Ask HR: Angry spouse is making demands. What to do?

Dear HR,askHR

An employee has had a death in their family, however rather than the employee communicating directly – their spouse has informed us that we need to give said employee time off work and pick up work property at their home in order to relieve the employee of “on call” duties. Although we accommodated the request – we have had previous conversations with the spouse about inserting themselves into employee’s work business and that if there are issues the employee needs to direct that conversation to management on own.

While we want to keep this great employee on staff, we can’t tolerate an angry spouse making demands. We would like to write-up the employee for not following call-in policy and address the issues with spouses’ insertion. Is this our best course of action?



We agree with your course of action to begin progressive discipline with employee for not following company call-in policies.

It is best to keep the frame of mind that the employment relationship if between the company and the employee (not the spouse) – do not include spouses actions into performance coaching but instead stress the required communication between employee and supervisor.

Additionally, take no further action based on spouse’s requests.


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