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How do you handle this


Crazydog
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Our cleaner is on the phone A LOT taking personal calls while she's on the job. It could be as often as every 5 minutes. 

I have tried to talk to her asking to do something while on the phone to give her a hint that it's disrespectful but she doesn't seem to register it. 

How would you bring this up? Is this a common bevaviour in Mexico ? 

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Just me, but I would terminate her in the proper legal manner. I have no reason to believe that I could change someone's habit such as that and it would annoy me also. She is very possibly asking for this in the Mexican way.

 

Waiting for more replies.

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You would have to make two complaints to the workers' union (can't recall the correct name), before you fire her. Otherwise you are liable for being sued, if she decides to go that direction. The registered complaints will absolve you.

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My experience when I had a business here several years ago is that you must have an employee agreement signed by the employee and registered with the Labour Board in GDL. It was sort of a expectation ( Code of conduct ) wherein the employee agrees to the terms. Then when you want to dismiss the employee for just cause and they try to sue your let her take you to a meeting with the Labour Board. They will listen to her complaint and look at the agreement and if you have cause you dont pay.

I know the laws change but I do know if you dont have one, laws favour the employee. As always Spencer would know.

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1 hour ago, Crazydog said:

Our cleaner is on the phone A LOT taking personal calls while she's on the job. It could be as often as every 5 minutes. 

I have tried to talk to her asking to do something while on the phone to give her a hint that it's disrespectful but she doesn't seem to register it. 

How would you bring this up? Is this a common bevaviour in Mexico ? 

Probably a bit of a nuisance to try BUT: on her next visit stick around within earshot and keep track of her total elapsed time on the phone in minutes. At quitting time tell her how much longer she has to stay and work before she can leave. Once she realizes that "phone time" isn't "work time" she might get the message.

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I think that instead of "hinting" you should sit her down and lay it out that what she is doing is not professional and if it continues she will have to find employment elsewhere. If there is a language problem you can dictate a letter to a bilingual person with details of the problem and the above ultimative. There are too any good maids here (including mine) to put up with this.

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I agree with Gringohombre.  Lots of good people here to choose from.  Speaking to her first and if it still continues - call Spenser McMillan - have him draw up the paperwork, pay her the severence and be done.  No need to argue or discuss.  Give her a chance to fully understand your expectations first.  Good luck.

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If neither of you are fluent in the same language -- I would have my attorney explain to her that if this performance is repeated she will be fired.   I'd have a letter to that effect signed and witnessed.   If she fails to comply I would have my attorney fire her and pay the severance and she would sign accordingly. 

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Thank you for your replies. I think I have to be more clear with her and say that being on the phone on the job is not acceptable. 

I don't think she wants to get fired and frankly I don't really want to go through the hassle of finding new people. I had some cleaners before sent by rental companies and they just didn't clean well. 

If she continues to be on the phone this often I will have to look into termintion. I have to say this process seems really backwards in Mexico, having to pay someone severances when they get fired because they didn't do their job properly etc... wonder if you have to pay them if they are caught stealing too (not my case but just curious) 

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29 minutes ago, Crazydog said:

Thank you for your replies. I think I have to be more clear with her and say that being on the phone on the job is not acceptable. 

I don't think she wants to get fired and frankly I don't really want to go through the hassle of finding new people. I had some cleaners before sent by rental companies and they just didn't clean well. 

If she continues to be on the phone this often I will have to look into termintion. I have to say this process seems really backwards in Mexico, having to pay someone severances when they get fired because they didn't do their job properly etc... wonder if you have to pay them if they are caught stealing too (not my case but just curious) 

It is usually just easier to pay the severance which allows you to terminate without demonstrating cause than it is to go through the process of firing for cause.

With the latter, you are almost surely going to need an attorney and most severances are likely to be a lot cheaper than that.

 

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6 hours ago, Crazydog said:

Our cleaner is on the phone A LOT taking personal calls while she's on the job. It could be as often as every 5 minutes. 

I have tried to talk to her asking to do something while on the phone to give her a hint that it's disrespectful but she doesn't seem to register it. 

How would you bring this up? Is this a common bevaviour in Mexico ? 

I would sit her down next time she comes and tell her she is there to work -- not chat on the phone. Then I would ask her to give you her phone.  Tell her you will return it to her at the end of her shift.

