my boss gives us fake performance reviews, job is changing to full-time but staying at a part-time salary, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My boss gives us fake performance reviews

I have a boss who states that I’m a superior employee. He goes over my yearly review in a meeting but never shows me the review. He only has me sign the last page. He gave me a copy of it and didn’t expect me to read it and he put me as a satisfactory employee. I spoke to other employees and they all say the same thing, that he never shows them the review and only has them sign the last page. He never gives them a copy either. I have one employee who he gave 2.06 on his review but changed the review copy of the one that was sent to HR to a 1.66. Is this legal and what can I do about it?

It’s not illegal, but I doubt your HR department would be happy to hear that he’s doing it since it’s openly deceptive and totally contrary to the point of performance evaluations, which is to give accurate feedback. Go talk to HR (which is a sentence you rarely hear from me).

2. My boss asked us to donate money for gifts for our warehouse workers

I just got an email from my boss asking five of us to donate money so he can buy gift cards for the warehouse workers. He only asked the inside sales reps; the outside reps were not included. There are only five people who got this email, plus one of the other bosses. He said that since the company is not yet in the black, he wants us to donate money so he can buy these gift cards as a thank-you for the warehouse workers. He then asked for $40 from each of us or what we can give.

Personally, I think this is in very poor taste, and due to some medical issues I am going through, I really cannot afford it. However, two people have already responded saying they are sending the money, so I feel pressured to give money I cannot afford. How does one respond to such requests, especially when they cannot afford to donate? I was shocked to get this request.

“Unfortunately this isn’t in my budget this year, but I’d be glad to sign a card for the warehouse workers, who I think do a great job.”

3. Job is changing to full-time but staying at a part-time salary

My mom has a part-time salaried job and has just been told that the part-time position will be eliminated in favor of a full-time position. Everything, including the salaried pay, will remain the same. This would effectively be a $3 an hour pay decrease for her. Her boss won’t discuss any salary changes; the attitude is that if my mom doesn’t accept this, they will let her go. I know this isn’t illegal, but are there any options she has if she doesn’t want to accept this?

It doesn’t sound like it. Unless it brings her below minimum wage, it’s not illegal. If it brings her salary below $23,600, she’s no longer exempt and would need to be paid overtime in weeks where she works over 40 hours in a week, but that hardly gets at the larger issue. Ultimately, it sounds like she needs to decide if she wants the job under these new terms or not.

4. Do I have to do something I feel is morally wrong if it’s my employer’s policy?

If your organization has a policy that you feel is 100% morally wrong, do you have the right to say you won’t support it with clients and that they should follow up with their clients when it comes to this issue? I feel it’s wrong to tell employees they MUST do something that is wrong because it is their job to support a policy even if it is a corrupt one.

Is the policy itself legal? If so, your employee can legally require you to carry it out. You can certainly speak up about your concerns and say that you’d prefer not to be involved in it, but ultimately your employer can require you to administer it if they choose to.

There are a few exceptions to this, such as if you hold a bona fide religious belief that conflicts with the policy (and if the policy isn’t a key element of your job).

5. Can I say I didn’t get the message telling me not to show up to work?

I work at the Olive Garden and I have worked 35 hours already this week. I am scheduled one more day to work 4 to 11, but my job left me a message at 1 pm saying I don’t have to come to work because I might go into overtime. Is that right or should I just go to work and say I never got the message?

Don’t go into work when they told you not to come in. They’re likely to just send you home, and then you’ll have showed up for nothing. (Unless you’re in one of the few states that reporting time pay, in which case they might have to pay you for a few hours for showing up — but regardless, it’s dishonest to say you didn’t get the message when you did, and not the kind of thing that endears you to managers.)

{ 263 comments… read them below }

  1. Ann Furthermore*

    #2: I was thinking that sounded like a very nice gesture, until I got to the requested amount of $40. That’s a pretty big donation to ask for, especially from anyone on a tight budget. I think the boss’s heart is in the right place, but his idea of a “reasonable” donation is much different than the OP’s (and mine and many others too).

    1. Jessa*

      I think their hearts are in the right place, but this is not something that other employees should pay for. This is a corporate expense. I’d hate it if it were a birthday or other occasion gift, but thanking employees is totally not the business of other staff. Possibly, maybe management if it’s a partnership or something, but never other workers. Even if I had it a 100 times over, I would not buy into that idea.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Since the OP says the company is not yet in the black, I’m assuming it’s a start-up. I worked at one years ago and there was an “everybody pitch in” vibe there that doesn’t exist at more established companies. Like, save the company funds for truly necessary costs like payroll and rent, and people spend some of their own money for perks. In my case it wasn’t mandated by management, it was more people in general not wanting to spend the seed money on anything frivolous while the company was trying to get off the ground.

        That’s maybe what the boss’s train of thought is here. The donation amount is still way over the top, but I get why he’s asking for personal contributions. But if course everyone will have their own opinion about whether it is or is not out of line.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          Way way back in the day when our company was very small and it was made up of commissioned sales people who made $$$ (and I was one of them) and very modestly paid office staff, we always chipped in to buy gift cards (American Express Checks, back then) for the staff. It wasn’t a small amount of money for the time, it was hundreds of dollars. Bit like tipping out in a restaurant.

          If the inside sales reps are commissioned, and if there’s a large income gap between them and the people who support them, I don’t think the idea of the gift is wrong. The problem is the request coming from the boss. It should come from the sales staff themselves and people need to be able to opt out.

          There was always one guy who opted out. He bought them socks instead. (Swear to god, dude makes six figure income in 1989, but he can’t cough up a hundred bucks for the support gift pool and buys them socks instead.)

          1. Elysian*

            I can see where you’re going, but I don’t think the warehouse staff are really “support” staff in the way that it makes sense for other employees to be buying gifts for them. My office does gift cards around the holidays for our assistants and other support staff. Another employee puts it together (not the boss) and we chip in. But I think that makes sense in a way this doesn’t – my assistant works directly with me, and I ask directly her to do things/supervise her. I doubt that’s the case with the warehouse workers here, and I think that’s why this request is rubbing me the wrong way. Even if there’s a big pay differential, this is really the employer who wants to appreciate his employees, and he shouldn’t be asking his other employees for money to do that.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

              I don’t disagree, especially about the part where the boss shouldn’t be the one asking.

              That said, if warehouse workers are doing the pick and pack on the very orders the sales reps are getting commissioned upon, I think it is the same as support staff.

              1. B*

                Completely agree with this. If the warehouse workers are the ones helping making sure the orders are right for the sales reps than they should be considered support staff.

                1. Elysian*

                  Hrmm, I’m not sure I feel the same way. If the sales reps have a lot of personal contact with the warehouse employees regarding the delivery and client satisfaction, etc, then maybe. But otherwise I think they’re a little too far removed for a culturally mandatory gift – not that they shouldn’t be appreciated by their coworkers for their hard work and their role in supporting everyone (which I entirely agree they do), but as far as ‘mandatory’ or expected giving at the holidays, I don’t think so. I guess it might depend a lot on the workplace and its own norms and cultures regarding how the staff interacts.

                2. Green*

                  Hm, then I think everyone is “support” staff under this broad definition. In most office environments, people really mean “direct support staff” — people who manage your calendar, run errands, handle your copying, and with whom you directly work on a regular basis and who are typically “assigned” to support a limited number of people. In many office cultures, gifts from the people they support are often expected (rightly or wrongly). But those gifts are *in addition to* any corporate recognition the company itself wants to provide.

                  And while it’s very kind to acknowledge other people who work at your office for whom there is a pay differential (cleaning staff, catering staff, security), that is an individual gesture and 100% optional. Any bonus or thank you from the company should come from the company’s funds. The mere fact of a pay differential doesn’t suggest that someone “owes” anybody else any portion of their salary.

                3. JB*

                  I have to agree with Green. Everyone is support staff in the sense that everyone at a company (in theory) does the work necessary for the company to be a profitable operation. But the job of warehouse workers isn’t usually to help the sales people do their jobs. They aren’t setting up appointments, booking travel arrangements, etc. They are supporting the company and therefore, indirectly, the sales team, but they aren’t directly supporting the sales team.

                  That said, I agree that it’s a nice thing to do and that it shouldn’t be coming from the boss.

            2. Callie*

              When I was a teacher we (the teachers and principal(s)) would take up a collection and give gift cards to the janitorial staff and cafeteria workers at Christmas. I know it was meant well but it gave me a weird vibe. It felt like “giving the servants a Christmas bonus” or something–less so in the early years, when all professional and support staff were district employees, but more the last few years I was there because the cafeteria staff were hired from a company like Aramark and the janitorial staff were outsourced by another company. I don’t know. It felt condescending or something.

          2. Cat*

            Similarly, in law firms, lawyers are expected to give a holiday gift, usually cash or equivalent, to the admin folks who specifically support them. That’s different than whatever bonus the partnership as a whole gives.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

              Did one of the lawyers ever give Christmas socks from the dollar store instead?

              Just curious.

              (not making it up)

              1. Cat*

                I did once hear a story from another firm involving a very wealthy partner who gave his assistant fudge inexpertly made by his small child and nothing else.

                1. Green*

                  I will note that the best assistants in my law firm were the ones who didn’t expect a thing.

                  The culture of law firm attorney-assistant relationships are very weird at a lot of firms. In my firm, providing ANY negative feedback to or about an assistant on annual reviews–no matter what happened–was considered inappropriate. One Christmas a particularly terrible assistant–who made it very clear that she did not like me–got a mediocre review from me (that I had to really struggle to make vaguely positive) and nothing else. (I switched off her desk, her partner was fired and nobody else wanted to work with her, so she actually was fired a year or two later.) For assistants who did good work, I joined in on the gift-giving culture (typically hundreds of dollars in cash from 3-4 associates each and $500, $1000 or more from a partner, in addition to company bonus), but it felt very awkward to give a Christmas cash gift of hundreds of dollars when I spend $50 or less on my closest family members, typically don’t exchange gifts with my husband, and prefer to spend my “Christmas shopping money” on whose basic needs aren’t met.

                2. Shortie*

                  Green, I don’t work in a law firm, but I struggle with this in a way. My immediate family just doesn’t get into the whole gift-giving thing, preferring instead to give generously to those who really need it. However, because I do okay for myself, there is an expectation from extended family that we will all spend a lot of money and exchange a lot of gifts, and I am “selfish” if I don’t participate because I can “afford it”. Never mind that they don’t need gifts, and the very few who do will just feel obligated to reciprocate, thereby making them worse off than they were before. I considered donations to charity in everyone’s name, but that would be kind of rude to the few extended family members who are in need. Urgh! I have really grown to hate the whole holiday gift-giving tradition and expectations.

