I don’t want to recommend my dad for a job, refusing to train coworkers, and more

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

1. My new job won’t notify a school about an apparent pedophile

Part of my new job involves finding volunteers to work in schools. Last year, one of those volunteers (mid-40s, married with children) became infatuated with an underage girl in his daughter’s class. He sent her inappropriate messages and photos until she sought help. The man was obviously banned from the program by the person who previously had my role and the school escalated issues.

This week I received an email from that man telling me he had been approached by a school to be a coach for the program and registering his interest to be a volunteer again this year.

I immediately told my employer, assuming we would notify the school. However, my work is worried about a defamation case and is refusing to notify the school. I think the safety of the students is FAR more important. What should I do?

What?! I’m no lawyer, but I’d think that if anything, they could get in more trouble for not speaking up than for speaking up. The only thing I can think of that would explain this is if the allegations were never proven and they think there’s some possibility of innocence, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

Personally, in your shoes, if I was sure that I had the facts correct, I’d consider discreetly reaching out to the other school on my own.

2. My boss is insisting that all interview feedback on candidates be in writing

My office is currently in the process of hiring a new office manager. My associate dean subscribes to the idea that everyone in the office should be involved in the interviews and then provide written feedback. Due to schedule constraints, I was only able able to sit in on one candidate’s interview for about 20 minutes. The candidate is currently temping in this role and I have serious concerns about her work performance. I ignored my associate dean’s initial email asking for feedback since it had been clearly sent to the whole group of 20+ people. Yesterday she sent a personal follow-up email to me asking directly for feedback. I replied that I was uncomfortable providing written feedback but was more than willing to provide verbal feedback. She answered me today with “Written feedback is an important component of our hiring process. Please provide your feedback in writing.” How should I proceed? I was thinking about either asking HR (notorious for just forwarding emails to your supervisor) or writing very general feedback on a word document without my name attached and handing it to her.

Well, first, this interview process sounds absurd. Everyone in the office has to do this? Unless your office is three people, this is weird. And there’s no reason to require it to be in writing.

I’d write back: “I have some concerns about Cordelia that I’m not comfortable putting in writing but that I think are important to share. Could we talk about it briefly?” If she refuses, then put it in writing. There’s no real reason to reuse that if she insists, weird and annoying as it is.

3. My father is pushing me to recommend him for a job and I don’t want to

My father works in construction, specializing in disability renovation for homes. I’m disabled, and recently two places that I work at have begun renovating part of the buildings for disability access (partially because of me). The problem is that my father keeps pushing me to reach out to the people in charge of the project and tell them to give him the job.

I’m having trouble articulating an acceptable reason why I don’t want to do this. I don’t want my father working around me; part of the reason I have two jobs is to get away from him (I live with him, and we often don’t get along). Plus I think it would be incredibly unprofessional to recommend him for it, because I don’t even know if he’s qualified for this type of work, I don’t have confidence in his ability to do the project on time and on budget, and it seems like a shakedown (I’m disabled, so they legally have to renovate, and oh! how convenient that I happen to have family who can do the project).

Am I right in thinking it would be unprofessional to recommend him for this? What would be the most professional way to make this recommendation if I wanted to do so? And, of course, is there any way you can think of that I can explain to him why I won’t recommend him for this (or future) projects at my place(s) of work?

Yes, you’re totally right. He’s putting you in an awkward position, and what he’s proposing would be a conflict of interest. Plus, you plain don’t want to, and that on its own is enough. But the conflict of interest reason will carry the most weight. I’d say this: “Dad, I can’t. It’s a professional conflict of interest and would reflect poorly on me. It’s not possible.”

4. Can I refuse to train coworkers with skills I learned on my own?

I have worked at my company now for 4 years. In that time, I have learned and developed new skills and methods to do my job. I’m considered as a senior and worked very hard to get where I am. But now the company is not doing so well and some people have decided to jump ship. Our manager has made it very clear that anyone is replaceable. And this is where I have a problem.

I have been doing all the training for the new guys and showed them what was needed from them and how to do this. The software we use is not very popular in our country and there are no training courses offered for it. Everything I’ve learned, I did myself at home.

I no longer wish to share my skills with anyone as I’m now replaceable. Do I have the right to do so?

The right legally? Sure. But your company has the right to then fire you and give you a bad reference, and would be justified in doing that. (How do you see this playing out, exactly? That you’d just suddenly refuse to do part of your job and your manager would say, “Oh, sure, that’s fine”? That’s not usually how this goes.)

5. Explaining to employers that my school shut down

I’ve just received news that my undergraduate school will close its doors this year. As a recent graduate, I am concerned about his this will affect my job prospects moving forward. My school is a private, single-sex institution and it just couldn’t compete with larger, co-ed schools. How can I explain this to a prospective employer? I achieved many things in undergrad and I am worried that this news, which is beyond my control, will affect the way employers will view me.

This will have no impact on how employers view you. It’s not your fault, and it doesn’t reflect at all on the quality of your education. (I’m assuming that we’re talking about Sweet Briar.)

{ 276 comments… read them below }

  1. Calacademic*

    I’m confused by the answer to#1. Did you mean to say the company would get in more trouble for NOT speaking up? That makes more sense with the rest of the response.

    1. Kat*

      They could be sued for defamation of character if it interferes with his livelihood, especially if there is no proof and there was no conviction. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

      1. Annie*

        That makes sense, but would the same rules apply for a volunteer position as opposed to a paid position?

          1. MK*

            If it’s a volunteer position there is no way it can interfere with his livelyhood, which means there is no concrete financial damage. But in some juristictions you can sue for defamation regardless, to address the damage done to your reputation (which has real, if not immediate consequences).

            However, defamation only applies when one is not telling the truth. Even if this man wasn’t convicted (or if the OP isn’t sure), I think they cannot possible get into trouble for reporting facts, such as the fact that there were allegiations of misconduct and there was an investagation. I mean, don’t say “X is a pedophile”, but “We have terminated X’s involvement in our organization, because he was accused of sexualy harassing a minor.”

            1. angora*

              I would call child protective services and drop it. Protect yourself and the children.

              1. Zillah*

                Are child protective services appropriate here, though? It doesn’t sound like the first student is still being harassed by the volunteer or like he’s interacting with any other students yet.

                1. Ezri*

                  Here’s my question – it doesn’t sound like he was convicted of anything or put on a sex offenders registry (I don’t know if the first incident escalated beyond aggressive communication). If he was, then they have a lot more leverage than if the knowledge is just word-of-mouth. Does OP have any concrete evidence of the first incident she could pass on?

        1. lawyer here*

          defamation has nothing to do with livelihood. the cause of action has to do with spreading false information orally and the damages that can cause someone.

        2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          Defamation is defamation. Yes. Attacks on one’s reputation — even in a volunteer position – can affect one’s ability to make a living. I would say – even more so in a volunteer position – because that impacts one’s standing in a community, which leads to his/her acceptance, which enables one to make a living.

          And students – high school, college – don’t make a lot of money – but they too have legal protection from defamation charges. Even though they don’t have paid jobs. In our area – a school department had to pay out a six-figure settlement to a young lady – a ninth-grader – a 14-year old – when they accused her (falsely – with very poor evidence) of making a terrorist threat.

          If a defamatory action can have a negative effect on a student or volunteer or anyone – paid or not – going forward, there’s liability.

          Of course – it can go the OTHER way – too – if there is a DOCUMENTED, definitive, written reason for the man’s removal from the program in the prior year – YOU can be sued if you give the guy a pass.

          You now see prosecutions and dismissals for teachers and coaches – who commit indecent liberties with students. Male AND female teachers are now treated alike – they are allowed due process and defense.

          But if a school department, youth center, etc. just accepts a resignation in lieu of going through all that, and closing the book — and that miscreant goes elsewhere and does it again — they can be sued later.

          A bad situation , either way – I don’t know how to advise you (we don’t have all the facts here, either.)

      2. neverjaunty*

        Truth is generally an absolute defense to defamation.

        OP #1, how are you aware of this man’s behavior? Consider reaching out to the school that banned him – was there documentation, such as a police report, a written admission he made, or something other than rumor? You say that the first school “escalated issues”, so it sounds like more than them just quietly telling him to go away. If so, or if you already have that in house, so to speak, then you are in a much stronger position than if you just heard about this through word of mouth.

        Your employer needs to be aware of the enormous liability it faces if this man harasses another young girl. If they are genuinely worried about defamation – instead of just playing ostrich – then they should consult with an attorney (and I can’t believe an organization that works in this area wouldn’t have one at least on speed dial) to find out what their obligations and options are.

        1. Elysian*

          This is what I came to say – defamation doesn’t mean saying things that make another person look bad. It’s saying FALSE things that make another person look bad. Talk to the school and tell them the truth – Something like, We’ve worked with him previously and had concerns about inappropriate behavior with children. We know sure that XYZ happened. It eventually led to our banning him from our program.

          1. sunny-dee*

            In this case, though, if the OP uses the term “pedophile,” it is defamation — a pedophile is someone who is sexually aroused by young children (I believe it’s under the age of 5). A pederast is someone who is sexually aroused by older children, around the age of puberty. If the girl involved is, say, 16, that’s neither. Only sexual contact is illegal at that age; sending texts isn’t illegal (although it can and should be enough to get you kicked from a youth volunteer program).

            Also, we don’t know the nature of the “inappropriate” action. It could be that he was stalking and flirting with her — or he could have been totally overbearing about asking about her homework or trying to be a surrogate father and they had to tell him to back off and respect boundaries. It’s probably in the OP’s files, but just saying — there are a lot of ways that he could be out of line that don’t indicate that he’s a predator, and insinuating that could have very negative real effects for him.

            1. neverjaunty*

              That’s not actually the definition of those terms, but setting that aside, I would pay good money to see a lawsuit that says “Plaintiff was defamed by being called a ‘pedophile’, when in fact he is, under the legal definition used in this State, merely a pederast.” Also, yes, in some states, sending inappropriate text messages to a minor IS illegal.

              Regardless, OP doesn’t need to use labels; a factual statement of CreepyDude’s behavior is enough.

            2. Tara*

              If she’s sixteen, the word is Ephebophilia, but frankly I don’t care. If he wants to have sex with children, he’s a pedophile.

              1. Wren*

                But a 16 year old is not a child. It is almost certainly wrong, but it isn’t pedophilia.

            3. Elysian*

              I don’t believe I used the word pedophile in my suggested script, regardless of its definition. I just said to tell the school what happened with the man and the OP’s organization. As long as its not false, it is not defamation.”This is what we observed or what we were told. These are the actions we took because of the situation.”

        2. JB*

          “Truth is generally an absolute defense to defamation.” In the U.S. it is, but not so in some other countries. Do we know the OP is in the US?

      3. Katie the Fed*

        Someone screwed up royally by not calling the police the first time around. They should do it now and have the first incident investigated/prosecuted. This man clearly should have it in his record.

        #1 – don’t pass the buck on this. You have the power to stop this from happening. Stop it now.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            Or just got rid of the guy without checking things through.

        1. Traveler*

          You’d be surprised by the amount of times police turn down pursuing cases like this – even if the guy has a past record of doing it and the victim is underage. It’s horrifying. So it’s not necessarily that they weren’t contacted – they could have been and dismissed it with “its a he said/she said, nothing we can do”.

        2. Ed*

          I used to work in a K-12 district and these things happened at least once every school year. In the time I was there, there were 8 incidents (all involving male teachers with female students ages 15-17) and not a single one was prosecuted or got in any trouble. One was not tenured and they found an unrelated reason to fire him but the rest kept working there. The biggest obstacles are a) the parents/student refusing to press charges and b) the union will fight to the death for the teacher. Unless you literally catch them in the act, the student or the parents have to press charges (or testify if the school presses charges). Nobody wants their name or their family’s name to be spread through the community and that’s how pedophiles and rapists get away with doing it repeatedly.

      4. Green*

        You are not guilty until proven guilty in a court of law, but that only applies to legal guilt, not factual or moral guilt. Leave out the labels (pedophile), and the facts are the facts: “I have seen/heard about text messages between him and a student that made me very uncomfortable.”

        1. Zillah*

          Right, or even, “He was terminated from his last position and banned from the program for sending inappropriate text messages and pictures to a student.” That seems 100% fair to me.

        2. JB*

          That’s actually not a good idea because now you’re getting into defamation territory. Generally speaking, it’s not ok to imply the existence of facts. You couldn’t say, “I don’t want to say anything about what happened when we worked together, but I wouldn’t hire Mary to do your books if I were you” and then later defend against a defamation claim by pointing out that you never actually said she was dishonest.

          In this case, it’s different because the facts you’d be implying with the vague “I’ve seen stuff that made my uncomfortable” statement are true, or at least the gist of it would be. But it would be probably be better to just stick with the actual facts. And I mean facts, not just stuff the OP has heard, but actually verifiable facts.

          1. Elysian*

            That wasn’t what was being suggested. “Someone reported that he was sending inappropriate text messages to a student. We took the concerns seriously and now he is not longer permitted to volunteer with our program.” doesn’t imply anything and all of it is verifiable true. They were told things. They banned him. Those things happened (if they happened that way; we don’t know exactly how everything went down or what OP knows or was told etc.).

