getting paid for my notice period, coworker sent me an adult photo, and more

It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. How can I ensure I get paid for my notice period?

I’m considering another opportunity and may be handing my notice in by the end of the week. I was planning on giving 2 weeks notice. However, I could be moving to a major competitor, so I’m not sure if they will want me around the office for the next 2 weeks. In the event they send me home, how do I make sure they pay me for my notice period? I’m worried as I’m employed on an “at-will” contract, they will turn around and say “you’re leaving today, effective immediately” and I won’t get pay or benefits for those weeks. Can they legally do that?

Yes. And some companies do that — although not the smart ones, because doing that only ensures that other employees won’t give any notice when they resign in the future, because they’ll see how people have been treated.

Your best bet is to look at what your company’s history has been. Do they typically push people out early when they give notice? And if they do, do they pay out their notice period anyway? (Some companies will have you leave immediately but still pay you for that time.) Let your company’s history be your guide here — and be prepared for the possibility that might indeed have you leave immediately.

2. Coworker sent me an adult photo at work

I have been flirting with a coworker and today he decided to send me a photo using our work accounts. The email had no subject and no text, just a photo attached. When I opened the email and saw there was just a photo attached, I asked him what it was. That’s when he told me it was a sexual photo. I did not open the attachment. Instead, I just deleted it from both my received files and my trash, but now I’m scared I could get fired even if I didnt open it. Please advise.

Unlikely. But you should clearly tell your coworker not to send you adult photos at work (or, if you prefer, at all). Also, what kind of dude thinks that using work email for this type of thing is smart? Flirt with a different guy (preferably not a coworker).

3. What questions can I ask a disabled job applicant?

I’m going to be on the second round of interviews for a person who is being considered for a job that requires considerable keyboard work.
He passed the first round of technical screening with no problems. The question I want your help on comes from the fact that he has a visible
disability – his arms are held at unusual angles and have limited mobility.

I would like to know if it’s OK to ask a question like “If you come to work here, what accommodations would you need to do the keyboarding
part of this job?” in an interview. Or do we need to wait until after offer/acceptance to discuss accommodations? When I call his
references can I ask them what accommodations were made for him at his previous job (where he also did some keyboard work)? Can I ask if his lack of arm mobility affected his job performance?

You can’t ask any of that. Employers can’t ask about disabilities at all pre-offer. You can, however, ask about a candidate’s ability to perform specific functions of the job — in other words, you can ask, “Would you be able to do this type of keyboard work?” but not “What accommodations would you need to do this type of keyboard work?” And you shouldn’t be asking his references those questions either. All discussion about what accommodations he’d need should take place post-offer, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

But also, when you’re dealing with a complicated law like the ADA, don’t rely on an advice columnist; talk to a lawyer who specializes in employment law, who can talk to you about the specific nuances of your situation and ensure that you’re following the law. (I don’t mean that to sound chastising — but it’s important.)

4. Can my friend be fired for this?

Now that I am an “HR Professional” all of my friends, family and friends of friends come running to me with advise. Some things I am cool answering, some stuff not. This is one of those occations.

A friend works for a bank. They have a policy stating that a teller can be off balance X times per calendar year before being fired. There is a handbook stating the progressive discipline practices of the bank. My friend got fired today, and the reason was that she was off balance. However, she was not off as many times as the policy states that you can be off before getting fired. When she asked about it, they stated it was a new policy effective January 1, 2013 and they were retroactively firing her (gotta love 23-year-old supervisors who still live at home, bah). There were no notificatrions via email, snail mail or bulliten boards letting employee know of the policy change.

Of course they offered her 1 week severance, vacation payout and that they wouldn’t fight her unemployment claim as long as she agreed to sign the “I won’t sue you for unlawful termination” letter. My advise was to not sign the letter immediately and consult with a local employement attorney. Can companies do this sort of thing? I know mine doesn’t but maybe I am just lucky that way.

I doubt the handbook says that you can only be fired if you’re off balance X time per year. I’d assume that it says that you will be fired if that happens, but probably not that you can’t be fired unless it does. Unless this bank is very, very stupid, they used language in their handbook that preserves at-will employment and which allows them to fire an employee for any legal reason, whether or not they violate a specific policy.

That said, it never hurts to consult with a lawyer before signing a general release in exchange for severance, but I certainly wouldn’t encourage your friend to think she’s going to have recourse here.

5. My boss chews with his mouth open

I work at a startup in a very small space (4 of us in one room) and my boss chews with his mouth open. Not only is it really getting under my skin (especially since he eats several times a day), but I notice that he eats like this in front of potential customers, business partners, etc. and I feel that it’s off-putting. Is there any way to address this problem, or is it something I have to live with?

You have to live with it.

Sometimes people have annoying habits. And when you work with people, you will have annoying coworkers. This one happens to be your boss. This annoying habit isn’t getting in the way of you doing your work, so it falls in the “need to live with it” category.

6. Are flat shoes unprofessional for women?

Reading through the AAM archives, I found a reference in the comments to not wearing flat shoes to an interview. Are high heels considered more professional? I’ve never worn heels and am applying for jobs (as a pharmacist) where I’d be on my feet a lot of the day, so I’ve seen many pharmacists wear sneakers to work with dress clothes. Should I be wearing heels to interviews?

Flat shoes are fine, and plenty of people wear them and look perfectly professional. Just make sure the shoes themselves are professional; not just any pair of flats will do, obviously. Try loafers.

7. Employee is working unauthorized overtime

I have an employee who comes in too early and leaves late without it being approved. He is an older, senior employee and feels he can continue to do this. I am new in my role as a supervisor, but I need to nip this in the bud. He is sneaking overtime in every week. Please advise.

Be direct about what you need him to do differently: “Bob, I cannot allow you to work overtime without approval. I noticed you’ve been coming in early and leaving late, and I need you to revert to working your regular hours. I need you to check with me to get any overtime approved before you work it.”

Then, if the problem continues after that, you treat it like you would any other serious instruction that was ignored: “Bob, we talked a few days ago about the fact that you need to get overtime approved in advance. Why is it continuing?” …. “This is a serious issue, and I need to see an immediate change.”

{ 183 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    Does the photo guy not have your cell # or private email?

    Does he not know of your ‘Big Brother’ policies? Most employers won’t do anything unless there is a reason…sexual harassment, some lawsuit, or if someone is looking to fire you or him. Find out what your email retention policy is. Sometimes just because you delete it doesn’t mean it’s deleted off your company’s servers. Each company handles things differently.

  2. Anonymous*


    Are you contract? Meaning 1099 or equivalent contract. I doubt there will be harm in giving a 1 wee if that is the case. In fact, I was let go immediately in a 1099 case as soon as my old boss saw I was adding recruiters on LinkedIn. Luckily I already had an offer.
    Try asking a coworker what happened to previous employees. Reassure you’re looking for growth at the new place. And good luck.

