My Boss Wants Me to Pay for His Miss Dinner

Updated on October 20, 2009
S.C. asks from Phoenix, AZ
9 answers

Hi moms,
My job is very stressful and hectic. I am the assistant to the president, vice president and the entire department. You can imagine how busy and stressful my job can be. Last Friday, I was working on 2 projects and had lots of phone calls to make. I was suppose to remind the president that he needs to attend that night, which he already paid for but I forgot to remind him. I explained to him that it got to busy on Friday and i spaced it out. I apologized and admitted my mistake but he wants me to pay for the dinner because it was my mistake. I do not feel that I should pay for it and how should I say no in a nice manner. Do you think I should pay for the dinner? Any advice is greatly appreciated.


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answers from San Francisco on

It seems really odd for a boss to ask you to pay for his missed dinner. Usually an employee is reprimanded for mistakes, and if they make too many mistakes they risk being fired.

However, if this job is important to you, you may just have to pay for the dinner to keep peace. Unless I were super-cozy with my boss, I don't think I'd have the guts to oppose such a request.

p.s. - I have to disagree a little with the answers below, having spent many years as an Executive Assistant -- often the Assistant IS expected to remind the executive of such things. That's what an Exec. Asst. is, and reminding the exec is part of the duties of the job.

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answers from Fresno on

I asked our office assistant (who keeps me and a few others on task 24/7 in admirable fashion), what her advice would be. She said that you shouldn't have to pay for this dinner (and I agree!), however it is your responsibility to remind him of his various meetings and obligations, even if they are not work-related. My assistant said that in this instance, she would just apologize sincerely, say how sorry you are to have caused this inconvenience, and let him know how you will avoid this in the future. You may also ask if it would be helpful to call the host of the dinner and apologize. Likely he is angry because he looked foolish for having paid for the event, and then forgot to show up! Even though as adults we know we shouldn't forget things, still, this is why we pay an assistant. To keep us from forgetting important things.

Now - how to avoid forgetting to remind him in the future? If you use Microsoft Outlook, use the calendar function to set reminders for you. For instance, if the dinner is at 7pm and he needs to be reminded at noon, simply set up the appointment in your calendar and set a 7 hour reminder. The alert will pop up at noon on your computer and/or Blackberry and you can simply remind him at that point. That way you'll never forget! =)

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answers from Dallas on

I don't think you should pay, and I think you should research employment law. I am pretty sure you can't be held liable for this type of thing.
I know I am adding on to my original answer, but Wendi's reply really made me think. She is right, you are not responsible if he misses meetings, calls or anything else. If he is responsible enough to be an executive, then he can be responsible for his own actions.
He may not actually be upset about missing the dinner or even the cash- there may be several other things going on. You may just not bring it up, and see if it goes away.
If he becomes obnoxious about is, use a kind tone and tell him that you are open to discussing the situation with HR and seeing what they have to say. He won't want to do that unless he truly feels you have a professional obligation to reimburse him. If he becomes harassing, you need to talk to HR yourself.
good luck!

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answers from St. Cloud on

No. Even if it is your responsibility to remind him, it was just that....a REMINDER. Talk to your HR department. Was it made clear to you that you would be punished in a monetary fashion for your mistakes? It seems unreasonable.
I would apologize but politely and firmly decline to pay for the dinner.
Don't let anyone walk all over you, even if they do sign your paycheck!

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answers from Bakersfield on

I'm surprised your boss asked you to pay for the dinner but not surprised that he was very upset. That is part of your job. I understand you were busy; he's likely busy too, that's why you are a paid asst. You didn't say how much he paid for the missed dinner. Some benefits can be very expensive. If it were me I would again apoligize for my mistake and offer to pay if he still felt strongly about it. Perhaps as days have passed he's changed his mind and let it drop, especially if others in your dept. have heard about the situation. If he says he wants the money, I'd give it to him. Even if I didn't agree with him, for me, this would be taking the higher road and moving on. Going the legal route would likely cause more static in the dept and make your working conditions more uncomfortable. You don't need that. If I felt this kind of administrative reprimand was more than likely going to occur in the future, I'd keep my eyes and ears open for another job.. but there isn't much out there now... keep that in mind.



answers from Sacramento on

The president of the company thinks you can afford to cover his dinner? I am guessing that his dinner wasn't a particularly affordable event. I would say something about how bad you feel about things and that you'll check your bank accounts to see if you can cover his dinner now or whether you'll have to pay him back over time. That should remind him that you're not making a president's salary and that he's being a jerk.



answers from Sacramento on

I have no idea how to say this politely. If it were me I would tell him you are his assistant, not his keeper or mother. But that does not sound polite to me, maybe if you reworded it better.
W. m



answers from San Francisco on

How about suggesting that this was a learning experience? And offer to help this person learn to use his phone as calendar/reminder for these important events. Obviously this dinner was outside of work time, so I am not sure why he believes you are responsible for it.

As was said, he is an adult and should be able to keep track of some things himself.



answers from San Francisco on

Dear Sandra,
If your boss was attending the dinner on behalf of the company, it could easily be expensed out and that’s what usually happens. I do not think you should have to pay for his dinner.

If it were a personal event, it would have been nice if you had reminded him, but you are not in charge of his personal life outside work. (Though many high level Admins to a lot of personal chores for their employers that are not in their job descriptions—been there done that).

If this is something that puts your job in jeopardy, your boss sounds like a *%# and I would consider looking for another job and/or asking for a transfer to another department.

I would also suggest submitting a written apology stating what you already verbalized and letting him know that are unable to pay for his missed dinner out of your pocket. I would also copy HR.


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