            1. JB*

              I was responding to the suggestion that the OP say this: ““I have seen/heard about text messages between him and a student that made me very uncomfortable.” That is a very, very open statement that leaves a lot of room for interpretation and implication. That’s the kind of statement that can lead to trouble. There are a whole lotta things that might make the OP uncomfortable in a text from an adult to a student.

              I also said that that kind of statement would probably be ok because the facts that would be implied by that statement were true, or at least what would probably be the most obvious interpretation of that statement. So probably that would probably be a safe statement to make. But why go with something that’s probably ok, when it would be safer to say something more like what Zillah said, which is slightly more fact-based than a statement that “I heard something that made me uncomfortable.”

              1. Elysian*

                I think the OP is being deliberately vague in her letter to us to protect anonymity. I’m sure she would be more specific in “real life.”

      5. bridget*

        A person needs to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before the state can impose a criminal punishment. For civil liability to another person for an action, the standard is way lower (usually a “more likely than not” bar). The standard for an out-of-court decision of a school to steer clear of someone with at least questionable judgment when it comes to

        And, like neverjaunty mentions, truth is an absolute defense to defamation. Even if “he is definitely a pedophile” might not be provably true, it sounds like it IS provably true that “he was banned from our program because we received reports that he sent inappropriate texts and photos to an underage girl.”

        And, just because it’s fun to channel m first year law school torts class: Most states also have a qualified privilege against defamation for statements made to warn others about harm or danger. Another common law defamation defense that exists in many states is if you are passing on the information for the benefit of the hearer. The most common scenario here is one that comes up on this blog a lot – reference checks. If the speaker is giving information that it turns out isn’t precisely true to a reference checker, the speaker can invoke this defense and the plaintiff has to show a higher standard of guilt to successfully sue (usually that the statement was made maliciously or with reckless disregard for the truth).

        1. bridget*

          Ugh, forgot to finish my thought in the last sentence of that first paragraph.

          The standard for a school’s out-of-court decision to steer clear of someone with at least questionable judgment when it comes to appropriate interaction with minors should probably be pretty damn low.

          1. JB*

            That’s a really good point, but the reach and availability of those privileges can vary pretty widely. Just because it’s such a touchy subject, I would recommend that the OP stick to verified facts.

            You didn’t suggest anything to the contrary in your comment, I’m just adding on.

      6. INTP*

        What if they only relayed facts but it was enough to cost the position? “A student he previously worked with reported him for sending inappropriate pictures and texts. The school investigated and chose to ban him from the program.” Nothing there he can disprove.

    2. this will never end 'cause i want more*

      Another possibility might be to discretely alert the girl’s family?

      Hmm … wait. I’m assuming this guy is still pursuing the same girl? Maybe not – it appears you work with a number of schools? This fellow was “approached” by someone about volunteering … at a different school? It seems odd that your organization doesn’t want to get involved. Are you at the very least able to disqualify this guy from participating in your program?

      This whole situation is weird. I don’t know all of the facts, but I think if I were you, I would begin by escalating the issue at your work – at the very least, I think someone owes you a rational explanation of what is going on.

      1. LisaLee*

        My interpretation was this:

        OP coordinates volunteers for a number of schools. The girl in question went to School A, but now the man wants to volunteer at School B. OP’s work banned him, so he can’t volunteer through their program, but she wants to alert the school so that they can stop him from volunteering at all. OP’s work is content to just ban him from their program; they fear that telling the school about his history will draw legal trouble.

        My questions are these:
        -Why the heck weren’t the police involved? (My guess: dude stayed just the right side of the legal-but-icky line, no naked pics).
        -Why the heck is he now contacting one of the people who KNOWS about this situation to ask to volunteer again? Is he perverted AND dumb?

        1. MK*

          We don’t actually know the police wasn’t involved. But maybe you are right there was no outright illegal action, or he may have even been charged and aquited.

          1. Liane*

            From the OP’s question:
            ” He sent her inappropriate messages and photos until she sought help. The man was obviously banned from the program by the person who previously had my role and the school escalated issues.”

            So we know there was evidence. We cannot say if the police were involved. The “escalated issues” might only mean the school staff as mandatory reporters reported the contacts; it *could* also mean they contacted the police as well.
            I also like CAinUK’s suggestion of checking in with the police as well as alerting the school that there have been problems.

        2. Lyssa*

          LisaLee, your second question was mine, too – why on earth did he contact the LW? The perhaps slightly less cynical part of me hopes that maybe he wants to be stopped, and is hoping that the LW will prevent him from doing this. (Which is a horrible thing to put on a person, certainly, but sure beats the alternative.)

          1. neverjaunty*

            He may be dumb. He may also assume that OP’s predecessor was the problem, and now nobody at OP’s organization knows about him.

      2. MK*

        I don’t think there is anything wierd going on; it sounds pretty straighforward to me. This guy used to volunteer with school A through the OP’s organization; he was fired for harassing an underage girl. Hopefully he is no longer doing so, to the same girl or any other, but in any case we have no reason to think so. Then, school B approachs him to volunteer for them; the most likely scenario is that they know of his volunteer work, but not that there was an accusation against him. I would assume school B thinks he still works for the OP’s organization, so he contacts the organization hoping they will take him back.

        1. CAinUK*

          I think this is spot-on.

          To be clear: this was a guy that did something wildly inappropriate to a minor, OP has specific knowledge of it (not just a rumour), and so he shouldn’t be working with kids. Period.

          I don’t care if it was just a focus on a girl at his daughter’s school and not a habit or pattern of behaviour (a la American Beauty – which is what this basically sounds like); once you cross that line, you don’t get to keep working with kids.

          Practically, OP could simply remind him he is banned from the programme and therefore cannot get placed at any schools working with the programme. OP should then reach out to the school and say:

          “Just to clarify, Coach X is banned from our programme, so we cannot place him.”

          You aren’t revealing the details of WHY he is banned so it can’t be considered defamation or gossip or even discussing a pending/non-conviction – it’s just a fact. But nearly anyone who hears a coach/teacher/etc. is banned from a programme working with children will quickly read between the lines and surmise why.

          And in the interest of fairness, it sounds like he isn’t proactively trying to work with kids and this is a one-off instance, so that’s why I’m only suggesting to alert him AND the school that he is banned – BUT I would absolutely alert local police and ask for guidance if you hear he’s still trying to find positions with children elsewhere (e.g. this is proactive, not reactive behaviour).

        2. Lee*

          Yes, my first thought was he was contacted via automated email. Like in email from places you once bought a product from, it just sends auto notices asking you to volunteer to coach again, or take another class, or join a new social group in whatever larger network it’s all part of.

  2. Kat*

    #4- yeah, this is coming across as petulant. Everyone IS replaceable. There is always someone better than you out there. It sucks, but it’s reality. If you don’t want to prove your worth and be a team player, dont be surprised when they show you the door.

    How would you bring that up to your boss? “Well, since I taught myself all of the stuff, it’s MY knowledge and I’m not sharing because you dont think I am irreplaceable!”

    This is one I would love to hear an update on.

    1. polabear*

      I’ve taught myself a ton of tech skills, and it has never, ever been a negative when I’ve trained other folks. Some folks pick it up quickly, others don’t. But, training other people does not make you replaceable. It makes you even more valuable as an employee because you can spread your knowledge and make your team even more effective. Plus, it can free you up to start learning even more new and exciting things.

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        Right? Heck, 75% if my job duties now are training, because I’m so good at figuring things out!

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I don’t think the OP was so much concerned that the people they trained would replace them. I think they were more offended that they were told they were replaceable when they believe they are currently the only employee who can train others on their company’s particular software. In their view, their manager doesn’t value their employees, and they’re looking to refute that point. However, they’d be better off just realizing that, right now, the company probably can’t afford to fire them IF they keep performing well, and if they think the company will fire them as soon as other employees are trained, they should start looking for another job immediately. Even if they don’t think they would be fired, they should probably start looking for a job where they feel valued.

        1. Artemesia*

          I once fired someone who resisted cross training others as he controlled the entire office data management system in an organization where managing data was central to the mission. It was in the early days of computerizing offices and he was largely self taught. But he wielded that knowledge as a weapon and undermined new leadership when he was not put in charge. He basically held the operation hostage as the only one who could do certain tasks. And because he was self taught he was actually not very competent at it. He was afraid if others could do what he did, he would lose power. I began with considerable respect for his initiative and ended up firing him when the level of dysfunction became apparent. He was not ever going to be director for many reasons; he would have had a secure well regarded place if he had been a team player and not actively undermined the person chosen to direct who reported to me. Petulant and hostile and insubordinate are not things you really want in a key employee. The employee who refuses to cross train colleagues will come across as all three.

          1. Steve G*

            Just left a job after a month because the main employee was like this, and I did a lot of the stuff they hoarded at another company, so I know that none of it is extremely complicated. It was such a bad start to new job working w/ someone like this that I left before I got in to deep. I’d rather test the waters than be unhappy there.

          2. C Average*

            You’ve just provided an excellent description of someone I work with. I’ve never been able to quite describe or quantify what’s not right about how he does his job. This is really interesting and helpful. Thank you!

            I’ve always tried to figure out how to describe the problems he causes. “Refusing other people’s offers of help” and “not having time to train someone else” and “always being available because he’s the only one who knows how to do certain things” sound so innocuous–how could these be blame-worthy?

            But yeah, he totally resists cross-training others, hoards knowledge, and uses his unique self-taught skills to secure and maintain power. It’s definitely been a problem at times, and now I have names for these behaviors.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Knowledge hoarder. Not sure if you made that up just now, but it’s short yet describes the whole scenario and I now have another useful expression. Thanks!

            2. Laurel Gray*

              This thread has me taking so many notes I think I work with someone like this now and I think I have possibly worked with someone like this at every professional job I had since undergrad!

          3. Elizabeth West*

            See, here’s how I view something like that. If Mr. Control Freak is self-taught, then others can be self-taught as well. If it were that bad and management wasn’t doing anything, I would go to them and frame it as “Hey, how about we start figuring this out on our own, because if Mr. Freak is hit by a bus, we’re screwed.”

            Good on you for firing him. There is NO WAY I would continue to keep on an employee who manipulated the company like that–as a manager (I’m not but if I were), everybody would be cross-trained whether he liked it or not. If he didn’t like it, I’d say, “Don’t let the door hit you in the bum on the way out.” This kind of thing is horrible for morale–a company can easily lose all its best employees if management does nothing about the worst ones.

      3. Shabang*

        I remember being a new hire working on new equipment and as they were getting the kinks out they needed to start a second shift, which was me. I messed with the equipment all night and figured out how to work it more consistently, more reliably, and with better results than the first shift operator. I tried to pass on what I had, but they had their own way of doing things and they weren’t interested. And the difference was noticeable enough where later I was talking to another coworker from another area of the plant and they told me that “If I kept that knowledge to myself, I would go far in this company.” I just don’t feel right about that – I’d rather pass it on and all of us do well. I did pass on to whomever would listen, listened to anything they had figured out, and we all became much better at the craft. And 10 years later I was running the whole thing and I take great pains to inform and train all of my people to be great at what they do.

        I know why people do such things as “keeping the know-how to themselves”, but I disagree with the practice with every fiber of my being.

        1. Shabang*

          Oh – and another thing I have seen is someone who trains someone to do the wrong thing so that they always look like they know what they are doing.

          1. tango*

            Really? And noone in this persons management can’t figure out why all of the people trained by this guy can’t do the job? Do they just chalk it up to hiring incompetent people? I would think that most hiring managers would not want to think they can’t ever seem to hire someone who can learn and would start investigating to see what else could be going on.

            But right on Elizabeth, Evil!

            1. Shabang*

              I know – and of course it becomes another story if they are called on it – they must have misunderstood when I showed them how to do it.

              Most of those have either reigned it in or have moved along (or been moved along).

              But boy, do I have some stories…

    2. jamlady*

      I would also love an update. Sorry to the OP, but these are the kind of supervisors I absolutely dread. Aside from the fact that it’s her job and she is employed by a company who made this totally normal request, the whole point of low and mid-level work is to learn and improve both for your level and for possible upward roles. I don’t want a supervisor who would actively refuse to do that (not only putting both of our job performances under critique but also hurting the company).

      1. jamlady*

        Quick update: I say “supervisor” when OP is in fact on the same level as the new hire, but I’ve been in the new hire’s situation several times and regardless of our like-level, I still see those people as deserving of some respect as a supervisor simply BECAUSE they’ve taught me so much and because the company valued them enough to give them the task.

        1. MK*

          I think it happens in many companies that senior people who have proven themselves valuable in training new hires have a defacto elevated position.

    3. Is This Legal*

      i can understand the OP, the past 3 jobs I’ve had I had to figure stuff out on my own the seniors resented sharing knowledge they learned on their own. So when I finally figure something on my own I resent that I have to give that information for “free” when I had to “buy” it. It’s just annoying

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        See, I would take perverse pleasure in being the only non-stingy-ass person in the whole damn place, but that’s just me.

        1. Nikki T*

          Me too. I’d also probably gleefully train the new people. Then we could all work together…around/without the stingy folks.

