my manager showed up at my house and beat on the doors and windows

A reader writes:

I work nights and was expecting to go in on my regular night shift. I was sleeping, like I always am because of the hours I work, and was called (note: my phone screen is completely broken, but can get calls) by work to come fill in during the day because the worker who was supposed to be there called in “sick.” Being asleep, I didn’t answer.

I was rudely awakened by my supervisor beating all around my house on the windows, walls, and doors, to ask me to come in. The banging was so intense that it woke one of my neighbors up and both of my neighbors heard it all. There are also dents (it is a mobile home).

After I realized it wasn’t someone trying to break into my house, I answered the door. I did agree to go into work because I was told that it was an emergency. I also had to work the following evening on my regular night shift.

My boss was out of town and had no clue what was going on. Is this legal? Is there something, besides telling my boss, that can be done? This can’t be right. As of right now, I am waiting for my boss/business owner to return, and I will speak with him about the situation.

What the hell? Your supervisor came to your house because you didn’t answer the phone during a time that you weren’t scheduled to work? And then banged so loudly that he woke up a neighbor and damaged your home?

There’s nothing that would make this illegal in an employment law sense (like a law saying that your employer can’t show up at your house), but it’s certainly possible that it’s illegal in a more general sense, like if he violated disorderly conduct laws or something like that. But I don’t think that’s really the avenue to pursue here. The bigger issue is the one between you and your employer — because it’s not okay for your boss to show up at your house during your off time (or ever) and it’s not okay for your boss to beat the crap out of your doors, walls, and windows.

I would tell your manager exactly what happened, and ask for some assurance that your supervisor will never show up at your house again, and that he’ll be instructed in the sternest of terms that he was wildly out of line.

From there, it’s up to your manager to decide how to handle this, but a good manager would be horrified to hear what happened and extremely apologetic, and would lay down the law with your out-of-control supervisor.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 312 comments… read them below }

  1. Katie the Fed*

    Is this the first edition of WTF Wednesdays?

    Yeah, seriously. I would raise this until you get absolute assurance that this will never, ever happen again. You might also ask for compensation for the property that he damaged.

    This is so inappropriate I don’t even know where to start. And I work in a job where I can be called in on a moment’s notice and need to be accessible pretty much always, in the event of a crisis. And I’ve still never had anyone come to my house.

    1. thenoiseinspace*

      I know! This is the first time an “is this legal” question that got a “yes it’s legal” actually surprised me – it’s legal, seriously? It shouldn’t be!

      1. Piper*

        Me, too. Not from an employment sense, but aren’t there laws about damaging someone else’s property? Vandalism?

        1. fposte*

          Alison said it might not be legal in that sense–she just said it’s not illegal for employment law.

      2. alma*

        If it were an ex spouse or partner, this kind of thing would help you get a restraining order against them.

        1. Jamie*

          Heh – yep. My daughter is always being called in to cover and I’m thinking my husband would have some definite ideas on the legality of this if her supervisor ever tried it.

          How it would shake out in her workplace is another matter, how it would shake out in court would be our concern.

          This would scare the hell out of me.

          1. Chinook*

            Ditto on this behaviour scaring me. If someone woke me up during my version of the night by banging hard enough to dent my home, I would have called 911 even oif I knew who they were. This is not rational behavior. And, considering how the local cops reacted when I heard a scream and a thump in a townhouse connected to my wall at 2 am, I think the reaction would be quick.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Seriously. That supervisor is the luckiest guy in the world that OP did not just call the cops. Wow. I would have called the cops first thing, then grabbed my handy baseball bat to hold on to while I waited.

              I am trying to figure out what frame of mind I would have to be in to think that this would be a good idea to beat up a house.

            2. nonegiven*

              Oh, yes. I’d call 911, not even peeking out the window or peephole, first. I’d arm myself with whatever weapon I had in my home if I could get to it without making myself visible. Then I’d hide as well as I could, under the bed, behind the couch, in the closet, anywhere I could, and try to calm myself and prepare mentally to fight to the death if someone broke in before the cops got there.

        2. Fee*

          I’m not from the US so forgive my ignorance but couldn’t there be a labor law element around required rest periods? If OP was required to work rather than sleep between two consecutive night shifts? Or is this just European naivety? :)

          1. liz*

            there are required rest period laws in california (and possibly other states), but there are NOT required rest period in laws in many other states. it would make sense for every state to have such a law, wouldn’t it?

          2. Anonymous*

            Only certain jobs have required rest periods … Airplane pilots, commercial vehicle drivers, and probably some others that deal with safety or heavy machinery

          3. Marcy*

            Unfortunately, this is a country that favors the employer. I know when I lived in Europe that there were not only required rest periods, but there was also extra pay for “inconvenient hours” like after 7 pm or before 7 am or on weekends. Over here, when I worked for a grocery store, I had to work from 3pm to 3 am and then be back to work by 7 am at least once a week and of course, was not paid extra. Luckily I never had a supervisor show up at my house demanding I come in to work.

            1. Retail Lifer*

              I’m on Ohio and we have no laws regarding rest periods. As a retail manager, I’ve worked similar shifts with no time to sleep in between.

      3. anon-2*

        Read my post below. It’s not legal. From a labor law standpoint – who really knows. From a criminal/civil standpoint – it’s illegal to damage others’ property.

        And if a management had been advised to not repeat this and they did – well – if someone did that to me — I’d let the lawyers handle it.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          But you’re talking about criminal law, not labor law. There are no workplace laws that would make this illegal. As I said in the post, it very well might be illegal in the broader sense, just like it would be if someone outside your workplace did this to you.

          1. anon-2*

            OK, let me clarify.

            Nearly every company has a published code of conduct. The rules almost always state that the workplace shall be free of intimidation, hostility, harrassment (not just sexual) , etc. etc. etc. and everyone has to sign off on those statements. Bosses, managers, executives, janitors, admin assistants, even computer geeks.

            Going further – if management decides to break or ignore the rules they set down – or not stop it, it CAN result in legal (civil) action. Sure, it might not be against the law to bully someone – but if the company conduct code / ethics code / “way we do business” / company standards explictly prohibit this — but they laugh it off and allow it to go on anyway — believe me, AAM – it can come back to haunt individuals — and the company.

            THAT I have personally seen happen.

              1. anon-2*

                Illegal in terms of being fined by the government, etc., no, you’re right on that.

                Can the company be held legally responsible for breaking its own written codes?? Oh, yeah — management thumbing its nose at its own written policies —

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  No, not in a context like what you’re describing. I can see that you’re very sure of this, so I’d challenge you to find links to court cases that have done what you’re describing; when you look, I think you’ll see that they don’t exist.

      1. AMG*

        *crossing fingers that Alison doesn’t veto the motion, but that she confirms the imeidate implementation of WTF Wednesday*…

        1. Ruffingit*

          Sadly, there are probably enough letters in her inbox to fill at least a year and probably more. This letter is so disturbing in and of itself. WTH????

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I would love to see Alison lists, such as top 5 favorit e letters, top five most disturbing letters, 5 funniest and so on.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Me too, that’s a brilliant idea! Alison, please do this at some point if you can :)

    2. Hooptie*

      This is the first time I have ever wanted an OP to send me their supervisor’s phone number so I could put the FEAR into them. I know I can’t call them but I want to so badly…

    3. Jessa*

      Yeh, this. I cannot believe that the first advice is not “ask the manager to pay for the damage.” That’s outrageous that someone can cause damage and not pay for it. The manager is seriously lucky. How many people lately have been shot trying to get help or for being on someone’s property, at their door? Personally someone banging on my house, I wouldn’t open the door even if I knew them, I’d call the cops. How do I know they’re not drunk or stoned or just have lost it and are going to hurt me if I open the door?

    4. Artemesia*

      my concern would be that the boss would hear from the supervisor ‘well we needed her, and it WORKED, she came in’ and thus not deal with it appropriately.