                3. Hermoine Granger*

                  I’ve never gotten into the idea of being expected to buy gifts for other adults. I’m not wealthy or well off but I don’t expect or even really want gifts from people. It’s nice if people CHOOSE to give another adult a gift (family/personal or work relationship) but it shouldn’t be expected.

                  At an old job, we would get food items (ex: boxes or cookies, gift baskets, etc) and sometimes individual gift cards from the sales staff around the holidays. I was always fine with whatever we got but some of my co-workers would complain if for example a sales person gave them a $10 gift card. 1) It’s free money 2) $10 each for about 10 people in our department and then also for several members of other departments is at least a few hundred dollars that they didn’t have to spend.

                  People would also complain when Sales bought pizza for the office at other times in the year if there wasn’t enough for seconds / thirds or the toppings weren’t to their liking. Entitlement issues.

          3. Erin*

            One thing that I thought was odd – the OP mentioned that only the inside sales reps were asked to contribute. At a previous employer, the inside reps made a lot less money than outside reps. They tended to be less experienced, had lower starting salaries, and while the commission structure was the same the inside reps tended to work smaller accounts. The outside reps also got car allowances and other perks. I know that inside/outside divide isn’t universal, and I haven’t worked closely enough with sales in other companies to get a sense of how common that is. Why would the boss ask the inside reps who in my experience make less money, but not the outside reps?

            1. Jamie*

              I think that depends on the company – ime inside reps make as much as outside. And sometimes the outside reps were independent contractors (maybe that’s just my industry.)

    2. BOMA*

      I was just thinking the same thing. This doesn’t seem in that poor taste to me, and might even be considered a nice gesture to the warehouse workers, but $40 is a LOT to ask from someone. I know I couldn’t afford it.

      1. Green*

        The “poor taste” part is that a request like this from a boss–or even from colleagues in a small office environment–really doesn’t feel very optional and becomes obligatory. But that’s shifting an obligation that is the company’s alone (making sure necessary employees are paid appropriately and feel appreciated) on to other staff.

        1. Jamie*

          I agree – I resent any company asking employees to subsidize business expenses and that’s what this is. They want to give a company gift paid for by employees. I would like to do a lot of things I don’t have money for, I don’t take up a collection from people who shouldn’t be footing that bill.

          I love that about my company – never once have I been asked to kick in for a birthday, wedding gift, holiday anything because the company always does something lovely. And when I’ve done things like lunch for the team, muffins, someone always makes sure I put it on the company card. And I’ve never been refused when I wanted to reward someone for going above and beyond with a gift card – also provided by the company.

          They’d be mortified if managers felt they had to go out of pocket to reward employees for something that benefited the company – because it’s the company’s job to do that.

      2. No to Stella and Dot*

        I don’t mean to sound like a Scrooge, but honestly, regardless of someone’s salary/pay grade, everyone’s financial situation is personal. Just because you make six figures doesn’t mean you should automatically have to give gifts/financial help to those who make less. The person making six figures could have financial hardships themselves – paying off student/medical/consumer debt, helping out their own family members, etc.

        Don’t get me wrong – it’s a very nice gesture but a gift should be given with a generous spirt, not in a “voluntold” type of way.

        1. Jamie*

          I’m with you on this. Even if they don’t have hardships and have disposable income to burn no one should ever feel entitled to other people’s money in these kind of situations.

          But to your point you don’t know what people have going on. I know people who make a third of what I make who have much more disposable income than I do – expenses are different.

    3. ella*

      I’m wondering if there are more warehouse employees than office staff, and the $40 is meant to be pooled and then split up. Five people on the email times $40 = $200, if there’s 20 warehouse workers then everyone’s getting a $10 Starbucks card or something. Or maybe he’s wanting to buy them a dozen pizzas. I dunno. That’s the only way that the $40 number makes sense to me, anyway.

  2. Jessa*

    Regarding 1. There is no way anyone will ever get me to sign something I have not read. I don’t care how many pages, I don’t care how rushed they are. Won’t happen. And if it’s multiple pages it has to be stapled. Sorry I worked for too many lawyers in the past. They could put anything in the document over my signature, they could switch out whole pages. With a staple unless they’re amazingly talented if you pull a page it’ll show. And I won’t sign it unless I get a copy also. Sorry I’m paranoid for just the reason you say = they say x, the document says y, I’m bound by the document. No way. And anyone trying to force that does not have my best interests in mind. In that case it’d be a trip to HR immediately – he wants me to sign this and I didn’t get to read it or get a copy. Not happening.

    1. jordanjay29*

      I’m with you, I’ve started reading all documents that I sign. I was amused to see the reaction of the car salesman when I did that, but I’m lucky my dad was there to engage him in conversation long enough to stay his impatience.

      1. Jessa*

        The last car salesman that tried that with me, found me walking out the door. The minute they do that I presume they are trying to cheat me more than the normal “add on that clearcoat thing,” usual sales spiel.

      2. Julia*

        In my company, managers have been fired for falsifying performance reviews. Some cheated to make a deadline, others because they didn’t want to have the one on one talk with an employee, so they forged signatures and turned the review in to HR. On a related note: we rate on a scale of 1-5, 1 means you should probably be fired, 5 means you walk on water, 2 means big improvement needed, but a 2 is never a suprise, most people are 3 and some are 4 in some areas but not overall. Many associates who are fresh out of school look at a 3 , which is meets all expectations and exceeds some , as average, a C. It’s hard to make them see that in the real world, evals are differerent and a 3 is good. It’s a struggle every year at review time.

        1. Judy*

          It helps to make sure the level names have the correct connotation.

          My last company went from a 3 being “meets expectations” to a 3 being “strong performer”. It is hard to hear that when you went above and beyond, you are just meeting expectations. It is much easier to hear you had strong performance.

            1. Judy*

              It’s a function of forced rankings, where 70% of the people have to get 3’s. You end up with the people who get 3’s being everyone who meets expectations up to the top 15% where they are suddenly “exceeds expectations”.

              Every year the work I do exceeds the goals I set. Yet, I get level 4 maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the time. Because they force that 70% of the people are level 3, I’m graded as “exceeding expectations” vs “meeting expectations” on a curve.

              Don’t get me started on the fact that it’s possible to meet all of your goals and still get a 2, since they’re forcing 5% into 1’s and 10% into 2’s.

          1. jordanjay29*

            I’d rather see terms like Meets/Exceeds expectations. It gives me something tangible to work towards. A number means nothing, it’s so unfeeling and vague.

        2. HR Manager*

          I have tried instilling this concept in my managers for years (multiple companies, multiple jobs — hundreds of managers) and it’s amazing so few managers get it. They think ‘meets expectations’ is only an average (and not great review). I continually verbalize to them – 3 or meets expectations means employee does everything you ask of him/her. That’s a good thing! I even had a manager try to justify a termination with “only got a 3”.

          Even then it doesn’t always click. Some of this is managers not willing to give real feedback, I think part of this is also a generation/culture of always feeling good or special. I am not appreciated or recognized unless I am told I am super or great.

          1. Jamie*

            Meets expectations is the bare minimum though, imo. If people aren’t meeting expectations overall it’s a conversation about whether they are a good fit for their job. So it’s really is the lowest the bar to clear for passable performance without risk of consequences – it’s certainly not great.

            I don’t see it as justification for termination in and of itself as if they have an issue where they wanted them to do more then there were expectations that weren’t being met. So either the reasoning or the evaluation was disingenuous.

            Meets expectations is like a C in class. You don’t have to take it over and you passed – but it’s not going to make anyone sit up and take notice.

              1. Jamie*

                Yes they do. And people who meet expectations typically get to keep their jobs without a lot of fuss or PIPs and that’s fine for a lot of people.

            1. Judy*

              I think that the difference is that everyone who has a 3 is not just “meeting expectations”. If you “meet expectations” you are a 3.0. If you’re forcing rankings so that 70% of your people are 3’s, you most likely have lots of 3.5’s, 3.7’s and 3.9’s. I’ve had 4’s some years and 3’s others, and many of the 3’s years I’ve been told I was a 3+ or a 3.9 (from different supervisors).

              That’s why I think that “exceeds expectations” as a 4 ranking, when almost everyone who is a 3 is more than meeting expectations, can cause issues.

              I’ve never had a class where 70% of the class has to have a C.

              1. Jamie*

                I could not agree with you more. I’m completely opposed to grading on a curve or forced rankings – I am all about a meritocracy and you don’t get there by artificial classifications.

                If you have a team of 10 kick ass performers all of whom do excellent work and deserve great evaluations having to make some average and some below to meet some ridiculous false metric is crazy. Just like if you have a team of 10 people who are all poor performers – just because everyone else sucks, too, doesn’t mean the one who sucks the least is awesome.

                I was merely responding to this from HR Managers comment above

                They think ‘meets expectations’ is only an average (and not great review).

                It is an average and not a great review. Artificially average is a whole different ballgame.

                I got a 9.8 out of 10 at a previous company because “they can’t give 10’s.” My argument about it was inherently illogical to have a range in which part was impossible to achieve due to this rule didn’t endear me to anyone. Because it really pissed me off. And if my manager had said it was due to my needing to improve X or whatever I’d have been fine with it (well, depending on if I agreed with him – but I’d have acted fine regardless) but being told it would be a 10 if allowed but wasn’t allowed pisses me off to this day years later.

                If there is no way for me to hit 10, then the top of the range isn’t 10.

                But then I am ridiculous when it comes to this stuff. Tbf looking back plenty of reasons it shouldn’t have been 10, but knowing he would have if he could have but wasn’t allowed…still pisses me off.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  Right. Then it’s a 9-point scale. But if they changed it to that, suddenly 9 would be impossible, and so on…

              2. Bell Curving*

                Really? Almost all my university classes were like that. Professors had to ensure our grades were normally distributed and centered on a C average. So about 68% of the class had to get a C-, C, or C+, basically according to the 68–95–99.7 rule (“bell curved”). So if I scored 80% on a test, I would often get bumped into the A/A+ range because I was in the top 1-3% of grades. Conversely, if a test had a low-spread distribution, a student scoring 75% could fail while a student scoring 78% could get a B+. (Until I read this thread, I honestly thought all universities/colleges/schools operated this way; guess not!)

                This is basically how it is at my current job, too. My manager basically told me at my last review that “we have to give X proportion of 3s” and “we can’t give 4s to more than Y people.” (I thought my review was more than fair and my manager is extremely reasonable overall; this is a company policy, not my manager’s.)

                1. Judy*

                  At my university, they ran the statistics to see how the tests and assignments were written. At times they would add a few points if the exam had a lower average especially if one problem had issues, but most of the histograms I saw of exam results put the average as a high C based on our percentage grading scale, they liked the average and median to be between 75 & 80%. I’m talking standard engineering 3 hour tests with 6 problems on them. We also didn’t ever get +/- grades.

                  Running the statistics was mostly a grading exercise on the exam writer rather than on the exam taker. Could you write an exam that would be challenging enough so that everyone would not get it all, yet most people got much of it?

