph it.

    But you should probably be more adult than me so HR is likely the best solution especially if it seems like they’ve handeled stuff well in the past.

    1. High Score!*

      :D. I’m not the adultiest adult in situations like this either. Especially if they need help so bad they can’t afford to lose anyone.
      Instead of being shamed, insulted, or offended, have fun with this, you work too hard and too many hours to not get any pleasure from work.

      1. Kacihall*

        I’ve come to the conclusion (thanks to graduating college in 09) that adulting isn’t worth it and if it was, nobody pays me enough to do it anyway.

    2. Anon Supervisor*

      I’d ask in these meetings how many shifts the supervisor and manager have picked up (assuming it’s more front line work) over the summer.

  4. Veryanon*

    Well this is gross. If I were the LW, I’d frankly take the chart down and take it to the manager today, right now, and ask him if this is really how he thinks his workforce will stay engaged and motivated. If the LW gets no satisfaction there, then go straight to HR. They definitely will want to know about this.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I’m surprised that the manager didn’t take the chart down. I know he’s pretty hands-off but if he told supervisor not to put it up and she did anyway, he should definitely take it down.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        There’s no guarantee that the manager knows about the chart

    2. My Useless 2 Cents*

      I like this approach. Use the chart to open a discussion with the manager about how all the “you need to volunteer more” messaging is acutely discouraging participation as it is crossing healthy boundaries and making morale worse.

      No matter how the discussion with manager goes, I’d still go to HR and explain that you talked with manager but felt HR should know as you believe they should be aware of what is going on and that an employee should not be shamed that they are “only” working their mandated hours nor for taking accrued PTO hours. Open discussions with managers are great but CYA just in case :) If new supervisor is clueless enough to post that chart, I dread to see what they think an appropriate response to criticism is going to be.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        I’ll be charitable here and say that the new supervisor needs a lot more management training/coaching. That’s kind of like a “what not to do”.

        Mind you, it seems depressingly the norm in clinical care as a number of people I know report. A friend who is an experienced RN got the “you’re not a team player” pout from a (new) boss when actually setting a boundary for a change after going above and beyond (OT, volunteering to pick up shifts, running a test site by herself) and decided that going forward she was going to be that maliciously complying “not go the extra mile” person since her boss had spoken that into being.

  5. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

    I feel like I have worked in this exact place. I think that this is common place in healthcare (as Biopharma stated “the beatings will continue until morale improves) as they are unable to make the connection between their poor management and pay structure is what is actually the reason they are unable to hire and retain employees so they are not short staffed. I agree with Allison, go to grand-boss first. Based on their response go to HR if needed. If you are in a union go to your union rep.

    1. Let Me Think*

      “I think that this is common place in healthcare”

      YUP. This whole letter sounds like something that would happen at the ER my husband works in. They have been shortstaffed for years now, and recently canceled the contract nurses, so now they are short for every single shift and the pleading texts/emails asking people to step up and take more shifts are incessant. He absolutely can’t pick up extra for mental health reasons, but has guilt every time his manager contacts him about it.
      It is ridiculous, but all too common.

      1. NOC RN*

        Yes. Agree with your hubs – all healthcare is like this now I think.
        I have taken to contacting the scheduler proactively and stating: please mark me unavailable for time outside my regularly scheduled shifts/days. I will contact you if something changes.
        Now, at least, I don’t get the pleading texts and emails anymore.

      2. Burger Bob*

        Same thing in pharmacy world right now. My district has lost five pharmacists due to the stress of it all finally catching up with us (as well as drastic cuts to our support staff). We’re now at red alert levels needing multiple shifts covered every week, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. Sometimes I think I should, but then I get to my day off and think, no, I really don’t want to go work more, thanks.

  6. ENFP in Texas*

    “Yeah, [manager] told me not to, but I know our unit better and I’m doing it!”

    Sounds to me like [manager] needs to be made aware of this…

    1. Julia*

      I sometimes wonder if people who leave a comment restating Alison’s answer stopped to read her answer before commenting.

    2. Coffee Bean*

      Sounds to me like the team lead/supervisor should not be in any kind of leadership position.

  7. DarthVelma*

    “[manager] told me not to, but I know our unit better and I’m doing it”

    Sounds like insubordination to me. I bet supervisor’s boss would like to know your supervisor defied a direct instruction not to do this.

    1. DCDM*

      And make sure the manager knows the supervisor was joking about her insubordination too

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I have to wonder if what was actually told to the supervisor was along the lines of “I don’t recommend doing this” instead. I would take pictures of the wall of shame first – before doing anything else.

      But yes, try the manager first – and you most likely you will also need to go to HR.

  8. Resident Catholicville, USA*

    This is not only extremely gauche and tacky, it’s also demoralizing. I don’t know why people still believe shame works to motivate people. It might for SOME people, but clearly not all, so that tactic isn’t effective.

    1. kiki*

      This will only push more folks to quit and make the staffing issues even worse for everyone. There are all sorts of reasons somebody can’t volunteer for more shifts– trying to shame them into doing something they cannot is ineffectual and demoralizing.

      1. MusicWithRocksIn*

        Yup. I am fully on Team Look for a New Job. Clearly someone is hiring all the people your workplace can’t – go out there and see what benefits they are getting and see if you can’t jump on that train. Then when you give your leaving interview mention that you have bent over backwards for them only to be shamed by the new supervisor. But I’m super petty soooo….

      2. WillowSunstar*

        As they should quit. Usually that’s enough to send a message to managers, but not all managers are willing to change.

    2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      At best, it’s penny-wise, pound-foolish. It might motivate someone to work more out of embarrassment but also motivate people to leave or contribute toward their leaving later.

    3. Lucy Skywalker*

      Right; I could see a Wall of Pride for people who have gone above and beyond to volunteer beyond their regular hours, but no one deserves to be shamed for not doing something that is optional.

    4. Ricama*

      Shame only works when the target has actually done something wrong, and then only sometimes.

    5. Girasol*

      Shame works to make people avoid shame. But there’s a difference between people working because they are motivated and have a great attitude and people working because they’re shamed, angry, depressed, disrespected and burned out.

    6. EmmaPoet*

      As someone who has a healthy relationship with boundaries and currently isn’t terribly overworked, I’d be on the Good Ship New Job ASAP if I saw this nonsense. But someone who is exhausted and stressed out would probably be less able to to nope out at this point, because working up the energy to look for a new job when you’re already wiped is a real problem.

  9. Sometimes Charlotte*

    I think I’d request more PTO and never volunteer for another shift…

  10. Ms. Ann Thropy*

    Black out your name, and hang a Sharpie marker next to the chart. Your hours worked are not your everyone’s business.

    1. Snuck*

      I like this.

      Common sense is to take photos and send it to HR and your manager with a “Hrm, I’m not sure this is wise, and here’s my reasons to be personally offside with it…”

      But then… after that. Blacking out every name seems a reasonable response.

      I’d be tempted to print out my own pay records/hour records for the previous years (with my name on it), post it next to this, and on the bottom scrawl in red “Did it last year out of sheer kindness and professionalism, this year I’m taking a break”

  11. anti social socialite*

    Yiiiiiikes. I hope the supervisor who posted that list gets a firm reality check. Everyone in heavily hit industries are struggling right now and burn out is real.

    Also agree with Alison, I know things are tough but you have to put your mental health above all things.

    1. FrenchCusser*

      Everyone who’s overworked has ‘mental health issues’. You can be mentally ill for a short period just like you can be physically sick for short period. We need to acknowledge that not all mental illness is chronic.

      1. anti social socialite*

        I wasn’t implying one way or the other. Just that mental health is still your health and your health should take priority because if you aren’t healthy, you (& your work if you want to look at it from a purely capitalist way) suffer.

        1. FrenchCusser*

          Sorry I seem to be misunderstood. The point I was trying to make was that you don’t have to be chronically ill (on medication) to need to take care of your mental health. We all suffer from mental health issues from time to time – there shouldn’t be a stigma to something that’s universal.

      2. anonagoose*

        We need to acknowledge that not all mental illness is chronic.

        Mental health issues that are not chronic are still health issues that deserve to be treated with respect and gravity, and regardless of which kind OP’s are they deserve to be able to set boundaries that allow them to thrive. I’m not sure what this point adds to the conversation.