  2. Diet Coke Addict*

    Dear OP, run, don’t walk, to the boss. Or your supervisor’s supervisor. Tell them in detail what happened, with pictures (if possible), and if the response is anything other than to discipline your supervisor and assure you in the strongest possible terms that it won’t happen again…..start job-hunting.

      1. WM*

        Great point, just in case the supervisor argues that he didn’t actually do this… always good to have documentation! (Just in case!)

    1. AF*

      I’m all for not waiting until the boss is back at the office – call now! And if it was such an emergency, how would the supervisor rationalize LEAVING work to go to your house?

      OP, please update us and please be safe! And document, document, document the damage!

      That idiot is lucky none of the neighbors called the police.

    2. Anonymous*

      I did speak with my boss, who is the owner of the company, he assured me it would not happen again (supervisor has not been here all week), and unfortunately, I cannot sue for property damage, because I am renting said property. However, I have notified my renter and they will probably take legal action on their own.

      Glad everyone on here agrees that this is absolute unacceptable behavior. Thanks for the support.

      1. Jazzy Red (Retired)*

        I keep thinking about getting a gun for protection, and I truly can’t say how I would react if I did have a gun and thought someone was trying to break into my home. It would turn out badly for someone, I’m sure.

        It’s too bad that you didn’t call 9-1-1. That idiot deserved what he would have gotten.

  3. Jozette*

    I’m not really responding to the supervisor going to your house – that’s definitely crossing a line! I’m more responding to his reaction to the employee not answering their phone during off hours.

    My husband works in IT and is on call for one week a month – this sounds like the supervisor expected that sort of a situation here. Or maybe something like a nurse/doctor when they’re on call. They aren’t necessarily working unless their needed, but they do have to be ready to go in at a moment’s notice. However, in these fields it has to be made very clear what “On Call” means if they’re going to have a policy like that. If you’re expected to answer work calls 24/7 you should probably be instructed (and compensated) for that work.

    However if, like the rest of us, you’re under the assumption that when you’re off, you’re off (even though we may answer work emails and calls in our off hours from time to time), then there needs to be a clear line drawn on when you’re expected to answer the phone and what the supervisor is to do when someone doesn’t show up for a shift.

    1. aebhel*

      Yeah, that was my thought. If the supervisor is expecting the OP to be on-call, that needs to be VERY CLEAR from the onset.

      And even most on-call jobs that I’ve heard of aren’t 24/7 on-call. It’s done in shifts, same as anything else.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      Yeah, I agree. It’s a clear part of my job that if something big happens, I’m there as soon as I can be.

      The other sucky part of all this is that OP works night shift, so probably was really needing that sleep. Night shift is miserable.

      1. Jessa*

        Yes, but people who know they’re on call make sure they’re reachable. But that presumes that the supervisor TELLS them this.

    3. Elysian*

      It didn’t seem to me like this was an on-call situation. It sounds like someone just called off and they were really short-staffed. That makes it work, I think, because the manager really had no expectation that OP would be answering the phone. I’ve been called in when someone else is sick – usually though if I don’t answer my phone my manager moved on to the next person who could potentially fill in, and didn’t come to physically remove me from what I was doing.

      1. littlemoose*

        Yeah, exactly. I understand the on-call types of jobs, but it does not sound like the case here. And even if the OP was on-call, that wouldn’t make it okay for her supervisor to come to her house, scare the hell out of her and damage her home. Nope.

    4. athek*

      My husband has an on-call part of his position as well. When he is on-call, he is required to be within a 30 minute drive of work and can’t be intoxicated. Sometimes he has to skip plans or events because he’s on-call, especially if the drive is too far away.
      This is all very clearly outlined and scheduled in advance. His team is very flexible and trade call amongst themselves so people are able to go to plans that they wouldn’t be able to attend on call.

  4. thenoiseinspace*

    This is capital-T Terrifying.

    No, maybe even capslock TERRIFYING. I’m amazed you kept your cool – I think I would have called the cops! By all means, report this behavior – and I really think you should be given compensation for the damage to your property.

      1. Arbynka*

        I once almost called 911 on a woodpecker. Our bedroom is addition made out of wood, the thing was banging on it very early in the morning, DH was out to work in the field and it sounded like someone was hitting the house with a hammer.

          1. Chinook*

            DH once had a goat “arrested” in the back of his cop car for fleeing the scene of a car accident. Some days his job can be very interesting. (This was also when I learned that the seat cushions can be removed for cleaning purposes).

          2. Carpe Librarium*

            For me, I called my partner who was about to get off a late shift because of strange rustling noises outside.

            I called back 10 minutes later because fruit bats. Fruit bats in the neighbour’s palm tree.

  5. Ann Furthermore*

    OMG. Just, OMG. The only way I could think that this would ever be acceptable is if the supervisor’s reason was, “The office is engulfed in flames, and no one was sure if you were in the building or not.”

    1. Judy*

      We did have a situation when someone unexpectedly didn’t show up for work. But our company called in a “check welfare” to the police. The police were the ones who found the body.

        1. Cassie*

          We had something similar – a coworker went to check on someone who was out on medical leave (she lived alone), and when she got no answer, she called the police. The police found the ill coworker on the floor of her apartment, severely dehydrated and in need of medical attention but still alive. It was a good thing the coworker went to check on her.

      1. Jen*

        I was going to say, we had a co-worker with health issues and one day she didn’t show up (for her regularly scheduled normal day shift) and didn’t answer her land line or her cell phone after repeated attempts. She turned out to be fine but a co-worker did stop by her house to check on her. She had overslept and didn’t hear the phone when she was in the shower.

        But again, I don’t think we would have worried about it if she hadn’t had health issues.

        1. doreen*

          Yes, the only part I disagree with Alison is that it’s never OK. We’ve had too many instances where someone didn’t show up for work , didn’t answer the phone and a coworker or supervisor went to their house and found them either dead or passed out. ( Some were outside and others could be seen through the window)

          1. LizNYC*

            I think it’s “never OK” to cause the commotion this person did. It’s one thing to call the worker and *maybe* to visit their home and knock on the door/ring the doorbell. If there’s no answer, you don’t start banging and causing a commotion. If there is further concern or reason to believe the coworker might be in trouble inside the house, you call the police to do a welfare check. This supervisor sounds like a brute or immature.

          2. some1*

            It’s okay to show up and see if they answer the door. If they don’t, and you are genuinely concerned about welfare you ask for police assistance.

          3. doreen*

            Meant to say that I disagree with “never OK for the employer to show up at your house” . It’s absolutely not OK to cause a commotion or damage.

          4. Pennalynn Lott*

            I would say it’s never OK to go to someone’s house and bang on the doors, walls and windows to get them to cover another person’s shift.

            A reliable employee who suddenly goes missing is a completely different thing.

  6. R*

    Wow. I agree 100% with the advice here, but just wanted to call out one line: “I did agree to go into work because I was told that it was an emergency. I also had to work the following evening on my regular night shift.” Make sure you’re getting paid appropriately for the extra shift!! I say this only because it seems like your supervisor sounds pretty shady.

    Also, if there was an emergency, why would your supervisor leave to find you? Should s/he be dealing with the emergency? And yes, I get that that’s the least interesting part of this whole situation. Just… wow.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Oh I don’t know. Perhaps the thinking was that the Supervisor would be better placed to get the OP to come into work rather than a co-worker?

    1. A Bug!*

      Also, if there was an emergency, why would your supervisor leave to find you?

      That was my first thought. If the supervisor wasn’t too busy to personally go to the OP’s house and bang on the doors and windows, then the supervisor wasn’t too busy to provide the required coverage.

      Something smells a bit like a power trip here. I hope when the OP reports to the boss, the boss recognizes his supervisor’s behavior as the fire-able offense it really should be.

  7. alma*

    I am just stunned by this one. I would strongly consider filing a police report over your damaged property. You would then at least start a paper trail if the supervisor’s behavior escalates and/or management does nothing.

      1. Murrie*

        I agree with the police report too. Also, you should consider asking your boss to cover the damages. Have an estimate in hand when you go in to talk to the boss. I think I’d be ready to be job hunting as well as some others have suggested.

