my manager wants to come to my house, my commute is doubling, and more

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

1. I resigned and now my manager and HR want to come to my house

I resigned last week, effective immediately, yet HR and my boss want to come to my house this week and discuss something or other with regard to official documentation. I have been off ill for a while, had a visit from my boss, and a few weeks later I just decided that I’d rather have my health and some measure of sanity than go back. I also refused to sign for disability because I’m not claiming any benefits; I just needed rest and to be away from the toxic environment.

I received a text asking if I would be home this week and haven’t responded. If I refuse to confirm availability, can they still come to my house? Are they able to still worm their way into my home without my consent? I’m feeling a tad bit harassed. Why can’t my resignation just be accepted as my final word and that I have nothing left to say or discuss or mull over? I am not even interested in a final payment with regards to my salary…I just want out. I’m really upset because now I feel like I can’t even be at home to heal without the immense and unnecessary stress of an unwelcome/unexpected/unsanctioned visit from what I now consider to be my former employer and an HR rep. I used to wonder why some people put fake home addresses and cellphone numbers on their employment contracts — I should have done the same. Do I need to get a court order, a restraining order? Do I respond to the texts and say, “Thanks but no thanks, don’t give me any resignation options to look at, and NO you cannot come to my house AGAIN”?

Besides being physically exhausted and still ill, this makes my skin crawl and I feel like I need to move. I feel sick all over again. Does this qualify as harassment? Why are they still communicating with me?

Whoa — none of this is necessary. Of course you don’t need to move or get a restraining order; they’re no more entitled to come into your home than any other person who showed up who you didn’t want to let in. You’re not obligated to answer your door or let anyone inside, including former employers.

Contact them and tell them that you do not want them to come to your house, and that if they need anything further from you, they should call or email you. If they show up at your door, don’t answer it. They’re very unlikely to keep trying over and over.

2. My new job is moving and doubling my commute

I accepted a job in a new city last August and moved to a place where my commute would be shorter than 40 minutes. I really like my job and house, and now my partner has a job that is close to our home as well. We do not want to move, as our home is a steal.

My boss recently decided to move our office closer to his house–we have a very small office, so this is very feasible–which now has more than doubled my commute. I had discussed it with him when he was tossing around the idea and mentioned that I did not want to drive for longer than 40 minutes to get to work and back home. He went through with the move regardless (which is totally fine since he’s the boss). We’ve chatted about different work options, but he’s not in favor of me working from home at all and the new office isn’t in a location where I could easily take public transit. On top of that, the added cost in driving the extra time and distance will be a big financial change, and I’m not getting a raise anytime soon.

I’ve only been with this company for eight months, and I’m already contemplating waiting until I reach my one-year mark and leaving to find a job that works better with my commuting needs. The problem is that I was at my last job for only six months before being let go, so I’m very worried about looking like a job-hopper. I’m very stressed about this extended commute! Help!

This sucks. Could you say something like this to your boss: “The short commute was a factor in my taking the job. I understand things change, of course, but the impact of the move is that I’m spending much more time commuting than I’d expected to and I’m spending significantly more on gas. Would you be willing to consider revisiting my compensation in light of those factors?”

If that doesn’t work, then you’ve got to balance how much you dislike the commute with the downsides of changing jobs. Employers will understand leaving because your office moved to an inconvenient location, but it’ll still be a disadvantage to have two short stays on your resume (especially since you can’t really have many accomplishments to list in that amount of time). But it depends on what the rest of your resume looks like — if you have other solid stays of three years or ideally more, this will matter less. And I’d actually consider leaving the six-month job off your resume entirely (or at least doing that in your next job search after this one); the downsides of two short stays in a row might outweigh having a gap a few years ago.

3. My bosses said they’d help me find another job after my layoff — what should I expect?

Your blog is a life-saver and I have it to thank for getting a great receptionist/production assistant position that I held for the past five and a half months. Unfortunately, I was just very suddenly laid off last week. My bosses were very compassionate and apologetic, and offered to assist me in finding a job going forward.

While that’s great, I have no idea what to expect. Will they be casually asking their friends in the industry? Making calls to businesses they partnered with in the past? While I know I shouldn’t lean on them fully anyway, my standards are pretty low. After all, they laid me off because the business was going under. They have bigger fish to fry.

I’m drafting a “thank you for everything/good luck” email to my bosses. How do I include something a little more tactful than “so, about that job hunt help…”?

It might mean as little as “we’ll be a reference for you when you need one” or as much as “we’ll reach out to our networks and talk you up and see if we can find leads for you.” More commonly, it means something closer to the former — but the latter does happen.

I’d say this to them: “You mentioned that you might be able to help in my job search. I’d love to take you up on that. I’d really appreciate it if you were able to reach out to your network about me if you know of anyone who might need someone with my skills, or if you’re able to give me a heads-up about any job leads.” That might put some specifics in their heads if they didn’t already have some in there, and it should nudge them to say something that will give you a better idea of where they’re coming from.

That said, on your side I’d function as if nothing will come of their help, since you don’t want to count on it panning out (and even if they actively help, it might not lead anywhere). If it does, great — but meanwhile, move forward with everything you’d be doing anyway.

4. My boss was quoted by a journalist, but he wasn’t even interviewed

My boss was quoted in the media on something he didn’t say. He wasn’t even interviewed. The journalist copied it from our website and quoted my boss in his article. This was very unprofessional. How can I write an email to the journalist and tell her off in a polite way?

I wouldn’t look at it as telling her off, but it’s perfectly reasonable to address it. I’d say this: “You quoted our CEO, Cecil Livermore, in your article, but the quote isn’t from him and you never actually interviewed him. The quote appears to have been taken off our website. Can you shed any light on what happened here?”

My guess is that the reporter figured “from the company’s website” is the same thing as “from this person at the company” — which it’s not, of course.

5. What do you owe a job that accommodated you through a tough time?

Last summer I was diagnosed with cancer. Thanks to the wonders of science, I am now in remission and wrapping up the last few procedures I need.

During my treatment, I continued to work full-time and my employer has been so accommodating. They created a new short-term disability policy effective retroactively so they could pay me for the time I needed off during my first round of chemo. I could go on and on, but basically they’ve made it so that work has never been a worry.

As I look ahead to life in remission, I wonder what I owe my employer for their understanding during a time when I wasn’t my best. I’ve been able to keep up as normal with the day-to-day needs of my colleagues and customers; the impact has been that new projects are coming out less often than normal. I recognize that some of this is the frustration of a high performer who can’t live up to their own expectations, but I can’t tell whether there is also an obligation as an employee to make up for this period.

I’d tell them how much you appreciate how easy they made it for you to have peace of mind about work during this period — I’m sure they’ll appreciate hearing it, even if you think it’s obvious. (It always feels great to hear something like that.)

But beyond that, no! I mean, if you’d always been the office grump, I’d say to take this opportunity to be more pleasant to people there, but I’m assuming there’s nothing like that in play. If you’re wondering if you owe them extra hours now, or a commitment not to leave for two years, or something along those lines, no. It might make sense to feel more loyalty toward them because of how well they handled this, but there’s no an obligation to.

If you really wanted to, you could say, “Now that I’m back to full-speed, is there anything you’d like me to take on from while I was out?” (But only offer that if you’re really ready for it — and you don’t even need to do that.)

{ 326 comments… read them below }

  1. neverjaunty

    OP #1, consider it a sign of how toxic your workplace was that you would even consider that it might be appropriate for the manager and HR person to demand to show up at your house. Awful jobs warp your view of what kind of behavior is and isn’t acceptable. Continue to ignore their texts (and maybe block their number). If they need ‘official documentation’ of anything, they can do it on their end or mail it to you.

    1. jamlady

      Goodness this is such a good point. I can’t tell anymore at my job if something is off or not.

    2. Zillah

      +1

      I feel like there are probably going to be a fair number of comments telling OP1 that they’re overreacting or being irrational, but it sounds to me like this is an incredibly toxic work environment that the OP is escaping from.

      1. starsaphire

        I’m with you. I don’t tend to throw the term PTSD around lightly, but seriously, if you feel **unsafe in your own home** because an ex-job was so toxic…

        1. TrainerGirl

          I believe in office PTSD. I developed OCD while I was working my first job after college. It was only after I got laid off and was working at a new company that it subsided. And since I’d never had a full-time job before, I didn’t realize how batsh*t crazy that place was.

    3. Merry and Bright

      I agree. This sounds even worse than the other LW recently whose employers wanted her to go back to the office after she had left, so she could sign paperwork. Similar principle except this is space invasion.

    4. Katie the Fed

      But I don’t see any indication that they demanded anything. It just says they asked. So I don’t really understand how OP gets from “asked” to “worm their way into my home without my consent.”

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        I think if the OP is this traumatized and on edge, we should assume that they probably have a good reason.

        And IMO, in a functional environment, the boss and/or HR would have spelled out what they wanted from the OP, since that should make it easier for them all to figure out how to take care of whatever it is they want.

      2. fposte

        Maybe, but around here we’d do that for the possibility of severance and to provide COBRA info if somebody disappeared without that.

        1. Charlotte Collins

          Luckily, this is what the postal service is for. You can even send things registered mail if you want to make sure someone got it.

          This feels creepy and weird and like they’re trying to gang up on the OP for some reason. And the OP does not need to answer the door for anyone s/he doesn’t want to.

          1. fposte

            Absolutely agreeing that she’s not obligated to answer the door. I’m just saying that there are workplace situations where people would do this without being sinister.

