coworker was arrested for DUI, asking for a different room assignment, and more

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

1. My coworker was arrested for DUI and hasn’t told our employer

My coworker was arrested for a DUI a few months ago. I only just found out because he’s in my carpool and he just realized he wasn’t supposed to be driving. I also found out that he hasn’t told our employer. We drive rental vehicles as a regular part of our job. It’s not actually in any part of the handbook to tell our employer, but obviously he’s a liability and we’re also government contractors – I’m sure there’s a breach of contract somewhere in there. We don’t have the same boss and we technically don’t work together, just for the same company, but I have no idea if I should be telling someone. The other two coworkers in our carpool who know are subcontractors and technically work for a different company. One of them is leaving to go work primarily for her company and the other is technically below me in our work hierarchy so I feel like it shouldn’t be up to her to do anything.

What should I do? We’re in California and drive on U.S. government property, if that helps. In all honesty, I really feel like I should say something, but I don’t know him very well and I’m actually kind of afraid to do so. He’s very quiet and passive aggressive – I don’t really know how he’d react.

Ooooh, I think this will be an interesting one to get other opinions on.

Call me a busybody (I am one! and I’m also not inclined to protect drunk drivers), but I’d err on the side of speaking up since now you’re burdened with the information and he specifically told you that he hasn’t told your employer, which puts you in a bad position. I’d discreetly mention it to your boss and leave it to her to decide if it’s something that needs to be pursued or reported to anyone else. I’d say this, “I feel awkward about mentioning this but I’d also feel uncomfortable if I didn’t. I hope I’m not overstepping, but Bob mentioned that he was recently arrested for DUI and isn’t supposed to be driving but hasn’t told the company. It seemed to me like something that might matter for liability reasons since we drive so many rental cars, and I felt like I might be being negligent if I didn’t say something. Again, I feel icky about raising this, but I’d feel worse if I knew and didn’t say something and it did turn out to be an issue.”

I’m sure lots of people would argue this differently though.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. Asking for a different room assignment at a conference

I’m a PhD student, and our research group is going on an overnight trip for a conference tomorrow. Typically the culture is for same-gender students to share hotel rooms. A while back, I volunteered to host a new student joining the group (I’ll call her Brook) in my home. This was a decision I almost immediately regretted. Brook continuously left our bathroom messy, cooked and left food and dirty dishes out overnight, and left her clothes and personal items everywhere. Brook also expected to share meals with myself and my partner but did not disclose prior to her arrival that she was a vegetarian, meaning my partner went out and bought all new groceries (for which she never offered to pay him back).

Back to the conference. I was asked if I was okay with doing a twin share, with an undergraduate student (I’ll call her Piper). I said this was okay, but the email I received today with room assignments has me down to share a three-person room with Piper AND Brook. The thought of sharing a room with Brook again (a twin room for 3 people – I don’t actually know if it’s three separate beds!) makes my stomach turn and I know I will be on edge for the whole trip if this happens.

How should I raise this with my supervisor, and can I without looking immature?

I’d say this: “Is there any flexibility on room assignments? I’d agreed to a twin share, but it looks like I’m in with two people, and one of them is someone who I had a pretty bad experience hosting in my home last year. I normally wouldn’t ask, but given the history, I’d really like to switch if there’s any possibility of that.”

That’s a reasonable thing to say and won’t look immature. If you’re told no, at that point you do probably need to suck it up and deal with it, but it won’t look immature to calmly ask the question.

3. Can I write recommendation letters on work time?

I am a senior staff member at the small firm that I work at, and oversee several junior staff/interns. I have received requests from one current intern and one past intern to write letters of recommendations for them for their grad school applications. I am happy to do this, but my question is whether this is something that I should do in my own personal time, or during my normal work hours as part of my responsibilities as a supervisor.

For what it’s worth, I am leaving my current firm right about the same time that all of these applications are due (I’m leaving for a much better and AWESOME job, and I will be forever thankful to AAM and its readers for your incredible advice throughout the entire job search process; I was able to increase my annual salary 40% with this move!). I’d love to get them done on company time before I leave :)

Yep, it’s fine to write recommendations for current and past employees at work — it’s part of your job as a manager, and it’s not a task you’d be doing if not for your work there. It gets a little more grey when you’re asked to write them for employees from previous jobs, although even then it’s something that you’re doing in your professional capacity.

Moreover, as an exempt employee, you’re expected to manage your own time and in general it’s fine to do this kind of thing at work as long as it’s not bumping back higher priorities.

4. My title isn’t the one I agreed to when I was hired

I got my first “real,” aka industry, job a year ago (spent my time in academia roles previously). When it was time to write our yearly review, I noticed that my official title lacked the “senior” descriptor. I went to HR and was told, “Oh, it must be a typo, things are hectic now, give me a few weeks to correct it.” I wait a month to follow up and was told that my hiring job code reflected the correct title. I should be “teamaker” as opposed to “senior teamaker.” Well, I mention that all my documentation (job offer letter signed by HR, correspondence, even the job advertisement) says “senior teamaker.” HR says, “Wait a couple of weeks, we’ll try to straighten it out.” I go to my manager (who is new and wasn’t the one who hired me – there has been a lot of flux and my original hiring manager is gone) and say I’m confused and explain. He says he’ll look into it.

One month later, I follow up with HR and am told “you have the correct title according to your job code. A senior title means a promotion and we can’t give you that.” I am struck dumb. I go to my manager, and he says that my job reviews are favorable and he can recommend that I get promoted (but it’s not a sure thing and that’s not until next spring). I am flabbergasted. They give me an offer letter and then decide they can’t give that title to me?!? I do feel like I am underpaid compared to other people with the same work load (and the senior teamaker title I was initially offered). But holy crap! This amount of pushback makes me feel like I should have been getting paid more and that’s why HR is insisting that they can’t promote me to the title they offered me (I have advanced science degrees and I think titles matter in this line of work).

Do I have any other recourse? Is this wage theft (I get demoted so they don’t have to pay me more)? Do I end up burning bridges if I push? My manager is nice and we have a good relationship, but I’m not sure how much power he has over this.

I still have the offer letter, emails about interviews, a PDF of the electronic job application, and a PDF of the job ad, and they all say “senior teamaker.”

I would take all that documentation — but most especially the offer letter, because that’s what really matters — and go back to HR and your manager and say, “I think maybe there’s been some confusion. I was clearly hired as a senior teamaker, as you can see by the offer letter that I accepted. If the offer letter didn’t have this title, I’d accept that I might have misunderstood. But the offer letter clearly gives this title, and that’s the title that I left my previous job for and came onboard for here. This is what we agreed to, as you can see right here in the letter. How can we get this fixed?”

That’s a reasonable thing to say; it won’t burn bridges with anyone even semi-reasonable. But if they refuse, at that point you’ll need to decide if you want to continue working here under these conditions. There’s not much recourse beyond that (it’s not wage theft since they’re paying you the wage you agreed to), but a reasonable employer will find a way to resolve this.

5. What is employment verification?

I’m curious about what “employment verification” entails. My current company does not allow managers to be contacted as references, but does have employment verification done via HR. It’s in the employee handbook and I’m very much a by-the-book person, but I’d like to be ready with what I may need to supplement when the time comes to move on.

Not that I’m actively looking to leave my company, but is employment verification merely “Yes, [name] worked here from [dates]” or is there more information that might be supplied?

Employment verification usually just means verifying that you did indeed work there during the time period you said you did and with the job title you said you had. Sometimes it also includes verifying other details you self-reported, such as duties, salary, why you left (not in detail — just whehter you resigned or were fired or laid off), and/or whether you’re eligible for rehire.

It’s different from a reference in that it doesn’t include commentary on your work or what you were like as an employee.

{ 420 comments… read them below }

  1. Noah*

    #1 – I don’t know if this is the right way to go about it, but I would tell coworker to disclose it to the company by x date or I would. The kicker for me is that he apparently has a suspended license and should not be driving but his job requires him to drive company or rental cars. If he was just arrested for DUI, with a pending court date, and still had a license, I would mind my own business.

    1. Knitting Cat Lady*

      Yep. Over here you don’t automatically lose your license for every DUI. Only if you’re very drunk will they take it immediately.

      For me this sounds like Coworker is driving without a license. Which is kinda a big deal.

      When I rented a car in the US I was asked if my license was currently valid.

      This could lead to insurance hell.

      1. LadyCop*

        In my state you absolutely lose your license right away (for 90 days) for a DUI…I imagine California is the same. There are some instances where a license is not required to drive a vehicle, but this usually applies to Law Enforcement/Fire/Military in the course of their duties (i.e. not this guy). I would absolutely report this to the boss.

        1. Blue Dog*

          In California, you have 10 days to request a DMV hearing. If you request it timely, you keep your license pending the administrative hearing, which is usually several weeks out. If it is found that you were driving with a BAC over 0.08%, there will be a hard 30 day suspension. After that, you can get a restricted license which allows you to drive to and from work.

          As for the OP, I think the problem is that now he or she is burdened with the knowledge. If the employer were to find out that OP knew and did not say anything, the OP would be jammed. If the coworker wanted to keep this private, he should have. OP shouldn’t screw up his or her work relationship because some clown drove drunk and then spouted off about it afterwards.

          1. Jerry Vandesic*

            Not sure the OP would be jammed. The easiest response to a question about why OP didn’t notify the employer is that the OP thought the employer was already notified. It’s unlikely that the OP would know all the details about what the employer knows about the employees, especially since they don’t share a manager.

        2. MashaKasha*

          In my state, in most cases, they let you drive to work and back, and apparently to a gas station, but nowhere else. And I’m not sure if that exception applies to carpooling and/or rental vehicles. (I am guessing not.) I guess it needs to be reported, though that is easier said than done…

      2. JB (not in Houston)*

        In my state, you can have your license suspended if you are stopped for suspicion of drunk driving and you refuse to do the roadside field sobriety tests. No conviction necessary. And it’s not unreasonable to not want to do the testing if you know much about them, considering how hard they are to pass sober, how often the officers do them wrong, and how, if there’s no video footage, it’s your word against the officer’s about how you performed on them and whether instructions were given clearly. Don’t even get me started on how officers perform HGN testing.

        How I felt about DUI arrests and convictions is quite different now than it was when I graduated law school, having seen so many of them now in my career. I’m still very, very against driving while impaired. But I don’t trust that an arrest or conviction means that the driver actually did anything wrong.

        That said, I think if the OP thinks there’s any chance that the coworker will be driving going forward, as opposed to relying on the other carpoolers to driver, then I think the OP probably does need to say something. If the coworker won’t be driving, and it’s not a burden on the other coworkers to carry the carpooling duties, then I’m more conflicted.

        1. Kyrielle*

          If OP is right and the coworker’s duties include driving cars, though…even if on government property (not public roads)…that’s worrisome.

          1. WorkingMom*

            Yeah – regardless of the employees guilt (or innocence), or the state’s handling of DUI or suspected DUI’s – if he does not have a valid drivers license, he cannot drive. Period. If he is on a suspended license or worse, revoked license, he cannot drive. I agree with the first commenter – I like the angle to saying to the driver, “Hey, I heard about the DUI. I’m not sure what the details are of your situation, but you really need to tell your manager. Considering that we are driving company cars on US govt property – this could go badly for you if you aren’t honest up front. Now that I know; I feel the need to notify the company – but I think it best to come from you. If you are not going to tell management by X, I will feel obligated to do so.”

            Giving the driver the chance to come clean will be best for everyone. It’s entirely possible that he has not been convicted of a DUI; and that while his license might be suspended – he may have approval to drive during certain hours for work. (This is common in several states.) If that’s the case, then he is not *technically* doing anything wrong – but I still think its prudent to let management know of the situation in general and that it’s being handled. On the flip side – if his license has been revoked and he is driving illegally – that is a bad situation for him, the OP, and the company all around.

        2. neverjaunty*

          Agree with you on arrests, but if the guy’s license is suspended, he needs not to be driving at work.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Oh, I totally agree he shouldn’t be driving. It just wasn’t 100% clear to me that he would still be driving going forward. Since the OP said they carpool, I thought maybe he expected others to drive.

            1. Kyrielle*

              My impression is the carpool is to get *to* work, but he drives rental vehicles *at* work as part of his job. I don’t see how he would not be driving them if he hasn’t told work about the issue so they could shift him to other duties…and that exposes them to liability. Even if it’s not on public roads; if it is, then it’s also clearly illegal and could get him arrested, although frankly I view the possibility of arrest as *his* problem. The possibility of insurance issues and company liability, however, is another matter.

              1. INTP*

                If they don’t work solo, he could be trying to quietly avoid driving. Let other people volunteer, say he’s not feeling well, etc. I avoid driving with most other people in my car due to attention issues (I will only drive people that I can tell “I really need you to be still and silent and not touch the radio for the next five minutes” without harming our work relationship) and usually I’m able to get away with it without explaining anything just by passively not volunteering to drive. (My job doesn’t involve driving, btw. It only comes up when coworkers without cars beg for rides for work errands or when we share rides to go to lunch.)

                However, on principle I think that if his duties include driving, he needs to disclose. For one, to prevent him from at some point driving when it comes down to either driving or his secret getting out after it’s been so long that he would look bad for never having told anyone. Two, because it’s just fair to his coworkers if he is taken out of the driving pool and given other duties while he can’t actually drive, instead of not pulling his weight, if that’s something that is possible.

    2. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

      I don’t know if approaching the coworker directly would be wise when OP isn’t sure how he’d react; if OP’s afraid in any way, I think it makes more sense to go to their manager if they decide to speak up. I don’t know if they should or not – I lean towards they should, if just for their own peace of mind (and I’d email my manager so I had a paper chain to show I’d spoken up and any resulting trouble from him not saying anything was nothing to do with me) but I think it’s also ok on a professional level to stay out of this one, unless an opportunity comes when you have to say something (“that’s actually a really long drive, and I know Bob’s licence is suspended; would we able to bring another driver along?”)

      1. Kyrielle*

        I would not email! Of course, I have worked for people who would forward your original email to the other manager, who would then forward it on and so on, until eventually it landed *in the DUI employee’s inbox* with your email still at the bottom and some ‘come talk to HR’ at the top*.

        OP would be trusting both her manager’s discretion and the other guy’s manager’s discretion, at a minimum, in sending an email of this type. That’s risky.

    3. Another Opinion*

      Were I OP, I would remind the coworker that they should self report the incident. And if they don’t I would report it myself the following day. Depending on the nature of OPs work, failing to report the incident can be viewed as a security risk resulting in immediate termination. Failing to say anything could jeopardize OPs reputation and employment as well. Government doesn’t expect its employees and contractors to be perfect but it does typically expect them to be honest.

    4. Blj531*

      Some states (such as New York) have conditional licenses where you can drive for work but only know for work- usually there is a hardship hearing involved (source: in a NYC public defender). If you know for sure he had no license I’d encourage him to tell and consider telling the company yourself but be aware you may not have the I’ll story. And it sounds like he hasn’t been found guilty of anything yet!

    5. Ad Astra*

      Yep, it’s the “I probably shouldn’t be driving” thing that gives me pause. Not everyone arrested for DUI is unable to drive — it really depends on what’s happening with the case in court — but it sounds like this guy can’t legally drive, and that’s a problem for him at this job. Giving him a chance to bring it up on his own is the kind thing to do, but the risk to the company is pretty serious here, so you can’t keep this to yourself for too long.

      In most situations, I would say a DUI arrest isn’t something your company or manager needs to know about, but this is clearly an exception.

    6. Connie-Lynne*

      Pretty sure that if his license is suspended, he can’t rent cars. In my mis-spent youth, I had my license suspended for quite a while. I tried several times in several states to rent cars, and every time, they’d run my license and tell me I couldn’t.

    7. SunnyLibrarian*

      A good HR department would make it seem as though they just stumbled upon this information and not incriminate OP. HR does occasionally run employee records, especially those in a position where they drive often.

  2. jmkenrick*

    #1: It seems like that would be irrelevant info for most jobs, but since your work actually requires that you drive, I agree that it might be best to mention it. If only as a CYA move, in case it does later come to light, it might reflect poorly on you if the company realizes you knew. (Especially if this work at all involves driving other people around.)

    Perhaps though, you could address it with your coworker beforehand if you felt comfortable? I don’t know the best phrasing, perhaps just a simple: “You know, honestly Gaius, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable to know that you’re not supposed to be driving but haven’t told the company.”

    Also, it seems like a company might be willing to work around (or wait around) a DUI being cleared up – especially if the driving is only a small portion of the work – but being deceitful about a DUI would probably get him in a lot more trouble. It might be to his benefit to come clean.

    If you don’t feel comfortable raising it with him, I still think you’re OK to tell the boss. After all, your coworker put you in this position – by omitting information at work, he left open the possibility that his superiors would find out another way. It’s hardly like you read his diary to obtain this info.

    1. irritable vowel*

      Agreed, re CYA. All the guy has to say, when found out, is, “I mentioned it to OP a month ago and she obviously didn’t think it was a big deal.” Unfortunately the OP has become involuntarily involved in a coverup.

      1. INTP*

        That would be my concern as well. It wouldn’t be that out of the realm of possibility for someone to use “Well Xanthippe knew about it too!” as a knee-jerk defense to make themselves look better for not disclosing something. Preemptive CYA is always a good idea. (If we had a good rapport, I *might* give him the chance to convince me he’s already found a solution and isn’t driving, like “So how does it work when we have to rent cars to visit the King’s Landing site?” And then I’d still have something to CMA if asked about it later.)

  3. LisaLee*

    #1 What do you mean, he “just realized he wasn’t supposed to be driving”? Was he driving before this “realization” without a license? I am also in favor of telling your employer immediately. Not only might this be an issue of violating your contract (or the law! Or your employer’s insurance!) but a person who has their license taken because of dangerous driving and then continues to make bad decisions is a person you don’t want on the road, ever.

    This is a serious enough situation that I wouldn’t worry about warning your coworker before you tell your bosses.

    1. MoinMoin*

      I was thinking perhaps he just got the DUI and has yet to be convicted and he thought he’d find out if he loses his license upon conviction/a hearing, but then just found out that his license is actually suspended immediately?

