Add this one to the “And you call yourself a decent parent” listings.
Barbara received a phone call the other day from the HR office of her daughter Megan’s summer employer, a large national discount chain. Megan, a college student, began working as a weekend and summer cashier in high school and over time has graduated to a summer office job. The HR director wanted to check something out with Barbara. HR had received a letter requesting a complete accounting “for Megan’s parents” of all the hours she worked this past summer plus an estimate on the hours and pay she will be offered over the next three years. Before fulfilling this request, the HR director decided to check with Barbara because the letter requested that the information be sent to an address which did not match the home address on Megan’s employment forms.
Barbara was surprised and knew nothing about this. She suggested that HR call Megan directly to see if this was something she needed for school. The HR director said that she preferred if Barbara would call Megan and then for either Megan or Barbara to get back to her to let her know whether or not to release this information. Barbara asked for the address to which this information was to be sent, and learned that the request came from the Law Office of Mendel R_____. Her heart stopped. Barbara and her soon-to-be-ex are locked in very bitter, contested divorce proceedings--especially with regard to child support-- and this request had come from the ex’s attorney.
The HR director said that she had called because she was hesitant to fulfill the request. For many years, she has been in charge of tens of thousands of employees, many of them teenagers, and she felt, in her words, that “this smelled familiar and fishy”. She elaborated: this sort of information is used all the time in divorce cases and is designed to hurt the child by cutting down on parental support. The more the child earns, the harder he or she works, the more he/she stands to lose when these parents bring this evidence to court.
Barbara called Megan and, as always, held back on saying anything bad about Megan’s dad. She asked if Megan was aware that this request was being made, and Megan said her dad had told her he needed her work information so he could save her some money on her taxes. Barbara gently told Megan that the HR people felt it wasn’t a good idea to share this information with anyone. Barbara asked Megan to call and tell HR that no information should be released unless Megan specifically wanted it. Megan agreed that this was a good idea but felt she couldn’t call and ask for this herself. She wanted her mom to do it. When Barbara called HR back, the director said it’s common for kids not to be able to assert this right directly because it feels as if they are being disloyal to their parent even though they are fully aware that the parent is not being honest with them.
I vote for Megan’s dad for scummiest parent since Joel Steinberg.