            1. Collarbone High

              True, they might be trying to be helpful. “LW is really sick, so instead of dragging them out of bed and into the office, we’ll just swing by with this paperwork to make it easier.”

          2. Stranger than fiction

            I have a feeling they want her to sign something releasing them from any claims. Since she’s been out sick maybe they’re paranoid she’s going to sue citing unfair treatment while she’s sick or something like that.

            1. fposte

              I think you may be right–this is clearly a situation where they want something from her, given the intensity of their pursuit, and that’s the sort of thing that could be wanted.

              1. Sunglow28

                Fposte, jist had to say I love your avatar. Did you know the third book.in the series will be out soon? So excited!

            2. MaggiePi

              I was wondering about this too. If she was out for medical reasons, they may be panicking and this is their CYA move. Not that this justifies make a huge scene at their house.
              I agree with others who have suggested reaching out to them via email to find out what they want, so everything can be in writing, and not be physically in the same space with them (esp your house!)

        2. Case of the Mondays

          I was thinking it is because they want to do the ADA interactive process to see if they can find an accommodation that will let OP keep her job if they think her illness is what is keeping her out of work. They are required to offer. They should just do it on the phone but it sounds like she has been dodging their calls.

          1. DMC

            If she resigned effective immediately, which it sounds like, there is no obligation to engage in the interactive process from that point forward.

      3. neverjaunty

        Setting aside the additional information downthread – asking for something inappropriate is itself inappropriate (cf. the recent letter from the OP whose mom insisted she try and get shared housing with an employee because ‘it never hurts to ask’).

    5. Mike C.

      Yeah, this sounds like an incredibly toxic environment and I’m sure there’s all sorts of crazy going on that didn’t make the letter.

      And holy cow, coming to my house? I have to wonder what s other boundaries were regularly crossed.

      1. RVA Cat

        No kidding. If they need paperwork signed that badly and urgently, they can send a courier.

      2. Stranger than fiction

        My HR rep actually came to my house after a layoff several years ago. But, it was all on the up and up she just wanted to drop off my severance check since I had taken the paperwork home the day of the layoff and needed to read through the agreement for the severance. It felt slightly odd because they didn’t trust me enough to come pick it up and just stand in the lobby but otherwise I was like ‘eh whatever’. I ended up meeting her outside because I had a house guest and my house smelled like weed lol.

    6. Kate M

      Just to note OP – you say that you’re not even interested in your final payment, but they don’t have the option not to pay you. That would be illegal. So I totally get not wanting them to come to your house (and if they’re bugging you about it, that’s so inappropriate), but maybe a short email to them saying “You can send my final payment to this address, I don’t need any disability, etc” would wrap up any questions they have.

    7. salad fingers

      If demanding to show up at an employee’s house is toxic, what is it called when managers decide to throw a surprise party for an employee… in that employee’s own home? This happened not long ago at my current toxic workplace. Arrangements were made with the doorman, the company cleaning staff were sent in to clean the apartment, bong was relocated to the bedroom, the place was decorated. This was a 30th birthday party, so naturally, everyone was asked to contribute $$$$ to a gift. This gift ended up in the thousands (!!!!!) and everyone was asked to sign the card and note the amount they gave next to it (!!!!!).

      In case you’re wondering, yes, our company would consider us all to be like a family. *eye roll*

      1. Caroline

        That is… terrifying. How did that go over with the recipient? Because if that happened to me, I don’t know how I’d hold it together enough not to say something that would probably end up getting me fired.

        1. salad fingers

          He LOVED it! I would have absolutely murdered someone if this was done to me, but I have to admit that this was a pretty accurate read of his personality and I don’t think the bosses would have done this to/for anyone else.

          1. JessaB

            I still do not get how they got someone who has a job that requires them to keep people out to go along with what is essentially a crime (you’re not supposed to let people into someone’s apartment without a police warrant or permission from the leaseholder.) I would not want that door minder working for me, I’d fire them for that. Even if the leaseholder ended up happy with the party, it’s an absolute violation of what I would have hired that person to do.

      2. CM

        That is incredibly intrusive!! And bizarre… can’t imagine coming home to see my entire office in my house, and then be handed thousands of dollars!

        1. salad fingers

          Ha, yes, so actually because he lives in a high rise across the street from the high rise we work in, he was lured onto the same floor in our building that his apartment is on and made to look out the window at the entire office in his apartment, holding a sign that said “Happy Birthday Percy” with like party poppers and stuff being unloaded.

          Ugh, thinking about this again I actually can’t stop laughing at how effed up and ridiculous the whole thing was.

      3. Charlotte Collins

        I’d be tempted to call the police on all these trespassers. But I do really value my privacy and personal space.

        1. Charlotte Collins

          Oh, and I’d change the locks, too. And have a serious conversation with the management company about the doorman.

          1. salad fingers

            Right – one thing I forgot to note. The company pays part of this guy’s super pricey rent in exchange for access to his place one day a week for … really hilarious and weird company purposes that are sort of secret. So, for that reason, the company has a key meant to be used at the same time on the same day every week.

            1. fposte

              Someday, when you’re old and gray and the company is gone, will you tell us what those purposes are?

            2. Elizabeth West

              Direct him to that post where the person’s boss wanted to pay for their house and then have his relative stay there.
              If he’s okay with this, then I don’t know what to say. Because this whole thing is crazypants.

            3. Liana

              I’m torn between being horrified and absolutely fascinated by this. I’m with fposte – I want to know what these “secret purposes” are!

            4. Kerry ( like the county in Ireland)

              So like for the boss’s affairs, like in Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine?

                1. A Cita

                  My mind is going to…. places.

                  I shall spare you all the details. (Y’all should appreciate that; it’s an uncharacteristic show of restraint.)

      4. I'm a Little Teapot

        Company staff were sent in to clean the apartment without the employee’s permission? And the doorman let them into the apartment itself?!

        That person needs both a new job and a new place to live. A doorman who lets a bunch of people into someone’s apartment on their say-so, without the renter’s permission, is an incredibly unsafe situation. (Not to mention illegal. I’d probably have accepted the thousands-of-dollars gift, then after everyone was gone called the property management company, the police, and a lawyer. The gift would be a nice source of temporary income if they fired me.)

        1. JessaB

          Thank you, I was trying to say this without going into a panic infused rant, because OMG this is just all the things you said. And add to it I have crazy asthma if that cleaning company used any products that are not low vapour, they’d be paying my hospital bill.

        2. Nom d'pixel

          Yes. The doorman should be fired for letting people into someone’s apartment like that.

      5. Elizabeth West

        I…….WHAT??? I would be LIVID if people from my company went into my home without permission. ABSOLUTELY LIVID.

        And the property management company absolutely should fire that doorman. No excuses.

        1. A Cita

          But they were so respectful about rehoming the bong!

          Honestly, someone wants to come to my apartment, clean it, give me cake and champagne, and then leave while handing me an envelop worth thousands?

          Sign me up.

      6. Chinook

        RE: surprise party for an employee… in that employee’s own home

        At least they sent someone to clean it first. As much as I would hate to have this happen to me, I would have been horrified if they did this and everyone came over on a day that the laundry was hanging in the living room (to dry) and there were dirty dishes in the sink. I would feel judged for my lack of housekeeping skills and feel the need to tidy as soon as I walked in the door. Not matter who comes to visit (even if for 5 minutes to drop something off), I do a speed clean so that I don’t look like I live in a pig sty.

        1. Rater Z

          My wife would love it and ask them to come back again (and again and again) to clean the place. Because of her health, she can’t do it and I don’t clean it as often or as perfectly as she wants. Of course, we haven’t had a visitor in the past nine months which doesn’t do much for cleaning it.

    8. Noah

      She does not say they demanded to come over. She says they want to come over. Presumably they asked. Presumably, as well, they want to get her to sign some sort of release, which is not unusual where an employee out on medical leave quits. Of course, she does not have to do that.

      I am NOT saying she is overreacting, by the way. She’s obviously having a hard enough time, and that sort of thing won’t be helpful. It does, however, seem to me that some of the comments here are overreactions and not really consistent with what was written.

      That said, here are direct answers to the questions she asked:

      If I refuse to confirm availability, can they still come to my house?
      –of course they can. At least up to your property line. A person’s ability to come to your house is not limited by your telling them they are available.

      Are they able to still worm their way into my home without my consent?
      –they never were.

      Why can’t my resignation just be accepted as my final word and that I have nothing left to say or discuss or mull over?
      –they aren’t interested in what you have to mull over. They are interested in protecting the company. That’s why they are asking to see you. You do not have to see them.

      Do I need to get a court order, a restraining order?
      –Don’t have to and wouldn’t be able to.

      Do I respond to the texts and say, “Thanks but no thanks, don’t give me any resignation options to look at, and NO you cannot come to my house AGAIN”?
      –I’d be nicer about it, but yes.

    9. Menacia

      OP mentioned that the boss had already come to her home, after she had been out ill..? Not sure if this plays into the emotion at all, but it’s completely understandable to not want, especially after resigning, your ex-boss and ex-hr person to stop by. Everything can be done remotely or via snail mail, so they cannot force their way into your home without you wanting them there. Put it clearly that you have left, and if they need to discuss anything, it will be over the phone or via email. Please remember that in your own home, you are in control of who can come in or not.

      1. Artemesia

        I think the OP should frame this as ‘they are being considerate about bringing the paperwork to me BUT I DO NOT WANT THIS. ‘ And then contact them making clear that you do not wish a visit and request any future contact be via Email or mail.