      1. Ad Astra*

        That’s what I was thinking. Or, he was just convicted, so the suspension went into effect weeks or months after the actual arrest; he may be using “realize” to mean “found out.”

      2. Chinook*

        “I was thinking perhaps he just got the DUI and has yet to be convicted and he thought he’d find out if he loses his license upon conviction/a hearing, but then just found out that his license is actually suspended immediately?”

        Wow – you guys have it easy down there. Around here, if you are caught for a DUI and only get a 24 hour suspension, the c0ps take your driver’s licence from you at that moment and you have to figure out how to get to the cop shop to pick it up (and there is no sympathy from the cops about your lack of transportation). DH talks about how they often decorate a Christmas tree with them (away from the public so they can’t see the names) after they do holiday checkstops.

    2. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

      I drove on a suspended license for over a year before I found out it had been suspended! Although in my case it was a clerical error (license should never have been suspended in the first place) and not DUI, which I hope is less ambiguous.

      1. JessaB*

        Me too, I found out when I got a letter saying my licence suspension had been overturned. It was supposedly suspended for failing to report an accident in which the police on scene were determined to be AT FAULT. So how the heck could I not have reported an accident where the City paid to fix my car and the cop who screwed up got a reprimand? We also told our insurance company, but they meant that I had failed to report it to the police. Back then in the boonie days you had to report all accidents, not like now when the cops say if it’s under x threshold you can just call your insurance. I laughed, but boy was I glad I hadn’t been pulled over for anything in the interim.

        1. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

          I had contested a ticket and had all the charges dropped, and then over a year later my boyfriend was pulled over in my car and interrogated about my whereabouts, when it was disclosed I had a suspended license! The reason he was driving my car was he had dropped me off at a conference I was attending for the weekend- I missed the first half of it on hold with the RMV trying to find out what was going on. Fortunately the man I talked to was very kind and understanding and immediately saw it was in error, and we were so glad it had been my bf pulled over and not me. The thing that really got me though was that I had been ticketed on my old, out-of-state license, did the court thing, then went and registered my car and then drove to the RMV and got my in-state license all while “suspended!”

  4. Dan*


    I’d keep your mouth shut. It’s not clear to me that the guy has been convicted. An arrest without a conviction isn’t anybody’s business.

    If he is convicted, insurance will catch up with it in one way shape or form. Your boss will find out that way.

    1. Mike C.*

      Except that the license is suspended or worse. That means they can’t drive for work and the outcome of the DUI case is irrelevant.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, this happened to someone at a former job. They couldn’t drive at all and had to get rides to work. Though the person’s job didn’t require operating a vehicle, to their credit, they did so instead of driving.

      1. AnonyMiss*

        California DA paralegal here.

        Assuming it was the coworker’s first DUI, his license is normally not revoked, but restricted, meaning he can only drive to and from work, during the course of work, and to and from any court-ordered education/treatment/AA classes. So just driving to/from work and at work is completely within his rights – in fact, the courts started doing this so that people don’t lose their jobs after a first DUI, and then default on their fines.

        Personally, I’d keep my mouth firmly shut. Conviction records are public, arrest records are generally not (some exceptions, yes, but as a general rule, you can’t just call your local PD and ask if Wakheen Plufferton was arrested or not).

        1. Beti*

          In my state and at least one other, I can look at arrest records online at the jails’ websites. I can look up people’s names and see when they were booked, if they are still there, when they were released. It doesn’t seem like state rules are consistent at all.

        2. Student*

          Actually, I think the most relevant part of this is “drive on US Government property”.

          That can mean a lot of different things. However, it also likely means that federal rules trump any California rules on driving. I work on “US government property” as well in a different state. For us on this specific property, there are a host of special rules that trump the local and state rules and are generally more restrictive, along with special cops that enforce them. I have no idea what the rules are for this specific case on federal property, but I would expect them to be considerably more restrictive than California law generally is.

          OP, personally, I second the advice to ask the guy to notify the company himself within X days or tell him you’ll do it for him.

          1. AnonyMiss*

            Again, I personally don’t think this is information that OP has the right or privilege to share. He can nudge the coworker to report it himself, but I don’t think it’s within his realm to report anything. If OP is not comfortable with the coworker’s DUI, s/he can find a different carpool, or drive him/herself. Just because the coworker picked up a DUI at some point does not equate with him/her driving drunk all of the time… it may have been a random act of stupidity, s/he may have been driving someone to the hospital from a party, or it may have been a malfunctioning breathalyzer. Without knowing the full circumstances, I’d refrain from judging the coworker. (Also there’s this oft-ignored notion of “innocent until proven guilty,” as it seems today’s criminal justice operates on the opposite presumption, but that’s just my soapbox.)

            1. OP1*

              I don’t care about the DUI – I care because he’s driving for our job without a valid license and it can/will cause all kinds of trouble for my company if something happens.

      2. Chinook*

        “Except that the license is suspended or worse. That means they can’t drive for work and the outcome of the DUI case is irrelevant.”

        This exactly. A driver’s license is a privilege and not a right. It doesn’t belong to you but to the department that issues it (or so it says on our provincial licenses).

    2. Mike C.*

      More importantly, if this person is enough of a problem drinker to get arrested for DUI (either refusing a test or over the legal limit), do you really believe that it’s ethical to keep quiet knowing that they’re a clear danger to others? Do you want that on your conscience should something bad happen at work?

      Insurance doesn’t mean much if someone dies.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Eh, you don’t need to be a problem drinker, or even drunk or impaired for that matter, to be arrested for DWI. But since the coworker’s license has been suspended, he certainly should not be driving rental cars.

      2. Spooky*

        Thank you! A friend of mine from college was killed by a drunk driver, so people defending drunk drivers makes me absolutely livid. If you drive drunk, you’re putting other people’s lives at risk, period. If OP can do something to prevent it, s/he absolutely should.

        1. neverjaunty*

          Hey, pointing out that an arrest is not a conviction is very far from “defending drunk drivers”.

          1. kal-el*

            Yup. Arrest in no way equals conviction. For DUI arrests, especially in California, you are very much guilty until proven innocent. Could be his license is suspended pending blood test results.

            1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              It’s been awhile since I lived in CA, but I remember the giant billboards all over that said, “Drive Drunk, Lose your License.”

              My understanding at the time was that you automatically had your license suspended and it was a minimum of $2,500 in fines and fees.

              1. Mme Pomme-p-door*

                There is still due process, the driver has to be charged in court, evidence has to be submitted & the driver has to plead or be found guilty before fines are assessed.

                1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

                  Right, but my understanding is the license suspension is automatic unless you request a special hearing within a very short amount of time from the initial request.

                  And even then it is a restricted license that involves very specific to and from regulations.

                2. Chinook*

                  “There is still due process, the driver has to be charged in court, evidence has to be submitted & the driver has to plead or be found guilty before fines are assessed.”

                  This is beginning to make more sense to me. In Canada, they will convict you roadside with a min. 24 hour license suspension but they also have specially trained techs who can prove your blood alcohol level and are even willing to take you to get your blood drawn if you insist you haven’t been drinking. Plus, if you show any type of intoxication (think sleep deprived or high on drugs), they can also give you the 24 hour suspension because you are not competent to drive.

              2. neverjaunty*

                I don’t think anyone is disputing that the guy’s license may be suspended; just saying that arrest doesn’t equal a conviction, so it’s not “defending drunk drivers” to point out that, at this point, it’s just an arrest.

                Assuming that this dude is telling the truth, anyway.

          2. Artemesia*

            People who get DUIs generally have already tested over the limit for alcohol; there is not a lot of room for doubt. I would not want to carpool with this guy if he will be driving and he is a liability for the company if driving cars for them.

            1. JB (not in Houston)*

              No. That’s just not correct. At least, not in the state I live in. You don’t have to fail any tests, or even be tested for anything, to get arrested for drunk driving. The cop just has to have probable cause to believe you’ve been driving drunk–or the cop needs to be able to say the right words (I see some version of “the defendant had red, glassy eyes and smelled of alcohol” in every single case I see) that would indicate probable cause.

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                In some states you just have to be “in control of the vehicle.” There have been cases in my state where someone got into the driver’s seat, put the key in the ignition (and might or might not have started the car), fell asleep/passed out, and never actually went anywhere, but still got arrested for DWI.

                There was also a case where both the driver and the passenger got arrested for DUI. They were arguing and both grabbing the steering wheel and crashed into a house.

                On the other hand, it can take a lot of DWI convictions to completely lose your license around here.

              2. kal-el*

                That’s the same in Cali also. Very little is needed to be arrested for DUI, then days or weeks, later based on the evidence, they will decide whether to charge you. In the period between arrest and conviction (sometimes months), your license may be suspended, and you have to petition the DMV to get it back.

              3. Mike C.*

                It doesn’t really matter because the whole purpose is to say something so that it will be investigated further. If there’s a false positive then NBD, but a false negative could be deadly.

                1. JB (not in Houston)*

                  I don’t really understand your comment. My response to Artemesia didn’t say the OP shouldn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything about that at all in my comment. I was addressing the part where she said “People who get DUIs generally have already tested over the limit for alcohol.”

      3. Chinook*

        “More importantly, if this person is enough of a problem drinker to get arrested for DUI (either refusing a test or over the legal limit), do you really believe that it’s ethical to keep quiet knowing that they’re a clear danger to others”

        I wouldn’t make that jump when it comes to a DUI (then again, the limits are more strict up here). It is possible to be over the limit with only a few drinks if you haven’t had anything to eat and you are a smaller person. There is still no excuse but, to me, one DUI does not equate a problem drinker. Multiple DUIs, though, tell me that you may have a drinking problem but you definitely have a judgment problem and don’t learn from yoru mistakes.

        1. Mike C.*

          If you’re drinking enough to become impaired and decide it’s a good idea to operate things like cars, then your drinking is a problem.

    3. Lady Cop*

      Also, Insurance is for a car, not a person. That would in no way automatically notify anyone at owrk…

      1. Aussie academic*

        This isn’t always the case; my insurance covers me for any car I drive (& it is automatically revoked in case of DUI)

        1. blackcat*

          But it is the way corporate policies often work.

          I used to drive vehicles that belonged to my employer at the time. They made photocopies of driver’s licenses and checked that they were valid, but no info was passed to the insurance company. Any company employee driving the vehicles was covered. And I’m like 90% sure they never rechecked the licenses after initial hire, so they wouldn’t have known about something like this.

    4. dahllaz*

      This doesn’t have anything to do with a conviction, though. This has to do with his license being suspended, which leaves him unable to legally drive and driving is part of the job.

      His driving company vehicles/vehicles rented by the company while it is illegal to do so could put the company at risk. It is their business.

      1. OP1*

        Yup. I don’t care about the DUI, as stupid as his choices were – I care about his suspended license and him driving the work vehicles (rentals). And he drives a lot.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          My only question is if he ONLY drives the work vehicles ON the government property (like driving a pickup around an industrial complex or similar). It’s not clear to me if that would be illegal, as you aren’t required to have a driver’s license to drive on private property. I’m not sure if government property falls under private property or not.

          I’m definitely not on the coworker’s side, and I think he’s slimy for not turning himself in, but I don’t think he’s likely a drunk driving risk at work during the day. (If drinking on the job is an issue, that’s a whole different problem). I would definitely raise the issue if he’s driving off site or taking the rentals on overnight trips, etc.

          1. BuildMeUp*

            I think they could still run into trouble, even if he only drives on the property. If an accident happened and the comoany’comoany ‘ insurance found out he wasn’t supposed to be driving, they probably wouldn’t cover it.

          2. HRChick*

            The problem will be with the insurance covering the vehicles. If this person gets in a fender-bender – even on government property – they could get in serious issues with the insurance for having an unlicensed driver using the vehicle at all.

            I used to have to process the paperwork for people wanting to drive government vehicles.

          3. Shannon*

            It depends on which branch of the government we’re talking about.

            You do not need a driver’s license to drive on federal property as drivers licenses are considered a function of state law. You would need a federal driver’s license (the only licensing agents I know of at the federal level is the military). When you are driving on behalf of the federal government, they become the insuring agent.

            However, the OP seems to be a contractor. While they would not need a state driver’s license to drive on federal property, their company would probably be liable for the insurance needs.

            My area has a web site dedicated to reporting all arrests in our county. I’d probably go to that website, see if the coworker came up and pass that information via word of mouth to my boss using Alison’s script.

        2. PEBCAK*

          Can you leave the DUI detail out when telling your employer? Just tell them that, based on the carpool situation, you are pretty sure he does not have a valid license.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I like this idea. (I once realized that I had forgotten to renew my license when my birthday was on a Friday. I avoided driving that weekend until I could go in on Monday. I have a clean record, so I’m pretty sure that everything would have been fine, but still…)

          2. Mike C.*

            Immediate response from boss, “Why do you think that’s the case?”

            Even so, there aren’t a lot of reasons to suspend a driver’s license that don’t involve screwing up royally while driving, and DUI is going to come up as an immediate suspicion.

            1. Ad Astra*

              Not paying your fines for a speeding ticket or a driving-while-uninsured sort of thing will easily get your license suspended in my state.

        3. Sunflower*

          I would just ask him to clear up what he meant by suspended. I know more a than a few people who have gotten DUIs and were able to get restricted license that allow them to drive to work. A condition of restricted license may mean that he can’t have anyone else in the car with him so that’s why he alerted the carpool. Based on the amount of people I know who have gotten DUIs and have restricted licenses, it doesn’t seem like a rarity at all to me.

          You could even ask ‘so does that mean you’re still allowed to drive during work if your license is suspended?’. Just act like you’re being nosy and if he’s dumb enough to say ‘no I’m not supposed to be driving at all’ then he’s dumb enough to get told on IMO

    5. MK*

      But in this instance, insurance won’t catch up with the offending employee, but the employer and possibly anyone else involved in a potential accident. If I understand correctly, the employer rents the cars and is liable for any damages; most insurance contracts have a clause that, if there is breach of said contract, they won’t cover any damages, and someone with a suspended license driving would certainly be in breach.

    6. Tara R.*

      But this is knowledge that he is actively breaking the law– i.e., driving without a license. If Bob has a restraining order against Jim pending a court case because Jim assaulted him, and Jim violates the restraining order, it doesn’t matter that he hasn’t been convicted of assaulting Bob. He’s still breaking the law.

      Moreover, what if this guy killed someone? We have seen some truly tragic DUI deaths recently. In Ontario, a grandfather and three children were murdered by an irresponsible driver only a few months ago. You knew this guy was violating a suspension put in place because of a DUI, you say nothing, and next thing you know people are dead? I couldn’t live with that. I think it would haunt a lot of people for a long time.

      The concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ doesn’t apply to every situation. It does not apply to situations where you witness someone committing a crime. It doesn’t mean, “Well, a court hasn’t convicted me so I get to do whatever I want.” If I see Jim assaulting Bob and they’re my coworkers, I’m not going to ignore it until I hear he’s been sentenced. I’m not going to pretend it never happened. I’m going to tell my boss so he can take appropriate action and fire Jim.

    7. some1*

      Insurance doesn’t always catch up with people. I know someone who had 2 DWIs and her insurance never even went up – apparently her insurance company never re-ran her license info.

    8. Anonymous in the South*

      I agree, Dan. An arrest doesn’t equal conviction. My husband was arrested in January 2009 for being just over the legal limit and, with delays, continuances and backlog of the court system, his court date wasn’t until December 2013. During that time he had a temporary, limited license that allowed him to drive to work, doctor’s appointments and drive the kids to school. Maybe coworker will get this type of license after a preliminary hearing. My husband is truck driver and he spoke with his employer. While he was awaiting the hearing to be granted a temp license, his employer pulled him from the truck but, once his temp license was issued, he went back to driving.

      1. BuildMeUp*

        This is different, though – the company doesn’t know the license has been suspended, and the employee is still driving. It sounds like your husband did the right thing and told his employer, bus this person hasn’t done that.

          1. Anonymous in the South*

            I’d like to know how OP found out he hasn’t told the employer. Did s/he hear the coworker say this?

        1. Anonymous in the South*

          Arrest doesn’t equal conviction. Coworker could be working toward a temp license or something of that nature. If OP is worried about her safety, she could drop out of the carpool, since coworker can’t drive anymore and let him work out another way to get to work.

    9. T*

      I used to drive a truck for a living and our company did not find out if we had our license suspended. They would do random checks throughout the year where you got a phone call and then you had 4 hours to get to a testing center to get drug-tested and they ran a new background check. I knew several guys that made it a full year with a suspended license. I’m not sure what happened when they found out you got a DUI the previous year but already got your license back. That seems like it should still be a firing offense. We were self-insured so that might have given them a little more leeway. An outside insurance company would probably insist we fire them.

  5. JAL*

    #1 – In some states, if you know something illegal is going on, it’s your legal obligation to report to the proper authorities and you can get fined, or charged with a misdemeanor depending on the severity. This is just simply for not reporting. Since you work for the government and since driving is part of your work’s nature, I’d definitely err on the side of caution and tell your boss. discreetly like Alison said just to CYA.

  6. Mike C.*

    I’m normally MYOFB about these issues, but EVERYONE has a moral obligation to speak up if you think there might be an unsafe situation. Someone with a suspended license and pending DUI charges fits that to a T.

    Stop reading this, and tell your boss right now.

    1. NJ Anon*

      I used to work at a nonprofit that ran everyone’s mvr every year or more. We had an employee who drove kids on a regular basis. His license was suspended. His immediate boss didn’t want to let big boss know but it came to light and he was fired on the spot. His supervisor should have been too. Big boss wouldn’t even let him drive his car off company property.

      This could ultimately happen in this case. Say something!

    2. LBK*

      Eh, I don’t know if we have enough info to decide this is an unsafe situation. I know a few people who immediately shaped up after getting a DUI because it was the wake up call they needed to realize what they were doing. I think it’s also unlikely to assume this is a problem that would arise at work, because that means he’d have to be drinking on the job.

      I do think driving with a suspended license is a relevant issue to the company, though, and that’s what should be raised. I’d report that and not focus so much on the DUI aspect. I completely agree that drunk driving is extremely stupid and dangerous and horrible things happen as a result of it, but I don’t think it’s fair to assume he’ll continue to be a danger to everyone around him because of one bad decision that occurred outside of work.