        1. JSPA*

          I read it as, “we need to not treat mental health as somehow mysteriously ‘other,’ because even if done for supportive reasons, it’s never good to ‘other’ some health condition or treatment.”

          All health care is health care. Mental health and physical health are overlapping categories / the same thing (brains are organs). All sorts of medical conditions can be short or long term. All demand respect in proportion to their current and potential seriousness, not their category.

          We need to treat all health needs as needs, and all health problems as potentially treatable (and broadly, more treatable if caught early and treated early and well). Nobody is served by over- or under- reacting to a medical condition.

          People with conditions that manifest mentally (in part) are often told that the world must stop, while they seek treatment. This can be true…but not necessarily more so than for other, non-mental health conditions.

          Compare, being constantly urged to use a fainting couch because someone finds out you are pregnant, vs having the option of a place to sit down.

  12. frontlinER*

    This is way more widespread in healthcare than you think it is. I’m a nurse and the amount of times I have been shamed by my coworkers and superiors for not picking up or “we were struggling, why didn’t you help the team?” has been steadily increasing over the past year. Things like this are why nurses are leaving the bedside in droves, and why hospitals are struggling to hire and retain staff.
    It’s not up to you, OP, to staff your unit. Continue to have those boundaries. Say no. Request that PTO, you earned it. Don’t sell your soul to a job that doesn’t care about you.

    1. BatManDan*

      My wife is a travel nurse. The nurses / staff on the floor hate to see her arrive (it’ll become obvious where their shortfalls are, in terms of care and professionalism) and they hate to see her go (they know the average amount of work done by each of them will now increase, as she did MORE than her share). The number of times she’s heard “Oh, we realize we gave you because you’re so good and we knew you could handle it.” Makes me angry.

      1. pierrot*

        Why do you need to tear down the non-travel nurses though? The problem here is management and the fact that the nurses staffing the hospital are overworked and underpaid, not that they are lesser than travel nurses. The LW is a staff nurse, for one, so it seems weird to make a comment here about how staff nurses are less professional and skilled than your wife when this letter is about a management issue.

        1. Lana Kane*

          It’s not always so much that travel nurses highlight the staff nurses’ shortfalls, and more that the staff nurses have likely been pleading for more permanent staff for a long time, and now the hospital is paying the company that sends the travelers more than if they would just staff the unit appropriately to begin with. It’s tough.

    2. Purple Cat*

      High-pressure is one thing, not okay, but at least within the realm of “to be expected” given the current staffing (failure to pay) crisis. Publicly posting the wall of shame is just WAY over the line.

    3. gmg22*

      Our local hospital network is chronically understaffed in part due to salaries not keeping pace with the high cost of living in our area, and the nurses have had to fight tooth and nail for decent raises. One high school classmate who used to work there once posted to FB a photo of her voice mail queue, completely filled with calls from work asking her to pick up shifts on her days off. We’re talking like 8-10 calls a DAY sometimes. They’d rather browbeat their current employees into submission and overwork than to just bleeping pay market-rate wages, while professors teaching one seminar a semester at the associated medical school are somehow still pulling six figures.

      1. I'm Not Phyllis*

        Where I live (Ontario, Canada), hospitals are publicly funded and the government has capped wages for everyone receiving more than $1M in gov’t funding (so … all hospitals and everyone who works in them). It is infuriating.

    4. My $.02*

      I agree, this is just how working for a hospital is (not saying it’s right) you have to learn early on how to say no and not care what they say. HR won’t care and in my experience nurse managers tend to be vindictive (there are some good ones too)

    5. no ducking on the dance floor*

      I am always tempted to reply “I’m struggling. Why aren’t you doing more for me?’

    6. Not So NewReader*

      And this is why people are losing faith in our medical system. This is the health field. Their top concern should be the health of their employees. And here it is the furthest thing from their minds.

      At least the big boss had the good sense to say not to put up the wall of shame. But it sounds like the big boss does not have time to double check to see what is happening. I think I’d send the big boss a picture of the wall, OP.

    7. JustaTech*

      If the OP has a union, would this be a good time to call them in, or wait and see what the manager and HR can do first?

      I really feel like the chronic understaffing is a place where the union should be working with the hospital admin to say “hey, this is the absolute limit, you need more staff, you can’t just keep calling folks to take extra shifts”.

      Do nurses/doctors/respiratory techs/all other hands-on patient folks have time limits like pilots do? (I’m guessing not.)

  13. Jora Malli*

    This is absolutely HR worthy. Report it to them as soon as you possibly can, with a picture of the chart if possible.

    Your supervisor either needs a crap ton of supervisory training or to stop being a supervisor. Either way, HR is the department that can fix this.

    1. Mockingjay*

      Came to say the same about training. A “Wall of Shame” is shameful, but the supervisor’s only been on the job six weeks. While her actions are f*cked-up, I wonder about the pressure New Supervisor is receiving from the top. Supervisor has to staff shifts without enough bodies and Manager sounds completely unhelpful.

      Would it be worthwhile for OP to talk to Supervisor? Not about whether OP is “volunteering” for more shifts. Ask her what’s really going on. Maybe OP, coworkers, and New Supervisor can brainstorm. Understaffing is a group problem, because what affects one affects all, especially in Healthcare and Teaching. I’m really sorry for everyone in this situation.

    2. WellRed*

      Yes if this is how she is six weeks in, I fear for the future of the staff. Cut her off at the knees. Now.

      1. My Useless 2 Cents*

        Yeah, I posted in a reply above as well but I dread seeing what new supervisor thinks an appropriate response to criticism is going to be if OP complains to manager. I’d go to HR just to CYA from possible retaliation.

    3. JustaTech*

      I also wonder if the “wall of shame” could be discriminating against people in (possibly) protected classes like people with disabilities that don’t let them pick up more shifts, or parents who can’t get last minute child care (and maybe want to actually see their kids), or people who have eldercare responsibilities.

      (One place I worked I regularly got guilted into working OT because I was single and Bob has kids and Joe’s wife is pregnant and Betty is a single mom. Not that I begrudged them their lives! But it wasn’t *them* asking, it was the boss who never stayed late or came in early or took anyone’s shift. Oh, and I wasn’t single, I just wasn’t married.)

  14. Linda*

    I hope people tape up bitter explanation messages like “Sorry I was taking care of my dying grandma! My bad!”

  15. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    If you work in health care, and there’s a stigma about mental health in that industry, then how do any of the rest of us stand a chance?

    I would have thought that the efforts in the last 30 years to toss out the old macho ethos of doctors would have touched on mental health too – especially as it relates to substance abuse issues.

    1. Jora Malli*

      Based on the stories I’ve heard from friends who work in health care, it seems like a lot of health care employers aren’t particularly worried about their employees’ bodily health either. So many nurses I know are pressured to come to work no matter how sick they are, so I’m not surprised that mental health isn’t a priority.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Years ago a family member said most of the nurses she knew had kidney trouble because they did not even take the time to use the bathroom when necessary.

        Family member ended up disabled because of work injuries. How ironic.

        1. The Jobless Wonder*

          I knew someone who could hold it for a 12-hour shift. Lunch breaks weren’t a guarantee either, and this was all in the Before Times.

          1. Squidhead*

            I have definitely gone 14 hours without, um, going. (Not just now, regular pre-crisis 12-hour shifts.)

        2. Burger Bob*

          Also common among pharmacists. I’ve worked 13 hours straight without peeing or eating before (and several other times that were 12 hours straight). So has just about every other chain retail pharmacist I know. They finally started giving us lunch breaks.

    2. Three Cats in a Trenchcoat*

      I would agree that things are getting better, but I think there’s a real gap in regards to addressing the actual roots of the problem. I’m a fellow, and there are countless memes passed around about how most programs respond to wellness requirements by giving powerpoints on how to rest, not actually giving residents more time to rest.

      There’s also the fact that our healthcare systems have been under immense strain for the last few years – there are a lot of rotation/backup systems that work fine when small numbers of people are out occasionally, but waves of COVID can mean having serious %s of staff out all at once.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I feel this in my area (which is not healthcare, but has had to make giant, systemic changes to keep an important function of society running). We get invitations to do an hour of mindfulness and things like that. And sure, those things by themselves aren’t bad. The problem is that there are things the people in power could do to improve our working conditions (not making us come to the office, reasonable workloads), but they absolutely refuse to hear those complaints and do anything. Things are especially challenging right now, with lots of people getting COVID. But there is no change in what senior leadership expects us to get done.