  8. aebhel*

    Holy shit, that’s terrifying.

    What would he have done if you’d called the cops? Because that would be a pretty reasonable response, IMO, to this kind of behavior.

        1. KitKat*

          That was the second thing I thought of. (The first being WTF was this supervisor huffing.) Waking up from a dead sleep to the sounds of someone beating on the doors and walls of your home? Yeah, I think if it were me, my gun would be in-hand. No one sane comes a-calling like that.

        2. Simonthegrey*

          This was 100% what I was thinking. In my home, I won’t keep a gun (personal choice; I’m not against gun ownership per se). My dad has several and is trained with them, and if someone showed up beating on his house loudly enough to leave dents/wake neighbors, I’m pretty sure that person would be shot.

      1. Cube Ninja*

        I can say with confidence that if I was woken up to someone banging on my door and windows at all hours that wasn’t screaming about a *real* emergency or identifying themselves as police/fire/etc, the chances of my grabbing my pistol before going to check the door are 100%.

      2. Tinker*

        Yeah, seriously.

        Can’t say as what I’d do in that precise situation, but my thought in advance about it is if I found some nutcase to be beating on my house, they could explain why to Officer Friendly and he could let me know when it was okay to put the shotgun away.

        This presuming that the nutcase remained outside. It would be well advised for the nutcase to remain outside.

      3. Jean*

        As long as the person banging on the outside of your home _remains_ on the outside of your home please please ask questions first and shoot later.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          I don’t have a gun. But still, I could see someone getting shot doing something like this. People are a bit trigger happy sometimes.

          1. Emma*

            This made me think of the poor child who was murdered by a cop for answering the door of his trailer home with a Wii controller in his hand. She “accidentally” shot him thinking the controller was a weapon…which is BS considering that means *she had her gun drawn before he even opened the door.* This happened a few weeks ago in Georgia. Goes to show you the sort of prejudice folks have about trailer park communities.

            So, now I never answer the door without asking “Who is it?” first, and if no one answers, then I don’t answer either.

            1. Cathi*

              I got lectured by a police officer once for not doing more than asking “Who is it?”

              My apartment buzzer rang, I wasn’t expecting company, so I hit the intercom to inquire who was out there. “Local police officer” was the reply, so I buzzed him in and cracked my door open (I’m on the first floor by the front door) to see what was up.

              “That’s it??” he demanded, “You just trusted I was actually the police? Anyone can say they’re the police! You didn’t ask me for my name or badge number or anything!”

              I just mumbled an apology and closed my door.

              1. De*

                I’m really not sure what asking for a name and number would have added anyway. Any person trying to get into your home by pretending to be a cop will also be able to make up a name and badge number.

                1. short'n'stout*

                  I suppose you could then phone the local police station and find out if the name/number they gave corresponded to a genuine police officer who was genuinely supposed to be in that location. Still not going to be 100% safe, though.

            2. RMJ*

              “murdered by a cop” “‘accidentally’ shot him’.” Convicted in the court of public opinion, eh? Slow down on the criticism until you walk a mile in an officer’s shoes. Maybe you ought to watch some of the videos posted online where traffic stops go bad because the driver pulls out a gun. Even a routine traffic stop can turn deadly for an LE officer in a heartbeat. The officer has about a split second to react. Same goes for an LE officer approaching a home.

                1. RMJ*

                  Making a quick judgment call and ending up having been mistaken isn’t the same as murder. Unless you know all the facts (other than what the press feeds you from their one-sided discussion with the family’s attorney) you should reserve judgment. Way off topic now so I won’t say more on this.

              1. Anne*


                I have pretty strong opinions on this exact issue because of some family history. These situations are tragic, and maybe the officer will be found guilty, but in the meantime…

                Blurgh. Don’t want to get into it too much. But yeah. I agree with RMJ here.

              2. aebhel*

                Oh, bawww. If your situational awareness is so defective that you can’t tell the difference between a Wii remote and a handgun, you shouldn’t be a cop.

                And frankly, I’m sorry, but I’m tired of people acting like police work is the most dangerous thing out there. It’s not even in the top ten, and only a small percent of those fatalities are shooting related.

            3. Omne*

              It depends on why they had their gun drawn already. For example if they were executing a warrant on a meth house where the inhabitants are known to be armed things like this can happen unfortunately. We simply don’t have enough info to even speculate.

              And no I don’t automatically think trailer=meth. My wife grew up in a trailer park and to my knowledge never ran a meth lab….

    1. Anonymous*

      I would have called the cops. Even if I saw out the window who it was, if they were banging on my house like a mad person, I wouldn’t know if they were drunk or on something and would deem it unsafe to approach the person.

      1. Anonymous*

        I tell you, now I wish I had. But in the moment I didn’t know what to do or think. I was confused and would have done things VERY different if I could go back.

  9. TheExchequer*

    Oh, WTF Wednesday. The first edition has not disappointed.

    1. Nobody should be coming to your house unless invited or unless it’s an emergency of some kind. Work doesn’t really qualify. (Unless your boss lives like next door or is related or something else that this doesn’t sound like). In some places, failing to get an invitation is what we call trespassing.
    2. Nobody should be pounding on your house hard enough to damage it unless they’re pulling you out of a fire.
    3. OP . . . Why did you go in? Not trying to blame you – just honestly curious!

    So so many issues here.

    1. JMegan*

      #3, I get. I’m guessing the OP is young, or relatively new to the workforce, just by the fact that she genuinely didn’t know that this kind of behaviour is Not Okay.

      In which case, she was probably thinking along the lines of “OMG, my boss is crazy – I better get to work or I’ll get fired!” We’re generally conditioned to respond to people in authority, even if they’re asking for something completely out of line. And it takes a while to un-learn that, to know that it’s okay to say no sometimes.

      Particularly in a high-stress situation like this – made even more stressful by the fact that she was asleep when it started – I can totally understand the impulse to agree first, ask questions later. It’s not exactly a situation that is conducive to rational thought at that point.

      To the OP – this kind of behaviour from your boss is really, really, REALLY not okay. Please escalate it to the next person in the chain, and do what you need to do to keep yourself safe.

      1. Elsajeni*

        Well, that and the fact that she’d already opened the door and engaged the supervisor in conversation. At the point where you’re standing in the doorway, with no barrier between you and a person who has been acting aggressive and unhinged, beating on your house hard enough to damage it and making enough noise to wake your neighbors, and is now yelling at you and insisting that you go into work — I mean, in her position I would have felt like my choices were “do what the aggressive crazy person says” or “say no, then immediately slam the door and dial 911 on the assumption that the aggressive crazy person will only get more aggressive and crazy when told ‘no’.”

        1. en pointe*

          This. I think I would probably be intimidated enough to hightail it in there. If my supervisor woke me up by banging violently, I would obey and go cover whatever emergency there is at work first, in order to preserve my job – then I would freak out about the WTF’ness of it all.

          1. Grey*

            I’ve read that. But the comments here are assuming the overly-agressive supervisor is a “he”, while the innocent employee is a “she”. It just seemed a bit biased in this case.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Wow, you’re right — I thought the supervisor was identified as a man in the letter, but that’s not the case! I called the supervisor “he” in my response, which then set everyone else up to see things through that lens — but the letter doesn’t say either way.

              1. A Bug!*

                I don’t actually see an example of that in this particular comment thread, so it’s not surprising you didn’t notice.

                Also, there seem to be some comments referring to the supervisor as the OP’s boss; as the boss is identified with a male pronoun in the letter I wonder if that’s the source of at least some of these instances.

                And now I’ve reached semantic satiation for the word “boss”.

                1. bearing*

                  Thank you for prompting me to Google “semantic satiation” (although I guessed correctly what it meant from the context). What a great concept. I will be dropping it liberally from now on. :-)

      2. WM*

        I wouldn’t necessarily assume that OP is young or new to workforce since he/she went in after all that happened. I mean, if my boss drove to my house and was beating down the doors to get me to come in for some kind of emergency, I’d probably go in as well, and get to the bottom of it later. Refusing to go in because the manager’s behavior was so (highly!) inappropriate wouldn’t necessarily help OP’s case. Might not hurt it either, but I’m just thinking, in the moment, I’d probably go in to!