                  In the end, the course grade rather than the exam grade matters. If one test a 75 is a C and the next the 75 is an F, how do you add up 150 and get a meaningful value for the course grade?

                2. Bell Curving*

                  They averaged the C and the F. There would usually be a few tests, plus some assignments, plus a final exam and all those grades would be entered into a weighted average for that course. Your university’s system sounds much more reasonable. Indeed, writing a challenging-but-not-impossible exam is a skill of the exam writer. I think my university’s system was mostly horrible, so I’m not defending it, just saying that it was in fact how my university graded. I know other schools graded the same way and am glad to see it’s not universal. Apparently, the rationale was to force the “nice” professors who would have test scores averaging in the 80s to hand out Cs, Ds, and Fs, while forcing the “hard” professors to hand out at least a few As. Prior to this system, there were apparently several professors known for never handing out A-/A/A+ grades and professors who never failed anyone.

            2. Aam Admi*

              In our Union environment, ‘meets expectations’ is the highest rating allowed. Since everyone gets the same annual step increase, our management or union probably feels there is really no point in recognizing excellence since there are no extra rewards attached to it.

          2. Mike B.*

            One thing that helped at my organization was a shift from a 5-point scale to a 3-point scale. We’d in effect already been using one–the highest score was virtually never awarded for the same reason some teachers refuse to give A-pluses, and any employee bad enough to merit the lowest score was generally already on a PIP or out the door by review time.

            It’s nice not to have to make such unnecessarily fine-grained distinctions. Exceeds/Meets/Does Not Meet is really all we need to know.

        3. Jenny Next*

          In my organization, a rating of “meets expectations” gets you a raise that is well below inflation. There’s no way that I would consider such a rating good.

    2. Mike C.*

      Having worked in a cGMP lab and now in aerospace, our signatures can mean matters of life or death, so I totally get what you’re saying.

    3. Jennifer M.*

      In the last year we had a situation where multiple parties signed a letter of complaint against my team that went way up the chain. When we approached these clients about it, they said that wasn’t the letter they signed. What the party that wrote the letter did was insert the signature page as a completely separate page so the other clients thought they were signing something else.

      1. Jessa*

        Hence staples. It’s really, really, really hard to unstaple and restaple something exactly in the same holes. Even if you have the exact stapler that was used. Staples are seriously your friend in things like this. Particularly if you’re in a business and have a stapling copy machine, those are IMPOSSIBLE to replace without recreating the whole document, and in that case the signatures wouldn’t be live.

          1. Was Layla*

            I’m with you on this. I unstaple documents all the time eg for scanning. Does that make them invalid ?

          2. Jessa*

            Not just initial mark each page 1/5, 2/5 also. So if you initial and the document is labelled, you can’t add pages and can’t change them out either. SO that works as good.

        1. Bertie*

          Staples are meaningless. Yes, even the copy machine ones. I do a LOT of unstapling and scanning, and find it incredibly easy to get a new staple in the exact same holes, making a document look untouched as far as the staples are concerned.

          If you are depending on staples as a way to ensure it is the unaltered document, you are living with a false sense of security.

          1. puddin*

            This is why a thorough legal document has a spot to initial or sign on every single page. And why I use blue ink on all my signatures.

            1. Aunt Vixen*

              Blue ballpoint, for me. In these color-copier times, I want to be able to rely on the impression in the page to know the signature is original.

          2. Jessa*

            It’s not something to completely depend on but it’s a piece in an evidence trail if you’re saying the document is “not right,” some how. But yes also initials on each page and not just numbering but numbering x out of total, makes it even more safe.

    4. nep*

      Absolutely. One’s signature means something. No way would I sign something I’ve not read.

      P.S. Digging the new image with hat and scarf.

    5. the gold digger*

      My husband and I were not yet married when we bought our house. The entire 50% down payment came from me and the sale of my previous house. It was really important that the contract state that we were both owner and that we were joint tenants with right of survivorship (something like that) so that if he died before we got married, the house would be entirely mine and there would be no dispute that his parents might be full or part owners as his next of kin.

      The title company sent us a contract about three weeks before the signing. They had my husband as the only owner. I called and told them to fix it.

      When we went to the closing on a Friday afternoon a few weeks later, I started to read the contract. I read every single page.

      They had not corrected the names. They still had him listed as the only person on the deed and the mortgage.

      I told them they needed to fix it. The woman running the show said, “Oh, just sign now and we’ll get it all straightened out next week. I am going to have to call our central office to get this done. It’s going to take a while.”

      I looked at her and wanted to say, “Didn’t your father teach you never to sign anything unless you agreed with it? Also, do I look like a moron? That I would sign a contract for a quarter of a million dollars even though it’s wrong?”

      All I did say was, “Oh, that’s fine. We’ll wait.” And then I gave her the Glare of I Am Not An Idiot But You Might Be.

      1. Kay*

        Ugh! How annoying! But good for you for sticking to your guns. Similar thing happened when we purchased our home. We read each page and the person at the title company kept trying to rush us and tell us that we just needed so sign here, initial there, etc. I just gave her a look because I would never sign anything that I hadn’t read and understood.

      2. KTM*

        My husband and I are both engineers and he insists on going through every page of something he’s going to sign. I thought our Realtor was going to kill him when he insisted on reading through all the closing documentation before signing! He ended up catching that they double charged us on a couple inspections (we paid in person but it was still charged in the closing) and saved us ~$250 so lesson learned :)

          1. the gold digger*

            As in:

            1. The purpose of a dishrag is to stay clean. I should not use the dishrag to clean olive oil off the top of the olive oil can because that gets the dishcloth dirty.
            2. I should not use a lot of paper towels to clean cat vomit off the kitchen floor. I agreed that his knowledge of cat vomit cleaning techniques was superior and let him do it.
            3. When we moved the dining room table back onto the rug after cleaning, the legs had to fit exactly into the rug depressions where the table legs had been before.

            1. LCL*

              ‘There is nothing wrong with that trap. You can just clean it and reuse it.’ My engineer said as I threw away a rat trap complete with dead rat. I dumped the thing into the bucket with the dog waste, which ended that discussion.

              1. Kelly L.*

                Ah yes, the poop can. When I had a dog, the poop can was the “Really, I Mean It” trash for me too. Throwing away with extreme prejudice. Rotten food went there, and sometimes if I was really annoyed about some junk mail, I’d put it in the poop can just for emotional satisfaction.

                1. Hermoine Granger*

                  What is a dog poop can? A can for the dog to poop into or a can into which you put dog poop? Why is it needed? (I’ve never had a dog.)

                2. the gold digger*

                  Last night:

                  Engineer husband: Do you want the steak bone?
                  Me: No.
                  Engineer: You don’t want to make beef stock with it?
                  Me: No.
                  Engineer: OK. I just put it in the bag with the cat poop. There’s no going back.

            2. Jamie*

              3. When we moved the dining room table back onto the rug after cleaning, the legs had to fit exactly into the rug depressions where the table legs had been before.

              Of course they do! The thought that somewhere out there there is furniture creating new impressions when the old ones are empty and visible is now making me very tense. :)

              (Although I am with you on the other two. And he who has a better way to do a distasteful task should be allowed to manage it himself. I don’t even argue with mine about the dishwasher anymore. I start to load it, he begins to twitch since I’m doing it wrong and I go watch TV while he finishes it up. Everyone wins.)

            3. Anonsie*

              4. The reason the bath mat is damp is because I just took a shower and stepped out of it onto said bath mat. No, really. The dog didn’t pee on it. There isn’t a leak. You can stop looking for leaks. I pinkie-promise I was just in the shower. We’ve talked about this.

        1. Ted Mosby*

          I HATE when people act that way. The expectation should be that EVERYONE reads EVERYTHING before they sign. It’s not “annoying” to protect yourself legally.

        2. Sigrid*

          #lifewithanengineer indeed! My husband does the exact same thing, which has proved useful on numerous occasions (and earned us the death glare from our realtor).

      3. Wonderlander*

        As as real estate attorney’s paralegal, we LOVE it when you have the gall to say that you’ll hold off on closing until something is fixed. Too many buyers these days just. want. it. done. and will do anything and everything to make us move faster. What, you’re telling me I can’t submit a contract on a home and close it 10 days later?! With a VA loan? Why not?! I want it now! And I can’t take time off work, so you’ll have to schedule my appointment for 6pm. Gone are the days that buyers come to closing in suits and nice dresses and take the day off work to treat buying their home like the Big. Deal. it really is.

        1. Mabel*

          My father is a retired attorney, so I always read every page of everything I sign. I hadn’t thought of initialing every page, but I like that idea! Sometimes, the person waiting for me to sign thinks I’m looking at the page and not signing because I can’t find the line to sign on, so they point it out to me. Grrrr. So now as I’m taking the pages, I say, “I’m going to read this before I sign it.” There’s so much pressure to hurry up and sign, so I often find myself skimming, but I try to force myself to go back and really read it.

        2. Anonsie*

          Not to be a wad or anything but not everyone works the type of job where they can just take a day off for funsies like that.

          1. Wonderlander*

            It’s not for “fun” – it’s for the biggest purchase you’ll likely ever make in your entire life. I get that maybe you can only take a couple hours, but please don’t insist we have to close you outside of business hours. Would you tell your doctor that you couldnt take time of work and he/she needs to meet you outside of business hours? The mortgage company gets us those HUGE packages of closing documents sometimes minutes before you’re supposed to arrive…

            1. Anonsie*

              Yes, in fact I do go to medical offices that offer appointments on evenings and weekends. We met our agent and looked at houses on evenings and weekends, we met the attorneys at the end of their work days, our closing was at 7pm. No one clutched their pearls over it.

              1. Bell Curving*

                Yeah, my parents took almost a year to find their current house and they hunted exclusively on evenings and weekends. Their agent was just fine with that. Their closing was on a Saturday afternoon. Also fine.

            2. Tempest of Teapots*

              Closing is the last part of the deal… In my experience, real estate agents and loan officers are fairly flexible in that they want your business, and they understand business takes place beyond the 9-5. Perhaps this sets the wrong expectation for the client when they get to the closing process? Honestly, when I worked as a mobile norary, I never found a 7:00 pm meeting to sign closing docs to be an issue. In some industries, you have to be a bit flexible to earn your clients business.

              1. Anonsie*

                Yeah, times after regular business hours were offered all the way through. We weren’t stomping our feet demanding extra accommodation. When we asked what times we could schedule with the notary, I believe they said her regular hours went until 9 or 10pm because much of it has to be done after people get off work or pick the kids up from school or whatever.

            3. LawBee*

              My mom did evening and weekend closings all the time. And yeah, this thing of getting dressed up to make the “biggest purchase in my entire life” – not going to happen. I’m not putting on the pearls to take out a massive loan, sorry.