  3. Lacey*

    #5 – ARGH, chewing with your mouth open is the worst. I went for lunch with a colleague one day who I thought was a pretty classy guy. He picked up his fork and started eating and I stopped dead in my tracks, honestly I nearly had my (empty) mouth hanging open with shock, because the sound and visual effects were so startling. It was truly disgusting, chewing and slurping away with his mouth wide open. I never looked at him the same way again.

    1. Editor*

      Before my daughter met her fiance a couple of years ago, she had at least two dates where the guys picked up an entire chicken breast with the fork, held it to their mouths, and took large bites off the airborne meat. It became a joke in the family about how to vet suitable partners. (“You think he’s a nice guy? I take it he cuts his chicken up before he bites into it.”)

      Just don’t do that, whether you’re male or female, dating or not.

      1. Tina*

        I had to laugh over this. When living with roommates many years ago, we created a list of things not-to-do based on our recent dating experiences. One was that they eat *everything* with their fingers – even stuff that wasn’t finger food. For example, pasta.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        Oh, it’s possible, but food frequently falls out. It’s totally disgusting. My mother would break him of that habit in 10 minutes if she was still alive (and if she knew him, and if she had any kind of authority over him). I do remember my brother doing that once, and only once!

    2. Calla*

      This is one of my HUGEST peeves. Whenever I go downstairs to the cafe of the building where I work, I somehow manage to always get the same guy at the table behind me, who chews with his mouth open and smacks loudly and wetly the whole time. He always sits down after me too, so it’s impossible to move without being obvious… but I’ve been very tempted.

      1. LPBB*

        I used to work with a woman like that. I would try as hard as I could not to take my lunch at the same time as her, and if I did end up being on break at the same time, not to eat in our tiny tiny break room.

        I never knew how to address it, since she was a grown adult. I don’t think shrieking “Will you PLEASE eat with your mouth closed for God’s sake!” would have been too effective!

      2. Julie*

        I doubt someone who eats that way will notice if you get up and move, and I really doubt he will think your moving has anything to do with him. Go ahead and move!

    3. Anonymous*

      Oh, I used to work with a guy who was the most disgusting eater ever – loud, chewed with his mouth WIDE OPEN (enough so you’d get frequent glimpses of his half chewed food in his gaping maw) and talked with his mouth full all the time. Our office didn’t really have a place to eat, so people would eat at their desk and I would always try to run an errand when he started in on his smacking. He recently quit and I was SO GRATEFUL even though it means more work for me. We just moved to a new office, I was going to have to sit next to him and I was DREADING having a conversation with him about it. He had a number of other awful personal habits like taking his shoes off and scratching his foot with a pencil in meetings. I am so glad he’s gone!

    4. Mary*

      I hat the people who slurp their drinks. I has one guy in the next cubicle to me who would make a loud slurping sound every time he drank his tea. No visual; but had to hear it all day.

    5. TrainerGirl*

      I used to work with a woman who was a NIGHTMARE when eating. We sat in cubes with a wall in between us. For a long time, I would hear her eating but couldn’t see her. The sound was horrific…I’ve never heard someone slurp, smack and chew so loudly. It was disgusting. One day, I made the mistake of coming to her side of the cubes to ask someone a question while she was eating lunch. I got to take in the sight of her doing terrible things to some chicken wings. Finally putting a visual to the sounds I had been hearing for over a year almost made me lose my lunch.

  4. Editor*

    Unauthorized overtime — Is there a way to keep Bob out of the building before start time?

    I think Alison’s suggestion is best, because you don’t want to have to individually police him day after day. But if your company uses a PIP or if you want to add some bite after one warning or two, can you track the extra time he adds each day, and the next day confront him at his official start time and make him go back to his car for 45 minutes or whatever? (The object would to make him “give up” the time at an inconvenient juncture, so he isn’t rewarded by an early start to the weekend.)

    Finally, I would be really explicit about consequences if you have the power to fire him, by saying, along with Alison’s remarks, “If you have unauthorized overtime for three separate weeks, the consequences could include termination for cause.”

    If one or two warnings don’t work, I might mention to Bob that unauthorized overtime is considered theft.

    Some other angles: Is Bob having trouble completing his work in a timely manner or is he focusing too much on nitpicking details when he could ignore some imperfections in order to meet deadlines? (There was a recent discussion of someone who was having trouble with being too detail-oriented.) Does Bob feel arriving earlier and staying later gives him an edge over younger workers, and does he think it makes him more valuable? Does Bob come in early to get something else that he values — the coldest spot in the fridge for his lunch, the freshest cup of coffee or his preferred type of coffee in the machine, a chat with pals who work the previous shift, a chance to hear all the gossip without missing any? Does Bob feel the company owes him the money after passing him over for raises or promotions or for charging him more for some benefit plan? Or is Bob just so set in his ways he doesn’t understand the days of unauthorized overtime have ended — not just at his workplace, but at pretty much every workplace.

    Not that Bob’s reasons for claiming unauthorized overtime justify the practice, but understanding why he’s doing it may allow you to craft a supplemental message underscoring why he can’t continue doing it. Good luck.

    1. tangoecho5*

      Lots of times people work overtime because they want or need the extra pay. That is probably the main reason he’s doing it. It’s very possible he’s well paid for his job/position/experience and knows it but just wants or needs more money for fun or bills verses feeling he’s being screwed by the company pay wise.

      1. A Hiring Manager*

        I have had employees do this too. It causes all kinds of problems because other employees see he is getting away with it and start doing it too. My dept. has a payroll budget and I can’t exceed that. Overtime for the tasks they do is considered poor management and I get called out for it. Discipline is a reminder of the policy, a verbal warning, a write-up and then termination. It is considered time card theft.

        1. Joey*

          It’s not really theft since you’re getting labor in exchange for money. It would only be theft if employees are eating Bon bons or something.

          1. Jessa*

            It really is theft, if the company had no intention of paying for that time and now has to because legally the person worked. If the company says do it in 8 hours or ask for OT and get permission and you don’t you are stealing from them. Just because you’re doing work doesn’t mean the company needs that work, values that work at OT rates or wants you to do it. They may decide that pushing a deadline back or not having x task done is more important than paying OT.

            1. Joey*

              That’s true, but there are also the employees with good intentions just trying to get the work done because they thought it was the right thing to do. That’s why most employers don’t consider working past closing time as time card theft. Time card theft is normally reserved for the folks on the clock who for example aren’t physically at work, but turn in time or the ones eating Bon bons when they should be working.

      2. snuck*

        Or maybe Bob doesn’t like his wife and comes in early/leaves late to avoid her.

