Manager Tells Team There Are No Valid Reasons To Call Off Work — 'If It's A Family Emergency, Too Bad'

As a manager, if you're this upset about employees calling off work, maybe you should consider hiring more?

Server in a restaurant, Olive Garden email Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels, Reddit

You’ve probably heard your fair share of managers lamenting that “nobody wants to work anymore,” met with anecdotes of workplace horror stories about unsympathetic managers, unreasonable expectations, and exploitative treatment. One such example of a managerial nightmare went viral after it was posted to Reddit’s r/antiwork forum in December.

The Kansas Olive Garden manager told employees that “from now on if you call off, you might as well go out and look for another job.” They demanded that they provide proof of circumstances that would cause them to miss work. “If your dog died, you need to bring him in and prove it to us. If it's a 'family emergency' and you can't say, too bad. Go work somewhere else.”


The Olive Garden manager was fired after sending out a scathing email rant telling the team that they would 'no longer be tolerating ANY excuse for calling off.'

The manager also emphasized their own extreme dedication to their job over the past 11 years, which users pointed out was not something to be proud of — coming into work while sick puts coworkers and customers in danger of getting sick as well, which is especially gross in a restaurant setting.

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“My sister is a chef. According to her, most restaurants have the expectation that their employees need to be there even when sick. I don’t think it’s often stated as blatantly as this though,” one comment said. 


“Do you know in my 11.5 years at Darden how many days I called off? Zero,” the manager ranted in their email. “I came in sick. I got in a wreck literally on my to work one time, airbags went off and my car was totaled, but you know what, I made it to work, ON TIME!”

It should ideally go without saying that if you’re sick, in a potentially traumatic car wreck, or experiencing a legitimate family emergency, then you shouldn’t be expected to come to work. Your well-being and that of your family should always come first, and for managers to expect otherwise is unrealistic. And to demand that workers prove their dog died by bringing it to work is absolutely unthinkable, although apparently not to this former manager.

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After the email blew up online, people had a lot to say about the manager’s rant.

Users on TikTok and Reddit pointed out that the woman’s over-the-top dedication to their job didn’t save them from getting fired after their email went viral. “You’re not going to get a perfect attendance award,” said one user.


“Never calling off is not something to be proud of.” Others commented on the fact that finding enough people to fill the schedule in case others call out is the manager’s responsibility. “Reading this and all I can think of is ‘Your lack of preparation is not my emergency.’ Hire more people,” said one comment.

Wages are low and inflation is rising, and young people are refusing to let their jobs take advantage of them, resulting in trends like “quiet quitting” and “the Great Resignation.” This particular rant prompted hundreds of people to comment on the ridiculousness of expecting unwavering loyalty and sacrifice for a job that could easily replace you, with countless people saying they’d quit on the spot if they received a similar email.

"Newer generations aren’t going to put up with a terrible job, terrible pay, or terrible co-workers," said one comment. "Life’s too short to be miserable in a place where you spent a good chunk of your time. 'I don’t live to work. I work to live.'"


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Jessica Bracken is a writer living in Davis, California. She covers entertainment and news for YourTango.