        1. the gold digger*

          Kind of like when my husband’s mother wrote me a letter telling me she had had to earn her in-law’s approval and I would have to do the same.

          I asked some older friends of mine what they thought. My friend Katy told me her mother in law had been awful to her. Her reaction was to vow never to treat her son’s wives that way. “I want them to want to be around us,” she said. “I don’t want them to hate me the way I hated my mother in law.”

          1. OriginalEmma*

            What is UP with in-laws being jerks to their children’s married partners? I just don’t get it. I assume they weren’t incorrigable terrors during the dating period…why does marriage suddenly enable them to engage in some bizzare ritual demands for self-abasement among their kid’s partners?

            1. Red*

              Good lord, my mother in law has also been cruel. She’s never given any particular reason for it, though she did offer some apology recently. The only good part about it is that I told my parents about some of our trials and, as a result, they’re determined to be wonderful in-laws to my partner and have been on their best behavior.

            2. Windchime*

              I think it’s because they feel threatened. The spouse has come into their child’s life in a permanent way, and the parent no longer occupies the “most loved person” any longer.

              When my sons approached marrying age, I decided that my rule would be, “If he loves her, then I love her too.” (It helps that my daughter-in-law is a simply lovely, lovable person).

            3. Elsajeni*

              Well, I was much more insulated from my husband’s terrible mom before we were married — she hated me then, too, but I didn’t have to hear about it because I was “just” a girlfriend and therefore wasn’t expected to join my husband’s family for holidays or come with him when he visited home. (Also, I think up until the actual wedding she was still holding out some hope that he’d change his mind.)

          2. Dan*

            I’ll take the tangent offered… the thing is, outside of work, I don’t *need* anybody’s approval. I once had a Somoan land lady who was friends with my roommate. My roommate told me that once you earn your way in to Somoan culture, you’re family for life. (This was a shared housing arrangement.)

            I told my roommate that I hate to break this to the landlady, but I don’t need to earn my way into anything other than a paying job. I can take care of myself just fine, thank you very much, and have no need to kiss anybody’s ass.

            That was one hell of an icy relationship, but the larger point stands. Outside of the person signing my paycheck, nobody is in a position to demand anything from anybody.

        2. Laurel Gray*

          Yes! It really is, and I wonder what it does to the efficiency of the overall office/business. People seem to be using this knowledge they won’t share to create a false sense of job security too.

          What happens when the office knowledge hoarder falls severely ill or is in a car accident? Does a manager reach out to their spouse to “wake him out of his coma real quick so we can ask a coupla questions”??

      2. HR Generalist*

        Our department has various branches across the country and I was SHOCKED when I heard a coworker in another branch had to go through this. We are typically offices with 2 entry-level HR people and then a manager. Apparently my coworker came in and her partner refused to tell her anything or train her as she had to learn on her own so everybody else should too.
        That’s such a ridiculous way of thinking. I couldn’t believe she was still employed with us. I offered my long-distance assistance via phone and email to my coworker as I was lucky enough to have a whiz as a partner who was eager to help me learn (because it also meant success in her position, we need to work together!).
        People who refuse to train their newer counterparts should be subject to disciplinary action and terminated if behaviour does not change. It hurts the entire company and the new employee (and it goes strongly against many organization’s core competencies which often include teamwork).
        But above all of that, it just makes you an a**hole. Be a nice person.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Employees who hold information hostage are going to find that their immediate employment is guaranteed…for as long as it takes to get someone else up to speed, at which point the withholding employee should be fired immediately. Any manager with an employee like that who has half a brain should be looking to hire someone who either has experience in the area in question or someone who has a track record of teaching themselves new skills, as many of us here seem to do.

          1. OhNo*

            Exactly this. If OP learned it on their own, then eventually one of the new hires is going to learn it on their own, too. At that point, the OP’s monopoly on the information goes away, and the company no longer has any incentive to keep on an employee that refused to help their coworkers. c Basically, if OP follows through on this, they are setting themselves up for getting fired down the road. It’s a lose-lose situation.

            At best, they can talk to their supervisor about the “everyone is replaceable” comment and explain why it makes them feel undervalued. Which I would encourage them to do, because even though it’s true, it’s kind of a crappy thing to say to your employees.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Yes, this. I had a manager who would routinely threaten everybody with the loss of their jobs. “This department needs to produce or all of you might be gone!” I suppose he thought it would motivate people, but all it did was make us feel lousy and hate him.

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                Hey, to be fair, I’m sure that this approach motivated everyone to produce…at the bare minimum required to keep their jobs and not one iota more.

            2. Ceecee*

              My thing is that I went to college and beyond at great expense. I don’t want to train someone who hasn’t even gone to college to do the things that I’ve learned from that expensive education. If I’m working in HR and you want a same or similar job, you should put in the same or similar work.

          2. Artemesia*

            I once fired someone who resisted cross training others as he controlled the entire office data management system in an organization where managing data was central to the mission. It was in the early days of computerizing offices and he was largely self taught. But he wielded that knowledge as a weapon and undermined new leadership when he was not put in charge. He basically held the operation hostage as the only one who could do certain tasks. And because he was self taught he was actually not very competent at it. He was afraid if others could do what he did, he would lose power. I began with considerable respect for his initiative and ended up firing him when the level of dysfunction became apparent. He was not ever going to be director for many reasons; he would have had a secure well regarded place if he had been a team player and not actively undermined the person chosen to direct who reported to me. Petulant and hostile and insubordinate are not things you really want in a key employee. The employee who refuses to cross train colleagues will come across as all three.

          3. Natalie*

            Or not even that long. I worked with someone like that, and when new, effective managers came along they immediately started the procedure to fire him. Then layoffs were announced and can guarantee you he was the top of the list, even though it means going without his position for a while.

            We’re just dealing with the fact that he didn’t leave a single scrap of paper about his job as specific issues come up.

            1. Windchime*

              We had a guy like this in our office for YEARS. He created all kinds of little secret batch jobs and databases and little programs (in an old language because he refused to learn new techniques). Most of this stuff would then run on a workstation stowed under his desk. When a problem would come up, of course he was the only one who could fix it because he was the one who created it. He hoarded knowledge and had created this impression with the end users that he was some kind of a miracle-worker; the “go-to” guy.

              Guess what? When the layoffs came, his position was eliminated. And the world kept on turning, and we are slowly teasing apart his web of applications and scripts and scheduled tasks. Turns out we are smart enough, after all.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I’d love to see the look on a guy like that’s face if the company said, “Guess what? We’re upgrading next week to a new system and training everybody on it!”

        2. Traveler*

          It’s one thing if these were skills OP learned on the job, or through in a degree program required to get the job, or training the company paid for – but if they were spending copious amounts of time at home, off the clock, working on these skills to improve their abilities, those abilities shouldn’t automatically become property of the company just by virtue of working for them.
          I’ve known more than one person who has gone above and beyond working from home, etc. because they love their job only to have the company take advantage of that and capitalize on it – giving exactly zero rewards to the employee.
          Now ultimately, yes, the company can force your hand on this with a do it or lose your job scenario, and if you want to keep your job and look “nice” you’re going to have to do it – but I certainly don’t think it makes the OP an “a**hole” for not wanting to freely hand over work they performed off the clock.

          1. Koko*

            It’s not exactly the same as “freely handing over work,” though. The work they did was learning the material. The people they’re training have to do that same work of learning the material, they’re just learning from OP instead of from a website or class instructor. OP isn’t giving anything away for free–they’re being paid to do a job and now they’re simply having responsibility for training others added to that job description. It’s not like they’re being asked to stay afterhours and work off-the-clock to be a trainer. If OP feels that adding training to his job description is a type of work he prefers not to do, or that he no longer feels adequately compensated for his job now that it includes training, he can decide he no longer wants to work there. Or, if he feels that voluntarily picking up extra training outside of business hours is “work time” and he wants to be compensated at work for doing it doesn’t feel he is, he can choose to stop voluntarily working off-the-clock.

      3. John Burglund*

        But here’s the thing – coming from the perspective of a senior manager – much of the knowledge the OP has developed “on their own” was gained in the course of doing their job. They were provided the software, computer, office environment and the work so that they could learn it. Would they have learned the software (or any other skill) on their own dime? If not, then I would suggest that their supervisors are entirely within the right to require them to train others.

        1. Graciosa*

          I think it’s a good point to address the way this OP is thinking, but I don’t agree with the assumption that if something truly was self taught it should somehow be exempt from being used at work.

          1. Koko*

            Or another way to look at this – in my very first nonprofit job, I was trained and learned how to use nonprofit database software. Since then, my skill with this software has been a big plus when I’ve sought new jobs in the nonprofit world, because I don’t require software training and can skip straight to learning the new organization’s business rules and policies. Although I’m not self-taught, my new employers also didn’t pay for the training I received at my first job. Does that mean that when we bring in entry-level new hires who don’t have a nonprofit background I should refuse to train them on the software? Only coworkers whose training was provided by our employer should have training responsibilities? It sounds more absurd when you replace “self-taught” with “taught by a previous employer” but it’s the same basic (lack of) logic.

      4. nona*

        I’ve had some of the same situation. It sucks, tbh, so I try to share what I know when someone needs it.

    4. Helen*

      I disagree. Long-timers have institutional knowledge and relationships with clients (if applicable), and the company looks bad to clients, vendors, and other outsiders when there’s a lot of turnover. That being said, he/she still should train the new workers.

    5. MK*

      Probably the OP intents to train the new hires in general, butnot teach them the stuff that she/he learned by themselves. I am not even sure how that could be done in practice, but the OP will simply come across as an incompetent trainer.

    6. Hlyssande*

      I think I understand where the OP is coming from. My older brother got burned with something like this once. They brought in a few new people and once he’d trained them, he was let go. OP might be afraid of that situation and it’s not an unjustified fear. They could be hiring new people to fire the old and have to pay less in salary to the new juniors.

      OP, you can’t just refuse to train someone when directed to do so without getting fired anyway. I’d say to do it and do the absolute best job you can do and if they do let you go, you haven’t burned your bridges and can most likely get a good reference out of it. Also, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you did the thing and did it well (that’s always a motivator for me).

      1. QAT Contractor*

        Your brother got screwed. A company that is more focused on pinching pennies than keeping knowledgable employees usually ends up hurting themselves in the long run.

        Not to say this doesn’t happen, of course, it’s just BS.

      2. AndersonDarling*

        This is the impression I got from the OP. ‘My management said I am replaceable, and now they want me to train my replacements.’
        If there was no threats of being canned, then I’m sure the OP would be happy to share knowledge. I wouldn’t want to help a company that tells me I’m worthless and replaceable, but then wants my help.
        The only resolution I have, besides finding a new job, is to be a terrible trainer. If training is not part of your job, then it shouldn’t be expected that you can create an education plan and have the personality to execute it successfully. Everyone should be able to do some basic training about their job, but it sounds like this is a very technical program which would require some special skills to teach.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          No, that just makes the OP look bad–and what if they aren’t being replaced? I’d go to the manager first and try to find out what’s going on. If I couldn’t get any information, then I’d just do the best I could at making the training program and put that on my resume as a bullet point. Then if I did get laid off, I could say I did X and everybody was properly trained when I left.

      3. neverjaunty*

        Sure, and that’s awful, but refusing to train the new people doesn’t make OP un-replaceable. It just means they’ll fire OP anyway for being insubordinate.

      4. LBK*

        Just a thought – is it possible the writing was on the wall about being fired either way, and they pushed for the training because they needed to get that done before the firing happened?

        I think too many people are viewing this is as “once I give away my knowledge, they may decide they don’t want me anymore” whereas I bet in most cases it’s “we’re forcing you to give up your knowledge because we’ve already decided we don’t want you here and we need to get that info from you before you leave.”

        I suppose even so you have the option to dig your heels in, but frankly, no one on earth is truly irreplaceable – if you’re being a stubborn b-hole about training someone because you know as soon as it’s done I’m canning you, I’ll just get it over with now and we’ll pick up the pieces after. I don’t believe there’s anything you learned yourself that someone else can’t learn themselves, too. Might be a rough transition but we’ll figure it out without a bitter knowledge hoarder to hold us back.

      5. KM*

        Yeah, it sounds to me like the anxiety is more about this than about sharing knowledge with other people as a general principle. If the OP has a good relationship with his/her manager, then it might be fine to talk about that concern openly (I’ve gotten around a lot of weird, passive-aggressive office politics in the past by acknowledging what’s happening out loud and breaking the code of silence — but you really have to pick your moment and do it in the right way).

        If the real problem is that the company kind of sucks and plays stupid games with people on purpose, then there’s not a lot you can do besides start thinking about how you will present yourself to future employers when you leave this job (either by choice or not). And it sounds better to say, “I learned X system on my own time and trained other employees” than “I learned X system on my own time and then got caught up in a passive-aggressive power struggle with my employers that ended with me torching all the servers or something,” even if they’re the ones in the wrong.

    7. QAT Contractor*

      I run into this so often with my clients that I have no clue how these clients have stayed in business. When one person silos it creates resentment and pettiness (as MK pointed out) which just leads to additional silos. Eventually nobody shares any information then projects begin to fail which costs the company more money in time and outside resources (like me, but hey, it’s how I make a living :-) ).