  2. Sami

    Telling someone off? Restraining orders?
    Wow.
    Some big misperceptions and misconceptions going on today.

    1. Zillah

      That’s a little rude – why is it necessary to belittle the OPs?

      I’d also like to point out that it’s incredibly unlikely that the emotions OP1 is describing are coming out of nowhere. They’re talking about not even caring about their final paycheck because they just need out – the letter sounds more like a horrific work situation than any kind of overreaction. (And this is how people get away with this shit – they push you until you sound hysterical, because they know that many people will just write you off because of it. It’s true across all areas of life.

      1. UDATED OP1

        Thank you ZILLAH,

        This was actually almost 1 week ago and Friday, 22 April, whilst I was getting into my physiotherapy session, my boss and HR showed up at my house (I live on a farm), waited outside my gate, hootin’ and hollering and called me 8 times. I have 3 border collies who bark like crazy, but being a farm, our neighbours a way to far out to be able to help or call. My phone was in my gym bag while I was working with my therapist. Our neighborhood watch (patrolmen) called and left a message to say there was a strange white car and 2 men hooting and hollering and they identified themselves as my current bosses to patrolman – the nerve. I RESIGNED with immediate effect over a week ago. I hadn’t been in the office for a month and now I’m being stalked? What can I do. I am seriously thinking of getting a restraining order, but I really do not want to get into a legal fight with this company – it is a massive organisation.

        My labor department says that if I resign with immediate effect, there’s nothing the company can do unless they can show that my immediate resignation effected their bottom line – it did not…trust me, their profits are soo immense – I’m not even a “Horton Hears A Who”sized speck on their radar. I am upset and super-PISSED off at the fact that they insist on invading my privacy, trespassing and borderline intimidating me after my resignation. I forgot to say that I initially resigned at the beginning of the year after receiving my diagnoses and my resignation was rejected, I stayed on for a few months and when I realized I just couldn’t remain in their employ, I resigned with immediate effect. This is not a THIRD Time’s the charm situation – I do not want to be hoodwinked into retracting my resignation.

        Why is my EX- boss giving other people my address…better yet, why is he bringing other strangers to my house. My resignation is my final word to them – I don’t want their OPTIONS, I don’t want to sit and talk about things…I want out. Cut and run. Now, it’s Saturday and I’m scared to step out of the house, worried that they’ve sent in maybe the PA or the tea lady to come to my house…that’s how crazy the situation has gotten. Is there a law that prevents your company from divulging your contacts and your home address to other people? At this point, I’m feeling anxious about the fact that I might get more unsanctioned visits from every tom dick and harry from the office. I just wanted to screaaaaaam.

        I’m stressed and I’m afraid this will stunt my recovery. Why can’t my resignation just stand and they leave me the hell alone and STOP stalking me. I also just emailed a lawyer to find out what my “options” are.

          1. Apollo Warbucks

            Have you clearly told them to stop contacting you?

            That should be the first step email or write to your old boss and tell them to stay away from you, try and keep your tone neutral and factual but tell them you’re not interested in talking them

          2. CeeCee

            If this company is so large, have you tried going to your old boss’s boss? Or someone above the person in HR? In a company that large there’s bound to be someone higher up the ladder who recognizes that this behavior is a bit extreme and unprofessional who may be able to step in on your behalf. Furthermore, they might acknowledge that their employees behaving in this manner looks terrible on them.

            I think ultimately, while it’s obvious you don’t want anything to do with this company anymore, a bit of communication with them regarding what you do and don’t expect moving forward (ie. “Please do not show up at my home again. All correspondence should be conducted via email.”) would go a LONG way.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Have you told them directly that you do not want them to come to your house and not to do so?

          If not, there’s no need at this point for a lawyer or thinking of it as stalking. Tell them directly and assume that will take care of it; for 99% of people in the world, it will. If it doesn’t with them, then you can escalate if it’s needed — but at this point it doesn’t seem clear that it’s needed.

        2. MK

          OP, I understand your aggravation, but the way you have been handling this doesn’t seem to be working. As far as I can tell, you resigned and have since had no contact with this company or responded to their communications, despite them repeatedly trying to contact you, because you are afraid you will be pressured to go back to work. At this point though, you need to tell them in so many words that you don’t want any more contact with them; if you really can’t talk to them and can afford to, get a lawyer to do this for you. It doesn’t matter if you think they should be talking your silence as a final answer, the reality is, they aren’t.

          1. Wehaf

            The OP mentioned that she is not interested in getting her final payment (“I am not even interested in a final payment with regards to my salary…”) but if this is in the US, the company is required to pay her for all hours worked – they may be trying to get information in order to do that. I agree that their tactics are inappropriate, but they may have a legitimate business need to get information (such as hours worked) from the OP.

            1. WIncredulous

              I understand what you’re saying, but they know where OP is to send the last paycheck? Or, they could send a (less intrusive) letter to ask about the time worked. I’d be freaked if my boss or former boss showed up at my house.

                1. DMC

                  Under the law, an employer in California (at least) cannot mail a check to a person who resigned unless that person gives them permission to do so AND provides the mailing address for the check. So if it is a final check issue, the employee should just let them know (either via phone or email/letter).

            2. Rusty Shackelford

              There’s no reason they have to show up at the employee’s house to get that information.

              1. Jerry Vandesic

                They might need a final time card to be filled out first, but if so they should be able to do this via mail or email.

                1. Kimberlee, Esq

                  Unless OP is not responding to mail or email, and thus they had no idea if OP had left town or changed email addresses or something. MOST people would really, really want that last check, maybe they are just acting according to that idea? (Still a bit extreme, boundary-wise, but not necessarily egregious.)

                2. Zillah

                  Except that the said they haven’t worked in several weeks – why wouldn’t they already have the time card, if the OP is hourly?

                3. Anna

                  There’s nothing so important that you need to jump through hoops, show up at a former employee’s house, or anything else to get some info. You can estimate what you owe and to CYA you can overestimate by a few hours. You are not required to go through all this rigmarole to get a piece of paper. This is starting to get really weird.

            3. neverjaunty

              Nonsense. If have been paying the OP until now and have her address, they can mail her the check.

                1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

                  I just had to google that. We need tealadies here in the US! Or tealads, or teapeople…just someone with snacks!

            4. Elizabeth West

              No no. They have her address–they can mail her a check. That is all they have to do to satisfy the legal requirement. This shit is creepy and there is NO business need to come to her house and scream at the gate.

              1. Wehaf

                I didn’t say there was a legitimate business need to come to her house – I specifically said that was inappropriate. But there may be a legitimate business need to get information, or have company property such as a key card returned. Or they may be worried OP is dead. OP may be able to get this behavior to stop by communicating with them instead of refusing all contact.

                1. Muriel Heslop

                  If you are worried someone is dead, you call the police for a well check. You don’t show up and wait for hours.

                2. Wehaf

                  Yes, Muriel, I understand that – which is why I have said in each of my comments that their behavior is inappropriate. But they are looking for something, and the silent treatment is not working, so the OP is going to have to make contact with them.

            5. JessaB

              If they have the address to go to and the OP did not have direct deposit, they can put a cheque in the mail and send it registered/return receipt if they want a proof of delivery. There is no reason at all to go in person. Heck, they can send any COBRA or other required legal paperwork by mail as well. There is no legal reason that they have to see the OP in person.

            6. Rmric0

              My understanding of the letter was that OP had been on sick leave prior to the resignation, so it’s unlikely there’s any need for a timesheet and they clearly have OP’s address.

            7. HRish Dude

              This isn’t the US. She used “whilst”, “22 April”, “patrol man”, and “tea lady”.

            8. Observer

              Nonsense. They know the address. They also have enough contact information to text her and ask her for her hours (which is the ONLY thing they would need to know to pay her.) And, if she decided not to answer them they could come up with a number that makes sense.

              By the same token, anything they need, they could ask her via text or send her a letter – regitered mail if they need to document that they sent it.

        3. Asja

          I get that you are really stressed about this, but you are not being stalked. You do not need a restraining order (based on anything you’ve described here). You cannot be “hoodwinked” into retracting your resignation – that is in your power, always (they cannot “reject” your resignation).

          You need to tell them to stop contacting you. You need to say no. From what you describe here, those are not things you have done so far.

          1. Sans

            Yes, the thing that stood out to me was “rejecting my resignation”. They can’t do that. You’re not an indentured servant. It feels like the toxic atmosphere warped your view of what they can and cannot do. They can’t insist you come to work and they can’t visit your house unless you let them. You are running away terrified because you feel that they do have power over you. It’s understandable that you feel that way, but … they don’t. One of the best things you can do as you recover mentally and physically is to not give them any power over you. Send them a final letter telling them where to send any paperwork. Tell them not to call or visit. And that’s it. They are in your past. And they DON’T have the power to get back into your lives — unless you give them that power.

            1. Trillian

              And once you have this separation over, spend some time getting familiar with your legal rights as an employee and as an adult citizen. One of the ways that anxiety affects you is by leaving you unsure of where the boundary of unreasonable lies. People who are toxic will exploit this. Others will intend no malice, but their ignorance will still affect you — as a personal aside, my mother was convinced I would be evicted my first apartment for my untidiness. She had no idea the landlord had to give 24 hours notice of entry, and until I learned that from my University housing office, neither did I.

            2. OldAdmin

              “One of the best things you can do as you recover mentally and physically is to not give them any power over you. Send them a final letter telling them where to send any paperwork. Tell them not to call or visit. And that’s it. They are in your past. And they DON’T have the power to get back into your lives — unless you give them that power.”