      1. Mike C.*

        I’m not saying that people can’t be redeemed (they certainly should be!), but until there is evidence of that, it’s now a known and documented risk.

        1. LBK*

          I really disagree. A DUI requires a specific precedent (drinking or otherwise becoming intoxicated) that most people have no problem controlling while at work, even if they drink a lot outside of work. This isn’t comparable to someone with a violent temper that could bubble up at any time and therefore just their presence could be construed as a potential risk. The guy isn’t likely to accidentally get drunk on the job.

      2. Ad Astra*

        Right. There’s nothing inherently unsafe about driving on a suspended license, but it’s a liability nightmare waiting to happen. We have no reason to believe anyone’s in danger, but we have plenty of reason to believe the company is at risk.

    3. T*

      I don’t see this as a safety issue. It’s more of an insurance issue and an issue where a valid driver’s license is required to operate vehicles on public roads. I wouldn’t let somebody drive my car with a suspended license. He is only unsafe if he is drunk at work while he’s driving. I know a few people (including my boss) that made a poor decision in the past and got a DUI. I don’t classify any of them as unsafe in general. But would I ride home from a bar with them? Possibly not since they have proven they are not always good judges of how much liquor they can handle.

  7. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

    #2 – I like Alison’s wording for approaching your supervisor, but hopefully if things can’t be changed now it will be different to when Brook stayed with you. Only the strewing personal things around can only really be the same in a hotel room (and I guess the bathroom, but hotel cleaning should take care of that) so it might be much easier to bear for a couple of days than it was in your own home.

  8. FiveByFive*

    I really don’t like the passive-aggressive approach here. And it’s not likely to work anyway, since the guy will immediately suspect that the OP told on him.

    Why not just clearly state the situation to him in a common-sense fashion? It doesn’t have to be an ultimatum or a threat. “Hunk, have you told management yet? No? Don’t you think you should? They’ll probably find out anyway, via insurance or the newspaper, or maybe Hickory or Zeke will report it. Then it will be worse for you. You should really tell management and spin this in your own way. I’m a bad spot myself now and am essentially compelled to report it, since this impacts our work. But of course it’s better if you do it”. If he still doesn’t report it in a couple days, then you need to do it yourself, and can do it with a clear conscience.

    1. The Bimmer Guy*

      “I’m a bad spot myself now and am essentially compelled to report it, since this impacts our work. But of course it’s better if you do it.”

      The main problem with this approach is that if the OP gives her coworker an ultimatum like this, she’ll have to follow up on it. Chances are, the matter will be handled discretely and she may not see concrete evidence that the boss was made aware of the situation and acted upon it…meaning that she’ll wind up either asking her coworker or his boss if it was discussed (“Did Bob happen to tell you anything about his driving record recently?”) and I could see that being more awkward in the long run, as well as negatively affecting her relationships with the coworker and the boss by making her look like a nosy yenta.

      I don’t think it’s passive-aggressive to alert the boss about the DUI in this manner. Not that I condone a failure (whether accidental or otherwise) to disclose something like this, but if someone doesn’t want this information to go up the pipeline, he’ll keep it to himself. Well, he might discuss it with a coworker that’s a good friend, but not with someone who “doesn’t know him very well.” Yeah, once he opened his mouth to the OP, he should have been fully prepared for the likelihood that she would act in a responsible manner and make sure that the authorities were aware of it.

      1. Grapey*

        She’s not a nosy yenta if Bob outright told her this information. She might be looked at as a snitch which honestly would make me feel more awkward than having to follow up on an ultimatum (but I would still do it.)

        She doesn’t have to say she gave Bob an ultimatum. “Bob outright told me his license is suspended and I think that’s a concern to be brought to management. He may have already said something but in case he didn’t, I would like to speak up.” This way boss doesn’t need to confirm or deny that Bob said anything, either.

    2. Alma Mater*

      OP specifically said they were scared to approach him directly. If they felt comfortable approaching him, that would probably be the best way to handle this – but they don’t. And given that, talking to management directly is their best bet.

    3. some1*

      I’ve never seen a DWI arrest in the paper unless the driver hits a pedestrian or crashes into a store or something.

      1. april ludgate*

        Sometimes even if it’s not in the paper it’ll be online somewhere. In my hometown the police have a blog where they post recent DUIs and arrests and stuff. My mom reads it all the time to see if anyone she knows shows up.

        1. Windchime*

          The town I’m from has this, too. It’s a small-town thing. Ours was called “Police Blotter”.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            College town police blotters are the best! Nothing like reading about the tricycle stolen early Saturday morning by two 6′ suspects wearing team colors…

          2. AJS*

            So does my home town. It’s frequently the most hilarious thing you’ll read all week. My favorite was the completely deadpan report about 3 Bichon Frises on the loose wearing Christmas reindeer antlers.

    4. Kyrielle*

      The OP or one of two other people in the car with him, one of whom is a contractor who won’t be working with him much longer. If OP has the discussion with him first, he’ll be quite confident it was her if he doesn’t tell and she does.

      And, agreed, how would OP know that he’d actually told? The guy is already willing to deceive the company on a major issue; why would he not just come back to the OP looking resigned and relieved at the end of the day and tell her, “I told him. He’s not thrilled but we’re going to make it work.” And then just continue as he was, not having actually told? If all his driving is on-site, and continued, OP would have to ask someone else to know if that was true.

    5. BuildMeUp*

      It’s not passive-aggressive to report that someone’s license was suspended when your job involves a lot of driving. And what happens if the coworker keeps driving and something happens before the OP reports it? This isn’t tattling, and the OP won’t have a “guilty conscience” – the only person doing something wrong here is the coworker driving on a suspended license and keeping it from his employer.

    6. FiveByFive*

      OP can follow up with the boss either way.

      If we are afraid this guy is going to be confrontational now, he will certainly be confrontational later. I think being direct, and getting out in front of this, is the best way to avoid trouble here.

      Good luck OP.

  9. Elder Dog*

    #4 Don’t take the original documents. Take copies. These people are already behaving in a shady manner. Don’t trust them with something you can’t just reprint.

    1. The Bimmer Guy*

      I don’t know if it’s shady so much as lazy and disconnected. But making copies of the original documents is good advice.

    2. Snarky McSnark*

      I say keep your current position as a lower level with the same salary. All this means is an opportunity to ask for a promotion a year in and get a nice bump in salary commensurate with a higher title. Don’t let the title bother you as much. My current job was advertised as a Financial Analyst, the recruiter and I discussed that the job description fit in more in line with at a minimum Sr. Financial Analyst (I had no desire to backtrack, but a sideways move was fine with me). I got an initial verbal offer with the title Sr. Financial Analyst and before I had a chance to discuss vacation etc, they sent me the official paperwork with an extra week of vacation (vs. standard in the packet I got) and title of Finance Manager. I was fine with either title as the salary was where I wanted to be, but I was a little disappointed I couldn’t use a title change when I hire my first direct report this coming year to get a bigger bump in pay.

      My story is slightly different as the official job code was correct for me, but I spent the first 2 years at my last company identified as Financial Analyst, even though all my hiring documents labeled me as a Sr. Financial Analyst. HR finally updated a bunch of titles and it actually changed to Sr. WFP Analyst (the system I was supporting). No one changed their perception of me because I was doing the same job the whole time.

      1. Ben H*

        Yes, i suspect he was coded as a non-senior person because he did not negotiate well enough. They originally intended to hire senior, but when he accepted at the low rate, he was probably below the minimum wage for the senior position so he was ‘coded’ non-senior.

  10. SCR*

    #1 I disagree with Alison. This isn’t your business. Do you feel someone is in imminent danger? The coworker is drunk on the job? No? Respect their privacy. They can handle it as they need to. Butting in is out of bounds.

    1. CreationEdge*

      I don’t know how an unlicensed driver fits into insurance and legal liabilities for the company, but the question alone is enough to bring to the company’s attention.

      One minor accident, even a fender bender that’s not his fault, could open a huge can of worms.

      1. Cynical Lackey*

        How would this minor fender bender incur more liability than if it was caused by a different employee with a spotless record?

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          The conditions of most insurance policies stipulate that the policy becomes invalid if the driver doesn’t have a licensee so they will refuse to pay the claim then depending on the circumstances the company could be sued for damages, they might be able to defend a claim but it’s still a lot of hassle.

        2. CreationEdge*

          Because as soon as an accident happens and the other driver finds out this employee was driving a work rental vehicle without a license, they could make a legal fuss. Even if that fuss amounts to nothing more than some lawyer fees to quash it, it’s painted the company in a bad light to the public.

          And, also, the company gets to find out their driver wan unlicensed only after an accident occurred. How do you explain that to your next job?

      2. afiendishthingy*

        Yup, that’s what I was thinking. There are decent odds that if OP and the coworker don’t say anything, then nobody will be the wiser. But if there’s an accident with an unlicensed driver on the company’s insurance I can’t imagine the insurance would even pay. IANAL but I would guess the company would have some legal liability in that situation as well.

        I’d go with the “If you don’t tell management by x date I will” conversation. I don’t know, is it possible the coworker could be vague about telling their boss he can’t drive without going into the details of why? Could he imply it was for medical reasons or something? I would be wary of that though since the company might do a DMV screen on him at some point.

      3. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

        I had an employee who’s license had expired that day, and he was not allowed to take a rental car to a client visit (I went in his place, he went to the DMV).

        The head of our purchasing department gave us a long list of consequences that included the company being dropped from our insurance policy and losing our rental contract. Not to mention that it there was an accident, insurance would cover nothing.

    2. Knitting Cat Lady*

      Sounds like the Coworker is driving without a license, though.

      If he gets in an accident he won’t be covered by work’s insurance and liable for any damages by himself. Which can be a huge amount of money.

    3. MK*

      I do wish people would use the word privacy in such a cavalier manner. There is absolutely nothing private about the fact that someone has a suspended license; it literally concerns everyone who happens to be on the road at the same time as them. And, yes, if a person whose license is suspended drives, there is clear danger; if such a person causes you damages, the insurance won’t pay and good luck collecting from them directly.

      1. SCR*

        This is his situation to handle with the company. His personal and private situation. OP says that he just realized it so maybe he’s going to disclose and just hasn’t yet.

        OP could go to the company and say “hey I heard [dude] has a suspended license, look into that” I guess but that still assumes the person is not an adult and isn’t handling it. How do they know they’re not planning to handle it themselves without disclosing details? People really are allowed to handle their own lives. Come on.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          If he’s disclosed it himself, there’s no problem with the OP still discreetly verifying that with her manager, since she doesn’t actually know one way or the other and the company really does need to know, and there’s actual safety of other people involved.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            I agree, but I think that it might be best to start with a hypothetical and not name someone directly. “If a colleague told me that they were recently arrested for DUI, how would that affect… ?” Because maybe this is something that needs to be brought up in general, to everyone, as a training refresher. Beyond whatever immediate action needs to be taken, that is. This could be the reason why Bob hasn’t brought it up in the first place, he can’t afford to lose his job, if that might be a consequence of self reporting. It kind of reminds me of that employee who had issues paying for gas to get to work so would take a day off. I’m not saying that Bob deserves a pass for DUI — there could be mitigating factors behind that, it could have been one stupid thing, not a pattern of behaviour and he’s learned his lesson. And as that other discussion from a few weeks ago, an arrest isn’t the same as a conviction — or is it as far as insurance goes? I don’t know.

          2. Kyrielle*

            In fact, maybe this is the way to approach it – go to her boss and say, “Hey, it’s possible that Bob is going to tell Fergus about this today anyway, but this morning in the car pool, he said he realized he can’t drive in it any more because his license is suspended – I just wanted to make sure that the company would be aware, since he didn’t say if he was going to tell Fergus.”

            (Which he didn’t: he said he *hadn’t*, but not that he *wouldn’t*.)

          3. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

            I had an employee who was arrested for public intoxication after a football game. He called me on Sunday to tell me about it, we talked through what he would need to care of it (time off work, etc.) and that was the end of it.

            On Monday, I had two separate employees who were part of the tailgate group come talk to me privately about what happened. I thanked them for coming to talk to me and that I was aware of the situation.

            I appreciated that everyone felt comfortable talking to me about the incident. The employees who felt “caught” in a secret felt better and there was no issue with them letting me know!

        2. Tara R.*

          Well, driving drunk is not very adult, and neither is driving without a license. You lose the right to “handle your own life” when you put the lives of countless innocent people at risk, break the law, and put your company in a potential insurance nightmare. If I punch someone in the face and my coworker lets my manager know, I can’t be like “That was my business! Treat me like an adult!”

          1. OP1*

            One of the other carpoolers actually sent me a screenshot of this comment this morning. This situation and other small things that have happened in the past have given the DUI coworker a reputation of not really handling things like an adult. That and the whole “don’t tell anyone” thing makes me less likely to trust him to handle this.

            1. Thomas W*

              So many assumptions. So little evidence. So much self-righteous desire to punish people based on incomplete information.

        3. MK*

          The issue of someone driving company cars without a valid licence is not a matter of “their life”; it concerns the owner of the car, their employer, the insurance company that insured the cars, the people who are in the car with them and whoever happens to be on the road when they are.

          Also, this is a case of someone who is refusing to handle anything in a blatantly irresponsible manner. If the OP had witnessed the suspension when it happened, I would agree that there is no reason for her to rush to report this and that she should give her coworker a few days (during which they would avoid driving) to handle the issue with the employer. This is someone who drove under the influence, got a suspension of their licence, continued to drive company cars despite that, apparently without even realising they shouldn’t drive and without informing their employer.

          Yes, adults should be allowed to handle their lives. But this is not an absolute right; you can lose it by behaving irresponibly.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Exactly this. Grown-ups recognize when their actions affect other people and act accordingly. Pretending it’s ok to put others at risk because “it’s my life!!!!!” is not very adult.

    4. Apollo Warbucks*

      No it really isn’t out of bounds, there’s no moral judgement being made here the problem is the employee has a suspense licsence and is still driving comapny vehicles that is a serious liability issue. The OP should speaks up not to cause trouble for the employee but so the company can look at protecting themselves.

      1. SCR*

        The OP doesn’t say that the person has ruled out telling the company themself. There’s no mention of that. Let him handle it. Or tell him to tell the company and leave it alone past that.

        1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

          But simply doing that and then leaving it could lose OP their job if the company founds out that they knew shady dude was being shady and didn’t say anything. Why should OP lose their job because he isn’t handling things?

        2. Apollo Warbucks*

          Leaving them to tell the boss is showing an awful faith and confidence in soemone who has Demonstrated very poor judgement up until now.

        3. MK*

          SCR, the suspension happened months ago, and this person has been driving illegaly for all this time. Are you seriously saying they should be allowed a few more months to decide how to handle this?

          1. SCR*

            They say he just realized it (which is maybe bullshit). Your license isn’t suspended IMMEDIATELY. It’s usually just after you’re convicted. And did I say to allow him a few months? There’s a ton we don’t know!

        4. Not me*

          So OP should assume the company knows he’s driving without a valid license and do nothing?

          I don’t think that’ll end well…

    5. Katie the Fed*

      It became coworker’s business the second he told her he had a suspended license.

      Ways this affects the OP:
      – Boss finds out she knew and didn’t say anything – loss of boss’s trust, potential career damage
      – Guy gets in an accident, and god forbid the OP is injured – what insurance covers her injuries?
      – Guy gets pulled over and arrested – if they impound the vehicle OP is stranded

      And other ways I haven’t even thought of. This is a big deal.

      1. Blurgle*

        – Guy gets into an accident, someone’s paralyzed, insurance doesn’t cover it, injured person or Public Trustee sues, business goes bankrupt or lays off workers (possibly including OP).
        – Feds update background checks, learn about DUI, pull contract, company lays off workers (ditto).

    6. LBK*

      I’d agree if the guy’s license weren’t suspended and he weren’t required to drive as part of his job – essentially, he’s doing something illegal on the company’s time and under their liability, so I think there’s a reasonable expectation that the OP should report it.

      I think it’s complicated because a lot of people would argue there’s a moral obligation to report it even if it had nothing to do with the job, so for those of us in the MYOB crowd there’s a natural inclination to push back on that sentiment. However, I don’t think this is a case where” your employer doesn’t need to know what you’ve done outside of work” – this situation is currently happening at work, it just happens to be the result of something that occurred on personal time.

  11. Mando Diao*

    OP1: I’d tell your manager about this. The logistics of the driving aren’t clear to me, but you use the word “carpool.” This indicates that he’s in charge of driving other people around. That’s not a situation that your employer would be happy with, and it likely WILL reverberate back at you if they find out that you knew and didn’t say anything, while in the meantime this guy kept using rental cars and was being trusted with other people’s safety.

    It sounds like having a drivers license is a requirement for the job. You’d be fired if your job required a degree and it turned out that you didn’t have one. You can’t teach in the public school system if you have a DUI. Job requirements exist for a reason.

    As for phrasing, I’d be direct and minimal about it and let your boss deal with the bigger issues. “I’m not comfortable with the driving assignment today. Bob’s license was suspended and I’d rather someone else do the driving.”

  12. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    “he just realized he wasn’t supposed to be driving”… huh? Either your driving privileges/license was suspended or it wasn’t … you’d know one way or another.

    As far as driving rental cars, in my experience – I’ve always had to show a license whenever renting a car. And if someone DOESN’T have a license – no rental. Even an expired license – no rental.

    1. The Bimmer Guy*

      Indeed. That’s typically true of consumer rental contracts. Typically, the contract-holder will need to provide a valid license ID for herself, as well as for anyone else driving the vehicle. The authorized drivers are the people specifically stated and approved created in this scenario, and Bob will be explicitly denied the privilege of being on that list after the rental agency runs his ID and finds out that his license is suspended.

      However, corporate rental contracts work differently. They will cover anyone within the company that meets the age requirements and has a valid license, and who is using the vehicle within the scope of his/her duties. The agency will only verify the license information of the employee who is taking possession of the car, not of any additional people within the company who might also drive it. So as long as Bob doesn’t pick up the car, the rental company won’t have the means to stop him from driving…even though it will of course be in breach of the contract.