        1. JMegan*

          Oh, I agree – I might go in too under the circumstances, if my crazy boss woke me up, damaged my house, and was now standing in the doorway yelling at me. Like I said above, the situation doesn’t really lend itself to rational thought in the moment!

          My assumption that the OP is young came from the fact that she wrote into AAM asking if this sort of behaviour is allowed. I think most people who have been in the workforce for a while would know that this is by no means normal or acceptable. And her being young would also add some weight to the “OMG what do I do? Better obey the boss!” line of thinking, if you don’t know that you don’t always have to do what they say.

          OP – my apologies if I’ve got it wrong! I hope you’re okay, in any case, and please do come back and update us once this is all resolved.

      3. Anonymous*

        You are exactly right. And now I understand how to react, so in the future, I’ll know better. However, the fact that I did come in does give me favor in the boss/owner’s eyes, at least I’d like to think so. So everyone knows, I am seeking other employment.

  10. Lizabeth*

    Definitely need a WTF category…that said, I would have call the cops period and filed charges. Or answered the door with an empty shotgun in hand THEN call the cops for the property damage.

    1. Jean*

      Empty shotgun is a good idea unless the WTF-type character is also packing heat. In which case, not such a good idea.

      1. AMG*

        I wouldn’t do this. If he has a gun, then you are the idiot who brought an unloaded weapon to a gun fight, when there didn’t need to be a gun involved in the first place.

        1. AMG*

          And I didn’t mean to imply that anyone here is an idiot. This was a poor choice of words. I’m just saying I think it’s a bad idea. sorry.

    2. Tinker*


      Way I figure it, if you ought to be having an empty shotgun then the shotgun had really better be loaded, and if you want a loaded shotgun to open the door then probably the door ought to stay shut.

      Details aside though, skippy needs to cut that behavior the hell out immediately, because there is just no good that comes from denting people’s houses.

      1. Jean*

        Sorry I wasn’t more explicit in my earlier post.
        Instead of saying “empty shotgun is a good idea”–meaning, it’s a good idea _precisely because it cannot fire bullets_ I should have simply expressed my anti-weapon opinions in the first place:
        “There are very few disputes that improve when the participants add in loaded weapons.”
        “Society has more than enough people going around shooting other people for not-good-enough reasons. Enough with the body count already! Don’t add to the problem!”

        1. Tinker*

          I think that’s fair. Obviously, I believe differently on the matter of weapons, but I think there are still substantial points of agreement.

          My position is basically that there’s no case where you ever want to answer the door “with an empty shotgun in hand”, even if you don’t otherwise object to the things. The reason being that one should avoid and de-escalate conflict whenever at all possible, and opening the door is not avoiding conflict while doing so with a shotgun is not de-escalating it.

          What one does instead of answering the door with a shotgun is another question, but in any case one definitely does do that.

  11. Mike C.*

    The next time this happens, call 911. Don’t put yourself in danger trying to figure out if the crazy person banging on your doors and windows is really just your supervisor.

    1. Jamie*

      Maybe I’m a coward but my response would have been to get my family in an interior room while dialing 911 – if my husband wasn’t home. I would hope my kids would all be wise enough to do the same, but my sons are late teens-early 20s and I am afraid their initial response would be to go outside and see what was going on.

      I have friendly loving dogs, but they are big and they are loud when riled…and I’d assume anyone crazy enough to keep it up with them on high alert would either need to be carrying a metric ton of bacon or really unhinged.

      A year ago on Valentine’s Day someone left some flowers, a teddy bear, and candy for our daughter on our porch with an unsigned card. Some people see romantic secret admirer – my husband forbade her to eat the candy, grilled her about anyone who might be stalking her, beefed up our security, and checked out her work for suspicious characters. Because the odds are they’d be there acting suspicious on cue.

      A pink bear made him go all SVU on the scene – I can’t even imagine a scenario like this.

      1. PJ*

        I think your husband did the right thing. And it’s a sad world that makes this necessary. I’m old enough to remember when trick-or-treating was safe, and kids played outside unsupervised until dark and walked to school by themselves.

        1. Natalie Anne Lanoville*

          When was that? I was a child in the ’70s, and every year there were razorblade & poison scares at Hallowe’en, and I was almost abducted walking to school one time, followed to school by a guy playing with himself several others.

          Difference was, we never told!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        That’s because historically pink bears have just been an issue for generations…..

        1. Loose Seal*

          Reminds me of the pink bear in Breaking Bad. Seeing one propped against my front door might creep me out too.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        I got a rose taped to my door once, by an admirer I had met one time. My friends were all “Oh how cute! That’s sweet!” etc. My reaction puzzled them–I DID NOT EVEN KNOW THIS GUY and he came to my apartment and taped a flower and a note to my door? Excuse me, but that’s not rom-com; it’s creepy!

    2. JamieG*

      Yeah, no way in hell would I open the door. Even if I knew for a fact that it was my supervisor, if someone’s banging on the door loudly enough to cause damage (not to mention waking the neighbors, etc.) I’m calling the police.

  12. Mike C.*

    OP, are you on friendly terms with your neighbor? There’s nothing stopping them from reporting this guy for disturbance either.

    It’s not an emergency now, but they have a right to sleep too, and it’s best to start tracking the crazies earlier rather than later.

    1. Chriama*

      The passive aggressive side of me really likes this response! Although it’s probably too late now to call the police about a noise complaint…

    2. annie*

      Yeah, I am surprised that none of the neighbors did call the police – I would have if this happened to any of my neighbors!

  13. Katie the Fed*

    I keep thinking of how much this would have scared the hell out of me. And my poor dog would have been going crazy.

    1. Windchime*

      Yes, it would have scared the hell out of me, too. And the last thing I would think is, “Oh, that must be Boss, wanting me to come in to work.” I would be thinking, “Scary crazy person is trying to break in” and I’d be on the phone to the cops ASAP.

  14. Mike C.*

    By the way, what’s the “professional” method of recovering costs from your company when your supervisor damages your house trying to get you to come into work?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      “I’ve gotten an estimate for the damage Bob caused to the outside of my house. It will be $__ to repair. Should I submit this as a regular expense reimbursement, or should I handle this some other way?”

      1. Chriama*

        As a follow up, what do you do if the company denies responsibility? Is there are professional-sounding way to explain why it would be fair/reasonable for them to reimburse you?

          1. Ann O'Nemity*

            Depending on the statute of limitations, you might want to get that new job before filing with small claims court. I imagine it may be difficult to get an enthusiastic, positive reference while engaging in an ongoing court battle with the company.

    2. Chriama*

      I’m curious about this too. The company would probably deny responsibility for the supervisor’s actions, or throw the supervisor under the bus and fire them. That means small claims court to get it directly from the supervisor.

      Is there a professional way to say to your boss “look, this supervisor was acting on behalf of the company (asking me to come in to work) and damaged my house. Is there any way to get compensation for those repairs? Alison, etiquette question again!

    3. AJ-in-Memphis*

      Would the employer have to pay or just the supervisor? It sounds like the supervisor acted on their own and not as an agent of the company. Either way, it’s not cool and should never happen again -under any circumstances!

      1. Elysian*

        I think under the law he would be an agent – it would be a question a court would have to answer, but the Big Boss doesn’t have to say “Go beat down Employee’s door!” The manager had some amount of authority from the Big Boss and was acting under it when he was trying to drag OP out of bed. We don’t have all the facts, but its probably enough.

      2. Decimus*

        The legally-correct answer is “sue them both” – you avoid what is called “the empty chair defense” by saying “one of these people is responsible” and then leave it to the court to determine liability. Better to approach the boss first, though, since suing will really burn bridges. Still, I could easily see the repair costs being in the thousands of dollars so it probably IS worth following up on.

        1. Jessa*

          And it does need to be repaired, if they rent, it’s on them to keep the place in good order. If they own, that’s a hit on the value when they sell.

