our employee is taking nude photos in our office and posting them to Facebook

A reader writes:

I am the office manager of a small (two additional employees, two doctors, and one therapist) health practice. One employee, who I will call Jane, has worked there for over 10 years and handles billing, front desk, and bookkeeping.

Jane is recently divorced and seems to be going through a mid-life crisis of sorts with an obsession on finding new sex partners. She lists our company name as her place of employment on Facebook and some of our patients are her “friends.” We found out through our other employee (who I will call Mary) and our therapist (who I will call Sara) that Jane is now a member of several Facebook groups where people can post suggestive to explicit photos and videos. When we first learned of this, we let Jane know that we were aware and asked her to take anything that linked her Facebook account to us out of her profile or to create an alternate account for her extracurricular activities that we wanted to remain separate as her personal business. She became irate, saying that our awareness of it created a “hostile work environment” for her. She also threatened to sue Mary for informing us. But then some time passed and she seemed to calm down.

In the past few days, however, it was brought to my and the doctors’ attention that not only is Jane continuing to post these things, she is taking and posting the photos daily from our business. Our company bathroom is in the background of some of them as well as the office her and I share (I am in the office part-time). One of the photos described to me is a full photo of her standing in front of my desk with her pants around her ankles. The time stamps show that it is during work hours (there are times each day where she is the only employee in the office).

I am at a loss for how to handle this appropriately and what to do. She even invited a patient who works at a business in our center to be a member of one of the groups. Obviously her doing this from work and involving anything linked to the office has got to stop. Yesterday she went to use the bathroom (which is private) at least four times, staying in there for over 10 minutes each time with her phone in hand and all I could do was picture what she could be doing in there.

Given her experience and high degree of responsibility, it would be an enormous task to replace her, and believe it or not otherwise her job performance is very good. Any advice at all as to how to handle this would be greatly appreciated.

You get to draw the line at people taking nude photos in your office. That’s not okay, and you don’t need to tip-toe around that with her.

And you know, one day Jane will leave of her own volition, and then you will have the work of replacing her at that point anyway. So don’t be held hostage to your fear of having to do that now, to the point that you tolerate totally unacceptable behavior in your office.

Sometimes you need to be willing to let someone go. An employee taking nude photos of herself in your office — in front of your desk! — and posting them to Facebook, where she’s connected with some of your clients, is one of those times.

This would be bizarrely bad judgment under any circumstances, but it’s even odder because Jane knows that you know about her involvement with the explicit-photo groups. You’ve already told her that your business can’t be associated with it. And after that conversation, she seems to have escalated the behavior by posing for the photos in your office. Frankly, it almost seems like a compulsion or an act of hostility toward your office, or both.

It would be 100% reasonable to tell Jane that this needs to stop immediately and all photos taken in your office need to be removed, and that this will be her last warning on the topic and you’ll part ways with her if it continues.

It would also be entirely reasonable to decide that Jane has already demonstrated such terrible judgment that you’re not going to go through a warning process and instead will part ways now. You don’t owe someone a warning and a second chance when something is this egregious (or at least you don’t as long as your own internal policies don’t require it).

To be clear, the issue isn’t that Jane is sharing nude photos of herself in her personal life. That’s her business. The issue originally was that she was connected to clients while doing it, and the issue now is that she’s doing it at work. Keep the focus there.

But before you can do any of that, you need to convince yourself that the fact that it’ll be a pain to replace her isn’t a reason not to take action on something like this. You can’t let your organization be held hostage to that. (And really, how far does that go? What if she starts slapping your logo on these nude photos? ) There’s a point where someone’s behavior just isn’t okay, and this is at that point.

And in case you need it — hostile workplace: it’s not what you think.

{ 932 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Anonymous Poster

    She’s doing a lot of damage through this behavior, regardless of her work output. This isn’t okay behavior, and it’s wildly acceptable to tell her that today is her last day based on what you’ve seen.

    Best of luck in finding a good replacement.

    Reply
    1. Not a Blossom

      Exactly. And I’d let her go now rather than giving her another warning. If she’s warned again, she might “solve” the problem by unfriending and blocking people from the office so that no one can see if she’s still doing it.

      Reply
      1. Artemesia

        So this. One of the biggest surprises to me is how reluctant people are to fire employees behaving outrageously. I am sympathetic to the person struggling to catch on and up; I am all for training and second chances after a mistake. A person whose response to ‘take our company name off your sex club posts’ is to threaten to sue of ‘hostile workplace’ and then. starts taking pictures in your office and posting them? They should have been fired the day that surfaced. And they should have been walked out and their computer access locked down immediately.

        No one is irreplaceable but this person can do a lot of damage to your business and probably will — but firing her is the first step in mitigating that.

        Reply
        1. Anonymoose

          Exactly. Frankly, if I was one of their patients, I would be livid to find out someone with such questionable judgement had access to my patient files. Like, I get you want to get saucy on your own time – totally fine to do so. But if you’re not only doing it at the PROFESSIONAL place I assume you to work – and inviting other patients to play at your weird little house of horrors, I will assume that you have absolutely zero respect for others, including other patients.

          Reply
          1. snuck

            Yeah. Not sure I’ll want to have medical appts in a place that has cameras and posts nudes on the internet… just sayin’.

            Reply
    2. Aveline

      I’m as sex positive as they come.

      DH has nude photos of me.

      I have represented women who were subject to revenge porn. Women who were punished for being “sluts.”

      If I saw this, I might switch doctors. Why? I don’t want someone with such bad judgment and lack of understanding between personal and professional handling my medical and financial data. Full stop.

      Reply
      1. Augusta Sugarbean

        If by represent, you mean you are an attorney, maybe you can answer this – or Alison or anyone else for that matter. Companies have had trouble firing employees based on what the employees have posted on Facebook. Would it make a difference if a coworker brought this to the employer’s attention rather than the company (management) itself?

        I’m just wondering if it would be easiest to use “unacceptable boundary violation with client” as the reason to fire the employee.

        Reply
        1. g

          No reason yet to assume the employer needs to give a reason for firing, but if they do then “taking nude photos at the office” is a good enough reason alone.

          Reply
          1. LizB

            Yeah, the only reason Facebook comes into it now is that’s how they know the photos exist. Even if Jane just took the photos and then kept them under her pillow and never showed them to another living soul, she should still be fired. Taking naked photos of yourself in your workplace is grounds for firing no matter what happens to the photos afterwards.

            Reply
              1. Snark

                I would argue yes, even if private and taken in a private spot – if the employer were to become aware of it, that’d be a firing offense.

                Reply
              2. Autumnheart

                Um, hell yes. Don’t use your workplace for sexual activity. That seems like a pretty basic expectation of appropriate behavior.

                Reply
                1. Snark

                  It’s private in the sense that you can’t be spied on while in there, but not in the sense that it is a space where it is appropriate to do whatever you please.

                2. Specialk9

                  It wasn’t just the bathroom, it was in her boss’ office. And publicly posted in connection to the company’s name. And after she invited patients of that medical facility to join a sex club.

              3. Annabelle

                I would say so. I think doing anything inherently sexual at your workplace (unless you work in the sex industry or something) is worth firing someone for.

                Reply
              4. Susana

                But they’re not in a private spot. They’re in the office – and next to LW’s desk! That would feel like quite the violation to me. And given that the pic next to LW’s desk was taken after the conversation, seems to me like a deliberate taunt.

                Reply
                1. Nervous Accountant

                  No Susanna, I agree w u and 99% of the comments….. that ALL OF THIS IS WRONG.

                  I was just questioning why a sexy selfie (not nude) in a private bathroom is wrong.

                2. Anna

                  @nervous accountant I think of it this way: In states where marijuana is legal and for employers who don’t care what you do in your own private house, you would probably still be fired for smoking it in the bathroom at work because it’s not the place to do that without even going into impairment from smoking weed.

                3. Autumnheart

                  Because it’s extraordinarily inappropriate. You are on work property to do your job, not to take photos of yourself masturbating at lunchtime. You are not in a private bathroom or a private stall, you are in a *public* bathroom in a *public* stall, which other people also have to use and work near, and who could walk in on you at any moment. What the hell is wrong with you?

                4. Detective Amy Santiago

                  @Nervous Accountant

                  If she was doing lines of coke in a private bathroom, that wouldn’t be okay either. Even though this isn’t illegal, it’s just as wrong.

                5. Jen S. 2.0

                  The bathroom at work is not private. It’s still at work, on work premises. Your sex life doesn’t belong there. I mean, you wouldn’t take your visiting partner in there for an afternoon delight, either, private or not. I don’t disagree that there’s a spectrum of what constitutes “your sex life,” but naked pictures (taken in the office, which you invite clients to view) are definitely over the line for a lot of people, and rightly so.

                  Also, many, and maybe even most, of us do things at work that in theory could get us fired if we did it it in large enough amounts or often enough, or if we got caught. “Borrowing” office supplies, napping at work, arriving late or sneaking out early, too much internet use, speaking inappropriately to a colleague, using the assistant inappropriately, using the emergency exit, parking in the loading zone, using the company card for personal items, et cetera, et cetera. Most of us don’t get fired for this because we don’t get caught, or because we keep it to a bare minimum, or because we stop once someone calls us on it. This woman was not keeping it to a minimum, and now has been caught, and is not stopping.

                6. Totally Minnie

                  @Nervous Accountant, basically, a workplace is private property. The people who own or have legally rented/leased the property have the right to decide what can and cannot take place on the property. I think just about any place of employment is going to come down on the side of “no sexy photos or webchats can take place on our premises.”

              5. Nervous Accountant

                Ok to whoever said what the hell is wrong with me…. jeez that’s uncalled for… I’m not advocating watching porn or having sex or doing lines of coke in a bathroom.

                And while I agree that everything the employee is doing in the initial post is *wrong* and she should be fired ASAP—my only questioning the comment that taking private pix/nice selfies that will never be seen in public is considered wrong (which I know is not what the initial post is about).

                Gosh….lol.

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  If your boss is cool with it, it’s fine. However, it’s the outlier boss that would be cool with it, because most employers aren’t paying you to be nude and sexy in the office bathroom.

                  (And “never seen in public” can never be promised.)

                2. fposte

                  BTW, that “cool with it” can’t be assumed. If you can’t bring yourself to ask your boss directly for permission for nude selfies in the bathroom, that’s a sign you have the more common kind of workplace where that is not acceptable.

                3. LizB

                  When you are at your workplace, there is a universe of difference between nice selfies with clothes on and nice selfies not with clothes on. If someone’s really into their outfit and wants to take a pic in the work bathroom, that’s fine, as long as they remain in said outfit to do so. There’s kind of a Venn Diagram thing going on, where the circles are “taking naked photos” and “taking photos of yourself at work”. The places where the two circles don’t overlap are no problem. The overlap is what’s going to get someone fired.

                4. Jen S. 2.0

                  Also, and I don’t claim to be a paragon of office efficiency, but taking selfies in the bathroom is not what you’re at work to do, and that goes double for “private pix.” (I also am not sure I’d call bathroom selfies “nice,” but that is not the question I was asked.) No one is saying you can’t ever take a single picture at work, but if you need to go to the mat about it, it says something about your workday priorities.

                5. Safetykats

                  I would caution you against assuming that anything on your cell phone is private and won’t ever appear in public. It’s readily apparent that cell phones aren’t that hard to hack. Unless you’re pretty savvy about your settings for backup of your phone, everything that’s on there is in the cloud as well.

                  But if your question is more employment or work related, your employer can fire you for any behavior on work premises (bathroom, conference room, janitor’s closet) that violates their standards or policies, and can also fire you for any behavior or speech that could be construed as reflecting badly on or being damaging to their business. That has been well supported in court, to the extent that it surprises me every time someone questions it.

                6. Lololol

                  They’re just getting riled up over the original post. I get what you’re trying to say/ask. My response is just be careful what you do at work bc no matter your intentions they can come back to haunt you. Basically it’s not worth the risk.

                7. Teclatrans

                  I don’t think anybody said that nice selfies were a violation of workplace boundaries. LW wad a bit obscure, but given the pants around the ankles and the explicit nature of the FB groups, I believe we are talking about nude shots of intimate areas, possibly including some graphic acts.

              6. LizB

                There’s no such thing as a private spot in your workplace, in my opinion. Taking naked photos of yourself in your own home? Absolutely none of your employer’s business. On company grounds? 100% their business.

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  I think NA might be cross-threading with the notion that there are areas in a workplace where you do have some right to privacy from surveillance, and a bathroom is one of them. But the right not to be videoed there isn’t the same thing as protection of any activity you choose to do.

                2. LizB

                  @fposte Ah, I can see how we’re talking past each other then! From my perspective, there are kind of levels of private. Workplace bathrooms are private in the sense that your coworker shouldn’t follow you in there to make small talk or harangue you about being the Office Pooper, absolutely. But they’re not private in the sense that nothing that an employee could do in there could ever be your company’s business or grounds for firing.

                3. Nervous Accountant

                  Yes LizB & fposte, that’s exactly it, and your example of overlaps is what i was thinking but couldn’t articulate. Thank you. I didn’t thjnk what I said was so outrageous to spur such a strong response from up above. (Can’t reply to certain comments directly so hopefully this doesn’t get lost).

                4. Autumnheart

                  There’s also the factor that office bathrooms are not private, in the sense that people can walk into the bathroom and clearly see you through the gap in the stall, taking a photo of your dick. Even if it were a single-occupant bathroom with a lock, or a UK-style stall with no gaps, it would still be completely inappropriate on principle. But in an American style stall, forget it. People can see you and know what you’re doing! And then there’s the problem of having a bunch of photos of your dick on your phone, at work. Accidentally text the wrong person, or leave your phone somewhere, or have a coworker glance over your shoulder at just the wrong moment, and you’re taking a one-way trip to HR.

                5. ZucchiniBikini

                  Yes, I think of work bathrooms as private in the sense that “this is a part of the building where I should not be surveilled by my employer or co-workers in any way and be left alone to make the intended use of the facility”. So do I have an expectation of privacy in a bathroom? To that extent, yes I do. But does this mean that any activity I might do in a bathroom at work is acceptable? No, I don’t think it means that, quite, although I think the most egregious part of the behaviour is not the *taking* of the selfies but the *publishing* of them in a way that links them to the employer.

                  For all I know, past co-workers HAVE taken suggestive pics in work bathroom stalls and sent to the partners or others – but the key point is they did not put colleagues or management in a position where they had to know about, and respond to, said images. I certainly know plenty of past co-workers who routinely use social media while using the facilities and as long as this isn’t forced to the attention of the workplace, no-one cares.

                  (Of course, as a home-based freelancer, if I wanted to do any of these things, I’d have the option to stop the clock – as I have right now while I drink my morning cup of tea! – and spend time on social media, or, I suppose, taking nude selfies in my bedroom, which is not part of my home office, if I wanted to. But my situation is very atypical in that regard).

              7. whingedrinking

                I mean, from the most purely pragmatic, consequentialist viewpoint, I suppose you could say that if you’re doing something at work that isn’t illegal, doesn’t harm anyone, and can in no way be distinguished from you doing your job with untarnished professionalism, you’re probably fine to take a very quick shot of your boobs or whatever if that makes you happy. It’s not a *great* thing to do at work, but let’s be real. I’m not getting paid to read Pride and Prejudice on my phone for thirty seconds while I’m on the toilet either, but I can’t see that it actually matters as long as I’m going to be in there for that length of time anyway.
                The trick really is that last one, though – it has to be something that no one could reasonably know you’re doing, including not taking an unreasonable amount of time out of your day to do it, not showing them to anyone, etc. Which definitely doesn’t describe this woman the OP is talking about.

                Reply
              8. Ri

                I mean, I think taking the pictures would still be unacceptable, but in that scenario, I don’t see how anyone would ever find out about them. I think the lack of judgment involved in posting the photos, making them clearly identifiable as work photos, etc in the original letter is even worse than the lack of judgment in taking nudes at work to begin with.

                Reply
              9. Jennifer Thneed

                Since when is anywhere in your workplace a private spot? Yes, even the single-hole bathroom. It’s not YOUR place that YOU pay rent for. A workplace a public place, by definition.

                Reply
        2. HeightsHeifer

          Companies generally have difficulty firing employees for concerted activity on their social media pages. An employee complaining about work conditions or their supervisor is generally off limits, but the issue here is the employee taking nude photos of herself at work and posting them during work hours. The NLRB would not consider that a concerted activity.

          Reply
            1. Anna

              Related question: Does it make it even easier since Jane is inviting clients from a place that offers a form of medical care to the Facebook pages where these photos are posted? I mean, it seems like that would be a slam dunk without going into the photos being taken at work (which seems to be another slam dunk, tbh).

              Reply
              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                It’s additional ammunition, yes — but truly, the OP doesn’t need any more. It’s perfectly safe to just fire her for taking naked photos at work.

                Reply
          1. JessaB

            Especially when some of the photos could identify the workplace. Heck a dozen people got fired at a friend’s place for taking normal every day photos at work. They neglected however to turn off their computers with HIPAA protected insurance information on them. It was a nightmare and people got mad that for months after nobody was allowed to have their phones at ALL anywhere near their desks, because seriously stupid. Those kind of violations are like over 10k a hit if you get caught at them. So even regular plain pictures can get you fired.

            I’d also have the office contact FB and have those removed. They have some right to have that done if the pics ID their office, her account could end up banned.

            Reply
        3. HRChick

          But they’re not firing her for her FB activities – they’re firing her for her unprofessional activities while on the job in the workplace.

          Reply
        4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          You really don’t need a reason to fire an employee, but there’s certainly no legal barrier to firing someone for taking explicit photos at work, posting them to Facebook, and publicly identifying herself as an employee of OP’s company. From a legal perspective, it makes no difference whether a coworker brought it up or management had found it themselves.

          Reply
        5. Jilly

          If this OP is in the US, but not Montana, she is most likely in an at will employment state. That means that you can fire someone for any reason outside of membership in a protected class. Now the fired person may very well sue and the whole process can cost time and money or generate bad PR, but that doesn’t mean there is any actual legal boundary to firing someone for their social media activity.

          Reply
          1. Natalie

            There are protected activities as well, which is the kind of unlawful firing Augusta Stringbean is likely thinking of. As part of a general protection for labor organizing, most employees are entitled to do things like discuss work with coworkers, even if that discussion happens on social media.

            Reply
          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Even in Montana she can be fired for this. The only difference is that you have to fire for cause, and this is certainly cause.

            Reply
            1. snuck

              Yup! Even if it’s not at will… no one is going to seriously consider it reasonable that she continued to link her work place to her FB after a request not to… and then post nudes taken IN work on the internet during work hours to sex pages, with a profile linking her nude photo to the name of the company.

              No one. No….one.

              Reply
        6. Observer

          That’s actually not accurate. Companies do NOT have problems firing over facebook posts – it happens all the time. The only issue is if the facebook posts in question amount to legally protected activity, such as trying to organize a protest at your place of work, or reveals membership in a protected class and that membership is the reason you fired them. eg You discover that your employee is married to a member or race x or a member of religion b.

          Reply
          1. Raider

            Yes, I was thinking it’s dangerous for readers to think companies have problems firing over Facebook posts, or Twitter tweets, or whatever. It happens All. The. Time. It’s so common now, the several most recent examples I know of personally don’t even warrant making the local news. (DON’T complain about your boss or company online. It’s surprising how often people lose jobs over something so simple.)

            Reply
              1. Wintermute

                THAT actually may be illegal. Under the Obama NLRB it would have most certainly been ruled in their favor, under the current administration it’s much more doubtful (remember the Obama NLRB is the one that said a requirement of employees to “keep a positive attitude” was illegal, because it interfered with their right to be upset about working conditions, theoretically and potentially). the line between “complaining about work” and “protected labor activism” is mighty thin.

                Reply
              2. aebhel

                This is why you just don’t complain about your job on social media attached to your real name. Baffled me how many people don’t use pseudonyms online.

                Reply
        7. Nita

          Well, there’s also the fact that she’s friending patients. And that if her coworkers can see what she’s up to, she’s probably not restricting access to her photos and her patient “friends” can probably see them too. And if her judgement is so poor, could she be hitting on patients? And depending on the nature of her work, the patients may be in a vulnerable position she can abuse (she may have access to all kinds of personal data) and feel like they can’t tell her to get lost.