          2. Bell Curving*

            Yeah — as I’m reading this, one of my coworkers just closed on a house this morning and took a half day off work. I would do the same. But then our company is pretty flexible about time off for things that must be done during business hours (doctor/dentist, bank/mail errands, house closings, etc.). I’ve gathered that this is rare so I can totally understand that some people can’t take time off at all. I know people who literally have no vacation time or sick leave, so.

            1. Cath in Canada*

              Heh, I was away at a conference in Boston when we closed on our house and had to send a scanned signature (the real one flew back to Vancouver with me and was handed in a couple of days later). Very anti-climactic – I “celebrated” with colleagues (who were very happy for me and bought me a drink), and my then-fiance-now-husband “celebrated” by going home and watching TV by himself.

        3. Anna*

          Really? Not wearing suits and dresses to sign papers? Do you miss the days when hats and gloves were de rigeur for flying, too? Considering the number of hoops most home buyers have already been through, of course they’re done with the process. When my husband and I signed our papers, we scheduled it as late as we could without the mortgage office closing and it still took us two hours to finish. Surely being flexible is good for everyone in this process, especially for those who actually can’t just take a day off when you crook your finger.

        4. Observer*

          So, you want people to risk losing their jobs and wear formal clothes for closing because it’s a big deal – even though those things don’t have any real effect on the purchase. But when someone refuses to sign a contract that has an error, that’s gall – even though that really can have huge consequences.

          If that attitude is common, it helps explain why lawyers have the reputation they do.

      4. Ted Mosby*

        IAmNotAnIdiotButYouMightBe… too long for a user name? That is brilliant.

        Beyond the regular incompetence, and the audacity of actually asking you to sign a contract for probably hundreds of thousands of dollars and expect she “get it all straightened out next week,” I suspect there’s sexism at play when no matter what you say, she keeps assuming a major life purchase is being funded by your husband, not you.

      5. JB*

        Good for you! I hate when sales people/bank employees/leasing agents/etc give you a “summary” and try to get you to sign something without taking the time to read it. “Oh, that just says that XYZ.” I know that 99% of the time, they are just trying to speed things up. But I want to tell them, “If this ‘just’ says that, then why are there so many words on this page? Why isn’t it just what you just said?”

        I never do, though. I just ignore them and read the document.

      6. Anonsie*

        Similar stuff happened with our house, though oddly in the opposite direction. We wanted it to go back to his family, but the drafts kept having it go back to me.

      7. Bell Curving*

        Good for you! I know someone who went to his closing and found his mortgage payment would be $500/mo more than the bank had quoted. Yes, five hundred. He refused to sign. They said he could sign now and they would “look into it” later. Yeah, right. Turns out it was a grossly miscalculated PMI payment, which they did ultimately resolve. It was especially odd that PMI was on there at all since he was putting over 30% down.

        I once refused to sign an apartment lease, in the order of $10,000 (and not several times that for a house!) because the property manager was pressuring me to sign and talking to me while I was trying to read. I can’t believe people try to pull this BS with a house.

      8. Anna*

        This happened when we refinanced our house. They put the wrong closing costs on the paperwork and when the notary came by the house she said we had to give her a check for $4000 that day because that’s what the paperwork they sent said. Uh, that’s not what we agreed to. The mortgage company told her we could sign it and they could fix it after OR we could wait and go through the whole thing again. I told her we wouldn’t sign anything until the paperwork reflected what we had agreed to. Sorry, but no.

      9. Broke Law Student (formerly Broke Philosopher)*

        Unrelated–I am in the midst of studying for a Property exam, so I am glad that understanding joint tenancy is actually a somewhat useful thing to know in the real world!

        (My Contracts professor showed us a picture of his friend and him holding up a document consisting of the contract you accept when you download iTunes and it’s…extremely long. I have never read it.)

    6. Aunt Vixen*

      True story: at an all-staff meeting two jobs ago, we had a briefing about the lifetime responsibilities attached to our clearance and what we could be on the hook for if we knew or should have known x or y–nothing too shocking, really. And there’s a handout of some kind with related information in it, which they realize mid-presentation has an error that they’ll have to correct. Easy to correct, no problem, they can get us the corrected copy later the same day. And we’re all to sign here affirming that we received the handout and understand its contents.

      I was the first one to raise my hand and say I was pretty sure they had just asked us to sign something that wasn’t true in a briefing about how much trouble we’d be in if we didn’t tell the truth at all time, and I’d be happy to sign for receipt of the corrected document when they had given me the corrected document. It seems trivial, but if I get dinged on my reinvestigation for saying I’ve never knowingly falsified a document when I have in fact done so because my government overlords asked me to, I’m going to be pretty annoyed.

      They agreed that we could sign the receipt later.

      1. Sharon*

        Reminds me of the major defense contractor I used to work for that had a timecard policy that stated “under penalty of termination” we should never falsify or guess or estimate hours on our timecards, “even if asked to do so by management”. We had to read and sign the policy annually. But somehow an exception was made for Friday afternoons where we were told by management to estimate our remaining hours and turn in the timecards on Friday morning.

        Things like this are why I’m deeply cynical.

      1. Cautionary tail*

        Stapling doesn’t work. I can go to the staper that is part of the big copy machine where you slide your paper into a fixed position and hit a button and 100% of the time it will put a new staple in exactly the same holes as the prior n staples.

        Initial each page with a ballpoint pen so you make a depression in the paper so that even a color-copied page won’t be the same as the original.

    7. L Veen*

      “They could put anything in the document over my signature, they could switch out whole pages.”

      Sometimes they can be more brazen than that… When I was still in school and doing an internship, I asked to take Christmas Eve off and had to fill out a leave request form. My boss said, “That’s a half day, so write down on your form that you’ll be missing 4 hours of work.” I did so, we both signed the form, and she took it to HR.

      When I got back to the office after Christmas, HR sent me a copy of the form for my records. I was not amused to see that my boss had crossed out the 4 hours and written in 8 instead. I asked her about it and she said coolly, “We let people leave early on Christmas Eve as a courtesy, but if you don’t work that day that’s 8 hours off your timesheet.” No apology for giving me the wrong information in the first place (she acted like I had deliberately put in 4 hours just to cheat the company out of half a day’s pay) or for, you know, changing the information on a document AFTER I had signed it.

    8. Meg Murry*

      Every job I’ve had, the page you signed was the page with the summary of the ratings from each page and the final rating. I guess theoretically someone could swap out the first few pages with more negative commentary, but the ratings pages stood.

    9. jhhj*

      Staples are meaningless. “Oh I had to scan it so I took out the staples.”

      You should always initial every page, as well as anything crossed out or annotations made in separate pages so that they cannot just write in extra stuff.

    10. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Along this line – in an exit interview, a piece of paper was passed under my nose and I was told “sign this”.

      The HR rep got disturbed when I refused, after reading it. He said “it’s just standard boilerplate, legal stuff you know” … yeah, right. It was a waiver of some type, and I said I’d take it to my attorney for review and if he’s ok with it, I’ll sign it and send it back but I want a copy of it, too — he snapped it back and said “never mind”.

      I also refused to sign off on a bogus review at one place – because signing it would have meant signing my own death warrant in that firm. HR did get involved. I was called into a meeting with the director and HR, and thought I was being fired, then I realized that my director was on the hot seat!

      Without getting into details, the review was a retaliatory response to a negative reaction (on my part) to a highly egregious , unprofessional action on the part of my manager and director. Again, I won’t list the details but I can tell you it would be in Allison’s “Wednesday WTFs” if I emailed it to her. The end result – I forgave my management (privately) for what they did, without detailing their action to HR, the review was expunged, and we went forward in peace. And I did get my overdue promotion three months later, although I had to resign to get it… common practice in the IS/IT world, standard practice at that company.

      1. Jamie*

        I’ve never had one of these – but if I did I’d still sign but note “signature indicates receipt only, not agreement.”

        And demand a copy. I get a copy of almost everything I sign and being the ISO mgt rep got me in the habit of titillating every page no matter how many. Good habit however acquired.

        And I can’t imaging signing anything without reading it. Ever. Way too paranoid.

          1. Jamie*

            Or it could mean initialing every page if autocorrect wasn’t trying to ruin my reputation!

            I need more coffee and to learn to proof.

          2. Traveller*

            The mental image of sitting there winking at each page of my performance review made me giggle…..I can only imagine the reaction from my manager!!!

    11. themmases*

      This is completely right. I used to get two really important signatures in my job: parents’ consent to involve their children in medical research; and super-doctors’ agreement that a proposed research study was safe and feasible from our point of view, and we were agreeing to implement it. I spent a lot of time fiddling with formatting on the latter so there wouldn’t just be a signature on a second page that could mean anything.

      For the parents, I did have a coworker who was taking the signature page and keeping it for our records, then giving the meat of the consent form to the family to keep for their information. In our case, we had stamped/signed footers on every page of the approved version and the documents themselves were protected so it was impossible for a clinician to change the document and have it match. Even with that, doing this was considered so serious that that person almost lost their informed consent privileges and had to be retrained. Both parties need a copy of the full document with signature, period.

  3. Monodon monoceros*

    #3 Your mom should start looking for a new job immediately. Why on earth would anyone want to work full-time for part-time pay? The employer is crazy thinking this is OK. Even while not illegal, it’s totally stupid.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Where is this mythical land that employers can get away with crap like this?

      Our employees like me, I think, but I’d have to stand clear of the door for the stampede out if I pulled a fraction of the stunts I read here.

      Are there so many jobs where any cog will do and employers can just flit about not caring if anybody stays?

      1. Nivaneen*

        The land you’re thinking of is “Post-Recession, Super Crappy Job Market, ‘This Employee, That Employee, Potayto Potahto’ Land”.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          I guess.

          I mean, if you are running a toothpaste factory, I guess it doesn’t matter who is screwing the tops on the tubes, but generally turnover costs so much.

          It’s expensive to not try to be a good place to work.

          1. Sunshine*

            Seriously, this. Where do these people find the time and money it takes to constantly replace their staff? Mythical is right.

          2. CanIPost*

            I don’t think many employers see the high cost of turnover in any real way. To them, they are paying a salary, so they don’t care to whom it is being paid. They don’t think it matters. If a department is less efficient while a new person is trained every three months, that just doesn’t reflect in a concrete way in many industries. Smart employers see the value in retaining good people, but many employers do not behave in smart ways.

            1. Mike B.*

              It’s the same wisdom that leads college students to max out their first credit cards, because it’s free money! The grief it causes will only become evident years later.

              In this case it’s not even their own credit cards–the people who make the staffing decisions will be rewarded for the short-term drop in overhead costs, and will have moved on by the time it catches up with the organization.

          3. Joey*

            It’s only expensive if it’s expensive. There are plenty of companies who have purposefully decided that it’s cheaper to be a shitty place to work.