        2. Gene*

          Step 1: File a police report so the damage is on the record. In many places you can do this online.

          Step 2: Get an estimate and give a copy to the manager along with a copy if the police report and with a statement that she has a limited time (10 days?) to cut you a check.

          Step 3: (Assuming you don’t get the check) File with your insurance company. Let their lawyers go after the company. They have lots of them on staff and they’ll likely look at this one and think it will be fun (or at least something different for a change.).

          1. anon-2*

            Very important to file a police report if there’s damage.

            AJ’s question is interesting — if the company mouthpi-, uh, lawyers launch a defense strategy = “the company didn’t authorize this, it was an individual acting inappropriately, the company had nothing to do with it, umm, it’s been handled, the supervisor has been disciplined / let go / told to stand in a corner” … which is more likely to happen.

            The company lawyers are not interested in protecting an individual – they are interested in protecting the COMPANY.

            If you go to management – the super’s boss – that’s what will happen, most likely – and they likely will pay to keep you from taking it further.

  15. Boo*

    Wow. This is just all kinds of bizarre. Yes definitely talk to your Big Boss about your supervisor’s inappropriate behaviour. Surely this isn’t the first time they’ve had to deal with someone being off sick last minute, and they need to have a contingency plan in place which is NOT “scare the living crap out of Employee who is at home asleep and damage their home in the process”. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that if they were in that much of a bind, Supervisor should have just covered the shift themselves.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      Yes, I need an update on this one… to see if the OP’s whole organization has gone mad or if it is just this one supervisor.

  16. Anon Accountant*

    Just when I thought I’d read and heard it all… This letter is posted.

    Wow is all I can say. I feel bad for the LW and truly hope the company conveys a clear message to the supervisor this is NOT okay at all and ensures that there’s no retalitation or any aggressive behavior towards the LW.

  17. BadPlanning*

    I’m baffled by the fact that there was no one else to call in this emergency. Is the OP the only backup? I mean, I know companies run lean (mine included), but there was no one else to call on the phone tree that it made sense to go to the OPs house? What if the OP had been on vacation?

    If the neighbors were willing, even if they didn’t want to make a police report, they could write a letter to the company/boss that they were disturbed by an employee of the company. Then the boss would have a better idea of the scope (and not just, a “Oh, I’m sure he just knocked on the door enthusiastically” — although showing up at all is a bit odd, unless that’s a normal thing for this company).

    1. Kelly L.*

      I have a sneaking suspicion that the “emergency” was that there was no one to take the shift but the supervisor and the OP, and the supervisor really really didn’t feel like working that day. *eyeroll*

      1. Anonsie*

        Yeah I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that if the supervisor could go to the OP’s house to wake them up to work, they probably could have just covered for the sick coworker.

      2. AF*

        I thought that too. I don’t think the letter said anything about whether the supervisor also worked the shift.

    2. Anonymous*

      No, I was not the only person to come in. Other people were called but also did not answer their phones, why they were not rudely awaken by a crazed lunatic beating up their house, I don’t know, and to make it even worse, one of the other employees who was available to come in has been out without notice. She was supposedly “sick” for over 3 weeks at the time… yeah, right. The employee who was coming in at the time was filling in for the “sick” employee and called in sick herself the night before.

      There are a lot of loopholes in this situation, that is why I must think there is some type of lawsuit but I don’t know how to go about finding out. This was my first step. Now, another employee was asked to come in by knock at the door, however it was not as aggressive and was not the supervisor. I was definitely singled out as far as the aggressiveness. Supervisor was angry because he assumed I was ignoring the phone call, when in fact, I was not.

  18. Coelura*

    I had a similar issue happen to me about 15 years ago. I was officially on PTO. I had not had time off for 2 years & had been working more than 70 hours a week that whole time. To make sure that I had time off, I had actually spent the money to leave the country where my cell phone didn’t work! When I got back, my home voicemail & my cell phone voicemail were both completely full. Since it was an international flight, I was exhausted & went straight to bed. To wake up to pounding on my doors & windows by my supervisor. I went to work, but was very unhappy about it. My supervisor was reprimanded because he did not really need ME to take care of the issue – any of his managers could have handled it. But he didn’t escalate to them, he just freaked out on me.
    I ended up leaving a few months later. I burnt out too badly. And quite honestly, I was scared of my supervisor and wanted as far away from him as possible. He ended up getting fired about a year later for similar continued behavior with other employees – some of which did call the cops.

    1. AnonHR*

      Glad you got out of there and he isn’t harassing employees anymore! People can be so crazy!

    2. AVP*

      I cannot believe there are two of these people out there in the world behaving like this! Good on you for getting out.

  19. Alex*

    Sheesh…. Some people! I’d have called the cops for sure. And if I knew it was not a stranger, you can bet I would be shouting expletives and telling them to get the expletive off my expletives lawn…

  20. MR*

    Yeah, I would definitely try and get a police report for this. If nothing else, because if the company refuses to make repairs, you may need it for an insurance claim (and then to press charges).

    It sucks that your supervisor is on the crazy train, but hopefully your boss is competent, handles this in a professional manner, and gets everything situated quickly.

  21. Maggie*

    This supervisor sounds like a nutcase. Who in their right mind would think its appropriate to damage an employees home & wake up neighbors in the process?

    WTF Wednesday’s…please tell me this will be a regular feature here!

  22. amaranth16*

    My jaw literally dropped when I read this and my heart is still racing. OP, that must have been so upsetting for you. Please bring this to your boss, please document the damage, please make sure you’re appropriately compensated for all your work time, and please update us.

  23. Poohbear McGriddles*

    Had he reached you by phone, I doubt you’d have an issue – other than being awakened at an hour when you normally sleep.

    I’m on the fence about showing up at your house. It seems unnecessary. If you’re not answering your phone, chances are you are not available for work. However, he definitely crossed the line when he damaged your home and created a disturbance in the neighborhood in order to get your attention.

    Take pictures of the damage done to your home. Show them to your manager when you describe the event. This will drive home just how crazy this guy was acting.

    If the supervisor was on the clock when he showed up at your house, both he and the company may be liable for the damages. That’s going to be a hard path to follow, though.

    1. Mike C.*

      The issue is still there because this supervisor is still a ticking time bomb. If s/he didn’t explode then, s/he would have exploded later.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I’m thinking this wouldn’t have been the first time the supervisor had 911 called on him/her.

    2. Tiffany In Houston*

      What’s the to be on the fence about? If you show up at my house are liable to get cussed out, in particular by my 6ft, 1in nearly 300 pound husband!!! There is no reason AT ALL that an employer should be showing up a person’s house, unless invited.

      1. Hooptie*

        I believe there is no reason that ANYONE should show up at a person’s house unless invited or prearranged. Or maybe I’m just a hermit.

        If someone isn’t answering their phone and you’re worried, call the police for a welfare check. If anyone else shows up banging on my door, I will be the one calling the police.

        1. Boo*

          If you’re a hermit, I’ll be in the hermit cave adjacent to yours! I live in a block of flats with an intercom system where anyone calling needs to be buzzed in. If I’m not expecting anyone, I don’t even have the intercom turned on (otherwise I get kids/people who can’t remember the number they do want buzzing all hours).

          1. LCL*

            Stuff happens, though. I was scared to open my door when a woman was banging on the door and screaming, but I did. Turned out to be the neighbor seeking help, she was upstairs in her house when a prowler broke in through the downstairs.

  24. Anon*

    A couple of years ago my house was broken into while I was home alone. I was able to get out through a side door and to a neighbor’s house to call 911 and the police caught the guy in my house shoving my laptop into a backpack. The guy apparently had no idea anyone was in the house (no car in the garage or driveway, lights were basically all off, etc.) but I often wonder what might have happened if he had found out I was there, and I am grateful because things could have been a million times worse. Since then I’ve had a bit of PTSD over the event. Even though I’ve moved across town, certain noises, people cutting through my back yard, strangers knocking on my door at odd hours, freak me out.