      I have seen so many times that I come in and immediately these silo’d people think “omg they are here to take my job and get me fired. I’m not going to help them so I look more important.” News flash: Your jobs aren’t that hard to learn. It might take time, but usually there are other avenues to get information and when you boss sees you are not helping but are actually an inhibitor, you will likely get fired.

      I have never wanted anybody’s full time position when I contract. I just want to make the company run more smoothly through best practices then move on. It’s my role to improve the functionality of the company/team and that’s it. Knowledge sharing is your strongest asset in most cases. The more you teach others the better you look to your boss and the more efficiently your team/company runs. Not everyone can learn things on their own as you have, OP#3, and that shows you probably have a leg up on some of them, so why not help them out?

      1. steve g*

        I agree that some jobs are not that hard to learn. At past past job one person “owned” salesforce. Everyone knew all of its functions. He wasn’t irreplaceable because no one knew the advanced functions in it and kept them from other people, he was irreplaceable because he was the POC and spent all day doing things to SF because everyone else was too busy doing other things.

    8. steve g*

      I think OP’s feelings are valid, even if they don’t fit into the workplace.

      My msg to the OP is: I totally get where you are coming from, I’ve thought this before. On the good side (for you) 1) no one will EVER become as advanced or more advanced in a software program than you unless they also do extra self-study. 2) even if they learn as many functions as you, they will have less experience than you using them. You expertise is still going to be needed for awhile.

      I don’t know what computer programs were talking about, but using excel as an example – even if you show someone vlookups, pivot tables, how to make graphs, sumif, countif, isna, if statements, and/or statements, that isn’t going to make them into a Sr analyst overnight. Knowing when and how to use them and combine then in statements with lots of parentheses is the key. There are also things that aren’t logical to teach to newbies but will need to be taught as they progress, keeping you irreplaceable in a more natural way (as opposed to refusing to train people). Dealing with data from different sources with all sorts of formatting issues is an example.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I agree that OP’s feelings are valid. I usually do not act on those feelings, when I have them. Because:

        It’s not the newbies fault the boss is an idiot. My problem is with the boss not the newbie.

        Take care of the people you work with and they will tend to take care of you. It’s an investment.

        You never know when you might run into that newbie later at another job. That person is going to remember EXACTLY what you did and how you handled yourself. And they WILL tell ten of your new coworkers.

        When I teach I reinforce my own knowledge. Teaching forces me to really think about what I am doing and I learn the material on a new level. This snowballs for me and makes me appear to be even better at what I do.

        I prefer a happy, open work environment where people comfortably exchange information with each other. If I teach, this helps to foster that environment.

        Very seldom does the newbie not teach ME. I learn something from their questions. Or we will hit a situation that I don’t know the answer to. It may take time, but they seem to come back to me and tell me they found an answer for X and they explain.

        I may have other reasons depending on the specific situation but these are the general ones that I have. I can’t even count how many people I have trained at various jobs. Sometimes it is the only way I can take a boring job and make it interesting for myself.

        In short OP, there’s more to this than you vs crappy boss. I get the desire to get even with the boss, or not let the boss soak you for all the labor he can get out of you, etc. I get all that stuff. If you think you have one foot out the door, you might just as well try to put things in a good place before you leave. Or do the best you can, at any rate. You can be proud of the fact you tried and you will be able to sleep well at night. The boss- eh, not so much.

        1. Chinook*

          Not so New Reader, I agree with all you said abotu why I cross train what I do, but especially this:
          “When I teach I reinforce my own knowledge. Teaching forces me to really think about what I am doing and I learn the material on a new level. This snowballs for me and makes me appear to be even better at what I do. ”

          When I teach myself, I only see the thingy from my perspective. When I have to explain to someone else, I gain new insight from the new perspective and may even change how I do something because of this. New eyes can bring new questions and new snags. I currently control a database program that is slowly being embraced by various departments. Everytime I train someone on how to use it, I come up with better ways to tweak it (I love the programmer I work with because we both have the same UI aesthetics).

          And when I trained someone to cover for my while on vacation, not only did I get the freedom to actually take an unplugged vacation, she also made me rethink some processes that I was working around and jerry rigging subconciously because she wasn’t in my head. Does this mean they could replace me tomorrow – of course. But they won’t because I do my job well, not because I am the only one who could do it.

    9. LQ*

      The most valuable thing I do at my company is share my knowledge. The more I can share it the more cool things I can do. I guess if I never wanted to advance or do anything fun or new or interesting at my job I’d try to horde my information, but why? If I share it then they can do the boring stuff and I can move onto something else.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        I think it really depends on the environment of the workplace. If morale is down, management is awful, and there have been cutbacks or threats of cutbacks, then employees go into Safe Mode and start looking out for themselves. But if you are in a secure environment where people are open and share knowledge, then it is natural to do the same.

        1. Shabang*

          “If morale is down, management is awful, and there have been cutbacks or threats of cutbacks”

          I think at that point, I’d say its time to move on…

    10. MashaKasha*

      I can tell exactly where Op4 is coming from. This happened to my ex-husband once. Everyone on his team was told to thoroughly document his or her portion of the project they were working on/supporting. For a good six months, they did nothing but document. As soon as the documentation was complete, they were all told that they had two weeks to find a new job. Their current positions would be outsourced and the documentation they had provided would be used to bring the new hires up to speed. (He found a transfer to another group inside his company. It came with a 20K pay cut, but he was happy just to stay employed at that point.)

      So OP4’s thinking, as best I can guess, is “as soon as I train someone to do my work, my manager will show me the door”. But the reality is that OP4’s manager can show them the door at any minute for any old reason. Refusing to train a new hire won’t help OP4 keep their job. Actually I don’t know why OP4 wants to keep this job at all costs if the company isn’t doing well, people are leaving, and the management’s response to that is… wait for it… tell everyone who’s still left that they are all replaceable? I’d start looking. This is a red flag, new hires or not.

      1. Steve G*

        Wow, very unfair to him. I mean, it makes sense to outsource certain simple/rote jobs, but if your husband had to spend months documenting his job, what was the point of replacing him? How cheap of a replacement could you have found? I know from past co they could have maybe saved $10K-$15K to hire someone less experienced to take over, but what is the point of going through months of training, etc. for such petty amounts?

        1. neverjaunty*

          It’s amazing how dumb some managers can be about the cost of turnover and re-training.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        This so sucks. Well, in the big picture, your ex did what he was told to do in good faith.
        And the company was a massive fail in doing their part to act in good faith.
        I think sometimes we get so blindsided by what happens that we forget, we were doing the correct thing (in this case following the boss’s instructions) and it’s not our fault that the company/boss took advantage of our sincerity. That says volumes about the company. And none of it is good.

      3. LBK*

        But here’s the thing…if they were going to lay him off, they were going to do it regardless. It’s not like if he hadn’t provided all that documentation that would’ve saved his job – clearly they had already made the decision to outsource and they were just getting their ducks in a row first by having everyone write down their processes.

        A lot of the stories people are posting make it sound like sharing knowledge is what led to them being laid off when in reality it’s the other way around – the decision to do layoffs is what leads the company to ask everyone for their knowledge.

    11. Martha*

      #4 – I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve spent a decade in my field, and am leaving my current company to go back to school to get my masters. I’ve paid tons out of pocket (approx. $10K) to learn more about my field for additional classes and certifications. They hired a girl who has no knowledge in my field, and they expect me to train her, on everything I know about the topic. Of course they also gave her my title and pay level, which I’ve worked my rear off to get. Insulted? Yep!

      1. Steve G*

        I forgot about the cost part. People seem not to be on the OP’s side, which I get, but we totally forgot to mention the costs of self-training in the above. My personal cost over the past four years has been in the $700 range, so it’s not enough at my pay level to get up in arms, but yeah, some people go to computer class at night or those really expensive VBA courses…I’ve seen them in NYC for as much as $700/day

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Maybe OP can ask for reimbursement for some costs. And, believe me, I think this verrry difficult stuff. The only thing I have come up with is that the training and knowledge goes with me when I leave. There is no way that OP can spill out everything in her mind to the newbies. NO way. And no matter how much she shows them, it will be quite a while before they have her pool of specific knowledge, if ever.
          Additionally, everyone’s minds work a little differently. We see things differently and we find different solutions. No one is going to be able to totally copy how OP’s mind works. Therefore, no one will ever be OP.
          They cannot take your mind from you. I know some days it feels like they can. But reality is they can’t.

    12. Lily in NYC*

      #4 confused me – I mean, don’t most of us get hired because of the skills we already have? I don’t think it matters if a skill is self-taught or if my current company paid for me to go on training. If I’m expected to use that skill or train others on it, well, that’s part of what they are paying me to do.

    13. Adonday Veeah*

      Here’s the thing, #4 — you learned what you know on your company’s dime (I assume you were collecting a paycheck) so they’re not solely YOUR skills as long as you work for them. You can leave and take your skills (that they paid you to learn) with you or you can share with others in your company. Please think this through. You will definitely be burning a bridge.

    14. MissDisplaced*

      I agree this is coming across as being petulant in some respects, but I also sort of see OP4’s point as they mention they’ve had to learn a lot of these skills on their own time off the clock and not paid. Now, they’re being asked to share those skills with people who are being paid. It’s hard to know for sure without all the details, but it seems that this is really the sticking point for the OP, and not so much the “sharing knowledge” part. They don’t feel they were compensated for their time-effort, and that IS annoying. I’m sure if the company had paid to send the OP to classes for the software (we’re paying to train you so you can train others) it would be a whole different story.

    15. Marcus*

      So here’s how my performance review went last week.:

      I was informed that we will be hiring another CAD operator but for not for our department. He asked if I would do the training as before. I said no.

      This is why: Every person that I have trained now earns the same or more than me. Yet I must still take full responsibility for their mistakes. I will no longer do that. I will also not help anyone to get their drawings to a completed state as they are now supposed to be seniors and earn what I do.

      I did however come with a compromise; I will do all the in house training as before if I get formal training on software that will benefit the company. I also got a 17% increase.

    16. TootsNYC*

      And actually–did you teach yourself on the job? It sounds like it. In which case, it’s their knowledge too, actualy.

  3. Mantra*

    #3 could you take a lesson from the politician school of lying and say you ran it past someone and they said it was a conflict of interest? (Technically true.)

    1. OP3*

      I might do that, especially if he doesn’t want to let it drop. He’s more likely to let it lie if I say it’s someone else’s opinion, not just mine.

      1. LJL*

        I’d agree that it is a conflict of interest. I’m not comfortable recommending relatives for any work, though I’ll likely never be in a position to do so.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I am hoping that it was a figure of speech when you wrote “tell them to hire”.
        But if that is his exact choice of words you can also point out that you are not in charge of hiring people/contractors and it would be hugely wrong of you to tell anyone to hire your dad or to tell them to hire anyone else for that matter. To the point, that it could raise trouble in your own job setting.

        Another talking point is that they may have to take bids. There maybe a formalized process and there are no exceptions, everyone has to go though the process. Sometime else to consider.

        1. OP3*

          Unfortunately it was not a figure of speech. When he first brought it up, I told him that they were likely accepting bids, and that he could go through that process. His response was along the lines of “But I don’t know how that process works there or who to contact! You should just tell them to hire me.”

          Which is kind of funny, because I have even less of an idea of who to talk to about that stuff than he does. Just because I work there doesn’t mean I know squat about their facilities/maintenance/renovation procedures. I’m in a completely different department!

          1. Jennifer*

            Shouldn’t it be obvious that as his kid, you’d be biased and thus this is not a good idea?

          2. ThursdaysGeek*

            As a contractor, he should know how to make bids! Although, working on a home and working on a business are different processes. And that difference might be enough that he isn’t qualified to do the work.

            For some places I’ve worked, a recommendation from a family member would automatically disqualify them, because of the conflict of interest.

          3. TootsNYC*

            and yeah, you can “tell” them, and they’ll laugh at you. It’s not like you’re their boss.

  4. So Very Anonymous*

    #5: Sending you good thoughts. Just to add to Alison’s statement, Sweet Briar’s closing isn’t about loss of accreditation or anything that might diminish its reputation as a school or the value of your degree. Don’t worry about that.

    1. jamlady*

      I hope to OP doesn’t worry! That institution has a long, gorgeous history and a lot of the campus has been federally protected for heritage purposes since 1995. It’s a famous enough school that any prospective employer (if not already acquainted with the name) can do a quick search. The school’s closing won’t reflect poorly on its students and alumni – it’s just a sad situation.

      1. TheSockMonkey*

        Exactly–the reason for its closing is all over the internet and the information I have read does not reflect badly on the school at all. If you are still living anyplace near Virginia, I think a lot of people will have heard of it. And those who haven’t probably won’t even think to look it up.

    2. The Strand*

      Sweet Briar has a very good reputation outside of Virginia too. I am so sad to hear this; I recommended a former student transfer her community college credits there.

    3. Jennifer*

      Just make sure you find out how you can possibly get another diploma copy/transcript/degree awarded letter (in short: proof of graduation/grades) once the school is gone. I have heard that usually those records are transferred somewhere else, but I don’t know where and you should probably find out while you still can.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Most schools have Alumni (or Alumnae) Associations – and I would think that Sweet Briar – or any college that folds up – would keep its Alumni group going.