              AMEN to that!
              I know exactly where the OP is coming from. I used to be so downtrodden and terrified by BadBoss I temporarily developed paranoia and delusions.
              I’m not saying the OP is delusional, but that a reality check becomes nigh impossible in such a super stressful situation.

              But be that as it may – the powerful message posted above is to SAY NO.
              OP, send that clear email and/or letter (copy to higher ups!) to your former employer to stay away from your house. Else you will call the police.
              NO PHONE CALLS. Tell them all further communication will be in writing.

              You will feel so liberated after that because you put your foot down!
              I’ve done it, I know the feeling well.
              All the best. Post here if you have more questions and/or updates.

        4. hbc

          I understand that you’re sick and exhausted and stressed and want never to hear from them ever ever again. But no, silence isn’t an answer. Silence can mean that you didn’t get their text, that you misunderstood it, that you’re lying on your bathroom floor unable to get up, or yes, that you never want to contact them again.

          They may be the biggest jerks in the world, but in this case, a lot of well-intentioned people would/could be doing the same thing. Of course HR has access to your home address–they’re the ones who have all of that info. Of course they have some paperwork they’d like to sign–it’s a big company, they probably have lots of forms. Of course they need to get you your final check–it’s against the law if they don’t, even if you don’t want it.

          That doesn’t mean that toxic people won’t use normal, non-toxic circumstances to behave badly, and you don’t have to accommodate them. Send one final text, like “Please mail any paperwork, otherwise I do not want any further contact, and please do not visit my house.” If they come to your house anyway, walk inside without a word and don’t answer the door.

          1. Observer

            Really? Coming to her house making so much noise that the local patrol person took note and calling her *8 times* in the course of about an hour? That is NOT something a “normal well meaning” people do.

        5. Juli G.

          You don’t have any work equipment, do you? I agree that you need to tell them you don’t want to be contacted but you also should make sure any business items are returned and that they should mail you the check.

          OP, is there a chance they’re concerned for you? We’ve had people resign that I’ve been concerned are suicidal (not saying you are!) and while I didn’t show at their homes, I did reach out a time or two by phone to “remind them” about COBRA or 401k. If I was asked to never contact them again, I would respect that.

          1. Random Lurker

            Based on OP’s posts here, I would be worried as well if they were my employee/former employee – lots of emotions and paranoia without a lot of information to support why they are feeling that way. However, there is a proper way to do a wellness check, and showing up with HR is not it.

            OP – there is most likely a very innocent reason they are arriving, and you . Paycheck, recover property, tie up other lose ends. Reach out to them, tell them that arriving at your home is not appropriate and not welcomed, and ask them to conduct any business with you over email. I think you are adding to your stress levels by not doing this.

            1. Zillah

              OP – there is most likely a very innocent reason they are arriving, and you . Paycheck, recover property, tie up other lose ends.

              Given the OP’s state of mind and the fact that they’re showing up at the OP’s house, I think that an entirely innocent reason is not “most likely” the case. Paychecks can be mailed – there’s no reason to drop them off in person – and I’m not sure what loose ends are so important they require the boss and an HR person to show up at the OP’s very removed house. It’s no wonder they feel threatened.

              1. eplawyer

                Sorry honking and hollering for 2 hours outside the property is not an the acts of a reasonable person. If it were a true concern for the OP’s wellbeing, you say that the neighborhood watch who showed up. You don’t just say that you are the current employer as if that gives you all the rights in the world to do whatever you want.

                This is not tying up loose ends. The employer already said they want to discuss options. Clearly they want the employee to keep working in the toxic environment. Should the OP tell them Do Not Contact me again? Sure. But a reasonable employer might have figured out after 3 resignations and no contact about the final check that this person really wants no further contact.

                Next time they show up, after you send the Do Not Contact email, call the cops. Trespassing is all you need. You don’t have to go for a restraining order.

                1. Kyrielle

                  Yes, this. Dropping by to see if the OP was there might be defensible. Honking once or twice – rather than forcing past the gate or leaving without the OP even realizing they were there – might be defensible.

                  Honking and hollering for any length of time longer than single-digit minutes is not defensible. And this was to the point that the neighborhood watch became concerned? That’s some bizarre behavior right there, and a strong sign for the sort of toxic workplace that you really *wouldn’t* want on your property or near you!

                2. Observer

                  Fifi Ocrburg, it clearly was more than a minute or two. They called 8 times during that period!

                  Also, saying that they are her boss and HR is also concerning – she RESIGNED. OldBoss is NOT her boss anymore.

              2. Elle

                I’ve been in HR for almost 25 years now, and I’ve never had any reason to have to go to someone’s house post resignation. Especially with the existence of e-mail, cell phones, etc. The only times I visited an employees’ home were during times of illness, and that was at the employees’ invitation.

            2. Mike C.

              What is it with folks who have never worked a toxic job calling those who have crazy for their reactions to it?

              1. anooooooooon

                It’s reminding me of other posts and comments where someone has mentioned receiving a disguised classist/racist/sexist/homophobic/etc comment and people who’ve never had to deal with those comments have suggested that it might have a compliment instead of an insult. The recent post about the OP receiving classist comments is springing to mind.

              2. neverjaunty

                Defensive attribution: if bad things happen to you, and I can find some way to say ‘they happened because you did X’, then I can assure myself that I don’t do X so the bad things won’t happen to me.

                1. Koko

                  Yep. This is the reason why a jury that is predominantly female is more likely to acquit an accused rapist than a predominantly male jury. If it was the victim’s fault, then the world is a less scary place for the female jurors, because they can avoid being raped by not making the mistakes the victim did. But if the victim didn’t do anything wrong and was raped anyway, the world is much scarier for the female jurors because the same thing could happen to them.

                2. Zillah

                  @ Koko – I know this is OT, but what’s your source on that? Everything I’ve read has said the opposite – that men are more likely to acquit.

              3. The RO-Cat

                Well, in the worldview of those lucky enough to have never tasted a toxic workplace, behaviors appropriate as coping or defensive mechanisms are “crazy” because they never had the chance to see said behaviors other than in very special circumstances – thus, associated with the abnormal. And many cannot even fathom an environment where such behaviors are not only normal, but a sign of adaptation (twisted as that adaptation might be to the outer world). It’s like for any urban dweller witnessing a LRRP catching, roasting and eating a rat – anywhere out of the jungle, that behavior is “crazy”. But it is difficult sometimes to see the jungle from the window of your lush, cozy and warm house.

              4. Not the Droid You are Looking For

                I *think* (hope) it’s because people can’t actually comprehend a bad work environment.

                People often think I am exaggerating when I tell stories about my old boss, but it wasn’t until they listened to the drunk voicemail message yelling at me for leaving the bar at midnight when we had a client meeting at 8am the next day where he said, “you better get you @$$ down here now if you still want an f’ing job in the morning.”

              5. Juli G.

                Personal experiences frame everyone’s view. Every “effective immediately” resignation I’ve received has come with either a serious concern for safety of the resigning employee or safety of current employees. I get why an employer would care about an employee’s whereabouts after a resignation.

                Now, this company sounds out of line. I don’t know people at large companies with this kind of time on their hands. If you don’t respond to me after two reach outs and you have some legal obligation to the company (typically property return), then I send it to counsel and/or security and they deal with it.

            3. Koko

              lots of emotions and paranoia without a lot of information to support why they are feeling that way

              She may not have provided that information in this letter for sake of conciseness. OPs don’t have to provide supporting evidence for their problem in order to get advice on the problem. There’s no reason to think that just because she didn’t give us the whole gorey backstory that there isn’t a valid reason why she believes this to be a problem.

              1. Apollo Warbucks

                +1

                Also just because you might be paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you

        6. Katie the Fed

          Ah ok, this changes things.

          OP – I know you don’t want anything to do with them, but you’re going to have to have a conversation with them at some point. Just call your former boss and ask what she needs. If it’s just a form, ask her to mail it. If it’s something you need to return, make arrangements for that. Just have a short conversation and I think you’ll clear up a lot of your worry. At the end of the phone call, just say “I trust this concludes our business and you won’t be contacting me again?”

          There may be legitimate reasons they need to get in touch with you. Or they may be concerned about your well-being. Who knows? But you need to have a conversation, address whatever the issue is, and then ask them to stop contacting you.

          1. Lou

            I disagree. OP does not need to have any sort of conversation with them or complete any sort of documentation. She is no longer their employee. All she needs to do is to send them a message making it clear that she wants them to stop contacting her. That’s it.

            1. chocolate lover

              Of course I have no idea what the deal is with this employer, but there are genuine reasons they may need to be in touch with OP. One example is does OP have a retirement account through the company? There may be documentation that the company needs to transfer it over, they can’t just sit on it. Other people have already mentioned the possibility she may have business equipment that needs to be returned. Granted, that still doesn’t excuse showing up at OPs house as far as I’m concerned. That’s ridiculous. Send a certified letter explaining what’s needed or something, don’t show up at someone’s home yelling and making enough of a scene for neighborhood watch to leave multiple message.

              1. fposte

                I wouldn’t make a scene, but if an ordinarily reliable employee went out on leave and refused to communicate other than with a resignation, I would quite likely either call the cops or stop by the house, because I’d be really worried.

              2. Chinook

                “One example is does OP have a retirement account through the company? There may be documentation that the company needs to transfer it over, they can’t just sit on it.”

                If this were the reason, yes they can sit on it, at least in Canada. I have pensions sitting with two unions (total compensation when I retire, probably $20/month tops) that I should have paid out but I just haven’t gotten around to it. It doesn’t cost them anything to keep me on the books. Worst case scenario is that it is never paid out because they can’t find me.