          Exposing patients to your inappropriate Facebook content (that you’ve been warned about) may be grounds for disciplinary action all by itself.

          Reply
          1. JessaB

            Heck if she is in any way identifying these people as patients she’s smack dab in the middle of a major HIPAA violation as a member of medical staff at a doctor’s office she’s covered. If anyone can figure out from her page that person x is a patient of Dr y, she has an issue.

            Reply
          2. Anonymoose

            “Well, there’s also the fact that she’s friending patients. ” AMEN. This alone is unprofessional.

            Reply
            1. Kj

              The friending of patients is BAD! I’m in mental health and I would NEVER be friends with a client or ex-client or client’s parent. I doubt it is a HIPAA violation (I mean, unless she’s really stupid), but it is an ethical violation.

              Reply
              1. Fiona

                This! It is definitely an ethical violation to friend patients on social media and grounds for termination even without the naked photos taken at work (and friending patients on social media on which you post naked photos….shudder). She clearly had terrible judgment and I would have a very difficult time with finding her to be reliable in other contexts.

                Reply
          3. Rachel - HR

            Working in the mental health field in HR, I can say very clearly that added clients as Facebook friends is grounds for termination period.

            Reply
        8. Anonymoose

          “Companies have had trouble firing employees based on what the employees have posted on Facebook. ” Really? I have read the exact opposite. What could they possibly fight against. First amendment isn’t covered by this unless they work for a government agency…?

          Reply
        9. TootsNYC

          Have companies truly had difficulty firing people because of what they posted on Facebook?

          Few employers need to give a reason for firing someone, has been my impression, as long as they can defend themselves against a charge of firing based on a protected class.

          Reply
          1. fposte

            As mentioned above, I think somebody is misremembering the impact of some concerted activity rulings. It doesn’t protect Facebook activity per se; it just protects concerted activity that happens to take place on Facebook.

            Reply
      2. Annabelle

        Agreed. I’m all for people doing whatever sex-related stuff they want to on their own time, but I would be really uncomfortable to know someone handling my personal medical info had such tremendously terrible judgement.

        Reply
      3. sfigato

        The fact that it is medically related (and a therapist no less, which to me is extra-sensitive) is what really puts this into “do not pass go do not collect $200” for me. That shows such bad judgement, and I would have no faith that my private information would stay private.

        Reply
          1. L Dub

            Especially when she’s already friended multiple patients. I would be absolutely furious if I got a friend request from someone in one of my doctor’s offices, to the point that I’d likely find a new doctor immediately.

            Reply
            1. Engineer Girl

              It does kind of out the patient as a patient, doesn’t it? Where else would they have made the connection?
              Would that be a HIPAA violation?

              Reply
              1. bonkerballs

                I don’t think it’s clear at all whether Jane friended them or they friended her. I’ve worked in lots of no profits where my clients find me on facebook and try to friend me.

                Reply
              2. Penny Lane

                It’s not a HIPAA violation, because knowing that Rita Receptionist is now friends with Patty Patient is not revealing that Patty Patient actually goes to see the doctor that Rita works for. It just reveals that they are friends. Now, if Rita posted, “Great seeing you in the office on Thursday – I’ll call you when your test results are in and your next appointment is Friday at 1 pm!” that would be inappropriate.

                Reply
            2. JessaB

              I think it depends on the reason. If my NP had for instance an Intuitive Eating private group on FB and asked her patients if they wanted to join to discuss stuff and kind of group chat about what they were going through, that would be different.

              Reply
            3. Arya Snark

              I used to work near a restaurant that I went to frequently. It was a great family run business – mom, dad & two sons. One son always waited on us as he had a connection to a friend I often went there with. However, I was completely creeped out when I got a friend request from the other brother, whom I had barely ever spoken to for anything other than placing an order, mere moments after using my credit card there. Not once, but twice! Granted, I don’t work near there any longer but I rarely go there now and it was a place I once loved and highly recommended.

              Reply
              1. Gay Drunk Patriots Fan

                That’s an over-reaction. You got “completely creeped out” by a friend request? No. Jesus, anything that isn’t cold iciness is “creepy” these days. I’m creeped out by your comment.

                Reply
                1. Oranges

                  Hey, they can be creeped out by whatever they like. The fact is that wanting to constantly “connect” with your clientele can backfire. See this example. Just because you’re okay with it doesn’t mean Arya has to be okay with it.

                  Personally I would feel annoyed about yet another idiot thinking that I want to somehow be “one” with your business (seriously, I give you money you give me goods/service. I don’t want more).

                  Also over-reacting would be to diss the place on Yelp, get the health inspector involved, send out flyers about the awful (fake) food poisoning, etc. Arya just got uncomfortable and… stopped going/recommending it.

                2. Ali

                  Someone I don’t know, using my credit card information to hit me up on Facebook is creepy AF in my opinion.

            4. Traffic_Spiral

              And not just a regular friend request, an invite to a sex community! That is just so many layers of WTFnotokay.

              Reply
          2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

            I’ll get chewed out in here by others, because I said it before – but will say it again …

            BEFORE PLAYING ON YOUR SMART PHONE, PLAY IT SMART.

            (shields up)

            Reply
        1. kimberly

          therapist doesn’t mean mental health, though.

          It could be massage therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist … many different types of therapists. Honestly, my first thought was PT.

          Regardless, her behavior is totally and completely unprofessional.

          Reply
      4. seejay

        thiiiiiiiiiis. So so so so so so much thiiiiiis.

        I’ve worked with victims of online sex harassment, including sex workers, I’m very pro sex work and sex positive, I live in a liberal city where it is *so* common to see anything just walking out the door. Not much phases me.

        This would phase me. Not because I’m judgemental, but because I expect a certain level of professionalism in certain environments. I *do* want my doctors to be sex positive and non-judgemental so they don’t lecture me and say crappy stuff to me when I tell them specific things (and they are), but if I knew they (or their employees) were conducting indiscriminate orgies in the examination rooms and posting the images online (without blocking identifying features), I’d be so out of there toot de sweet.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          Yes, this. Another sex positivity advocate who thinks this is really egregious.

          She’s had her warning. Find a new therapist who isn’t missing vital elements of professionalism and workplace appropriateness.

          Reply
        2. AKchic

          Agreed. I’m as sex-positive as it gets and this is such a “NO” from me that I can’t stress enough how “no” it is.

          Reply
        3. Aunt Piddy

          Absolutely! I’m 100% sex positive and pro sex work, but Jane’s behavior is a HUGE nope for me. It shows such a staggering lack of judgment and professionalism I would be very uncomfortable with her having access to my personal information.

          And if I was the one SHARING AN OFFICE WITH HER?!?!?! Noooooope. I’d never staple anything again.

          Reply
      5. Penny Lane

        I don’t care if you’ve been in a loving monogamous marriage for 50 years and this is your One True Love and he doesn’t know how to use the Internet. I think it’s dumb for anyone to allow any nude photos of themselves to be taken. Ever. Under any circumstance, except a medical necessity. That’s not “being sex-negative.” It’s just using the brains that god (insert your deity or non-deity of choice) gave us.

        Reply
        1. Lance

          This seems a bit… irrelevant and off on a whole different moral tangent, unless I’m misreading things. What someone wants to do with their own photos is their business, as long as they keep it out and away from the workplace (presuming in most cases that the workplace would have and want nothing to do with such things). That’s the main point here.

          Reply
          1. Penny Lane

            Lance – you’re misreading. I didn’t say it was immoral. I don’t see anything morally wrong with mutually consenting adults taking nude photos of one another. I said it’s a dumb move.

            To be crystal clear, I am not saying I *care* what other people do in this regard. Not my problem. I also am not saying “well, she deserved it” if her partner’s phone gets hacked, or her partner becomes vindictive after a breakup and emails her nude photo to all of her friends and colleagues. Those are awful things and those people need to burn in hell (metaphorically, not literally, because who knows if there is such a thing).

            Reply
        2. Aunt Piddy

          Only if you think there’s something inherently shameful about nudity, which is hilarious considering none of us were born wearing clothing.

          Reply
          1. Penny Lane

            No, Aunt Piddy. I didn’t say there was anything inherently shameful about nudity. However, most people do wish to avoid their own nude pictures being out there in untrustworthy hands and consider it a violation of privacy. The great thing is, people who don’t let their partners take nude pictures of them don’t have to worry that they will ever be used against them, either via someone hacking the partner’s stuff or via a partner who turns bad.

            I suppose I should caveat this is different, of course, if you are participating in an art project or theater where nudity is part of the show and, of course, you are consenting by your participation that it be public.

            But no, I don’t have to be “ashamed of nudity” (my body’s pretty good, thanks!) for me not to want naked pictures out there.

            Reply
      6. SadieMae

        This is what I thought too. If her boundaries are this bad, she has no business handling sensitive patient information.

        Reply
  2. JokeyJules

    hold on, i need to pick my jaw up off the floor…..

    Anyway.
    Personally, I’d much prefer to have to replace a valuable employee than know that my work space is being used for impromptu boudoir photo shoots. Especially when these photo shoots become public. Beyond unprofessional, it’s also unhygienic.

    Reply
    1. Reba

      I literally gasped “AHHHH! NO!” aloud at my desk when I saw the title.

      This is so wildly out of bounds that it’s no surprise OP is unsure how to proceed. If you need more motivation to act, imagine how your other employees feel with this going on around them.

      Reply
      1. Penny Lane

        It’s entirely the opposite. It’s so out of bounds that it’s obvious how to proceed – by firing her. This isn’t a one-off or a reasonable person here. This is a nutjob who also poses a major risk to your practice’s image/reputation. That’s FAR more difficult to overcome than the loss of an office manager.

        Reply
        1. Jesmlet

          I don’t know, I think the cognitive dissonance of not wanting that behavior around but valuing her as an employee isn’t the easiest thing to reconcile. Is the answer obvious? Of course. But is OP allowed to ask for help getting there? Also of course.

          Reply
        2. Reba

          Lots of folks freeze up or feel unsure when bizarre or distressing things happen around them.

          This stuff isn’t covered in training, if training there was.

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            Oh totally! That’s why we, as people with distance from the personal that OP has, are being so clear how wildly out of the norm or acceptable this is.

            I mean, what the literal heck.

            Reply
            1. Jesca

              Yes! Sometimes some people’s behavior does actually make you sit back for a minute and ask “Am I the bananas one here?!” just because the person is reacting so outside the box.

              Reply
          2. Wintermute

            Exactly. People have a script they run in their head, almost like the dialogue trees in a video game. If you ask someone “would you like coffee?” you expect “yes” or “no” and them asking for tea instead might take a moment for you to process but you can probably handle it.

            If instead they stand up and start shouting “Coffee does not exist! don’t lie to me! you’re part of the evil barista conspiracy!” it’s easy to freeze up. You have your mental scripts for ordinary situations, this is so far out in left field that you don’t know HOW to react, so you have to disengage your normal social processing, and switch over to analyze-comprehend-respond mode. If your brain were a computer, you are mentally suspending a processing job and booting up a new one you’re running on background processes. For most people that background process is heavily conflict-avoidant because defaulting to aggressive behavior is not a good trait for a social species.

            This applies most often in-the-moment when something deeply unusual or distressing happens, but even over a longer time frame like this where you have time to consider, it can be hard to get your bearings and properly look at a situation if you have no scale of comparison.

            There’s a reason that “refuge in audacity” works, telling a titanic lie or doing something outrageous can work better than trying to be believable or more socially acceptable if your goal is to deceive or get away with something.

            Reply
            1. Nines

              Seriously. What a great explanation.
              I had no idea background processes are conflict avoidant. But it makes so much sense!

              Reply
    2. EddieSherbert

      +1 I’d feel like I need to wipe down all the surfaces in my office, every time I entered that office…

      Reply
    3. Annabelle

      I audibly said “oh my god!” when I read the part about her taking nude pictures IN FRONT OF HER BOSS’S DESK. Holy poor judgement, Batman.

      Reply
      1. Specialk9

        That was what made me agree with Alison that this isn’t just indulging the tingles at work, but actually doing something AT her boss and place of employment.

        Reply
    4. The Supreme Troll

      Unbelievable…unbelievable! Really, several (and I mean multiple) levels below a lack of judgement…

      Reply
      1. Hills to Die on

        So incredible that it’s almost funny. Not exactly funny but I still have the urge to laugh….OMG. I can’t. Unreal.

        Reply
    5. Meg Murry

      I’d also add – how hard would it be to replace one of the other employees (Mary, Sara or one of the doctors)? Because if I were Mary or Sara and KNEW this kind of thing was happening in my office, I would probably start looking for another place to work where I wouldn’t have to chance coming across one of my coworkers in a state of undress (either in person or online).

      Jane needs to be escorted out, TODAY. Get Mary or Sara or whoever to give you a screenshot of the photo they described to you so you have concrete proof, and then give Jane her walking papers.

      As others have said, if you really want to be kind, you could give her some kind of severence, period of time where her insurance is still covered, and/or don’t contest unemployment if she files for it. But that’s more than enough kindness – she can’t keep her job after this.

      Reply
      1. SoCalHR

        Very good point – one of the huge counter-arguments to “we can’t fire so and so because they are valuable” is, ok well how much are they worth? one other equally good employee? two decent employees? Its common that toxic/misaligned people drive away healthy people if their behavior is allowed to continue.

        Reply
        1. AllIDoIsWin

          It’s also not uncommon to find that someone making these sort of bad judgements at work maybe isn’t so stellar in their performance that you originally thought; there can be a lot of inertia on process improvement when someone has been the job for years. Plus, what isn’t getting done in her job while she’s taking selfies in the work bathroom on work time?

          Reply
          1. Sara without an H

            Yes. When I hear the phrase, “Her work is otherwise excellent,” my first thought is: compared to what? A long-time employee may get a reputation for “excellent” work just by showing up and getting the work (mostly) done.

            Reply
            1. Wintermute

              okay, this metaphor may be a bit tactless but with something THIS outrageous it’s like asking “other than that Ms. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?”

              Reply
      2. SadieMae

        Yes. Be sure to escort her out, and immediately – as in, while you’re still meeting with her to tell her she’s fired – have someone change all your computer and account passwords (if Jane’s the only one who knows the passwords, arrange something with your IT people in advance so you’ll be ready to change everything). Employee records, financial records, bank access – make sure she’s locked out of everything right away, before she leaves your sight. (Even to go to the bathroom – since we know she’s not shy to use her phone in there!)

        Then block her from all of the practice’s presences on social media. (And I would follow up in a few days to be sure she’s updated FB so you are no longer listed as her employer.)

        Good luck, OP. This is tough stuff, and I know you feel for Jane since she’s going through a tough time, and that’s a credit to your good heart – but you’ve been more than accommodating. Time to protect the business, its employees and its patients.

        Reply
      3. Defrockz

        This. I would be looking for other employment so fast, if I knew another employee was doing these sorts of things, and no drastic action has been taken to ensure she stops.

        I want to be proud of the place I work, at least in most ways. I would be embarrassed to continue working there, and possibly have family/friends stumble across these photos where it’s even a tiny bit obvious that they were taken at work.

        She doubled down on the behavior. While a second, more severe warning, is very kind of you, your employee is showing that she doesn’t care about your generosity. Trying to threaten with hostile work environment means she’s only going to get crazier from there. Just put an immediate end to it, before you end up having to replace multiple employees at the same time. You owe it to the other employees in the office.

        Reply
    6. JessaB

      Also if my office were identifiable I’d be worried that someone would think that I gave permission. I don’t care what she wants to do in her spare time, and I do not begrudge anyone any kink or sex practise they want to indulge in providing there’s actual consent, but doing it in my personal space gives it a potential imprimatur that I do not want to give without being ASKED first. And in an office space the answer would be NO, this is inappropriate at work.

      Reply
      1. Chinook

        Yup. I would assume that someone who has taken a photo in the office had permission to do so and would wonder what other type of activity is going on there.

        Reply
  3. Enough

    Instead of separating her activities from the business Jane has doubled down. This is not going to change. She unfortunately needs to go.

    Reply
    1. Naptime Enthusiast

      Agreed, I’d say the first conversation was adequate warning for any reasonable employee. It’s time to start the paperwork and post the job opening.

      Reply
    2. CM

      I agree. And when confronted she claimed that they were creating a “hostile work environment.” She is not going to stop and does not believe she is wrong.

      Reply
      1. I Love Thrawn

        I don’t get how she could possibly have thought this would remain private, the way she’s going about it.

        Reply
        1. Specialk9

          I mean, it was a good strategy because she used the words lawsuit and hostile workplace, and the company utterly folded. (Understandably, lots of people fall for that line, which is why AAM writes posts like the last link on why hostile workplace isn’t what people think.)

          OP, her lawsuit case is nonsense. Even if she goes through with it, all you have to do is state the facts. But she’s not likely to because then it’s public record. (Though she isn’t making the best choices, and seems vindictive – maybe more that I hope for her sake that she is wise enough to let it go.)

          If you want to try to nip it in the bud, you can tell her you talked to your lawyer (and actually have) and that this situation does not meet the criteria for hostile workplace or wrongful dismissal.

          Reply
        1. Goya de la Mancha

          Well in her crazy logic, that co-worker took a personal (although somewhat publicly known) situation and brought the employer into it. To Jane, it’s probably akin to outing someone at work or taking pictures of their ostomy bag – NOT that it is or would stand in court, that’s just how her brain is firing right now.

          Reply
    3. Annabelle

      Yeah, the fact that she responded to the first conversation by upping the ante makes me think that it’ll only get worse if she isn’t let go.

      Reply
      1. Nonny Mouse

        Agree. And that she’s involving patients/clients in this indicates that if given the chance to engage in sexual behavior with one of those patients/clients in the workplace is a big risk for the business as well.

        Reply
        1. Nonny Mouse

          Agree. And that she’s involving patients/clients in this indicates that if given the chance to engage in sexual behavior with one of those patients/clients in the workplace Jane would absolutely do so, which is a big risk for the business as well. (clarified comment)

          Reply
    4. PersephoneUnderground

      I was kinda impressed by the manipulation in her first response- she is told something she doesn’t like so she overreacts massively and threatens a law suit and pretends to be the wronged party. She successfully distracted them from enforcing the decision about her removing the connections between the workplace and her risque groups by making the new worry about if *she’ll* let it go.

      Notice how it went from “we asked her to do x” -> “she overreacted” -> “whew! she dropped it”… and lost in there is the fact that she never had to do x! Then later we find out (surprise!) she’s escalated the behavior.

      This woman is *good*- in an OMG fire her already way.

      Reply
  4. The Person from the Resume

    Fire her now!

    It’s terrible judgment. She was told to stop associating your office with the activity, and she did not. also she’s apparently spending work time doing showing terrible judgment and not working in order to do sex things.

    Just fire her!

    Just so you know, you knowing about her extracurricular activities don’t create a hostile work environment. That’s a legal term which has nothing to do with this. She has no legal standings to avoid being fired. Fired her now.

    Reply
    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      I am not a lawyer, but if there’s any risk of a lawsuit I would think it’s from other employees who risk being exposed to Jane…exposing herself, especially *after* the employer knows she’s doing this and isn’t intervening to stop it! She’s doing this in common areas, that even patients might recognize as their medical office, or might even walk in on her (depending on the setup)!

      Reply
        1. neverjaunty

          Correct. “I’m going to sue you for firing me because I took nude photos of myself at work and tried to hook up with patients!” is the kind of threat lawyers laugh about over happy hour.

          Reply
      1. Brandy

        If I was a patient and saw this I would call the offices judgment into question. You could loose patients. Plus shes doubling down and acting like a bully, if she yells loud and long enough you’ll leave her alone she feels. Show her who is the boss, she needs to know its not her.

        Reply
        1. CM

          Not only that, she invited a patient to join the group! I would not go back to that office if I were the patient.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth West

            THIS, omg.

            I had a problem with a doctor who took me off a medication and refused to take my calls afterward (I wanted to discuss alternatives). I complained to the office manager and she handled it. Had it not been handled, I likely would have done the same thing and started looking for a new clinic.