        BTW – while looking for that – I noticed that today – the Alumnae group is filing suit to keep the school from closing.

        1. Melissa*

          They would, but I don’t know that the alumnae association would maintain the records. Usually they transfer the records to another school. I could see maybe Hollins or Mary Baldwin serving that purpose for SBC alums.

  5. Sara*

    #5 — One thing you should know for sure is where and who to contact should you ever need your transcripts. I had several cousins attend Mount Senario College, a small school in Wisconsin, which shut down in 2002 due to financial strains. When one of my cousins went back to graduate school, she needed her transcripts, which were then being held by the state of Wisconsin. No one looked down upon her at all for attending a closed school. It sadly happens.

    And I’m so sorry. College can be such a defining time in our lives and seeing what was your home for four years close must be incredibly difficult.

    1. Erin*

      I second that. Also, I would take the time to connect back to any faculty, job supervisors, etc. that were a part of your college network, and figure out how to stay in touch with them outside of college emails if you haven’t already (Facebook, LinkedIn…) That way, if you need letters or a reference in a year or two, you aren’t stuck with trying to track them down from a defunct college website.

      But do rest assured, no one will blame you for Sweet Briar closing. I’m in higher ed as a staff member, and I think people are shocked, but we understand the pressures on the private college environment, and you will not be looked at as somehow deficient because your college decided to close. Especially since Sweet Briar has otherwise been well managed, has a good endowment, kept its accreditation.

      1. The Strand*

        Wanted to echo all of that.

        And even if you were attending, say, one of the Corinth Colleges that has been “dicey” and is being sued by several states for lying to students, many people in higher education at least, would have compassion for you, not think less of you.

    2. BritChick*

      I was coming on here to comment about transcripts…

      Get a few “official transcripts” that you keep in sealed envelopes from the school. Mail them to yourself so they have the date post marked on them. That way you have them available if you ever need them in future and having them mailed to you from the school should prove their authenticity.

      Also make sure you have contact details for references.

      1. LJL*

        Also remember to get an extra for you to use as an unofficial transcript. Most employers will accept an unofficial (photocopied) transcript throughout the hiring process, though you’ll need to provide an official one when you start.

      2. Liz*

        They won’t count as official transcripts if the student has them, though. To be counted as official, most schools require it to be sent directly from School A to School B. It’ll probably be sufficient for employers though.

        1. Melissa*

          Not necessarily. Many (most?) schools consider them to be official if they have the official seal and are in an unopened envelope, regardless of whether you mail them yourself or whether they come from the school. A lot of students and alumnae simply pick up transcripts at their campus office, especially if they are local.

  6. Seal*

    #4 – Like it or not, your boss is right: everyone at any job IS replaceable. But look at it this way – in asking you to train coworkers and subordinates, your boss is giving you a great gift. Think how much better your resume will look when you include a blurb about creating training materials to train others on XYZ software. And consider how glowingly your references will speak of you when you willingly assume this additional responsibility and excel at it. Given the circumstances, I think you’ll find yourself even more replaceable if you refuse to “share your skills” now.

  7. this will never end 'cause i want more*

    #2: I’m going to respectfully disagree with AAM: I can think of a number of ways in which writing down your concerns could go wrong. Maybe if you *have* to write something, simply write “I am abstaining from this review”? I’m no expert on this, but the person who is insisting on written comments is simply out of touch with reality. Have you tried talking to her? If that doesn’t work, I think I’d refuse to comply until she either gave up or the matter was escalated to someone who has some common sense.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My guess is that the person wants it all documented so that the reasoning that went into hiring decisions is clear — you see this kind of thing when people are way, way too concerned about some job applicant suing or challenging the decision.

      I really don’t think the OP can or should refuse. She’s tried pushing back, the boss has made it clear that this is necessary, and if hiring is part of your job (as it apparently is for everyone there), you can’t refuse to participate in pieces of it without it reflecting really poorly on you. This isn’t the way I’d do it if I were the OP’s boss, but it’s not such an outrageous request that she should refuse.

      1. Zillah*

        I don’t know, I can see some pretty big issues, too. I’d understand what you were saying and agree if the candidate the OP was concerned about wasn’t already acting as the office (and, potentially, her) manager, but she is, so I can certainly see her getting access to the written critique – which could put the OP in a bad situation either temporarily (if someone else is ultimately hired) or more permanently (if the acting manager is hired). I’d be wary and want to step carefully, too, and since it’s an internal application, I think it’s a little short-sighted for the associate dean to not be thinking about that.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I read “office manager” as meaning the administrative person who manages the office space (like reception and admin services), not “the manager of everyone in the office,” but that would certainly make a difference.

          That term is used both ways, but more often as the former.

      2. HR Generalist*

        I agree – I think she should put her concerns in writing but it’s very important to properly frame them and to avoid assumptions. If there are concerns with her work ethic it would be perfectly suitable to write “Candidate was responsible for section A of report B and her results were below company standards. The report had to be re-written by a senior employee in order for it to be suitable for publishing” and “Candidate is regularly late and it impacts everyone in the department. In April, she was late at least once a week and meetings have to be postponed for her” or something similar. Measurable performance issues, not “She seems really rude and hard to work with”.

          1. OP 2*

            I took your advice. The annoying thing about this whole process is that we are only allowed to give feedback on what we observed in the interview, nothing about the candidate’s work performance. We are told in no uncertain terms to treat internal candidates as people we don’t know. This includes asking the same interview questions for all candidates including dumb things “Tell me about yourself” that I really don’t need to ask.

            I ended up being very general. For example we were asked to evaluate on friendliness and I said, “Jane seemed friendly in her interview”.

            At the end I said I had other concerns about her work performance that I could discuss in person if desired.

            I guess there is no one reason I feel uncomfortable, just a general sense of unease. I don’t plan on staying in this office much longer and I don’t want any part of this job to follow me around in a negative way. I have inadvertently stumbled across other feedback on our shared drive which would be a concern if Jane is hired. However, I also have no problem being direct at that point as another comment suggested.

            Thank you everyone for your ideas and help.

            1. HR Generalist*

              I’ve been in this situation before too – our interviews are considered in silo of everything else. With internal candidates, that is really hard.

              What I have done is made a note at the end of the interview along the lines of “Jane stated that she [gets along well with coworkers, or other example] but it has been clearly stated in her employee file that she has had multiple issues with different departments. It appears as though she is ‘talking the talk’ in the interview but there is serious scepticism about applying these terms at work”

            2. Writer of "My colleague bombed the interview" question*

              I expressed my opinion in written feedback willingly, and I signed it. The hiring process is not open to the candidate so there was no chance of my colleague taking it personally. In the end, the internal candidate got the job despite lack of credentials and any visible effort to prepare for the interview. If some other candidate were to complain that our interview process was a sham and the whole thing was rigged, my feedback would support that potentially better hire’s case. And in the future, if I were to apply for a promotion for which I’m under qualified, I would have a case if I’m not promoted. If other internal candidates are shoo-ins, then they’d have some ‘splainin’ to do if they’re inconsistent.

            3. Nobody*

              What?! That is ridiculous! You have actually seen her performing this job and doing it poorly, but you are not allowed to mention that in feedback about whether to hire her? I often lament that the selection process for most jobs is more indicative of whether someone is good at interviews than whether someone is good at the job, but this takes it to the extreme. If there is actual data on how well (or not) the candidate can do the job, why on earth would they want to ignore it? I suppose it’s out of some misguided attempt at being “fair,” but clearly they have lost sight of the fact that the whole point is to hire the best person for the job.

    2. Swarley*

      It sounds like your concerns might be that what you say could get back to the applicant. It’s unlikely, but if that were the case then I could see it causing some tension. Worst case scenario: You’d address what you said with the temp worker in a matter of fact way in the event that it was brought up.

      If you’re concerned that what you write could lead to a lawsuit, unless your writing something about a protected class and why you shouldn’t hire this person you’ll be fine. I definitely think it’s out of touch to communicate like this, but it seems to be a job requirement. If the OP refuses, then the assoc. dean is justified in addressing this in the same way she would address any other performance problem.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I worked for a place where people had to write stuff about others. How to say this… There are ways of writing that a person can go on for paragraphs and say absolutely NOTHING. And there are methods of writing that are so weak it makes a pile of mash potatoes look strong.

      I am not suggesting OP lie, do anything illegal, or defy the boss. I am suggesting, to you OP that what you wrote here is probably a great start.

      Start by saying, “Unfortunately, I was only able to sit in on 20 minutes of interview time with Jane. I do not feel I spent enough time talking with her to arrive at a firm conclusion. I do have reservations about her work here so far. I hope that is taken into consideration with all other factors. “

    4. NotMyName*

      At my job everyone who interviews a candidate provides feedback by email. This usually includes a recommendation (“yes, I would want to work with them”, “no, I would not want to work with them”). I don’t really understand why written feedback would be a problem.

  8. Nobody*

    #2 – Maybe I’m missing something, but why are you so uncomfortable with giving feedback in writing? Unless the feedback is related to something that would be illegal discrimination, like the candidate’s race, religion, gender, age, disability, etc. — in which case you should not give that feedback at all — why are you afraid to put it in writing? While I agree that it is crazy to make the whole department participate in the hiring process, it looks like you actually have some relevant concerns about this candidate based on her performance as a temp, and you should take advantage of the opportunity to voice your concerns before it’s too late. If the issue is your boss’s discretion in keeping the concerns confidential, I don’t see how there would be much of a difference between putting the information in an e-mail or printing a Word document (on which your boss would probably write your name) or stating it verbally (which your boss would probably write down with your name).

    1. Artemesia*

      I once opposed the selection of someone to chair a department (new hire) and he was selected; it was soon obvious to me that he had access to information about the process (he may have literally had access to the files, I know I had such access when I chaired) and that he knew that I had voted against. He was a nightmare to me the whole time he was my boss. He had a chip on his shoulder from day one — after one somewhat hilarious meeting when he yelled at me about how stupid a suggestion I made was (which he later adopted as policy), one of my colleagues came to me and said ‘you must remind this guy of his ex-wife or something — I mean what is THAT about.’ I would be very reluctant to put things like this in writing internally. That stuff just hangs around forever.

      1. Nobody*

        I can see how it could become a problem to give negative feedback on a candidate who ends up being your boss, but I didn’t get the impression that the role being filled is going to be the OP’s boss. Also, if the person who is hired will have access to the files (which is really inappropriate and a problem in itself if that’s the case), she would probably find out about the negative feedback even if it’s given verbally, because the boss will probably write down any verbal comments and who said them.

      2. this will never end 'cause i want more*

        This. The thing is, you never know what the future will hold. The candidate may not be boss *now*. But what about next year? What if the candidate is having an affair with your boss?

        And this kind of information sticks around forever and you never really can be sure it’s being held private. I co-oped for a company many years ago as an undergrad; a few years later, in grad school, my advisor handed me a folder of misc stuff which happened to include a “confidential” performance evaluation from my boss to the school. It wasn’t bad, but – it was obviously not something I was intended to ever see.

        I realize that in the LW’s case they’re just talking about academia. But sometimes institutions undergo “bureaucratic purge”. Taking things to an extreme, if the institution is a shaky Eastern-European government: it’s bad to get called into the new boss’s office and told to clean out your desk; it’s worse to get called into your new boss’s office and told to clean out your desk, and then they take you downstairs and instead of calling you a cab, they give you a blindfold and a cigarette.

        Don’t laugh – this stuff actually happens. It’s highly unlikely that OP2 will find themself facing down a firing squad – but Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale comes up in discussion now and again here on AAM. Those Republic of Gilead folks are exactly the kind of people who’d start sifting through records once they took over. Did you see the movies Downfall and / or Too Big To Fail? Lots of people shredding lots and lots of paper. Except nowadays, with digital storage and off-site backups, it’s a lot more difficult to remove all traces of (say) your poor opinion of the new CEO’s nephew.

        1. Artemesia*

          This. Even in the days of paper files this was true. I accidentally came across my own hiring paperwork a couple of decades after being hired. It included feedback from everyone in the process that hired me (and I was hired instead of someone with personal connections who had some champions.)

  9. Tara*

    #1: I’m assuming this went to the police, right?? In that case I would consider getting in touch with whoever handled the case before (even if it didn’t go anywhere) and just explaining the situation very neutrally– that he has reached out to you and is intending to volunteer at a different school. If he’s been convicted of anything, I assume he’s forbidden from this kind of work. And if he hasn’t been, I think notifying the authorities is the best you can do.

    How grossly negligent of your company, though. I might push back– “I understand you’re worried about a defamation case, but I think we need to consider the bigger picture here. If he starts preying on another girl, it will reflect very poorly on our school for not taking appropriate steps to protect children.”

    Also, ewwwwwww.

    1. misspiggy*

      And reflect very poorly on the OP’s company’s core business – what will happen when schools find out that the company is not doing what it pays them to, i.e. find volunteers with nothing dodgy in their background?