      1. Judy*

        Yes, corporate rentals are different, they do cover anyone who works for the corporation with a drivers license. Most places I’ve worked required the person who showed their license and signed for the car to check the license of anyone who they gave the keys to. That policy was rarely followed, but at one job, it was followed every time. I’m assuming they had issues at one time.

        At that company my one manager on a trip checked licenses any time we switched drivers, even though we had been together except for hotel rooms the entire trip.

    2. OP1*

      You’d think he’d know – you really would – but this guy…

      Also, like the previous response mentioned, our company has a rental contract so he doesn’t actually have to show much proof of anything.

      1. SCR*

        This is still on him to disclose. It’s really not your problem. If he JUST realized it then maybe he’s going to handle it and hasn’t yet.

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          The OP seems to to be sharing car and being driven by the employee with the suspended licence so I think that means they have some standing here. The guy is being an irresponsible jerk by driving with out a licence why should that be ignored.

        2. OP1*

          I would love for him to handle it. But when he told me, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “don’t tell anyone”. So, it sounds like he plans on keeping it to himself. And if that’s the case, as previous commenters have pointed out, it will likely become my problem.

          1. Knitting Cat Lady*

            Also, if I were you I’d be seriously freaked out being driven by someone without a valid license.

            Because in Germany it’s my license on the hook as well if I let someone drive knowing that they’re not allowed to! Least trouble would be a fine. People had their license suspended for months for being a sober passenger in a car with a drunk driver.

            1. Katie the Fed*

              I really love Germany’s zero-tolerance approach to drunk driving. I’ve been out with Germans and they’re always appalled at the idea of someone driving after so much as one beer – it’s just not done there, and frankly I think it’s smart. People really aren’t good judges of when they’re sober enough to drive. I’ve had friends get DUIs who felt they were perfectly fine to drive after a couple of drinks, and swear they didn’t feel the slightest bit tipsy.

              1. Knitting Cat Lady*

                That’s a relatively recent development. Say, the last 20 years or so?

                Before that it was ‘Carry me to the car! I’ll drive you home!’

                There have been expansive educational campaigns, especially aimed at young drivers.

                The younger generations are pretty good at this. Older people sometimes not so much.

                My parents had a bit of a blow up at a dinner party they hosted about ten years ago.

                Drunk!Guy wanted to drive home. My mum took his keys and told him she’d call him a taxi, even pay for it, as long as he didn’t drive himself home.

                Two other guests were appalled by this and tried to convince my mum (and dad) to give drunk!guy the keys. Saying it was none of my parents business.

                Drunk!guy took a taxi home.

                When he came by to pick up his car the next afternoon he profusely thanked my parents for stopping him doing something this stupid. Because sober he realized that he wasn’t in his right mind.

                1. Katie the Fed*

                  Yeah – I think that’s not our culture here yet. We’re a very mind-your-own-business culture, and you can see in some of the comments here. I can tell you I can think of times I drove when I shouldn’t have, and I remember this with absolute shame and revulsion – I didn’t realize until the next morning how tipsy I’d been. A person who is drinking isn’t the right one to make that call.

                2. Myrin*

                  Re: the younger generations – I generally think so, too, and this is totally in alignment with my experiences as a teenager (even the most “trying desperately to seem cool” people never drove while drunk, it was completely unthinkable) but weirdly, my sister’s friends (she’s 19 and her friends are generally close in age) mostly seem pretty cavalier about the whole thing.

                  Consider me utterly shocked when she recently confided in me that the friend who drives her home from parties the most is often drunk when doing so and her thinking that’s alright because surely he can estimate his levels of being buzzed correctly, right? (Um, no bro, you’ve been driving for barely a year and show a worrying amount of irresponsibility in many other aspects of your life, I really don’t think you can.) And many of her friends seem to be acting/thinking the same way. I really hope that’s just this group of friends being a worrying outlier and not indicative of this culture shift around drinking and driving already going backwards again.

                  (For what it’s worth, both my shocked reaction and my mum’s loud disapproval of the drunk driving seem to have changed my sister’s thinking on this. She doesn’t have a license and we haven’t owned a car in years so she has this distance to driving that might make it harder for her to accurately perceive such situations. I do know she’s since refused twice or three times to drive with said friend when he was drunk, though, so yay I guess?)

                3. Kelly L.*

                  Yeah. I feel like there’s a certain level of drunk driving that people in the US kind of wink at, unless and until you get arrested or get into an accident. I’m not saying this is right, just that it exists. People will hang out at a bar or go to a party, and everybody drives home, and kind of handwaves with “I stopped like an hour ago,” but a lot of times they really didn’t. But then if someone does get into an accident, the condemnation flies fast and fierce, even from people who also drive drunk! I think people think “Well, I’m not as as drunk as the guy who got into the accident.”

                  I think it doesn’t help that our public transit often sucks (which is a whole other can of worms), but people don’t always call cabs when they should either.

                4. Anxa*


                  I think our infrastructure is surely part of it!

                  I’d much rather be driven home by someone I know whose had 3 or 4 beers over a long evening than risk walking home and getting mugged or raped. Perhaps it’s less of a problem in regions with alternative transportation and less violent crime.

              2. blackcat*

                I’ve found that this varies depending on where you are in the US.

                I’m in the Boston area now, but I had been in the southern US for a while. In the South, there was no option to get much of anywhere without driving. Even taxis were hard to find, and there was no public transit to speak of. So people would go out, have 2-6 (!) beers, and drive pretty regularly. Here in Boston, it seems much more like people will say things like “Oh, I left the car at home so I could have a glass of wine.” That’s definitely something I do, and most of my friends seem to do it too. Even if the (reasonable) public transit doesn’t work, there are taxis/Uber/Lyft that people use regularly. So there’s always a way to get home without a car. I’ve seen these attitudes among my generation in both of these places–my social circle ranges from ~25-40.

                1. Kyrielle*

                  Yep. We have pretty good public transit where I am now. My parents lived out in the country where there really was nothing (and cabs would have charged a REALLY pretty penny to go up that dirt and gravel road, if they’d even been willing at all, I’m sure). So they would regularly drive home after a beer or a glass of wine. (No more, though; they limited it to that.)

                  But the time they decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in full booze style for the experience (…why? I have no idea…), they booked a hotel room right next to the pub whose celebration they were attending. Which is a bit spendy but makes sense in that context!

                2. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

                  I live in a southern city that has had a record number of alcohol related deaths this year, and even with Uber/lyft being present, I’m still shocked at people’s cavalier attitude toward drinking and driving.

                3. New Wisconsinite*

                  Or you could live in Wisconsin, where it takes 5 OWI for it to be considered a felony (instead of a misdemeanor), and your first drunk driving episode is a traffic citation. This state has what you call a “drinking culture”.

                  I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that I was never in a traffic accident until moving here, and now I’ve been hit three times, two of which involved people driving without a valid license. The third involved a guy seeking drugs who fled the scene of the crime (after he watched me get his license plate number) and went up the street to rob a sandwich shop. Not a safe place to drive, Wisconsin.

              3. Allison*

                Man, I love that approach too! People often think I’m crazy or overly paranoid when I say I don’t want to drive to a party, or even to a restaurant, because I plan on drinking and don’t want to drive afterwards. I don’t even like going to post work “happy hours” because I don’t want to drive home after having a drink. “Psh!” they say, “one drink won’t be a big deal, you’ll be fiiiiine.” I mean maybe, if I wait an hour, eat something and drink plenty of water, but I’d feel so much better taking the subway or a taxi and not having to worry about it.

              4. JB (not in Houston)*

                I do think it’s easier in some countries than others. I’m not ever ok with driving impaired, but I can’t help but notice that it’s a lot easier to not do it when you live somewhere with good alternatives for getting around. Yet another reason every decent-sized city should have good public transportation (and why I like Uber and similar services, which can be faster and easier than calling and then waiting for a cab out in the suburbs).

                1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

                  My city officials are trying to ban uber and it drives me nuts. Everyone has at least one horror story of trying to catch a cab pre-uber – cab drivers who simply don’t show up, drivers who find out you are trying to go beyond the downtown radius and refuse service, etc.

                2. JB (not in Houston)*

                  @Not the Droid Exactly! Cities need to look at the reasons why Uber is popular in the first place, which include exactly the kind of thing you’re talking about.

          2. Kylynara*

            Given that he told you not to tell anyone, I think it’s clear he isn’t planning to and if it ever comes out you knew and helped cover it up it’ll be your problem too. So I say tell your boss now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Just tell the boss.

        3. Shell*

          You’re putting an awful lot of faith in the ability of this guy to do the right thing when, through negligence or willful disregard, he seems to be doing otherwise. I mean, I think DUIs impacting one’s legal ability to drive is a common enough scenario that it should have occurred to this guy. If he got a DUI months ago and only just realized that he isn’t legally allowed to drive a motor vehicle and didn’t immediately inform the boss right that second (call the boss, grab the boss in person, whatever), I think that casts enough suspicion on his ability to handle stuff that a discreet head’s up to the boss is warranted.

          …and OP just mentioned that shady coworker asked him to “not tell anyone”. Yup. OP, I wouldn’t even give him an ultimatum. Just tell the boss.

        4. Tara R.*

          Report this immediately. This guy is actively breaking the law in the course of his job. Someone without a driver’s license is driving. This puts your company into a liability nightmare. The whole point of the law is that it supercedes any notion of “minding your own business”– when someone is breaking the law, it becomes all of our business. I wouldn’t ignore a coworker watching child pornography, I wouldn’t ignore a coworker assaulting someone, and I wouldn’t ignore a coworker driving without a license regardless of the reason.

          (Stupid laws governing recreational drugs aside, of course, as well as some others– but generally when we’re talking about putting people in danger this holds true).

          And, although it’s somewhat irrelevant here, I feel like I need to say it. Drunk driving is not just ‘one mistake’ (and even if it was, he’s now well into two mistake territory by continuing to drive without a license). It is, imho, attempted murder. I cannot abide the idea that we should cut someone slack when they put the lives of innocent people at risk without a second thought. There is no excuse in this day and age, with the body of knowledge that is out there about driving under the influence, to even consider stepping into a car at any level of intoxication. I’m happy to say that at least where I grew up, everyone just assumed that alcohol, even one drink, meant finding another way home. (Obviously that’s not always *necessary*, if one drink does nothing to you, but I truly believe it’s the safest way to do things.) And on the very rare occasion someone tried to do something stupid, their keys were stolen or their parents were called or we threatened to call the cops. Because you don’t f*ck around with that stuff, and each and every one of us would have been responsible for any life lost because we ignored the situation.

        5. Mike C.*

          Quit saying this, it’s a huge safety issue and it needs to be reported.

          Why are you so cavalier about the safety of others?

      2. Jeanne*

        If there is any personal animus involved in your reporting, don’t do it. This is not a way to get someone fired that you don’t like. Get yourself out of the carpool and talk to him only if necessary and keep it very professional.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t see anything indicating that the OP is hoping to get him fired. She’s concerned about liability and probably safety, and reasonably so.

        2. OP1*

          Um, no, I could care less about whether or not he works here. We don’t interact much. I don’t want my knowing and not disclosing to impact my job, my company, or my coworkers – that’s all.

        3. Mike C.*

          Who gives a crap if there’s personal animus? This is a safety issue. That trumps just about everything on all sorts of legal and moral scales.

          Why is there this obsession with remaining perfectly professional and unemotional in situations like this?

          1. Oryx*


            I always get so annoyed when the onus for someone’s firing goes on the person reporting the action and not the person who did whatever action might get them fired.

    3. MK*

      It’s not impossible for someone to be unclear of the consequences for an offence like this. The reasons vary from “the officer who recorded the offence didn’t explain clearly” (it might happen) to “the offender heard once somewhere that it’s OK to drive unless you have been pulled over three times” (true story, someone came to court and tried to use that one on the judge). People can be chillingly irresponsible.

      1. OP1*

        I think in this case he didn’t try to figure anything out and just assumed (maybe?) that it would be taken care of. That he’d be able to drive and they’d fine him and they’d let him know and it would all go away.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Then he’s an idiot. Anyone who doesn’t realize there are huge legal and financial consequences of getting a DUI is a fool. At the very least, Google it or read the citation you were handed. They spell those things out pretty clearly. Did he contact a lawyer?

          An acquaintance of mine blew a 0.17 which is more than twice the legal limit and got a 6-month license suspension and a mandatory 10 days in jail, not to mention probably $10k in legal and other expenses. These are life-ruining offenses, precisely because they’re a big deal and people’s lives are at risk.

          1. Knitting Cat Lady*

            Legal limit in Germany is .03%. If you’re caught with that it’s in the purview of the officer whether to suspend the license or not.

            If you’re caught with .08% your license is suspended.

            .11% pushes the whole thing into criminal offense territory, automatic min 6 month ban and in some states they’ll review if you’re allowed to have a license.

            .16 makes the license review automatic. Even if you’re caught drunk on a bike.

            I wasn’t allowed to drive for about two months last year due to medical reasons. Starting SSRIs can cause problems with your attention and ability to focus.

            So I cycled and took the bus.

            Once my dose had been stable for a bit and my psychiatrist had performed an exam testing my attention and focus I drove again. Not a second before.

            1. Apollo Warbucks*

              The UK doesn’t suspend licenses if you’re convicted of drink driving you are disqualified from driving for at least one year (maybe longer) and you do not get your license back util you’ve re-taken an extended driving exam. You can also get 6 months’ imprisonment and / or an unlimited fine for partially bad offences.

              1. Knitting Cat Lady*

                If you get into the criminal offense territory the fine is huge and adjusted to income. Prison sentences (min. 1 year), especially for repeat offenders, are possible as well.

                Also, the license review is an extensive medical and psychiatric evaluation (it’s called MPU) to see if you’re mentally and physically capable of owning a license. The bar is quite high there.

                You get sent to the MPU if you have too many offenses of any kind. A chronic speeder or tailgater could get his license revoked that way.

                In all, I think Germany and the UK handle drunk driving in a similar way. The details of how people get there are different, but the end result looks similar.

            2. blackcat*

              When I was a kid, one of my friend’s mom’s had a breathalyzer on the grounds that she would allow drinking in her house, but no driving if it read anything other than 0.00.

              Using that thing was shocking! I mean, by the time I got to 0.08 (2-3 drinks, and I’m tiny), I was DRUNK. Not tipsy or buzzed. Drunk. I understand that different blood levels mean different things for different people, but that was the day I thought that a 0.08 level was down right stupid. I’m glad to hear the limit in Germany is more sane.

          2. Valar M.*

            Depending on what state you are in – there aren’t huge consequences for being a drunk driver. Judges have some leeway in some states. For example I know one individual who was a chronic drunk and crashed a vehicle while heavily impaired and got a slight slap on the wrist and counseling. I know another person who got a per se – he was not driving but his BAC was over legal limit (which is generally BS in my opinion) and was thrown to the wolves with classes, mandatory testing, etc. So for some people – who have the money or the will to fight it, it does just go away.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              Are you in Maryland? For those who don’t know, the President of our State Senate, Mike Miller, made his fortune defending drunk drivers, so he opposes any DUI/DWI penalties or enforcement. I’ve been tempted to move into his district just so I can vote against him.

              1. Paige Turner*

                I’m a bit outside of his district :/ Another reason why Maryland drivers are notoriously terrible.

            2. LQ*

              Wait someone who just happened to be drunk but was not driving a vehicle was required to do anything? Were they sitting in the drivers seat?

            3. Temperance*

              This is definitely true in PA. My aunt and her best friend were killed by a habitual drunk, who had 3 previous convictions for DUI and public intoxication. This woman legally had a license, and she used it to kill 2 women. It disgusts me that she got away with all those crimes prior to the killing, and only a slap on the wrist for taking two lives. (7-15 years. For two women that she purposely rammed her car into.)

            4. Chinook*

              “Depending on what state you are in – there aren’t huge consequences for being a drunk driver. ”

              This explains the reactions I see on the border patrol series when the Canadian Border Services agent is trying to explain to the American with 5 DUIs that the American didn’t think were real criminal convictions so he didn’t mention them when asked about his criminal history and is now angry that this means he can’t go skiing in BC because of something so minor. Meanwhile the agent is trying to figure out why the guy is still allowed to drive.

      2. Kyrielle*

        Or he was clearly told his license was suspended…while still drunk. And didn’t remember it. :P

      3. Lindsay J*

        Then it is on them to do the research to become clear on it, rather than taking things that they’ve heard from somewhere to be fact.

        It was always hammered into my head when I was little that ignorance of the rules is not an excuse, and that certainly applies in this case.

        (Especially with something like drunk driving. I mean my state has a media blitz going on about drunk driving. Included in all the radio commercials and billboards are the fact that you will pay $10k in fines and that you will lose your license.)

  13. Jeanne*

    First of all, what I’m learning from recent letters is to never tell anything to a coworker. They will tell the boss. Next, I’d like to hear updates. What do these bosses say when you tell them? I’ve gone to bosses before with serious coworker concerns before and never gotten a reaction other than “that’s none of your business or mine.”

    I’m not clear from the letter what is happening. Is the license suspended or maybe his lawyer advised him not to drive? It says they drive on government property. Do the sometimes do that or do they only drive on government property? I don’t know the laws but it wouldn’t surprise me if the laws are different on government property. Kind of like driving on a farm without a license. I assume he is not drinking at work. Do you really think he has forgotten how to drive sober? This incident does not make him any more dangerous than he was before as long as he is sober. The driver should be responsible for notifying or not notifying the boss. Especially when there are so many unknown details:arrest vs conviction, length of suspension, etc.

    I’m starting to get a little disturbed at the attitude that the boss deserves to know out-of-work problems and should act on them. Have you never done anything you need a second chance for? I have. It was outside of work. I don’t know for sure if my boss knew but it was in the newspaper and one person from another dept mentioned seeing the article. I still needed a job and I was still good at my job. There are some different awkward problems with OP because driving is part of the job but I vote mind your own business.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      If the OP was writing about an arrest for pot possession or public intoxication I’d agree with you, but that’s not the case here. This is not an out of work problem this is a problem that exists in the work place, the employee is legally prohibited from driving yet carries on regardless. The sort of person that does that is a menace.