                1. Anna

                  And in most US companies, those accounts are administered by a company that is not your employer, so when you resign or are laid off or whatever, you don’t talk to the company about what to do with the account. *

                  *I understand the OP is in the UK, so I don’t know if it’s the same case there.

          2. neverjaunty

            No, she doesn’t have to have a conversation with them. She can communicate by e-mail or certified letter, explaining 1) as they are aware, she resigned last Wednesday (or whatever) and is no longer employed by the company; 2) she does not want any further communications except in writing; 3) if there is anything the company believes need to be returned or completed, please inform her ASAP by email or letter and she will make sure it is addressed. (And also probably #4: where is the final paycheck you are required to provide.)

            I agree with you that OP should let her employer know THAT she doesn’t want to be contacted, and confirm that (for example) they’re not trying to recover a company laptop or something. But other than that, all this “why don’t you just talk to them?!?!?!” stuff is… no. Just, no.

            1. A Cita

              Yes. She doesn’t need to have a conversation and she doesn’t want to because they verbally harass her to stay. That closing sentence:

              “I trust this concludes our business and you won’t be contacting me again?”

              does not work on irrational people. It opens the door to more harassment.

              1. Jadelyn

                I think that’s one of those things that someone who’s never been in that type of toxic situation will have a hard time understanding – any contact encourages them. If you have to talk to them, do not ask questions; make statements. Conclude the conversation as quickly as possible and be emphatically definite that you are done discussing the matter and will not respond to further attempts to engage on the subject. In this case, do it all in writing – it gives a layer of emotional buffer space since you’re not on the spot to have to say something in immediate response, but can take a few minutes (or hours if you need to) to craft your response.

          3. Observer

            I’m with all the people who thinks your last sentence is off base. No question mark, and not “trust.” This is not a request or negotiable in any way.

            What should be said to them (preferably in a letter or email, rather than a phone conversation, I think) is “Please do not contact me any more. If there turns out to be a specific legal reason the you need to contact me please do so via email / mail.”

            1. Desdemona

              This is excellent, except I’d leave off the “please.” “Please” is for people who respect boundaries.

        7. Pixie

          Another country heard from, OP1, but may I suggest sending them am email requesting that all inquiries be made through a certain medium? That way they know that you’re alive, which may actually be a concern for them, and if there is anything that does need to be done on your end, there are rules set up for it. And then maybe (if you sent an email) turn the computer off and don’t look at it for at least a day. Specify reply times, as in, they need to expect a minimum turn around of two business days. And then give yourself permission to be proud that you left someplace crazy.

        8. Am I missing something?

          OP, I’m sorry to say this, but you sound a little mentally unhinged. Maybe we don’t have the entire story here but it doesn’t seem like you are acting in the best of faith either. They clearly have something they NEED to discuss with you but you don’t seem to even want to have a phone conversation with them and instead are just doing the silent treatment. Just talk to them, even on the phone, and figure out what they want, that will probably solve this entire thing! From your posts I just can’t get the feeling that you are blameless here or that you are completely with it, and you didn’t act in good faith, you left with ZERO notice, they may legitimately need something from you like passwords or something. You are the one making this more stressful than it needs to be and hiding behind your “recovery” as an excuse.

          1. Raine

            The OP (1) already once before resigned and they rejected it; and (2) as before, the employers keep indicating they want to discuss “options” which OP says has meant in the past everything except accepting the resignation.

          2. Zillah

            It seems pretty clear that we don’t have the full story. However, anxiety to the extent that the OP is expressing generally doesn’t come from nowhere. It seems to me like a common reaction to repeated boundary violation and toxicity – and people who do that thrive on making their target look unhinged to the outside observer.

          3. The Cosmic Avenger

            I suggest you re-read the commenting guidelines, specifically:

            Most commenters here are smart, thoughtful, helpful, and civil. To keep it that way, please don’t engage in any of the following:

            • Personal attacks on or harsh comments to other commenters or letter-writers
            […]
            Also:
            […]
            • If you want a steady supply of interesting letters to read here, people need to be willing to write in and expose themselves to public critique. Treating them kindly makes that far more likely to happen.

          4. Katie the Fed

            Whoa there! That’s not necessary. 1) we don’t diagnose people here 2) it’s not helpful or compassionate. Insulting the OP isn’t going to help her.

            I think there’s some merit in the suggestion that she makes some kind of contact with them, but you could have couched it much better.

          5. Mike C.

            This is a pretty terrible thing to say. I hope you never find yourself in a workplace like this and have perfectly random strangers accuse you of being crazy.

          6. Former Retail Manager

            Yes! I say something similar below. I agree that the OP’s feelings aren’t coming across in the most flattering light in writing. I have dealt with people who reacted similarly to how the OP is reacting and it was entirely unwarranted in my situations…purely anecdotal, I realize. In all of my situations, the employees had never really been a good fit and left under contentious conditions. However, they seemed to fail to realize that management was just as thrilled to see them go as they were to go. I just needed the darn keys back. I really think OP should just give them a call or send a quick e-mail to see what it is they need and move on with her life.

            1. neverjaunty

              Why can’t THEY send the OP a quick email (or, if it’s that important, a registered letter) saying what THEY need? “Dear OP, we wish you well in your future endeavors but we need you to return your security card this week” doesn’t require showing up at her home.

              Why are you so eager to crap on the OP here?

              1. Koko

                Yep, “We have information for you that we could communicate in this letter/email/voicemail but you must call and engage in conversation with us to hear the information,” is a classic power play. They’re withholding information in order to pressure her into a call or meeting which, from everything OP says, is likely to be a high-pressure conversation full of inappropriate requests.

                “Enter your phone number to download our free eBook!” There’s a reason they withhold the goods until you cough up a phone number/offer goods in exchange for a phone number. Marketers wouldn’t engage in this tactic if it didn’t help them sell more product. The company is hoping to “sell more product” to OP.

                1. OldAdmin

                  quote:
                  Yep, “We have information for you that we could communicate in this letter/email/voicemail but you must call and engage in conversation with us to hear the information,” is a classic power play. They’re withholding information in order to pressure her into a call or meeting which, from everything OP says, is likely to be a high-pressure conversation full of inappropriate requests.
                  unquote.
                  ———————–
                  Oh yes, that reminds of the pressure tactics a very traumatizing ex (as in trashing the apartment and getting hauled off naked and yelling) who also owed me money used.
                  Years later, he contacted a mutual friend to pass on the message that he was willing to pay his debts. [Friend] was willing to be the go-between. (BTW, all this was in a time and place without restraining orders etc.).

                  Me: “Excellent. [Friend], please give him my account details!
                  Ex via [Friend] then – did you see it coming? – demanded personal contact with me first.
                  I refused, and the go-between relayed it wasn’t necessary for him in order to pay his debts.
                  Of course ex thought he had hooked me with the promise of money, and he adamantly *demanded* contact before he would pay.
                  I saw right through his power game, laughed, and relayed the message “I thought you would do that. Forget it.”. And ceased further relayed communication. Ex was described as livid, and he repeatedly attempted contact, threatened to never, ever pay a cent etc.
                  Nobody cared.

                  My peace of mind was so worth it.

              2. Katie the Fed

                But OP can’t control what they do. So it’s kind of pointless to point out how they should be handling things, because they’re not. The only thing OP can reasonably do here is contact them and find out what’s going on. Even the police would probably end up there – trying to figure out what they actually want first.

                1. Jadelyn

                  I think pointing out how they should be handling things is more about poking holes in the benefit of the doubt that a surprising number of commenters seem happy to offer the company, rather than the OP. I’m not giving benefit of the doubt to the company that they “just need something returned” or whatever, since if that’s what they actually needed, there are many other non-intrusive non-harassing ways to go about getting it.

                2. Observer

                  Why should she do that? You are right – she can’t control what they do. But why does that mean she needs to respond?

                  The reason to point out what they could be doing is to point out that they are not being reasonable, which is, in itself a reason for her not to accommodate them. Also, that since they have other options than demanding a meeting with her without specific information, it’s clearly not HER problem that they have a problem.

            2. Observer

              If all you need is the darn keys back, etc. they YOU SAY SO. You do NOT ask to visit their home to “discuss” ANYTHING.

              You need the keys, you text “We need the keys to xxx back. Please drop it off.”

              You need the password to something? You text “What is the password to xxx?”

              etc.

              I cannot think of ANY case where there would be a need for a visit for a discussion of documentation.

          7. pope suburban

            I think you may, in fact, be missing something. A large number of somethings, in fact. When you have a toxic job that has ruined your health and left you so haggard you just want out, you’re not going to feel up to doing the corporate thing, much less hosting the people who made you so profoundly ill in your home. Personally, I would be handling this by mail, as I understand that some things must happen when you resign from a job, but I would not want to talk to any of my toxic former coworkers ever again– and because these things are not going to go away if I continue to ignore them. OP, I think a certified letter requesting that all necessary paperwork be mailed (and stating that you will mail back any company property you may have) would be a good route. If you don’t wrap up these loose ends, these people will keep showing up in your life, sabotaging your recovery. By all means, gather “Team You,” as Captain Awkward puts it, if you need help drafting a letter or calming down or getting distracted from your former coworkers’ frankly bizarre behavior here. But know that *something* has to get going here, if you’re to get them well and truly out of your life so you can start healing.