        Who knows. But Editor’s list and thoughts are good ones – what is the motivation behind the extra time – because if you can address that you will be able to retain Bob and his experience while resolving the issue. If you don’t Bob might just leave… either pushed or jump.

    2. KellyK*

      Lots of good points to consider. Another one might be the workload. If he has more to do than he can get done in a standard day, you might need to take some things off his plate if you don’t want to authorize overtime. I say “might” because it could also be that you really need someone who can do all 47 things in 8 hours and everyone else is managing that. But it’s worth checking into.

    3. KellyK*

      Also, if it’s a logistics issue (parking spot, traffic patterns, etc.), you can tell him that he’s more than welcome to show up whenever he needs to, but that because the overtime isn’t authorized, he can’t come in the building until his start time. If he’s leaving early to beat the rush hour or get a good parking spot, it’s up to him whether that’s worth hanging out in his car reading a book until start time.

      1. Jessa*

        Exactly, you can come in early or stay late due to busses or parking or whatever, but you sit in the break room and don’t clock in til your shift starts, and you clock out at your end time and just hang and read a book or something. Just because you’re on premises doesn’t mean you have to be working.

    4. Twentymilehike*

      Maybe he doesn’t realize it?

      This actually just happened to me recently: I got my first two checks at my new job, and the both had an extra hour of overtime per week. I didn’t think I worked late that often! It turns out they have this time clock system that rolls back or forward in 14 minute increments. I’m not sure exactly how to decribe it, but if I clocked out at 5:07, it rolled back to 5. If I clocked out at 5:08, it rolled forward to 5:15. Same with lunch breaks, only just a little different. So when I was really in the office and working for 8 hours, it was rolling me back or forward for an extra 15 or 30 minutes a day (if I clocked in before 7:53) and I had no idea! Now I know so I make sure to clock in and out accordingly …

      1. AdminAnon*

        That happened to me as well when I first started my job. The really irritating thing was that my manager didn’t tell me that; she just scolded me for the overtime. 3 paychecks later, a second non-exempt employee started (we’re the only two in the office) and then when we BOTH had overtime, our manager figured it out and told us about the rolling cushion in the system. Now we’re very careful about clocking in and out within the appropriate time frame.

      2. j-e to the double n*

        I wonder what the OP’s time clock practices are at this business, perhaps he just needs re-training?

        I know at my current part-time hourly job the time clock won’t even allow me to punch in before my start time and the manager’s have a pda which tracks all of the employees hours and beeps at them if any employees are getting close to the cutoff time.

      3. mel*

        Ah we have a similar system except that it never rolls forward, always back! It’s very annoying because if I clock out at 4:59:50pm (which does occasionally happen because not all clocks are in sync), they dock 15 minutes off of my pay.

        1. Natalie*

          I’m not actually sure that’s kosher per the FLSA:

          “In some industries, particularly where time clocks are used, there has been the practice for many years of recording the employee’s starting and stopping time to the nearest 5 minutes, or to the nearest one-tenth or quarter of an hour. Presumably, these arrangements average out so that the all of the time actually worked by the employee is properly counted and the employee is fully compensated for all the time actually worked. Such practices of recording working time are acceptable, provided they do not result, over a period of time, in failure to count as hours worked all the time the employees have actually worked.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        Rounding to the nearest 15 minutes seems to be a thing especially in retail.

        Personally, I don’t worry about a few minutes here and there. But what concerned me is that no one told me the policy and I got sternly lectured by 3 people for 20 minutes because I punched out 1 minute late.
        3 x20 equals one man-hour. The company spent one whole hour of wages on telling me I wasted one minute of their time.

        1. Twentymilehike*

          Oh yes, Kronos, that’s what’s it’s called! You clock in and your on your desk phone with your employee ID and a clock code. At least someone explained it to me a few weeks in … No one ever told me how the time clocks worked at any of my other jobs, with the exception of the one job where the boss calculated the time cards by hand, to the minute.

  5. Chocolate Teapot*

    6 – Flat Shoes can mean a whole range of footwear, but some flat shoes are more work appropriate than others. Smart loafers or ballerina style are quite good with trousers, but a small heel looks better with a skirt. I have several pairs of a ballerina type shoe but with a chunky heel, (it helps if you happen to be vertically challenged!) which I wear for work.

    1. long time lurker!*

      Flats can work with skirts too! They may not look quite as pretty but they can look lovely and professional. I very rarely wear any kind of heel, and when I wear skirts, I tend to wear patent flats with some structure (like the Tory Burch Reva flats).

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Yes, shoes in the Tory Burch Reva style (which are similar to what I wear for work) can look smart, it’s just a case of pairing them with the right style skirt.

        And of course, making sure shoes are polished and the heels haven’t worn down, makes a huge difference, whatever the style.

    2. Cat*

      I actually like flats better with skirts than I do chunky heels. Higher heels work well with skirts, but I feel like the middle ground is awkward with them.

    3. Sydney Bristow*

      Flat shoes are totally fine. I go for plain black leather flats and pick different toe shapes through the years as styles change. Sometimes details like metal pieces on them look nice and professional but other times they skew casual or younger than I’d like. I wear them with my pencil skirts all the time.

      I say 100% keep wearing flats to interviews. The interviewer is much less likely to notice that than if you’re stumbling around in heels because you’ve never worn them before.

      1. Bwmn*

        This is so important!! Wearing interview clothing that you’ve never worn before or a style you’ve never worn before can end up being so much distracting if your fidgeting, stumbling, pulling something up/down.

    4. themmases*

      A couple of years ago I decided I was tired to wearing heels all the time, and upgraded my shoe wardrobe a little at a time to all pointed-toe flats– one each of the important colors like black and beige, and then several bright colors that I just liked. I don’t think I have ever gotten as many compliments on clothes as I do now on my shoes. So they can definitely look professional, and they’ve saved several almost-laundry-day outfits that I otherwise didn’t feel that great about. The only caveat with this style is that they often– but not always– need to be a half size up from your normal size to be comfortable, so it’s a good idea to try them on first or order them from somewhere with a good return policy.

      The next best thing IMO is very low wedges– I have some that are only about an inch high and they are just as easy to walk in, but do look slightly dressier.

      1. LMW*

        +1 to both of these suggestions. I get so many compliments on my pointy-toed flats, even the cheapy Old Navy outlet pair!

        1. Editor*

          Talbot’s has something described as almond-toed flats this season. they are demi-wedges, so they don’t look entirely flat. I was drooling over them (in part, because suede), but they don’t come in wide sizes — and of course, there is the Talbot’s price tag.

          I have a pair of Clark’s flats that I got on sale. They have a more rounded toe like a ballet flat and some pleat detailing on the front of the shoe, plus a composite sole that is more like a wedge, but flat. I wear them every other day except during the summer and they’ve held up very well. They were worth every penny.