    OP, if my supervisor did this to me I would have been locking myself in my bedroom while calling 911 and freaking out the whole time. Your supervisor is a nutjob and should be grateful he/she is not in jail.

    1. Stephanie*

      My apartment in college was broken into middle of the night while my roommate and I were there sleeping. I had some PTSD afterwards–my roommate went back home for a few days. I spent the next few days sleeping at friends’ apartments just because I felt so uncomfortable at home alone.

    2. AMG*

      Yuck. I house sat for a friend with crazy drunk neighbors who tried to break into their apartment but accidentally broke into my friend’s window directly above my head. I freaked out and called the cops but I’d like to think that if it happened today I’d have punched that person in the face and sent them flying back down the 10 feet to the ground.

    3. Jen RO*

      My apartment was broken into when I *wasn’t* at home and I still slept with my windows shut for a year. (The burglars got in through a window I had left open.) I can’t imagine having this nutso as supervisor!

    4. anon-2*

      I recently had an intrusion – I live on a cul-de-sac in a residential area, single family homes.

      I own a car which, while it’s not fancy-schmancy, is desired often by thieves.

      One Sunday night – a flatbed tow truck mysteriously appeared right outside my driveway. Oh, I made all my payments on time.

      I went out in the yard in my underwear, carrying a hockey stick and a nice long butcher knife. I was taught at an early age – tow trucks don’t run very well with two flat front tires. That’s what I thought I was going to have to do.

      Sometimes freaking out is enough to prevent a confrontation from escalating.

      1. Anne*

        “I was taught at an early age – tow trucks don’t run very well with two flat front tires.”

        That’s a heck of a lesson to learn at an early age. Practical!

        1. anon-2*

          It was weird – they had driven around the neighborhood earlier in the evening … while repo men might legitimately go towing cars, they came back after dark and stopped right at my driveway…. I told my wife, “if they back into the property, call 911″….they were eyeing my car.

          I really didn’t want them to think about stealing my car. I happened to be in my underwear — grabbed a hockey stick and the knife and went out into my front yard. That was enough to get them to take off. I didn’t notice if their plate was out-of-state – but they were gone.

          They had to be stupid. This is a neighborhood of around 200 single family homes and there are only two exits out of the neighborhood. On a 911 call they would have blocked both exit routes. If a cruiser were in the neighborhood, they would have blocked the street.

          The slashed tires? Well, when I was in college – a towing firm was stealing a friend’s car — not towing for a violation – but they were stealing the car…. and while he was amicably chatting up the car thieves, two of his roommates were quietly slashing the sidewalls of the front tires.

          I got more than lectures and tests and lab sessions in college. I received an education!

  25. Poohbear McGriddles*

    I have a movie idea…

    An Operation Smile interviewer named Mrs. Stark shows up at candidates’ homes at 6:30 AM on Saturdays beating on their doors to rouse them for day-long interviews.

        1. anon-2*

          I was in an interview cycle with a now-defunct computer company — and their HR rep called me here —

          AT 10:45 in the evening!

          The next day I called the company – take my stuff out of the folder – burn it, no interest in working there ….

    1. Jean*

      Another storyline suggestion:
      – the last X candidates get called back for a second interview.
      – Neither Mrs. Stark nor anyone else in the hiring organization bothers to notify the X-1 candidates who _don’t_ get hired.
      – At least one of the neither-hired-nor-notified candidates–expecting this kind of rudeness–reacts with a preemptive strike, so to speak, by pooping in the potted plant in the time between ending the interview and exiting the building.

      1. AMG*

        And then is hexed with voodoo that prompts canditate to moonlight as a working girl between interviews.

        1. Liane*

          And don’t forget the other 2 interviewers who never read the candidates’ resumes because one of them was planning a party for a former employer and the other spent their shift–like every other shift for the past several years–watching porn.

    2. TheExchequer*

      Only if the interview candidates get to pay for the pleasure of being taken straight to Westoros. ;)

    3. ChristineSW*

      My poor husband is probably wondering what the eff I keep giggling about! Loveeeee this site!!!

      1. Jean*

        To hijack the slogan that sold the movie “Jaws:”
        “Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the office!!”

    4. Diane*

      And it’s a diversion to get the employee out of her house so the boss can steal her lunch from a locked refrigerator.

  26. hilde*

    I agree with all of the above that this was widly out of line for the supervisor to do. The only other thing that might make a difference is if you’re military, which is a long shot. But if you’re military then you’re sort of always on the hook. Obviously your supervisor shouldn’t destroy your property to get a hold of you, but the military culture does allow for more leeway in trying to reach its people when off-duty.

    When I was in the military we had to do this for one of my troops. He just didn’t show up one day (and I realize that’s a different scenario that what’s happened here where you weren’t scheduled to work). But he just didn’t show up; didn’t call, nothing. So the superintendent and I had to go to his apartment to find out what was going on. We had to bang on the door a little bit because he wasn’t answering (and by now at this point we were concerned for his safety). He finally stumbles to his door and was like, “what’s up?” He was oddly relaxed about us showing up at 10am on a normal workday wondering what the hell is going on. It was very weird.

    That’s the only way I could think where there would even be a shred of necessity for him shownig up at your house (if you all were military).

  27. Anonymous*

    I can’t believe you didn’t call the police, OP! Just because the lunatic is someone you recognize, doesn’t mean open the door!

  28. KitKat*

    This supervisor sounds like a sociopath. Did he not realize that he could/should have had the police called on him? Did it never cross his mind that banging on a home loud enough for the neighbors to hear was, y’know, frowned upon? What the hell was going through his head? I’m really curious, from a psychoanalyst-esque point of view.

    It’s really tempting to imagine loosing the dogs on this nutjob.

  29. Elysian*

    Would it be unreasonable to ask Boss to pay/reimburse Employee for the damage that Manager did to his house? Because I kind of think its reasonable and that the employer should take responsibility for Manager’s actions and pay up.

    1. Elysian*

      I see now that this was answered above while I was typing it. I just feel so bad for the OP. People shouldn’t have to deal with this BS.

  30. De Minimis*

    I used to work nights and I routinely shut off the ringer on my phone when I was asleep during the day–to do otherwise would often mean never getting a decent amount of sleep.

  31. Anonsie*

    I don’t think I’m gonna implement this one on Skull Island. I’d rather just give everyone pagers.

    Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      And if employees don’t answer the pages, their houses will be damaged and all neighbors will be roused from sleep.

    2. TheExchequer*

      Awww, you mean the inhabitants on Skull Island will never awaken to the melodic sound of pounding on their house to wake them up? What kind of an evil overlord are you? ;)

      1. Anonsie*

        I’m going to adopt all the worst possible management practices in administration of my supervillain lair on an island shaped like a skull.

        Now that I write it out, it seems weird.

      2. Ann O'Nemity*

        Skull Island is an ongoing AAM joke. If a letter writer’s situation is horrible enough, those management practices are adopted on the mythical Skull Island.

        Check out some of the previous Skull Island posts on AAM. Hilarious!

      3. Liane*

        I think in this case “Skull Island” might be short for “This Evil Overlord’s super-powered ultimate mega-scary impenetrable fortress of terror, doom and egotism.”

        All the jokes aside–and they are good ones–this is a terrible thing to do. And the supervisor, regardless of gender deserves to be fired, talked to (if not arrested) by the cops, and to pay damages.

    3. Stephanie*

      Will you put witchcraft curses on the employees if they don’t answer their pagers?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Wait. Can we hire witchcraft woman to put a curse on the window and door beater?

      2. Anonsie*

        Absolutely. Of course that would necessitate having a staff witch available at all times, but when she’s not cursing pager ignorers she can probably just clip her nails in people’s desks and microwave fish.

  32. Sadsack*

    I wonder if the supervisor only did this to OP and no other coworkers. If so, why? Is the OP the one who lives closest to work, or is the OP the only one without a spouse or children at home? Was that the basis of the supervisor’s decision to target OP as the one who should come in during the emergency. I am just curious, not sure if it really matters.

  33. De Minimis*

    Wonder if the OP works at the Post Office, this sounds like something some of the supes there would do.