        Still, I’m pretty sure that the situation in healthcare is exponentially worse than what I’m dealing with.

      2. Another health care worker*

        Yes. About a year in to Covid, I had 2-4 coworkers on leave at a time due to medical problems that weren’t related to Covid. It seemed like people just started breaking down, and why wouldn’t we?

        And management gaslighting is as bad in hospitals as anywhere else I have worked, if not worse. +1 on the numerous trainings about wellness, paired with impenetrable resistance to anything wellness-related that we actually wanted and would help.

        1. HannahS*

          Impenetrable resistance is such a good way of putting it.

          “It would help my wellness if you didn’t make me work 26 hours in a row.”
          “Sorry. This is just one of those things that we can’t change.”
          “Would you mind paying me more than minimum wage?”
          “Again, sorry, we can’t change this.”
          “Ok, well, if I take on an extra 26 hour shift, can I then go home and sleep instead of working my regular day?”
          “Oh gosh, no, that’s not allowed.”
          But at least they send out emails reminding me to take slow deep breaths, sometimes! That’s wellness, right?!

          1. Not So NewReader*

            A similar situation happened to a friend. She just walked off the job. Gone, done.

      3. JustaTech*

        Oh the powerpoints.
        One time, ages ago, I found a series of slide decks for our manufacturing site where everyone works the night shift. It had some absurd name, but it was basically “how to survive working the night shift”. One of the suggestions on how not to fall asleep driving home and crash (a thing that happened more than once) was “take the bus”.

        I’ve been to that location. It’s in a part of the country not known for their public transport, in a light industrial area (so even less likely to have buses), and they get off shift at 5-6am, a time when buses aren’t usually running.

    3. ferrina*

      Healthcare is an notoriously retrograde and resistant to change, even when the individual healthcare providers can be amazingly proactive. The old guard of doctors are still there, and the hospital admin is completely separate from the practicing providers. Add in the insurance coverage restrictions and red tape, and it’s a giant dumpster fire of a healthcare system.

      One trick is to start with patient advocates- patients who have done their own research and are sharing their findings with other patients. They exist for mental health and for physical health. (Jessica McCabe and her How To ADHD YouTube channel are some of my favorites). They can be some of the best resources, especially when it comes to mental health and navigating racism in medicine (I don’t know about substance abuse specifically)

      1. bamcheeks*

        I think part of that is *because* of the hours. Nobody has time to think creatively or imagine that better is possible when they’re flat out exhausted all the time. It’s the way that “efficiency” creates its own inefficiency.

        1. no ducking on the dance floor*

          Same principle works in exhausting voters. Keep us swamped in existential crises so we have no time or energy to research issues and fight for democracy.

  16. niemandsrose*

    Annotate it like a chart in a grade school classroom: gold star stickers, “Great boundaries!”, “A+ work-life balance!!”

    1. Hlao-roo*


      OP, maybe literal gold star stickers aren’t the solution here, but I think this and Alison’s advice to reframe from “wall of shame” to “wall of pride” could be helpful. I, for one, am proud of you for taking care of your mental health, not volunteering for extra shifts this summer, and for taking your vacation days. You get an A+ in work-life balance from me!

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah, I was thinking if it’s literally titled “List of Shame” you could just cross out “Shame” and write “Work/Life Balance”… now the highlighted names are the best role models for setting boundaries!

  17. Salt*

    Oh I hope this former colleague – gets a wake up call! Their sense of norm has been so warped by the culture they’ve drank the juice and decided they can find more personal and direct ways to shame-motivate (Shameivate?) their former colleagues.

  18. CatCat*

    UGH! WHAT!

    Honestly, I’d be tempted the surreptitiously write on the top of it: “Chart highlighting employees establishing healthy boundaries around work! Great job highlighted employees! Let’s see more of this!”

  19. Crayola Hippo*

    My partner is a PSW in long term care. They’ve been treated like absolute trash over the last 2 years, and yet he gets anywhere from 10-30 calls DAILY, regardless as to whether he is working or not, to cover more shifts. They keep treating their staff badly, and then wondering why they quit or call in sick.

    For nurses appreciation week, he got a cellophane baggie with 1 fun sized chocolate bar, a pen with a random local business’s number, 3 mints, and a coupon for one of the supervisors MLM. Getting nothing would have been less of a slap in the face than this.

    Meanwhile the managers are making $150K+ for doing literally nothing.

    1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      Hey, those managers are working hard trying to strongarm people into taking so many shifts their health suffers. /s

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Oh, for me gift bags like that hit a trash can at a local gas station before I even get home. I refuse to keep it with me any longer than I have to.

      1. Jora Malli*

        I’ve left that kind of “gift” bag on the freebie table in the staff break room in the past. It’s not even getting in the car with me.

      2. WellRed*

        Taking it to the gas station keeps it in your possession too long. Office receptacle is appropriate.

    3. Liz*

      My local hospital “thanked” their nursing staff by providing one (1) free potato cake each. For context, this is a fried and battered slice of potato which, while utterly delicious, goes for about $1.20 each and is in no way adequate compensation for the work the staff have done in the last forever years.

      (Also, there was one delivery of potato cakes, so the night shift got theirs cold and congealed.)

      1. Middle Name Danger*

        Night shift always gets shorted with any kind of appreciation food. Makes you feel like an afterthought, not like you’re appreciated.

  20. David*

    The petty side of me really wants you to replace it with your own “Wall of Shame” for your supervisor (and maybe manager), citing the guilt trips and understaffing.

  21. cardigarden*

    The list of shame reminds me of the time back in the day when my high school was trying to pay for a fancy new athletic facility. The principal took time at the end of a chapel service to force faculty who had donated money from their paycheck to stand in recognition (aka guilt the people who hadn’t) of what good team players they were. It was nuts.

  22. PlainJane*

    I know that health care is in a pickle–they can’t cut hours and staff has been leaving. Which could well be related to practices like this!

    It’s not a new problem for health care to be understaffed. My mom was a nurse, and had to pull double-shifts probably once a week (I was small and it felt like every day, but probably wasn’t). They should have developed better ways to deal with this. And there is always a better way than public humiliation. Even straight up volun-telling is better than that.

    I do sort of wonder (mostly out of curiosity) if this came from behind-the-back gossip from people who volunteer all the time and feel like they’re “covering” for people who “can’t be bothered.” This wouldn’t make it okay, but it might put some context on it, if the new supervisor is hearing it from her old friends all the time–“I’ve been here sixteen hours a day for most of the week, and Jane leaves on the dot!”–leading her to think it’s somehow appropriate to make that comparison public instead of just inside griping. (And she clearly wants to stop griping, which is another thing–griping in a situation like this is a necessary steam-blower. Let the staff gripe; it *is* unfair and horrible, and telling them to pretend otherwise isn’t going to help anyone’s morale.)

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      You raise a really good point on whether there is complaining from the people who volunteer the most because they perceive themselves as having to pick up others’ slack. Unfortunately, they’re blaming their colleagues when it’s not the colleagues’ fault. I would hope that folks can reframe this as the organization being unable or unwilling to staff adequately.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        It’s safer to pick on a cohort than to address the matter with management. It’s one of the symptoms of bad leadership, they eat their own.

        1. PlainJane*

          It is a symptom of bad management, but also of the Great Resignation, Covid burnout, etc. The management may not be able to get enough people because there aren’t enough qualified people applying. That’s an effect of long-term bad management and incentives (lives are at stake; minimum wage is a bad idea), but health care has to adjust to stuff in the short term. You can’t close an urgent care or a hospital or an ER for understaffing, and if you did, it could cost lives, so you end up getting more and more frustrated, with fewer and fewer solutions. (I feel for everyone in health care over the last few years.) It’s not like you can get most of the administration to do the floor work, either, since they often aren’t qualified or licensed for it–different skill set.