      1. MashaKasha*

        It might shut down is what will happen. I’ve seen something similar swept under the rug and it eventually came out – this stuff always comes out. There was a huge scandal and a lot of people left. Luckily it was a social group and not a business. I agree with you both, OP1 might try to talk to the supervisors again to make sure they understand the severity of the situation. There is a paper trail. The other school escalated things (whatever that means). If the offender starts volunteering for the new school, new school will find out soon enough and shit will hit the fan. And for crying out loud, the man is already banned from the program, so OP1’s company doesn’t owe him anything – it banned him already!

  10. Artemesia*

    for the OP whose Dad is pushing about hiring him. This is one where it will be easier to have a flat statement ‘Oh Dad, I can’t do that, it is a conflict of interest and I could get in trouble.’ If possible ‘Oh, Dad, I can’t do that. I suggested it once and got scolded for conflict of interest’ and be consistent from the git go. YOu don’t have to discuss this anew with each situation; take it completely off the table as a conflict so you don’t have to get into whether you don’t love him or appreciate him or think he is a good carpenter or whatever — it is simply out of the question and unprofessional — p eople just don’t and can’t do that sort of thing. I really sympathize with your situation and hope that with time you will have the resources to be able to live more independently.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      This, completely. Just say you can’t do it because it’s a conflict of interest. It has the added benefit of being the truth. In addition, it just has an icky vibe, which the OP stated it perfectly: s/he is disabled, the employer has to renovate to make accommodations, and in a stunning coincidence, his/her father just happens to be a contractor! OP, someone might even get suspicious and think you and your father are running some kind of a scam. People cook up insurance scams and other rackets all the time, and sadly, this sort of thing is probably a target too.

      To be absolutely clear, obviously I know that’s not happening here, since you wrote in and asked Alison for advice about getting your dad to back off.

      1. OP3*

        Yeah, that was my concern. I mean, it is a coincidence, but I know it probably won’t come off as such, and I worry that because I work there and some of the renovations are specifically for me, whoever is in charge of choosing workers would put undue weight on his bid. I don’t know that that would happen, but I’d rather not find out.

        1. Colette*

          It sounds like you think he’ll be OK with that response, which is great. If he continues pushing, though, I think this is the kind of circumstance where you can lie – i.e. “I’ve checked and they already have someone lined up”.

          But the better solution is to just explain that you can’t because of the conflict of interest, if that works.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          “…some of the renovations are specifically for me”

          Or anyone else they may hire with similar requirements. If you’re challenged on that, you could say well, it’s ADA compliance, which it is.

          I’m sorry your dad acts like this. That sucks.

    2. OP3*

      Thanks for the advice, I was kind of worried about it coming up every time one of my jobs is doing any kind of renovation. I think you’re right that it is easier and less stressful for me if I just take it off the table entirely.

      1. BRR*

        Also I’m not sure how he found out about the renovation but I would try and not mention it in the future if this is how he acts.

        1. OP3*

          Yeah, he found out because I mentioned it to him. That is probably something I should avoid in the future, just in case.

  11. Patty*

    For the last letter..

    Do what you can to stay in contact with the professors in your major..I suspect that Facebook or LinkedIn would be useful.. If only because you might decide to go to grad school or apply for a job for which they’d be a useful reference.

    1. So Very Anonymous*

      Yes. Keep in mind that this may get challenging once the school actually closes its doors, though, because all of your professors have just lost their jobs and the academic job market is brutal. They may get harder to find, so you may want to touch base sooner rather than later.

      1. Artemesia*

        This. These professors are well and completely screwed. There is no market for mid career professors from small liberal arts colleges. They will be lucky to ever work in academia again and certainly unlikely to ever hold tenure again. If there are one or two professors whom you have a particularly good relationship with, make a point to talk to them and keep track of them and keep them updated about yourself. And recognize that reference writing is no longer part of their job but something they will have to want to make the effort to do.

        1. So Very Anonymous*

          Exactly. My sense is that Sweet Briar is working hard to take care of its students, working out arrangements with other colleges etc. I would contact them to find out what arrangements they’re making to make transcripts etc. available for alumnae (the advice about ordering some NOW is good). For faculty, the closing is truly catastrophic, and while I’m sure they remain committed to students’ and alumnae’s futures, they are in a very, very difficult place right now in terms of their own futures.

        2. Melissa*

          Yeah, this was my second thought (after how sad I was that a fellow women’s college was closing, and sympathy for the students and alumnae). It’s worse because the school closed in March after the academic job market is nearly done for the year. The pre-tenure faculty have the best shot of moving on, but the tenured mid-career and senior professors…well, it might be career-ending for them. Sad.

          Anyway, I agree – getting a personal email from them or even soliciting a general recommendation letter from them now, in case you can’t get in touch with them later, and keeping it on a dossier service might be a good idea. I think most professors will want to write recommendations for their students even if they are no longer working as professors, unless they don’t have the time – especially professors formerly at small LACs, where this kind of thing was just part and parcel of the job.

          1. So Very Anonymous*

            Yes, this, exactly, about the timing of it — I’m a veteran of years on the academic job market and March is just about the bleakest time of the academic job-market cycle. Terrible irony that the pre-tenure faculty probably have the best shot — here’s a case where tenure absolutely does not protect you.

            Dossier service (Interfolio?) is an excellent idea for keeping recommendation letters or emails.

  12. Ann Furthermore*

    #1. OMG. How creepy, horrible, and awful! OP, if the police were notified and got involved, I recommend passing along the information you’ve received to them. They will know the status of the case, if it’s ongoing or if it has been dismissed, if there are charges pending, and so on. And therefore they’ll know better than anyone else how to proceed. They’re trained to take a tip or piece of information, investigate and evaluate it, and then determine if any further action is warranted.

    All that being said though, I think your employer needs to seek out legal counsel to find out what their obligation and/or liability is here. If you work for the school district, surely there’s a legal department that could handle this.

    1. Meredith*

      OP may even be a mandatory reporter, depending on their state and position. In that case, they are legally bound to report suspected child abuse. I’m not sure how that plays out in this situation, but I would err on the side of notifying School B. This guy is not an appropriate volunteer and should not have contact with children.

      1. jag*

        Mandated reporting doesn’t mean you have to report something to every institution the bad guy tries to connect to in the future.

        It means you have to report the act to appropriate authorities when you learn of it. It’s not a a requirement for ongoing reporting about the same act.

  13. jamlady*

    Oh yikes. #4 bothers me on a personal level.

    First, you’ve always been replaceable – everyone is. You have just now had it handed to you like a threat, which should be more about possibly moving to a company where you’re seen as less expendable and improving your own career rather than actively hurting other careers. Second, since you were in the situation of having to train yourself (I’ve been there), you should remind yourself how hard it is to get far in your industry without that help.

    I am in an industry where job skills for mid-level work (the first level of permanent work with benefits) are only things you can actually learn while doing mid-level work, so you have to find a company where the policy allows your supervisor to help you out and where your supervisor actually wants to. Probably 75% of supervisors in my industry are actually prevented from training lower-level employees with certain programs and it personally offends them that they can’t help people further their career. I understand your stress about being replaceable, but you always have been, and refusing to train people at your current company only makes you less desirable to keep around. You don’t have to train this person solely to benefit their career, but you should at least be doing it for the company you work for since that’s your job.

    1. MK*

      I am not so sure it was a threat. It’s not as if the company was laying people off and the manager told the remaining employees they were replaceable in a “it could be you next” manner. The manager came across with this after several employees left, which to me has a more “Ha! Who needs them?” vibe.

      1. jamlady*

        I use the word threat because OP seemed to take the situation as a threat with the whole “the manager has made it very clear we’re replaceable” statement. I wouldn’t have taken that as a threat, but OP seemed to because he/she is so worried about doing her job in the off chance it makes someone else look better than her.

  14. Mel R*

    Re #1: Given the nature of their work, it’s possible that the OP or the organisation they work for as a whole is legally *required* to report this sort of thing.

    1. Zillah*

      Yeah, this occurred to me, too! Aren’t most educators required to report even cases of suspected abuse or harassment?

      1. Treena Kravm*

        Anyone who works with children professionally is a mandated reporter, but that obligation lies in reporting the suspected abuse of a particular child, not potential abusers. So I would have to have Girl B at School B tell me he said/did something inappropriate, and then I make a report to Children’s Services. But I can’t proactively say, “He’s been inappropriate in the past, and now that he’s attempting to get into a new school, I’m reporting that.” At least in the context of mandated reporting laws. Professional ethics would spur on additional action, just not related to being a mandated reporter.

      1. Kitchenalia*

        I have all sorts of alarm bells about #1. If I was in the OP’s position, I’d be asking what child protection practices the OP’s organisation has in place.

        >finding volunteers to work in schools
        What screening is done before placing a volunteer in a school? Criminal record check? Referee check, specifically asking ‘Do you have any child protection concerns about this person?’

        >the man was obviously banned from the program
        What records does your organisation maintain about the volunteers? Do you review your records for past complaints, allegations and criminal offences before placing a volunteer?

        What training do you require of the volunteers before placing them in a school: protective practises when work with children, recognising and responding to abuse and neglect of children and young people

        Do you require volunteers to complete a declaration asking about criminal offences, allegations or warnings about inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour?

        In the OP’s shoes, I would question if I wanted to work for an organisation that doesn’t ensure the safety of young people at all times.

        This man will continue to act inappropriately towards young people if he is not challenged on his behaviour, it won’t be an isolated event, or the first or the last.

        1. neverjaunty*

          These are excellent points. OP, if your organization is placing volunteers to work with children, don’t they have some kind of program to make sure that the volunteers are OK? Or is their attitude “well, we don’t know if he was convicted and we don’t want to get sued”? Because if it’s that last one, setting aside all the problems the organization is going to run into, YOU PERSONALLY are at risk here – of being peripherally, if not centrally, caught up if this organization places a predator.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I was reading an article several years ago about how schools pass teachers like this on to other schools. Apparently, it’s not uncommon at ALL. I found it absolutely infuriating.

  15. Juli G.*

    I’m curious for OP 1. Is your organization the only way for someone to volunteer for that program? If so, I sort of understand the position – as long as you refuse to place him, he can’t volunteer anyway.

    Would your employer be comfortable letting you say something more vague like “unfortunately, we’re unable to place Mr. X with your school as his previous assignments have compromised student safety”? You aren’t outright calling him a pedophile but you’re also alerting the school not to get mixed up with the guy.

    1. Blue Anne*

      I think Alison is right to say they might get in MORE legal trouble for avoiding bringing it up, though. I worked with kids all through college – not real teaching gigs or anything, but nannying and volunteering. Even in volunteer positions like Girl Scout leader it was made clear to me that I had a strong legal obligation to report.

  16. Blue Anne*

    #5, my sister and brother-in-law met at Antioch College and had this concern for a while. From what I understand, it didn’t actually turn out to be a problem at all. Employers either weren’t concerned at all, knew the deal, or took a quick look at the Wikipedia page!

    1. Natalie*

      I went there, and in my experience most people didn’t even realize they closed. Especially now that they are open again.

    2. Melissa*

      One of my undergrad advisors went to Antioch for undergrad. If anything, the school’s closing just made me recognize how good it was – I had never heard of it before the news reports.

  17. Lawyer*

    I am a lawyer. Here is what I think for #1:

    1. This organization of OP could be sued for negligence, really, for recommending this guy. This negligence suit could be any victim of this guy. It is negligent to recommend someone for a job who they have knowledge was inappropriate with a minor. No conviction is necessary. Accordingly, anyone who hires him knowing of these past details could be sued for negligent hiring.

    2. You can only be sued for defamation successfully where a person made FALSE statements. Here, the OP said there was evidence that this guy sent inappropriate messages to a minor and she reached out for help as a result–you are not making things up. You would be lying if you said he was a convict when he was never convicted or anything. Just explain the bare facts and don’t call him a “pedophile”–just say he inappropriately communicated with a minor student.

    3. Also, your organization could lose social capital once it’s revealed that they recommended this guy: parents would not trust your organization AND funders would refuse to fund you (especially if it is government funds). This is really newsworthy actually and if it became public, your organization would be in a lot of heat and people would probably lose their jobs for recommending this guy. This is a time when you need to be a leader and not a follower.

    1. MK*

      While I agree with your points, I don’t think that’s the point here. This person was approached by a school to volunteer and in turn is asking the OP’s organization to re-hirehimbut, so far as I can tell there is no question of them either taking him back or recommending him to the school. If they did so, yes, they would be liable. If I understand correctly, the OP thinks they should contact the school and warn them in addition to refusing his services (which is a given, if he was banned).

      1. ella*

        I think it depends on if there’s a way for Inappropriate Guy to volunteer outside of the network that the OP works for. If he has to go through the OP’s employer to volunteer, then they can be gatekeepers however they like. But if there’s a possibility of Inappropriate Guy independently networking and finding a volunteer position on his own, then they need to be more proactive about making clear to the surrounding schools that he was banned and is not eligible to be a volunteer.

        They should also figure out what emails he got and from whom and get him taken off that list.

