Definition – Someone so overcome with grief they spend their days at their desks wailing, claiming no one understands (which no one else does), and pounds her desk, manager’s desk, or conference room table. Her behavior disrupts other employees. She enjoys being the center of attention.
I can empathize with anyone who has suddenly lost a spouse at an age society considers “young.” However let me make one thing perfectly clear –
there is no room in the workplace for drama queens.
Drama Queens need to understand that while people are sympathetic and are willing to help, there is still a business to run. In order for them to grasp that concept strict limits need set.
What Drama Queens Need
They need to be on extended bereavement leave, and/or medical leave. While on leave they need help from a trained bereavement counselor and visits to their doctor so their health can be monitored. Drama Queen or not, the last thing your company needs is the sudden death of a coworker. (been there, done that, not fun.)
Even though she is on leave, have her come in for weekly meetings so you can discuss her progress. Set guidelines so she knows what you expect from her while she is on leave. Have her provide proof for doctor’s visits and each session with a trained professional bereavement counselor.
After she completes extended bereavement and/or medical leave and you can see improvement in her behavior, then she can return to work. She will have to work under a mutually agreeable plan that includes weekly performance reviews.
First Year Anniversary
If you have given her medical leave, extended bereavement leave, and provided a plan to get her performing at the level the job requires but she is still a drama queen at the end of the first year, then you say:
“I’m sorry, but we need you to perform at the level this job requires or we’ll have to let you go.”
Then put her on 90 day probation. Let her know what you expect from her during the 90 day period. If there is improvement then renew the probationary period for another 90 days. I would renew these probationary periods for up to a year.
If at the end of the first 90 day probationary period there is no improvement, then giving her a 6 month severance package is appropriate. Also hire an outside placement company to assist her with career counseling.
Above And Beyond
Yes it is a lot to put up with a drama queen. But you need to in case she decides to go wail and pound on an attorney’s desk after you give her a severance package. You will need to prove that you went above and beyond the call of duty in helping the Drama Queen.
“Don’t Be Cruel”
Do not let her go during the first year of widowhood.
If you do that, just sign your company over to her as there is not a judge or jury that will side with you, even if your employee is a drama queen.
Letting someone go their first year of widowhood is cruel – period, end of story.
- No one grieves perfectly
- Every person grieves differently
- The nature of their relationship affects how she grieves (strained, head over heals in love)
- The circumstances of the death affect her grief (murder, plane crash, hit & run etc…)
- She was a good employee before her world got turned upside down, inside out and backwards in the blink of an eye.
If you are confronted with the sudden death of a spouse, you might turn into a Drama Queen or King.
You never know how you will react until you are in the same situation.