          It’s definitely unfair to the person who is keeping a reasonable work-life balance to blame them, but it becomes very easy to see when “BUT SOMEONE HAS TO BE HERE” always seems to turn out to be, well, not that person. (Same as it’s easy to get frustrated as the only single and childless person to always be the one who works holidays or is “flexible” about vacation time because the colleagues who are married and/or have kids have to schedule around school vacations/spouses’ off-times, etc. It’s also not fair to the person who is just trying to get some time with family and *has* to work around all the scheduling gripes of many people, but again, easy to do if you feel like no one ever does favors like that for you, because, after all, you’re “flexible.” Everyone in the whole situation feels put out, and frustration builds.)

          At any rate, if New Supervisor is caught between the person who is burned out and needs time, and the people who are about to burn out and are resentful–and maybe is more sympathetic to the latter group–that seems like where a horrendous idea like this might come from. Which doesn’t change the fact that it’s a horrendous idea. It sounds like everyone needs to have a meeting to figure out the best way to cover shifts.

            1. PlainJane*

              Yipes. Like seriously, yipes. (I admit, my mom worked in a permanent care home for the elderly, and they literally couldn’t close for a day because people lived there and it would take a whole lot more staff to move everyone out for a day. But yeeps. ER closures. That’s… terrifying.)

  23. Jay S*

    This sounds like they’re trying to guilt everyone into voluntary overtime so they don’t have to pay as much. It’s a cost savings exercise, to save on payroll but with a very high morale cost. It’s gross.

    1. LisTF*

      And then when they can’t get coverage and are at risk of losing accreditation they will hire travel positions and pay double the employees’ hourly rate.

  24. Erin*

    Ironic that the person who is demanding positivity is the person posting a “wall of shame” to shame employees into doing what they want.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      “Can you explain to me how this wall of shame aligns with the positivity we are supposed to be radiating out of every cell in our bodies?”

      I’d be ashamed to work for this place, but it’s the kind of shame some can feel when in an abusive relationship. “No, my employer is a good person, honest, really!”

      1. Science KK*

        You gave me the best idea, I’d print the cheesiest positivity Pinterest quote I could find and hang it right next to this.

  25. MEH Squared*

    OP, this really sucks. Your supervisor sucks. But maybe, she can change? I agree with Alison in that might try bringing it up with your manager. It sounds as if he did not approve of your supervisor doing this, so if there’s pushback, he has more reason to put a stop to it. If he doesn’t do anything about it, then, yes, take it to HR.

    I was in the hospital at the end of 2021 for a life-threatening reasons, and I was so impressed with how great my medical team was. I talked to one PCA about how exhausted and worn-out he was because of the pandemic, and I felt so bad for him and all healthcare workers.

    You’ve gone the extra-mile to help out your team and now you need to look after your mental health. Ain’t no shame in that.

  26. Kate*

    When I was young and starting out my career, I thought 1.5/double overtime was awesome!

    …now that I have kids, the “extra” money barely covers the cost of the supplementary childcare.

    It’s not just a health issue, and it’s not just a work-life balance issue, it’s also a childcare issue (if you can find someone these days)

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Excellent point. Especially given how shamefully underpaid some healthcare workers are.

    2. no ducking on the dance floor*

      I tell people with demands on my time/money that I do not have one dollar or one minute that is unscheduled. If I’m not at work, I’m working elsewhere (usually on my farm so I can eat). As much as more money helps, it doesn’t buy me more time, which is often more critical.

    3. KoiFeeder*

      Childcare’s also more expensive post-pandemic (well, the us is decidedly not post-pandemic, but you know what I mean), if it can even be found, isn’t it?

  27. mcfizzle*

    I wish there were (good! even excellent!) mandatory management classes all people must take before becoming a manager of humans. It boggles me how little consideration is given to aptitude, experience, reading the room, etc.

    Aka, I will pretend to be shocked when everyone who is already at their wits’ ends quits and “management” is utterly baffled. Such a sad, sad cycle.

    1. Lord Bravery*

      Maybe the classes don’t have to be mandatory- just put any new managers who don’t go on a List of Shame!

    2. anonymous73*

      Not in healthcare, but I was contacted by a recruiter who saw my resume and wanted to talk to me about a position he had available. The job description mentioned people management (I’m a Project Manager and have no desire to be a people manager). I told him this but he still wanted to talk to me. Turns out the job included managing 70 PEOPLE (no that’s not a typo). Nothing on my resume indicates that I have any experience managing people outside of a project, or that large of a team. The fact that he so urgently wanted to talk to me explains how so many people wind up in management that have no business being in management. So many just want a body to fill a role – they don’t care if they’ll do a good job or not.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of people with management experience turned him down because they know how bananapants that is.

        1. kiki*

          Based on a previous company I worked for, this is how a lot of terrible management situations happen. Somebody decides they need a manager to do something nuts. Everyone with experience managing turns it down. Someone new who wants a promotion or to get into management agrees, maybe understanding it’s not ideal but not realizing it’s absolutely absurd. And then you have a novice manager in a completely untenable position. That’s how a dear colleague of mine ended up being a “part-time software developer, part-time manager of 12 people.” Last I heard, he left with nothing lined up and moved to the forest

    3. PlainJane*

      Don’t know how much it would help, since people will not agree on what makes an “excellent” class. I had to take a management class in library school and even with no management experience, I knew the professor was an idiot. He seemed to think that the best solution to everything was to “cut dead weight”–to fire anyone who was not working at top speed all the time. I ended up reporting him to my advisor, he was so bad. (Fifty pages of written homework every week with exactly no feedback to let you know what errors you might be making… which would be weird for a manager, but is insane for a professor who’s supposed to be teaching the material!) Maybe some logical path to management would be smarter–manage a few people here, maybe a larger group the next year, with supervision, then without it, etc.

  28. Lord Bravery*

    If you do go to HR, make sure you point out that they’re arguably making OT mandatory but calling it voluntary to get around paying double time, which could be grounds for a labor complaint.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yes trust me HR responds SUPER fast when you so much as hint at legal action. Especially if you truly have robust and competent HR.

      1. bratschegirl*

        The letter specifies that mandatory overtime is paid at double the usual rate, which strongly implies that voluntary overtime is not paid at that same rate. Likely it’s time and a half, but I don’t think that’s explicitly stated.

  29. Phony Genius*

    I’m a little confused about the title. The manager told the supervisor not to do it, but the title says “My Manager Posted….” It confused me when the writer was talking about [manager].

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      Yes i was a little confused too. But I think it was really the supervisor/ direct manager that posted the wall of shame and the overall manager that told her not to.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      I think the distinction is the person whose title is Manager vs the person who the LW reports to.

  30. Purple Cat*

    Never mind all of the other issues with this letter (and there are plenty) isn’t it a breach of confidentiality to publicize how much PTO somebody has used? That’s none of my coworkers business….

    1. Indigo Five Alpha*

      I was wondering that. Maybe not in the US, certainly, but does anyone want to weigh in on Europe?

      1. Irish Teacher*

        That’s actually a really good question. I don’t THINK it would be against the law (and time off tends to work differently in Ireland at least than it appears to in the US, anyway – you have your holidays, sick leave, things like maternity and parental leave, etc and one does not affect another; like taking maternity leave in a year won’t affect how much sick leave you can take that year or how much holidays you have), but at the moment we’re all being very cautious about information due to GDPR.

        There is SOME info here, but it only says how long HR can keep the information, not who they can share it with: Like I said, I think most companies are erring on the side of caution at the moment as GDPR is still fairly new and a lot of companies have been dealing with covid in the meanwhile.

      2. Mrs. Pommeroy*

        I’ve only ever worked in really small places (5-10 people, including bosses), and it was always a literal calendar on the wall with days/weeks marked for when someone was (planning to be) off.
        There was never any shaming involved, though, but rather bosses reminding you to actually have your days off because they are part of your contract and it would be more hassle to roll them over into the next year.

    2. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      Well wouldn’t the coworkers kind of know if the took PTO or not? I mean if you are out for X days presumably that person is using their PTO. The PTO is not anything protected. The only thing that could possibly be protected is if something were labeled as FMLA which may imply that the employee has some sort of disability or something that is protected, but I don’t see that here.

      1. metadata minion*

        I know if my coworker is out on a given day, but I generally have no idea how much time someone has taken in a month unless they’re out for a week straight or something. I also don’t *care*, because my workplace is really sensible about that sort of thing, but PTO is one of those things that isn’t technically confidential but where you’d have to go out of your way to know about in any detail and so posting it publically is still intrusive and a breach of trust.