            You don’t have to give raises, maybe it’s mind numbing work with little learning curve, maybe there are applicants beating down the doors, who knows? I just know that many companies purposefully decide to live with being a shitty place to work.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              This is because “angry people work harder”.

              I thought this type of thinking went out with the dinosaurs, but apparently not.

          4. Unanimously Anonymous*

            To the bossheads it’s a zero-sum game – every dollar paid to ordinary employees is a dollar that can’t be put into the executive bonus pool. The villa on Lake Como and the ski condo in Vail ain’t gonna pay for themselves, ya know?

      2. Icarus*

        Is not mythical, it’s the sad truth of many employers that will just fire you and get a temp employee if you don’t agree to their scumbag demands.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          Oh I believe you, I just don’t know what world they live in where it’s easy breezy like that.

          1. Icarus*

            Or what about the employers who fire experienced employees just to hire entry-level employees to take their position and pay them the minimum as possible. It’s the sad trend of today, there are even managers that don’t tell you face to face why you are being fired, one day an HR person comes into your cubicle/office and tells you’re no longer employed, and comes up with some excuse like budget cuts. So no, it’s not mythical.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Lately, I have had several conversations with people about people working for 12-14 dollars per hour who are handling millions of dollars. Likewise, I hear some police officers start at $12 per hour. I have no idea how people can live on that, let alone carry such huge responsibility for that rate of pay.

      3. Sabrina*

        It’s the land where there are hundreds of applicants for every job. I’d like to know where the mythical land is where this isn’t happening.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          I don’t have hundreds of applicants for every job.

          It took me **three years** to fix my sample dept, that long to finally find the right people so that the department would finally run without my (or other staff that should be doing other things) intervention. If one of those guys left I would sob into my pillow for three nights straight.

          As it is, I still have to start a long term transition plan first of the year because I’m not going to be able to keep them as long term employees if I can’t offer them forward progress.

          I believe every word you are saying but it doesn’t match my world.

          1. Icarus*

            I believe there are good managers, like you if what you say is really true. But there are a lot of bad managers out there, and they would do anything to get away with what they want. Keep it up, lots of employees wish they had a manager with that kind of attitude.

        2. Windchime*

          Yeah, we don’t have hundreds in our department either (we are in IT). When we posted a recent QA position on the company website, we got a bunch of random applicants who were not even remotely qualified. After months, we went through an agency. Candidate A didn’t make it past the phone interview because he talked non-stop for 15 minutes after the first question (lots of BS, no content). Candidate B didn’t interview well (very nervous), but her qualifications were stellar and she started this week.

          So yeah. It took us 4 months to find someone, and we are just north of Seattle, where there are thousands of IT workers.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            This plays into “your parents are NOT the best source of advice” when it comes to job searches.

            Way back in 1990 – my parents advised me (I was in my late 30s) to

            a) be a pest. That is the best way to get a job. Keep hounding them.
            b) even if you don’t know what the job is, apply anyway (the “gumption” theory)

            My father would show me an IS/IT listing in the classifieds – I said “I don’t even know the terminology they’re listing. They didn’t spend $5,000 on a half-page ad hoping to get unqualified applicants.”

            Later that year I got a job. We advertised for a particular position in a well-known newspaper. Now, this time I’m on the other side of the fence. 450 responses. I would guess that 350 were from people applying, not even knowing anything about the job, but on “gumption”. There was a major recession on then, so I can understand peoples’ motivations and desperateness.

            The remaining 100 – perhaps 30 were qualified. We interviewed seven and came up with two candidates. Actually, three, but one was a qualified candidate with no green card and we did not sponsor.

            But because our HR policy stated – save and reply to any applications – we used postcards – three of us had to spend three days going through the process of reviewing and handling what I would now call “gumption” applications.

            Which is why companies use recruiters…

      4. V*

        I just need to track down the addresses of our program managers, and we’ll find it. In the world they live in, skilled engineers can swap between projects with no lost time, and are always happy to work uncompensated overtime every week for years to cover for not having enough people, and the PMs cutting engineering estimates by 50% before giving them to our customer.

        It’s crazy, and doesn’t actually work well in practice, but the PMs will try to do it if they can. My entire group has an unwritten rule that we only work overtime if we screwed up an estimate, and not to meet deadlines imposed from higher up, or to cover for their staffing decisions.

        1. Indy*

          As an engineer working with program managers like this 7 days a week, 12 hours a day… It seems we are eternally making up for botched estimates lest program managers blame overages on estimates on engineering directly to clients. Me – “Show me where I said this teapot would take 4 hours. I said this teapot would take 140 hours.” Program Manager – “Well, it’s not really that complicated, you should totally be able to do that in 4 hours!”

          1. Mabel*

            This is so aggravating! I used to work for a training company, and it seemed like the sales people would sell ANYTHING, and we had to deliver it. Never mind if it was impossible!

          2. catsAreCool*

            That’s the kind of statement that would make me want to explain, in thorough technical detail, exactly why it would take so long. Or at least to talk about it until the PM’s eyes glazed over.

      5. Revanche*

        I worked for a place that was totally cool with utterly crap retention because it affected the middle managers and not upper management in a real way. Upper management had no problems squeezing the life out of mid-mgmt for “underperforming” even while being told that there was 50-70% turnover in a year. Turnover that was directly related to poor compensation, overloading & refusal to pay for overtime (fueling the overload stress problem) was brushed off as poor hiring. Like any sane good employee would stand for that if and when they had a choice!

        Since it doesn’t hit the bottom line the way it should, and when it does, upper management is amazing at calling it something else, you have employers who get away with this nonsense. (And say, since the job market still sucks for some: they should be grateful for a job. Yeah. Right.)

        1. anonymel*

          At the risk of being found out – since last month it seems like my workplace has been deadset on killing all traces of morale that could be left (even though it’s already consistently low) due to one incident in which some employees were attacked on site. The recklessness is truly astounding!
          – the owner insisted everyone kept working even though they were slipping through blood puddles (this is FOOD SERVICE by the way!!!!) until the police forced a shut down.
          – Just like every other situation ever, she tried to make her minimum wage workers clean up the hazardous materials until she was forced to call professionals
          – They took away our food privileges, which is like a pay cut.
          – Temporarily lost a heavy-hitter, one of only three trained to do the work. No attempt to cross train another. Set us up for working 6 days a week, but no overtime because “we don’t have to pay overtime”
          – started finally letting go of some shockingly poor performers (new ones every 3 months for the past 3 years), yet made no attempt to replace them. Yesterday I was literally running the entire kitchen. Business is dying so it’s not impossible, but the entitlement is still rage-inducing
          – About to lose our 2nd prep trained employee, leaving me as the only trained worker left. Boss jokes that I’ll have to work 7 days a week from christmas to mid january (remember! “No overtime!”)
          – today I have no idea when I’m supposed to come in because NO ONE has written the schedule, and NO ONE has any idea what to do. Even management just shrugged and said “oh, someone will come later at night to write it”. Well that’s very useful to anyone who’s here late… I’m just sitting next to facebook, just in case my one coworker sends a facebook message BECAUSE NO ONE PHONES.
          Everyday I end up seething with rage, or bursting into tears. My mouth is full of ulcers. F%@^ this plaaaaace… and my only other option is to apply to more 2am dishwashing jobs or go back to retail. Not too keen on those options, which is why employers can get away with shiz like this.

          Sorry about the novel.

          1. Icarus*

            Damn :(… sometimes managers tend to forget that employees are the real source of their revenues and seem to think that with less employees they’ll have more money in the end. I really hope you can find a better place to work soon!

          2. Erica B*

            that sounds just awful :( hearing other people nightmare stories is one reason why I stopped complaining about my work when things get stressful. someone always has it worse.

            I wouldn’t even know where to begin to try and save that place. Call Gordon Ramsey?

          3. Ann without an e*

            Dude, you could try Dave Ramsey’s kitchen nightmares. No kidding, your kitchen reads like a before of one of his episodes……maybe he can come yell profanity at your boss’ and owners.

          4. Observer*

            At least point the boss to the appropriate DOL site that shows that they DO have to pay overtime. And if she till insists that she doesn’t, please file a complain.

            And start looking for something else. Not all bosses are quite this bad.

            1. mel*

              That’s true, I should probably just carry these things around. Just yesterday our corporate chef incredulously asked my coworker “What? Why don’t you want to work 1.5 hour shifts???”

              1.5 HOURS. Strike #3!

              These people aren’t the people who are doing the actual paperwork though, so there’s still hope on the overtime thing. Though I have another coworker who is routinely shorted on her paycheque every time and has to fix it every time, so I’m not TOO optimistic.

          5. Not So NewReader*

            I am so sorry you are going through this. I hope something really good comes your way FAST!

    2. happened to me*

      what is happening here, is what is happened to me about 8 years ago. I was working a salaried un-benefited job 2-3 days a week- or about 24 hrs/week. I set my schedule in the sense that I made appointments with people, traveled to their house to perform a task, and then entered in the results. As long as I met with all my clients in the month, the time schedule didn’t matter so much. and this was ideal because I just had my first son when I started this job. then two years or so later my supervisor says to me (after discovering that I had a second job-real estate) “I need you to work more hours in a week-to full-time OR switch to hourly pay where my maximum pay for the 40 hours would still be the same as my 24 hr/week salary). I would remain unbenefited. I was newly pregnant with my second son at this point and my first was 2, and so I said, “what if I need time off for doctor’s appointments?” his response was, “well you’ll just have to work extra hours on the other days to make up the lost time”. seriously. that was his response. In the end I ended up choosing to go hourly because I had obligations I needed to be at during the day (doctor’s apointments mostly, or daycare closures). I couldn’t commit to the requirement of 40 hours. And it wasn’t like he had a legitimate reason for the time increase other than I’m being an a**. My work load didn’t increase and I hadn’t gained any new responsibilities.
      In the end, about a year or so later, the working more, paying for more daycare, and essentially taking a pay cut caught up with us and we needed to file bankruptcy. I wasn’t able to really work my second job in real estate any more as a result.
      I forget how long after that, I told him that I needed to be full-time & benefited or I needed to find a new job because we just weren’t making enough money. He ended up doing the right thing, and gave me benefits (which allowed us to access the MUCH cheaper health insurance over my husbands work b/c my job is at a state university). I was also given a $7000 raise which I was not expecting (and was probably req’d by whatever level my position fell at the university in their grade chart), and I did acquire some new responsibilities.
      It was all shitty, and can still recall how shitty and demoralizing it all felt. That was about 7 years ago. I still have the job, have acquired even more and new responsibilities, but the only pay raises I have received in the last 7 years since sum up to slightly above $3000, thanks to the university increased base pay for non-unit staff (of which I am non-unit).