          8. Minion

            What you’re missing is that it’s pretty rotten to call someone that you don’t even know mentally unhinged.
            I do believe OP needs to reach out to the company, but only to tell them to stop all contact and only in the medium by which she feels most comfortable reaching out. So, no, she doesn’t have to have a phone conversation in order to act in good faith.
            It’s even more rotten to accuse someone of using their “recovery” as an excuse and it’s triple rotten to put “recovery” in quotations as if you even question the legitimacy of their illness.

            1. Jadelyn

              THANK YOU. I can maybe – *maybe* – see asking someone if their _reaction_ is entirely rational, but that’s a far cry from calling the person themselves “unhinged”.

          9. Tiana

            Mentally unhinged? Hiding behind “recovery” as an excuse? I’m sorry but that is far from being fair towards the LW. OK, her response to the situation may not have been the most logical but when people are in a toxic situation all they think about is wanting out and ASAP. Be it work related or otherwise. Logic can get thrown out of the window in these situations! I guarantee you that. It’s not your right to make an armchair diagnosis of someone else and invalidate their reasons of not facing her ex-employers. The LW came to AAM to get advice from people. Not to get put on blast from people such as yourself.

          10. Observer

            Why is it her responsibility to fulfill THEIR “needs”? She doesn’t work for them any longer. She quit. And, whatever the flaws in the US system, that’s still legal. She does NOT need their permission, nor does she need to even talk to them again. IF there is something legally required, it is ON THEM to let her know exactly what they need, and why it’s her responsibility.

        9. Jerry Vandesic

          OP 1: do you have any company property still in your possession? (badge, computer, phone, secureID token, documents)

          1. Rater Z

            I just happened to think it might be a door key or several of them which might mean that, if the company doesn’t get them back fairly quickly, several hundred doors in the building or two will have to be changed.

        10. TootsNYC

          My labor department says that if I resign with immediate effect, there’s nothing the company can do unless they can show that my immediate resignation effected their bottom line –

          Where do you live?

          I wouldn’t think that in the U.S., there would be anything they could do even IF your immediate resignation affected their bottom line.

          Do you have a contract? or are you in another country than the U.S.?

        11. TempestuousTeapot

          I do hope things get better for you. Toxic workplaces are truly soul sucking. I personally wouldn’t seek out an attorney, but I am not you and only you can decide how much of this you are willing to entertain on your own. If you already feel the need to seek counsel over this, then that is what you need to do. At the least, the lawyer can assist you with a formal written final communication repeating the date of your resignation, verification that you hold no company property/materials/information, and remind them of your status at the time of your resignation (including your last hours worked). This way, you have covered all you need to with a legal witness to your ending of employment (I hate to say it, but if they think they can refuse your resignation, a witness may be needed), and to support your insistence that n one come to your home. They can write a letter and mail it. If you are able to and wish it, a lawyer might be able to stand as intermediary for written contact, further providing you a buffer. It is an extreme stance to take and a burned bridge, but you need to do what works for you, and the bridge may already be on fire. Just please don’t be surprised when their response to the attorney is shock and confusion at you not telling them yourself. Toxic employers are well known for that tactic. Good luck and be well soon.

        12. Nelly

          Please give us an update when things settle down for you, your situation is worrying!

          I had a boss refuse a resignation once, and it’s quite frustrating, although my outcome was very different to yours.

  3. Engineer Girl

    #4 It would be more appropriate if the boss contacted the journalist. That said, I’d take a screen shot of the quotes website, email the journalist, and cc the editor. The sloppy journalism is the sort of thing that drives editors bananas.
    Alison’s verbiage is great.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      If the OP is, say, the communications director and the boss is the CEO, it would make sense for the OP to do it (being the person charged with dealing with the media). Just depends on their positions. Totally agree on the screenshots, etc. though!

      1. Engineer Girl

        My thinking was that the boss had greater standing legally since they were the one misquoted. Fabricating quotes is a fireable offense I believe.

        1. Raine

          It depends on what the article looked like and how the information was presented A CEO or an Attorney General or a Governor or Senator quoted on the company’s or office’s website is often a press release thing — it’s precisely the way the organization or person wants an issue to be presented — and might not be a misquote at all or even deceptive.

          1. Cass

            +1 it doesn’t seem like this is the quite the same situation, but I was working on a piece about a Senate candidate and struggled to write one phrase of how he describes his viewpoints. (We did interview him, but didn’t have any sound bite of exactly what I needed.) So I went on his website and said “Candidate Spike described himself as a “….”

            1. TootsNYC

              I think you should say “On his website, Candidate Spike described himself”
              OR
              “Candidate Spike HAS described himself,” which implies that it’s out there in the world but he didn’t say it directly to you.

              1. Editor

                Yes, the quote attribution should have said the information came from the website. Choosing to quote the website could be a result of sloppy journalism, deadline pressure, unanswered requests for quotes or interviews, last-minute editing, or a number of other problems.

                One caution: I have had editors strip out such attributions because they didn’t like them. When the OP makes contact, the communication should suggest that the problem could be a result of poor writing or poor editing. As a writer and editor, I have always felt it is more ethical for corrections to mention editing errors when the problem is not the fault of the writer. It makes the writer’s relationships with sources easier and it is honest.

                If the quote was used because the executive or firm refused to respond to interview requests or because the firm is shutting out a particular publication or news site, then the OP should be careful to make sure the information quoted from the website wasn’t presented as a quote on the website, because if the firm has been ignoring or stonewalling interview requests, the place that made those requests will probably only want to provide a very limited clarification. It doesn’t sound like this is the case, though.

      2. Artemesia

        And it is important for this to go to the editor and not just the reporter; this is a real journalistic crime — it is unethical to do this. I once was quoted in a student newspaper; the student journalist made up the quote and it was ungrammatical. That was a treat.

    2. Hornswoggler

      Yes – a a sometime journalist (in the UK) I would say contact the journalist and ask for a correction to be published. You may even suggest wording for this, eg:

      CORRECTION: We apologise for implying that we were quoting [CEO] of [company] in our article [link, date]. In fact we were quoting information from the company’s website [link].

      If the article is online, you should also ask for the article to be amended, with an indication of what the amendment was and why it has been changed.

    3. Pwyll

      Depending on how annoyed the CEO is, how false the statement was and the reporter’s response, you (or preferably the CEO) may want to contact his editor, so long as the conversation is calm. I can’t imagine an editor wants their reporters quoting people they haven’t even interviewed.

      1. Mrs. Psmith

        Yes, you need to loop in either the editor, managing editor, someone at the publication other than the journalist. Depending on where the statement from the website came from (was it straight copy on the website, a press release, a study, etc.) that could be a pretty egregious misattribution. At minimum a correction would need to run.

  4. jamlady

    Kind of piggybacking on OP 1, but what would you say on job applications for why you left a job when what you actually did was run away from a toxic horror? If you look like you’re job hopping, I feel like they want to see a good reason for it, but I also feel like calling out the old company is bad form.

      1. jamlady

        Ah I was afraid that would be the answer, but nothing else really seems feasible! Thanks for the link :)

  5. Graciosa

    I’m guessing there’s a lot more to the story in #1, to give the OP the benefit of the doubt and explain what seems to be a bit of an overreaction.

    A brief (announced and accepted) visit to someone who is recovering (and has recovered enough to have visitors) used to be considered a courtesy.

    However it has always been perfectly polite to simply decline. The older phrase used to be “not at home” which did not mean not physically present, but was code for “not receiving visitors” or even “possibly at home to other visitors, but not interested in talking to YOU.”

    The more modern version may just be “No,” or “I’m sorry, that’s not convenient,” or any of a host of polite phrases that don’t actually give away any information (because “No” is not an invitation to negotiate or debate).

    But it does need to be communicated in this case.

    I’m not sure what else is going on that would send the OP’s mind immediately toward restraining orders instead of just saying no, but a simple negative (in email if the OP wants to avoid conversation) is probably much easier than pursuing a restraining order.

    And seeking a restraining order from a court of law is generally for situations where the individuals have demonstrated that they will not be restrained by the common courtesy of accepting a polite refusal. I’m not seeing the history of that happening here.

    It seems that it is still perfectly possible that the boss and HR offered to visit with paperwork as a (possibly misguided, but courteously intended) attempt to make the process as easy as possible for the OP. They would be taking all the burden of travel upon themselves and giving her the “home field” advantage in the location of the meeting.

    The OP obviously doesn’t feel that way about – which is fine – but the first and easiest solution should be simply to decline.

    OP, I hope you find yourself in a better place when the stresses of your current situation have passed.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        Normally I’d apply Hanlon’s Razor and say never attribute to malice what could be caused by stupidity, but Graciosa reminded me: if you feel pestered by them (or worse), just remember that “No” is a complete sentence. A bully that cannot cow you outright mat try to get you to JADE: Justify, Argue, Defend, and/or Explain, because as long as they can keep the argument going they can try to control the terms. Drop the rope, don’t let them turn a discussion or inquiry into a tug-of-war.

        Of course, you can just keep ignoring them completely, but as others have said, you might get them to leave you alone sooner and more permanently if you calmly turn them down outright.

    1. Not So NewReader

      OP, I don’t think you are in the US, but here there has to be a charge (an arrest) in place in order to get a restraining order. Just something to be aware of as you go along.

      I realize that others think this is not that big a deal, however, I am more inclined to think it is a big deal. For one thing, you may be factoring in previous problems that you have not included here and the sum total of everything you have seen has led you to the conclusion that this is just. too. weird.