      Yes the driver should be responsible for notifying their boss but they havnt done that yet which makes me think they aren’t going to. I’m not sure why this length of the suspension is relevant, if it it still current them there’s a problem with the emoloyee driving and of they want to be an irresponsible jackass then someone in authority should put a stop to it.

      1. Blurgle*

        It’s not that he’s necessarily a menace; for all we know he’s an excellent driver.

        But: driving a corporate vehicle, leased or not, without a valid license can cause so much harm to the employer that I can’t imagine not telling the boss, especially given the coworker’s crappy attitude. If he gets into an accident insurance isn’t going to cover it; one seriously injured person and the company could be on the hook for millions. Even if the company never finds out that OP 1 knew beforehand, that’s an awful lot of money for a small enterprise to shell out.

      2. AnonInSC*

        Let’s take the DUI out of it and say the OP learned that the other driver had a seizure. In my state, that means no driving for 6 months. I’d argue in that case that the OP should let the boss know as well. He is driving on a suspended license. That’s the problem and what needs to be addressed. He’s driving illegally and putting others and the company at risk.

        (Though I agree that the DUI part may complicate matters within the company. With criminal charges etc, I’m sure the situation may be handled differently than if it was a medical issue.)

        1. Amy*

          That’s a really good way to think about it. The real reason the company needs to know is because this person is now legally prohibited from doing some of their job duties, yet continues doing them. Even if there’s no moral implications for the *reason* he’s prohibited, they should know.

        2. Lindsay J*

          Yeah, actually the seizure would concern me more than the DUI. Presumably, the coworker isn’t coming to work drunk and driving there. So while it would still be a concern for me for logistical, insurance, legal reasons I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a safety issue.

          While if I knew someone had an uncontrolled seizure disorder and was driving I would see it as a huge safety issue as they cannot control when a seizure happens.

        3. Jeanne*

          Totally different. Seizures can’t be always be controlled even with medicine. Drunk driving can be controlled.

    2. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

      I think, though, it depends on whether or not it’s relevant to the job. The more I think about this, the more I think that this is directly relevant and that OP could get into trouble for staying silent, and I think either of those scenarios makes it ok to report (as opposed to, say, “he was caught smoking a joint at the weekend”, where MYOB applies)

      1. Penelope Pitstop*

        I don’t know about a menace, but seems at least to be a scofflaw who seems not to think the rules apply to him. He asked OP not to tell anyone, so he seems aware that there might be work consequences and he was the one who involved OP by telling her.

        1. Apollo Warbucks*

          Maybe menace isn’t quite the right word. You’ve explained what I meant in a much better way.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            Menace is absolutely the right word. He can’t be trusted. Someone who wouldn’t disclose something like this – AND try to involve coworkers in covering it up – is an absolute dirtbag who can’t be trusted.

            DUIs happen. They’re a big deal but don’t have to be career ending. But trying to cover up the license suspension puts the company in so much potential legal trouble it blows my mind that anyone would think this is acceptable.

            1. JB (not in Houston)*

              As we know from this website, lots of people try to cover up stuff that might get them in trouble at work, but that doesn’t make someone a dirtbag. I think it’s fine to say that the OP can’t trust him to put himself into trouble by doing the right thing, but I think calling him a dirtbag is a little harsh. We don’t know the details of his arrest.

            2. HRChick*

              Thank you. I’m really shocked that people think it’s not the company’s business when this guy is driving company vehicles on government property.

              The liabilities for the company are huge. I can’t see how people could excuse hiding this…

            3. Roscoe*

              Dirtbag? Menance? Hyperbole much? He could be a perfectly fine person who made one mistake and doesn’t want to tell his boss for fear of losing his job and not being able to feed his kids. Now I’m not saying its an excuse, but the reaction of people on here is probably WHY he doesn’t want to tell, because people are so judgy about this that he doesn’t know how it would be handled.

              On the other hand, he could be a raging alcoholic. From this letter we don’t know.

              1. Katie the Fed*

                No, I don’t think it’s hyperbole. I gave an example below of an employee doing something that could have put us in legal jeopardy. Had he told me up front, it would have been fine and we would have dealt with it. But he tried to cover it up and left without alerting anyone. It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. OP’s colleague is trying to hide this and telling her not to tell anyone. That’s not ok. It means he’s completely untrustworthy and willing to put everyone around him at risk to save his tail.

                I value trust and honesty above all else. I would bail my employees out of jail if I had to, but the second one of them tries to hide something that would put us in jeopardy is the second they lose my trust.

                1. Myrin*

                  That’s what I’m thinking.

                  I mean, let’s say he really was arrested unfairly/without having drunk anything.


                  But he still didn’t think to check whether this actually means he isn’t allowed to drive for months, he still told the OP about it, he still intentionally didn’t tell the company about it, and he still told the OP to not tell anyone about it. Even a quarter of that would be enough to question this guy’s judgment, honesty, and professionalism, so while I agree that we have no way of knowing if anyone is actually in danger because of him (as per commenters above who have a background in law and say that an arrest does by no means mean someone actually was drunk) he’s displaying questionable behaviour all around.

                2. JB (not in Houston)*

                  But not everyone who tries to cover up something to avoid getting into trouble is a “dirtbag.” Plenty of people do stupid things out of fear. That doesn’t make what they do acceptable. That doesn’t mean you should keep them as an employee, or that they shouldn’t get in trouble, or that they are mature. But dirtbag is pretty harsh.

              2. Nervous Accountant*

                Ummmm if he was in such a desperate situation, why drink and drive in the first place?

                I can’t believe people are actually saying this is OK…..sad.

                1. Nervous Accountant*

                  To me, all the comments calling for mind your own business equate to condoning it. It’s not such a leap to say that if you’re condoning something, it means you think it’s OK.

                2. JB (not in Houston)*

                  I have to disagree with you on that. There are lots of things that I don’t condone but don’t think I should get involved in or report people for because it’s really none of my business. And the commenters have been pretty much focusing on whether to tell the boss because the employee has been driving with a suspended license and drives rental cars for work. There’s nobody here saying or suggesting that it’s ok to drive drunk.

                3. Lindsay J*

                  This. The attitude above is what drives me nuts about these situations.

                  “OMG, you’ll ruin his career/his life if you tell on him.” No. He ruined his career/his life (if it is in fact ruined at all) when he chose to drive drunk. (Or, like yesterday’s letter, when he chose to punch someone out over laundry quarters.)

              3. Apollo Warbucks*

                The guy made a poor choice to drink drive and he has compounded his folly by not adhering to the suspension he was given.

                No one here is saying that the guy is a complete write off or deserves to get sacked, but his actions have consequences and he should NOT be driving company cars it’s that simple.

      2. Kyrielle*

        THIS. If you gave me the same scenario, but:
        1) the guy’s job did not involve driving in any way and
        2) the carpool was willing to continue to drive him to work as long as he didn’t drive them,

        then I would say the OP should not say anything at all. Because it’s totally irrelevant to the workplace. (And a failure of #2 would just mean booting him from the carpool and still not saying anything at work.)

        But he’s *driving company cars and rental cars*. That makes it the company’s business and OP could get in trouble for not reporting it. That’s the difference here. If he wasn’t driving a car *for* the company or *on* the company property, there’d be no reason to say anything.

    3. Shell*

      If “he just realized he wasn’t supposed to be driving”, it sounds like he’s not legally allowed to drive. That doesn’t mean he’s a condemned man or he’s never allowed to drive again, but for a period of time, he isn’t legally allowed to drive, and pretending he is for work purposes will really screw things up if he has an accident, in terms of liability, insurance coverage, etc.

      He’s not a more inept driver because of one mistake. But this is a work problem because this guy’s job involves driving on behalf of the company, and he is not legally allowed to drive. And that is absolutely something that needs to be told to the boss.

      1. NJ Anon*

        If he used the words “just realized” it sounds like he to me. You would know if your license was suspended or not.

        PLEASE TELL, YOU COULD SAVE SOMEONE’S LIFE! He obviously thinks it’s OK to drive with a suspended license and not tell his employer. He may also think it’s OK to continue drinking and driving. He needs a serious wake up call.

        1. Roscoe*

          Well, unless he is drunk at work, he is really no more dangerous of a driver with a suspended licence or without. Now insurance liability wise, sure. But its not like he all of a sudden doesn’t know how to drive.

    4. Katie the Fed*

      “Next, I’d like to hear updates. What do these bosses say when you tell them? ”

      I was in a situation like this as a supervisor. Not DUI, but an employee alerted me that one of my other employees (Fergus) hadn’t requested an authorization for information release when he completed a project. And not just an oversight, Fergus was leaving and his colleague asked about the authorization he shrugged and said he had to leave. It would have gotten us in a world of legal trouble.

      So my employee came to me sheepishly and said “you know I’m not doing this to get anyone in trouble, but you need to know.”

      And I did need to know. And I dealt with it IMMEDIATELY and harshly, and Fergus was in a world of trouble and never regained my trust. It’s not what he did that was the problem – it’s that he didn’t tell anyone he had made a mistake. It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.

      I also thanked my employee profusely for telling me and said I would deal with it. He did the right thing.

      I put this DUI thing in the same category. It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. How can I possibly trust an employee who would keep something like this from me? People make mistakes – I get that. But failing to disclose something of this magnitude is a Really Big Deal and speaks to your character and trustworthiness.

    5. Mike C.*

      This is a safety issue, how could you even compare this to just about anything else that has come up in the realm of “should I tell the boss”?

      1. Hotstreak*

        People don’t lose their actual ability to drive while their license is suspended, it only becomes illegal to do so. If this person’s driving was considered safe enough for him to be included in the carpool and drive for work then I would think he historically drove safely. DUII is obviously stupid, but unless there this guy is drunk or hungover on the job, safety is not different now than before the citation.

        1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

          Historic driving safety doesn’t count or else we wouldn’t have discussion about removing drivers licenses from elderly drivers who suffer impairments to their current driving.

          Driving is a privilege granted by a license, not a federal, state, or local right. No license, no driving. It’s as simple as that.

          And now OP knows that this person chose to drive while impaired and had his license suspended as a result. From a risk standpoint, the safety issue has changed from before.

          Some things, once seen, cannot be unseen.

          1. Hotstreak*

            The argument for licenses from elderly drivers is that their impairments are expected to be ongoing.

            Of course people without licenses should not drive, because that is illegal. The fact that a license has expired or been suspended does not mean that person doesn’t know how to drive, though, which is the point I was making.

            If the person who got the DUII is fundamentally different than prior to his citation, and therefore presents a different level of risk to the safety of himself and others, I would think that he would actually be more safe. He would want to drive more cautiously in order to avoid future trouble, I think it’s incredibly less likely that he would actually drive less safely after receiving a DUII.

    6. Former Retail Manager*

      YES, Jeanne….YES…to all the comments about telling the boss and the general attitude of encouraging co-workers to tell their bosses everything. I remain firmly in the “mind your business” camp (including on this issue) unless you are required to report a certain behavior as outlined in a handbook/contract/code of ethics, etc.

      Like you, I have mentioned only a few serious offenses in my career and they were met with “mind your own business” or something to that effect. And none of the co-workers were ever let go. Disciplined? Perhaps…..but never fired. One actually quit abruptly, with no notice, was rehired a week later AND promoted! And I got a reputation as a snitch, a word that I am aware MANY people here don’t like, but it was eye opening. I suffered the fallout from the “snitch” label, the co-worker remained employed, hated me, tried to turn people against me with some degree of success, and for what? My experience was similar to many others I’ve known who worked in various fields. While it maybe shouldn’t be that way, it is in many workplaces. My workplace happiness and potentially my career aren’t worth placing in jeopardy for some nimrod co-worker.

      1. BuildMeUp*

        I’m sorry you’ve had those experiences. I’m not seeing an attitude of wanting coworkers to disclose everything to their bosses, though. Multiple people have said that if it was a different offense or if the coworker didn’t drive as part of work, they wouldn’t see a need to report it. This is something that directly affects the work they do and has potentially huge consequences.

        And honestly, if the OP has to be in a car while this person is driving, just that makes it her business.

        1. Mike C.*

          Or the safety of your coworkers? Ever watch a coworker get loaded up into an ambulance? Do you know what it’s like to see a coworker seriously injured and permanently disabled, and believe that “if only I had done something different”?

          I’m really not joking here, and I work somewhere where a few wrong choices at the wrong times have and will kill people. There’s a lot of people here who need to take this more seriously.

          1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

            I am 100% with you, Mike. I hope you don’t feel like your argument is falling on deaf ears. As you’ve repeated, this is a *safety* issue. While I understand the OP’s reticence, I’m personally shocked that this is even grounds for a debate – the OP should notify someone immediately.

            1. Jeanne*

              See below. I have reported a safety issue – possible violence – and been the one who was treated badly.

      2. Jeanne*

        Definitely what I’m familiar with. And before you say my reported problems weren’t as serious as DUI, one was threatened workplace violence. I was told to drop it or find my job in jeopardy.

    7. BuildMeUp*

      This stopped being an “out-of-work problem” the second the coworker knew his license was suspended and kept driving. This is not some tiny thing in his personal life – this has the potential to affect the business in a huge way.

      One DUI does not mean the coworker shouldn’t get a second chance, but let’s not pretend that’s the only bad decision he’s made.

    8. Agnes*

      What I’m learning is that people have terrible judgment about what they tell their coworkers. I think it would be a bit more ambiguous if someone were paging through the back pages of the newspaper and saw the coworker’s name – probably still should tell, but at least the other guy was showing enough judgment to keep his mouth shut about something that could get him fired. If they a) do something problematic, and b) go around telling people about it, that implies no ability to foresee consequences, which is generally not what you want in a coworker or employee.

      1. Myrin*

        Right? It reminds me of the OP from a few days ago whose coworker told her he’d punched someone into unconsciousness and yet there were still comments thinking she shouldn’t tell a supervisor about it.

        1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

          I mentioned above in a comment to Mike C. about being surprised by debate on this letter. I was surprised by the punching thread as well.

    9. Roscoe*

      AMEN. This is why at my current job I’ve decided no one will know anything about my personal life outside of very mundane things. People will take things an run to the boss because somehow they feel they HAVE to look out for the company’s best interest when in reality, it has nothing to do with the job I was hired to do.

      1. HRChick*

        But in this case, it does have something to do with the job this guy was hired to do – and THAT’S the difference.

    10. Xay*

      Your coworkers are not your therapists, your priests, or your attorneys. They are not legally bound to keep your secrets, especially if your secrets involve violating the law or company policies. If you want people to mind their own business, then don’t share it.

      I don’t understand why people feel compelled to share their business with their coworkers and expect their coworkers to stay silent. It’s one thing when coworkers look for gossip or search for tidbits on social media. It’s another thing when you tell the coworkers that you carpool with to your job where you have to drive that you are not allowed to drive.

    11. Elizabeth West*

      He’s not supposed to be driving–this is a legal determination, not a personal one.

      He flat out told the OP not to tell anyone, which makes the OP complicit in illegal activity.

      His driving on a suspended or revoked license opens the company up to serious legal liability and could cause cancellation of their insurance, which they need in order to operate company vehicles.

      This is NOT a personal issue and not a privacy issue. OP needs to tell someone immediately.

      1. Marty Gentillon*

        Personally, I think that this is an ethics question.

        First: if you are legally unable to preform your job (either because the request is illegal, or some licencing issue) what are your ethical duties? I would argue that they are to refuse to do the work (unless you felt that the law was unethical). This implies informing your boss of the issue. The fact that he is asking you to “not tell anyone” implies that he agrees, and is refusing to fufill that duty.

        Second: if you know that a coworker is behaving in an unethical manner in his work what are your ethical duties? I would argue that you must report him.

        If I were his boss, I would probally give him the chance to explain, and if his licence were suspended, I would probally fire him on the spot. The lack of ehtics in american business is the root cause of many of the economic problems in this country, and it needs to be fixed.

        Sidenote, if he told me, I would do whatever I could to make sure that he kept his job. It is the lack of ethics implied by driving company vehicles with a suspended licence which is the fireable offense. If I learned that you knew and did not report it, then you are showing a similar lack of ethics.

        Also, you might consider consulting your companies (or a general) ethics consultant about this.

        1. Jeanne*

          You can only have an ethical duty if your company also has ethics. Most don’t. A company needs to make money and they can often do that better, in their opinion, without someone who creates issues. No matter what those issues are.

    12. neverjaunty*

      I’m a little disturbed and baffled by this argument that keeps cropping up, that someone who behaved badly is entitled to a “second chance” or “the benefit of the doubt”, i.e. some kind of free do-over with no lasting consequences. (Sometimes phrased as, you shouldn’t refuse to hire/fire somebody for good reasons because ‘are you saying this person never deserves to make a living ever?!’.)

      Sometimes no, people in fact don’t deserve second chances, at least not from the person they’ve wronged. More often, a second chance is something you earn by showing, over time, that you learned from the first mistake, or that circumstances have changed such that it won’t happen again.

      I mean, look, if you have an enormous aversion to conflict and the Missing Stair is your patronus, own it. Don’t phrase it as some kind of great moral obligation to pretend that past behavior has zero relevance to future behavior.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Exactly. Past performance is pretty much the only reliable indicator we have of future behavior. That’s why we do background checks, check references in hiring, use credit scores to determine credit-worthiness, etc.

        Plus, the reality is that hiring isn’t usually a zero sum game.

        Generally your choice isn’t between candidate A who is awesome at their job and a nice person and who also lies about losing his license for drunk driving, and candidate B who is only mediocre at his job and unlikable but has a squeaky clean record. There are tons of candidates out there who are great at their job, good people, and who don’t have a suspended license. What about their opportunity?

      2. Jeanne*

        No. Other people’s past behavior is relevant to their behavior. They may behave badly again or not. But why does their behavior now leave me with no choices to my behavior? I still have choices and one of them is to let them figure out how to handle their own choices. We know way to little about this situation to say what OP as to do to be a good person. I think in this case butting out is a reasonable choice.