            Reply
          2. Roja

            This was the worst part to me. I’m not a fan of her being friends with any patients on facebook in general and inviting them to join explicit groups is so far over the professional line that I’m kind of shocked the office hasn’t had a major exodus of patients yet. That’s the kind of thing that goes viral online and by word of mouth.

            Reply
          3. Gingerblue

            Seriously. They know about this, and haven’t stopped it? After she’s sexually harassed patients, posed naked in your office, and threatened a fellow employee? The bit with the patient is so far over the line that if she wasn’t immediately fired for that there’s no way I could trust this office with my medical or financial information.

            Reply
            1. Wintermute

              You have a very good point, if I was a co-worker I’d be scared. What WOULD she have to do to get fired? Walk in naked? Stab someone?

              On the other hand, I’m so sick of having no job security I’d probably be happy that my workplace made it clear you would never be fired no matter what.

              Reply
          4. Old Admin

            And *that* (inviting a patient to a s3x picture group) is the absolute kicker, as in damaging the reputation of the practice.

            Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Absolutely. There’s no hostile work environment claim on Jane’s behalf. But if an employee walked in to find her pantsless at OP’s desk? That, plus her other photos, could easily create a hostile work environment claim for the other employees against Jane.

        OP, fire her. She’s totally out of her gourd and has lost all sense of perspective. The fact that she would double-down, let alone vaguely threaten legal action, indicates this is not someone who can be reasoned with. And frankly, I can’t think of a progressive discipline plan that would work when an employee is flagrantly violating basic social norms and being aggressively, bullishly insubordinate.

        Reply
      1. EddieSherbert

        The link for this page that we’re on ends with “jane-has-lost-her-mind”. You should see it in the URL bar at the top of the page :)

        Reply
  5. Mike C.

    Just fire her. Holy crap, just fire her.

    If you’re worried about not being able to attract good talent, then be willing to spend the money to hire someone good.

    Reply
      1. a name

        Pack it up after she leaves for the day, FedEx it to her house, and terminate her via email on a Friday night.

        Reply
        1. Temperance

          I wouldn’t want to touch anything near that woman’s desk without elbow length rubber gloves and those tongs that you use at crime scenes. Yuck.

          Reply
          1. rubyrose

            Reminds me of when I fired someone for non-performance and doing political activities on work time, using company assets. When we clean out his desk we found two open KY jelly tubes.

            Reply
            1. K.

              We found condoms in my former boss’s office after he left (he left voluntarily for a better job). He was married and lived really far from that office so we were like, his wife probably wasn’t coming down here to visit, who was he entertaining in this office? And also, gross.

              Reply
    1. Snark

      And what, I ask, will come of this company’s ability to attract and retain good talent, if this company becomes known for continuing to employ a boundary-challenged erotomaniac who uses the ladies’ bathroom stalls as her personal production studio?

      Reply
      1. Ambpersand

        I would be wary of any doctors office that employed someone like this, and if I were that client who’d been solicited? I’d make sure everyone I knew should stay far, far away.

        Reply
        1. Snark

          “We’d love to make you an offer to join Dr. Fergusson’s practice, Dr. Janeway.”

          “…..wait, is this the same Dr. Fergusson whose llama hygenist was posting nudes to Facebook? HAHAHNO.”

          Reply
          1. Falling Diphthong

            Word is sure to spread.

            Jane: “All I did was post things on the internet; how was I to know someone could actually see them?”

            Reply
          2. Snark

            “Word is sure to spread.”

            Dude, it’s a work-friendly site; you can’t set me up that beautifully for a dirty joke.

            Reply
        2. Dust Bunny

          This. This so much.

          I would also, as a coworker, be pretty mad that my boss was too much of a coward to fire this froot loop. They must be putting themselves at risk of losing *other* talent by not dealing with this.

          Reply
      2. Falling Diphthong

        This reminds me of a comment in defense of management not firing a terrible employee who was throttling morale–maybe it wasn’t bad management BUT management that realized it is unpleasant to be fired?

        Reply
        1. Falling Diphthong

          Realized I might need to clarify–that is, no one wants to work for management who is too “nice” to fire anyone for anything, no matter how egregious.

          Reply
          1. Specialk9

            Exactly. *Nobody* should strive to be nice. Nice is a terrible goal that often actively harms you and those around you. Strive to be kind, to have a good heart, and to be ethical.

            As a manager, be all of those things and also strive to create a healthy workplace and to treat your employees as valued.

            Creating a healthy workplace can mean firing toxic people, in a kind and ethical way. It’s hard, but good goals always are hard.

            Reply
            1. Bolistoli

              These are both so true. I had a manager who was too nice. I think she is a lovely person, but was a terrible manager. We ended up with a overly large team bloated with underperformers because she was too nice to let anyone go, or even criticize their work for that matter. She even wanted to promote someone whose team went over budget by 500+ hours, because “she had worked so hard”. The rest of us constantly paid the price of having to clean up the others’ messes.

              Reply
      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Seriously. Is there no concern re: retaining other employees or patients? OP, fire her yesterday. No skill set or re-hiring difficulty justifies keeping her.

        Reply
      4. Pomona Sprout

        AND what will become of this company’s ability to attract and retain patients? If word gets out about this employee’s behavior (and she hasn’t been fired by the time it does), patients will start taking their business elsewhere. This is a p.r. nightmare in the making.

        Please, OP, fire this person before it’s too late.

        Reply
    2. Brandy

      And don’t give her notice of firing, it should be on the spot. This woman is the type that will sabotage your work. By her doing this now at work, shes shown retaliation inclinations.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        Absolutely. Fire her the way you’d treat hazardous medical waste – immediately, professionally, with all sharps in a designated container, and with gloves on.

        Reply
          1. Liane

            And after it is autoclaved, it goes into a big Biohazard box lined with a giant Biohazard bag to be taken offsite to an incinerator licensed to handle biohazard waste.
            I used to be a microbiology tech in the medical device industry and what Jane is doing is way grosser than what I worked with.

            Reply
            1. Goya de la Mancha

              LOVE that show….I binge watch it at least once a year :)

              (Also – Pebbles is the name of my car!)

              Reply
      2. Annabelle

        This. Plus like, I think your employer having to say “please stop taking nude pictures in the office” is a pretty solid indication that your job isn’t 100% safe.

        Reply
        1. So Very Anonymous

          I think anytime someone has to say “Please stop CONTINUING to take nude pictures in the office, we’ve talked about this already,” it’s firing time.

          Reply
    3. Bostonian

      Seriously. OP, you CAN find good, talented employees that won’t behave so inappropriately. She wants to post suggestive/nude photos? OK. Don’t do it at work, and don’t attach the office’s name to it. You made a perfectly reasonable request when you asked her to remove the office’s name from her personal site, and she doubled down and threatened all kinds of ridiculous legal action. This person is a ticking time bomb.

      Reply
    4. Sara without an H

      Yes. She’s already had one warning and apparently blown it off. She needs to go, now.

      Revise the job description, make sure your salary is competitive for the market, and start looking for a replacement. Her skill set is not all that exotic.

      Reply
  6. Temperance

    LW, Jane has become what Captain Awkward calls a “missing stair”. I mean, her behavior is so inappropriate and shocking – and SHE is the one creating a “hostile work environment” by stripping (!) in your office (!!) and inviting patients to look at her nude photos (!!!). This is beyond an issue that I would write to an advice columnist about, because she should have been immediately terminated the first time she took sexually explicit photos in your office and sent them to a CLIENT.

    Reply
      1. Temperance

        RIGHT?!?! I feel scandalous just taking off my shoes in my private office, but she’s dropping trou in front of someone else’s desk?! During the workday?!?

        Reply
        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

          That part brought back all the flashbacks from an old job, of Horny Boss proudly telling me about how he and his mistress/my teammate had “christened” most of the cubicles and offices in the workplace, including mine. Eww. At least they did it on weekends when nobody else was in.

          Reply
          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            That’s super gross. It’s actually so gross that it could be on the sex discrimination spectrum. Why are people so deranged about this stuff!??

            Reply
          2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

            Agree with everyone’s comments! That was the job I left in a hurry after 18 months, because I was beyond tired of all the drama.

            Reply
        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          All the interrobangs are such a great indicator of how wildly crazy this story is (and how wildly crazy Jane’s behavior is). I don’t care what she’s going through, she’s behaving like a lunatic and sucking clients into it!?? Fire her, fire her, fire her!

          Reply
          1. Merci Dee

            . . . interrobangs . . . .

            That’s such a fun word, and it’s a shame that it doesn’t get brought up more in conversation. Of course, I don’t typically run into situations such as having my co-workers undress in the office, so it’s no great surprise that I can’t remember in the clutch what those lovely little bits of punctuation are called.

            Reply
    1. boo bot

      Seriously! She solicited a PATIENT of the medical practice where she works. That is so beyond the pale I don’t even care about the pants-around-the-ankles-in-the-workplace issue.

      … okay, I care a little. Also the URL made me laugh for real :)

      Reply
      1. Aveline

        In my state, the doctor could be in trouble for her doing that, depending on the facts of the situation.

        I know of a case where a male nurse solicited sex from a female patient publicly on Facebook. Because he outed her as a patient, doctor was in trouble.

        Some states take confidentiality so seriously that you cannot let anyone know that Lilly is your patient.

        Reply
        1. Persephoneunderground

          Well, yes! It’s most obviously a problem when you’re a specialist or work somewhere specialized- sometimes the fact that she is a patient in itself discloses medical information even if it’s nonspecific. Example: nurse in a substance abuse treatment center discloses someone is a patient. Or an oncologist, or a psychiatrist. Pretty much anyone not a General Practitioner- the specialty tells people something about the patient.

          Reply
      2. paul

        Yep. And I’m wondering if it’s a mental health practice since they mentioned a therapist on staff. That’s twigging my red flags, particularly when combined with her habit of friending patients. Hell’s bells, she needs gone.

        Reply
      3. Serin

        It’s soliciting a patient that’s the worst thing. The rest of this shows poor judgment and poor taste — but soliciting a patient is predatory behavior towards a person in a vulnerable position.

        If I were seeing a healthcare practitioner and someone on the staff invited me to join an online sex group, I cannot express how much that would freak me out. (And I’m an erotica writer.)

        She needs to be fired yesterday.

        Reply
        1. Oranges

          This was the point that stood out to me also. Like just all the nope. Not okay. All aboard the nope-express to nope-town populated by nope octopi.

          Reply
      4. Wintermute

        Now now, lets be fair, maybe she read “solicit new clients” in her job description and had a tragic misunderstanding…

        Reply
    2. This Daydreamer

      Now, now. Let’s not give someone a hard time for writing in. I, for one, really needed a good laugh today.

      Reply
    3. Cheryl Blossom

      Actually, it was Cliff Pervocracy who coined the term “missing stair”, in the great post I’m linking here– just click my username. Captain Awkward and many others have caught onto it and used it a lot, though!

      Reply
    4. Lurks@Work

      It’s almost missing stair, but not quite. The writer understand this is bad and wants it fixed. She’s not trying to make excuses for her behavior or asking anyone else to work around it. It could get to missing stair territory very quickly if the writer doesn’t fire her.

      Reply
  7. BadPlanning

    If it’s a health practice, is there also an issue with possible posting of private medical information in the background of a photo?

    Reply
    1. Like The City

      I would think that would be an issue. I manage a call center and we have to be care of any photos (cell phones in general, really) because we’re dealing with customers’ contact information and payment details so I’m sure things are even more strict when dealing with medical information.

      Reply
    2. dr_silverware

      It’s possible, and may come in handy if you’re casting around for something else to fire her for, but I don’t know if HIPAA is the immediate problem here.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        Yes, Mrs. Lincoln, we’ve all heard….but did you notice how the lead actor flubbed his line right after intermission?

        Reply
          1. Snark

            Yeah, but when you catch the mobster literally strangling Fredo with his bare hands, you don’t need to worry about tax fraud.

            Reply
          2. dr_silverware

            Jokes aside, you’re right that taking photos around PHI is really dicey, but I just don’t think OP needs that to fire Jane based on potential HIPAA violations–the details in the letter are totally enough.

            Reply
            1. rubyrose

              I would expect it to be.

              When Alison put out the call a couple of months ago for pictures of pets at work, I took one of my dog in front of my three monitors. I work with health care data. I made sure that in addition to no PHI, my company name did not appear anywhere. Someone from my company would know, based on the desktop image, but it does not identify my company.

              Reply
      2. Observer

        Actually, I don’t agree. It’s not the ONLY problem. But it IS a very real problem, because it is one of the ways that these shenanigans could truly destroy the practice.

        Also, because the OP seems to be worried about legalities and doesn’t seem to realize that TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, VERY BAD judgement is enough to warrant firing, it’s worth reminding them that what is happening is a legal problem.

        Reply
        1. dr_silverware

          Yes–the more I think about it, the more I agree with you. Worth biting the bullet and making sure there’s no PHI in those pictures, maybe; but still, if there’s not, it’s just a serious risk and not a fait accompli.

          Reply
    3. Aveline

      Also, if she is going after patients online, it could be a problem.

      Could anyone tell from her posts that she knew the person she solicited from the practice? Depending upon the facts, that may be a problem.

      Doctors in my area won’t even confir, someone is a patient without a waiver.

      She’s a minefield. For several reasons.

      Reply
      1. This Daydreamer

        She could be inadvertently posting client information. She’s taking these pics during the workday, so there could be paperwork in the background or something.

        Reply
  8. MuseumChick

    Fire her for terrible judgement. Also, she clearly has no idea what the legal definition of “hostile workplace” is.

    Reply
  9. K.

    [reads title of post]

    [bursts out laughing]

    I’m sorry, OP, I know this is a legitimate issue that you must deal with, but sometimes people do stuff that is so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh. And declaring that her not being allowed to link her employer to her explicit photos is a hostile work environment?! Come on, Jane.

    I’d fire her now. She doesn’t seem inclined to stop, and this is egregious, comically unprofessional behavior.

    Reply
    1. MechanicalPencil

      I also enjoy the link name.

      OP, you’ve already warned her to remove anything from her profile linking her to the health practice. She hasn’t. If anything, she’s strengthened the tie by taking photos in the office, which could compromise PPI/PHI. For a handful of reasons, I think you’re fully within your rights to fire her. Finding a replacement will be a bear, but it was always a possibility anyway.

      Reply
        1. K.

          And the title is indeed accurate, for Jane has LOST HER MIND.

          … I have seriously been laughing about this for 15 minutes. Not just the title, but the whole situation.

          Reply
        2. Jesca

          I know this is terrible, but I am literally dying right now just from the URL alone. I mean if ever anyone has ever lost her ever loving mind, it is this woman. Poor OP. Just fire her and move on.

          Reply
        3. Specialk9

          Oh yeah, I saw this title and just closed AAM on my browser and switched to my phone on mobile network. I don’t even want to explain to IT that really, I’m just reading an HR blog, I promise!

          Reply
      1. Detective Amy Santiago

        It’s my fave. I read the headline and immediately went to copy the link so I could share it with a friend and just about died laughing.

        Reply
    2. Yetanotherjennifer

      I burst out laughing too. And I really needed it!

      I can’t speak from experience, but I have heard that people newly divorced can be a little crazy during that first year, but this is pretty extreme.

      Reply
      1. CaliCali

        I (unfortunately) CAN speak from experience, and while there is…quite a bit of truth to that, it’s a big leap from “sowing your oats” to “taking nudes at the office and sharing in FB groups and then acting INDIGNANT when called out on it and then doubling down on every component of it”

        Reply
    1. MuseumChick

      My guess is Jane will threaten to sue and kick up a lot of dust on her way out. The best thing the OP can do is document the behavior (screen shots, get the people who reported this to write out a statement, etc). So if Jane does find some scumbag lawyer to take her case they will be prepared.

      Reply
      1. Augusta Sugarbean

        I’m so curious on what grounds she’d threaten to sue. But yeah, good call on collecting supporting evidence beforehand.

        Reply
        1. MuseumChick

          She already (inaccurately) brought up “hostile workplace”. Which makes me think she is the type to bring up a totally frivolous lawsuit.

          Reply
          1. Augusta Sugarbean

            Yeah, I saw that. I just mean it would be entertaining to me to read whatever foolish reason she came up with.

            Reply
            1. Thornus67

              I’ve dealt with plenty of crazy pro se plaintiffs in my former (and hopefully future) labor and employment practice to know that won’t necessarily stop her from bringing her own lawsuit.

              Reply
          2. Natalie

            Although as discussed on the letter about being more assertive with customers, actual lawsuits rarely start with threats to sue.

            Reply
          3. Wintermute

            The good news is that while sure, you can proceed pro se, most people can’t handle the paperwork and technicalities of a filing without a lawyer. So in practical terms she’d have to find a lawyer to file suit. And no lawyer would touch this with a ten-foot pole. It’s SO non-meritorious that you could jeopardize your bar membership by bringing such a ludicrously frivolous claim before a court.

            Reply
          1. Pebbles

            “Sex discrimination” HA!

            “No Jane, it is not discrimination to say we won’t permit you to do sexual things anywhere you like.”

            Reply
      2. paul

        If I had a quarter for every time someone threatened to sue me/my employer I could buy a decent lunch. I’ve never personally been served, and I’m not sure if the organization’s been served or not (I could miss that) but I know it’s never lost a lawsuit.

        Reply
        1. kittymommy

          Every time someone comes in my office threatening lawsuit (or media) I just let them know our legal office is down the hall if they would like to discuss “pending” litigation. I have also told them to make sure the press spell my name right.

          Reply
        2. Wintermute

          This. Threats are cheap, lawyers are expensive, and bringing ludicrous claims to court can jeopardize your bar membership so lawyers are disinclined to participate in farces.

          If served, comply fully with all legal procedures to avoid a default judgement against you, and lawyer up, but I contribute to a legal advice forum quite frequently and regularly, and we hear a LOT of threats and very few people ever update saying they got served paperwork.

          Reply
  10. Damn it, Hardison!

    Just when you think you’ve read it all, someone ups the ante! As others have said, this shows an extreme lack of judgment. Alison’s advice is spot on.

    Reply
      1. Detective Amy Santiago

        I want to hire the most out there letter subjects and make a reality show of them working together.

        Michelle the quick change artist, Sally from The Master letter, the LW who ghosted his ex, the dude who stole the spicy food and blamed the person he stole from … it would be glorious.

        Reply
        1. MuseumChick

          Don’t forget Sarah, the pushy employee who could let winning be enough for her and wrong her grand boss an email trying to get her immediate boss fire/demoted.

          Reply
          1. MuseumChick

            Oh, and the guy who made an employee put a letter on a grave, the guy who caused a person’s horse to die, and the guy who didn’t let a co-worker know his wife was in surgery and get his union to reinstate him.

            Reply
              1. Detective Amy Santiago

                Yes! That manager and the “un”manager as leaders.

                Jane here and some of the Duck Club folks might make it difficult to get a network to broadcast though.

                Reply
                1. Sylvan

                  The unmanager wrote an update. She says she’s getting help, she gets how bad it was, and she’s not planning in working in management any time soon. :)

                  I have nothing to say for the others, though!

          2. So Very Anonymous

            I actually think this should be the whole show. Alison could play a career counselor who has to counsel these people, and then we see the crazy things they’ve done in flashbacks… with lots of hilarious reaction shots of Alison + what’s going on in Alison’s mind as she processes all this stuff.

            Reply
          1. Specialk9

            See, now I feel bad for the quick change lady. She’s seriously quirky, but not mean or criminal or vicious like the rest. Let’s let her do a cameo, like being the receptionist checking them in but a different look for each person, minutes apart. And then let her go home, with a check in hand.

            Then again, then she might be unemployable because of having been on reality tv.

            Reply
        2. PB

          I would so watch this! I’d be making a betting pool with my friends about how long it will take before ghosting ex ghosts again.

          Reply
    1. Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins

      I wish I could post a picture of my face when I read the title! Horror and shock doesn’t even cover it.

      Reply
    2. Long Time Reader, First Time Poster

      I read the OP while on a boring videoconference. Everyone in the meeting DID see my face when I got to the ‘pants around the ankles’ part. :-O

      Reply
  11. Snark

    Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet Christ. OP, nobody’s so valuable to any organization that they should remain employed after taking nude self shots at work and posting them to Facebook groups she’s invited clients to! This person should have her shit in a box before lunch, whether she’s a high performer or not.