          1. fposte*

            Ah, a wide-footed sister. Clarks have expanded into some really cute styles lately, in flats and in heels. I think they would be a particularly fine choice for “don’t-usually-wear-heels heels” if you run wide.

            I haven’t checked Talbots for shoes (generally Zappo’s and Amazon give me a broad enough range even with the wide thing) but I’ll have a look–thanks for the mention!

      2. Julie*

        The last time I was running around town interviewing, I wore sneakers to get where I was going, and then I would have to change into the heels in the (hopefully empty) elevator or a corner of the lobby or a nearby Starbucks. What a pain! It would have been much better to just wear flats and not need the sneakers.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I love loafers! Penny loafers and ones with tassels especially! I hate ballet flats; I feel like I’m not actually wearing shoes. And with loafers, I can wear cute socks in the wintertime. :)

  6. Woodward*

    2 – Adult Photo

    The first day I got an iPhone a few years ago, I barely knew how to use it. A guy I had just met (who seemed nice – so much for first impressions!) texted me a VERY unrequested naked picture of himself. My new phone was on my desk and the image was displayed as my phone vibrated while I was meeting with a brand new employee. We both were completely shocked.

    I did not handle it smoothly. A quick scream and I tossed it in the drawer like a dirty sock. After work I spent several hours reading the manual and playing with the settings on my phone so nothing like that could ever happen again. The first thing I learned? How to block a number.

    1. LisaLyn*

      That would have been a good story for the embarrassing work moments post!

      And seriously, what are people thinking?

    2. Shane Watson*

      This is exactly why I set my phone to display nothing on the lock screen other than the number of someone who called or controls for what music I’m listening to. Otherwise, you open yourself to some seriously embarrassing moments.

      1. Woodward*

        I pulled her aside the next day and apologized for the incident, explaining it was a fluke and I don’t condone texting naked pictures at all. She acted a little awkward for the next week, but eventually everything went back to normal.

        @Shane Watson – My phone settings are now similar to yours. Live and learn!

  7. bob*

    #1: A few of us have mentioned on here in the past if you think there’s a chance you could be escorted out immediately MAKE SURE you have all the contacts you need from your email and you have copies of whatever personal stuff is on your computer because IT will most likely rip your creds very quickly.

    I absolutely think that if you are going to a major competitor you should assume they will say thanks for the notice, we’ll send you a check for the next 2 weeks and hr will be escorting you out right now. We had this happen with one of our sales guys a few months back but fortunately it wasn’t acrimonious.

    #7: There you go blaming me again!

    1. IronMaiden*

      How can being escorted out, particularly if your only wrongdoing is to seek another job, not be acrimonious?

      1. KellyK*

        It can be the simple fact that having an employee who’s about to start working for a competitor is a conflict of interest for that employee. Without any assumption that the employee *would* do anything unethical, but that it’s best to avoid both the possibility and the appearance.

      2. Felicia*

        +1 . Being escorted out is what you do when someone did something wrong or you fear they’ll do something wrong.

        1. IronMaiden*

          Sounds like it’s pretty much par for the course and not a very respectful way to treat adult professionals. I am not in the US and it certainly would only occur in my country for serious infringements.

        2. Jazzy Red*

          No, actually, this has been standard procedure in many companies for more than 20 years. Every single person at my company who was laid off in the past 18 months was escorted out (more than 100 people). It’s just a way of making sure everyone is treated the same way.

          1. JMegan*

            I have a friend who works for a major bank – it’s standard practice there too. So much so, in fact, that everybody knows to pack up their desk before they give their notice, because that’s the last time they’ll see it.

            Nothing acrimonious about it in this case, it’s just what’s expected. It’s a highly competitive industry, and nobody wants to risk you taking proprietary information to their competitors.

            (Although, I’m not sure how walking someone out the door would actually stop that. If you were planning on taking information or anything else you shouldn’t be, wouldn’t you do that before you give your notice anyway?)

          2. ThursdaysGeek*

            It’s just a way of making sure everyone is treated the same crummy way. It’s like putting a block on the internet because one person is abusing that privilege, or adding cameras to the building because one employee is stealing. You don’t have to treat everyone the same way if they aren’t all acting the same way. But it’s a lot easier to treat everyone the same way rather than treating most like professionals and a few with a bit more caution.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            Well, I think you can wait until the end of the day and not escort them out in front of everyone like a common criminal. At least then if you have to hover while they pack up their desks, people aren’t walking by and staring. It being standard procedure doesn’t make it any less obnoxious and humiliating.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        In companies where everyone understand that’s what happens if you’re leaving for a competitor, it doesn’t have to be acrimonious. I think it’s a ridiculous policy, but if everyone understands that’s how they do it, it can be done without being a big deal.

        1. Anonymous*

          This is pretty standard in the fashion and the athletic apparel/footwear world. You get paid for your 2 weeks and are asked to leave the next day. Usually, it is your manager that sits with you while you pack up. Mine was cracking jokes about having to sit and watch me gather my things. I will say it taught me not to bring so much personal crap. I had a ton in that cube.

        2. Judy*

          When someone is leaving for a competitor here, they aren’t escorted out, but they are told that they will be paid for their notice period and have the rest of the day for transition. So they are not escorted out, but they are asked to leave at the end of the day.

      4. bob*

        When you’re a sales person with a huge contact list and going to a competitor you know that you’re current employer isn’t going to let you stick around long enough to poach accounts for your new employer.

    2. Brett*

      I’m picturing this scenario with the 600+ pounds of journals I have at my cubicle. A half-crazy ex-engineer co-worker rebuilt my shelves so they would hold 50 lbs per linear foot after I broke the last set.

  8. Sabrina*

    #2 The real question is, why do men think women want dirty pictures of them? If you’ve been dating a while maybe, but if you’re still just flirting? You really think that is going to seal the deal?

    1. Anonymous*

      I know right! Specially since our flirting was very innocent, there was never any sexual content, so why on earth did he decided to send me a porn photo!

  9. Amy B.*

    #1. I worked for a company where I was summarily fired for giving notice. I say “fired” because I was giving NOTICE of my resignation, not resigning. My pay and all benefits (they were self-insured) were cut off immediately and my manager had me escorted from the building. I should have seen the warning signs, as one other employee before me was also fired for giving notice and all other resigning employees just didn’t give any notice.

    A few years later the meanie manager applied for a very lucrative position at my current employer and I was asked what kind of manager he was. He did not get the job. Sometimes when people resign at my current employer, they are allowed to work their notice. Sometimes they are immediately let go BUT they are paid for their notice period.

    You may also want to check if your new company will let you start early.

    1. Elizabeth*

      That sounds awfully childish on the part of the company. Sort of like, “Yeah? Well, you can’t break up with me, because I’m breaking up with you!”