    3. My Useless 2 Cents*

      Eh, it’s not that different than a public calendar showing what days you and your coworkers have scheduled off. I don’t think those are that uncommon as they can help prevent overlapping vacation day requests. We have one here at my company and I find it quite useful. If I know half the department has already requested off the Friday before Labor Day, I’m not going to bother requesting it off. I’ll take the following Tues instead ;) However, the calendar isn’t publicly posted while simultaneously comparing how many shifts I’ve “volunteered” to cover.

  31. Observer*

    OP, I really, REALLY want to reiterate what Alison said about mental health. It’s health. Period.

    So when you talk to manager and HR, just frame it as “some health issues”. Not extremely serious, and you are dealing with them, but it means that you simply cannot deal with extra shifts this summer.

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      The only thing I can see about this is being that the OP is in healthcare they could try and cross more boundaries. “Oh what are your symptoms? Have you done X? Well if you’re here working we can keep an eye on you in case anything happens.”
      It can also cause issues with the manager. If they think the OP has health issues they will treat her differently. And depending on the care she’s in they might need to know in case it is transmissible to the patients or if it can cause issues with care.

      1. Observer*

        No, they don’t need details. They just need to be told that it’s not something transmissible.

    2. Middle Name Danger*

      Honestly (as someone with chronic illness that 99% of the time does not impact my work), saying you have any physical health issues can bite you in the butt the same way mental health does. I would just say obligations and leave it there.

  32. anonymous73*

    Serious question…how can overtime be mandatory? If you don’t work it you’ll be fired? I’ve only ever been exempt and worked overtime as needed, so I’ve never understood this concept.

    As far as this issue is concerned, I wouldn’t bother going to your manager. I would go directly to HR, continue to not volunteer for overtime, ignore the list, and start looking for a new job. If you’ve been understaffed for this long, there’s clearly an underlying issue and it’s not going to change anytime soon. And no “reasons” are necessary for you not working VOLUNTARY overtime. You can’t. Period. The why is irrelevant.

    1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      This is c0mmom practice in healthcare because you cannot go below a certain staffing ratio or it is not safe for the patients.

      1. Gracely*

        You know, I wish I knew how to find studies about this topic, because I feel like having exhausted nurses taking care of patients might be even more dangerous for patients than having staffing ratios drop. A tired nurse could give someone the wrong medicine, which could be a lot worse/deadlier than not getting medicine at all/less frequent than ideal.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Look up Libby Zion, a lot of laws have gone into place since the 80s because of this.

        2. Paris Geller*

          I really feel for healthcare workers and patients here–both options sound bad. Having exhausted nurses and other healthcare workers is definitely dangerous, but so is not having enough nurses. At the same time, I personally would not go into healthcare for so many of the reasons people are mentioning on this thread! The correct course would be to make the jobs more enticing by treating workers better, but after the last two years, I don’t blame anyone who leaves healthcare (or teaching, or childcare, or so many other “caring” professions!)

        3. Not So NewReader*

          I keep seeing medical errors rising on the list of top causes of death.

          I do know of people who complain that their employer will make them fudge the stats for deaths.

          And I also see medical staff who work 2-12s and on their first day off all they do is sleep all day. This is not sustainable.

        4. My Useless 2 Cents*

          I’m not in the medical field (or even close) but I’ve never understood the labor practices of doctors or nurses. I’d really rather not have an exhausted nurse or doctor treating me. I know my concentration and reasoning has a dramatic fall after about 6 hours sitting at a desk. I can’t imagine trying to figure out medication doses or really any kind of life or death decisions after 12 hours on my feet! Serious respect out to any medical professionals out there.

          1. Middle Name Danger*

            There is research supporting that two shifts of 12 hours is better for patients than three 8 hour shifts, because of handoffs. But the total number of hours medical personnel work is insane and definitely leads to more mistakes.

            1. socks*

              But is it better than four overlapping 8 hour shifts? Seems to me the problem with handoffs is that people are rushing out the door/rushing into work. If everyone had time for an hour of handoff and then another hour for paperwork, people would be less rushed and overwhelmed.

        5. Observer*

          A tired nurse could give someone the wrong medicine, which could be a lot worse/deadlier than not getting medicine at all/less frequent than ideal.

          No, the minimum staffing ratios are not about “ideal” care, but about care that won’t kill anyone. The problem is that these minimums have become the norm, so that there is no wiggle room if there is an unexpected absence. Which is really, really bad.

    2. Violas are blue*

      Back in the early ’80s, my husband was fired from a machine shop for refusing to work additional overtime.

    3. Random Bystander*

      Yes, OT can be mandatory–with discipline like write ups (and potentially even firing) if it isn’t done. I remember a time back during bad grand-boss, we had a mandatory 5 hours of OT per week. It was up to us how we managed it, most people just added one hour to each day; I chose to “front load” by doing 2.5 on Monday and Tuesday. But the issue came up when one of my co-workers took off one day PTO in the week and got a write-up for only working 4 extra hours that week (neither 4 nor 5 would have brought her back up to 40), and bad grand-boss stated that the policy was that our hours were to equal 45 every week and if you worked 4 or 5 days in the week, you were required to do 5 extra hours of work, 3 days in the week knocked it down to 4, down to if you took all but one day off, you had to put in 2 extra hours on that one day (in addition to burning enough PTO .. the only exemption from 45 hours was if you took the entire week off). I’m sure that insanity was part of the reason why bad grand-boss was encouraged to “seek other opportunities”. Fortunately, the next grand-boss was sane–she said that if you took any time up to a half day off in a given week, you could use up to 5 hours of “extra work” to save PTO for another occasion (so you could make up that four hours for the half day, get your half-day off, and not have used any PTO at all), but no more of this working 37 hours plus 8 hours of PTO if you took one day off; that if your total worked hours was less than 40, your worked hours + PTO could only be 40. Later, OT did become voluntary, and then the budget no longer allowed OT at all. As soon as it wasn’t required, I never did another minute of OT (an hour of time itself being a much more valuable commodity *to me* than 1.5x my normal pay for that hour–mileage for that varied amongst my co-workers, some of whom volunteered for as much as allowed every week).

    4. Squidhead*

      At my hospital we can be mandated to stay for up to 16 hours (working a total of 16 hours, I mean) if we can’t meet the necessary ratios. If you refuse to be mandated, I think something disciplinary happens. They can’t mandate us to come in for extra shifts, but they can prevent us from going home. They can also play word-games, so if you “agree” to be mandated today in exchange for some other time off, they don’t have to report it as mandating because you “made a deal” instead.

    5. Burger Bob*

      In college, I did a summer job at a call center. We did have mandatory overtime sometimes, and it was indeed the case that if you didn’t do it, you would be fired. BUT the max they required as mandatory time was ten additional hours, and you could mostly choose when you wanted to work it (call center, so 24/7 shifts available). The pay was the same time and a half whether you volunteered or it was mandatory.

  33. El l*

    I’d do both HR and the manager at once. CC them on the same email, with attached picture. “I’m bringing this to the group first of all because I’ve heard strong yet conflicting messages about scrutiny on PTO, and more importantly whether extra hours are truly mandatory. If you could, please provide a ruling.

    “If the answer is “mandatory”, please advise as to what the company’s official expectations are regarding extra shifts and PTO, and how we should treat the associated compensation issues. Also, please advise on whether it’s permissible for management to publicly and officially list how much PTO each staff member is taking.”

    1. fhqwhgads*

      That last sentence is beside the point and doesn’t really matter toward the LW’s case.

  34. kiki*

    Like a lot of healthcare units, we’ve struggled with staffing for the past few years. It’s been 2+ years of being short-staffed, working mandatory overtime, being asked to pick up shifts, etc.

    Does anyone know of an organization that actually has a plan to address this that isn’t just waiting? I feel like every healthcare organization, and most other organizations, have some version of this going on and I haven’t seen any plans to take action (e.g. hiring people new to the field and paying for their training, etc.), just plans to wait until “things go back to normal.”

    1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      The problem I saw before I worked in healthcare is that they attempt to hire but either lose staff as quickly as they hire or are unable to hire new staff because word has gotten around what it is like to work for the hiring managers (this story is a good example of what people will avoid).