    Reply
    1. Middle School Teacher

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Holy mackerel.

      OP, no one is irreplaceable. Enormous is not insurmountable. Plus (and obviously IANAL), but could there not be some legal blowback if you knew this was happening IN YOUR OFFICE, which should be a place of confidentiality, and didn’t do anything other than “so yeah, if you could stop it, that’d be great”?

      Reply
      1. Annabelle

        This whole thing is absolutely bonkers, but the fact that Jane was taking nudes in the literal office makes it way crazier to me. Who does that??

        Reply
    2. Tuxedo Cat

      If Jane died tomorrow, was in a coma, or suddenly chose to move across the world, they’d deal. It wouldn’t be fun but the office would figure it out.

      Reply
    3. KR

      Seconding this! OP, there are plenty of people who can do front desk work/billing/bookkeeping in a medical office who won’t strip and take nude photos in the workplace! People who would be mortified to even think of doing that! People who won’t friend your patients on Facebook which seems like a bad thing to do (though I don’t have a Facebook or work in a medical office so I might be wrong). People who will listen when you ask them to do or not do something instead of doubling down and threatening to sue! Fire her!

      Reply
      1. WellRed

        Hmm. This is outside of the question, but I think it might be good practice to have a policy on NOT friending patients on FB.

        Reply
        1. Penny Lane

          It probably is a good idea to have such a policy, but it’s difficult in some medical practices, such as obstetrics, where office staff / nurses do recommend their friends come to the practice. In other words, they were friends first and then their friend started seeing the doctor.

          Reply
    4. neverjaunty

      I strongly suspect that once she’s fired, they’re going to discover Jane was not quite as high a performer as they thought she was.

      Reply
  12. Shadowette

    “She became irate, saying that our awareness of it created a “hostile work environment” for her. ” You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Seriously though, I know a lot of people who throw “hostile work environment” around without knowing the legal context. Please don’t be afraid of this either.

    Reply
    1. Shiara

      This. OP, it sounds like you are concerned that your and your office’s actions might be genuinely be construed as a “hostile work environment” if you try to discipline her for it. But, while I am not a lawyer, I really do not think she has any legitimate claim (unless people are trying to raise it with her in a particularly crude way). You are absolutely allowed to tell her that she cannot take nude photos in the office (!!!!!) and that she cannot publicly link your office with sexually explicit activities on social media (!!!!). And fire her if she continues to do so. (Or just… fire her. Seriously.)

      Reply
    2. Lynca

      Jane flew off the handle when asked to not tie her after-work activities to the business (completely legal and reasonable) and then escalated it by bringing it to the business grounds.

      I don’t think she has a leg to stand on.

      Reply
      1. Lefty

        Not even a leg with pants around the ankle?!

        Agreed- any sort of legal claims she would make here are laughable.

        Reply
    3. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

      A “hostile work environment” is Jane’s co-workers seeing her without clothes on in the office.

      Reply
    4. Bea

      Seriously. I’ve dealt with people who think that they’ll just threaten to sue if terminated. Cool story, Jane. Go lawyer up and see where it gets you. As a business owner you cannot let these threats worry you, if you did nothing but fire someone for posting nudes from your bathroom trolololol have fun explaining that to all the investigation folks. Fk.

      Reply
    5. Airy

      Thanks to Ask A Manager I was able to warn a friend not to mention “hostile work environment” when explaining why she’d left a job in which her boss was mean to her – just not in a legally discriminatory way. However, my friend is not, like Jane, what I believe professionals call “bananas.”

      Reply
      1. Spooky

        It’s possible. There’s a Facebook group dedicated to sexytimes in the workplace, so I mentally group those things together.

        Plus, FaceTime/video chat is a thing, so…I mean, you just don’t know, and that’s what makes it so absolutely amazing. (And horrifying, but hilarious nonetheless.)

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Oh, geez, it didn’t even occur to me some of this could be streaming. Live, from the office bathroom, it’s Jane!

          Reply
          1. Detective Amy Santiago

            I definitely picked up that implication from this:

            Yesterday she went to use the bathroom (which is private) at least four times, staying in there for over 10 minutes each time with her phone in hand and all I could do was picture what she could be doing in there.

            Reply
              1. Temperance

                Honestly, for some reason, I had convinced myself that she was just taking pictures of her butt. THAT WAS ALL.

                Reply
            1. EvilQueenRegina

              It’s a bit of a running joke where I work about my one coworker who is always disappearing to the bathroom with her phone and always says she’s going on FB messenger in there. Now I find myself wondering what else she might be doing in there.

              Reply
              1. Various Assumed Names

                I’m always taking longer bathroom breaks to check my group texts and fb messages! I wonder what my coworkers think about me!

                Reply
                1. Annie Moose

                  ME TOO. Now I feel like I must take the shortest bathroom breaks possible lest someone get the wrong idea.

            1. Detective Amy Santiago

              I have a friend who used to do these posts on FB where she would ask all of her friends to take pictures of [some random thing] and send them to her and she’d compile them.

              One day she asked for pictures of our shoes. I felt weird taking that and sending it from the office bathroom.

              Reply
            2. Gen

              If the internet has proven anything it’s that if you can think of something there’s someone out there who finds it erotic.

              Reply
              1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego

                Yes, I think of this often while at work. A bunch of sweaty, muddy women in high viz clothing, kneeling and/or bending down in the dirt digging holes. Someone out there would download that, I’m sure.

                Reply
  13. Zip Silver

    Of all the websites to post nudes of yourself on, Facebook is the last one I’d use. Let her go, *especially* because she’s posting them on Facebook and lists your company on FB as well.

    Reply
      1. Rectilinear Propagation

        This plus the escalation really makes it look like it’s deliberate and not just a lack of judgement. There are ways to do this w/o dragging work into it and she picked one of the few sites online where most people use their real name.

        Reply
        1. Smithy

          Completely agree with this.

          The act of taking nude photos at work alone in relatively private spaces (single occupancy toilet, private office) – while risky isn’t innately problematic. The fact that she’s doing it in a forum that’s so clearly visible and now we’ll know to her employers is showing an utter lack of judgement far beyond just taking nude photos at work.

          Reply
          1. Buffy Summers

            “The act of taking nude photos at work alone in relatively private spaces (single occupancy toilet, private office) – while risky isn’t innately problematic.”

            I completely disagree. Your sex life never belongs in the office. Taking nude photos of yourself on company time – whether in a private office or in your open floor plan desk is never okay. Just…no.

            Reply
    1. Smithy

      I have to say….of all the (many) problems with this, the lack of judgement is the greatest concern. It would in no way surprise me to learn that there are loads of folks who engage in sharing nude photos from work. But the fact that in this case it’s so blatantly tied to her place of employment and easy to stumble across is worrisome.

      Reply
      1. MsSolo

        Weirdly, my first thought was “but facebook is so rights grabby with images, she’s handed them over forever!” But it looks like they’ve actually reigned that in a bit, providing no one else has shared the images…

        Reply
    2. SarcasticFringehead

      I proofread a lot of employment manuals, drafted by employment lawyers who know the law (in the U.S.), and it’s pretty standard for them to include a clause requiring that if you list your employer on your social media, you include disclaimers saying that your opinions are not theirs. Which is not to say that such a disclaimer would have fixed this situation – just that it’s legal and increasingly common for employers to explicitly (*heh*) require you to keep your work separate from your personal facebook.

      Reply
  14. Rectilinear Propagation

    I’m not a manger but I wouldn’t do a second warning. She escalated the behavior after the first warning, what would she do after the second? Start suggesting the group to patients as they come in? Invite them to join her in her photo sessions at work? Sit in your chair/on your desk for her photos?

    She’ll probably threaten to sue again but I doubt she’d get anywhere with that. Just fire her before she does anymore damage to the practice’s reputation.

    Reply
    1. K.

      Exactly – she’s already been warned, and she doubled down and claimed her rights were being violated by not being allowed to tag her employer in her nude photos. (HAHAHAHAHA) She’s not going to stop if she’s warned again.

      Reply
  15. I Didn’t Kill Kenny

    And at a health practice? If I became aware that this was going on in my practitioner’s office, I’d be requesting my records so I could bring them to my new doctor.

    And I’d ask that they be handled by someone wearing rubber gloves. Industrial strength.

    Reply
  16. Lana Kane

    The liability she’s exposing you to goes beyond the hassle of replacing her. What if she accidentally shares PHI in a picture? What if she continues to escalate her behavior to such a degree that it spills into harassment (either of a coworker or a patient/client)? She has to go ASAP.

    (Also, who knows what else she is doing to your and others’ desks before or after those pictures?)

    Reply
    1. Work Wardrobe

      Yes! The damage she’s doing to the practice is massive. If I knew this went on in any of my physicians’ offices, I would be finding new doctors YESTERDAY. And reporting them to my state board.

      OP, your practice could be in for a lawsuit itself just for allowing this to happen w/o taking action. IANAL, but jeez — do you really want the general public knowing this goes on IN YOUR OFFICE?

      Reply
  17. dr_silverware

    Honestly, out of the not-coolest things Jane is doing, the biggest line she’s crossed is inviting a patient of your practice to be a member of the FB groups she’s posting to. You know, the nude photos are bad behavior…but they wouldn’t be as much of a problem if she was more subtle and you guys didn’t know about them. Same with the groups.

    The widest no-man’s-land she’s crossed is not being low-key enough about her exhibitionist streak, but I think she has materially crossed a very firm boundary by hitting on a patient in this way.

    Reply
    1. Rectilinear Propagation

      The patients deserve to be able to see their doctor without running into the lady who asked them to post naked photos of themselves.

      Reply
      1. paul

        Yes. That’s….I mean damn. That’s such a blatant boundary crossing…I get the impression Jane isn’t actually a care provider so they may not have gotten as much about patient confidentiality drilled into them, but HOLY HELL. If someone’s using your clientele as a hunting grounds for hookups that crosses so many boundaries and professional norms it’s mind boggling.

        Reply
    2. dr_silverware

      I mean–I’m not actually saying that the rest of this stuff is cool, but I’m saying there are a lot of head-cropped-out nudes on the internet that were clearly taken in an office bathroom, and you know what, fine. The problem is involving every single person under the sun nonconsensually in her sex life (and I didn’t mean to imply that all that nonconsensual involvement was ok until it happened to involve a client).

      Reply
      1. Annabelle

        Yes, exactly. Taking the photos was a really bad move, but the thing that makes me thing Jane needs to be fired like, yesterday is how she’s just bulldozing past people’s boundaries and forcing everyone to learn about her sex life.

        Reply
    3. Slow Gin Lizz

      I agree. All of this is bad but I’m pretty sure involving any clients in this is Very Bad. Even though she is not a doctor, I would guess that all doctors’ office employees should not be connecting with patients in their personal lives, right? Even if it were just to go to a baseball game together or something?

      Reply
      1. Penny Lane

        It’s egregious behavior even if she were a behind-the-scenes accounts receivable person who never interacted with patients. It’s already 110% inappropriate and grounds for immediate termination. Why worry about whether it’s 120%?

        Reply
    4. Sigrid

      Absolutely. I’m a doctor, and while as administrative staff she doesn’t have the same kind of legal obligation to not be sexual involved with patients as doctors do, as an employee of a health care practice, she absolutely has an ethical one. This has to stop. Do the doctors know? Because if one of my employees was involving patients in this kind of thing, she would be walked out the door immediately.

      Reply
      1. Annabelle

        Yeah, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that patient must have been. People should be able to get medical care without staff members hitting them up for nudes.

        Reply
  18. CrystalMama

    OP, your experience in therapeutic professions will serve you in these challenging circumstances. When I read this letter, my first feeling is Sympathy for your employee. We can only imagine the search in her heart for Confidence and a new self if it outwardly manifests with this adversarial approach. I am sure everyone reading this similarly senses her pain – but also your frustration! Ultimately her path and her choices are hers to own & follow as are yours. All will land on their feet no matter the action. Sending Resilience to all!

    Reply
    1. Aleta

      No. Even if you are trying to work through body image issues (which I don’t get from this letter), this is still profoundly inappropriate, and needs to be dealt with.

      Reply
    2. Penny Lane

      Nope. No sympathy. It’s a dumb choice to begin with, dumber to do so in a workplace, and dumbest to double down when confronted.

      Reply
    3. Snark

      Speaking for myself, while it’s pretty obvious Jane has some serious shit to work out, I’m not concerning myself overmuch with her personal struggle or hoping she’ll land on her feet.

      Reply
    4. Fleahhhh

      Just pointing out that “Sympathy” can be present WHILE ALSO maintaining boundaries.

      In fact, one of the most empathetic things OP could do would be to disallow this kind of inappropriate behavior. Maybe if Jane sees the consequences of her actions, she will realize that she’s letting her professional life be derailed by this “search for Confidence and a new self”.

      Reply
    5. Indie

      I don’t have a lot of sympathy for someone who doesn’t practice consent. I wish her a better future, but her present is in quite a selfish place.

      Reply
      1. CrystalMama

        Love the pic, Elizabeth!
        If this was my business I would agree. OP knows best about her business. I sometimes find that when my empathy kicks into overdrive it’s hard to remember that people will survive consequences, some people THRIVE from consequences. So OP should know that she can make her decision without guilt while also holding room for employee in her heart.

        Reply
        1. LouiseM

          It surprises me to say this, but I completely agree with you. Frankly I am shocked at how many people here are claiming they would feel NO sympathy for Jane in this situation. Where is the empathy? Personally, I would fire her faster than the click of her iPhone camera shutter. But I would also feel really, really bad for her. There is obviously something very wrong with her (although I’m hesitant to call it a “compulsion” as Allison did in her answer, which seems a bit close to armchair diagnosis for my comfort). Even while having a zero-tolerance policy as an employer, as a human my heart would be heavy.

          All the people bragging about how they have no sympathy: you’re not coming off well here. You can have sympathy and still behave appropriately.

          Reply
          1. Naptime Enthusiast

            I am sympathetic that Jane is going through a divorce and dealing with a very difficult emotional situation. That sucks and I wish her the best in getting through this crappy time.

            However, I am NOT sympathetic that she is behaving inappropriately at work:
            – Ignoring a direct request to remove her affiliation with the company on Facebook if she continues to be a part of these groups (there was no order to NOT post in the groups, which would be an overstep)
            – Falsely claiming that OP is creating a hostile work environment by requiring employee creating clear boundaries between work and the personal life
            – Continuing to post photos clearly taken in the office, during working hours, and potentially opening up OP’s business to liability
            – Inviting OP’s clients to join the explicit FB groups

            Had she kept all of this out of the work place, this would be a very different conversation, but she refuses to do so. I can sympathize with her situation while being completely unsympathetic to her actions that lead to her firing.

            Reply
          2. Sylvan

            I have very little empathy for people who are sexually inappropriate, whether that is in violence or in harassment or in behavior like Jane’s. While I do feel bad for her, because if she gets over this she is going to have a hard time looking back at this time, I feel worse for the people around her.

            I’m okay if you have a poor opinion of me. I’ll live.

            Reply
          3. Penny Lane

            Do you “feel bad” for the Harvey Weinsteins (and similar) of the world who sexually harass women because obviously they have some hole in their hearts they are trying to fill and just don’t know how to appropriately ask women for a date, deal with rejection, etc.? They have something wrong with them too.

            Reply
          4. Temperance

            I have “empathy” for the people who are being harmed by Jane’s voyeurism, especially the clinic patients who she’s trying to solicit. Not to brag, but I tend not to have much sympathy for people who are sexually inappropriate or abusive. (I consider non-consensual sexual activity to be abusive.)

            Reply
          5. fposte

            Well, I’m a fan of sympathy myself, but I also think it’s possible for it not to matter of somebody is sympathetic. It doesn’t really even matter if Jane’s boss isn’t sympathetic–as long as she’s professional when firing Jane, whether the manager feels sympathetic or merciless at heart is a moot point. When it comes to posters, we have no way of knowing what people actually feel and whether it correlates to what they say, and it doesn’t make any difference to Jane whether they have sympathy or not.

            I don’t like it if people reduce somebody to a non-person, but I think there’s plenty of room in a conversation for both “she’s selfishly putting patients and a business at risk and a pox on her house” and “wow, something must be really going in with her.”

            Reply
          6. Pommette!

            Jane is behaving in ways that could really hurt patients. She needs to not be working in a doctor’s office anymore. That said, it’s hard not to sympathize. Someone making such terrible choices in such an aggressive way is not in a good place, and might even be ill.

            Which is to say: if I was Jane’s boss, I would fire her, immediately. It’s the only appropriate course of action under the circumstances. I would also feel guilty and sad about doing what I had to do.

            Reply
    6. jean marie

      Okay, I actually tried to see if there was a hidden message in the words you chose to capitalize, because this comment flabbergasted me so much. I’m still not sure if this might not be sarcasm that needed to be a little more heavily underscored to land.

      I doubt most of the readers are feeling Jane’s pain, but I congratulate you on having such a thoroughly optimistic spirit that you imagine they do.

      Reply
    7. I Love Thrawn

      Jumping on the Nope Train here. This is just way too much, and far too deliberate, to get any sympathy from me. Plenty of people have suffered divorces, whatever else, and managed to find some relatively sane way to handle it. And… I’m not entirely sure that landing on her feet is really where Jane wants to go with this.

      Reply
    8. Anonym

      With kindness in my heart, and forgive me if this is out of bounds… is CrystalMama a troll? There’s a strange pattern here.

      Reply
      1. Perse's Mom

        One which increasingly makes me wish there was registration on this site because it would increase the chances of a Block User option.

        Reply
    9. The Original Flavored K

      Okay, somebody answer this for me: is CrystalMama satire?? Or does this person actually mean this craziness????

      Reply
    10. Annabelle

      Eh, idk. I think approaching situations with compassion is a good idea, but I’m having a hard time feeling sympathetic for someone who evidently cares very little about violating professional boundaries and making people uncomfortable.

      Reply
    11. CaliCali

      So as mentioned elsewhere, I’m in the same spot in life as this employee. Yes, you do lose a bit of perspective at points. But none of it gives you the right to trample all over other people’s boundaries.

      Reply
      1. Middle School Teacher

        Your point about boundaries is so well-made. I’ve met people who do weird or outrageous things and laugh it off and go “I just have no boundaries Hahahaha!” But what about everyone else’s boundaries? Jane is so far past their boundaries, they’re just a dot in the distance now.

        Reply
    12. Julia the Survivor

      It’s big, blatant, obvious self-destructiveness. The only reason I can think of for this is if she wants to work in the sex trade – and then she should just resign like a normal person and start her new career!
      This couldn’t be more obvious self-destructiveness.

      Reply
  19. Rae

    I work for a company that deals with some legal matters. You would be amazed how many people sue for wrongful termination after being caught disseminating explicit images. They never win.

    Reply
  20. Snarkus Aurelius

    If she got hit by a bus, it would also be a pain to replace Jane. Why should that matter?

    Just because someone might be difficult to replace is no excuse for not doing so. You’re better off leaving her position vacant because, although the work piles up in the short term, at least you won’t to be stressed and anxious every time she goes to the bathroom with her phone.

    If nothing else, recent headlines and scandals clearly demonstrate why it’s so important to let problematic people go, *regardless of the value they bring to their employers*. In many cases, those problematic people consciously rely on their work performance to inoculate themselves from ANY consequences for bad behavior.

    Is that the work environment you want to maintain? Letting people get away with stuff because they bring in lots of money or because clients like them or they make Oscar-winning movies or they have a constant line to insider political gossip? Because those are some of the reasons so many other awful people were allowed to keep their jobs until it was too late.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      And this is the kind of job you can get temps for. Replacing Jane really doesn’t have to be that big a deal.

      Reply
    2. Work Wardrobe

      Seriously, medical billing and bookkeeping? There are 1000s of qualified people looking for a job in the field.

      Reply
  21. Dust Bunny

    Yeah, no . . . at some point, an employee’s judgment becomes so questionable that the liability they represent outweighs their benefit to the company. This situation is there.

    This shouldn’t have needed a second warning because it shouldn’t have needed a first warning.