        No one seems to think he will kill anyone at work. He will cause a logistical nightmare with insurance theoretically. As a low level employee, you are not required to try to prevent every insurance nightmare that could happen. This is a contract employee whose company feels no loyalty toward him.

  14. Jeanne*

    For #2, I would ask about other accomodations. If not go to Piper and see if the two of you can share the bed instead of with Brook. Or take a sleeping bag. Or call the hotel and ask for the charge for a cot. You could pay that yourself. Since it’s just overnight you might have to just get through it. At a company, I’d say push harder. But as a student you have little leverage. Maybe you’ll get a good story! Good luck.

    1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      Take a sleeping bag to a hotel? Share a twin bed with a coworker? Paying for a cot herself?

      There’s compromising and then there’s being a doormat. There’s no reason OP shouldn’t talk to someone to resolve this with her own bed at no additional cost(as she already has).

  15. Penelope Pitstop*

    #4 – FWIW, not for the immediate title change issue at hand, but for any sort of promotion discussion that arises down the road, it might be worth research what a senior teapots is paid so that you can be armed with that info when you need it.

    1. Mabel*

      I was thinking that perhaps your salary is below the range for the senior title, and they didn’t realize it until they were about to cut your first paycheck. Otherwise, it shouldn’t be a big deal to correct (not change) your title. Good luck! I hope the conversation goes well.

  16. Apollo Warbucks*

    #2 I don’t understand the problem with sharing a room for a night or two with Brook, sure she sounds incredibly rude and inconsiderate but it’s only for a night and she should be able to cause much hassle in that time.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Hm, it would bother me a bit and I think it’s an easy enough ask. But if they say no, then OP shouldn’t push.

    2. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      Hell is other people.

      And did you see the update? Brook managed to create QUITE the hassle in such a short period of time.

    3. Marcela*

      Well, I did have a roommate who was like Brook. We lived together for 5 years or so, and he never, not even once, cleaned or tidied the common rooms. He was dirty as a pig, but he had his own room and bathroom, so it wasn’t really a big deal (after I had to discourage him to leave stuff in the common areas). Once we parted ways, no, no way in hell I would even share air with him again.

      Funny thing is that once we were supposed to share an apartment in a two weeks conference with him. As soon as we knew we had to share the bathroom, we talked to the organizers and asked to be assigned to another apartment. We didn’t give details, just ask if we could be moved. We were, so that was it. But the difference in our case was that EVERYBODY in our group knew this guy wasn’t clean. And it was not because we said so: his bathroom was the main one in our apartment, so every visitor would see the disgusting state of it. Most of the time our guests were told to use our in-suite bathroom.

  17. Katie the Fed*

    #2 – I think you have two issues, but only one is a valid concern for your employer. Issue 1 – Brooke is gross. Issue 2 – sharing beds.

    I think you should bring up only issue #2 to your employer. #1 isn’t really their concern. But sharing beds is icky and weird and you shouldn’t be expected to. I would ask what the specific arrangements are and if you’ll have your own bed.

    Brooke’s mess I think you’ll just have to deal with for a couple days.

  18. nofelix*

    #4 – HR staff saying things like “you have the correct title according to your job code. A senior title means a promotion and we can’t give you that” gives HR a really bad name. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem, and of HR’s role in supporting the business. IMHO they should have responded more like…

    “I see the problem and I’m going to do my best to resolve it for you. I have your offer letter on file showing the senior teapot maker title, so please could I have a copy of any correspondence that also mentions the senior title, and I’ll talk to Fergus about fixing this. The senior teapot maker title is reserved for job code X1 and the vacancy you were hired into is code X2, so it might be messy to fix. I’ll get back to you when we’ve discussed some solutions.”

    But that assumes they understand the issue is that the OP was promised something that hasn’t been delivered, not just an administration error.

  19. Apollo Warbucks*

    #4 This sounds pretty crappy to me, you were promised a certain title and the company wont deliver on that promise. I don’t understand the logic in them telling you correcting the error isn’t possible as it would count as a promotion. I would take copies of the paperwork you have and go back to your manager and HR and ask them to rectify their mistake.

    As for feeling underpaid that is a separate issue to the job title error and you can’t realistically push for a raise to go with the title correction as you accepted the very job with the salary as it is, Alison has some good advice for asking for a raise that I would recommend reading so you can re-visit the salary issue at another time (at least 12 months after you started).

    1. doreen*

      I am guessing that the employer has a very non-flexible system . For example, one in which Teapot Maker is grade 11 and Senior Teapot Maker is grade 13 and there is no way to have the title of Senior Teapot Maker and earn a grade 11 paycheck. Every job I’ve had post-college has been like this, so that when I hear about title-only promotions it seems odd to me.

      1. BananaPants*

        Yes, there’s no such thing as a title-only promotion in the large corporation I work for. There’s a process for moving up in pay grade which comes with a title change, but there’s little flexibility in this regard.

        On the upside, title isn’t everything. I’ve never known of someone lording a title over others and you usually only know if someone got promoted when you look in Outlook. I’m still using business cards from 2 promotions ago because I use them so rarely I haven’t been able to justify getting new ones printed.

        If it is such an inflexible system, then my guess is that either the hiring manager or HR messed up and offered the job at a higher level than the hiring requisition was approved for.

        1. Charityb*

          In industries where titles correspond to job grades and experience it can make it harder when you try to move to a new company though. You have to explain to interviewers why you really are a Senior Teapot Engineer even though your last job title was “Assistant Engineer”. It’s not necessarily about lording things over on other people at your current workplace but it does make it easier to substantiate your claims when your title matches your work responsibilities (i.e. “X Supervisor” if you have supervisory roles, “Lead” if you are a team lead, etc.)

          1. Judy*

            At least at my experience at 3 F50 companies, titles are not consistent between companies or even between divisions in a company. Both of these companies are large companies with R&D and manufacturing.

            Company A: Senior Engineer is highest individual contributor, may lead a team of 10 or under, but is not a manager. Lead Engineer is a manager of a team of 10-30 people. Manager has 3-10 people working for them, with their direct reports there are usually 100+ people in their chain. Director has 3-10 managers, maybe 500+ people working for them.

            Company B basically has all of these levels, but with titles one below company A. A Lead Engineer does what a Senior Engineer does at company A. A Manager has 10-30 people working for them, a Director might have 100-150 people working for them and a VP might have 500 or more people working for them.

            1. Snarky McSnark*

              I agree with this, I went from a company that didn’t hire non-union associates, everyone started as an analyst and moved up to sr analyst etc. When I moved jobs, the entry level was called associate, then sr associate, then analyst, to sr analyst. This extra number of steps in my opinion helps you feel as though you are progressing every 18-24 months, versus a 3-4 year time-frame to officially move up in titles.

          2. themmases*

            Yes, definitely. I worked in a place that basically invented an extra step between the entry-level position and the standard one in my career track (research associate between research assistant and research coordinator for anyone in that field… Research associate means something totally different almost everywhere else). I had a boss who thought coordinator was some lofty mid-career position people work years to get so it didn’t matter that I was doing the work.

            It definitely held me back in my next job search. It was hard to explain in the space of a cover letter that I was really coordinator or senior coordinator, and I didn’t get a lot of responses. I worried a lot about sounding like I was exaggerating given my actual title, but calling myself a coordinator felt like lying since it was a real position above mine. In the meantime I was getting plenty of recruiting emails for associate positions (the normal definition of associate) that I knew I didn’t want. Worst of both worlds.

    2. Solidus Pilcrow*

      Honestly, the insistence that the OP has “the correct title for the job code” makes me think they entered the wrong job code in the system in the first place and they are unwilling to go through the process to correct it.

  20. hbc*

    #2: It sounds like she’s a pretty bad housemate or houseguest, but I don’t understand the extreme reaction to sharing a room with her. There won’t be any cooking, you won’t be left with a mess to clean up, the worst thing is that you’ll want to be the first to hit the bathroom before she gets toothpaste all over the counter. Bed sharing is out, of course, but that would be true if they put you up with two neat freaks.

    This is stepping past the work advice, but what the heck: it sounds like you were pretty passive about her behavior when she lived with you. Someone expecting to eat with you (which isn’t that unreasonable in this situation, I think) is not an obligation to throw away your food that she doesn’t like. “This is what we planned to eat for the next X nights, you’re welcome to partake in whatever you can.” Or “Sorry for the confusion, we considered this more of a houseshare than a communal dinner thing. I can give you a ride to the grocery store if you want.” If you went straight from *Brook is a vegetarian* to *must buy all new food*, I suspect you didn’t say things like “Please wash your dishes within a couple of hours of the meal.” You can still try to get out of the room assignment, but if you’re stuck with her, feel free to try out some more assertiveness like “Can you pick a spot for your stuff and stick with it? I’d rather not step on your underwear.”

    1. OP 2*

      Hey, I completely agree with your comments about me needing to be more upfront in this situation. I’ve posted a longer comment here already, so I won’t rehash it, but I’ve gone into some background I didn’t include in the letter.

      I do want to clarify something you specifically mentioned though; when Brook mentioned that she was vegetarian (and therefore couldn’t eat any of what we planned to cook that week), my partner made the offer to take her to the store and he paid for her food items since she didn’t yet have a bank account in this country. I think it probably is fair to say that he should have asked her to repay the money, but I still think it’s a bit rude to let a stranger do that for you and never offer to pay them back.

      Re: the food cleanup, she cooked for us one night and we told her not to worry about the dishes, you made us food! Unfortunately she took that a bit too literally another night, when she cooked for herself. I only found the dishes and leftover food when I got up in the night for a glass of water. I would have said something the next day if it hadn’t been her last day in our house.

      1. hbc*

        Okay, makes sense, and I see your extra stuff below. For what it’s worth, I think this was less of a “I have to stay in a hotel with a lousy housemate” than “I have to stay with someone who’s kinda being hostile.”

        My dirty lens here is that I have serious issues with people who say “Oh, X is fine” and then expect you to intuit that you’re supposed to turn down X or give Y in exchange. You don’t get to blame her for taking your husband up on his offer. The notes, the drinking, the yelling at students? Definitely grounds for a room switch.

    2. OP 2*

      Whoops, I meant to mention as well that we didn’t chuck any of our own food out – just paid for extra stuff.

    3. afiendishthingy*

      I can totally understand the reaction. She was rude and obnoxious as a guest in your house, and I’m guessing you were pretty happy to be rid of her. Basically it sounds like you just don’t like her, which is absolutely fine, and if it’s avoidable I don’t see a reason why you should have to share a room with her.

  21. Lindsay J*

    For scenario #1, in my position I would absolutely, 100%, report it.

    For my job this would be a huge deal.

    First of all, for my job part of hiring is that you need to have a valid driver’s license (and they can judge that you have too many points/previous violations/whatever and deny you based on that alone even if your license is legally in good standing). For my position (and many others) you absolutely need to be able to drive and you absolutely legally need to be able to do it.

    Second, in my field having a DUI/DWI on your record is a huge deal and may be something that prevents you from being employed as it is.

    A current coworker almost lost his job after starting because they discovered while completing his background check that he had a DWI 9 1/2 years ago. Part of the problem was that he didn’t disclose it (he believed it happened 10 1/2 years ago rather than 9 1/2). The second was that it was a problem in it’s own right. Third was that you need to have a valid passport and be able to travel for business needs and for some countries (like Canada) having a DWI will bar you from being able to enter the country.

    If this was a regular office job that didn’t involve driving, I wouldn’t report it. If the issue was something like public intoxication I probably wouldn’t report it (unless the public intoxication arrest stemmed from a larger incident).

    However, since the job involves driving rental vehicles, driving coworkers around, driving on government property, (and potentially a security clearance since you’re a government contractor on government property?) I would absolutely 100% report it. Especially since it sounds like there is a good chance he is driving on a suspended license.

    1. Billybob*

      Yup, I agree with this…if a security clearance is required for the job, then this must be reported if he won’t self-report.

    2. Allura*

      I’m going to third this (belatedly). If there’s a security clearance involved, it MUST be reported, regardless of conviction. Pretty much anything other than minor parking ticket type offenses must be reporting when they occur. And if that’s the case, OP1 is now required to report it.

  22. Juli G.*

    The company should know but only because there is a driving component to his job.

    If you came to me and said a coworker had a DUI and there was no driving involved in their job, I would be fairly irritated you were inserting yourself and the company in this guy’s personal business.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I agree. I think of it like this: if I find out a co-worker has a PT job with a competitor, I have an obligation to tell my boss, as there’s a conflict of interest that could negatively affect my organization. On the other hand, if my co-worker has a PT job that doesn’t have any connection/conflict with my company, it’s none of my business. Same as the suspended license – my job doesn’t generally involve driving, so I’d only care if I had to drive somewhere with said co-worker.

  23. Evil*

    #5: So if a company does not give references, what do you do when you’re trying to find a new job, then? I haven’t had a lot of jobs and one of my summer jobs is the type that only verifies employment, so would you have to find references from other sources or old jobs or something like that?

    1. Sunshine*

      Yes, exactly. Managers know this is out there, so they won’t expect full references from every job. Use other managers, supervisors, even co-workers in some cases.

    2. Bowserkitty*

      I’ve always wondered this too. When I was laid off from my previous job (a mass, company-wide lay-off) all of my supervisors said they’d be happy to be references for me…and then in our transition meetings (arranged by the company with an outside employment consulting firm) we all discovered they have the policy of not allowing current employees to give references.

      I don’t understand it, but upon informing one of my supervisors he offered to be a “personal” reference if it came to that. I still don’t think my current job actually checked my references because I never heard from any of them.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        I was in the same bind.

        Funny – a year later, I got a call from one of the company’s lawyers – who asked me if they treated me nicely, to write a letter saying how nice they treated me when I was laid off!

        I was already working somewhere else — so I said “what is this about?” “Oh, well, legalese mumbo-jumbo, you know…” and then I said “what about references, eh? Do you know what you did to ME? I guess that was mumbo-jumbo too, right?”

        Slam phone down.

        20 minutes later they call back “well if you write this, we might be able to provide a reference”…

        Slam phone down again.

    3. Laura*

      I’m OP 5,

      Again I’ll reiterate that I’m very by the book and have no intention to go looking.

      At least that info is in the handbook (and I read it.)

      At this point we had a managerial shift, and my former manager only managed me for a little over 3 mos (my first stint as a seasonal employee) so I would be a little hesitant to ask bc the info wouldn’t be a recent reflection.

    4. VintageLydia USA*

      This is technically the policy of the store I used to work at but I also know for a fact my former boss will give me a reference, policy be damned, and she wouldn’t get in trouble for it either unless the DM has gone through a radical personality change. She wouldn’t actually be opening the company up to liability unless she lied about my work. Often you’ll get managers who will give real references anyway, especially if they receive the reference request through a personal call or email instead of through the company channels, even if they still work for the company. It’s worth it to at least ask your manager (I have another former boss who can also speak well of my work, but he told me he was going to follow the company policy so I never used him.)

      1. pieces of flair*

        Yeah, that’s been my experience. My former company had an “employment verification only” policy, but both my supervisor and the HR director told me they would give me an actual reference. I think in practice they only invoked the policy when the reference wouldn’t have been entirely favorable.

      2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        The reason many managers will do this – what goes ’round, comes ’round. They may need YOU as a reference someday.

        Also – if a company is going through layoff cycles (“circling the bowl”) — that manager might not want to walk into a new facility for an interview and see you sitting behind the desk — or somewhere in that office.

  24. BananaPants*

    #4 – do you work for my employer? Seriously, I could see this happening here!

    Most of our hiring requisitions are for 1 specific level of employee based on job responsibilities. Occasionally a hiring manager can get a 2-level hiring req approved for some flexibility but that’s not the norm. There are specific educational and work experience requirements for each pay level and HR doesn’t allow a hiring manager to “under” hire. If a hiring requisition was approved for a certain level but the best candidate the hiring manager can find is really a level higher based on education and experience, they don’t get to hire and have get to start all over again to find candidates at the level of the approved req. I’ve seen this happen and it sucks for both the candidate and the hiring manager.

    Our salary bands have *serious* overlap; a level 2 could be earning the same as a level 3 employee even though their titles and salary bands are different. Likewise, just because two employees are both at level 5, it doesn’t mean their salaries are anywhere near each other. So title and pay do not necessarily correlate around this place.

    You don’t get a title change without a promotion, and a promotion has to come with a certain type of raise AND be approved at around 4 levels of management/executives. HR or your boss can’t just decide one day that you’re a “senior teapot analyst” rather than a “teapot analyst”, even if there’s no change in salary or job responsibilities.

    That’s all company HR policy and bureaucracy across an entire corporation (in the top half of the Fortune 500). I know it sounds crazy and I don’t know if it’s right (I’m not in HR) but especially in large corporations you’re not necessarily going to have a lot of luck trying to rage against the machine. I do think you should try to push the issue because your offer letter said something different from reality, but you may not get anywhere.

    1. t*

      I agree. This could actually be a good thing. At very large companies, it can be hard to get a real pay raise except when you get promoted. If your boss is willing to promote you, that seems like a win/win. You get your title and more money.

      Unless you’re job hunting right now the senior portion of your title doesn’t really matter. And even if you are, job titles are so varies across companies, senior vs non-senior doesn’t really matter.

  25. OP 2*

    Hey guys, OP number 2 here. Alison was very kind in giving me a quick answer on this one. I used the wording she suggested and was able to get a swap. My academic supervisor did accidentally book twin rooms for 3 people. Fortunately there was no question that this was Not Okay and trundle beds were obtained from the hotel room at no extra cost.

    I hear what some commenters are saying about being more assertive. I know now I should have been clearer when she was staying with us about what was okay and what wasn’t. I’m aware that this isn’t an excuse, but I suffer from mild social anxiety and really have to gear myself up to say ‘hey, knock it off’. I’m trying to work on this, since I know I’ll be better off if I can be more direct with people.