      I am not saying this to be scary, but please build yourself a circle of trusted friends/family. Do not allow yourself to fall into isolation. This is not just for reasons of physical safety. It is also for reasons of mentally preparing to re-join the world of normal people. Surround yourself with normal people going about their day and their life. Primarily, this will help you get back your equilibrium after dealing with this hot mess of a company. Positive relationships are a powerful affirmation of hope.

      My second thought is: When we are at our lowest, often times, we are required to be at our strongest. This is so hugely unfair, but I have seen it so many times that I think of it as a pattern in life. Please consider this thought, part of your healing maybe attached to your ability to set boundaries. In other words, when you say NO directly to these people, you may find parts of you healing up.

      Putting this together- surround yourself with positive people. Tell this former employer NO and allow your positive people to support you. And support can be very simple. It can be just living ordinary life and doing ordinary things. Boring, mundane activities such as grocery shopping, taking the dog to the vets and so on, can be hugely reassuring that there is more than one aspect to life. Just because we have a part of our lives in upheaval does not always mean every aspect of our lives is in upheaval. Everyday activities anchor us/ reassure us in odd ways.

      FWIW, your former employer sounds like an invasive weed that just. will. not. go. away.

      1. Gandalf the Nude

        Not So New Reader, you always have the kindest, most insightful commentary for OPs.

      2. eplawyer

        There does not have to a charge/arrest in most states to get a Restraining/Protective Order. In fact, most victims of abuse do not want criminal charges because it can affect the abuser’s employment. Guess who gets abused further when that happens?

      3. Sue Wilson

        here there has to be a charge (an arrest) in place in order to get a restraining order

        …No there doesn’t, not in the US. The whole point of protective order is that the victim can get it themselves without having to wait and see if a prosecutor cares about it, and some people actively don’t want to go through the process of being a witness in a criminal case.

        1. Dynamic Beige

          I think that depends on the state. There was an episode of Dateline(?) last week where a man could not file a restraining order against a kinda/sorta ex-girlfriend because in Kentucky they said you can’t file unless you live with the other person. Maybe that’s changed now, but I was surprised by that stipulation because stalkers don’t usually live with the person they’re stalking.

          1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

            Even though most people use the terms interchangeably, my state differentiates between a protective order and a restraining order. Protective orders do not need a police report and can even be put in place with an affidavit of non-prosecution, restraining order as typical part of the court settlement and are more often used for things like “you can’t empty a bank account during the divorce.”

            Also, the police/sheriff will enforce a protective order but not a restraining order.

          2. Eplawyer

            But that doesn’t mean thete has to be a charge. Some states have two types of orders. One for intimate relationships such as living together. The other for everyone else like the neighbor who stalks you. You can file one or the other. People mess up which one they file then complain the system failed them

          3. doreen

            For the US , it depends on the details. In my state, you can get an order of protection ( we don’t call them restraining orders) in Family Court without an arrest if the person’s relationship to you qualifies- related by marriage or blood, child in common, current or former spouse, current or former intimate relationship( which need not be sexual ). But even though there doesn’t have to be an arrest or criminal case, there has to be an allegation that the respondent committed a family offense. The family offense might consist of verbal abuse , but you cannot get an OOP simply because you don’t want someone to call you.

            To get an order of protection against anyone else , there must be a criminal court case. Which means that there must be an allegation that the defendant has committed an offense , you will need to make a police report and you will have to cooperate with the prosecutor (because of they dismiss the case due to lack of a witness, the temporary order of protection will not be renewed. You can’t get one simply because you don’t want someone to call you or come to your house. It’s not an offense to call someone or to go to their home. People coming to your home and calling you on the phone could be part of an offense, but there needs to be more to get an order of protection.

            1. Granite

              I presume trespass would count as the criminal offense, if your ordered them off your property and they refused or returned?

      4. Beezus

        I love this.

        Take care of yourself and your health, OP1. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’ve exited traumatic boundary-obliterating situations before, and it really messes with you; I can’t imagine trying to navigate that and a health issue at the same time.

        One thing that might help – if you have a friend or family member that you trust to help you, can you have them deal with your employer? Let them know, “I’m dealing with some serious health issues right now, as you know; my friend Sarah is helping me with my personal affairs, please reach out to her via [method] with anything you need from me, and she’ll ask me when I am well enough to deal with it.” Then, if they have any legitimate wrap-up issues that they need to touch base with you on, Sarah can present those to you in one or two batches and you can be done with them, and she can run interference for you on anything overreaching. I would be happy to provide that kind of help to a friend.

        1. Laura

          Wonderful suggestion. Having an advocate makes things SO much easier in situations like OP1’s.

      5. stevenz

        IF they really need to see you in person, why not meet at a local cafe? Or get a Very Big Dog. Or tell them you have very contagious form of Slater-Moncrief Syndrome. But I sympathise with you entirely. Having people from work can be the ultimate home invasion. The idea makes me shudder, too. Ick.

    2. Nedra

      Just wanted to add my voice to those saying it’s important to see what happens after you contact them directly because they likely aren’t intending to harass you and have no idea that that’s how they are being perceived. I think we would all love an update on this situation after you’ve responded to them!

      1. Zillah

        because they likely aren’t intending to harass you and have no idea that that’s how they are being perceived

        Can we please just give the OP the benefit of the doubt here? I doubt they’re so freaked out over an innocent misunderstanding, and I have a hard time believing that two people – including an HR person! – could stand outside the gate to an ex-employee’s remote property and cause enough of a disruption that the neighborhood watch got involved (despite there being no being no nearby neighbors) and have no idea that their actions might be perceived as threatening.

        1. Nedra

          Hmm…I guess I thought the “hooting and hollering” was more of a “waving and calling” rather than the “honking” that other folks are saying. It didn’t strike me as threatening in the OP’s description.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I actually agree that’s possible — we don’t know either way. And if that’s the case, a clearly worded statement from the OP to stop contacting her will solve it. If that doesn’t solve it, the OP can escalate. But either way, there’s a really crucial step the OP needs to take here that sounds like it hasn’t happened yet (telling them to stop).

          2. Zillah

            “Waving and calling” vs. “honking” is splitting hairs – I don’t see how that interpretation is any better. They were ultimately outside the OP’s house in a remote location causing enough of a disruption (including calling the OP eight times) that the neighborhood watch called the OP about it. It doesn’t matter whether they’re honking or waving and calling – the likeliest scenario is not them having no idea how it’s coming across.

    3. neverjaunty

      There has never been a social convention of showing up on an EX-employee’s doorstep to get information for paperwork. This is quite different from a social call on a sick person.

      1. Graciosa

        Largely in agreement, however the two may be legitimately conflated in the minds of the people at the business proposing the call. “Let’s save the OP from having to leave the house while she’s recovering by bringing the paperwork to her,” is a reasonable thing to think, and could easily be kindly meant.

        None of which changes the fact that the OP can decline without explanation, but I do think it’s fair to avoid assuming this visit was proposed for reasons other than malice.

        1. Kyrielle

          Except OP’s further follow-up says they sat out there honking and yelling for two hours.

          That’s not something that happens on a reasonable visit. Even if the original intent was reasonable, that’s not.

          1. Dynamic Beige

            Yeah. And if they were concerned that the OP might be trapped under something heavy, they could have gone to the police department for a welfare check. I mean, depending on the severity of the illness that originally required leave, it could be reasonable — to a certain extent — to be concerned that the OP might be incapacitated. That is something that I worry about as a single person — if something happened to me where I couldn’t get help, how long would it be before someone noticed?

            I once got a freelance job because the original person on it just disappeared. Wasn’t answering e-mails or calls for days. After I started the job, I kind of understood why they had disappeared because it was an incredibly bad project. The company was concerned, though, that something had happened to this person just not to the point where they went to their house.

            1. Kyrielle

              Yep! Conversely, honking for two hours *doesn’t* make sense if they’re worried the OP might be trapped, sick, incapacitated, or deceased. If any of those were the case, OP would be…unable to respond.

              Honking for two hours only makes sense if they are convinced OP is home, convinced OP is avoiding them, convinced they have a right to talk to OP and demand what they want, and are trying to *aggravate OP into coming out and talking to them*.

              It _only_ makes sense as a harrassment tactic.

              1. A Cita

                Wow, that sums it up pretty succinctly. I feel like your post needs to be bolded and put at the top for clarity.

              2. Kyrielle

                Hmmm. I see I misread it (or responded based on what others were saying) and it was hootin’ and hollerin’ (ie, making a big fuss), not necessarily honking.

                Statement stands, however, with appropriate edits – it still doesn’t make sense to hang out doing that for a couple hours, calling 8 times, except for the reasons I gave. If the first couple attempts don’t get a response, either OP is unable to respond (and a welfare check is needed), OP is not home, or OP is choosing not to respond. Continued fuss at that point still makes no sense, *unless* the last condition is assumed and they’re trying to convince OP to respond anyway.

        2. pope suburban

          I think this is a case of “get off my foot:” http://racebending.tumblr.com/post/29362478976/if-you-step-on-my-foot-you-need-to-get-off-my

          Basically, it’s academic whether or not the former colleagues mean well, or are making a mistake. The outcome is that they are doing something that is harmful, and the appropriate action on their part is to quit. Which I am sure we would all be telling them if they were posting here, no fear. But which is perhaps not something that is useful, necessary, or kind for the OP to be hearing. I understand not wanting to think the worst of people, but I feel that in this situation, it’s a bit beside the point.

          1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

            Thank you for sharing this. It’s a simple, but easy to understand example…I have a few friends I think could use this!