    Reply
  22. Countess Boochie Flagrante

    OP, I hope you’re gonna update us on this one, we have got to know how the whole thing resolves!

    But please, at the very least give her a hard and serious final warning on this. I’m as sex-positive as they come but this is gross, embarrassing for your office, potentially a major information-security issue, and last but not least ABSOLUTELY BANANA CRACKERS.

    (Sorry Alison, but I’m going to be using that phrase till I die. It’s too good!)

    If she wants to be a nude model in her own time, that’s on her. Dragging your company name and your patients into it is beyond the pale. At the very least give her a very stern final warning, but honestly you’d be completely in the clear to fire her right away.

    Reply
    1. Detective Amy Santiago

      All of this.

      At OldJob, there was a new girl who had a side gig as a stripper or escort. It wasn’t an issue until she started advertising her side gig in the office by hanging ads in her cubicle.

      Reply
      1. Thursday Next

        What. The. What.

        Apart from the stunning lack of judgment in advertising her side gig at her day job, would she really have wanted her coworkers as clients?

        Reply
        1. SarcasticFringehead

          And if she did, she should have been hanging the ads in their cubicles, not her own! It’s just bad business sense all around. :p

          Reply
      2. OhNo

        Please, please, please write about this in more detail in the next open thread. I’m begging you. I desperately want to know how everyone around her handled this!

        Reply
          1. tangerineRose

            We need to start making things up then. Maybe one person saw the ads, stood absolutely still for a minute, and then walked off acting like they never saw it. Some people would have made some tasteless jokes about the ads.

            Reply
  23. AnotherAlison

    Seems like a huge liability for the licensed doctors and therapists, too. How she was not fired yesterday baffles me.

    Reply
  24. Glomarization, Esq.

    Nobody is irreplaceable! Fire her today (photographic proof of dropping trou at the workplace during business hours should obviate the need for further warnings), find a temp to push her paper, and start looking for a replacement who will reliably keep their clothes on at the office.

    If you give her an exit interview, maybe suggest she get some counseling, if you’re feeling friendly.

    Reply
  25. I'm A Little TeaPot

    OP – you have a potential legal landmine here: privacy laws. If you’re in the US, HIPAA is no joke, and I’m sure there’s plenty of other countries that have similar. Taking ANY pictures where there may be private information on patients is chancy, regardless of the presence or absence of clothing. Sorry, but Jane needs to be fired yesterday, and those pictures need to be taken down and deleted as much as possible.

    And I hope that Jane gets whatever help she needs, because her life seems to be going into a tailspin. But that is not your problem.

    Reply
  26. RVA Cat

    What. The. Duck! *quack quack*
    Just imagine if a patient had walked in while she was taking that photo. I’m not a lawyer but wouldn’t the desk picture be sexual harassment of the OP? (Even if they’re both hetero women – see the oil rig case.)

    Reply
  27. Mary Anne Spier

    I don’t understand wanting to post naked pictures of oneself online. I just don’t. But even if I did, why does this person insist on doing it from work? Why can’t she do it from home, especially since she’s been warned about doing it at work?

    Reply
    1. Pass the Vodka

      Different things are turn-one for different people. She might enjoy know her photos are out there for someone to look at and… ‘enjoy’. Or, if she’s looking for a new partner, maybe she’s showing off to lure someone in. It’s not that different from partners texting photos to each other, it’s just a much wider net than a single text.

      But either way, it can all wait til she’s at home, don’t bring it to work!

      Reply
      1. Mary Anne Spier

        Yeah, I get the impulse to do that, I guess. It’s not my thing but I know some people like that. It’s the work thing I really don’t get.

        Reply
        1. Oranges

          My read on it was that the positive attention/sexytimes from others is a balm to her feelings of rejection because of the divorce, which is normal. Her brain is now doing the cost/benefit calculation differently. It sees “getting attentions” as much more important/weighted than… well everything else.

          I’d actually be okay with this. Where she crosses my line is that she’s not doing this ethically. She’s involving people/a company who’d rather not be involved. She’s soliciting sexy attention from patients. That’s what has my hackles raised.

          Reply
      2. SarcasticFringehead

        And that’s why I would also be worried about her escalating – what if she gets off on the naughtiness of taking the photos at work? What else might she do/already have done at the office for that thrill of breaking the rules?

        Reply
  28. A

    This is all so outlandish that I can’t believe I’m focusing on this one detail, but why the hecking heck was the employee of a healthcare practice FB friends with clients? That alone shows horrible judgement and should be disciplined, even without knowing the nature of her Facebook activities.

    Reply
    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      Yeah, that right there is a sign that boundaries are Not A Skill here, and then tacking on the nudity just takes it from uncomfortable to nuts.

      Reply
    2. Detective Amy Santiago

      Okay, so… IF they were her friends before they started going to that doctor, I could see that being a thing. But if they met her in the course of visiting the practice, then yeah, it’s a huge boundary violation.

      Reply
      1. A

        Watch out — if this employee stays on she is going to start encouraging her friends in the nudity groups to become patients of the practice.

        Reply
    3. Elizabeth West

      Involving patients is why I do not approve of a second warning. HUGE boundary violation. Hell, my hairstylist doesn’t even friend clients, let alone anyone in my doctor’s office.

      Reply
    4. Julia the Survivor

      I’m friends and FB friends with someone who worked at my doctor’s office. I knew her before she worked there.
      But if she’s friending patients she only knows from the office, that’s bad.

      Reply
    5. nora

      That right there is a firing offense, or at least it would be for me (I’m a social worker at a domestic violence agency). Furthermore, social workers who hold professional licensure would be subject to losing their licenses if a report were made to their state’s board.

      Reply
  29. Lynca

    I know that medical billing/coding can be a pain but there are qualified temp agencies that can help you fill this role temporarily while searching for the permanent replacement. Don’t let the fear of replacing Jane keep her in her role where she’s obviously doing damage to the business.

    Reply
  30. SheLooksFamiliar

    No one is irreplaceable, OP. Jane can be replaced, and she should be. Employers are actually obligated to restrict certain behaviors, and Jane is blatantly ignoring reasonable requests. Heck, she can wear an SS uniform at home if she wants, but she can’t wear it at work. And if she does wear one, your company name and logo can’t be on it.

    She needs to go. If you think replacing her will be a headache, imagine the headaches you’ll have if she stays.

    Reply
  31. LemonLime

    Fire her, and do it soon! Fire her because this is creating a terrible work environment. Fire her because one of these times she’s going to get caught with her pants down (literally!) and it might be a client who stumbles on to that. I can just imagine a patient walking in somewhere unexpectedly while she’s in the midst of a “photo shoot.” Fire her because she has absolutely no boundaries or professional judgement. I guarantee you there are other people who can do her job just as well, and better, in fact, because you won’t have to worry about them dropping their pants in the middle of a workday.

    Reply
  32. I Didn’t Kill Kenny

    OP, what on earth will you say to clients who get wind of this and ask about it? Will you lie to them and say you didn’t know? Will you admit you know but don’t know what to do about it? What will either response say about you and your practice?

    This woman needs to be fired at once. No second warning, no second chance. She has to go. Now.

    Reply
    1. Rectilinear Propagation

      The OP’s office would end up associated with a hashtag and not the good kind like you want.

      Reply
        1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD

          If we lived in a perfect world, it’s one of those sentences that would never get formulated, but then there’s Steve, so here we are.

          Reply
      1. Gingerblue

        …said every creepy dude ever. It’s just a joooooooooooke why can’t you take a jooooooooooooke can’t you tell when I’m joooooooooooooking don’t you have a sense of huuuuuuuuuumor I’m only joooooooooooking

        Reply
      2. Bolistoli

        Things Steve likely has said to multitudes of women, in person and online: What’s the matter? Can’t you take a joke? I wasn’t asking you out. You’re fat and ugly anyway. Others?

        Reply
            1. A Cita

              We don’t need to know you reached your article via google search.

              Sorry, pet peeve of mine…but at least this url wasn’t egregiously long.

              Reply
          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            You made an inappropriate comment sexualizing people doing business with you, and then dismissed it as a joke. That’s not okay, and it’s understandable that people are reacting strongly. I’m going to ask that you leave it here, and not do that in future comments here.

            Reply
      1. Jules the Third

        I *think* Facebook relies on reporting mostly, not on image recognition. So if it’s in a private group for people who want to share, the pics may not get reported.

        Reply
  33. Amber Rose

    LW, it’ll be a lot of work to replace her, but it can be done. It’ll also be a lot of work to repair damaged relations with clients, and that may not be possible.

    It’s pretty clear which is the less desirable issue to deal with.

    Reply
    1. Yetanotherjennifer

      This. This person can completely ruin your office’s reputation. It will take about a year to find and get someone up to speed on how your office runs. It can take 5 years to fix a business reputation, and considering you’re a medical provider, you’ll probably not even manage that. This is a good story. Too good a story to forget. You need to act now in the hopes that the news has not yet spread.

      Reply
      1. Observer

        That’s assuming the practice survives. There is enough here to really cause the place to close up shop.

        But, OP, you know who else’s reputation is going to take a hit that it might not recover from? The doctors and therapist who employ you. And YOURS.

        Refusing to fire her would make me wonder about your judgement, and your ability to deal with inconveniences one the one hand (ie the problem of replacing her) and major issues (the fact that she’s doing this and you think that there is some way to stop it outside of getting rid of her.)

        Reply
  34. CatCat

    This is beyond the pale! She has to go!

    Maybe she’ll get her professional sense back together when the cold, hard reality of being unemployed (and I can’t imagine where she would be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits) hits her hard across the face. But there’s no fixing this, imo, with your office (soliciting a patient to join her porn group! taking naked photos in the office! omg!)

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth West

      If the practice DOES want to be kind, they could refrain from contesting unemployment (because obviously Jane has lost her mind). But it does need to distance itself from her tout suite.

      Reply
      1. CatCat

        Requirements on responding to the UI office probably vary by state. I guess if the employer decides they have the option of not replying and decide it’s worth whatever hit it will be to their UI costs, they could be incredibly magnanimous toward Jane and not reply.

        But the employer is not acting cruel or unkind to Jane to reply to a query from the UI office with a truthful accounting of why she was fired.

        Reply
      2. Chinook

        No…i think the people at the UK office need something to lighten their day and I think that the explanation about why Jane was fired would do just that.

        Reply
  35. Lefty

    My previous office fired someone for taking (fully clothed, face & shoulders only) selfies at her desk repeatedly and posting while at work. They focused on the fact that it was done on company time, showed her location at the office, and was clearly done during work hours. OP, if you need some re-assurance, wasting company time on innocent/non-suggestive/clothed photos isn’t acceptable either.

    Jane has really upped the ante with the nudity and her continuing after a warning. She’s now veering into potentially harassing behavior by inviting a CLIENT to view them. She’s shown clear judgment lapses- why not lock down the profile when she knew that the office knew?! Why not just remove the company name as requested?! She’s getting bolder from the sound of it… right now the company bathroom is visible, what happens when the patient table or a patient themselves gets caught in a shot?

    Reply
    1. stitchinthyme

      Mine has a policy that employees are not allowed to take pictures of any part of the office. I heard that before I started working there, a new employee posted a picture of his office to social media, just because he was so excited to have an office of his own. There was nothing to identify the company or its work in the photo, but they fired him anyway.

      Reply
  36. Gina Linetti

    If Jane quits or gets fired, can I apply for her job? Billing, front desk and bookkeeping are the things I do best!

    Reply
  37. Struck By Lightning

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not give her a notice period when you fire her! Cut off her computer access *while* someone is terminating her in another room, and escort her from the premises without leaving her alone for a single moment. Someone who exhibits this degree of bad judgement AND gets confrontational when told to immediately stop doing something of slightly lesser bad judgement is quite likely to try some spectacular sabotage on her way out.

    Reply
    1. RVA Cat

      This. She needs to be escorted out by security. The office should also audit her work, because if she’s this off the rails it wouldn’t surprise me if she was also stealing.

      Reply
    2. Mockingjay

      And scrub her computer files. I have a horrible feeling that a great deal of inappropriate content will be found.

      Reply
  38. Molly

    Sorry, as a healthcare professional, she absolutely may not engage in the described activities with clients. Even being facebook friends with clients would be grounds for disciplinary action. Inviting a client to a sex group is extremely unethical.

    Fire her yesterday!

    Reply
  39. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

    When you start losing clients and patients because of Jane’s behaviour then it becomes cost effective to let her go. Frankly, she should have been let go yesterday. I’d love to hear her appeal for unemployment benefits if she qualifies. “They got mad because of my office nude photos!”

    Reply
  40. Changing my name for this one

    Woah! She needs to go, like yesterday. Assuming you’re in the US, she’s going to eventually take a picture that has someone’s PHI in it, and the HIPAA police are going to come knocking on your door. Both the business and she can be liable for those fines. That’s not a mess you want to deal with. I work in healthcare and if I took any pictures in this office, even of a blank wall, my box would be packed before the flash went flash.

    She has horrible judgment and needs to go ASAP.

    Reply
  41. Erin

    I don’t usually advocate for firing on the spot. I’m one of those bleeding heart types that tries to stick up for everyone and find the best in everyone. But I think you could just go ahead and let her go. This is pretty outrageous behavior, and the fact of the matter is that you already gave her her warning.

    No judgment whatsoever to people who engage in these activities, but it would be extremely easy for her to do so and keep it separate from her work life and she’s deliberately chosen not to do that even after being told she needs to.

    Reply
    1. hbc

      Ha, I’m a softy too, and I’d have to make it immediate too. My test is whether you can write it into a PIP and not look completely ridiculous. “You need to take a more professional and less friendly tone with patients,” fine. “No further invitations for clients to view naked pictures of you,” nope.

      Reply
  42. Anon Accountant

    There must be so many qualified people who would take that job and not show such awful judgement. I’m not 1 to recommend immediate firing but fire her today and start looking for a new hire.

    Reply
  43. Penny Lane

    Why are people such wimps? Fire her. Right now. She’s a moron doing something highly unprofessional in your office.

    Who cares that she’s claimed “hostile wok environment” when that’s not at all the definition? Who cares that she’s “threatened to sue” another employee? For what? Telling the truth?

    I was in a workplace where we found evidence that a coworker was downloading / streaming porn onto his computer using the company’s network. You know how you handle it? You fire them right on the spot. Why all the tiptoeing?

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Most people don’t have training in the legalities of workplace discipline and firing, and there are loads of misconceptions out there about when you can and can’t fire someone. It’s also understandable that people worry about someone who has already made legal threats. And it often gets more complicated when you truly believe someone is a great employee otherwise.

      Yes, the OP’s office needs to fire Jane, but I’d hope we can have some empathy for the OP in not immediately being positive about how to deal with such a bizarre situation, especially if she’s not super experienced in management.

      Reply
      1. Sara without an H

        I agree. The situation is so over-the-top that I can completely understand why OP’s brain locked up contemplating it.

        I was out of town when my own Memorable Incident happened (see comment downstream). Had I been there, I think I would have spent 10 minutes with my jaw hanging open. And then I would have called HR, Boss, and Grandboss for support.

        Reply
    2. Florida

      I don’t think it’s tiptoeing to seek an expert opinion. I especially don’t think that it’s “wimpy” to get another person’s thoughts before you do something that will have a major impact on the business and on Jane’s life.

      I agree 100% that Jane should be fired immediately. But I disagree that it is wimpy to write in and ask how to handle it. Rather, I think it demonstrates a conscientious manager who has never encountered this situation and wants to handle it in the best way.

      Reply
  44. TGIF

    Yeah, no, that’s not okay.

    I was trying to wrap my head around a way it might be okay, like if she was just doing it in the bathroom and only sending to her significant other. But she’s sharing it publicly and taking photos out and about where your office is easily recognizable. NOT OKAY.

    AND she’s including your clients on this! Better to get rid of her now than let your clients think it’s normal behavior. Imagine a new patient getting an invite to this group on social media. I’d be looking for a new doctor if it was me!

    Definitely a fireable offense.

    Reply
  45. Granny K

    Maybe this could fall under ‘inappropriate use of workspace’ or even ‘not in line with dress code’.

    As a rhetorical question, are people so impulsive that employers need to block any social media sites on their work machines? Seriously…get naked on your own time. !!

    Reply
      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        “Dress code violation” made me laugh out loud. And smirk. I wonder how many dress codes specify that one must be dressed…

        Reply
      2. paul

        There’s a line in my wife’s employee handbook that specifies that underwear must be worn but must not be visible. I finally understand why something like that might be there.

        Reply
        1. Red Reader

          My previous hospital’s dress code mandated that underwear must be worn UNDER clothing, not over. (Plaid hair was also banned, specifically.)

          Reply
            1. Ella

              I have a friend who will shave his hair into a mohawk and then dye the shaved sides in a plaid-esque pattern, but he works in software development, so I don’t *think* he works with Red Reader. He always checked with his boss before doing it.

              Reply
        2. Elizabeth H.

          I find that so weird. Why was underwear required? What if I wanted to wear a skirt with tights but no underwear? It seems really invasive.

          Reply
          1. SarahTheEntwife

            Yeah, how would you even tell? And while it would be uncomfortable and weird and so just *no*, if I wanted to go commando under my slacks I’m not sure why it would be any business of my employer’s.

            Reply
            1. Lora

              I think the distinction RedReader’s employer was making is more, under clothing *as opposed to* over clothing. I’m thinking specifically of the circa 1990 Madonna Vogue video with the Jean-Paul Gauthier bras and corsetry worn as outerwear over a blouse and slacks.

              Why people would choose to wear couture anything in a hospital is beyond me, but hey, get your Alexander McQueen on if that’s what floats your boat.

              Reply
        3. Julia the Survivor

          It might be this thing young inner-city men do of wearing their pants around their butts with their boxer shorts showing above.
          They think it’s style, but it’s nasty and creepy. It adds a huge layer of pathetic when a man over 40 is wearing it!
          They did this in the 90’s, and it started again a few years ago. Ick.

          Reply
    1. Detective Amy Santiago

      Doesn’t sound like blocking social media on the work machines would make a difference in this situation since she’s apparently doing it with her phone.

      Reply
  46. boop the first

    I’m amazed that facebook would allow this sort of group when it busily tears down breastfeeding photos left and right.

    Reply
    1. Murphy

      I’ve seen some pretty bad stuff on FB that somehow doesn’t go against their rules.

      I’m guessing she’s not actually showing anything, but is still obviously in a state of undress/nudity.

      Reply
      1. Ambpersand

        It could also be happening in a private group. It’s one thing to post on an open feed or a regular page, but the rules for private groups might be different.

        Reply
    2. LBK

      I don’t think for the most part Facebook actively monitors what people post, it only reviews things that are reported. If this is a private group that only interested parties are invited to, presumably no one in it is reporting the posts in it. It also sounds like these photos are mostly suggestive (eg in her underwear) but don’t necessarily contain actual nudity.

      Reply
    3. Detective Amy Santiago

      Well, obviously these people are keeping their dirty dealings on lock down unlike those hussies who post pictures of nourishing their children in public.

      Reply
    4. AKchic

      As long as you show no nip, va-jayjay, or hole shots; female nudes can be posted. It has to be done “artfully”. Then you’re allowed to trade them via messenger or text.

      Granted, it would be better to use other sites for these things (and we can all think of other ones), however, Facebook still remains a great group medium for those who enjoy the titillating group attention aspect, which is probably what she is wanting.

      Reply
    5. Sometimes yes, sometimes no

      FB slapped a 30-day ban on a friend for “bullying” when he posted a picture of himself as a child and made fun of the little nerd. Meanwhile, a report I made of actual violence-inciting hate speech in a comment was deemed okay.

      An eye-rolling reminder that FB’s interest in enforcing its own rules is rather unpredictable.

      Reply
      1. tangerineRose

        I reported someone for using the c word on facebook, but they sent back something that indicated that wasn’t something they were going to do anything about. Not sure where they draw the line, but…

        Reply
    6. Isabelle

      I’m confused by this too. Facebook doesn’t allow full nudity and uses an automated system to scan for nudity in photos. Sometimes it wrongly flags artwork like statues or naked dolls.

      As far as I know the nudity rules apply to private groups too. Maybe they use Facebook as a virtual meeting place and the photos are actually posted somewhere else.

