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Touchy subject: Taking water home New Jersey

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  • Touchy subject: Taking water home New Jersey

    Maybe this is or is not the forum for this but with many HR people reading and posting I am hoping someone can give me advice on this troublesome employee.

    There are several "personality related" issues with her and other employees but the one thing that is really POing us (we are a small office and on a very tight budget at this time) is that she will fill up 3 or 4 bottles of our water (cooler) and take them home each day. We are going thru 3X the amount of water.

    This may be petty for some but for our struggling compnay every penny counts...

    How do I "tactifully" make it known that the cooler water is for in-office consumption. Is there a way to even go about it? I personally wouldn't care but others have commented to me on her actions.

    what would you do?

  • #2
    This is a new one on me. But in the long run, it's really no different than if she were taking home company office supplies. She is no more entitled to have the company pay for her water than for her pencils or paperclips or notepads. Sure, an occasional one can be ignored (which of us hasn't "borrowed" an envelope or a pen on occasion) but when it starts affecting the company budget, yes, you need to address it.

    Is she bringing the empty containers from home?
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, 3 or 4 bottles...fills them up...puts them in our fridge...then on her way out takes the bottles. I was going to post a little sign "water is for office consumption only" but then she would go right up to me (me being HR and Office Manager) and say "why did you put that there" etc.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by joec
        If the company is operating on that razor thin a margin,I suggest looking for a different job. It sounds like they are in direr straights when you have to worry about cost cutting to that extreme.
        I think I would look for work in a company that could go under at anytime over a few cups of water.
        JoeC

        Try a gallon of water a day or more. Yes, we are here and yes most of us are looking due to our financial issues...but that is not the question..was it? There are other issues with her as well...this one is just one that was brought to my attention by several employees.

        Comment


        • #5
          Whether it's petty or not; whether the company budget is too tight or not, the fact remains that she is not entitled to have the company buy bottled water for her.

          yjkaries, go ahead and put up that sign. When she comes to you and asks you why you did it, tell her.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by cbg View Post
            Whether it's petty or not; whether the company budget is too tight or not, the fact remains that she is not entitled to have the company buy bottled water for her.

            yjkaries, go ahead and put up that sign. When she comes to you and asks you why you did it, tell her.
            Thank you for a straight answer!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by joec
              If the company is operating on that razor thin a margin,I suggest looking for a different job.
              So, how much water should the employee be allowed to take home? Entire jugs or two?

              Several solutions -- explain to everyone that the water is there for employee use while at work, fire the employee, ration how much any employee can consume in a day or do away with the water cooler (I would be so tempted, in the last case, to let everyone know it was because someone felt they were entitled to stock the fridge at home at company expense).

              While a company that is having financial problems cannot overlook any way to cut expenses, even those loaded with cash should not allow folks to take advantage of them. Heck, just give everyone a free pass for supplies at Staples, billed to the company account. Let them furnish supplies to all the classmates of all their kids. The company can afford it.
              ScottB
              Senior Member
              Last edited by ScottB; 08-14-2007, 05:46 PM.
              Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

              Comment


              • #8
                I actually had to fire someone for that 5 years ago. Yes it seems petty, but being a not for profit and the fact that the water is for our patients and staff to consume while in the facility was cause for firing. I spoke to her the first time I noticed she was consuming large amounts, gave her a written warning when she did it again and termed her when she continued to do it. She used to fill a gallon jug at the beginning of every shift and drink it while there, but then she would refill it just before going home and bring it WITH her! I could not take the water away because it was for our patients as well as staff.

                My place of employment is always on a very tight budget! By no means would I look for a new job because we have such tight budgets. It is the just the nature of what I do! I am used to the fear of the funds drying up!

                Comment


                • #9
                  So Joe thinks that stealing a little bottled water from the workplace is not a big deal. When does stealing from the workplace become a big enough deal?

                  Would it be 5 gallons of bottled water? How 'bout a stapler? Do I hear a box of envelopes? Printer cartridges?

                  If it were an employer doing a "little thing" to negatively affect an employee, then he'd be all over it with fears of a slippery slope--if we let that happen the next thing we know the employees will be in concentration camps, etc.

                  Joe likes the slippery slope theory when it fits his needs, but where's your slippery slope now?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Maybe you could send an e-mail or some type of notice to everyone in the office that the water in the water cooler is for consumption at the office only. If you don't send any type of notice or put up a sign by the water cooler, you'll need to talk to the employee about what she is doing & let her know that it is not allowed.
                    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ummm... this might be hard to see but why not just talk to her about it?????

                      and yes i agree with Joe its a bottle of water maybe at the end of the day she is dehydrated and if you consume a whole bottle of water at once it will make you vomit. so she fills up her bottle and drinks it on the way home little at a time...

                      but you would not know any of this because you never talked to her...

                      squills

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        They are witnessing her filling up three and four bottles a day. How much water does she need to drink on the way home to keep her from getting dehydrated? If drinking too much at a time makes her sick, how is she drinking three and four bottles on her way home?
                        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          once again I don't know but if you ask her she can probably tell you. And she fills them up and puts them in the fridge. so when she leaves should she just empty out the water? that would waist it more then anything.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The point is that she shouldn't be putting them in the bottles in the first place. It is not her water to be taking home.
                            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There are other issues with her as well...this one is just one that was brought to my attention by several employees.

                              I am hoping someone can give me advice on this troublesome employee.
                              So would it be ok if it was a different employee?

                              and how is the water not hers? It was bought for her and others? she is only taking the water not the jugs? she is not taking all the water? how much money could it be costing? 5 dollars a month?

                              really this just sounds like a way to get at a person that you dont like.

                              Comment

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