Heated Reddit debate after boss threatened to sack or demote employee for taking a ‘mental health day’ off

<p>The worker failed to show up for work, citing mental health issues</p>

The worker failed to show up for work, citing mental health issues

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A business owner has sparked an impassioned social media debate after he spoke out about his struggles with an allegedly unreliable worker.

The employer said he had promoted the staff member – who he named only as Peggy – to the manager of his vape shop after “two solid years of good work as a cashier” but she soon proved that she “[could] not be trusted” with key responsibilities.

Writing on Reddit he recounted how, one day, he woke up three hours after the store should have opened only to learn from complaining customers and other employees that it was still closed.

“I call Peggy, and get no response. I text her, same thing. So I go in and open the store,” he said. “An hour before her shift was supposed to be over, she calls me back.”

Asking her if she was OK, she allegedly responded that she “needed to take a mental health day and do some self-care.”

The original poster (OP), admitted that he was “pretty p***ed by this point”, but said he was “trying to be understanding because I know how important health can be.”

“So I ask her why she didn’t call me as soon as she knew she needed the day off,” he continued. “Her response: ‘I didn’t have enough spoons in my drawer for that’.”

The OP said Peggy had always been a great cashier but felt she wasn’t up to the promotion he’d given herGetty Images/iStockphoto

The boss went on to say that he didn’t know what that meant, but “it seems to me like she’s saying she cannot be trusted to handle the responsibility of opening the store.”

He then offered her two choices: either to go back to her old cashier position, with her old pay, or be fired “completely.”

Ending his post, the OP complained that “she’s calling me all sorts of ‘-ist’ now, and says I’m discriminating against her due to her poor mental health and her gender.”

“None of this would have been a problem if she simply took two minutes to call out,” he added. “I would have got up and opened the store on time. But this no-call/no-show s*** is not the way to run a successful business.”

He concluded by acknowledging that he had perhaps behaved like an “a**hole” for “taking away her promotion over something she really had no control over,” but, he stressed, “at the same time, she really could have called me.”


His story racked up more than 31,000 upvotes on the platform in just one day as fellow Redditors shared their take on the employee’s behaviour and the OP’s response.

“She probably couldn’t cope with the extra pressure of the managerial position. Either that or something is going on in her out-of-work life,” one suggested.

“In either case, if she was struggling, she should have said something before it got this bad. Regardless, to fail to call out to allow you to organise to get the business open is totally unacceptable.”

Another said simply: “It sometimes takes every last bit out of me but I’ve always messaged beforehand to cancel.”

Others insisted the worker was using mental health issues as an excuse for “laziness”, with one writing: “I know people who use the exact words she did like ‘I don’t have enough spoons today’ and ‘I need to take a mental health/self care day’ and it’s just Twitter-ese and 100% a free pass for them to be lazy in a way they can’t be criticised for.”

They continued: “I also have friends with serious mental health conditions like OCD and bipolar etc, and they would always do whatever they could to send a text if they couldn’t make it in on a very bad day, or have standing instructions for their carers or guardians to do it for them when it’s clear they’re not capable of doing it themselves.

“They may be mentally ill, but they take pride in being professional in the jobs they can handle. The girl is just lazy and entitled.”

However, another disputed this analysis, saying: “I could see this being her lying if it wasn’t for her phrasing it as ‘out of spoons’. That’s a pretty specific phrase used by therapists that I don’t know that someone who’s neurotypical would know.”

A fourth replied: “As someone with a chronic illness I completely understand the ‘spoon’ analogy.”

“BUT,” they were quick to stress: “There is not a single time that I have lacked the ‘spoon’ to send a text and call/leave a voicemail and say HEY I am not doing well.”

Another addressed the OP directly, insisting that he’d behaved reasonably because he wasn’t taking away the staff member’s promotion “because of her gender or poor mental health”, but because she hadn’t “follow[ed] the sickness policy of contacting you before her shift.”

The user said that he “wouldn’t have given her the choice” between a demotion and losing her job because of her failure to show up or contact anyone.

However, the OP, responded by saying he “kind of felt like the whole thing is my fault.”

“I promoted her past her level of success,” he explained. “She was/is an amazing cashier, so I figured I’d reward that.

“But,” he conceded,”being good at sales doesn’t really translate to being a good manager.

“I’d be happy to have her here, doing her old job.”

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