    1. Rachel*

      I was thinking that when everyone said the supervisor could have covered…sorta, as there’s no overnight shift with the post office. But thinking, like the post office, the supervisor may not have been *allowed* to cover per contracts. Not that any of that makes his behavior ok by any means.

      1. Windchime*

        My dad worked the overnight shift at the post office for years. It probably depends on the size of the city, but there is definitely an overnight shift at many post offices.

  34. Kate*

    Once, I had a job where if you didn’t show up, people would come banging on your door. But that was in a situation where everyone lived in employee housing. There was very little privacy to begin with, so it was pretty much expected…

    But once my supervisor came knocking on my door incessantly early one morning, not because I was late, but because his key wasn’t working and he needed to borrow mine to get into the worksite…. I suppose that was somewhat understandable (we were also at a remote location without phone service), but it’s still really awkward to answer the door half asleep in your night clothes….

  35. HM in Atlanta*

    Every time someone says, “what’s the likelihood of someone showing up at your house” I’m going to think of this post. And all the comments of other people who had it happen to them/were the person knocking on the door.

  36. J*

    Just wanted to throw in that I don’t think this was the case going from the letter, but if the OP was required to work the day shift AND the night shift on the same day (i.e., 8am – 4pm and then 8pm – 4am), that may actually be illegal, depending on the state they’re in. Some states require a minimum number of hours in between shifts. For example, NC requires 8 hours between each scheduled shift (learned from my days in retail).

    That said, I read the letter as, “I had to cover the day shift Monday, then had to work the regular night shift Tuesday, so my sleep schedule was totally screwed up,” so it may not apply here.

    1. J*

      Also wanted to mention I am DYING to know what industry the OP is in; I can think of very few where one person being out would constitute a true emergency.

      1. TW*

        I totally thought of healthcare when I read this letter. I have known nursing home managers to pull stunts like this of showing up at peoples homes when someones calls off. Though I have never heard of it being that aggressive at an employee’s home.

    2. Laufey*

      I wanted to bring this up, too – because I actually did read the letter as working Monday night, Tuesday day, and regular shift Tuesday night. I do sometimes take creative interpretations of letters, so I could be wrong.

      And it may not be illegal on a state basis, OP, but it may be on a professional level (or at least against code). For example, pilots, drivers, nurses (? I think.), have rules against this sort of thing.

      1. J*

        I was over 18 part of the time I worked there, and it still applied, but it may have been a child labor law that the company applied to everyone to make it easier.

        It also could have been an old law that’s since changed…this was 10+ years ago (I also haven’t lived in NC since then).

      2. J*

        The reply above was to fposte…but yeah, I thought the same thing. Most unions have regulations about scheduling.

    3. fposte*

      I’m not seeing that in NC (it would be a pretty protective law, and NC isn’t generally labor protective, which is why I looked)–is it possible that was because of employees under 18?

  37. KitKat*

    Hey Alison, sorry to cut in with an off-topic post, but I’ve tried commenting in this thread twice (once as a reply to another comment) but neither have shown up and it’s been about an hour and a half since the first one. Is something up, of has my computer just decided that no, I’m not allowed to comment? :) Thanks!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For some reason, 3 comments from you today went into the spam folder — I’m not sure why! But I’ve released them now. If it keeps happening, email me and I can whitelist you so it stops.

  38. Poe*

    I used to live in a place where I was awoken by frantic pounding on my wall and window (ground floor apartment) and someone shouting “get up you lazy $&^#!” I did what most people would do, I got my cell phone, dialed 911, and picked up my lacrosse stick (a break-in in the building meant I kept it under my bed). I wriggled into the living room on my stomach and peeked around the corner. The cops showed up to find the co-worker of the previous occupant, who had been sent by his boss to get his co-worker up. Ridiculous. The police accompanied the guy back to work to explain that this was a horrible idea and that there was a very terrified young woman who was also really mad. Some people are just idiots.

    1. Chinook*

      Full points for remembering not to stand/walk in front of the window. I am just trying to figure out how you slither with a lacrosse stick.

      1. TychaBrahe*

        If a Marine can slither through a mud field without getting mud into the barrel of a rifle, I figure someone can slither across carpet with a lacrosse stick.

    2. AF*

      I’m hoping this is also the same person, and that there isn’t more than one lunatic who thinks this is okay out there.

  39. Grey*

    It starts with the first comment, plus a couple of others. I don’t mean to make it a big deal though. It’s not.

  40. Stephanie*

    You know, Alison, I sometimes wonder if you’ll run out of crazy stories for the blog. And then you post things like this, Operation Smile, or the witchcraft curse.

    1. Nina*

      I knew about Operation Smile, but I had to read about the witchcraft curse.

      Talk about WTF. People are nuts!

  41. anon-2*

    “There’s nothing that would make this illegal in an employment law sense (like a law saying that your employer can’t show up at your house), but it’s certainly possible that it’s illegal in a more general sense, like if he violated disorderly conduct laws or something like that.”

    Uh, banging on someone’s property, knowing that the worker is asleep – could be construed as harrassment from management. It doesn’t have to be “sexual” to be “harrassment”. I’ll leave that up to the lawyers, and of course, anything you read in AAM is never to be assumed to be legal advice.

    That being said – I would not want to be a manager and face a civil suit – a former employee documenting that a manager came, banged on his door and essentially – woke him up in the middle of (his) night. It definitely is threatening and intimidating.

    And as far as disorderly conduct – oh yeah – call the cops. Managers always say “get it on record”??? GET IT ON RECORD if it happens again. Go over your super’s head this time. Warn his boss – if it happens again, someone’s going to graybar.

    NOW – when I worked the third shift — it was before cell phones, voice mail, etc. I handled it simply = when I came in at 9 am, and went to bed – THE PHONE WAS UNPLUGGED. That was that.

    I once had to defend myself – and I am not making this up – I was called in and yelled at for not picking up my phone – two of my co-workers called in sick on a Friday night, and I didn’t answer my phone. I was on vacation – and 1500 miles from home. And the reason the work didn’t get done = “You didn’t answer your phone.”

    Again, not making that one up. Go figure.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Workplace harassment, in the legal sense, need to be based on sex, race, religion, or another protected category. That doesn’t appear to be the case here.

      There IS a non-workplace legal definition of “harassment,” but it sounds like you’re talking about workplace harassment, and this wouldn’t be illegal under those laws.

        1. anon-2*

          I wouldn’t be so sure about that…. not being in a “protected” group does not make you fair game for harrassment or intimidation …

          1. JamieG*

            It’s the difference between labor law and what’s legal in general. If I get punched by my supervisor, it’s still 100% illegal – but it’s assault, not workplace assault. That doesn’t make it legal, but it still doesn’t fall under labor law.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Bullying is not illegal.

          Harassment and intimidation are not illegal in the workplace sense, not unless they’re based on a protected category.

          I’m not sure how to react to “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” The law is very, very clear on this. It’s not a guess.

          1. De Minimis*

            Would union activity be a protected category?

            Just playing with the hypotheticals…

          2. anon-2*

            “not so sure” – please read my above comment about published company policies regarding employee conduct, etc.

            They are legally binding – and almost every company has an anti-bullying, anti-hostility, anti-harassment policy in writing that all employees, including managers, are required to sign off on.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              This is just not correct. You cannot sue a company for bullying or harassment outside of the scope of what I discussed above. I understand that you believe that it’s accurate, but the law does not back you up here.

            2. AF*

              anon-2 – do you live in the U.S.? Because this is actually very uncommon to have anti-bullying language in a company policy. Maybe in some huge companies. And as far as I know, there are no laws in the U.S. that make workplace bullying illegal.

              Not that I’m an expert, but I did do an extensive research paper on workplace bullying for an HR class in grad school a few years ago. And I’ve been a target of it. And my very large company didn’t do a damn thing about it.

              1. anon-2*

                Yes I do work in the U.S. but I also do work for a significantly large company – which has such policies in place.

                And the company I worked for before that had a similar anti-hostile workplace policy. And the company before that one, although at that time, it was unusual.