  10. Calibrachoa*

    #7 – Are you sure he doesn’t think it is authorized? Like, did he and his previous supervisor maybe have an agreement along the lines of “bob I know times are tough with everything so any time you want to pull in extra hours, have at it” which no one has actually mentioned to you? I know I’ve had to sit down with 3 different supervisors to walk them though the specifics of how a shift rotation agreement between myself and a teammate sanctioned by the management works…

    1. KellyK*

      That’s a good point. When you talk with him, don’t immediately assume that he’s doing something that he isn’t supposed to, but tell him that from this point forward, any overtime needs to be authorized.

    2. Steve*

      I had a department budget a few years back that allowed for 2-1/2 hours of overtime per employee per week. This in theory allowed them to clock in 15 minutes early and clock out 15 minutes late each day – so they didn’t have to watch the clock über closely. Ivan generally ended up with 10-15 minutes of overtime each week while Dodie got the full 2-1/2 hours. She did do work during that time, but the manager that replaced me thought she was just riding the clock and abusing the situation. He put an end to it and Dodie basically took a cut in her weekly paycheck for something that was more my “fault” than hers

      Maybe Bob just doesn’t know what’s really expected of him under this new supervisor.

    3. sharon g*

      Please find out from him if it was authorized. I worked in an office that 3 out of 4.5 people quit at the same time. I was given the okay for overtime by the general manager and a guy from the corporate office. When the new office manager started, she never asked me or any management about overtime being approved. She wrote a nasty note on my time sheet stating that all overtime must be approved prior to working and I was NOT to let it happen again. She didn’t realize I was doing so much in the office, plus having to fill in for the hypochondriac receptionist. I was a bit pissed when she got onto me for it without finding out what the situation was.

        1. sharon g*

          I would have, but she wrote it on her 2nd day on the job. She had been dealing with management for 2 days going over what the previous office manager had done, and I hadn’t had a moment to discuss my job with her.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Yes, definitely find out if he has been told he has some discretion regarding his hours.

      That said, I had one employer that was very good at conveying the NO word. The employer said “We tell people no overtime without consulting the boss first. IF a person has overtime and the boss did not authorize it that day, this is considered stealing from the company. You took something that was not yours to take. You know that you must limit yourself to 40 hours per week. You submit a time card for 40.5 hours, knowing you were not supposed to do that then you are stealing from payroll.”

      This got everyone’s attention, of course.

      Conversely, if we had an emergency we could quickly locate any manager and get approval for additional time.

  11. FiveNine*

    #4 — The way the letter is written, I wondered if the friend has been relying on the handbook’s suggestion of a maximum amount the balance can be off each quarter and playing to that, banking the amount “off.” Also, in addition to AAM’s advice about how to read the handbook’s steps for firing when a balance is off, keep in mind that employers — and financial institutions in particular — tend to have a general zero tolerance policy when it comes to theft (as opposed to accidentally being off once in four years by a minimum amount).

    1. Michele*

      My mom worked in a bank when I was growing up. I can remember her being late home because someone did not balance. They actually weren’t allowed to leave until everyone was perfect. Technology was a lot different then so in today’s world I am surprised this could be an issue.

      1. Audiophile*

        When I worked at a well known grocery wholesaler, part of the responsibility of being a cashier was to count your drawer at the beginning and end of the shift. If you were off 3 times in 90 day period, you were put back on probation. Three times on probation, you were fired. I knew that one person who got fired.

        1. some1*

          My friend was a server at a well-known bar/restaurant in my area about 12 years ago. Her cash was off at the end of her shift (around 10 or 11PM) and her manager freaked out on her and fired her on the spot. Then they “found” the money after bar close when they counted everything, called at 2AM with a total non-apology and offered her the job back. She declined and I’ve never gone there since.

          1. Audiophile*

            Wow. I would have declined too. I remember several times double and triple checking my count. I was never off, thankfully. But I also wasn’t a fan of the way this store practiced its policy. I was ripped to shreds once for being late to my shift because of a heavy snowstorm. I had even called and explained I would be late and apologized. Manager claimed she shoveled her driveway and was on time, let’s just say I had my doubts. I had no problem leaving that job.

      1. LizNYC*

        Seriously. If OP #4 would like to give adviCe (with the “c”) to people, she should be adviSed (with the “s”) of the correct spelling.

          1. some1*

            I think Liz is trying to say if the LW wants to be seen as an HR Professional who is worthy of giving advice because of her position, professionalism and experience it won’t help if her written communication has spelling errors.

            She could be the best HR employee in the world, but if people go by her written communication, they may not see her that way.

              1. Joey*

                Count me in as someone who frequently misspells when emailing via my phone. Or sometimes i dont realize my spanish keyboard is on. But a memo or something more official is total different.

              2. Elizabeth West*

                The OP wrote bulliten instead of bulletin, and I had to nod ruefully. I know how to spell it, I’m not dyslexic, but that is a frequent typo of mine. Every single time I’m typing and I use that word, I have to fix it. And form for from, which spellcheckers won’t even see. I have that one in a list of word searches to perform on my manuscripts.

                My sister always writes wierd for weird. I know she knows how to spell it.

                1. Courtney*

                  Bulletin vs Bulliten is my Achilles heel!

                  Part of my job is being in charge of a semi-monthly e-Bulletin which means I use the word on a regular basis but still manage to misspell it over and over again.

          2. Calla*

            It struck me as unprofessional sounding because of this. I actually think it’s a good thing to point this out this particular poster in case they are not aware of how their written communication is coming across, even if it is a casual letter to a blog. What if she just doesn’t know? Especially in light of the fact that she has stated that she is a newer HR professional.

            1. Calla (The First)*

              Okay, this is the second time I’ve seen a comment from someone with the same name as me! I thought I picked an unusual enough one that this wouldn’t happen…

      2. mollsbot*

        Seriously, why ignore spell check? Unless, of course they have it deactivated. In that case, they should reactivate it.

        I’m not the best speller in the bee so I spell check as often as possible.

  12. LV*

    “gotta love 23-year-old supervisors who still live at home, bah”

    That’s a pretty gratuitous little dig there. Your friend got fired because she made several mistakes at work, not because of the whim of one of the Dreaded Millenials.

    1. Heather*

      Agreed. I also wonder if Bob from 7 is complaining about his 23 year old manager telling him to stop his overtime.

    2. Dang*

      +100. I came here just to say that. I am living at home, not by choice, after living on my own for almost a decade and have become really sensitive to the judgey attitudes around this. Who cares, really? People’s circumstances are all different and the dig had nothing to do with anything in the question. Not nice.

    3. One Of Those Millenials*

      That sentence stuck out to me, too. I’m 25 and still live at home, not because I’m irresponsible or need coddling, but because I simply cannot afford to live on my own right now, even though I have a fulltime professional job (it unfortunately doesn’t pay much). The fact that the supervisor is early twenties and living at home really shouldn’t have anything to do with this.