      Reply
      1. AKchic

        Being in a few private groups that shares pictures, I can elaborate.
        Female nips, crotch shots and Hershey highway (boy, I’m getting juvenile and creatively descriptive here) shots are extreme no-nos and will get the photo flagged by censors. Social media algorithms will automatically flag them and delete them as soon as they catch them. Depending on what it is, it can get flagged for further review, or after so many flagged/deleting postings by you, they can do a more personal review and have a person lay eyes on what you’re doing. Eventually, you will get a ban from posting images for 5-30 days depending on the infraction. Depending on how many times it happens or what you’re posting, you can be banned from logging in and/or interacting for up to 90 days from that account. Some people have multiple accounts from multiple email addresses (known as “Sock Accounts”, “Puppet Accounts” or “Alt Accounts”).

        These private, invite only groups will share risqué, “tasteful” partial nudes/selfies of each other and “shitpost” memes and chat. Some conversations end up in group chats or one-on-one chats on instant messenger where they can share more explicit photos of themselves (completely uncensored), either for a fee or for free (depending on the relationship with the other person and depending on the group’s intent).

        Reply
  47. No Pink

    OP, you need to fire her because she is sexually harassing your patients. If anyone’s creating a hostile working environment (colloquial sense, not legal term) for your other staff here, its her!

    Reply
  48. Jam Today

    LOLWUT?!?

    1) Jane needs to be not-employed by you ASAP.
    2) She could probably also use an intervention. Mama ain’t right.

    Reply
    1. Ambpersand

      And if that’s not where the OP draws the line, where is it? When Jane starts walking around the office completely naked? Saving explicit photos as her desktop background for everyone to see? Browsing adult websites on company time?

      Reply
  49. Tuxedo Cat

    I guess the therapist would or should know this better than I would, but there seems something really- wrong that Jane is even Facebook friending patients. Is this a mental health therapist? Because that seems even worse to me for some reason. When I worked with school children (granted, they were minors), we were always told to not Facebook friend the kids. I used that policy in college when I taught as a teaching assistant, basically to not friend people while I had some power over them. Even after the fact, I only accepted requests and didn’t instigate them myself.

    Maybe Jane is getting Facebook requests from patients but she doesn’t and she shouldn’t accept those. I know that least of your issues right now but having some kind of policy I think would be useful for general reasons.

    Reply
    1. Naptime Enthusiast

      I know a lot of people that insist on friending everyone they ever meet, regardless of whether it’s appropriate. I thought it was a bigger issue back when you could see how many FB Friends someone had and if you didn’t have a lot (>500), you were a “loser”. Maybe Jane still thinks that way about social media. If she does, she’s definitely not alone.

      Reply
  50. This Daydreamer

    Well, that’s a new definition of hostile workspace. Did she really think no one would find out?

    Her judgement is severely off kilter. Yeah, fire her. Now. This person having access to patients and patient records is the stuff of nightmares.

    Reply
  51. AKchic

    Oh my. Oh my my my.

    So much crazypants here. Not the technical mental health issue term, but the “what in the wide wide world of sports are you thinking?!” kind of term.

    First off – being recently divorced does not give you the right, liberty, or license to act like this. Lets get this out of the way. Yes, some people say that divorce is a great time to have a “Ho Phase”. Fine. But there are caveats. If you are going to slut it up, be an ethical slut. This is not Ethical Slutting. This is putting not only your job on the line, this is putting your employer’s reputation and licensing on the line and harming the clients as well.
    If the licensing board and commission(s) get wind of any of this, licenses can be pulled, insurance approvals can be pended or revoked, investigations can/will happen, the office can/will be shut down and patients will lose their treatment team during all of this. That is not responsible. That is selfish.
    She is on social media. The very definition of which is SOCIAL. People know, people talk and share. It was bound to get back. As a person in the medical/behavioral health field, she should not be friending clients to begin with (and you, OP, should be talking to the higher ups about closing *that* particular issue within the P&Ps).
    Once she was made aware that the office knew, she doubled down. This is no longer warning territory. This is the office’s time to CYA and do some serious image managing.

    Get rid of her. Yesterday. She is damaging your reputation and your business in general. You stand to lose so much if she continues to work for you, collecting a check for working part of the day while doing her amateur nude modeling (and at *your* desk, no less!) and soliciting new partners while on the clock.

    Her divorce does not give her carte blanche to walk all over everyone while she fills a gaping void left empty since her marriage fell apart. For all you know, her behaviors may have been the reason her divorce happened. It actually doesn’t matter. What matters is how her behavior can impact the office. She can’t reign it in, so now it’s time to cut the filly loose and let her roam elsewhere, far away from your work site.

    Reply
    1. ArtsNerd

      What’s the CPT for “crazypants”? I want to add it to my insurance claims.

      Side note: it’s rarely easy to draw the line between “ableist speech” and “colloquialism rendered harmless over time.”

      Sometimes I feel like the way people use terms like “crazy” on AAM butt right up against that line for me, especially since the stigmas around mental health are still such an urgent problem … at the same time, we lack an adequate vocabulary for much of anything beyond “ridiculous” and this is far beyond ridiculous.

      Your phrasing is a-okay with me AKchic, but it got me thinking about why I laughed and loved it vs. other times that make me cringe.

      Reply
      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

        I’ve done some thinking about that same line too, as someone who struggles with mental illness, and for me, ‘crazy’ in most contexts doesn’t seem to have a genuine mental-health implication these days (in the same way that, for basis of comparison, ‘sociopath’ does). It seems to me like it’s wound up much more applicable to common, non-diagnosable behavior, the same way that ‘idiot’ typically isn’t regarded as being invocative of actual learning disability so much as just plain lack of thought.

        Reply
        1. AKchic

          I had to come back to your comment. Not because I was mad (because I’m not), but because I want to thank you for disclosing your mental health issues. I too have mental illnesses and struggle and it is why when I use terms like “crazypants” or anything that can be construed as ableist or somehow minimizing mental illnesses, I prefer to over-explain my usage like I did. Because I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my meaning, nor do I want anyone to think that I am in any way belittling people with actual mental health issues.
          As I tell my kids; it is on the speaker to articulate what they are saying so the listener/reader understands fully what they are trying to communicate.

          Reply
        2. Jennifer

          “Crazy” does not necessarily mean any kind of clinical disease these days in conversation. It tends to mean unusual thinking of some kind… in this case, the self destructive kind.

          Reply
      2. AKchic

        I so badly wanted to use the term “crazypants” because of her lack of pants in at least one photographed instance, and have a reason to use “what in the wide wide world of sports” in the same paragraph. I succeeded.

        And I agree, we, the AAM collective can sometimes nitpick words and phrasing long after it shuffles past this mortal coil, but sometimes, we do need to be reminded of the history of some of the words/phrases we use, so it is a double-edged sword.

        In this case – the crazypants (or lack thereof) was apt and a nice play on words and the situation.

        Reply
  52. I love this site

    Before anyone argues with me or thinks I’m defending Jane I just want to stop you right now. I am in no way saying this behavior is acceptable. And I also think it is a fireable offense. But, having said that, I would like to offer a potential alternative to letting her go. Unfortunately I can somewhat relate to going through a divorce and “mid-life crisis” (for lack of a better term). I never posted nude pics on the Internet (and again I’m not saying it is ok in this situation) BUT I do remember feeling a new sense of freedom when my longtime marriage ended and excited at the prospect of dating again, and I guess maybe a little boy crazy as well. I’m not sure if it clouded my judgement so severely but I do remember feeling its impact. So I can somewhat commiserate. What I’m suggesting is have one last conversation with Jane. Tell her she is now on leave – maybe could use FMLA – for her erratic behavior. And only when there is proof of her getting help with a counselor can she be trusted again. Don’t some employers do something similar when an employee needs help with an alcohol or drug addiction? It’s up to you OP. But I wanted to throw the idea out there. There is a chance this is just a horrible phase for Jane and it’s possible she could come to here senses. Divorce is not easy on anyone.

    Reply
    1. Snark

      Nope. People get divorced and have horrible phases where they act out of character, but this is quite the other thing, and it’s not acceptable or forgiveable. It speaks well of you that you can find empathy for this person, but.

      Reply
    2. Detective Amy Santiago

      I can understand the desire to be compassionate to someone who is obviously going through a difficult time, but (a) it’s possible the damage has already been done and getting rid of Jane might be only way to mitigate the fall out and (b) an employer cannot require proof of mental health care for someone to remain employed.

      Reply
      1. Ambpersand

        It is also not the employer’s job to try and “rehabilitate” Jane. I understand the compassion, and I’m sure it’s an extremely difficult thing to be going through, but OP even states that they’ve tried once before and Jane got incredibly hostile at what should have been a simple request. At some point an employer has to protect themselves and their clients, and keeping Jane is a continued risk.

        Reply
      2. Natalie

        Yeah, a better option if you really want to extend that compassion in a material way would be a severance payment. (With a release.)

        Reply
    3. nonymous

      I think the problem with keeping Jane on is less one of rigidity and more an issue of optics (and potential HIPAA violations!). No one (not even Jane) can pull back those pictures. It’s one thing to tell Jane that in consideration of her long tenure, they will continue her insurance and extend whatever leave time they can afford, with the admonishment to get mental health assistance (a definite must for someone going through divorce!). They could even say that if Jane seeks help, they’ll give a positive reference. But the company absolutely needs to get ahead of any fallout affecting their customer base/regulatory laws, if only to protect the jobs of other employees.

      Reply
    4. Indie

      Im another divorced person who didn’t do this! Heartbreak; I did, sleeplessness; yep; Non consensual sexual pestering? Nope, Nope, NOPE. Please dont imply divorced people are some kind of terribly deviant unemployable 20s stereotype.

      Reply
    5. Elizabeth West

      Like I said above, if the practice wants to be kind, they can refrain from contesting unemployment. But because she crossed the line into involving patients and directly defied the warning, I just can’t see it. She very well may come to her senses, but there is no reason the office has to support her while she does. She’s already caused damage to the business.

      Reply
      1. Reba

        They could even offer severance in lieu of a notice period since they’ll be walking her right out the door! That could be a way to balance some empathy with the need to get Jane gone.

        Reply
    6. Decima Dewey

      No. Jane has provided multiple reasons to fire her for cause. And has doubled down on her behavior. She has to be fired before her story shows up on the area 5 o’clock news with the clinic behind the reporter.

      Reply
    7. CMDRBNA

      I totally get where you’re coming from – I briefly became friends with a woman who had just gone through a divorce after being in a marriage for over 20 years (she’s married very young) and she reminds me of Jane! She basically regressed to 19, the age she was when she was married, and her behavior was really erratic.

      That being said – as an employer I would be concerned about suggesting that Jane see a counselor, because I wouldn’t want to set up a situation where Jane is framing it as though she’s being fired because of a mental illness or something.

      I think the OP just needs to tell Jane that if it happens again, she’s out the door, no ifs, ands, or buts. Or butts, I guess. Whether she takes advantage of counseling services is up to her.

      Reply
        1. CMart

          If we’re talking taking racy photos in the work bathroom, or corners where they think they won’t be seen and sending them out over social media platforms… I know several 19 year olds (sub-25 year olds, really) who do that. But this is in the restaurant industry which has very different conduct standards than an average office.

          Reply
          1. Observer

            They do this in locations that can be recognized as belonging to their employers AND reaching out to customers?

            I’m not going to say that I think that this is impossible, but I really don’t believe that that’s typical 19 yo behavior.

            Reply
            1. CMart

              I think you over-read CMDRBNA’s comment. Their one friend got divorced and regressed to erratic, party-girl 19-year old behavior. They weren’t saying that Jane’s specific flavor of Post Divorce Wild Rumpus is how many 19 year olds act.

              But to answer your specific follow up question for me: again, yes. But again, this is the restaurant industry I’m talking about.

              Reply
      1. CMart

        My husband’s parents both had similar “wild regressions” when they divorced in their 40’s after being together since they were teenagers. It wasn’t a good look on either of them, but I understand it’s a thing that happens.

        But even in the throes of over-correcting for decades of unhappiness, most people don’t go balls-to-the-wall and jeopardize their employment like our friend Jane here.

        Reply
        1. CMDRBNA

          Yup. My former friend had never really had a chance to be a wild teenager or 20something – she’d gone straight from a not-healthy home life to pregnant, married, and in the military at 19. Her behavior post-divorce looked bonkers to everyone else, but it made sense to me. She was basically behaving the way I did in my early 20s, but you can do that when you don’t have two kids and a mortgage or a lot of responsibilities. So she’d do stuff like go out, get wasted, and hook up with a stranger, which isn’t *that* weird, but then she’d feel horrible about it later. She was also diving headfirst into dating which she’d never done before!

          I let the friendship fizzle out when her drinking started to legitimately scare me. I found out later that her 19 or 20 year old daughter had gotten involved with her mother’s friend-with-benefits, who was way younger than she was, and it caused all sorts of drama.

          I hope she’s happier now than she was, but I totally get going a little overboard after getting out of a marriage or serious relationship.

          And to be clear, by “overboard” I mean “tipsy at brunch, maybe kiss a bunch of strangers” no “noods in the office”!

          Reply
    8. Tuxedo Cat

      The letter writer had one conversation and the employee doubled down. They work in the healthcare field- to me, the stakes are higher. It’s business and it’s people’s well-being at stake. I’m sorry Jane is going through a tough time, but she’s crossed lines and isn’t ignorant she has.

      Reply
    9. oranges & lemons

      I think Jane has already burned through her allotment of compassion, though. The LW gave her a chance to rein it in, and Jane responded by losing it completely.

      Reply
    10. Bea

      I’ve seen many divorces in my years and there’s a lot of sympathy to go around.

      However this woman is in charge of critical information and doing things that put the entire practice at risk. There is no excuse for not being able to reel it in and not do things that aren’t just self destructive. She has no business being around financials or medical information.

      Reply
    11. The Expendable Redshirt

      Your compassion is admirable. Though I`m not sure the business has any other option but firing Jane. She`s working in a medical office and is contacting clients for sexual type purposes. Clients. My employer operates in the health field, and we would have to fire this person.

      Reply
    12. Lora

      What? No, been through a horrible divorce, and while it necessitated years of SSRIs there were exactly zero times in which I confused my workplace with my bedroom.

      There were a lot of horrible things that I wished people would have been more compassionate about, but nekkid photography wasn’t one of em. If OP had said, “my employee got divorced and now she cries in the bathroom for an hour every day after a personal phone call with her lawyer,” or “my employee got divorced and now she has to leave early every day to pick up her kid from school instead of just once a week,” or “my employee is asking for a whole week off to go to court for her contentious divorce,” or “my employee left embarrassing legal documents on the printer for several hours that say her soon to be ex was a pervert and therefore shouldn’t get child custody and the whole office saw them,” or “my employee asked permission to get a second job to cover her mortgage since she’s getting divorced,” or “my employee looks like she hasn’t slept in 100 years and she has a customer-facing position and I’m not sure how to tell her to look less horrible,” then hey, I have alllllll the compassion in the world.

      This, not so much.

      Reply
    13. Observer

      No. Absolutely not.

      For one thing, she’s already been given one warning and her response was legal threats. She’s not listening.

      The new sense of heady freedom is not unique to Jane – or recent divorcees coming out of a bad marriage. But that doesn’t come close to explaining this kind of behavior. Even kids going to away from home for the first time to a party school manage to not do this stuff.

      Most importantly, it DOES NOT MATTER why she is doing this. Her behavior is sooo far past the line that it just needs to be stopped. Period. Full stop. Just like if she were stealing, or doing drugs in the office etc.

      By the way FMLA is totally not relevant here.

      Reply
    14. Jules the Third

      I applaud your compassion, but this is too big a risk for OP. Jane needs to be fired and walked out the door immediately, while system accesses are updated. Compassion can, as others have said, be done through not contesting unemployment.
      1) The office has talked to Jane, she defended her actions and then escalated them
      2) They are a healthcare provider, which means they have a lot of personal data that is legally protected – she can ruin their company with carelessness.
      3) The personal data includes financial data that Jane handles every day. If her judgement is this far off in one way, *and* she’s looking to punish the company for daring to set boundaries, there’s a real and serious risk that she will misuse the financial data.

      Reply
      1. Jules the Third

        Oh, yeah, and 4) the medical office may have drugs on site, or prescription pads – the doctors can lose their licenses if they let this go and she misuses them.

        Reply
    15. AKchic

      I understand where your thought process is coming from, but we have to look at the facts:

      They already gave Jane a chance to reign it in.
      She doubled down.
      She could have taken time off on her own.
      She could have chosen not to post pictures of herself inflagrante delecto at any time where clients and coworkers could find it, with her profile seemingly open and listing her employer.
      She has continued to make poor choices at every step of the way, knowing that her job was on the line.
      She has engaged with clients in an unprofessional manner, jeopardizing the employer’s reputation, insurance status, certification and licensing status, and the clients’ access to treatment, as well as clinical boundaries.

      It is not the employer’s responsibility to manage Jane’s personal life, nor her mental/emotional health. It is their job to ensure that the company stays running smoothly and keeps everyone employed and serves the clients at optimum levels. That’s it. Jane’s “Post-Divorce Ho Phase”*** is not the company’s responsibility to manage.

      ***I call it this because that is what my friends and I have always called this phenomenon whenever one of us has gone on a slutty binge post-divorce or -LTR. This is not meant a judgmental description. It is just meant to quickly describe the casual bedhopping that a person recently out of a long-term relationship can engage in (a person of any gender and orientation) that is characterized by frequent one-night stands, multiple partners, possibly manic and/or risky behaviors, and being somewhat out of character as they revel in their newfound singleness.

      Reply
  53. nonymous

    Honestly, it won’t be too terrible to replace all the job functions. Medical billing (which is a complex skill) is fairly standardized from office to office – that is, the major hurdle lies in learning what the various insurance rules are and what CPT & ICD-10 codes mean, but a qualified coder/biller will come into the job with those skills. If bookkeeping is handled using Quickbooks or another well-known software, there will be private bookkeepers that have experience with those tools already. I suspect that Jane’s greatest value was some combination of her historical knowledge as the office transition away from whatever methods were in place 10 years ago, and the fact that she can wear all those hats in a 40hr workweek.

    What would the company have done if Jane was hit by a bus? That’s the plan that should be put in place now.

    Reply
  54. HigherEd on Toast

    OP, if you feel sympathy for Jane because of the divorce she went through, keep in mind that you can feel sympathy for things like that, try to accommodate someone as they adjust, and STILL have boundaries that they absolutely can’t cross. Going through a divorce (or a bereavement, or other trauma) is not an excuse for judgment as bad as this. Plus, I’ve worked in places that became all about Trying to Accommodate the Trauma, usually after someone lost a family member, and with one exception, it ended badly, for the person they were trying to be sensitive to as well as the rest of the workplace. Fire her and don’t look back.

    Reply
    1. Annie

      I appreciate and want to second this comment. Compassion doesn’t preclude boundaries. Compassion can be boundless and personal. But this particular interaction is professional, and has gone way past the line. It’s so far past, the line is barely visible!

      Reply
    2. Observer

      So well put. Compassion is generally a good thing. But that can’t preclude doing what you need to do. Also, there is a saying that “one who is compassionate to the cruel is cruel to the kind.”

      I’m not calling Jane cruel. I’m just making the point the misplaced compassion can be very unkind to people who don’t deserve the damage and fall out.

      Reply
  55. BethRA

    OP, this is a person who, despite a warning about disassociating her extra-curricular activities from your business, has not only taken nude photos of herself in your offices, she’s done do during office hours. And she’s inviting patients to her group where the photos are being posted. IMO, this is not a second-warning situation.

    If I found out this was going on in my doctor’s office, and the person was allowed to continue working there, I’d find a new PCP.

    Reply
    1. Tuxedo Cat

      I would probably consider reporting this to the state especially if I knew Jane was inviting clients to the group. I don’t know if the state can do anything, but it feels really unethical to me.

      Reply
      1. AKchic

        It *is* unethical. She is crossing so many professional boundaries, that if she were an actual clinician, I’d be advocating that the clinician not practice again.

        Reply
  56. Elizabeth West

    Immediately came down here to say, noooooooooooo.