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Bingo. I’d love to know OP’s place so I could avoid going there as a patient or recommending it to anyone.

    2. Someone*

      I’m not high up enough in my healthcare unit to know the plan, but I can tell it isn’t big raises to attract workers.

    3. Spicy Tuna*

      I have heard about this crisis in healthcare… Since 2019, I’ve not been to the doctor or any healthcare provider for any reason because I don’t want to overburden the system. I feel so badly for healthcare workers. I think this is a resource that should be reserved for the critically ill right now.

      1. anonymous73*

        Your logic is flawed. If you’re not getting regular checkups, you could end having a larger health issue that could have been prevented with regular check ups, thus causing a bigger burden to the system.

      2. Jora Malli*

        No. Healthcare should not be reserved for the critically ill. I have a chronic pain condition. I’m not critically ill because it won’t kill me. But if I don’t receive regular healthcare, I can’t function. And as anonymous73 pointed out, regular preventative care can catch a lot of problems *before* they become critical which makes things easier for both the patient and medical staff.

        If that’s the choice you’ve made for yourself, fine. You’re an adult, you decide when you do and do not go to the doctor. But don’t say that other people are wrong for going to the doctor when they have decided they need to.

      3. Observer*

        I think this is a resource that should be reserved for the critically ill right now.

        This is one of the reasons for the “excess deaths” you hear about. People not getting the care they need snowballs big time – which puts a LOT more stress on the system.

        Any medical care facility would rather take care of stuff when it’s easy to deal with, rather than wait till it needs tons of work and resources.

      4. Omskivar*

        In addition to everyone pointing out that avoiding preventative care will just contribute to critical care needs further down the road, who gets to decide what counts as critically ill? Lots of people have had to put off needed surgeries that they were already waiting months for because they were classified as elective. And what about medical issues that require regular maintenance? Should pregnant patients not go in for routine OB appointments? Should I not have med checks for my ADHD meds? If my doctor is concerned about my A1C, should I just shrug my shoulders and assume I’m diabetic?

      5. Sopranohannah*

        Please get your checkup, Spicy Tuna. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Trust me, everyone in healthcare would prefer i.e. you learn about your high blood pressure at an annual check up than when your in the ER for a stroke.

    4. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      My local hospital set something up where they pay all of the training for CNAs and maybe RN’s too. earlier in the pandemic I heard of a lot of local places fast tracking people who are in nursing programs. They are actively recruiting right from classes and universities.

      In my area we have a lot of rural communities. I know a lot of nurses and I went to a university that has a big nursing program. They’ve all said. If you work in the city or at the city hospital you can make a lot of money. But if you work in rural hospital/clinic or go into a nursing home or care facility you get paid much less. Like less than half. I know some nurses that make barely minimum wage.


      1. ArtK*

        Interesting. My wife with 17 years of experience in the OR, ended up retiring because she couldn’t get hired. She just had an associates degree and not a BSN and they were requiring the BSN or MSN. Experience counted for nothing.

        1. Science KK*

          I’m willing to bet age was a factor too not that they’d out themselves. Someone I worked with interviewed with several grads schools and was rejected, despite checking all the boxes.

          She met with someone she knew who dealt with admissions and they straight up said she was rejected due to her age, and she’s only 41!

    5. Still don't have a name*

      I work in HR for a regional healthcare system. I can tell you that we’re significantly expanding our training offerings — for example, we’re creating a program in which entry-level staff (i.e CNAs) can go back to school full-time, with tuition and fees paid by our system, while maintaining pay and benefits (without being required to work outside of going to school) in order to get licenses/credentials/etc (i.e. RNs). We’re definitely focused on implementing programs to “grow our own” talent.

      It’s slow, of course, and doesn’t address the whole issue, but I’m glad to see us taking some steps in that direction. I’m not close enough to that line of development to know more details, but I assume it’s a conversation taking place nationally — everyone’s aware the current state isn’t sustainable.

      1. Sopranohannah*

        This is a actual long term plan! You don’t see a lot of these with nursing recruitment and retention. So, good on your organization.

    6. Alternative Person*

      The plan my educational organization seems to have is wait for the old guard on the good contracts to retire, annoy out the younger generation on the BS salary, abolish as many (vitally needed) management positions as possible and replace everyone with hourly paid-pseudo freelancers.

      The only reason I’m still there (I’m on the BS salary) is they’ll at least play nice and help me with my (self-funded) MA research.

    7. Squidhead*

      My hospital has closed beds to preserve patient care ratios, and is making pretty liberal use of travel nurses. We provide a lot of specialized care in our area and only time will tell whether more complications and deaths will be caused by closed beds (in general) or over-ratioed care (in general).

      Kiki, the problem with nurses is that we have to be licensed in order to work, so people in the midst of their training cannot fill this gap. They can help with other patient-care tasks, potentially, but they’re not nurses until they have both a degree and a successful licensure exam. Most RN programs take a minimum of 15 months to complete, and some states (and some hospitals) require that RNs have a BSN, not just an AAS.

      1. kiki*

        Thanks, Squidhead. I appreciate your response.
        I understand that nursing requires licensure, so there’s not as much that can be done to have an immediate effect on staffing levels. But from talking to my nurse friends, it seems like a lot of their workplaces have no real plan, even for the long term, which is contributing to more of my nurse friends quitting. The fact that they can’t see any plan for an increase in staffing levels, even a couple years out, is making them decide to leave.

    8. Delta*

      There aren’t really any good plans.

      Covid killed people. People who worked, especially in healthcare. In addition, many older employees decided to retire early and not deal with it, and there was a large baby boom at the same time, so lots of women are on maternity leave. Universities struggled to keep students, and many dropped out or deferred their degrees.

      And then we cancelled non-emergency surgeries and made people scared to come into hospital, so now instead of coming in and receiving treatment before they were acutely unwell and staying one night; people are coming into emergency departments with significant clinical deterioration, requiring more invasive procedures, longer hospital stays, and more acute care, which increases the workload.

      So we lost a massive chunk of the workforce, and we don’t have enough coming in to make up the shortfall. And we have more patients who are more unwell.

      Some countries offered free registration for nurses returning to the industry, but that pissed off the current nurses as they were still out of pocket for their annual registrations.

      Unions have supported staff as best they can, but there’s just not enough staff.

  35. Josephine*

    I love Alison’s advice to look at that wall as a wall of pride. You have to take care of yourself before you can help others. It’s time to take care of yourself. I’m in a Canadian province where some emergency rooms are shutting down because of staffing issues, and our ambulances are often not available due to the same. It’s terrifying to think of what might happen if you need medical attention, but on the other hand maybe this is what it will take for our leaders to really understand the extent of the problem and take concrete steps to fix it. Making exhausted, burnt out health care providers and support staff work more is not the answer to these problems. Thank you for everything you’ve done so far OP. Don’t feel bad for one second for taking care of yourself now.

    1. TechWriter*

      I wouldn’t count on the conservative government in the province I’m in to “really understand the extend of the problem”. Because the people elected him to make the budget look good/lower taxes/???, healthcare and schools be damned, right?

  36. Goldenrod*

    This letter gets to the heart of something I’ve experienced in MANY workplaces and always detested – the “volunteer” but secretly required task. As OP points out, if it’s mandatory just say so – why do I have to pretend I’m volunteering??

    There’s even a word for this – “voluntold” as in, “I was voluntold to do this.”

    In my experience, the phonier the workplace, the more this happens. It is bullshit. And only bullshit managers do it. (In my opinion.) I was never voluntold to work overtime, but I did have to pretend I was enthusiastically arranging parties or providing snacks – something that always rankled because I feel like women get pressured into these roles much more often than men.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      It sounds to me like in the end someone will have to cover the shifts. Management open up the extra/uncovered shifts to employees on a voluntary basis first (likely at 1.5x pay, as other commenters are suggesting). If no one volunteers, management assigns the shift(s) to employees (who will then earn 2x pay on those shifts) because the hospital/clinic/organization needs to provide care to patients.

      I can see how this works out when the staffing levels are good. People who want a little extra money can volunteer for extra shifts that work with their schedule, and in the (hopefully rare) cases that no one volunteers the pay is increased to offset some of the disruption of working during what would have been your time off. But without proper staffing, management sounds like sleazy cheapskates in this letter. “Volunteer to cover these extra shifts so we don’t have to pay you as much! This is totally to help us your teammates!”