      1. Bea W*

        Between school loans, the cost of living, and the economy people are pretty much forced into living with parents longer or have had to return home. I feel like I had it comparitively easy 20 years ago.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        Me too. It seemed to have a tone of judginess about the supervisor’s age and living situation.

        I’m another Milennial and remember having to supervise an employee who was 15 years my senior and he had a poor attitude about it due to my age. That didn’t change that I was still his supervisor and needed to ensure the company rules were followed.

    4. some1*

      I agree that the manager’s age and living situation is neither here nor there when it comes to this, however, I always do find it a little suspicious when an employer lets an employee go for cause but gives them severance and doesn’t fight unemployment. If the LW’s friend committed a firable offense, why are they offering any severance at all (even though it isn’t much)?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Many companies routinely give severance to fired employees (unless the firing is for something egregious like theft) and don’t fight unemployment (since most fired employees are eligible for unemployment unless there was deliberate misconduct).

      2. Joey*

        I agree. I know some companies do it, but its a totally unnecessary expense (both severance and unemployment). The only people Id want to reward upon their separation are people who’ve been laid off through no fault of their own, someone who could take trade secrets, someone who I’m concerned has a legitimate legal case, or someone who wasn’t given a fair shot.

    5. Zed*

      Thank you for this. As one of those Dreaded Millennials (late twenties, good job in my field, but living with family), I found that sentence very rude – and a huge red flag! I wish Alison would have addressed it, actually. If the OP is that dismissive of her friend’s manager because of age, OP’s friend probably is too… and that makes me wonder, fairly or not, whether she has been disrespectful or dismissive of other policies or requests.

    6. Harriet Quimby*

      Agreed – kind of surprising coming a self-proclaimed “HR Professional”. BTW, HR Pro, you are being asked for “advice”, not “advise”. The word is “bulletin” not “bulliten” and I am not sure how to advise you to spell “notificatrions” as I have not heard that word before.

      This stuff matters. If you’re sloppy with words, how do I know anything is accurate that you write? What if you write “10 million” but the correct figure is 100 million?

  13. Chocolate Teapot*

    Wasn’t there a letter a while back about somebody who was unhappy about their (retail) supervisor being much younger than they were? I seem to recall a similar choice of words.

  14. Calla*

    6. I wear heels to interviews even though I rarely rare them in my actual daily work life. Like it’s often said here, interview attire is often different from what you’re going to wear every day (i.e. you still wear a suit in a business casual environment). That said! I don’t think flats are unprofessional at all as long as they look professional.

    If I’m not wearing heels with suits, I usually wear a low wedge. I think totally-flat flats work best if they’re in a solid color and have a non-round toe (i.e. almond toe or slight point). Personally, I also think a bit of shine is better than totally matte. Cole Haan, Dr. Scholl’s “Friendly” flat, or Kenneth Cole (perhaps The Delight Flat) have some good options, for example.

    1. Calla*

      Also, Corporette has a few posts on this. Searching “professional flats + corporette” should pull them up, and all the posts have recommendations.

      1. Nancypie*

        Some good advice that I got from Corporette, or maybe Capital hill style, was that to avoid flats that are too-casual, look for ones whose uppers look like heels would. So if I would never wear heels for work that have a cutesy little bow on top, I should avoid buying these as work flats. This has helped me make sure that my flats match the formality of the rest of my outfit, when the occasion calls for that.

    2. tesyaa*

      Skirt length is very important. It depends on your individual build, of course, but a knee length skirt is usually best for flats. A skirt that is midcalf will look even dowdier with flats, compared to a heel.

      1. Calla*

        I have no logical reason for this! Although I’ve seen some people say that a truly round toe reminds them of a slipper. I wouldn’t think it’s unprofessional, I just think almond or slight point looks better.

        1. Nikki T*

          Do people look at other’s shoes? I rarely know what shoes I myself have on without looking under my desk, let alone the shoes of others.

          I know nothing about fashion or trends. Only in the summer do I wear sandals with a wedge, the rest of the time it’s flats, loafers or whatever, I can’t wear ballet slipper type shoes.
          It’s always interesting following these threads.

          1. Calla*

            I imagine a lot of people don’t, but also a lot of people do. I tend to notice them, but I work with a lot of fashionable women who wear dresses/skirts, which makes the shoes easier to notice, and I’ve had them comment on mine as well.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I do. Have no idea why. I’m not a shopper, and I don’t have a foot fetish. But I always notice people’s shoes. Maybe it’s because for a long time, I couldn’t afford nice shoes.

          3. Al Lo*

            Absolutely! My (tongue in cheek) philosophy is that if no one has commented on your footwear, it’s because it’s not worth noticing, not because it’s gone unnoticed. Great shoes make or break an outfit, and on both men and women, I notice shoes about 95% of the time. And if they’re great shoes, I compliment them, even to strangers (I love getting comments on my footwear, so I always assume that others do as well).

      2. themmases*

        I think it is partly just changing fashion. I remember loving rounded toes several years ago– I guess they were new (or more likely new-to-me) in whatever style of shoe I liked at the time. They looked special to me, like I put thought into finding them and pairing them with whatever I was wearing.

        Now you can see them everywhere but especially in foldable flats, slippers, and generally shoes that could be worn just as easily outside of work. Pointed and other toe styles look more like the style a heel would be in, just without the heel, so it appears dressier– at least to me. I don’t really judge people for this, though, because round toes are very popular and definitely the easiest kind of flat to find. It just reads as “comfort over style” or trying to wear your weekend clothes to the office to me. I do it too, but I’m sure I’m not blowing people away with my fashion choices when I do.

        1. Chinook*

          I suspect that fashion gurus have decided that women with feet shaped like boxes deserve to be punished by forcing them to fold their toes into the points or to fall on their face when the extra 1 inch of empty toe space required to fit the shoe gets caught on the stairs.

          Not that I am bitter or envious of those who can wear more pointed shoes or anything.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            I just refuse to join in and go for comfortable shoes. I use the excuse that as an IT geek, by definition I have no fashion sense.

            1. The IT Manager*

              I just refuse to join in and go for comfortable shoes.


              I am honestly baffled by the shaped of shoes’tow boxes. My feet are perfectly normal and not shaped like that! I am geeky and proud of it, but I don’t claim a lack of show fashion sense. I love many varieties of Clarks and wear them with my jeans or slacks pretty much every day.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Figure skates have ungodly narrow toe boxes. They have to be snug, as if they were a part of your foot, but good GRIEF. When I take mine off at the end of practice, my poor cold feet stay in that position for a few minutes, all mashed and bunion-y. They definitely ain’t bedroom slippers. Thank goodness I don’t have to wear them all the time. I would die if my work shoes were like that.