      It may not be a matter of turn-over, but it’s quite possible that the boss here doesn’t realize the hardship it is posing on the person it is affecting. While on a work related trip with my co-workers and boss sometime last year I mentioned to him that we had to file bankruptcy and he was honestly surprised and didn’t realize what happened was that I ended up with a pay cut all those years ago. he was going through relationship crap and just was in his own little bubble. He’s a decent person, but a crappy boss.

    3. Aisling*

      Yeah, she’s working on her resume this weekend. She lives in a relatively rural area, where the market is not overwhelmed with people who can do the job well, so she was pretty gobsmacked by this. Her boss does seem to think there are 30 people lined up to do the job at the lower rate of pay, but I think she’ll be sorely mistaken!

      1. catsAreCool*

        Sounds like her boss is going to be gobsmacked about how few people there are who are willing to do this for the low rate of pay who can actually do it.

  4. Cheesecake*

    I have once heard a similar shaaaady story from ex-colleague. During 1-1 boss was very happy with the performance blah blah and they agreed on the evaluation and mark. Payrise time has came and she did not get anything (but was entitled to based on evaluation). Apparently, boss also put “satisfactory”, because he wanted to give a bigger payrise to someone else in the team and simply did not have the budget to give raise to one more employee. I have no clue how this could have happen, but a note to myself to keep a copy of everything and always read before signing. “Verbal” offers mean nothing to me.

  5. moe*

    I wouldn’t be so quick to say #1 isn’t illegal: A person in a position of authority to the LW is leading her to believe she’s signing acknowledgement of one thing, but is actually having her sign another. That’s fraudulent.

    Certainly the boss would have some ‘splainin’ to do if LW ever wanted to sue.

    1. moe*

      …Which is not to say LW has much of anything to sue on. I don’t see anything in the letter that suggests LW does have a case. But boss is putting the company and him/herself in a bad position if other problems arose. I agree with AAM’s advice on this, just thought I’d point out the legality is not that clear.

    2. MK*

      “fraudulent” does not equal “fraud was commited”. In many juristictions, fraud is directly tied to direct monetary loss/gain.

      1. moe*

        Sure, good point. It’s not fraudulent in any financial sense, but in contract-law terms of getting her to sign acknowledgement of a significant piece of paper, it very much is so.

        1. MK*

          A review is not a contract. And even if it was, it almost certainly would have needed to lead to the OP sustaining some financial loss for it to be a criminal offence or for them to be able to sue.

    3. Elysian*

      Sue for what? To sue you have to have some kind of loss or harm, and it doesn’t sound like the LW has suffered anything here except perhaps being lied to. You can’t just sue everyone that lies to you. Even if the boss wrote “LW IS A TERRIBLE EMPLOYEE” in caps on every page while telling her her review was great, its going to be almost impossible to prove that she suffered any kind of harm that she’d be entitled to recover for (you’re never entitled to a raise or promotion or anything, it would be almost impossible to show she would have gotten a raise or something but for the bad review). Courts don’t like to act as scolding parents.

      1. moe*

        I said that there’s not necessarily anything to sue on for that – which doesn’t mean it’s not illegal or fraudulent.

        Should there be an employment condition/action that she wants to challenge in court, the fact that she (and other employees) have been made to sign performance evals they don’t get to see, and which differ from what they’re told, would be pretty bad for the employer.

        And you certainly can sue for failure to promote or give raises if you believe there’s something discriminatory behind those decisions; you can sue for breach of contract, if there’s an employment contract or a handbook that acts as one; etc.

        What they’re doing is bad and illegal.

        1. MK*

          I think you are not clear about what “illegal” means, which is “there is a law that says you mustn’t do X and you did X”. Lying is not illegal, nor is being immoral or unethical. You cannot go to court simply citing bad employer behavior, you have to be able to say the employer did A, which is either against law B or contract clause C or section D of the employee handbook, AND that action A caused you specific harm and/or loss E, SO you want sum F as compensation (which has to be tied to your loss) OR you want the court to force your employer to do G. And it’s on you to prove all this.

          The only harm OP might have sustained by the fact that her writen evaluations were more temperate than the verbal ones is that she might have gotten (more) promotions and/or (better) raises. That would be pretty impossible to prove, because it would be difficult to show that she would indeed have gotten them, had her boss not submitted different reviews. In fact, the only possible way to prove this is to be able to point to a colleague who has gotten better reviews and better promotions/raises. Which is where discrimination comes in, but the OP doesn’t say this; in fact, she says the rest of her coworkers had similar issues.

          1. moe*

            I’m pretty comfortable with my understanding of illegality. You cannot induce another to sign a paper of significance while refusing to show it to them and misrepresenting the contents of it, especially not when you’re in a position of authority to them – and I’m willing to bet that the signature page LW signed has some legal significance in that it acknowledges the content, that the boss explained what the review says, etc. It’s seriously problematic. I never said it could be prosecuted or sued for on its own, but it’s in the universe of legal wrongs for sure. I call that ‘illegal.’

            In the context of lawsuits on other grounds, I know how the opposing side tends to react when they see that their agents have been playing fast and loose with practices on signing important documents. This comes up a fair amount in contract disputes, where some minor piece of paper was fraudulently notarized, something else was hidden – it’s not the main money-changing-hands contract itself usually, but is still enough to make the defendant worried about what their actions as a whole look like. That’s what the employer should be worried about here.

            I also suspect there could be other issues in the area of employment law, but I’ve never practiced in that area.

            1. Green*

              Being seriously problematic and illegal are completely different. Losing in a civil suit because the contract was invalidated due to fraud, etc. is also different from being “illegal.”

              1. moe*

                Civil wrongs that are addressed in court are still unlawful, by definition. I’m really not understanding the disagreement here; the universe of laws isn’t confined to what police will arrest you for.

                Are you a lawyer?

        2. Elysian*

          Everything you’re suggesting – discrimination, breach of contract, another employment condition/action – would be a different wrong that is actually illegal, and that this performance review situation would be evidence of it. That’s not the same as being illegal by itself. (You can’t sue for failure to promote or give raises unless its discrimination against a protected class, like you said, but then its discrimination, not just a failure to promote, the LW doesn’t even hint at that here.)

          Almost every law the LW could potentially sue under (ie. civil, not criminal laws) REQUIRES her to prove that she was harmed. If she wasn’t harmed by it, it wasn’t against the law.

          For example, I googled a common-law definition of fraud (which may or may not apply here, depending on the state, who knows): “A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.” If there is no injury, there is no fraud. Then its just lying, which is what is potentially at stake here. Generally, you can’t sue for being lied to.

            1. moe*

              Ack, hit reply too soon – as I’ve stated throughout, there is not necessarily any real case in the action itself. That doesn’t mean the action is lawful. I think the commenters (and Alison too) are being overly strict on what “illegal” actually means: doesn’t mean it’s criminally prosecutable, doesn’t mean you’re going to win money, doesn’t mean any of that. You’re confusing ‘remedies’ and ‘outcomes’ with legality.

              1. Elysian*

                I’m defining something that is illegal as: “something that meets all the elements required to be contrary to a law (either a law set out in a statute or a law accepted under the common law of the state or other jurisdiction).” Is there another definition that you are using?

              2. MK*

                I still maintain that you are confused about what illegal means. And if by “remedy” you mean that anyone can file a suit, even if it has no basis in law, I would say that it’s very wise to be strict about what “illegal” means, because the courts tend to be even stricter.

                As for Alison’s advice, aside from everything else, would you have her say “Yes, it’s totally illegal, but there absolutely nothing you can legally do about it”. The average person understands that “illegal” means “I can go to the police/to court about it”. Most lawyers, of which you are apparently not one, know it’s definition might actually be even narrower.

                1. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

                  Ok I’m going to stand up for moe here. I think that a lot of people are conflating “illegal” with “meets all elements required for recovery at trial.”

                  No, this will not meet the elements of fraud if you’re going by the jury instructions, because *as of this time* there has been no harm. However, I do think that getting someone to sign something then changing it later constitutes fraudulent inducement. Right now, there are no damages, so the case is not actionable. If, on the other hand, the OP incurs some sort of harm as a result of the fraud perpetrated on her by her manager, I think this is actionable, if not on its own as part of her overall claim.

                  Off the top of my head, and depending on her workplace (I’m thinking some sort of heavily unionized environment), I can see the potential for a loss of future earning capacity claim. Not a great claim, mind you, but yes an actionable claim in the sense of surviving demurrer / 12(b)(6) MTD.

                2. MK*

                  What you are basically saying is that, while this is not illegal right now, it could become illegal, if some additional circumstances come to pass. This may never happen, so it’s not a good idea to give advice based on uncertain future events.

                  In my juristiction “illegal” does mean “meets all elements required for recovery at trial.”. And for practical purposes, it’s a good idea to conflate them.

    4. A Teacher*

      If it is a medical facility or position, there are certainly things that are “legal” but not ethical and could get you into trouble with a licensing board or with the organization that governs your credentials. I’m not willing to jeopardize my license or pay a fine or be sanctioned in any way by someone else’s shady behavior, but that’s me.

  6. Icarus*

    #3 Is your mom getting some benefits from the part time to full time change? It might be the reason why her boss doesn’t want to increase her salary, or most probably he’s just playing dirty with her salaried status. In any case, please tell your mom to start looking for a new job. Best of luck.

    1. HarperC*

      Oh, that’s true. If she’s getting full medical benefits, paid time off that she didn’t receive before, that sort of thing, I could see the employer MAYBE thinking that’s enough of an increase in compensation. Still, AAM’s advice is again spot on– LW’s mom has to decide if she wants to work there under the new conditions.

    2. OP #3*

      The full-time job does come with benefits, yes, but she doesn’t need them as she’s covered by my dad (luckily). So that may be what her boss is thinking as well, but it’s still not equating in my mom’s mind.

  7. Nivaneen*

    “I feel it’s wrong to tell employees they MUST do something that is wrong because it is their job to support a policy even if it is a corrupt one.”

    LW #4, if the policy is legal and doesn’t infringe on the rights of the employees or the clients, then it’s not “wrong” for your company to tell employees that you have to do your jobs. The organization is no way obliged to follow your own personal moral code, and if you can’t get over your distaste for the policy it might be time to look for a new job.

    1. MK*

      Also, if the OP is the manager of these employees (it sounds like they are), telling them that the OP won’t support it with clients and that they should follow up with their clients about isn’t just the OP refusing to follow the company policy; the OP is basically inciting other employees to do it too, not to mention presenting it as morally dubious to clients. This is putting the employees in a difficult situation (their company has a policy and their manager is telling them it’s unethical), hurting the company’s reputation (seriously, an employee telling a client that their company’s police is immoral?) and is violating the trust the company put in the OP, who plans to sabotage a company policy by underminding it both with other employees and clients. I am also noting that the OP hasn’t mentioned if they plan to make it clear to their boss beforehand that they won’t be following the policy and will even speak up against it.