Just another reason I opt to do my own housework!

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1 hour ago, ComputerGuy said:

I disagree. It is only easier if she agrees to the severance and you get her signature on a legally-binding document. Otherwise you are not protected. I've seen it happen.

Not if you have a witness to her refusing the lawful severance amount. If you feel you Really want to protect yourself have your attorney file and deposit the money at the labor board and then you can laugh at her. They truly can be clever but if you follow the rules you can stay out of any trouble and get rid of the losers.

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35 minutes ago, pappysmarket said:

Not if you have a witness to her refusing the lawful severance amount. If you feel you Really want to protect yourself have your attorney file and deposit the money at the labor board and then you can laugh at her. They truly can be clever but if you follow the rules you can stay out of any trouble and get rid of the losers.

You've been around a while. You know a witness holds no water in a case like this, or many others in this country, for that matter. He said/She said. The union is on her side, and doesn't have to abide by what you and I feel is "correct". Plus, you cannot sever without cause, and if she disagrees with that cause, watch out. You need proof. A witness is not proof.

But I ask you, if you go to the trouble of hiring an attorney to file with the union, why not simply report the problem in the first place?

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Why not simply buy her off with an explanation that you are planning to move back to wherever? You cry a little, she gets money (this counts big time), your plans change, you lose her phone number, you acquire a couple of Dobermans who don't like maids, etc. Rise to the occasion--but don't offend her. Money talks--buy her off and be nice with an apology and thanks for her service.

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12 hours ago, ComputerGuy said:

You've been around a while. You know a witness holds no water in a case like this, or many others in this country, for that matter. He said/She said. The union is on her side, and doesn't have to abide by what you and I feel is "correct". Plus, you cannot sever without cause, and if she disagrees with that cause, watch out. You need proof. A witness is not proof.

But I ask you, if you go to the trouble of hiring an attorney to file with the union, why not simply report the problem in the first place?

You have been around for a while also. You know you can fire anyone any time without any reason whatsoever. What you do have to do is pay that person the legally mandated severance pay. The amount is dictated be their salary and length of service. The employee has no right to appeal if you follow the law as to the amount. You NEVER deal with any union. The money can be deposited with the Labor Board which is government not union. The employee can then have their union help them retrieve the money from the Board.

Been there, only once, but been there.

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The "paper " you have them sign is simply an acknowledgment that they have received the proper severance pay and they understand they no longer work for you. Nothing to do with culpability. The witness is along solely to confirm that the money was offered if the employee refuses it which is rare but does happen.

 

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I'm with those who say severance pay. Yes, it may seem backwards to us, but it's easier than a potential suit. Just tell her that you want to clean yourself, or that your income has really been lowered (boy, that'll convince her to take the money while it's still available!) or whatever you're comfortable with, sit her down and have her sign a bilingual statement that lists what she's being paid, etc. Keep it friendly and make it sound like you're sorry to have to do it, but...  I had to fire two maids before the third one really worked out, and it was definitely worth every peso we had to pay. FWIW, our maid takes a call or two while she's here, but she keeps them short and she still mops as she's talking, so I'm losing no sleep over it. If it were as bad as yours, I'd terminate.

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How long has she worked for you...doesn't sound like too long...If less than a couple months you can terminate her for nofee other than her up to date pay..If less than a year  or 2 the severance will be minimal...

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57 minutes ago, ComputerGuy said:

You don't have to tell any baloney, but if she doesn't sign, and won't take the money, don't think for a second you are any better off, witnesses or not.

Which is why you then have your attorney take the money and a statement from the witness to the Labor Board. They will have you give info to identify the employee and give you a receipt. At that point you are much better off as you are immune from any, what might be called, penalties and interest. Then you can smile knowing that the dumb employee will have to jump through a few hoops to get the same amount of money you just offered them. Some of them believe the rumors that gringos cannot terminate them for the same amount of severance as a Mexican employer has to pay. They learn the hard way.

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Bennie, you have no idea how domestic staff works in "the world". South Africa, white-ruled, in the 70s: maids got 5 bucks a week. This I know from experience. So what do you know about maids in India, Pakistan, expat outposts in various parts of Africa, and the rest of the world, let alone South America? You know where you came from, and you know Mexico, and we are having a polite discussion about termination, which many people do not understand, and thus have come to this board to seek assistance.

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