    2. HR Generalist*

      I’d also be concerned (in Canada) about a duty to report for putting children in danger. They have on record that he abused a position of power in an attempt to seduce a student/minor. How can they legally put him back on their ‘volunteer list’ without warning the school about his past record?
      If it was me, I would call the school and ask to speak with the athletic coordinator (or whoever does the hiring for coaches). With the file in front of me, I would explain that the individual was terminated for indecent conduct with a minor that occurred in 2014 and that he had been put on a “do not re-hire” list as a result. Let them move forward as they wish but my assumption is they will say “nevermind”. If they want to move forward and ask to have him on the list, send registered mail with only the facts of the case (“indecent conduct with minor student, including messages and photos on record”) and have them sign off that they are aware. No school would sign off on that document in my mind (I should hope!)

      1. Beancounter in Texas*

        Ditto. If he was banned from the program, this particular employer isn’t obligated to accept him as a volunteer.

    3. Ben Around*

      I was in the news industry for many years, and heck yeah there’s a story here that could easily make the news. There’s something wrong with this guy, so he’s likely to do something creepy again, and even if he doesn’t get caught doing it again, the Internet and social media have created a world where this situation could easily blow up on you.
      If doing the right thing and being able to sleep at night aren’t enough to motivate you, think of how a photo of your office leading a news story connected to this issue would look. I’ve assigned photos like that in the past, and believe me, they stick in people’s minds.
      Do you really think this guy would want to litigate? I doubt very much he wants to be deposed or cross-examined.
      Step up and tell the other school the unembellished facts.

  18. DNerd*

    #4, the difference in “aura” between a worker who is in the business of self preservation / job security, and one who is comfortable and selfless in their role as a team player, is palpable. Others can “smell” it, and it contributes greatly to the local work environment as well as other’s perception of your importance. A good manager also will have a sense of whether or not to replace you based on your willingness to be part of the team rather than a sheltered island of tribal knowledge.

    You are replaceable, but it is necessary to be almost counter-intuitive with that knowledge. You must accept your lot as a replaceable worker, and help others become comfortable in doing some of the duties that were previously only yours.

    When you get to this point, your manager will see you as something more than a walled island of tribal knowledge. They will see you as someone with the invaluable skill of knowledge transfer and team playing ability. This makes you much more indispensable than an impenetrable, remote island.

    1. Jessica*

      I can picture OP #4 having a lot more issues with his or her behavior for “not being a team player” than they would for training their coworkers. Yes, they can refuse to do it, but it will reflect really poorly on them.

  19. beckythetechie*

    Regarding the dad pushing for nepotism: that kind of “use your connections to get me jobs” thinking is pretty common in construction fields, or used to be anyway. My father was a crane operator for 45 years. If he heard the project he was working needed an electrician and my uncle was free, he’d let him know, Uncle J. would call the union and see if there was a request for guys for Big Job, and sometimes he’d be on the site by the next week. Sometimes he couldn’t recommend a family member at all, but could recommend someone he’d worked with on another job site.

    Wording that may help with your refusal: “My family members don’t qualify to bid because I already work for the company. It has to be an outside contractor.” (And a lot of companies have this policy in place to help them avoid construction scams and insurance fraud, so he should be familiar with that, if not the specific conflict of interest.)

    1. OP3*

      It’s funny you should mention nepotism, because I brought that up and his immediate response was, “it’s not nepotism!” Glad to know I wasn’t off base there.

      My dad’s an independent worker, not union or anything, so I’m not sure if the rules for recommendations would be different in that case, but I’ll definitely keep the phrase in my back pocket if he won’t let it go. Thanks!

    2. MK*

      Eh, I am not sure why you think it was nepotism of your father to inform your uncle about work opportunities. There is nothing wrong with alerting your friends about a vacancy or even recommending them, assuming he was sincere in thinking they were the right person. Nepotism actually means giving someone the job because of their connections; in this case it would be your father’s boss giving your uncle the job because he wanted to keep it “in the family”.

  20. Cheesecake*

    OP 4, you can totally refuse training new guys, if:
    – You don’t want to go further in your career and get a managerial position. Knowing how to teach people and lead them is a an equally big piece as technical (job) skills, if not bigger.
    – You want your employer to start questioning how did you actually learn this stuff if you can’t explain it to no one.

    Now, i have never seen a job where you are taught how to do stuff, a to z classroom style. It is DIY all the way. You learnt the software (thanks to employer btw). You have proven yourself to get a senior role. Now teach the others and go lvl up in your career. And who said you need to teach them everything? Teach basics and see how they roll.

  21. Gnora*

    #2 – I wonder if this sort of thing is common in acamedia? When I was doing my undergrad my department was hiring a new tenure-track profressor and had an extensive interview process where the canadates met with basically everyone in the department and even presented a paper. My student organization was asked to help chaperone the canadates around campus, which we did gladly. Mind you, myself and my peers each spent about 10-20 minuets with each canadate escorting them between meetings. We were CCed on several hiring-related emails and eventually asked to provide, in writing, our thoughts on the canadates. They sent us a survey to fill out and everything, it was pretty bizarre and while we weren’t forced to fill anything out it was “strongly encouraged”.

    1. Sophia in the DMV*

      Yes, this is my experience in academia. You have a two day interview with dinner with the search committee the first day, meetings and lunch with various people (faculty in the department, dean, breakfast w grad students or undergrads if it doesn’t have a grad program) and a research talk. Before extending an offer, the committee asks for feedback from the students. Department holds a meeting, with all TT and tenured faculty getting a vote on who to extend the offer to.

    2. Sascha*

      That scenario is common for hiring faculty, usually staff is a lot less involved and more like hiring in non-academia, especially the lower you go in the role. However my university’s HR “requires” written feedback on all candidates and saves it in a file for each person. Or so I’ve been told….we have to fill out forms with the candidate’s answers to each question and our feedback, and supposedly this form gets turned back into HR, but my manager, and other managers I’ve worked with (I sit on a lot of hiring committees in my office), have never actually collected my forms.

    3. OOF*

      It may be. I work in higher ed – which is known for having a more regimented hiring process, especially if a public institution – and the written feedback thing is definitely something we do.

    4. AcademicAnon*

      It’s common in academia, where I work the chair actually invites anyone who has attended a seminar or otherwise interacted with a potential faculty hire to provide feedback on that person and yes it can be “written” feedback.

    5. Melissa*

      As others have said, it’s common in academia. The reasoning is partially because if all goes well, assistant professors will get tenure in ~6 years, which makes it extremely difficult to terminate them. They might be hanging around the department for 30+ years, their entire career. Hiring is also horrible expensive for them – the search takes an entire year and they have to pay to fly at least three candidates out (and put them up for 2-3 days) to interview them. If the search fails, they have to do the same thing all over again the next year, and/or sometimes the school will yank the tenure line (meaning that they have to make do with one less professor in the department – more work for everyone else).

      So academic departments try to make REALLY sure that they are hiring someone good.

  22. Not Today Satan*

    Ugh, #1 made my stomach turn. I reported a child molester years back and it turned out that *several* people also knew that he had done this and did nothing. Think of the Catholic church scandal, Penn State, et al…. the majority of people won’t do the bare minimum to protect children if it inconveniences them in any way (or if they like the abuser or think he’s more “complex” than the monster under the bed they picture as an abuser). It’s really depressing, but I also learned that I can’t rely on any other people and I certainly can’t rely on any institution to look out for children–if I’m ever in that situation again, I need to take care of it myself (again). So OP, I second Alison’s suggestion to notify the school. Please don’t be one of the many, many people who say, “Oh, well, my supervisor said I didn’t need to do anything.”

  23. lindrine*

    #1 In the US there is such a thing as mandated reporter where you MUST report suspected child endangermentioned to state authorities. In the state of Georgia it is a requirement of every one who works with children, even volunteers.

    Is there a reason you haven’t reported this yourself OP?

    1. HR Generalist*

      Agreed. In Canada, the school would have a duty to report to Children and Family Services, who would conduct their own investigation. They would also likely refer to the police as well. Even if he wasn’t found guilty in a court of law he would still likely have a record with Family Services (which would show up on a Vulnerable Sector Check) and he’d never be allowed to volunteer/work at a school, retirement home, group home, jail, police department, etc. ever again.

      1. HannahS*

        Does that still apply to 16 year-olds? I’m in ON, and I’m pretty sure that mandatory reporting ends at 16. I don’t know if the school would still be obliged to tell–I’m speaking as the daughter of a doctor; at 16 some aspects of mandatory reporting end and confidentiality keeps her from reporting stuff without the patient’s consent. Does something similar apply to schools?

        1. HR Generalist*

          Hi HannahS – yes duty to report ends at age 16 as that’s the end of our Family Services’ mandate. It could still be a vulnerable issue with a minor though so I would report it regardless, they would investigate at minimum (for example, if the victim was 17 but it is a school with ages 14 – 18 then other students could have been at risk, so the perpetrator should be checked out).

    2. Kelly L.*

      It gets clarified some upthread. The previous incident was presumably reported by someone at the time, and it doesn’t sound like the mandated reporter rule applies to this specific scenario that’s happening now (see Treena Kravm at 5:08).

  24. Virginian*

    OP #5, you should have nothing to worry about. I attended a school close by that went co-ed several years ago and I just explain that it’s now ____ College to employers.

    1. HR Generalist*

      We have had this happen at our work too – there was a school on the degree that I couldn’t find in my software. I called the employee and they explained that it was now called “____ University” and I just googled to confirm and registered him under that school.
      It sounds like what’s happening for this OP though is that the school is closing down completely rather than going through a name change, but it would probably take the same sort of simple explanation. I might make a note of it on my resume or cover letter but we don’t usually verify credentials until interview stage anyway, and a comment at that time would be sufficient.

  25. Carrington Barr*

    “I no longer wish to share my skills with anyone as I’m now replaceable.”

    Sweetie, you’ve ALWAYS been replaceable.

    1. Anastasia Beaverhausen*

      Well yeah, everyone is… but I’d be pretty upset too of if I had worked somewhere for 4 years and my boss was now telling me someone else could pick up my job no problem. There are different levels of ‘replacable’ and a good boss would not make a good employee feel like anyone could take their place in a sec.

      Just saying that we probably shouldn’t be condescending to the OP.

  26. Joie de Vivre*

    #4 – While it’s true everyone is replaceable, some people are more difficult to replace than others. Hoarding knowledge does not make you more difficult to replace – it just makes you seem more difficult to deal with.
    You’ll be far more difficult to replace if you’re seen as the “go to guy” who can (and will!) answer any question, support the team and produce excellent results.

  27. Sans*

    And for all those who can’t imagine why a pedophile can get away with it for so long, repeatedly – this is how it happens. People are afraid of being sued. In some cases, they are thinking he is probably a pedophile but don’t have proof and police weren’t involved — or enough proof wasn’t available to press charges — and there is the slight possibility of innocence.

    Yes, police should be called. They should investigate. I don’t know what the realities of the situation are. Can they get solid documentation from the previous incident? Have they been (or do they know of others) sued in the past in a similar situation? I can’t imagine a successful suit if they can show documentation — and I don’t really think he’d sue if he knew they were going to talk about his disgusting actions in open court.

    But every time a pedophile is caught and there’s an outcry about people not reporting him earlier — this is why. I think it’s crazy that they aren’t telling the school, but it’s not surprising.

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      There is also the fine line of what is legal and illegal and most of these creeps know it well and tread it lightly. For example it is not *illegal* to have flirtatious conversations with an underage girl. It likely violates many policies and is unethical but unless there is underage sex or he shows dirty pictures of himself or solicits them from her or invites her to do illegal things he hasn’t crossed into illegal territory. That is why some things get reported and the police reply “there is nothing we can do until it escalates.” He could certainly be fired and he shouldn’t get a recommendation and it would be fair to say “he violated our policies regarding communicating/flirting with students.”

        1. Elysian*

          I think there was an episode of Law and Order: SVU not too long ago where the person they were tracking was treading SUPER close to the line, but they could just never get enough info to actually convict. Darnit though, did those TV detectives try hard!

    2. neverjaunty*

      Eh, I doubt it’s really so much about being sued as it is not wanting to bother or stir up a fuss. I mean, think about it: what’s he going to sue FOR? Telling the truth about his creeping on a young girl, which is going to spread word of his behavior even farther and wider?

      But it sounds better to say “ooo, we don’t want to get sued” than “we don’t want to be bothered”.

  28. VictoriaHR*

    I work in HR for a large company and all of our interview notes are required to be printed out (if on a computer) and placed in a job file. If a manager took written notes during an interview, we ask for them so that we can put them in the file. I don’t know why. We’ve been pushing back against the policy as long as I’ve been here but haven’t made any headway.

    1. Judy*

      I thought there was some regulation that all hiring materials had to be retained for a year after a hire, and 2 years if anyone was over 40?

  29. Swarley*


    I don’t think I could go around my employer in a situation like this. Not because of the deception, but because I couldn’t ethically work for an organization that wanted to sweep this under the rug. If it turned out that there was no conviction and nothing standing in the way legally, I might be more understandable. But assuming that there was a clear conviction and this person is a registered sex offender (public information), I’d take the facts to my employer.

    I’d say something like: I understand your concern about not wanting to defame anyone, but this person is a convicted sex offender, and the risk of not informing the school could not only get us in more trouble, but it’s morally wrong. I’m going to let the school know because of this.

    I’m not writing this to sound holier-than-thou, but because this is so incredibly wrong that I couldn’t sleep at night if I said nothing.