                Maybe it’s because I had some bad experiences – that as I made career moves, I was smart enough not to get into bad situations again.

                As far as laws – other countries have enacted them, and, in the U.S., I assume that they’re on their way.

            3. AF*

              I asked if you live in the U.S. because some European countries and I think Australia have laws or are close to having laws regarding workplace bullying.

              1. en pointe*

                This is true. They implemented laws in Australia just a few months ago, partly because of a few related suicides, and partly because they commissioned a report that figured out how many billions of dollars it costs the economy each year.

                So yeah – also possible that anon-2 is American but has been confused by news stories originating from other countries?

        3. Mike C.*


          *takes breath*

          Bullying someone is perfectly legal in every state in the union, despite the significant amount of harm it actually causes!

  42. Derp*

    Oh man, I was employed at a nonprofit org when my mother died. I left for the day as soon as I heard, and let my manager know I would let her know I would take the next few days off and would update her as soon as I knew more.

    Unbeknownst to me, my manager called an emergency meeting shortly after I called her. She demanded to get my home address from HR and when that didn’t work, she got it from a friend of mine who volunteered there. Then she decided that her and the rest of my team would TAKE SHIFTS AT MY HOUSE while I was grieving. I was friendly but not close to any of my team members – not close enough to have ever invited them to my home.

    Um, you can imagine my wtf face when she banged on my door WHILE I WAS ON THE PHONE CONSOLING MY FATHER and announced that she would be there for the next 4 hours.

    Unfortunately it’s not illegal to be an invasive creep, but if your boss damaged your property, that’s definitely worth looking into/filing a police report on.

    1. fposte*


      And to clarify, it *is* illegal to be an invasive creep if you’ve told her to leave the property. There’s no “it’s not trespassing if you’re the resident’s manager” exemption.

    2. AF*

      I can’t even. In what universe would someone think of this? What kind of nonprofit was this?! Omg I am just stunned.

      1. Derp*

        It was a community center that employed a lot of social work types. My boss wasn’t a social worker, but I guess…her first instinct was to try to social work me? The debacle still makes me shake my head.

        I found a new job not too long after with more appropriate workplace boundaries.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I have seen managers do similar things- not as bad as this but, yeah, walk into a crisis and take over. They never bother to ask if the help is wanted or not.

      I hope you convinced her this was not happening.

  43. LCL*

    One of my tasks is making the calls to get someone to work when a shiftworker calls in sick. I would never go to someone’s house if they didn’t answer. And I always make sure to call from the same not blocked phone which should be in their caller ID.

  44. Nina*

    This is really disturbing. Please document/take pictures of any damage and keep us posted. This is completely unacceptable.

  45. Meow*

    This is considered acceptable in law enforcement. We are warned about it at hire. There is a minimum staffing minimum and there are times where additional bodies are necessary. If they are trying to call you in and you don’t answer your phone they send a cop to knock on your door, peek in your windows, use the bull horn, etc. If you are dodging an emergency call in (they see you in the kitchen not answering) they can fire you. Only happened to DH once. Sleeping during the day, cell phone was in other room and he slept through it. Supervisor knocked on door until he woke up him up to come back in.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I can’t imagine them banging on the walls hard enough to actually damage the home and yelling like crazy people, though. Although they do knock on the door pretty firmly.

  46. Anonymous*

    I just hope you got paid appropriately, OP. I once had a summer job where they were really short-staffed one night. I’d already worked a double shift, plus a few hours. At that point (union job) I was on triple-time. They wanted me to stay another 15 minutes? Absolutely, no problem. I made about $7k that summer and that’s in 1975 dollars! Saved it all for tuition, which was about $3k a year for my grad program.

  47. Adam V*

    What happens if OP doesn’t answer the door or the phone, calls the cops, the supervisor gets arrested, then the next time they’re in the office, the supervisor fires OP? (Or alternately, as has been proposed, someone else had come out who didn’t know the supervisor and chased them away, and OP still gets fired the next day.)

    I mean, I’m pretty sure OP would have a pretty good case for unemployment, but is there a way to *not* answer the door and still ensure that you’ve got your job the next day? Or are there just no guarantees when you’re dealing with a wack-a-doodle like this?

    1. fposte*

      Absent a contract, there’s nothing in law to prevent the OP being fired the next day even if s/he does open the door.

      Aside from the law, I think the options are the same as they are now: take it to the manager.

  48. Jules*

    In time when some people shoot first and ask questions later… I question his sanity.

  49. Windchime*

    When I was 19, I worked at a grocery store with a tyrannical manager. There was another long-term employee, “JoAnne”. It was JoAnne’s scheduled day off but Manager wanted her to come in. We had all learned to not answer our phones on our day off (this was before cell phones or caller ID). JoAnne wasn’t answering, so Manager sent me to her house to ask her to come in. I didn’t pound on the door or damage her home, but it was mighty awkward to have to ring her doorbell and tell her that Manager sent me to tell her to come to work.

  50. Elizabeth West*

    Guys, please don’t be so quick to answer the door with a gun if someone you don’t know is pounding on it. Call law enforcement if you’re concerned or frightened. They’re trained to deal with random weirdness and you are not. People just don’t realize how easily situations can escalate. While it’s tempting to confront issues like this, it’s not always the wisest course.

  51. Anonymous/OP*


    I am regretting/wishing I had made different decisions, however what is done is done. I am currently, as I already have been, seeking other employment and do not look to be here more than a month more. I think the entire organization has gone crazy, or actually has been crazy (considering other goings on that have occurred recently and in the past), and I do not want to be a part of such an organization. Thank you all for your support and suggestions. I am very grateful to know there are people out there willing to help others understand and now, thanks to you all, I will have a better response in the event something of this sort should happen again, God forbid. I am not sure if or how the supervisor was penalized, but I do not think anything more happened than a slap on the wrist. I hope supervisor was suspended this past week and not merely taking a vacation, but I cannot be entirely sure. I hope to God the former. But, I know that a human (humans) cannot act in such a way and get away with it; it will definitely catch up to them whether now, or in the future.

    Anonymous/OP update

  52. JCC*

    Have none of you worked for a small business before?

    Big deadline with lots of money riding on it. Employee with specialized skills chokes or gets sick or hit by a bus or whatever. You thought you were prepared for this, but your backup guy isn’t answering his phone. Unless you can get ahold of him in the next hour or so, everyone is screwed. Maybe you can say, “Oh yes, the solution to this problem is to have stopped it before it started by having a more robust on-call employee system!” but that doesn’t help now without a time machine. What would be the better solution then going to his house, where he is highly likely to be, and waking him up?

    1. Evan*

      Yes, it might be better for the manager. However, employees have rights, too. Take the exact situation you posed, but suppose that instead of just not answering his phone, your backup guy hands in his resignation effective immediately. You can urge him to work out his two-week notice or even throw money at him to come back as a contractor, but at the bottom line, it’s his right to quit at once. Someone whose only standard is “what’s better for business owners” would say employees should be legally forbidden from quitting at once… or, even, from quitting at all, since hardly anyone can actually find a replacement in two weeks!

      If you’re only talking about ringing the doorbell, that’s one thing. But banging on the house loudly enough to bother neighbors or damage property – as OP described – is both a bad idea and illegal. What should be done in your situation is the same as what should be done for other misbehavior: Ask for an explanation; correct him if it isn’t satisfactory; maybe even fire him and give him a bad reference. But assaulting the employee and damaging his property is not an option.

      1. JCC*

        Well sure. The idea would be that you compensate them for the inconvenience. As long as the amount compensated is less than the amount at risk (which in an emergency it most likely is), I see no problem with that.

        Threatening to fire them would probably work if they are living paycheck to paycheck (we are in a recession after all), but the amount of bad blood that would generate would be enormous.

        Denting the mobile home was probably due to inexperience — most people don’t realize how flimsy they are. Paying for the dents is reasonable and should be expected.

  53. user*

    Disturbing the peace
    Destruction of property
    Trespassing [on property]

    To name a few laws broken.

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