      OP, for all I know this policy is as vile as you think, not just a personal moral issue for you. If so, speak up and try to get it scrapped; even get your colleagues on board with that. If the company insists, you can either quit or (if it’s something that you can live with or you cannot afford to lose your job) you can tolerate it. I won’t even say you need to promote this; stay as neutral about the policy as you can. But actively sabotaging it is morally dubious on your part too, and it will probably get you fired anyway. If you find yourself job-searching, it’s better for you to tell interviewers that you quit over a moral issue than for your company to be able to honestly claim they fired you for insubordination.

      1. MA*

        There is no group of employees in this circumstance; therefore the job was not passed down to someone else in the company. The company is myself (the employee) and the two company owners. I have told them I would not support the policy as it puts me in a position to lie to their clients – or at least omit information so I save the company money. I have told them if they want to continue with the policy that they can speak to their clients personally about the issue when it comes up. I have been with the company 18 years and stayed on these past 4 years after the original owner passed away. His grown children are now running the show and (in my opinion) not very well. I resigned yesterday – this issue was the final straw that has broken the camel’s back.

        1. MK*

          I see. I misunderstood your letter to mean that the people you were going to talk to were your employees or coworkers, not your bosses.

  8. Was Layla*

    #1 – could the numbers have changed due to moderation ? We get our numbers changed at moderation on a bell curve , not sure at department or HR level.
    I think my boss might know the moderated number but might never bother to tell us
    I was told randomly some years but not every year ..

    1. Cheesecake*

      I am not sure i understand “moderation”. We have a thing called “calibration”, when same level and field employees get compared to prove that rating “5” in one place mean “5” in another ( in terms of employee performance). Sometimes these numbers change, because boss X thought that Jane deserves “6” because she does excellent black tea, but in reality green tea is more important blah blah – 6 turns to 5. But in this case employee is always informed.

    2. YourCdnFriend*

      I’ve seen this happen but it’s always been explicit. “Your performance gives you x score (where a score correlates to a bonus amount) but everyone in the company has been titrated down by x percent because we don’t have enough $s in the bonus pool”

  9. Alter_ego*

    All I can think of for number 4 is pharmacists who won’t dispense birth control. I think it’s easy to be all “rah, fight the man, don’t let him tell you to do something you find abhorrent”. But then I think of all the things that I do on a daily basis that someone probably finds immoral. Hell, I’m an atheist, someone might find doing business with me at all immoral.
    There’s definitely a good reason to stick with a standard of legal/illegal, rather than moral/immoral.

    1. Elysian*

      That’s why letters like number 4 should be illegal! (Ha!) If we don’t know what the policy is, its so hard to say anything about it. Plus my curiosities get going and without anything to satisfy them. Too mean.

      1. Leah*

        Me too! I can think of a range of things from someone’s personal bugaboos, religious issues, or a company that mandates doing something that, while legal, is sleazy. So many questions!

      2. I have an example...*

        Back when I worked as a receptionist, my company asked me to photocopy outright entire books of copyrighted materials on the copying machine (we’re talking books that are over 300 pages of technical manuals, clearly not meant for photocopying) for their own use. I was told to do this for days, making copy after copy of the book for different individuals in the company. This was when the company was bleeding money. I was being let go in 2 weeks. I felt it was wrong to shortchange the authors royalty money when copying books like that is illegal anyway.

    2. some1*

      I’m glad the specific issue isn’t mentioned, tbh. I think it will help keep the comments on topic.

    3. KerryOwl*

      I think “ethical/unethical” is an appropriate way to think about it. That speaks more to professional norms than to personal ones.

      1. Helka*

        Agreed, there’s a pretty significant difference between personal moral values and business ethics, and business ethics can transcend questions of legal/illegal.

        1. MK*

          But bussiness ethics can and do exist. It’s not a given that the OP is objecting because the policy offends their personal moral code, it’s possible that it’s something they view as dishonest bussiness practice.

          1. KerryOwl*

            Sure, I don’t think anyone is saying that business ethics don’t exist. What I’m saying is that if you’re asked to do something that you feel is unethical, you should bring it up somewhere. If you’re asked to do something that is ethical, but against your own moral code (such as the issuing-birth-control example), then you should . . . probably get another job. The OP didn’t make a distinction per se, so we’re discussing the differences.

    4. Editor*

      When I was not long out of college, I applied for a real estate sales position. Everything about the job interested me until the owner of the agency told me that sometimes people were on the fence about buying, and it would be my job to get them to buy regardless of their dithering or financial situation. It isn’t illegal to pressure someone in order to get the sale, but it made me realize that sales was not a comfortable fit with my moral preferences.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Yes! This is why I quit telemarketing (other than that it sucked). It went against, not even necessarily my morals, but my sense of manners, so badly. And that’s why I think I’d never last in a retail store the way they’re run now. I just recoil from the whole “ask them three times” thing. (And in the telemarketing job, some of the callers who made the most money were shady, misrepresenting where the money was going and so forth, and management turned a blind eye to it.)

        1. puddin*

          There is an ethical way to ask three times and to telemarket. Unfortunately, most companies do not train this way. They simply state that you ‘have to.’ Then the public feels harassed, sales people get a bad rap, and words like unethical and immoral get bandied about. There is a reason you ask three times, it speaks to human behavior, cognition, and listening skills. But again, because sales managers just repeat what they are told to do by their mangers, those messages and the reasons WHY it is done are never explained to the front line staff. No wonder it is executed poorly…And thus the staff feel like they are imposing and customers feel they are being tricked or coerced. Its a bad scene all the way around and I am sorry you had such crappy managers. (Telemarketing is a difficult job too, you have to have some pretty thick skin!)

    5. mweis77*

      That was my thought on reading the letter. My thought is that if you can’t meet the requirements of the job, get another job. (Assuming the requirements are legal, of course!) And there are jobs that do things that are legal, that I couldn’t do. For example, I could never make a hard sell to purchase something to someone who I knew really couldn’t afford it. Which is why I’m not in sales.

      1. Alter_ego*

        I quit a job working at Victoria’s Secret after two days, primarily because of some horrifically offensive things the manager said to me. But it certainly didn’t help that in the training video we were given to watch about how to convince people to sign up for the store credit card, it had responses to common objections like “I can’t afford it” or “I’m already in so much debt from my other store credit cards”. I really really did not like the idea of convincing someone who was admittedly already in debt that more debt would be a good idea for them.

        1. Diet Coke Addict*

          When I was working in bridal, the pressure to sign people up for credit was intense. And horrible. The training videos are so, so, so high-pressure and guilt-trippy and it’s so easy to see why some people can wind up in horrible debt from cards that have interest rates that are practically highway robbery, you know? It’s hard. But it’s not illegal, and it’s my problem to deal with–I can’t force the store to stop asking me to do it.

        2. Nichole*

          I worked at a department store that, while otherwise not a bad place to work, pushed the hard sale on credit cards, and I just could NOT be ok with that. I would hear other cashiers talking about how a store card is a great way to rebuild credit-really? With 26% interest, and can only be used to buy things at a store full of overpriced clothing, home items, and tchotchkies? Retail employees are (usually) not credit counselors, but more than one customer was swayed with that argument. Arguably the customers are adults and allowed themselves to be swayed, but it felt very sleazy, and I could actually get in trouble for taking a customer’s “no” as a no. Sales is not for me.

          1. Creag an Tuire*

            To be fair, it -is- a good way to build credit — if you use it to buy the same stuff you’d have paid cash for anyway, and then pay the card in full every month before any interest accumulates. I have a Target card for that exact reason.

            1. Judy*

              Except that credit score is reduced for each card you have. That’s why it’s better to have 2-3 general purpose cards (Visa, MC, Discover, American Express) rather than 15 store brand cards.

                1. Judy*

                  You take a credit score hit when you open an account.
                  You take a credit score hit because the average age of your accounts is reduced.
                  Many store cards do not have a grace period, so you always have interest.
                  Many times your utilization goes up, which hits your credit score.

                  When you run your free credit report, it offers suggestions on how to increase your credit score. When that first became available in the 90s, the major thing on my list was “too many revolving credit lines”.

                2. Green*

                  When you open a new card, your utilization usually goes down. I also have never paid interest on a credit card. The “taking a credit hit” philosophy without thinking about relative credit factors and the size/length of the “hit” leads people to make irrational choices. I make thousands on credit cards each year; I just didn’t get any new ones for like 6 months before I bought a house.

              1. JB*

                That’s only sort of accurate. It has more to do with available credit and the balances on the cards than just the number. But it makes sense that the more cards you have, the more available credit you have (and for some people, the more debt you owe), so there is almost certainly a correlation.

        3. Stephanie*

          Yeah, when I worked retail (nearly a decade ago at this point), my manager showed me how to hold the credit card application such that my finger covered the 25% APR. I couldn’t tell if she was joking.

          1. Mabel*

            I signed up for an LL Bean Visa a couple of years ago because I was buying a lot of stuff, and I got a discount for paying with the credit card. My big mistake was not looking at the interest rate. It’s really high, so I pay that one off ASAP when I use it.

      2. Kelly L.*

        Yup, I think it’s worth considering that not everybody is cut out for every job–and I think it’s also important for the OP to get an idea of whether this thing is standard for this type of job (in which case she might not be cut out for this line of work) or whether it’s just this company, in which case she might be fine in that line of work but need to do it somewhere else, kwim?

        And if the thing is wildly illegal or something, that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

    6. Artemesia*

      This is what came to my mind as well. And if this is so, then time to choose a new profession where you can do your job. If it is actually being asked to cheat e.g. over bill clients, overlook safety standards, pass defective merchandise on to customers and hope they won’t notice or complain, then that is something to push back on. But if it is about trying to impose your political (I don’t even see this as moral since no seem to have much of a problem with it until one political party decided to make it an issue) views on customers or clients, well if you can’t do the job, get another job.

    7. jordanjay29*

      Or a county clerk “forced” to marry a gay couple? Seems like that’s the hot thing to protest right now.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I agree. There was a decision in the UK recently about whether a woman who drank alcohol whilst pregnant should be charged with a crime because the alcohol allegedly harmed her baby (the decision was no). This brought back some serious guilt for me, because when I worked in food service, I had to serve a woman who said she was in labor, and was waiting for a taxi to the hospital, and wanted three big-ass beers all in a row. I didn’t want to. My boss told me I had to or I would be fired. I asked my boss if she would do it and she said no, she was busy (she was), it was my job, and I had to do it. I did it, but I felt HORRIBLE about it. I did say something politely to the woman about it not being healthy, but she didn’t care. That still didn’t assuage my conscience; I still feel guilty to this day. It made me wonder about her consumption overall, and I hope the baby was okay.

