This question came in from our “Ask a Coach” portal:
I am 17 years old. I work at a fast-food restaurant.
Our employee handbook states that every employee is entitled to one discount per shift, which is now gone. Our General Manager just took that away.
Here’s what happened. There is a customer survey on the back of our receipts. Our GM tells us to make sure our customers know about them.
Survey takers can get a free sandwich or $2 off on a future purchase. Despite this, most customers fail to fill out the survey.
Our GM punished us. She took away the employee discount and now we have to pay full price for our meals on our break.
I, and fellow employees, have been consistent in informing all customers to fill out the survey. Since we don’t have control over who takes the survey, it seems unfair to punish us by taking away one of our few benefits.
Can my General Manager do this? If not, what can I do about it?
Your GM can do this, as it’s an additional perk. She simply needs to ensure she pays you and others at least a minimum wage for each hour you work.
She’ll need to edit the section of the employee handbook that outlines the benefits as it’s no longer accurate. Most employee handbooks, however, allow management to change employee handbooks.
You asked “can” your GM do this.
You didn’t ask “should” she do this. As you’ve pointed out, while employees can influence customers’ feelings and follow-up actions, they don’t control them.
Your GM’s decision negatively impacts employee morale. Some employees may quit because of it. Others may feel baffled and disappointed and talk negatively your restaurant. As a result, some of their family members and friends won’t eat at your restaurant. Others won’t apply for jobs there. She’s created a lose/lose.
What can you do? You can shake off your disappointment, and continue to work hard at your current job so you have a good employee track record, and can find a better job.
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