    There is some background I didn’t include in the original letter – I was trying to stay as brief as possible in the hopes of getting a quick response. After she stayed with us, I started getting the impression that Brook disliked me (she said hello to and hugged my partner at a social event, but completely ignored me, left a note saying ‘touch this and I will kick your ass’ on some glassware after I mistakenly used a flask she’d reserved and then apologised to her). Some of the other students in the group mentioned that they’d noticed rude notes too. There were a couple of other minor incidents too, such as overhearing her berating an undergraduate student she was supervising in the lab, that made me feel uncomfortable for having hosted her and not want to be in close quarters with her again. I focused on the stuff about inconsiderate use of shared space though, since that seemed less nebulous and easier to put into words (as well as being a legitimate concern).

    I’ve come back from the conference today and it really seems like I dodged a bullet, from what one of her roommates told me. Apparently she poured some of the wine our supervisor bought for us into her drink bottle, drank the whole thing and then had to get up in the night to be sick. She also woke up on the balcony five minutes prior to check out.

    1. neverjaunty*

      Uh, yeah, the first time a co-worker left me a note with a physical threat, it would be the last time we interacted without witnesses present.

      1. Brandy in Tn*

        I hope that wasn’t in your home (the threat on the glass) because I too suffer from social anxiety, but one thing you don’t do is threaten me in my home. I’d have thrown her ass out.

  26. AliceW*

    #1 My company requires employees report all criminal arrests as a condition of employment. We are required to disclose these matters to regulatory authorities and the public. My company has an anonymous hotline where employees can call with any concerns. I would tell the co-worker to report the matter.

  27. CAA*

    #1 — you mentioned being a government contractor and driving on government property. If you and/or your coworker have security clearances that were issued by DoD, then you really don’t have an option. You must report this to your company’s security officer. Failure to do so could result in revocation of your own clearance and loss of your job.

    1. Midwest Contractor*

      YES YES YES on this. I am a DOD contractor and all the positions on our contract require either a background check or a clearance. The fact that he did not self-report and then flat-out told you not to report makes his initial DUI problem much worse in security terms. Now that he has something to conceal and is concealing it, he is considered a higher risk both now and in the future. (Vulnerable to manipulation/extortion, plus a general “oh he has no problem breaking rules and concealing info– what else is he doing that we haven’t caught yet?”)

      If you do not report this– both the DUI and the fact that he told you to conceal it– then your own status is in jeopardy, not just on this position but for future government-related positions requiring checks/clearances.

      We have had a few employees who had legal troubles, and both situations went better for the employees because they self-reported immediately. They did have to go on leave until a government security person cleared them to return to work, but they weren’t outright fired. Someone who doesn’t self-report AND tries to get others to conceal it is probably going to fare much worse, and you don’t want to go down with him.

      You and your employee should go together to your Facility Security Officer (who might not be physically located at your facility) and report. If you don’t know who your FSO is, then you should contact your supervisor to find out. E-mail is your friend here, because then you will have a written record that you and your employee did what they were supposed to do. I would also recommend that the subcontractor go to his/her FSO and file a report as well. Protect yourselves– don’t risk your own livelihoods just because he was trying to cover his own behind.

      Seriously, if your contract has people with background checks or clearances, go make the report today. Don’t wait.

  28. Former Retail Manager*

    #1….Suspended license or not, I say keep your mouth shut. In the event that it comes to light and he is confronted by the boss, do you think he’s ever going to say “Buuuutttt…..I told OP and she didn’t rat me out!” Ummmm, no. I don’t see how this could ever come back on you unless your boss were to ask if you knew and I don’t believe that would be a logical question for any manager to ask. When an employee is caught doing something they aren’t supposed to, it’s typically handled discreetly, not by the manager running around asking if other people already knew and failed to disclose it.

    If there is nothing in any handbook or contract requiring you to report the behavior, then there is no reason to do so. Should your boss try to come back on you, if they were to find out that you knew, this is your defense. If it is truly weighing on your conscience, another commenter’s idea of mentioning to the co-worker that he has placed you in an awkward position and asking him to come clean with the boss, would be totally acceptable. And I acknowledge that he TOTALLY put you in an uncomfortable position.

    Also, if you inform the manager, and he is not let go and you continue working with him, I think you’re gonna be in for a very uncomfortable work life with an individual who may turn vindictive. Best of luck with your decision!

    1. BuildMeUp*

      I could see the boss finding out about this fairly easily, actually. If the OP adjusts things to make sure the coworker doesn’t have to drive, for example, if the boss later finds out and wants to fire the coworker or transfer them to a non-driving role, the coworker could easily say, “But when I told the OP, we just made adjustments to the driving schedule!”

      Or if, for example, one of the other 2 people present does say something, the boss will know that the OP knew and didn’t say anything.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      In retail, perhaps. But as CAA pointed out above, if the OP works for a government contractor, there are probably very serious repercussions for not saying anything.

      Frankly, no coworker is worth getting in that kind of trouble for, and if a company would fire me over such a thing, I don’t want to work there anyway.

  29. Andy*

    Re: #1: most government contractors have an ethics hot line where things like this can be reported by whistle blowers anonymously and there are legal protections. Call the hot line and report that this employee got a DUI and has not disclosed it as required by his/her security clearance.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      I didn’t get the sense there were clearances involved – I feel like OP would have mentioned that. But I’ve been wrong before :)

    2. AnonACOD*

      You could probably call the IG regardless of whether clearances were involved, if his was driving on a suspended license. But that feels like a nuclear option – just say something to the manager.

  30. Karowen*

    re: #1 – According to the FCRA, arrest reports can’t be considered in employment decisions (whether to hire, fire or promote), and it has been explicitly stated to cover contractors, so even if you report it, it’s possible that nothing will be done.

    (This is leaving aside the issue with the possibly suspended license; I’m not sure how that would change things.)

    1. VintageLydia USA*

      If it were just an arrest, I’d MYOB. And arrest isn’t a conviction and even most past convictions have no bearing on what jobs a person can or cannot do. But since this person drives as a function of their job and appears to have a suspended license, I’d absolutely say something.

    2. fposte*

      Maybe you’re thinking of the EEOC guidance, not legislation, on the issue? FCRA rules are about background checks, and they apply to material older than seven years old (absent conviction or a proposed salary of over $75k). The FCRA doesn’t forbid considering arrest records more recently than that. The EEOC is much broader, but that’s only guidance, not legislation; it just says, basically, that it’s a really bad idea.

      Some states do have stricter laws about considering arrests, but even there when they have a salary threshold it’s often quite low (I’m seeing $20k as a common one).

      And, of course, none of these means that you’re required to have an unlicensed driver behind the wheel of company cars.

    3. Kas*

      But this isn’t a question of hiring, firing or promotion – this is about whether DUI-coworker is able to perform their work duties without breaking the law and/or creating a liability for their employer. Management do have the option of looking into other driving arrangements while DUI-coworker is suspended.

  31. JB (not in Houston)*

    For #1, I hope commenters will focus on the fact that he’s driving with a suspended license, which is all that matters. We shouldn’t be speculating about what kind of person the coworker is for getting his license suspended for a drunk driving arrest. I’ve seen people pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving for basically nothing: going over the speed limit, going under the speed limit, going exactly the speed limit, stopping too long at a stop sign, not stopping long enough at a stop sign, making a block in a downtown area, looking at the officer, avoiding looking at the officer, you name it. If a cop wants to stop you for driving while intoxicated, they can easily come up with a reason. If an officer wants to arrest you for drunk driving and you’re not impaired or over the legal limit, you better hope there’s dash cam video with sound, that the camera is actually recording, that it doesn’t get lost or taped over, and that it actually gets turned over to the defense.

    My point is just that generally speaking, if all you know is that someone was arrested for DWI, you don’t know whether they did anything wrong or not. And whether this guy was driving drunk or not doesn’t matter for purposes of the question. Because if he’s driving with a suspended license, he shouldn’t be.

    1. Donna*

      I agree, he shouldn’t be driving with a suspended license.

      As people have mentioned before, in many states you can still drive if you have a DUI if it’s for work. I’m wondering if this isn’t DUI #1 but DUI #4 or #5 or #6. My ex-stepdad had a lot of DUIs–his license was suspended at #4, revoked at #7, went to prison on #13, and went back to prison on #14 and #15.

      (It is a miracle that he never ran into anyone. I think most of the times he was caught driving 5 miles an hour on the side of a country road.)

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        See, this just goes back to my earlier comment about how we need to make public transportation a better option in the US. There will still be people who drive impaired, but we could reduce the numbers by giving people a viable alternative. I personally never even have a sip of alcohol if I’m going to drive because I know how easy it is to get arrested when you’re not even a little impaired. But I see people who chose to drive because they, say, had one glass of wine, which they can usually handle, but for some reason that night they got a little buzzed, and now they have to decide whether to drive home, or wait an hour for a cab, and then have to arrange for a cab back the next day to get their car, and somehow get to work . . . those are the people I think we could keep from drinking and driving if we had better, easier options for them.

  32. Jubilance*

    #1 – I disagree with Alison, I don’t think you should say something. I’m surprised that your company doesn’t already know given that you are government contractors – if you have clearances his clearance is in jeopardy especially if he didn’t self-report immediately.

    #3 – a similar situation happened to a coworker in my first job. She had a Masters and should have started at level 2, but they started her as a level 1. A year later at review time when she brought it up, they “promoted” her to level 2, but it’s standard practice in the company to promote everyone who has made it a year at level 1, to level 2. So she lost out on a year’s pay at level 2, and it made her bitter. With every job I’ve started, I’ve always verified that my title and job code are the same as what I was promised within the first few weeks of starting.

    1. HRChick*

      Clearances are usually reviewed on a regular basis – around three years, I think. So, it might not immediately come up.

  33. Ariadne Oliver*

    OP #1 – Years ago, I read a book called “You Want Me To Do WHAT?” which addressed the issue of loyalty. It said that your first loyalty is to your company (unless they are doing something illegal), your second loyalty is to yourself (can you live with whatever is going on) and your last loyalty is to your coworkers (including your boss).

    Your company could be in very big trouble because of your coworker’s dishonestly regarding his DUI.

    This sounds to me like something you do need to turn over to someone in your company with more authority than you have. If that person has any sense at all, she or he will get this matter taken care of. Of course, if you fear retaliation of any kind from your coworker, you need to let your boss know if something occurs. (You don’t have to take it/not make waves/be a pal, etc.)

    1. Quirk*

      Sorry, but this ordering of “loyalties” strikes me as ludicrous.

      A company is not a family. You are, like it or not, in business. The era of loyalty to employees is long over in most of the commercial world, and most companies will lay you off if doing so will improve their bottom line. You need to be just as pragmatic. By all means do what you must to preserve your own reputation, but never put the company’s interests before your own. Do so for a charity, for a country, if you wish, but not for the good of faceless shareholders.

      When it comes to other people, the situation grows more complex. You may wish to deal fairly with a boss who was always fair by you; you may wish to show solidarity with a co-worker who has been hard done by; you may feel doing something that seems unpleasant maximises the common good for all your fellow employees. Which people you choose to be loyal to is entirely up to you, and, as a human being, you may feel such loyalties and principles outweigh your own narrow business interests. But for the love of all things good and beautiful, don’t give corporate “people” preference to real ones.

      1. themmases*

        I agree, this concept really doesn’t make sense. There is no one order of loyalties that all people do or should have, any more than there is one order or life priorities.

        I would venture a guess that people are successful as professionals with all different loyalties. A person could zealously represent their company, or be their boss’s right hand, out of enlightened self interest. They could be a manager in a position that provides a lot of mentorship, and feel that their first loyalty is to their direct reports.

        When I worked in health care I didn’t not care about my hospital, but my loyalty to it was really just a consequence of loyalty to my patients. My apparent loyalty to my boss was just my enlightened self interest in not getting yelled at. :) I am remembered now as the one who kept them honest, or so I hear.

    2. Roscoe*

      Honest question. Why would your first loyalty be to your company and not yourself? This must be written by a business because its completely illogical. Depending on the relationship with my co-workers, I may put them above the company too.

      1. Charityb*

        Agreed; unappreciated loyalty is a little unhealthy. I haven’t read the book, but it’s possible that they are talking about things in a strictly workplace environment (as in, “follow the rules of the company vs. following along with whatever your coworkers are saying”) rather than in the broader sense of prioritizing the company’s needs over your own needs in every aspect of your life. At least, I hope so!

      2. OwnedByTheCat (formerly Anony-Moose)*

        +1. My first loyalty is to myself: my health (physical and mental), my professional development, and my happiness. My second loyalty is to the people I work with: my team members,my boss, her boss, our admin, all of them. My third loyalty is to the company as a whole.

        My fiance works for an agency that’s being pretty shitty to creatives lately (surprise, surprise). He’s having a hard time with the penny pinching, bad communication, and general screwing over of some people on his team and others. But he loves his boss and coworkers and we talked about the benefits of staying, leaving, etc. The ultimate decision? Do great work and be a professional. Cultivate relationships with the PEOPLE on his team who he might work with again, who he interacts with 10 hours a day, and who help him produce great work.

        My company isn’t one where I plan on staying. There are too many dysfunctions and red flags. If I had any sort of professional crisis, I’d be 100% comfortable leaving. But I adore the people I work with and want to continue to foster relationships with them as coworkers and individuals both now and in the future. (Of course, of someone did something illegal/sketchy/immoral that would be a different story, but the idea of “loyalty” to a company is so incredibly skewed and one-sided.)

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Although I disagree with almost everything you’ve posted today, Roscoe, I definitely agree with you on this. The company looks out for its own interests first, and we need to look out for ourselves. But part of putting myself first means making myself as valuable to the company as I can. I do that by being productive and looking out for the company’s best interests…when they don’t conflict with my own. Since I work for a great employer, they usually don’t, and where they don’t, we try to find the best possible compromise. (I would like to be paid quite a bit more, but what I am paid now is not unfair or below the going rate.)

    3. fposte*

      Yeah, I’m all about disrupting the “you owe loyalty to random co-worker more than to your employee” narrative, but this loyalty hierarchy is weird to me too.

      I don’t think I’d have a firm hierarchy anyway. My loyalty will depend on the situation and the person, not just the role.

  34. The IT Manager*

    For #1, turn him in. Actually I’d tell him, he needs to come clean with the bosses or you will turn him in if you think you can handle your relationship after that. If not, tell the bosses and ask that your name be kept out of it. This doesn’t seem to be a case of my friend who is also my co-worker. It sounds like you guys really only have a co-worker (and carpool buddy) relationship. It also sounds like the guy isn’t exactly keeping it a secret / telling you in confidence. In fact if he mentioned it to you because he can no longer drive the car pool, then hopefully he is planning on not driving and has already told his boss he can’t drive for work any longer too.

  35. Bowserkitty*

    #4 – I have a similar anecdote/question in relation to this. At Old Job, my coworker was hired on as a senior. He was one of the brightest we had, and as much as people would get annoyed by his long-windedness and unbridled enthusiasm for his work, I admired him so much for finding a job he loved. Until him I didn’t know anybody who would work for fun like he did. (I’m sure he’d do it for no money if he was well off!)

    Two years after his hiring my department did a restructure and his senior status was stripped (despite everybody else getting to keep theirs). I’m still unsure why, because he’s a literal genius, especially in his field of statistics. He tried to fight it but the company refused any push back.

    Is this a common thing? Despite no longer working there he remains a good friend and I want to see him in a place deserving of his knowledge.

  36. Another Day Another Dollar*

    #4. I usually agree with AAM down the line, but I would drop the word “confusion” here. Often I use this word in dealing with a problem because it doesn’t place blame, but it can be a problem when someone hears it and thinks ” oh, OP just doesn’t understand”. This isn’t “confusion”–at least not, anymore. You know what was in the offer letter and so do they.

  37. Nervous Accountant*

    Re: #1. I’m usually able to see multiple sides to situations, but I just can’t see how OP would be in th ewrong for telling her boss. Then again, I have 0 tolerance for drunk driving (or drunk anything) so this is very black and white to me.

    1. Charityb*

      Me neither. I understand the impulse to mind your own business since that’s usually *easier*, but I certainly don’t think that the OP has any personal or ethical mandate to keep this guy’s secret for him. The DUI was months ago; he has had ample time to resolve this and instead not only hasn’t he done so, he’s trying to pressure other people to keep his secret for him. If the OP wants to keep the secret and let the chips fall where they may, that’s up to them but there would be nothing unfair or unreasonable with telling the manager.

      (To me, “MYOB” applies to things that happen in private that don’t impinge on work matters; this doesn’t qualify because he has to drive for part of his job.)

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        There are a lot of letters that come by here and I see in the news where I’m firmly in the “none of your business!” camp. And I’m horrified when I hear about things like….a teacher holding a glass of wine on vacation being fired from her job (teaching HS students)… so I’m VERY MYOB. But drunk driving, absolutely not. I…just can’t believe people condone it.

  38. Roscoe*

    What I’ve learned about DUI’s is that people get VERY offended by them. I get it. People’s lives are at risk. But if we are being honest, with what the legal limit is, some people can be pretty responsive if they are at .09 (which for some people could be a couple of glasses of champagne at a wedding). Its often more dangerous for people to be driving when they are super tired after a long shift or not enough sleep. But I do understand the knee jerk reaction.

    As far as the letter, my guess on why he isn’t sure is that often if your license is suspended for DUI, you can still drive to and from work. I don’t know if that means you can drive FOR work though, but its not that out of the realm of possibility that its not quite clear. So maybe we should stop assuming that he is a moron or has just bad judgment overall for what may have been one mistake.

    Personally, I think you should MYOB since you don’t seem to have all of the facts. However, if you personally feel unsafe riding with him because of insurance issues or something, I also think its fair of you to ask him to not drive while you are in the car. If you are carpooling, it seems that doing that could be a solution that makes everyone ok. It seems that driving isn’t the main part of his job, just something that he needs to do while working. So if you 4 are carpooling to different clients, but he is in charge of doing their website or something, then just don’t have him drive in the carpool.

    1. Temperance*

      If we’re being “honest”, DUI kills. This man is lucky that he didn’t hurt or kill anyone with his stupidity. I don’t disagree that tired driving is dangerous, but it’s just not correct to say that the legal limit is too high. It should be lower.