                Not to mention what pointe shoes do to a dancer. My sister (dancer) and I always say you can tell we do those things; we both have crunched-up feet.

                1. 22dncr*

                  Yep – Started out with size 8AAA – after pointe shoes am now 7.5B or 7B. Actually glad because it’s easier to find shoes in this size and I LOVE shoes (;

          2. Rana*

            Amen. I simply do not understand how people can wear those pointy toed things.

            (My sister-in-law once told me that your feet stop short of the pointy part, but she must have different foot mechanics than me. I’d end up with jammed and pinched toes for sure.)

    1. Anon*

      Please let the small spelling errors go unless you can’t figure out what was meant! This is petty and annoying.

        1. Anon*

          Plus which, you are incorrect.

          Advise – verb meaning to offer suggestions about the best course of action. As opposed to advice – noun meaning guidance or recommendations as to the best course of action.

          Give notice – idiom meaning tell one’s employer that one is quitting one’s job.

          1. some1*

            So you think it’s rude and petty to point out misspellings in the body of the blog post, but not to do so (anonymously, I might add) to posters in a Comments section?

        2. fposte*

          I think AAM’s generally cool with correction notes on her own writing, but corrections on the OP’s submission, which is generally copy-pasted in, seems to me a pretty discouraging response to somebody who wanted help.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            That’s my take too — I appreciate corrections to my own stuff, and I try to correct OP’s submissions before I print them, but I don’t want us to jump all over letter-writers for writing mistakes, assuming writing isn’t related to what they’re seeking advice on.

            I don’t think people would think it was very cool of me if I did that to people who write in, after all.

          2. some1*

            It wasn’t meant to be rude, petty or to make the LW look less intelligent, just pointed it out in case AAM wanted to correct it. I don’t get why I am getting attacked.

              1. some1*

                I felt like I was because Anon told me I was being rude and petty, then went and read all my comments to the entry to find out if spelled anything wrong. That’s a lot different than, “I don’t think it’s helpful to point out typos in the letters because it might discourage people from writing to the blog”

                1. Rana*

                  I think something else to keep in mind is that if one points out an error in Alison’s post, she’s in a position to correct it. The OP is not.

    2. Sourire*

      Advise is actually used incorrectly twice. Normally I don’t get picky with spelling and grammar (especially online), but that fact that it was used incorrectly twice makes me think that OP #4 just doesn’t know the correct usage.

      Other than the spelling errors, I have another question about this one:

      “When she asked about it, they stated it was a new policy effective January 1, 2013 and they were retroactively firing her…”

      How is it retroactive if the policy started at the beginning of this calendar year? If the old policy was 5 times per year and a new policy was implemented on September 1st that changed it to 3 times per calendar year, then it would be a retroactive issue. Granted, I see major issues with changing policies without actually telling employees, but the whole letter is just slightly confusing and off-putting imo.

  15. S from CO*

    #6 – I see lots of excellent advice here about flats. And if you would like to try to wear heels, I recommend the following brands of shoes/boots: Dansko, Ecco, ABEO and Naot.
    These shoes are very comfortable and I am able to wear them all day without any discomfort. I have had bunions and knee pain in the past but not when I wear these shoes. I usually wait and buy them on sale since these shoes cost about $100 or more. This company has good sales throughout the year:

    1. Editor*

      Comfort in higher heels can depend hugely on design. I also have issues with wearing heels, but I discovered with one pair of heels that if most of the weight is on my heel (vertical force), I can wear a higher heel than if the design puts all the weight on the ball of the foot and lets the whole foot slide toward the front of the shoe. Well-engineered heels are worth the price –sloppy engineering, not so much.

      I think that when the shoe extends at the heel height past the heel and also provides some arch support before descending that the support works better for me than a simple slant from the heel down. But I don’t actually know if that is the component in the engineering that makes the difference.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Ecco rocks, although it can be pricey. But I bought a pair of Ecco nubuck shoes with a t-strap for a convention where I would be on my feet for three days and they were AMAZING. They lasted a long time too, until I spilled grease on them and ruined them. :(

  16. some1*

    I think it’s good practice for anyone planning to give notice to clean out their work area (desk/cubicle/office) of personal items beforehand. Even if you did it piecemeal, I have found from my own experience it’s much better to do this then try to carry huge boxes out on your last day.

    Even if you are allowed to work the notice period, you may be so busy handing off projects, finishing tasks, etc that it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

    Also, if they tell you to leave when you put in your notice but won’t pay you, it might be worth filing for unemployment for those two weeks (or whatever the notice period is).

    1. LizNYC*

      +1 to this. When I started really looking for a new place, I started bringing home some of my small things at my desk so that I wouldn’t be burdened with heavy bags for weeks (I commuted by mass transit, so I had to hand carry everything accumulated in 6 years). And I did it surreptitiously enough so a) no one would notice and b) anyone who did? I was just tidying up a messy desk.

  17. Anonymous*

    In re: flats, I have foot issues and I’m young for it (early 30s) so I find myself explaining my choice of footwear quite often in a multitude of situations. I can wear some dressy flats but I have to put supports in them. Heels are absolutely out of the question. I would expect that flats would be the norm in an industry where you’re on your feet all day. My pharmacist wears sneakers (I only notice because I’m obsessive about footwear now) and I don’t find her any less professional because of it. In fact, after all of my reading and research about the effects of heels on long term foot health, I find her to be even smarter ;)

  18. Jubilance*

    #6 – When I was still working in the lab & interviewing for lab jobs, I always wore flats to interviews. In that industry it was common to be taken into the lab for a tour where heels are a safety hazard. I think a nice loafer would be great, and they give more support than the standard ballerina slipper type flat shoe.

  19. Employment lawyer*

    As an employment lawyer who focuses primarily on employee rights, I support the ADA.

    When I put on a different hat and advise employers, I am frank about the reality of things: From a financial perspective, the ADA provides a significant disincentive to hire people with disabilities because it (a) makes firing them much more risky; and (b) can require you to provide accommodations which are fairly expensive, or face an even more expensive lawsuit; and (c) makes it difficult to avoid either problem intelligently, by preventing pre-hiring application questions.

    In other words: without the ADA, bad employers could (and did) discriminate openly. But the good employers could also attempt to work with people openly. With the ADA, bad employers are somewhat stymied (but they still discriminate) and good employers are in trouble.

    Here, you have an applicant who appears to have significant arm issues and who is applying for a job which you know has arm-heavy work. You reasonably want to know what was going on (it may be fine, or not.) But Alison is correct: under the ADA you’re probably not even allowed to discuss it openly until after you’ve made your hiring decisions. This is true even if it turns out later that they can’t be accommodated (i.e. that there’s no accommodation which will help them keyboard fast enough to get close enough to your requirements) or that the accommodations are too expensive (i.e. not reasonable,) both of which would mean that you and the applicant had wasted a lot of time.