  37. Spicy Tuna*

    I don’t love it from a management perspective, but I have to be honest, it would motivate me to pick up ALL the extra shifts because that’s the way I am wired. When OP says they are voluntary, that doesn’t mean unpaid, correct? Many, many people are motivated by money and many people are also people pleasers (and when I say “many” I am referring to myself)

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      Of course, they are being paid, that’s the law. However, what I understand is that the mandatory overtime gets paid more than the voluntary. So if you pick up an extra shift you get paid the normal rate but if you are forced to work OT then you get paid double. So if the boss is forcing them to pick up shifts but labeling it as voluntary then they are not getting the extra pay.

      1. Wants Green Things*

        Mandatory overtime is something like 2x pay, while voluntary is 1.5x. So there’s definitely a monetary hit by taking voluntary shifts.

    2. anonymous73*

      And it would motivate me to do the exact opposite. You’re not going to shame me into picking up extra shifts. And OP says “voluntary” means 1.5X pay, while “mandatory” is 2X pay. So they’re not only trying to shame them into working, they’re trying to save money while doing it.

    3. metadata minion*

      Sure, but if there were enough people at the LW’s work who genuinely wanted more overtime and were happy to take it, there wouldn’t be a wall of shame.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      And what happens when you bust your butt and the people are not pleased?

      Can you do this for a year? two years? How long can you give it your all before it knocks you for a loop to hear, “Jane did more than you. You need to work harder!”

  38. lights*

    I am a nurse and let me tell you that this would be received so poorly and so vocally by staff in my department that they would have to issue an apology. We’ve been dealing with staffing issues since pre-pandemic and a new director had the nerve to send an email out asking us to pick up “one or two shifts” to help the department when that’s all anyone had been doing. We can’t help the vacant lines or heavy workload- it’s an inner city emergency, hard work, and zero staff retention efforts. Managers can be so clueless.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Perhaps those managers and directors should also pick up one or two shifts doing clinical work (if they’re licensed) or other work to help out the team.

  39. Just Another Zebra*

    I agree with everyone else that this is definitely an HR-worthy complaint. But also, healthcare is desperate for people right now. If your supervisor is fumbling this badly and your manager is hands-off, maybe start putting feelers out at other places. My best friend is a nurse and left the job she’s held for years for one with better pay and better benefits because of these practices. Maybe it’s time you think about doing the same.

    1. Gracely*

      That’s exactly what my neighbor (and several of my friends) did. She said she’s making 3 times what she was making.

  40. VP of Monitoring Employees’ LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    It would serve your new boss right if all of you suddenly jumped ship.

  41. ABCYaBye*

    As someone else said upthread, it would make sense to snap a photo and email both your manager and HR. Like right now. Indicate that the supervisor posted this and when questioned, they said they were doing it against the manager’s directive. And remind them that there is a compensation difference between mandatory and voluntary overtime.

    It would also make a lot of sense to say what Alison said and point out that you, AND others on the team, have picked up extra shifts, been flexible, covered others, and have pitched in quite a lot over the past couple of years. This is about you now because you don’t want to pick up the extra shifts (and shouldn’t have to) but you are likely speaking for others who are feeling shamed into working more than they can afford to.

    Is this a textbook hostile work environment… no. But posting notice for all to see about who is “pitching in more” or who is using the PTO they’ve rightly earned instead of pitching in more likely creates hostility within the team. That’s a really unfair situation to be in.

  42. municipal government jane*

    I love the last part of Alison’s response here. I’ve worked so many jobs with “voluntary” overtime where it may have actually benefitted me to know how many people were opting out (there was a strong culture of “taking one for the team” and at that time in my career it would have helped me see that I could enforce better boundaries). Obviously this behavior is appalling and a silver lining doesn’t mean much, but this is giving me the opportunity to reflect on how I can support better boundaries (and fight the peer pressure/take one for the team culture) in the future.

    1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      Seriously. As a patient, I want my caregivers to be satisfied, well paid, well rested, and able to work at the highest level of their ability. If that takes extra money, extra hiring, or a union, then let’s have those things. If that means there’s less money available to pay non-caregiving administrators, well … ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  43. just me*

    Change the heading:
    Healthy Boundaries Award
    Fighting Against Boss Abuse (FABA ) Award
    Workaholics Unite! Join this club!
    Dumbledore’s Army

    1. Jora Malli*

      Since it’s healthcare, they should spell it in tongue depressors or cotton balls or something.

  44. Dasein9*

    Healthcare is a field that loves its brochures!
    Heart Disease and You
    Chlamidya: The Facts

    Grab one (or half a dozen) on overwork and stress and staple them to the bulletin board next to the would-be wall of shame.

  45. LadyPomona*

    What the hell?!

    Do these people not realize that good healthcare staff are in tremendous demand? Don’t they realize that this means that they don’t have to put up with abusive scheduling or “Walls of Shame” because they can find another job in their field in a matter of nanoseconds? That it’s very much to THEIR advantage to treat the staff that they do have as well as they possibly can?

    But hey, who cares about that! After all, it’s not as if we’re well into Year 3 of a global pandemic and healthcare personnel are exhausted from all they’ve been doing to combat it or anything like that! So it’s not as if the administrative staff need to be aware of the toll that that pandemic has taken on their own people, right? (Facepalm…sigh!)

  46. Six years later, new job still rocks*

    At my last job the CEO put up a whiteboard in the break room (literally bought a whiteboard to do this) and made it into a Demerit Board.

    Yep. Listed all employees down the first column, with days of the week across the top row.
    And used it. You will not be surprised to know that her favorites never got a demerit. Other people might get a demerit for something like being in the bathroom when she was looking for them. Or if you were one minute late back from a lunch break. Small, meaningless things like this.

    The great part is…nothing ever happened if you got a demerit. NOTHING. (Small company, under 20 employees; there was no one to go to about this.)

    I used to erase all the demerits when no one else was in the break room.

  47. ---*

    Perhaps others have said this, but this doesn’t fall far from bullying territory — it’s pressuring employees and publicizing private information (PTO requests). I don’t see how this doesn’t violate three dozen different HR rules / employment laws before breakfast.

  48. thelettermegan*

    You can’t get much further from a positive team environment than a wall of shame.

  49. SoGladILeftPatientCare*

    As a fellow (former!) hospital worker, I SEE YOU!

    Point #1: This shiz is not going to change anytime soon. Health care is increasingly like every other business – their priority is their bottom line. They are going to squeeze every last drop of effort out of you and don’t care about employee satisfaction. Your particular organization sounds especially dysfunctional: You should decide if you want to continue to work in this environment, because it’s very unlikely to change, no matter who you complain to.

    Which brings me to point #2: the job market for most everyone in health care right now is AMAZING. Sign on bonuses galore and top of the range salary offers because everyone is so short staffed. Healthcare work sucks everywhere right now, but there’s most likely other institutions near you that suck less than the one you’re at. Consider leaving! I left direct patient care job recently for a pharmaceutical industry job – they too are desperate to hire right now, and your patient care knowledge likely has a correlate somewhere in industry.

    I could have written your same letter a year ago, and have ZERO regrets about leaving my especially dysfunctional Old Healthcare Job behind.

  50. WellRed*

    Y’all let me tell you. A local hospital made the news when it got out that the staff had created a wall of, I don’t recall exactly, but like, weird patient injuries and diagnoses.

    1. WellRed*

      They called it a wall Of shame and it was posted in a cabinet. It included pix of patients private parts.

      1. AnonRN*

        I know of a hospital where something like this happened. At least one person went to jail (it was in the local news, including a mugshot)
        and several others lost their jobs.

        So, yes, books were thrown.

  51. SpicySpice*

    Isn’t for-profit healthcare amazing, everyone? Gotta keep that low pay and slim staffing model so that the shareholders can put gold plating on their third yacht!

    1. Vito*

      It isn’t just the for profit healthcare. I used to volunteer at a “non-Profit” hospital. I used to talk with the employees and would hear about what they were getting paid (office staff / customer service), the pay was on-par with wal-mart. What they kept hearing from management was that the MISSION was more important than the pay.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      None. I can tell. It shows.

      If she had been working along with the best of them then she would have something totally different to say.