  30. Persephone Mulberry*

    I think a lot of people are misreading Q#1 and/or jumping to conclusions. To be clear, I am in no way defending the man’s actions. However, at the moment there’s nothing to report to the police or CPS. The situation at school A was dealt with – the OP says it “was escalated,” so I assume either the police or CPS was involved at that time. Closed book.

    Keep in mind it was THE MAN who reached out to OP to ask to be readmitted to their program so he can volunteer at school B. All OP has to do is say, “I’m sorry, based on the incident at School A, we can’t and won’t readmit you.” It sounds like school B must go through OP’s program for their volunteers, or else why would the man even bother contacting OP? The man is going to have to go back to School B and tell them he can’t be assigned through OP’s program, and the man is probably going to ask him why (or School B will contact OP and ask them). It seems highly unlikely that School B is going to let the guy volunteer anyway if he can’t get into the program that the school uses.

    1. neverjaunty*

      Assuming the police or CPS were involved and that the man’s behavior is a ‘closed book’, and assuming that he will have to tell School B the truth about the program, is jumping to conclusions, no?

      Here’s what we do know: that CreepyDude has asked OP’s organization to place him, and that OP’s organization is taking the attitude that they aren’t allowed to talk about problems with CreepyDude because lawyers are scary. Which is nonsense. (Okay, lawyers ARE scary. I mean that it’s a flimsy and transparent excuse for doing nothing.)

      I see no reason CreepyDude couldn’t find a way to lie to School B about why he isn’t placed through them that has nothing to do with his past. It would be jumping to conclusions for OP to assume that if her organization does nothing, CreepyDude will mutter “curses! foiled again!” and slink off into the shadows forever.

      Plus, let’s face it, if CreepyDude is stupid enough to sue people for telling the truth about his past behavior, he might also be stupid enough to sue them for refusing to place him as a volunteer. “They discriminate against men!” or something like that.

    2. Ben Around*

      Persephone, I think you’re assuming a lot. If there’s assuming to be done, the safest assumption is probably that someone who’s been a creep once is hoping to get into a position to be a creep again.

      Telling the unadorned truth isn’t defamatory and is the right thing to do. Plenty of abused kids wish adults who did nothing would have been brave.

  31. Labyrinthine*

    I rarely disagree with you Alison, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say OP#5 is going to have no issues. I also attended a small, private school that closed because they just couldn’t keep up with the big boys. Most employers understand this. But for several they immediately ask questions that indicate they doubt my degree has any value. I’ve now prepared a quick explanation that the school closed, with full accreditation and it has no impact on my degree standing. This is a very important point that the OP should not overlook.

    1. Melissa*

      Well, asking questions about it isn’t really the same as having problems, and I think it also depends on the school. Sweet Briar (if it is indeed SBC, which I’m about 99% sure it is) has a good reputation and is a pretty well-known, well-reputed school, and the news is national. For a smaller/less-well known school that closed because of financial troubles – but not accreditation issues – if an employer asked, you’d just need to be prepared with an answer.

      I think the real problem comes in if your college closed because it lost accreditation, or couldn’t keep up enrollments. That provokes serious questions about the value of that education.

  32. Kat A.*

    #5: I knew immediately you were talking about Sweetbriar. It is sad to lose a beloved school.

    Be sure to get your transcripts and any letters of recommendation from professors in case you need them for the future.

  33. Barefoot Librarian*

    OP #5: I was crushed to hear about SBC. I have a friend who works there also. It’s tragic to see such an old and respected school with so much character shut its doors. I think you’ll find that people you interview with will be very sympathetic, especially if they are academic institutions. We are all reeling along with you. The very best of luck in finding new work.

    1. Barefoot Librarian*

      Oops, just realized that you are a graduate not an employee! I’ve been talking to so many SBC employees lately that my brain just sort of assigned you that role. The same goes for students, though. The good thing about Sweet Briar closing their doors in a controlled and deliberate fashion is that they didn’t wait for financial struggles to cause any decline in the quality of instruction or services. The closing of the school is in no way going to reflect negatively. Your degree was still obtained from an accredited institute no matter what happened later. I agree with the commenter who suggested you go ahead and a get any reference letters you might need for employers or grad school now, while the faculty are all still there.

      1. So Very Anonymous*

        Sweet Briar’s story is happening very, very publicly too. The academic world is VERY aware of what’s happened and that the school is closing down before there was any decline in instruction, services, etc. As a commenter above said, you might want to have a quick statement prepared on how there was no decline in educational quality, in case you do get questions. But it’s my understanding that Sweet Briar has a strong reputation. It’s a little like hearing that Vassar or one of the other Seven Sisters is closing — it clearly has nothing to do with the school’s quality.

        1. Melissa*

          In fact, one of the most talked-about things is the abruptness of the closing – because SBC’s reputation is so good and their endowment was about $94 million. In fact, a lot of small women’s colleges that are somewhat similar to SBC have had to put disclaimers on their web pages about their own financial health and assure their students and alumnae that they are not in danger of closing. Agnes Scott College has one on their website, and Mount Holyoke sent out an email blast to all of their alumnae with their most recent financial and enrollment statistics. My own alma mater (Spelman) hasn’t put anything up but I’m curious to see if they will comment on it, particularly since they are searching for a new president.

  34. Graciosa*

    Regarding #4, managers have an obligation to make sure that the work can still get done even when certain team members are not available. That is a critical part of the job. A manager who sails along hoping that Key Employee (the only one who can X) never wins the lottery / goes on vacation / finds another job / dies falling into a cement mixer full of quicksand is not managing.

    I understand resenting the remarks about being replaceable – even though this is a fundamental truth, it sounds as if this was an attempt to inspire fear, which is not a management practice I admire – but it may help to remember that the converse is also true. An employee with useful skills can always elect to replace their employer.

  35. Not So NewReader*

    OP1. What is the point of having a ban in place when the ban goes away if the person who issued the ban quits the job??? It seems that there is no ban now, because your predecessor left the company???? I really think this is your best talking point here. There is no point to your workplace having bans if the bans do not stay in place.

    Point #2. He is telling you the school approached HIM for coaching. Why not find out if that is even true? It might not be. Who, from the school, spoke with him? Are they actually looking for more help? Why didn’t the school ask you directly? And I am not clear on why he cannot just apply directly to the school? Why does he have to go through your place? It just strikes me that he could be lying about being approached.

    Point #3. If your boss is worried about newspaper heads- this one can go either way. A lawsuit can make headline. And another recurrence can also make headlines. Is you boss willing to let a child get hurt to avoid a lawsuit? He would be better off talking to the attorney for your work place and hammering out a game plan. It should be a plan that can be used and reused. This type of thing can come up again and again. If it were me, I would want the boss to know this is beyond my expertise and it is not something we can make a mistake on.

    Point #4. If this did go to court you should be able to get a copy of the disposition on the case. If you figure out which court it was in, you can call them and ask for it. But I really think your company attorney should do that for you.

    1. Ben Around*

      Regarding point #3: In the unlikely event that the guy with the creepy background would sue for defamation, and that the defamation suit would lead to a news story, it would backfire on the creepy guy. Honest. I spent more than three decades in news, and that’s how it would play out. He’d be setting himself up for the online lynch mob and his name would be forever linked with creepiness in any Google search. I think for the OP to worry about being hurt by news coverage for doing the right thing is to worry about nothing.

      And as I stated above, with the advent of social media and anonymous review websites, etc., if this guy does get into a coaching role, someone will remember his connection to the OP’s operation and that knowledge will get around.

      As far as news headlines, the danger to the OP’s operation stems largely from the possibility of NOT warning the other school. If this guy gets a coaching gig at the other school, there’s a big chance of a story blowing up, and his history at the OP’s operation will be exposed. And news editors — like I used to be — will happily make sure that connection gets public play.

      When I was motivating reporters, I called stories like this “cherry bomb” stories — I’d tell my reporters it’s like throwing a cherry bomb into a pond and kicking back while you watch the fish float up. Easy, fast, and it draws in big readership/viewership numbers.

  36. Van Wilder*

    #4 – Agree with AAM but I would add that your company sucks for making its employees feel that they could lose their jobs at any moment. Companies don’t succeed by making employees feel unsafe in their jobs and they can’t expect anyone to do their best work under those circumstances.

  37. Amy*

    Re: #2: this smells like protection from a possible lawsuit. If there has been a suit in the past, OP writer may not know about it. I think it’s perfectly acceptable for the hiring process to have a paper trail. If OP doesn’t want to participate, that’s insubordination. If you aren’t willing to leave a paper trail, you’re part of the problem. If you can handle it when someone you don’t like gets hired, then just say “This candidate is acceptable” (in whatever format they ask for) and let it go.

  38. Lee*

    #1. Most pedophiles are serial offenders. Children are in danger. Anonymous information should be sent to Child Protective Services, at the very least. The school is a mandated reporter and should have reported to the police. If you feel uncomfortable contacting the next school, please ask the school at which he offended to contact other area schools. He may not have to be convicted to develop a relationship with children’s services providers.

  39. Friendly Neighborhood CPS Lady*

    #1: I see a lot of comments encouraging calls to CPS (and see them on other posts as well, like the creepy caressing lady). CPS is not law enforcement. In my state (and my understanding is that this is how it works in others) we only investigate cases where the perp is in the home of the victim. If it is an out of home perp, the report is screened out and will not be investigated because we only are able to investigate in home perps. Calling CPS because someone in an after school program is acting inappropriately is going to result in absolutely zero action being taken (because as soon as the intake worker hears that it is an out of home perp, they will explain that CPS only deals in in home perps) and more societal huffing and puffing about derp derp those damn useless CPS workers.

    On occasion, CPS and law enforcement collaborate. But they are not the same entity at all. Even in a case where there is substantiated child abuse that leads to placing the kids in foster care and a court case and a court mandated treatment plan for parents to work while their kids are in care, that is a civil case. It is not criminal court. It takes place in family court.

    This is a huge misunderstanding that I see all the time – people see CPS as a catch all service for anything involving anything remotely sketchy with a child and it is not. We perform a very specific job, and law enforcement is not it. Even if the perp is Grandpa, if he does not live in the home, we cannot get involved. (The somewhat convoluted exception to this is if a child is being routinely left in the care of Grandpa the molester/Auntie the skull fracturer/Cousin the meth’d out babysitter and the parents are well aware of it and are failing to protect their children, then the parents will be investigated. But Grandpa, etc never will be.)

    Wishing TV would stop portraying CPS so incorrectly,

    Your Friendly Neighborhood CPS Lady

    1. Lindrine*

      Understood, but where I live (and I had to take mandated reporter training for my state as I am a volunteer that works with girls) it does not matter if it involves an immediate family member or not, we have to report even the suspicion of an issue. It is also Department of Children and Families in my area, so it might have a different focus/mission.

  40. Melissa*

    OP #3 – my dad would totally do something like this, too.

    OP #5 – If it is indeed Sweet Briar, I just wanted to say that I am so sorry. I went to a women’s college for undergrad and I know as an alumna, I’d be very upset if they closed. But I’ve been discussing this with a lot of people and have found that people generally have a very high opinion of SBC and realize that this has nothing to do with the academic mission of the school, just finances.

  41. Cassie*

    #2: our dept collects written feedback about faculty candidates who come to interview (the faculty host collects the feedback, then strips out the writers’ names and the anonymous feedback is kept on file). I’ve heard that other depts jot down notes for all of the applications they get (not just the people they interview) – probably so they will have some kind of documentation in case someone sues.

    I would be fine providing written feedback about candidates, but it would be frustrating not to be able to provide feedback about her current work performance. Isn’t that one of the advantages of hiring an internal candidate or temp employee? That they are a known quantity?!

  42. voyager1*

    I completely understand OP4. I am going to turn this around though. Poor managers allow one person to learn something to the point where nobody else knows it. The other team members are going to be naturally lazy and not learn the task(s), why should they when Jane or John bails them out. To me managers have some of the blame in allowing this to happen, if not all. I say this as someone who is in OP4’s shoes, and no you are not irreplaceable most times, but you do give managers pause in firing in some cases though…

    I however would not refuse to train someone, but I will tell the person asking you to do the training that YOU took the time to learn something. That should count for something and needs to be passed on to the manager asking you to train someone.

  43. 2horseygirls*

    OP#1: Personally, I would permanently misplace the email, registering his interest. Darn computers – glitches happen all the time.

    If he pushes back or contacts you again, a discreet word to School B stating the facts as you have presented them — “He sent her inappropriate messages and photos until she sought help. The man was obviously banned from the program by the person who previously had my role and the school escalated issues.” — allows School B to make their own inquiries of School A on their own, or draw their own conclusions.

    And someone in your organization needs to get in touch with your state’s Department of Children and Family Services for a refresher in-service on mandatory reporting. Geesh!

    OP#5: My sympathies on the news of Sweet Briar closing. I went to Mount Mary College (now University) in Milwaukee, a very small, women’s, liberal arts college. Even though I spent a ton of time downtown with friends who went to the much bigger (and co-ed) Marquette, I wouldn’t have changed my experience then or now if given the opportunity. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t attended the same type of instititution, but know that your sisters to the north are standing with you. ((( hugs )))

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