Can you force extra work on an employee?

When Carpenter I Joe Hillman, age 64, came down with the flu, Maintenance Foreman Harold Braxton informed Carpenter I Chuck Danowski he would have to "take up the slack" while Joe was out.


When Carpenter I Joe Hillman, age 64, came down with the flu, Maintenance Foreman Harold Braxton informed Carpenter I Chuck Danowski he would have to "take up the slack" while Joe was out. Danowski wasn't thrilled with the news, but he didn't object.

An above-average performer, Danowski worked hard and diligently to handle the extra workload without falling behind schedule. But when Hillman's absence stretched from two weeks to three he felt put upon. "I'm busting a gut to keep up," he complained to Braxton. "How long is this double workload going to continue?"

Braxton brushed off the gripe. "Joe should be back to work pretty soon."

Hillman didn't return; he opted instead for early retirement. Still there was no sign that Braxton intended to reduce his workload.

"When are you gonna hire a replacement for Joe?" he asked his boss.

"I'll get around to it one of these days."

Danowski held his temper in check till the end of the week, then brought his gripe to Shop Steward Steven Swensen, who broached the complaint to the foreman.

"What's going on here?" he demanded. "Since when can you respond to a resignation by inflicting a double workload on an employee?"

"Danowski's blowing this up all out of proportion," Braxton replied. "What he calls a double workload is no more than a few extra jobs that take up the slack in his own workload. Proof is that he's been handling the extra work without any overtime. Check it out for yourself."

"Because he knows how you feel about overtime, and has been breaking his back to stay on schedule," said Swenson.

Braxton shrugged. "The company is entitled to 8-hr work for 8-hr pay. That's what Danowski's giving, and that's what he's getting."

Swenson threatened a grievance as Danowski walked off.

Question : Can the company be forced to lighten the carpenter's extra workload?

Polichek's verdict: "Take on a replacement for Joe Hillman," Plant Engineer Frank Polichek instructed Braxton when brought up-to-date on the controversy. "Unless you can prove through documentation that Danowski's extra duties bring his workload up to par with the rest of the crew, a case can be made that he's functioning under undue and unfair hardship. A worker shouldn't be forced to exceed normal standards simply because he's a superior employee who doesn't buckle under the strain."

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.