      1. Luna*

        I’m thinking that, too. But it’s not mentioned, especially not with the supervisor’s name highlit on the paper. Though if LW has proof of the supervisor not doing any extra shifts and can print the paper for it, I would definitely add it to this Wall Of Shame and highlight her name in various colors.
        With glitter.
        And stickers.

      2. Sopranohannah*

        I’ve found that that units tend not to put their hardest workers in management unless said employee will leave if they don’t.

  52. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

    Another thing to think of… “Large health care organization” to me reads “hospital”. Many hospital workers are unionized. If you’re union, I’d bring this to the union’s attention as well.

  53. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

    Forget the chain of command in this case, because maybe a hands off manager that you’re not recently impressed with will waste time and the team doesn’t need this gross-ness hanging over their head. Take a photo or the paper directly to HR and explain exactly what led to this, what the other person said and did anyway. No need to wait on chain of command! You don’t owe any explanation of your personal situation, just the gross facts of what happened.

    Good luck to you and thank you and your team out there for working in your industry! HEROES!

  54. Anono-me*

    There are lots of issues with this; but one that hasn’t been addressed is that if enough people do voluntarily overtime at the 1.5 rate, managment has no real incentive to solve the staffing shortfall.

    Most decent Union contracts have both 1.5 overtime and 2x overtime rates that kick in at some point. The 2x overtime is to incentivize management to hire enough staff rather than rely on regular 1.5x overtime to address long term staffing issues.

    If management at your current location wants to fully staff your department, they need to offer more money probably 10-20%. If they offer new people more money, you and your coworkers will also want that pay increase. A department wide good pay increase and new people with decent benefits can quickly become more expensive than 1.5 overtime. (I’ll post an example underneath this for people who want to see ‘the math’.)

    Quite frankly, I would probably use the ‘Wall of Shame’ information to help everyone follow the work rules to either help people get 2x overtime or avoid it as much as possible.

  55. Anono-me*

    Here is the promised example.

    Hypothetical numbers (except current staff level 20)

    Ideal Staff-30
    Current Staff-20
    Current Pay $20.00 per hour
    Benefits rate 1.3 × wage
    Raise needed to fully staff 15%

    30 people at $23.00 per hour and 40 hours = $27,600 a week in wages and $8,280.00 in benefits for a weekly labor cost of $35,880.00

    20 people at $20.00 per hour for 40 hours and 20 hours of 1.5x ot at $30.00 =$28000 a week in wages and $4,800.00 in benefits for a weekly labor cost of $32,800.00.

    20 people at $20.00 per hour for 40 hours and 20 hours of 2x ot at $40.00 =$32,000 a week in wages and $4,800.00 in benefits for a weekly labor cost of $36,800.00.

    1. Delta*

      Honestly, the money’s not the issue any more. Staff are so burnt out and overworked that they will make mistakes and patient care will suffer. People will get hurt and die because of these staffing situations.

      You could pay me $50,000 a week and I still couldn’t care for 120 patients safely.

  56. Mark Roth*

    I have a toddler. I couldn’t work extra shifts if I wanted to.

    I’d post a picture of him next to my name on the wall of shame.

  57. Ellis Bell*

    I should have thought this would unify people to push back as a group like nothing else. I don’t think I’ve worked anywhere where people would want to top this chart as head brown noser. The least of the lashback would involve mass refusal of extra shifts and a go slow.

  58. Delta*

    This shit calls for a strike. Let them use travel nurses for an entire day. Seriously, this is the stuff that I would take beyond HR — this should go to the union.

  59. Bunny Girl*

    Haha! I am Ralph. Luckily my work speaks for itself and I can turn on the charm when I need it but with one exception, I would rather juggle chainsaws in a high wind than go to an office socialization event. I literally scheduled a colonoscopy over one.

  60. Just Me*

    Oh god, I had a boss like this once. He personally would not stay late (and actually was very absent most of the time) but he ALWAYS made a point of calling the office sometime after 5 to see if one of us would answer the phone, indicating that we were still working. We weren’t getting paid extra–he just said that if we wanted to be “part of the number 1 team in the world” we had to put in the work.

  61. TootsNYC*

    Buy a pack of googly eyes, and stick a pair of them on your name, and the header; get other people to do it to theirs. Draw little charicature features (Kilroy, for example) on the names, or the numbers.

  62. Girasol*

    This raises again the question of PTO. Companies use PTO to lure in qualified new hires and then in various ways they go back on their word, either by refusing to approve PTO when “we’re busy” in an organization that is always busy, or by various means of shaming anyone who uses the PTO time that they were promised. If candidates lying on their resumes is such a bad thing, what about companies who lie in their offers? Is there any way to hold them to their promises besides telling them in an exit interview that’s the reason for the resignation?

  63. The Bimmer Guy*

    I’m stuck on the part where supervisor’s manager expressly told them not to make a Wall of Shame, and they did it anyway. That would be material information for HR.

  64. yala*

    Any way you can take down the list and just post the supervisor’s picture on the Wall of Shame? Because she should be ashamed.

  65. River*

    This is a rather childish/passive aggressive way to handle such situation. Plus recognizing those that do work additional hours and those that don’t is almost creating two “clubs” or whatnot. You’re either part of the club or you’re not. That’s really non-inclusive too. I wouldn’t be surprised if this supervisor starts to have favorites. Red flags all around here.

  66. Marna Nightingale*

    I’m not suggesting anyone quietly add a sign at the top of that that says « WALL OF BOUNDARIES » but I’m not NOT suggesting it.

  67. Yikes on Bikes*

    Wow. Our PTO requests are actually on a system that reminds you, every time you log in, that what happens in the system is protected, private information. I would think the same would apply everywhere. You don’t know why someone is requesting PTO, and you shouldn’t need to!

  68. Random IT person*

    I know that if a) my supervisor did this, and b) direct management either enabled this, or condoned it – i would be looking for new work that day.
    The audacity the supervisor is displaying and the creating of a bully culture is sick / toxic.
    I would NOT want to work under someone like that – ever.

    1. Sopranohannah*

      And if you’re in healthcare, you’ll have a new job by next week and management will have more shifts to cover. This is such a boneheaded move.

  69. AmandaPanda*

    You should not be working without getting compensated first of all. Second, this opens the workplace to a ton of workman’s compensation issues if someone gets injured while working, but they are coming in on their scheduled days off for covering a lunch. I would RUN to HR since I have a feeling that they will stop all this immediately, and if they don’t, you could be working somewhere where the supervisor is not going to shame people.

  70. Sopranohannah*

    Oh expletive! I’m in nursing . I would refuse to work even mandatory overtime. Want to discipline me, fine. I’ll have another job next week and you can find someone to cover my shifts as well. I’ve honestly never encountered mandatory overtime in my decade or so doing it. I guess my employers have realized that they can’t make those kinds of demands when your employees have so many options.

  71. The Witch of Sanity's Annex*

    Does this type of grade-school bologna not chap anyone else’s body parts? One of my #petpeeves is the way some workplaces infantilize their employees.
    I was the butt of something similar at OldJob, publicly shamed via passive-aggressive bulletin board for not volunteering to cover a shift at an event (E3 ) until I walked up to the shop manager who made the bulletin board and quietly asked when he would like me to volunteer, since it appeared I was covering all the work for everyone else in the shop that *had* volunteered. I asked him, while we were talking, how exactly I was to 1.) cover a machine I was not remotely qualified to run; 2.) ALSO cover workstations at opposite ends of the building simultaneously; and 3.) ALSO ALSO somehow be in the office answering phones, ordering stock, tools, and hardware, invoicing and handling billing all day every day that week too (also in no way qualified, or willing, to do any of that).
    Oh, and all that on top of the 7000 piece super-sparkling-high-priority job that I was supposed to expedite through my station as it came off the station before mine…which was the machine I was not qualified to run.
    I had never seen anyone actually turn purple from embarrassment before. I will admit to a rather smug flounce out of his office on my part.
    I also doctored his bulletin board with a message that said “My name is Witchy-poo, not Wonder Woman.”

  72. Anon for This*

    No wonder they chose this former co-worker to be supervisor. Management can have a real instinct for picking the one person who is likely to want to prove how they are now part of management as opposed to being one of the workers and to do it in some unpleasant fashion.

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