    And of course, you also have the risk that you have a job which is specified for a 50 wpm typist and which pays $40k per year. But in your head you might be hoping to get someone who could do 60+ wpm when they really focused, since you rarely end up hiring the minimal applicants. Under the ADA, you might end up being forced to spend $9000 to accommodate an employee who can just manage 45 wpm after accommodations: that is quite within the realm of possibility since $9k once isn’t much for a long term $40k employee, and 45 wpm is only a 10% reduction in speed.

    Since you’re the questioner and you’re working for an employer, I’ll leave that hat on: You need a local attorney ASAP. You may still be able to do things which would allow you to get a bit more specificity before you make a hiring decision.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Would it be problematic re ADA to make a requirement for the position, such as minimum X amount for typing or keyboarding? I’m not asking per the OP’s letter; just curious because I saw this a lot in job postings when I was looking.

      1. fposte*

        I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that requirements for the job itself, like the ones you suggest, are fine as long as they’re legitimate and not inappropriate screening (“must be able to lift 150 pounds” just to minimize female candidates, not because it’s necessary in the job, that kind of thing).

      2. Ruffingit*

        I don’t know about the ADA standards there, but I have seen ads where the requirements stated “must be able to type XX words a minute.”

  20. Michelle*

    1. How can I ensure I get paid for my notice period?
    If they do ask you to leave immediately and not mention pay in lieu of working through your notice period, ask for it! It never hurts to ask.

    2. Coworker sent me an adult photo at work
    While it is unlikely you would get in trouble for someone sending you something like this, I would encourage anyone who receives an inappropriate e-mail on their work account to reply to the sender with an e-mail (deleting the content of the original e-mail so you aren’t sending something inappropriate) stating something like: “Please do not send e-mails with this type of content to my company e-mail address.” If it is a friend and you are not offended, you can add. “In the future, for similar personal communications, please send it to my personal e-mail at “

    1. Shane Watson*

      I’d say “Please do not send e-mails with this type of content at all.” Saying “don’t send to my work address” implies that you’d be open to lewd messages sent to other accounts.

      1. KellyK*

        Good call. I think if you don’t want that kind of messages at all, I’d phrase it as “Please do not send me e-mails with this type of content, *especially* to my work email.”

        I also wouldn’t add the private email even if it was something NSFW that I actually wanted to get, because that’s essentially advertising to your company’s IT department things you might not want them to know about you.

      2. Ellie H.*

        Eh, maybe she is open to lewd messages sent to other accounts! But I don’t think it would cause any harm to make that statement for the record.

        That aside, this may be naive of me but even though the company technically can read the email if they wish, it’s really hard for me to imagine that they would do so or that they would care about a lewd picture. If there were other signs that you were engaging in prohibited romantic relationship in the workplace, or if you were downloading tons of porn and it caused computer problems, that would be one thing but I don’t think that sending an email saying “Please don’t send emails of this kind to me” would really make a difference.

        My assumption is that IT has basically seen it all and that pretty much nothing in your browser history will shock them.

        1. Girl who received said photo*

          Thanks for your advise. I asked him to never send me something like that again without my consent.

          And I stopped talking to him completely unless is work related (awkard) and a couple of days later I found out that he was married!

  21. mollsbot*


    I worked as a bank teller for a short time. They are VERY VERY serious about balancing your drawer and errors in your debits/credits (the deposit/withdrawal slips, checks, etc. have to be given to HQ in a certain order every night) . Where I worked, if you made X amount of errors in your debits/credits in X amount of days you were written up and if it continued, you were terminated. They didn’t treat this termination as harshly as they treated balancing errors or potential theft.

    Additionally, the bank I was working at was sold during my time there. The amount of policy changes was overwhelming, there really was no way you could easily keep up with everything.

    Is it possible that the bank your friend worked at was recent taken over by a larger bank?

  22. Juni*

    Note, pre-emptive high-five for OP3, for even considering hiring someone with a visible disability and considering how best to accommodate him, rather than how to avoid hiring him. We shouldn’t have to applaud hiring managers for this, but in a world where it is easier to just not hire someone with a disability, we should commend people who are interested in making it work, not making it not work.

  23. Mena*

    Flats tend toward the casual, which may not be appropriate for an interview. I understand that day-to-day, flats may be necessary but an interview is a more formal meeting. Example: in my company ‘business casual’ is everything under the sun but interviewees come in wearing a suit – flats may be day-to-day wear but that may not make them appropriate for an interview.

        1. RJ*

          Amen to that. We have young women in the office wearing 6 inch heels with 2 inch platforms with peep toes and in some shiny fake patent leather (vinyl?) material. Those are club shoes, not work shoes.

    1. The IT Manager*

      Men wear “flats” with suits and that’s very professional. The style of the shoe is what makes it casual or professional not whether it is a flat or a heel. There are many heels that are unprofessional.

  24. MrsG*

    #2 It probably won’t come up unless you get in trouble for something else. Make friends with your IT department. They probably opened it and laughed about it along with the 20 other inappropriate emails that other people in the office received that day. The reply email suggested above would probably help though.

  25. JustMe*

    #1 My company’s official, contract policy is that they want 30 days advance notice before you leave, because they are small. I don’t think it’s right (and I’m fairly certain it’s not legal). It does suck because it’s like a built-in turnoff to people who might be interested in hiring you because they can’t have you for another month. Not to mention, it’s hard to explain when you’re never sure yourself.

    I say this because I have never seen them actually hold anyone to this policy. Management doesn’t like to let pay dwindle into the next month if somebody’s leaving, so they usually let the person go at the end of whatever month they quit. I do wonder if someday they’ll ever hold someone to the full term just out of spite, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    For the time being, I just have it in my head that if I get a job offer, turn in my resignation mid month to meet the gov’t required 2 weeks notice. Definitely no earlier!

    1. Ruffingit*

      Where do you live? I’ve never heard of two weeks notice being required. It’s not generally a matter of law unless it’s placed in an actual work contract that you WILL do that. Otherwise, it’s just a request and two weeks is considered the general acceptable notice period. Still though, you can quit with no notice if you so desire. Might burn some bridges, but you can do that. Just wondering why you believe this to be a requirement. As stated, the only way that would be true is if you agreed to it as part of a written employment contract.

      1. JustMe*

        Canada. In my province anyway, required notice depends on how long you’ve been working somewhere. After 2 years at a place, if you are the one leaving, you’re required to give 2 weeks’ notice.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Ah OK. Here in the US, that doesn’t happen. Two weeks is the generally followed standard, but it’s not a law and you can (and I have) left with no notice/short notice.

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