      1. Roscoe*

        I never said it was too high. Just said that other forms of impaired driving is just as dangerous. But if someone got a ticker for Operating While Impaired (which I think is what its called when you aren’t drunk, but are dangerous on the road) it wouldn’t be met with as much scorn. I do thing BAC is relating. My step dad doesn’t drink, but out weighs me by 100 lbs. We could both have 2 drinks, and while I may be over the legal limit, I’m far less impaired than he is based on my tolerance. But again, I’m not trying to argue what he did is ok. He could have been 3 times the legal limit for all I know. But with just hearing the words DUI, people assume the absolute worst and cast some horrible judgment on these people

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Actually 1) although people have very different tolerances, BAC is related to body mass, so all other things being equal, your BAC would be higher than your stepdad’s after two drinks each, and 2) I think most of us who get angry about taking small but significant risks with other peoples’ lives get just as mad at OWI or whatever the cause of driving distracted/tired/dangerously.

          1. Roscoe*

            Yes, which is what I was trying to say. Someone can have a lower BAC but be more impaired in their actions. So yes, my BAC would by higher than my step dads, but because I drink more, I would be far less impaired (I see this on holidays all the time). Thats why I said using BAC as an indicator doesn’t really tell the whole story.

      2. JB (not in Houston)*

        Well, we don’t actually know that he was driving drunk, though. I am not ok with drunk driving, but an arrest does not equal guilt.

        1. Kelly L.*

          But his license was suspended. He shouldn’t be driving with a suspended license, even if it was suspended for playing the kazoo while swinging from a trapeze. He’s breaking the law in a way that exposes the company to legal issues.

        2. LBK*

          How frequently are DUI arrests made without sobriety tests being done, though? Unlike some of the other scenarios we’ve discussed recently (the domestic abuse arrest in particular), I don’t think it’s as unreasonable to assume he was guilty, especially if his license is suspended and he doesn’t seem to be denying that he was drunk in conversation with the coworker.

          1. Roscoe*

            As noted earlier, license suspension means NOTHING. In some states, just refusing to take a breathalyzer will get your license suspended for a year. So even if they arrest you on suspicion, and its later thrown out, your license can still be suspended.

            1. LBK*

              Ah, I didn’t see that. I do still think that the fact that he seems so cavalier about discussing it to the coworker is a sign it’s true, though – I’d certainly preface any story about an arrest with my version of it if I thought it wasn’t justified.

            2. Mike C.*

              That is in no way a moral defense of what’s going on. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege. Part of that privilege is submitting to sobriety testing.

      3. Ad Astra*

        DUI does kill, and it’s an extremely reckless choice to make, but I would bet good money that almost all fatality or serious injury accidents in DUI cases stem from someone being way, way over the limit of .08. In fact, plenty of statisticians will argue that, according to the data, dropping the limit down to .08 hasn’t saved any lives. Dropping the limit even lower would have people getting arrested after two drinks with dinner. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to drive when you’re impaired, but it does suggest that many people arrested for DUI are not the disoriented, slumped-over-the-wheel types we might picture. It can happen (once!) to a lot of responsible, conscientious people pretty easily.

    2. Not me*

      Yep, you’re right that driving while exhausted or distracted is also dangerous. That doesn’t really make DUI less dangerous, and I’m more scared of drunk drivers than offended by them.

      And I’m kind of okay with assuming that someone who does that has bad judgment.

    3. Tara R.*

      I don’t know why we’re giving this guy the benefit of the doubt, or saying he could have good judgment. He a) did something that got his license suspended, which may or may not be a sign on its own, b) didn’t find out about his license restrictions, c) found out about them and clearly came to the conclusion he wasn’t supposed to be driving, d) continued to drive anyway, e) didn’t tell his company, f) told his coworker, g) warned her to keep quiet about it. I’m through with the benefit of the doubt with this guy. He has awful judgment.

      Of course people are offended by DUIs. Someone is putting their own convenience above the lives of innocent people. People know the consequences of drunk driving; they’ve seen the lives snuffed out, they’ve seen parents mourning their dead children on TV. I have zero sympathy for anyone who is cavalier about it. And no, it doesn’t have to mean that you’re an awful person with zero shot at redemption forever and ever, but it’s more on the level of “assault with a deadly weapon” than “shoplifted something at 15”.

      Once you’ve been drinking, you lose your ability to determine whether or not you should be driving. Maybe– maybe– if you know 100% for certain you don’t get even slightly buzzed after 4 drinks, you could drive after 1 or 2. But why risk it? Why put “Oh, I want to get home right now” over people’s LIVES? I come from a small town with awful public transit, and we figured it out. We had designated drivers or we arranged parents to pick up or we got into groups and walked an hour home or we waited 2 hours for a cab or we crashed on couches and drove home no earlier than 8 hours later the next morning, after eating breakfast. Anyone who can’t figure something out is making up BS excuses that come down to “I believe I should be able to endanger the public because it’s easier for me”.

      1. Tara R.*

        And I also think that driving when you’re too tired to be doing so is incredibly irresponsible for what its worth. Or when you’re high on any kind of drug (prescription or otherwise). Taking your vehicle out onto that road is a privilege. You are personally responsible for the lives of EVERYONE that you encounter– every other car, cyclist, and pedestrian. It’s up to you. Just because it’s hard to figure out another arrangement doesn’t mean you get to decide that every other person on the road is risking a call back to their families telling them their loved one is in the hospital and isn’t going to make it.

    4. BuildMeUp*

      This isn’t actually about the DUI, though. It’s about this person’s license being suspended when their job involves driving, and also about their decision to keep that from their employer and continue driving illegally. This isn’t just one mistake; it’s a series of bad decisions. And the OP says that he specifically asked her not to tell anyone. He knows what he’s doing is wrong, and he’s trying to rope the OP into covering for him.

      1. OP1*

        I left out a lot of details regarding the arrest and DUI because my only concern is the suspended license. He was actually very drunk (past the legal limit and beyond, super buzzed light year) and his license is actually suspended.

  39. Suz*

    At my previous job, something similar to OP #1 situation happened twice, with very different outcomes. Our company had pool cars for staff to use when you needed to go to job sites. When Coworker#1 got a DUI, he told the company about it right away. Management didn’t have a problem with it at long as he didn’t drive any company vehicles until he got his license back. It was pretty easy to work around since 2 or more people usually go to a job site together anyway.

    A couple years later Coworker #2 got a DUI. He never told the company about it. I don’t remember how management found out about it but he was fired immediately. The issue wasn’t the DUI. They fired him for driving company vehicles without a valid drivers license. They also fired his admin because she knew he lost his license but she continued to reserve pool cars for him anyway. I don’t understand why Coworker #2 wasn’t upfront about it. He was around when Coworker #1 got his DUI so he knew how management would respond.

    1. Menacia*

      Perfect example why fessing up is always the best way. That this guy has not told the company of his DUI, and the fact that he SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING is a huge red flag. You don’t want him dragging you down with him when they find out (not if, when!) and he will probably throw everyone under the bus. I also hope the OP is not continuing having this guy drive in the carpool!

      1. OP1*

        No, he doesn’t drive in the carpool anymore. That’s the only reason he told me – because he wasn’t going to be contributing.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      The issue wasn’t the DUI. They fired him for driving company vehicles without a valid drivers license. They also fired his admin because she knew he lost his license but she continued to reserve pool cars for him anyway.

      This part is important.

  40. Temperance*

    I would probably kick him out of the carpool. DUI drivers suck. I wouldn’t want to put myself at risk of getting into a car with a known drunk driver.

    Full disclosure, this is an Issue for me because one of my relatives (and her best friend) was killed by a drunk driver.

  41. JB (not in Houston)*

    Ok, but there’s no indication at all that he drinks and then drives on the job (if he were drinking on the job that would be a whole other issues that would need to be swiftly addressed). And we don’t even know if he was driving drunk when he was arrested.

    1. Mike C.*

      They still have a history of making terrible choices that endanger the lives of others. Oh, and they’re driving illegally at the same time.

    2. HRChick*

      Can everyone agree that driving vehicles while on a suspended license is both illegal and irresponsible?

      Because even if you don’ think a DUI is indicative of irresponsible behavior, he’s CONTINUING irresponsible behavior and putting the company at risk while doing so.

      The DUI is red herring. The suspended license and requests for secrecy are the primary issues.

  42. Hiring Mgr*

    On #1, personally I don’t think I would say anything, but there are clearly good arguments for doing so. My question is on the rental aspect–when you rent a car you show your license… Is there any sort of check w/the DMV database that the car rental place is doing, or are they just eyeballing it?

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      It’s a bit different for company rental policies than it is for personal.

      1. OP1*

        Yes – he actually went in himself last week to renew and had no issues. As long as we are designated to sign the renewal for the vehicles, they don’t care.

  43. SlickWilly*

    #4 – I suggest looking at this with a little less ego. Yeah, they screwed up, but I think you can make the most of it by accepting the current title and earning a solid promotion to the title you were originally offered. Right now, you’re just making things awkward for everyone, including your current manager who had nothing to do with the situation.

    On a slightly related note, I constantly see job postings for “senior” this or that but what it means is they want someone with some experience. The title doesn’t reflect the “senior” part. My last two jobs have been posted as “senior” experience but the title doesn’t include the word. It’s just a title. People will know whether your expertise is “senior” or not.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      The OP isn’t making it awkward – the employer has already made it awkward by essentially demoting the OP’s title a year after their hiring. And now the OP needs to work towards a potential “promotion” to the title they were originally hired for?! That essentially sets them back at least one year. I’d be royally pissed.

    2. themmases*

      Your comment is condescending and really inaccurate. Senior is an actual part of many job titles and it’s not unusual for them to go with a specific pay grade and duties– as they clearly do at the OP’s company.

      There are many reasons besides ego to care about your title. Being under-titled can hold you back in your next job search (I’ve shared elsewhere in this thread that that happened to me) and make it look like you don’t have experience that you actually do. It can also make things difficult within your company if it looks like you don’t have authority or responsibility that you actually do.

      You’re also ignoring the fact that the OP was promised something that the company then just decided not to give. That is a serious problem regardless of the value of the title. Telling the OP to suck it up and work really hard trying to get promoted to the job they were hired to do and are already doing is insulting, and it’s a waste of their time since they were already qualified to have that job a year ago. The OP’s peers who weren’t bait and switched get to spend this year working hard for their *next* promotion. So they’re definitely losing out on money and effor that could be better spent elsewhere.

    3. Jenny Next*

      I totally disagree. An offer was made and accepted — that constitutes a contract. The company doesn’t get to change its mind after the fact, any more than in any other business situation.

      My guess is that the OP is in fact being paid below the range minimum for the senior title; nothing else explains why the company is dragging its feet on rectifying the situation.

      1. catsAreCool*

        “My guess is that the OP is in fact being paid below the range minimum for the senior title; nothing else explains why the company is dragging its feet on rectifying the situation.” I think so too.

      1. OP #4*

        oh and yes, considering this is my first real job, i now realize i totally left money on the table when i accepted this position. still sucks though.

  44. HRish Dude*

    #4 – Are you asking a senior HR person? I ask because this sounds like a front-line person who doesn’t quite understand the problem.

    In a lot of companies, most titles are tied to job codes and job codes are tied to grades. A front-line person usually doesn’t have the power to change that and – if they weren’t involved at any point in the process – may not understand the issue that you were hired for a job separate than the one you applied for, interviewed for and agreed to take. I don’t think you should approach it as “my title is wrong” – I think you should approach it as, “You’ve hired me into the wrong job.”

    1. OP #4*

      I am dealing with our onsite HR rep. I would like to escalate to US Corporate HR, but I haven’t quite figured out how to contact them yet (we have an HR thing that’s outsourced to a 3rd world country. yes, it’s friggin’ complicated).

  45. AAMFan*

    “I’m also not inclined to protect drunk drivers”

    I have a drunk driver in my family who is in and out of jail for it all the time. He’s in jail right now actually. I believe he should never be allowed near a car again and should be in jail for much longer than he will be.

    That said, someone with a DUI can be a habitual offender like my family member above, but they could also be someone who seriously just messed up once and really did learn their lesson, so treating them like a pariah won’t do anyone any good. If they have multiple DUI’s then yeah that’s a pattern and there’s NO EXCUSE for even getting behind the wheel drunk once, even if it was just that you had one too many glasses of wine at dinner, but if he messed up once and has served his punishment, it’s not impossible he really won’t be a menace to society. He’ll be more like Johnny Carson who really did just screw up one time and never did it again.

    But of course your workplace can fire you for getting a DUI even if your job doesn’t involve driving, so for the situation in the first post things could get tricky, but that’s just my $0.02 on society labeling someone.

    1. Roscoe*

      Thats kind of my point. Plenty of companies would fire you for the DUI even if driving isn’t a part of it, or if a ran accommodate could be made. So I get why you would want to hide it.

      1. HRChick*

        I get why someone would WANT to, but that doesn’t make it ethical or right.

        They are basically protecting their hide at the expense of the company – which could be a huge expense if something happened. Furthermore, he’s covering his hide at the expense of the OP since now she could be on the line for it as well due to participating in the cover up.

        If you do something stupid that could affect your job, don’t tell your coworkers and affect their jobs as well. That’s just selfish on top of it all.

        1. Roscoe*

          Well, I guess agree to disagree. I’m in sales. I don’t drive for work EVER. If for some reason I did get a DUI, you can be sure I’m not volunteering that info to my boss. Now while I 99% wouldn’t tell my co-worker, even if I did, its not their place to tell my boss either.

          1. HRChick*

            Um, if you don’t drive for work, I don’t know why you would need to volunteer that info to your boss. But that’s really not the situation we’re talking about here.

            If you DO drive for work – you drive THEIR vehicles and under THEIR contract, you absolutely do need to let them know that your license was suspended. Maybe you could avoid telling them why, but I can tell that when I worked for a government contractor, there was all kinds of paperwork you had to sign to get to drive for them – and one of them was certifying that you had an active, up to date drivers license and that you were required to self-report incidents that could affect that status

    2. neverjaunty*

      “Letting them experience the consequences of their actions” is not “treating them like a pariah”.

      Seriously, what is with this attitude that we must always bend over backward so nobody ever has any fallout from doing terrible things?

  46. voyager1*

    LW1 I would need more on how you found out about the DUI before I can say if you should report it. However I am still leaning towards not reporting it. I am just curious how the coworker outer himself on the DUI, before I can really give a Yay/Nay on this one.

  47. Merry and Bright*

    The references to rental cars and invalid insurance puzzle me a little. In the UK these would be almost side issues in a sense because here it is an offence to drive on the public highway without a valid licence in the first place. If you got caught by the police your next stop would be the court, especially as the licence is suspended and the Coworker is already “on the books”.

    The OP has been dumped into this. The coworker has plenty of time to sort himself out. If there is trouble and Boss finds out he could well go loopy. Likewise, Coworker could easily say “Boss, but OP knew!” This is no trivial matter. OP should let Boss know. If Boss dismisses the information or sits tight then at least OP is cleared.

    I suppose Coworker could be thinking he has played fair to OP by letting them know as they car share but he could still hold this information against OP.

    1. Kyrielle*

      It is also an offence to drive on public roads without a license in the US – but from what the OP said, it’s not clear that the coworker does that as part of their job vs. does it on a non-public road at a government facility – and on a non-public road it might not be illegal. It’s still going to be an insurance issue for the company, and cause problems with the company they’re renting their cars from; that’s where the company’s business interest comes in to it (vs. the public and police’s interest).

  48. Collarbone High*

    I used to work for the federal government, and drove a government-owned vehicle on a U.S. military base. This is obviously not the same situation or rules as #1, but some of this may apply.

    The rules for driving the government vehicle were extremely strict — even parking outside the commissary could get you in huge trouble (because you were assumed to be using the vehicle for a personal errand). And that extended not just to the employees, but to their supervisors and even higher managers. One of my colleagues *and his boss* were suspended without pay for a month for an extremely minor violation, even though his boss knew nothing about it.

    The federal government also has a standard called “know or should have known” that relates to whether a supervisor can be held liable for their employee’s actions. I’m not sure how far this extends — I always heard it in mandatory training sessions related to sexual harassment, hostile work environments and workplace violence. In other words, if a manager reasonably should have known that Wakeen would sexually harass Jane (say, because he had harassed other women, or made comments about Jane that the supervisor was aware of), and he does, they’re liable even if they didn’t know about the specific harassment of Jane. It’s a subjective standard.

    tl;dr — The LW’s boss could end up in trouble if the guy is not legally allowed to be driving. I think the boss needs this information to make an informed decision that mitigates potential liability for the company, the employee and the boss.

  49. Erika*

    As someone with a DUI conviction (it’s easier to get one than you think!), I think not telling his employer when his job involves driving shows just as poor judgment as getting charged in the first place. I’d warn your coworker one time that he needs to come clean to his boss then le them know myself. The company has huge, HUGE liability here if someone gets hurt and needs to be able to make an informed decision.

    That said, I’d like to add to the commenters that DUIs are a lot more common than you think: I’d like to think I am a pretty responsible, stable adult but made a really poor decision in my youth, got caught, and paid (am still paying) the price for it. “Drunk drivers” don’t all fit some specific mold.

  50. Brooke*

    Re the DUI – my clearance (I also work for a government contractor) depends on my trustworthiness. In theory I could keep my clearance if I got a DUI and fessed up to my employer immediately, but trying to keep that info FROM my employer (who will eventually find out about it) is looked upon as potentially a more grave mistake than the DUI itself.

  51. OP#4*

    Hi everyone, OP#4 here. I see that I got in a little late into this game, but thanks to everyone who responded. Anyway, yes the title matters a lot where I work. Yes, there is definitely money involved with going up to the Sr. title (I know the bonus % at least, most likely pay grade). Everyone I know with my qualifications/experience who are working in similar companies/industries have Sr. level. I am dealing with the local HR rep. My boss is technically employed by Global HQ, which is in another country – he is here as an expat. I may escalate to US Corporate HR, but I haven’t quite figured out how to contact them yet (we have an HR thing that’s outsourced to a 3rd world country. yes, it’s friggin’ complicated). I am also contemplating changing jobs, and now I’m worried about having to prove my level when I don’t have that Sr. title. Hard to see a future with a company you feel is screwing you over.

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