    In any place I’ve worked, this would be grounds for immediate firing, especially after you asked her to stop associating the business with her activities and she doubled down. She is not a being good employee, no matter how great her skills are–good employees don’t do shit like this. I’m willing to bet the other employees are waiting for you to act and if you don’t, they may begin their own job searches.

    I’m sorry Jane feels unsettled in her life right now, but she should not be involving her workplace in her amateur porn crap.

    Reply
  57. Nanc

    I have absolutely nothing helpful to say.

    I do find it ironic that my iTunes popped up Ursula 1000 Kaboom! as I began reading this.

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with this OP, but I’m with other folks–get her out now. You will find a way to get her work done and I’m sure there is a fantastic worker out there who will be a great fit for your office.

    Reply
  58. Can't Sit Still

    OP, I worked with a woman who wouldn’t stop flashing me and HR’s response was that I needed to lighten up, because I didn’t fit in anyway, so I needed to lighten up and deal with it. I quit once the flasher started groping, too. I was much harder to replace than the flasher. (She…petted people, too. Stroked their arms and backs in long, slow touches. Ewagh!!!!) Please fire her immediately. It’s so difficult to concentrate when you’re working with that kind of person.)

    Reply
    1. NaoNao

      So many questions!
      What industry did you work in where flashing was something of a norm, or something that people did to “fit in”? I can only guess entertainment (perhaps the adult kind?) or maybe a very loosey goosey service industry (like being a waiter/waitress?)?
      If an office, my only guess could be some kind of startup—perhaps Thinx undergarments, as the CEO was recently let go for almost this exact behavior!
      I am dumbfounded that HR would respond that you needed to “lighten up”!

      Reply
      1. Lissa

        I worked in a service job at a resort where staff lived on-site for 5 months out of the year, and sadly this kind of thing went on wayyyy more than was OK. Not usually to that egregious level but oh man I saw some things, heard some things, had my boss give me a sex talk.

        Reply
      2. Can't Sit Still

        It was an accounting firm. Public accounting can be incredibly toxic – long hours, heavy drinking, lots of drug use, little to no work/life boundaries, or no boundaries at all, people with literally no friends or family outside of the firm, and so on. It’s not that different from any other service industry, honestly, except for the expense accounts. And not all firms are like this, of course!

        But it can be hard to tell when you’re interviewing, because there will always be some weirdness due to the long hours and high stress nature of the job. An inordinate number of people think it gives them leave to get naked on the job. I mean, I wish I were joking or exaggerating, but I started counting how many people I saw partially clothed or stark naked at work or work events while I worked in accounting, and it’s double digits, at least.

        It turns out I still have strong feelings about people being naked at work!

        Reply
        1. Tertia

          My father put in 25 years at an ex-Big Eight firm, and this is the most disturbing thing I have ever read on this site.

          Reply
    2. Observer

      How horrible.

      OP, please take this as an impetus to do what you need to. You can’t allow Jane’s “productivity” to overshadow the damage she is doing to others.

      Reply
    3. Mrs. Fenris

      I worked with a guy who…wow. He was: arrogant, not all that great at his job, abrasive, had slightly questionable ethics, and if that wasn’t enough, gave off a creepy serial-killer vibe. He would walk up behind people and start massaging their shoulders. He was finally fired after the rest of us ganged up and made veiled threats to quit. It was the only time I’ve ever been part of something like that, but he was absolutely intolerable.

      Reply
  59. Guy Incognito

    I agree with almost everything, but there’s one key phrase in your letter: “described.” Have you seen the photos? (Not that you seek them out)

    What she is doing is 100% wrong, 100% fireable, and really, the fact that she became irate means you’re going to want to handle this with care. But if she became irate and threw out the hostile workplace stuff when you first noticed that she was part of this group, before you found out it was at work, you’re going to want to protect yourself. Do research. Double check. I’m sure you can get a lawyer or someone to get the photos and compare them to your work environment if you don’t want to look yourself. But protect yourself here.

    Not defending her, not saying you should seek out her photos, but if she already is getting down with the hostile work environment (even if it’s not) protect yourself.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      It wouldn’t hurt to consult a lawyer, but the odds of Jane’s doing anything with such a claim are much smaller than the chances of her damaging the business by staying, so I’d fire her first.

      Even if Jane does get her wherewithal to talk to a lawyer, this isn’t a case that somebody’s going to take on contingency; she’s going to need to bankroll an expensive process by the hour. That dissuades most people.

      Reply
        1. Airy

          Yeah, I think her time in the lawyer’s office would only go beyond the bare minimum because there’d be a series of baffled questions to confirm that Jane was in fact saying what it sounded like she was saying. Shortly followed by “Get outta here and don’t you dare use our bathroom on the way out.”

          Reply
        2. tangerineRose

          I’m picturing Jane walking into one lawyer’s office, then another, then another, and the lawyers laughing until they cry after she’s left.

          Reply
    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Honestly, there’s not anything for OP to protect themselves from (except Jane’s nudity). It’s fine to consult with an attorney, but I suspect she’s just blowing a lot of smoke. There’s almost no way she could substantiate a claim given what OP has described.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        And my concern is that that becomes a reason to wait even longer to fire Jane. Don’t wait longer to fire Jane!

        Reply
    3. Bea

      That’s a waste of money to consult a lawyer this early in. Just because someone throws a term around doesn’t mean you need to be backed into a corner.

      Reply
    4. Jessie the First (or second)

      The only thing the LW needs to do to protect herself is document that first conversation – where she asked Jane to not publicly affiliate the employer to her nude pictures – and document the discovery that this stuff was happening at work, and so they decided to fire her.

      There. She’s protected from frivolous claims of “hostile work environment.” Firing an employee for taking naked pictures of themselves while in the office is just so far away from hostile workplace – and actually, *not* firing someone after said person takes naked pictures of themselves at work could be a hostile workplace for other employees. LW is not in any realistic danger from a Jane lawsuit. No need to delay what needs to be done (fire Jane) and *every* reason to just fire her right now.

      Reply
  60. Documenter

    This would be an excellent time to get all the details needed including access to applications and passwords, and seeing if those systems allow for multiple administrators. Document the postings as well for the inevitable Labor Department hearing. If it’s in the public domain then fit for one of these hearings, too. I am sure you will feel a lot better about moving her along having this nailed down.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      It wouldn’t hurt to keep records, but in the US it’s pretty unlikely that this would become a concern of the DOL. They might need to take action if she files for unemployment, but that’s pretty low key (I don’t think it’s even likely to be a hearing, but I know the process varies by state).

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        I’m not even sure they are required to respond if Jane files for unemployment. Unless they feel very invested in her not receiving it, they could just ignore it and let her collect.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Yeah, I should have been clearer on the “need to take action”–I was mostly meaning that’s the only situation where the state would get involved here. I suspect I’d be inclined to contest if she filed just out of “seriously?”, but it’s definitely not required.

          Reply
          1. Natalie

            Eh, I get the impulse to contest but its the kind of thing that can inspire retaliation in people that would have otherwise moved on. Although I live in a state where you pay a small tax for UI rather than, say, paying for all of your claims directly, so its less of an visible impact to the business.

            Reply
  61. Det. Charles Boyle

    This woman has access to your patients’ sensitive, private health information. She has terrible judgement. Those two things are a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Reply
  62. Lora

    Dude. You are not looking for a covert intelligence specialist who speaks fluent Ashkun, Savi, Laomian and Khmin, with expertise in parkour, marksmanship and hand to hand combat. You are looking for a front desk person who does medical billing and AP/AR. You can get one from Kelly Services within a week. Even if you can’t find someone who can do the reception things (if for example you live in East Nowhere, Cowtown), there’s plenty of remote medical billing and remote AP/AR services you can hire. This is seriously not a hard problem to solve.

    CEOs and C-levels can take years to find a good one; I know companies that have left senior management positions open for multiple years because they couldn’t find exactly the right person. Companies still fire a CEO in a heartbeat if the stock prices nosedive or he’s found guilty of money shenanigans or whatever.

    Do. It. Everyone else in the office is wondering how this person still works there but their unemployed friend/relative who is guilty only of excessive Doctor Who worship doesn’t have a job. Just do it. “Jane, thank you but your services are no longer required here, effective immediately. Here is a box for your things, please turn over your badge/keys and I will walk you out.”

    Reply
  63. Run By Fruiting

    I really hate that “be nice” has been so beaten into us at this point that this poor OP has actual questions about firing this person. GET RID OF HER and don’t feel bad about it for one single second. And when you do, I need an update so badly my hair hurts. Please let us know what happens!

    Reply
  64. coffeeandpearls

    What would happen if you or one of the doctors forgot something at the office and walked in on her having a photo shoot?! She’s making you all unwilling participants in her sex life and it’s not OK.

    Reply
  65. Malibu Stacey

    “Given her experience and high degree of responsibility, it would be an enormous task to replace her, and believe it or not otherwise her job performance is very good.”

    What do you do when she goes on vacation for a week? Can her behind, do whatever happens when she’s out (cover for her, etc) until you can get a temp in to do the work. There are plenty of good admins out there with experience in doing billing that can get up to speed pretty quick.

    Reply
  66. Wannabe Disney Princess

    I want to see if my interpretation of the timeline is correct:
    You were notified of Jane’s behavior. You talked to Jane. She went off the deep end and threatened a lawsuit. Jane then posted more pictures. One of which was in your office. In front of your desk. WITH HER PANTS AROUND HER ANKLES. I don’t care if she’s the unicorn to end all unicorns. That is not the behavior of a stellar employee.

    To recap: she purposely posed nude, in front of your desk after you had a reasonable discussion. That is more than enough grounds to let her go.

    And more than enough grounds to invest heavily in Lysol. Egads.

    Reply
  67. sparty

    You always have a worst boss contest, what about a worst employee contest as well? I think this would be a top 10 so far

    Reply
    1. Iris Eyes

      If I recall correctly it is because Allison has a preference to not pick on people when she hasn’t heard their side of the story, or something along those lines. In this case we only know third hand what Jane is doing.

      Reply
      1. JamieS

        If that were true we wouldn’t have a worst boss contest either since OPs can’t be nominated. Although, TBH, I don’t really agree with that contest either but others seem to like it.

        Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think it’s a little too close to punching down for me, if that makes sense! It’s not that “people who take nude photos of themselves at work” is an oppressed class, but the idea of a contest around bad employees doesn’t sit as well with me as one about people abusing their power does.

      Reply
      1. Marvel

        For what it’s worth, I really agree with this! I think a bad employees contest would leave a bad taste in my mouth as well.

        Reply
      2. Rectilinear Propagation

        That makes total sense! It’d be like a professor complaining about a student talking about their dog during class on a student rating site as opposed to a student complaining about a professor talking about their dog during class on a teacher rating site.

        At the end of the day management has more power in a situation with a bad employee than an employee has when dealing with bad management.

        Reply
  68. The Cosmic Avenger

    It’s funny someone mentioned the “Master” letter earlier in the comments. Just like that one and the coworker in a relationship with an anime character, what floats your boat should not affect your job… as long as you don’t impose your personal life on coworkers, much less clients/customers/patients! So let’s not get into whether Jane’s personal habits are healthy or OK or icky, and stick to the fact that they’re not appropriate for the office.

    Unless you work at Duck Club, Inc.

    Reply
  69. Samata

    You’ve already told her that your business can’t be associated with it. And after that conversation, she seems to have escalated the behavior by posing for the photos in your office. Frankly, it almost seems like a compulsion or an act of hostility toward your office, or both.

    This was my exact thought when I got to that part of the letter! I really feel like this is a big F-U to you and the office.

    OP, I know you say she will be hard to replace but if word gets around beyond those patients already connected on FB you might be losing business pretty soon and your reputation is going to go through the ringer.

    Reply
  70. Kyubey

    Wow what a coincidence! I was just about to write in and ask Alison if it would be appropriate for me to take nude photos at work also, I presume her answer would be “no” then?

    Reply
          1. AKchic

            Well… this brings up an interesting idea and theory.

            Kyubey needs energy to save the universe, but you do not state what kind of energy you would be collecting. There are people who believe in sex magic, and that women are collectors/receptacles of sexual energy.
            Therefore, in a logical way, taking nude photos at the office in order to find more partners for sexual liaisons in order to harness more sexual energy in order to save the universe *could* be considered appropriate. *IF* (and this is a big if) your official job is Protector of the Universe.

            Reply
            1. Kyubey

              Seeing as my official job is Incubator, I collect emotional energy to counter entropy. Perhaps sexual energy would be more efficient.

              Reply
  71. A Person

    There are so many good reasons to fire her immediately in this thread.

    Another one to consider is, given all the reasons described above to walk Jane out the door immediately, do YOU want to get fired for knowing all of this and allowing it to continue? Unless you own the place, there’s a very real risk of that happening.

    Reply
  72. Guera

    Ask yourself this; which poses a greater risk to the business? Keeping her or letting her go? There is your answer.

    Reply
  73. GirlBoss

    Is there any chance that this person is having some sort of a mental health episode? Obviously, even if they are, it does still does not at all make the behavior acceptable, but I ask because the behavior is not only so extreme– to be clear, not the nude photos, but the doing it at work/involving patients, and the totally inappropriate and inexplicable reaction she had to being reasonably asked to stop–but it seems to be very sudden and out of character for this person. And knowing they recently had a traumatic and major life change makes it seem more likely.

    Reply
    1. Yorick

      I wondered that too, but I don’t like to try to diagnose. I’d still fire her, but probably be less mad about her behavior.

      Reply
      1. GirlBoss

        I agree, firing would still be totally appropriate and necessary, but there would be a new understanding of where the behavior would be coming from.

        Reply
  74. John duBois

    Wait. You’re a health practice? And one of your office staff is friending clients on Facebook?

    Unless these are clients Jane knew before they were clients or before Jane worked for you, you may have a HIPAA issue, even if nude photos aren’t involved.

    Reply
  75. Indie

    Even if she were not a sex pest, she is an awful employee even when she’s clothed.

    You gave her a direct order, underlined the serious of the matter and she’s so mad with the power of her own legend her response was: “Oh YEAH? How d’you like me to do it MORE? How’d you like a picture at YOUR desk?” Next, she’s going to pee on you.

    People who reach “Im untouchable” levels of grandeur are capable of literally anything. Having nice chats with the workplace despot is like bringing a pea shooter to a gun fight.

    Fire her. Into the sun.

    Reply
          1. Airy

            Common term in the UK for someone whose sexual behaviour causes trouble to others but not at the level of assault- harassment, flashing, stealing knickers off clotheslines, things like that.

            Reply
  76. Mike C.

    Random question about the whole general idea about being pictured doing “notorious” things with a company logo in the picture. For most companies this makes a whole lot of sense as the logo is somewhat out of place and directly links the person to the company, but what about companies where the logo is somewhat to extremely ubiquitous?

    Like, lets say someone works for Coca-Cola, and there was a Diet Coke can in the background of their homemade photo shoot? Most folks wouldn’t link the person to the company just for that. Or lets say they were at one point wearing clothes with prominent logos and they worked for a clothing retailer or even design house, say like Calvin Klein. Would folks treat it as linking the person back to the company in the same way?

    /Just a random thought.

    Reply
    1. Emi.

      I don’t think so, because those things make you look like a consumer of the company’s products, not an employee. A grayer zone would be, say, university fan merch, which you might have because you’re faculty or might just have because you’re a fan of their lacrosse team.

      Reply
    2. HarvestKaleSlaw

      I once worked for a company whose entire business model was to scan the internet for this kind of thing and send a cease-and-desist on behalf of big brands. It’s about showing that you are actively protecting your copyright and about protecting your brand from offensive or sleazy associations. It was a weird job – there is a depressing lot of gross porn on the internet, and after a surprisingly short time, it becomes background noise you barely see as you scan for logos.

      I wish I could talk about which brands, because the story is funnier that way.

      Reply
  77. The Original Flavored K

    If there’s even one name, date of birth, last four of SS#, or dx on ANY paperwork in the background of her nude photos (!) taken in the office (!!), you are now on the hook for HIPAA violations. Not just her — your whole clinic, because you gave her access, and your clinic is where the breach took place.

    Nude photos are bad enough, period, that she needs to be gone. But trust me: whatever other value she has as an employee, it is not value enough to counter a $50k fine per patient whose privacy was violated.

    Take her keys, delete her alarm code, and send her home before lunch. FedEx her personal items to her, or have the police assist her in removing them after business hours.

    Reply
    1. HarvestKaleSlaw

      Amen to this. Do not fool around with HIPAA. If this was a machine shop, maybe /maybe/ I could see cutting this person some slack – but at a medical office, you need people to be trustworthy and display rectitude and excellent judgement. Your employee has displayed epically poor judgement, bizarre behavior, and an inability to even see the problem, and she has lied to your face. I do not want my therapy notes or my pap smear results in the hands of someone like this. Even if you escape fines, you could easily lose patients behind this fiasco. If my Facebook popped up a photo of my doctor’s receptionist topless in her waiting room, you darn betcha I would be gone. I would probably also be buying identity theft protection and demanding you shred my records.

      Reply
    1. Goya de la Mancha

      I don’t like people using my pen for a quick signature and now I have to sit at a desk that someone was rubbing their nekkid behind on?!

      Reminds me of the Big Bang Theory episode where Howard sat in Sheldon’s spot with no pants though…

      Reply
    1. NaoNao

      Yeah, ugh.
      Alison, if you’re reading this, can you remove these types of gross comments? The internet is already full enough of panting droolers making “funny” comment like this. I come here for mature, thoughtful, respectful commentary, not this juvenile nonsense.

      Reply
        1. Julia the Survivor

          Sorry it’s a little late but really – there’s enough info in this thread that even if a person never heard of this before, he should be able to find such photos on FB without help.

          Reply
    2. Bolistoli

      Copy/paste… Things John Rohan likely has said to multitudes of women, in person and online: What’s the matter? Can’t you take a joke? I wasn’t asking you out. You’re fat and ugly anyway. Others?

      Reply
  78. strawberries and raspberries

    I dunno, I was already alarmed that she was Facebook friending patients at the practice even before I got to the nude photos part. That opens up a giant can of worms w/r/t confidentiality- like is she going to tell my therapist what I’m posting on Facebook? Is she inviting me to this group because she doesn’t know any better, or because it might end up getting back to them? For that alone I would at least harshly discipline and at most fire her.

    Reply
  79. Hiring Mgr

    Has Jane been a good, steady employee for all this time, then suddenly just snapped due to divorce, stress, life changes, etc..?

    If so, is it reasonable to give her some kind of leave of absence (or something like that), and see if she can get things together? I’m just wondering if there’s a compassionate way to keep a good employee going through a rough time

    Reply
    1. Bea

      I can see that being a step if she hasn’t solicited patients.

      I think administrative leave while they audit and change all the locks/passwords would save them possible further deeper issues from someone unhinged enough to solicit patients.

      Reply
      1. Tuxedo Cat

        Involving patients should be immediate grounds for dismissal.

        She might’ve been the best employee ever for those 10 years, but she crossed a line when she knows better now.

        Reply
    2. fposte

      For me the big problem is that she doubled down when told to knock it off. If she’d been mortified and apologetic, maybe, but not once she goes the eff you all route.

      Reply
      1. Indie

        Yeah this. Plus, this may have always been the ‘real Jane’ and she was only discreet for marriage reasons, not professional reasons.

        Reply
      2. Travelling Circus

        Yes, this. To me, the doubling down says Jane knows what she’s doing, and she isn’t mortified about it.

        Reply
      3. oranges & lemons

        Yeah, the LW sounds like she was more understanding than I would have been the first time. Then Jane … Janed out.

        Reply
    3. Bolistoli

      I think there are some behaviours and some environments where the only compassion can be to quickly and professionally let someone go with the possible agreement to not say anything detrimental in reference checks – just employment dates, etc. And since this is a medical environment, that might not even be possible depending on whether the practice has been exposed to legal liabilities by her actions.

      Reply
    4. Jules the Third

      A medical office can not afford the risk. There are too many laws and potential ways to break them (HIPAA, drugs, patient financial info) for the office to overlook this.

      Also, they *did* do the compassionate thing – they talked to her once. She defended her actions and escalated.

      When people tell you who they are, believe them.