      Serving her wasn’t illegal. I don’t think it should have been. I’m not even sure it was unethical, but boy was I uncomfortable doing it. I agreed with the UK decision to not criminalize it, because pregnant women are people with rights of their own. There are other ways to mitigate it, with education, treatment, and support. But if I had that day to do over, I might have just quit the job. Technically, it was my duty to serve the customer, but I still feel (right or wrong) that my boss should have sent someone else out there to do it, or done it herself. I could have done what she was doing, so I could have taken over.

      1. jordanjay29*

        I sympathize, that’s a very difficult decision to make. In your place, I’m not sure what I would have done. Saying I would quit sounds very much like what I would do, but I don’t know what kind of situation I would be in there. Is that a job I need? Can someone else do this? Can I convince the customer to stand down? Tough situation all around.

      2. Jamie*

        FWIW if the baby isn’t okay it’s not because of the 3 beers you served her. If she was ready to go and about to give birth the danger to the baby isn’t there – I mean not everyone has a natural childbirth and what they shot me up with during labor was a hell of a lot more powerful than beer.

        I am not condoning drinking during pregnancy at ALL – I didn’t do it and I find it abhorrent but I wanted to let you know nothing you did harmed that baby.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I know that now (I wasn’t sure then). And if she had been drinking like that throughout the pregnancy, that would have been on her, not me. I still felt like I shouldn’t have had to do it–and that was where the conundrum lay. I was only making $5.15 an hour and I needed that job, which is why I did it anyway. But I hope like hell I never have to be in that position again.

  10. Sam*

    #1 – something similar happened a few jobs ago. I actually got the signed copy of my review but my boss never turned them in – 3 years in a row. I was getting super high praises and lackluster compensation/growth opportunities. I found out when he left and my new boss went to review them and HR didn’t have them. I immediately brought this to HR’s attention who let me know they don’t put too much weight into reviews so I shouldn’t worry about. Gee, thanks.

    1. Maggie*

      I like that insight from HR. It helps confirm my belief that staff reviews are pretty much a box-ticking exercise. In my experience actions and follow-ups are rarely followed through by the managers.

      1. YourCdnFriend*

        Wow! That’s incredibly frustrating. Maybe I’ve been really lucky but so far, all the companies I’ve worked for put a lot of stock in reviews and they were really helpful.
        It always makes me sad when my naïve world view is shattered.

  11. misspiggy*

    #3 sounds like the company is trying to lay the OP’s mum off without paying severance/being liable for unemployment. I find it amazing that this would be legal, even in the US.

    1. MK*

      If I understand correctly, in the US the employer doesn’t have to pay severance, so that’s not an issue. And while I know nothing about how unemployement works, from what I read on this blog I would think the employer might still be liable if they terminate her position.

      1. Sabrina*

        If they are trying get her to quit, that might be their angle. Generally if you quit you aren’t eligible for UI, though there are some circumstances where you can still get it. I’m not sure that a change in pay is one of those circumstances though.

        1. Sans*

          But you can quit and get UI if your job changes appreciably – I believe either your duties or your schedule, location, etc. I once worked with a remote worker, who, when told she had to start coming into the office, was able to quit and get UI because that had been a significant change in her job. So I would think that going from 20 to 40 hours would be pretty significant, too. Worth looking into, anyway.

                1. Jamie*

                  Ha – I had the same thought. Because it was fposte my default was she was correct and I just didn’t know yet what that meant! That shows the power of reputation.

            1. Persephone Mulberry*

              But her hours aren’t being reduced; they’re being increased. I’m not sure whether unemployment will pay if your reason for leaving is due to a pay cut, which is what this effectively is.

              1. Jamie*

                I believe so because it’s substantially changing the job. Just like if we took someone from 1st and told they had to start working 3rd shift. Same hours, same pay, same job – but they’d get UI for quitting because it’s a substantial change. Maybe they can’t get overnight childcare, maybe the buses don’t run at that hour, whatever…it’s significant and I can’t imagine our state not green lighting UI for something like this.

                And in this case it’s basically a major schedule change with what amounts to a pay cut – it’s an even bigger deal. I’ve never understood how UI works for part timers though – as I’ve never worked anywhere that had any.

              2. Chriama*

                What if she has another part-time job? She’d have to quit the other job, losing some of her income, but this job isn’t giving her any compensation for more hours. I think unemployment will support you if the pay cut is egregious enough (e.g. not something you could realistically support yourself on with 1 job).

    2. OP #3*

      I think she’s looking into her options on that, and I think she’d be eligible because they are substantially changing the job.

  12. a*

    1) Where I work appraisal scores are curved. Ie within each level, x% must be rated above expections, y% meets expectations, etc. Could this be something similar? The manager is showing the employee the true score, and then submitting the curved score to HR.

    1. Erin*

      That does happen at many companies, but it should be transparent to the employee. Or only the adjusted score communicated.

      1. a*

        Hah “should”
        It’s not transparent at my own company. I only know because a couple managers from other departments who I know outside the office, each independently told me in confidence.

  13. CAA*

    Alison — I don’t think this part of the answer to #4 makes sense. “Is the policy itself legal? If so, your employee can legally require you to carry it out.” I believe that second sentence should say “If so, your employer cannot …”

    1. Helena*

      I think Alison’s statement is correct – if the policy is legal, then the employer can legally require it as part of the job. Your correction says that if the policy is legal, the employer can’t require it, which doesn’t make any sense.

  14. dawbs*

    The only hesitation I’d have is whether the OP was told not to work or told she didn’t ‘have’ to work.

    Occasionally, very rarely, I will tell the people who work for me that we are overstaffed, and if they don’t *want* to be there, they don’t have to be, they can leave/not come in with no repercussions–but they’re hourly, so, if they want to be paid, they are welcome to stay and do some of the ‘busy work’ (which isn’t stupid work that doesn’t need to be done as much as it’s very boring and not at all urgent–like feeding 30000 TPS reports through a shredder)–sometimes they need the paycheck, sometimes they want the day off–I can do either way (I prefer if they want the day off because then I, as the salaried supervisor get to go home too. But I try to never make them)

    It might make sense for the OP to find out if they mean “do NOT come in” or “do you WANT the day off?”.

  15. Joey*

    #4 a word of advice. There will be many many many more times you will encounter something that you feel is morally wrong at work. You will find that you will frequently have to listen to the reasons for the policy/direction/ whatever to be able to swallow it. In other words, you will frequently find that something looks morally wrong on the surface, but when you hear the rationale you gain more of an understanding of why it’s necessary (at least in the businesses eyes). This might not satisfy your moral compass, but at that point you’ll have to weigh whether your moral values are worth the consequences.

    It would be like working to defend people that are without question guilty. You can find it morally wrong or you can look at it as a necessary part of business.

    1. Ann without an e*

      I always thought the purpose of a public defender was to make sure that due process was followed, and that reasonable doubt was eliminated not to make sure they got away with murder by creating reasonable doubt. Are there any lawyers that could help me out with this.

      1. TNTT*

        This. People defend guilty people because we believe that even guilty people are entitled to due process.

  16. mel*

    Shucks, now I almost want to apply to Olive Garden! My restaurant bosses just told me they “don’t have to pay overtime, because it’s not more than 8 hours in a day”. No, it’s just 6 full days in a standard week, NO BIGGIE.


      1. anonymel*

        Oh it’s barely more than 40, so my personal situation wasn’t a huge concern. This “we don’t pay overtime because we pay you every two weeks” conversation we had was VERY concerning.

    1. Jamie*

      I know some companies do OT at over 8 hours per day because they are more generous than the law, but this doesn’t exempt them from the requirement of OT on anything over 40 for non-exempt.

      If you aren’t getting OT in a non-exempt role that is illegal and from what I’ve read wildly common in the food service industry.

      (My daughter is in food service (not a manager) and when she heard the managers wondering if they had to pay OT if the person was working way fewer hours the next week she called me to verify (on her break) and politely directed them to the DOL website I gave her. These people should know better!)

      1. mel*

        Yup! They couldn’t explain it to me in plain english (probably because they don’t know what they’re talking about) and just told me to “look it up.”

        We’ll of course I did. They’re so wrong. They’re also supposed to pay us a tiny dividend for laundering our own gross uniforms, but they don’t. Strike #2.

  17. Us, Too*

    re: #4: I worked for a professional services org that had a policy that allowed employees to voice personal reservations about serving particular clients if they had a strong moral aversion to that particular client’s practices or cause.

    In my nearly 5 years at this org there was only one time that I considered asking for an exemption from a client engagement due to a moral objection. I did a ton of soul-searching and researched the client. I ultimately determined that they fell (just barely) on the right side of what I’d consider the absolute line I wouldn’t cross. But it was a very close call for me.

    Part of the reason that I agreed to serve this client, though, was that I knew that if at any point I felt that they crossed that line, my employer would respect my concerns and reassign me to another engagement. If I worked for an employer that was less respectful of my concerns, it would have grated enough that I may have been less willing to accommodate.

  18. Employment Lawyer*

    w/r/t signing things:
    If a document is worth signing, it’s worth reading carefully. And if it’s worth signing, then it’s worth the time to put initials on every page to ensure that things don’t get mixed up.
    That isn’t just a line to use on your manager (though you should.) It’s actually true, and it would save a lot of people a lot of trouble if folks made that a rule.

    w/r/t the move from part time to full time, without a salary change:
    There may be no way to force them to pay you more. But in some cases it may be a “material change” in your job which would allow you to quit and seek new employment, while collecting unemployment insurance. Talk to a local unemployment specialist for more information.

    1. fposte*

      I think electronic signatures are going to be a big complication here. I already have to sign electronically in my health care provider without receiving the stated material. All I can do is write “Not Received” instead of signing.

      1. Judy*

        I’ve wondered about that. They have the electronic signature strip hanging off of their computer, but nothing else, and they don’t show you the screen. How do you know what they will be doing with the signature?

  19. Sabrina*

    Just curious, when these issues of morality come up, does anyone else think of the Star Wars contractor conversation from Clerks?

    1. some1*

      I don’t even like Star Wars but the analogy to explain a moral issue is my favorite part of every Kevin Smith movie.

  20. voluptuousfire*

    Yep! I had to go onto YouTube to find this conversation because it’s been awhile since I watched Clerks, but yes, Kevin Smith does have a particular way with explaining moral issues in his films. Well, his early films anyway. I can’t speak for Tusk, Red State or Zach and Miri.

  21. Meg Danger*

    Regarding questionable employer practices: I once worked with a credit card services company that charged an annual fee to every client (mostly merchants) across the board, regardless of their service contract (most did not include annual fees; none of my contracts ever included this type of padding). The rationale was that many clients would call angry and confused, and we would reverse the charge, but enough clients did not notice the charge, and the profit to the company was worth the bad will. I found this practice completely slimy, but fortunately the charges/reversals were removed enough from my (sales) position that it did not *directly* impact my work.

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