      Reply
    5. NW Mossy

      She hasn’t extended any compassion for her employer’s point of view that this hurts patients, who don’t want to be propositioned or have their information handled by someone who’d do that. As Alison pointed out, she stepped up the inappropriate behavior after she was put on notice about it. I’m not sure she’s entitled to more care and consideration from others than she will extend back to them.

      Reply
  80. HarvestKaleSlaw

    I think you need to do something else, beyond just firing this person (which, saints-in-heaven-preserve-us, you need to do yesterday). I think you should talk to a lawyer about:

    1) What you can do to make sure that nude or inappropriate photos taken in your office are removed from the internet. Even if the pictures don’t come down (the internet is forever), you probably want to send a cease-and-desist letter, just to CYA.
    2) You should also get legal counsel about your potential liability if this person has sexually solicited your patients. It’s not like sexting someone you meet working the counter at Starbucks – your office manager has a lot of personal, sensitive information about your patients. (Especially if you are seeing psych patients.)
    3) Finally, you cannot rely on this person’s ethics or good judgement where patient privacy laws are concerned. There is every chance your lunatic exhibitionist employee has violated your patients’ privacy or exposed their medical information online. If she is posting pants-less office selfies in a Facebook forum with her coworkers, you need to think seriously about what she might be up to in the corners of the internet you don’t know about.

    I’m sorry, OP, but I think this is a situation where you need to lawyer up.

    Reply
      1. HarvestKaleSlaw

        I agree that they can’t do anything about nude photos that this person took at home or in other places. But I believe they do have right to demand that photos of their own office be taken down. It might depend on what’s visible in the photo – like, is she covering her bits with a patient’s test results while grinding on their corporate logo, or is it the office bathroom and bland white tile… but that’s where the consult with the lawyer will help.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          I’d be interested to hear from a lawyer on this, but I don’t think there’s any business right to privacy that would allow for a cause of action. It might be worth trying it on with an inexpensive communication just in case, but FB is filled with pictures of people’s nonconsenting offices.

          Reply
            1. fposte

              If there’s PHI in the photos, maybe. But I think it’s quite likely that there isn’t–it’s pretty tough to get readable text into full body portraits. As long as she’s involving no PHI and no other humans, it’s not likely there’s any additional rights conferred by HIPAA.

              Reply
            2. Jessie the First (or second)

              If there is protected health information visible in the photos there would be something. But if it’s just a desk, just the workspace with no phi, or the business’s bathroom? There wouldn’t be special protection just because it happened to be in a medical office.

              (I know there are lots of posts on this about how maybe there is some patient info visible, but I would think – and hope – that the LW would have mentioned that if so, because would be such a big deal….I mean, everything about this letter is such a big deal, of course, but violating HIPAA is such a Very Big Deal that it would have to be on the radar of every employee of a medical office!)

              Reply
          1. AKchic

            IANAL, but I have worked in records (drug records). If an image of client records got onto the internet, that is going to be huge.
            Even if the client’s records aren’t the focal point, but the image can be manipulated and any identifying information can be made out because of any viewing whatsoever (manipulating the image or not) it is huge. We’re talking 6 figure fines for Jane alone, plus the company would lose their accreditation, licensing, ability to accept insurance, reputation, fines for allowing it to happen in the first place, etc.
            If the client happens to be a drug user and/or is being treated as a dual-diagnosis client? Then you get to deal with 42 CFR Part 2 as well, which is more stringent than HIPAA. Hello felonies. If any of those records outted the client as an HIV/AIDS risk or patient? There’s another issue.

            Then you deal with the patient(s)’s right to sue for breach of privacy (among other things).

            Jane’s actions are a security risk and from a Data Management/Quality Assurance/Information Security standpoint, her brazen photo in the office is enough by itself to make me want to have an outside team come in and do a complete forensic investigation to see just how much damage Jane’s behavior could cost this facility. All photos taken within the building will need to be analyzed to see what information could be “seen”, what data may be breached, just how compromised the company could be, and speak to attorneys to see what liability they may have if there is any compromising data on the internet. Then, if there is, they need to self-report immediately. Hiding a data breach is the worst thing the company can do.

            Reply
  81. Fiona

    This idea of the employee as the perfect, unique, irreplaceable flower is so pervasive – we really need to destroy it because it is damaging on both ends. From the employer’s angle, they feel hesitant to fire even the most toxic people (case in point: this letter!!!!!!) and on the employee’s side, people sometimes work themselves to the bone under the (wrong) assumption that they are the only ones capable of doing the job.

    I agree with the folks saying that Jane should straight up be fired. She was already warned. It reminds me of that exchange in Clueless between Cher and her dad when she gets a letter in the mail about a driving violation

    Cher: “Second notice on an outstanding ticket.” I don’t remember getting a *first* notice.
    Mel: The **ticket** is the first notice.

    Reply
  82. Coldbrewinacup

    You need to let Jane go. She is doing harm to your office by linking herself and her behavior to the office. So inappropriate, there really isn’t anything else to say.

    Reply
  83. Yvette

    Is it possible that the OP is hesitant about firing because the initial talking to was not documented in any way and the actions are not explicitly prohibited in any kind of employee standards of behavior? I know that it was not stated either way in the letter, just speculating. IANAL, so I myself would be hesitant to fire anyone, let alone an employee of 10 years, without tons of documentation.

    Reply
      1. Natalie

        I doubt it would matter even if there were – my understanding is that even with a contract, you generally provide broad categories of grave misconduct, you don’t have to enumerate every single type.

        Reply
        1. tangerineRose

          If she punched someone in the face, wouldn’t she be fired immediately? What Jane did seems like an obvious thing that shouldn’t be done at the office, especially not at work time.

          Reply
      1. fposte

        Yeah, there’s no “You forgot to say ‘Simon Says'” clause in at-will employment. You really can just fire her because what she’s doing sucks, even if you have a manual that doesn’t specifically say “no nude selfies on the job.”

        Reply
    1. Ray Gillette

      Common sense things don’t need to be documented in policy. Just because the employee handbook doesn’t specifically say you cannot smear yourself in fake blood, walk into the office with a kilt, stand on top of your desk, hold up a dummy head and scream “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE” doesn’t make it permissible behavior.

      Reply
  84. Bea

    NO. NO. NO. SHE IS REPLACEABLE. I have seen these people hold small businesses hostage before. Get her out and AUDIT THE EF OUT OF YOUR BOOKS. I’m screaming because she’s off the rails and i charge of your money. That’s the person you cannot question about integrity and moral compass.

    I’m begging you. I’ve cleaned up after less messy bookkeepers and they’ve all left a wreckage of the financials.

    Reply
  85. ket

    I have a personal motto about the thoughts people have that I don’t want to know about, from racism and sexism to sexual stuff to hobbies: it’s not a problem as long as you don’t make it my (or someone else’s) problem. You can hate me, you can believe I’m lesser-than, you can be in love with me, you can want to pet my hair — as long as you don’t act on any of those thoughts or bring them into the workplace. (Inappropriate behavior with colleagues also makes it my/our problem — we need to stand up for each other.)

    Jane has made this your problem. It’s a problem.

    Reply
  86. Observer

    OP, you absolutely need to let her go. I don’t care how good her work output it. She’s putting the practice at risk. The idea that she is connecting to patients in public and inviting them to join in! is beyond bizarrely bad judgement. The potential for backlash against the practice is HUGE – and the risk of getting slammed for HIPAA violations is high enough that it could destroy your practice.

    Think of it this way – if you discovered that she was snorting crack in your office, would you hesitate to fire her? Filching money? Selling client information? This may not be criminal, but in terms of damage to your office, it’s pretty much on the same level.

    Reply
    1. SpaceNovice

      Yes, please, please, please fire her immediately. Is there anyone you can hire to escort her out? Because that needs to happen. Seriously.

      Reply
  87. Sara without an H

    Hello, OP,
    OK, all the previous commenters have probably convinced you that you can’t let this go. They’re right.

    I had an employee do…umm…something similar once. This was someone with a long history that I would never, never have expected to do anything so egregious. I was on vacation at the time of the incident, in a place in the Rocky Mountains where internet access is spotty to non-existent, so I didn’t find out about it until I got home. And by that time, my boss, grandboss, and the HR director had thoroughly fired the employee.

    And it worked out. Yes, we had to scramble a bit, but I completely revised the job description, got a slight improvement in salary, and was able to hire someone truly outstanding, who is doing a fantastic job.

    You can do this. You need to do this. And you’ll feel much better when it’s done.

    Reply
  88. The Supreme Troll

    No more warnings. No progressive disciplinary steps. No PIP. Fire Jane. Immediately. Now. (And I even want to say like right this moment now).

    Like Alison mentioned near the bottom of her response to you OP: what if Jane adds your company’s logo to her Facebook images (she has been beyond cavalier & reckless about everything else).

    Reply
  89. The Supreme Troll

    And I want to add: while this may gross some people out, I wouldn’t put it past Jane to possibly involve other people that she knows from outside of the office and bring them there to film an “adult” personal video. Maybe not, but she certainly doesn’t see anything wrong with her particular “picture-taking” in the office.

    Reply
    1. AKchic

      It may have already happened and is posted somewhere else that clients and coworkers are not privy to yet.

      Reply
  90. Storie

    It never ceases to amaze me how some people manage to hold onto jobs despite terrible behavior because the boss feels they might be too hard to replace. And here I’m always paranoid about not going above and beyond constantly in order to maintain good standing!

    Reply
    1. Jady

      It’s all related to your length of time with the company and your responsibility level.

      The longer you’re at a company, and the more important your job is, the more internal knowledge you gather. Just that fact alone can be enough. I just recently (few months ago) had a co-worker fired who had been around far too long for simply that reason – he knew a lot of stuff that other people didn’t. And yeah, since he was fired we’ve had to deal with a fair amount of pain.

      And it’s important to point out that pain actually has a financial cost associated with it! Anytime something is needed in that area, other employees are spending time trying to figure these things out from scratch or solve these problems. When your job is under deadlines and bills customers hourly and things like that – it’s a BIG DEAL. People are working nights and weekends, deadlines are missed, that extends project costs, etc.

      At my current company (4 years here), I’ve gone through this twice.

      It is a company-caused problem though, things like documentation and cross-training need to be a primary focus, but it frequently ends up pushed aside.

      Reply
      1. Storie

        cross-training is an excellent point. don’t have all your eggs in one basket. i suppose no one ever imagines they’ll find themselves in this situation…and yet, common.

        Reply
  91. Espeon

    Sweet Baby Jesus… I- No. NO.

    This woman needs to be fired for stupidity alone. Who the F not only does this at work, but posts it on social media where she’s linked herself with her workplace, colleagues and even patients?! Holy dumbassery, Batman.

    Also you may wish to burn your office to the ground and rebuild.

    Reply
  92. oviraptor

    I quickly scanned through the comments and didn’t see anything regarding my following question. I apologize if I missed a similar comment/thread.

    It seems the majority thinks Jane should be fired. So let’s say this happens. Here is where my question(s) start to form. While Jane was an employee, she had been requested/told to take down any photos taken at work and (I think) comments referring to her place of employment.

    At that time to me, the employer has more leverage in this request because the result of not complying is unemployment. Jane decided to call their bluff, double down and do her thing.

    Once Jane is fired, the employers leverage is gone and Jane will more than likely leave those photos online (and post the ones that didn’t make the first cut). For all the many reasons pointed out by other commenters the photos really should be removed. (I have so many questions…)

    What is next for the company to resolve this? Lawyer with a letter? Lawsuit? Something else? How long would it take? (Because the longer the photos are online, the more opportunities for patients to see them). Are the odds in favor of the company? Or would this somehow be a violation of Jane’s rights? (Again, I don’t know which one, if any. It’s only another question that I thought of).

    So many questions. I can totally see my afternoon being derailed by Google. :)

    Reply
    1. Jady

      The photos themselves aren’t the problem, it’s the connection to the company.

      If the photos include things like the company logo in the background, they’d either have to ignore it and be glad to be rid of her, or talk to a lawyer. Although I can’t really imagine what kind of law this might be related to, defamation maybe?

      But from the OP descriptions – it doesn’t sound like that’s an urgent concern. Taking a picture in someone’s office doesn’t necessarily mean they have something like the logo in the background. It could just be a plain old boring office.

      Reply
      1. Natalie

        I think defamation has to be more explicit, like someone directly lying about something a business did. Connecting the dots between a person’s photos seeming to have been taken in an office and their former workplace probably wouldn’t count.

        Reply
      2. paul

        *IF* patient information is present in any photo–even just a name on a file–they absolutely should talk to an attorney to see about minimizing their risk.

        These photos are online; getting them off the net is probably impossible or so close to it as not to matter. But the company may be open to legal liability if client information is visible and they need to have attorney review it and help them minimize their liability.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Yeah, I think I would only pursue it if there was visible patient information; otherwise I think the odds of failing to do anything but draw more attention to the situation are too high to make it worth it.

          But I don’t think keeping Jane gives you any leverage over the photos anyway–she doesn’t care what her manager thinks and isn’t going to take them down, so that’s not a reason to saddle yourself with her any longer.

          Reply
    2. A completely different Steve

      A lot depends on whether the photos actually exist. At the moment OP appears to only have hearsay evidence of them and their content (plus a very dubious habit of extended bathroom breaks, but lots of people take their phone into the restroom these days). If they exist then firing Jane is the only sensible action. But rumour of their existence without proof puts some onus on the employer to ensure that this is not just malicious gossip. If she is fired and it turns out that this was a misunderstanding, then OP’s employer is going to be in for a bad time.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        She yelled at her supervisor when she was told to disentangle her personal Facebook from the business. The employer is on solid ground no matter what was in the pictures.

        Reply
      2. Jessie the First (or second)

        “If she is fired and it turns out that this was a misunderstanding, then OP’s employer is going to be in for a bad time”

        Why? Employers don’t need proof, it is not a court of law. They can fire her for a reason and then end up being wrong about the reason. Unless you’re saying that Jane would somehow be able to turn that into a sex discrimination lawsuit – but she’d need more evidence than “they fired me because they thought I did X and it turns out I didn’t do X” so that seems like a stretch. (and anyway, here, Jane does not in any way deny that the photos exist, if I read the letter right.)

        Reply
      3. Observer

        If she is fired and it turns out that this was a misunderstanding, then OP’s employer is going to be in for a bad time.

        Totally not true in the US. A “genuine belief” is all it takes. And even that is only necessary if you are defending against a suit regarding discrimination or retaliation for legally protected activity. That’s just totally not an issue here.

        Reply
    3. Observer

      Once Jane is no longer their employee, she’s no longer their problem.

      “I heard that Jane -” “Yeah, she’s no longer employed here.”
      “Jane reached out to me last week about her group! How – ” “We’re so sorry. She’s no longer employed here. This is why.”

      Etc.

      Reply
    4. Nita

      Good point. And given Jane’s behavior after being warned, if she’s fired she may do a lot more damage than she has so far. For example, she could escalate her behavior with her patient contacts because (a) revenge and (b) they’re now former patients, so it’s A-OK. I hope there would be some HIPAA-related legal recourse at that point, but it still wouldn’t be pretty.

      So yes, she definitely needs to be fired, but there should be a lawyer involved to head this sort of thing off at the pass.

      Reply
  93. Yorkshire Rose

    OP, people outside your office already know where she works and this is BAD BAD BAD publicity for your company. Letting her go shows that your office takes professionalism seriously. Right now, her behavior is doing nothing good for your company.

    No one is ever not replaceable.

    Reply
  94. Bea

    I’ll jump in one more time to say that your fears of replacing her are reasonable because despite having a readily available skill set, I’ve seen the terror of having to do this first hand. I’ve drug my ass back to train people for former bosses who are struggling to find the right person. Yes, you can keep throwing temps at it until one sticks as well.

    It’ll be frustrating and maybe you’ll have to try a bit but you’ll be free of this woman in the end. It will benefit you to take on the daunting task of finding a new OM but you’ll show the next person that you expect from them. I know being dropped into a “the former bookkeeper was fired because “this story”” has colored my world in ways it’s impossible to describe. You will be better off without a toxic woman running your business into the ground.

    Your patients will then get to also tell the new person all about it. *shiver* It’s better than having patients leave though.

    Reply
  95. Jady

    If having someone in her role is the biggest barrier to firing her – start looking for a replacement today. You could go the ‘warning’ route and use that time to find a replacement – if you feel like it’s necessary.

    I can see why in such a small practice, given her role description, she’s got a lot on her plate and that would be really difficult to cover. You can give yourself a little breathing room if you have to.

    Also learn from this experience that you always need a plan B for every employee or position. Anybody can be hit by the bus, after all.

    Reply
    1. Sara without an H

      +1. You also need to have written procedures, at least for the most critical stuff, with cross-training wherever possible.

      Reply
  96. Amanda Mental health advocate

    I haven’t read through all the comments here, but I am surprised to hear that this is a health practice and there is no suspicion of your colleague being in the middle of a maniac episode. All of her behavior screams mania and bipolar disorder. I understand this behavior is of serious risk to your practice but I hope my comment can add some perspective into this might be a need for a greater intervention than just firing.

    I hope everything goes well and your colleague is okay.

    Reply
    1. No Name Yet

      Well, one of the guidelines here is specifically to not armchair diagnose people in the letters.

      That being said, the same thing occurred to me as a possibility. Not the only possibility, but definitely one of them.

      That being said, sometimes people do things when they’re manic that deservedly get them fired. Even if they are mental health providers, they’re not HER mental health providers. And if they tried to be, that would be a whole other set of boundaries that got violated.

      Reply
    2. Lissa

      This or similar doesn’t seem unlikely but I think that’s not in the OP’s scope to address. It seems like coworkers from a place where she needs to get fired are not the right people to attempt an intervention here.

      Reply
    3. LadyKelvin

      No Name Yet already mentioned the policy of not armchair diagnosing here, but ultimately it doesn’t matter if she has a mental illness. People are held responsible for their actions, regardless of their mental state. And the OP has to take some kind of action based upon what she sees, which is the actions of her employee.

      Reply
    4. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      I don’t know that there’s any way an employer can try to hold an intervention for an employee they’re currently disciplining. That’s a pretty major overstep of boundaries.

      Reply
    5. Observer

      I think there are two reasons. One is the policy others have mentioned. The other is, it really doesn’t matter. This is just an impossible situation. And the OP needs to act the same way regardless of the reason.

      Reply
      1. Short & Dumpy

        Yup. Both.

        (And I say this as someone with a spouse who is severely bipolar. He will never, ever hold another job…for that matter, when he starts to turn manic: all of his credit cards are given to me, all saved credit card numbers are deleted from his phone and computer, all passwords are changed, vehicle keys are kept in my possession at all times, etc. This is WITH amazing treatment. He basically cannot be allowed out of the house when manic. There is no amount of sympathy in the world that would mean he should ever be in a workplace again until much better drugs are developed.)

        Reply
      2. Ray Gillette

        And also, plenty of people with mental health issues don’t take explicit photos at work. Part of the reason for the policy (other than it seems to try to excuse bad behavior) is that it tends to demonize mental illness.

        Reply
  97. Hey Karma, Over here.

    “you need to convince yourself that the fact that it’ll be a pain to replace her isn’t a reason not to take action”
    and you need to act and believe that what you are doing is not actionable. You are not at fault. You are not harassing her, violating her rights or making her unsafe.
    You are creating boundaries.
    You tried that once. She cried lawyer and upped her game. And nothing happened.
    Now you go back and say, “we’ve had this conversation. Instead of cutting out the activity, you increased it. That’s unacceptable.”

    Reply
  98. Student

    This discussion should have ended at: “She even invited a patient who works at a business in our center to be a member of one of the groups.”

    Patients need to be off-limits to sexual solicitations of any type from the doctor’s office, whether it’s the doctor or the front staff. This woman likely has access to their medical records and treatment information – if she doesn’t, patients will think she does anyway. She can potentially blackmail them with that info. Her “friends” who are patients are a huge problem, too.

    She is sexually harassing your patients because she is in a position of special trust with them. This is not okay. If I was a patient, and a male front desk staff of a medical practice wanted to share photos like that with me, which is what you’ve said she’s done here, I would be freaked out and never come back to your practice. It’s not okay because she’s a woman – it’s still wrong and she’s probably making