  6. Erik

    OP #2 – I have personal experience with this.
    I worked at a company for 6 years in Mountain View CA, and they were forced out and moved to San Jose. Although “as the bird flies” it was 7 miles, it added another 30-45 minutes to my commute. It sucked.
    I asked my boss if I could do a partial telecommute, and he was willing to work with me provided my work got done, which it did. After a couple of months I decided that it wasn’t going to be a good things in the long term and I left (there were other issues going on at the time). Best decision I made – saved me at least 4 hours round trip commuting.
    Sometimes you need to vote with your feet, but see if your manager might be able to set up an arrangement.

    1. Anonymous Educator

      For OP #2, I would recommend planning on staying at the job as long as you can… while looking for another job. You don’t have to decide to quit right away or decide to stay forever. The two short stints will certainly work against you in your job search, but they won’t preclude you obtaining employment. So I would just make your case to your boss (sounds as if your boss won’t budge, though), pretend as if you’re okay with it and keep working there while you search for another job closer to home.

      If you find another job soon, yay! If you don’t, you just keep looking until you do. The good news is if interviewers ask why you’re looking again after so short a time, you can be totally honest and just say when you started at the job, the commute was short, and then the office moved.

      1. Erik

        That’s precisely what I’ve done – just mention that the company moved and no one has even questioned it!

    2. ExceptionToTheRule

      I’m dealing with this right now in my part-time job as well. The office manager wants to relocate our office somewhere more convenient for her. Great, you cut your commute in half. You more than doubled mine.

      I was contemplating an exit strategy anyway, so now I’m just moving that up some because of the relocation issue.

  7. Stephanie

    #1: This doesn’t sound like the case here, but we do have a situation at my job where people would go to a separated employee’s house. People who work at the airport facility have to have a separate badge from the general company one. The airport badge is issued through the city/TSA. Given the job, the airport employees have to get a badge that lets them go most controlled places in the airport. I think airport management only lets us (as in the company) lose/not recover so many badges before we get in trouble. So if a separated employee ignores calls and won’t return the badge…yeah, security will show up at their address to recover it.

      1. doreen

        You’re assuming that Stephanie is talking about a badge used to swipe in and out. She may be talking about something more like a police officer’s badge/ID that gives access by being shown to a person.

      2. AnotherFed

        Because it is still a valid looking ID, and all it takes to get in is piggy backing on the person before if there even are badge access doors.

        1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

          When I worked in a news studio we had to collect badges for this reason.

          It’s too easy to throw on a badge on and walk in behind someone.

      3. Apollo Warbucks

        I read it to mean an actual physical badge like the police or FBI have (in the UK we’d call a warrant card) in the US would it be police shield or badge?

        1. Ms. Didymus

          Yep, we call them police shields or police badges. Little (often gold or silver) stars on a shield indicating they are police or FBI or some other crime enforcement.

          1. Chinook

            Off topic question – do U.S. badges also have a warrant card (with the officer’s picture and details) or is it just the badge? I was surprised when DH got his up here when he said that the metal badge is meaningless without the warrant card because there is no proof it belongs t0 you.

            1. doreen

              I’m not exactly sure what a “warrant card” is , but every agency I know has an ID card ( photo with a specified background and a physical description) that goes along with the badge. IME, both are carried in the same case and when someone refers to getting access with their badge, they are really referring to the combination.

    1. TootsNYC

      That’s a reason why they might pursue this.

      But if that’s the case, they should really be specific, and the OP would be writing to say, “do I have to let them come to my house to get the badge?” and the answer would be, “Just tell them that you’ll send it to them via Express Mail, FedEx, or registered mail, and then go do it promptly.

    2. Windchime

      It seems like they could email her or send her a registered letter asking for the return of a badge or whatever else.

      I think that OP1 has been traumatized by this employer somehow and that she knows best when she says she wants no further contact. OP1, if you have any badges or company ID then I would put those in the mail or give them to a trusted friend to drop off. Send them an email and tell them the items are on their way, and if they need to contact you they can do it via post or email. If they show up, don’t answer the door. If they yell and honk, call the police.

      I understand somewhat how you are feeling. A toxic workplace can mess with a person’s head to the point where it’s difficult to even realize that you still have some power in this situation.

  8. Confused

    OP#3
    You said receptionist/PA…do you work in entertainment?
    IF so, I disagree a bit with Alison on some of the wording and would not say, “if you know of anyone who might need someone with my skill.” Entertainment job skills, esp at entry level, can be somewhat fluid so it’ll be easier for them to help you if you’re more specific about what you are looking for. Reception, office PA, etc. Also, keep in touch and check in with them every now and then. Obviously, you’re going to be searching yourself, but there is a lot of turnover in entertainment, and you never know when something will become available. Good luck!
    If you’re not in entertainment, ignore me…stick to Alison’s advice :)

  9. Mary

    OP #1
    It has sometimes happened in our company when a staff member was ill for a long time that HR wished to meet to discuss return to work etc. They were always very happy to meet in a hotel lobby, coffee shop, anywhere public. It does not have to be your home. Many people do not want to come in to work when they are ill because their colleagues want to know, how they are, how they feel, when they are coming back, what illness etc. Stuff that can be very stressful. HR were aware the stress these visits caused and were happy to accommodate.

    So just pick a public place, and bring a friend or family member for moral support. If it is documentation they want signed ask for it in advance so you can make the meeting as short as possible. But it is very reasonable to say I do not want you to visit my home, however we can meet in public at xxx at xx time next week for 15 minutes.

    1. DLW

      But the OP isn’t coming back to work. And there’s absolutely no reason she needs to meet with them anywhere. They can mail any final documents to her. They don’t need to see her in person to do that or even talk to her on the phone. It is perfectly reasonable of her to never meet with them again.

      1. Katie the Fed

        I think she needs to have a phone conversation with them to just figure out what they want. IT could be any number of things – just make the call and be done with it.

        1. DLW

          This can be accomplished through email. Really, lots of people express themselves better in writing and it will be much less upsetting for the OP. She doesn’t need to talk to them to find out what they want.

          1. Katie the Fed

            We don’t know that they even have her email address, since she’s not working there anymore. Bottom line – regardless of what they should do, OP doesn’t control their behavior and what she’s doing isn’t working.

            1. F.

              I send any important communications to former employees via registered mail with return receipt. No need to show up on their doorstep.

              1. Katie the Fed

                I’m not excusing their behavior. They could be handling this much better. But it’s a question of what the OP can do, since she can’t make them change their behavior. And I think the best course of action is to find out what they act want

              2. The Cosmic Avenger

                I think Katie’s point is that they may keep up this irrational behavior until the OP tells them to stop, and the only way to do that is to contact them, preferably by some less personal means than face-to-face. And in doing so, they may need to open the topic of what the heck is so damned important, so that they can tell the company “NO, now leave me alone”, or at least “mail it to me” or “talk to my lawyer”.

                tl;dr version, dealing with them may be the quickest way for the OP to get them to stop.

            2. DLW

              I assume she has their email address. No OP doesn’t control their behavior, but she doesn’t have to actually have to call them to solve the problem. Emailing should not only work, but also has the added advantage of having an actual record of her desire to be left alone. I’m not saying she shouldn’t contact them to get them to leave her alone. I am saying that a phone call is not necessary and not the best solution for the OP.

              1. Katie the Fed

                Fair enough. She can email them. But at some point she probably needs to make some kind of contact.

                1. Juli G.

                  I agree. I would suggest sending an email that says “I am not available for any face to face meetings. Please send any final payment to my home by mail. If there is company property that needs to be returned, please send me an itemized list and I will ship it back to you.”

                  This company is acting a bit outside of the norm but I don’t see any reason to get a lawyer involved until they ignore your request.

              2. MaggiePi

                I would also add that OP could open a new free email address for just this purpose, if they don’t already have her personal one. Then she will know she has the control to close it once whatever paperwork is resolved and not be contacted repeatedly via email in the future.

            3. Elizabeth West

              I disagree, Katie; I don’t think a verbal conversation is warranted here because 1) the OP is still ill and does not need the stress of possibly being pressured or yelled at (I would not put that past people like this). And 2) she should probably have all this in writing, just in case she ends up needing a lawyer to send a cease-and-desist letter.

                1. Judy

                  Or leave a voicemail after hours on their work phone. (Or a voicemail on their work phone while they’re standing at the front gate.)

            4. Observer

              But why a phone call? They DO have her address and the DO have her cell number to text.

              She can either email them or send them a letter. Given that she has (legitimate) fears that they are going to try to bully or trick her into something she doesn’t want, this is perfectly legitimate. I simply do net see why you keep on insisting that it has to be a telephone conversation.

              But, yes, she does need to say very clearly to them that she does not want to be contacted.

    2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

      While the millennial generation loves e-mail, if OP1 does not want to be disturbed….

      a) send a registered letter – return receipt – advising that all communication in the future be via postal mail (USPS, Canada Post, whatever)

      b) be nice but firm

      c) if you have a family attorney – you could copy him/her on it – and indicate so in your letter. This may reflect hostility .. so this is your call.

      There may be some legitimate, legal reasons for which they’re trying to contact you.

      Some surmised that there’s more in here than meets the eye, but professionally – even if a workplace is toxic, you owe them more than a “take this job and shove it” when you leave — with few exceptions – if you were asked to do something dangerous, illegal, or unethical, you might want to quit immediately, and that’s with good cause.

  10. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

    #5

    We are in exactly this situation now, as employers, and I can tell you that the only thing we want in return for the accommodations is for the employee to get well. It’s a privilege to be able to assist, in some way, a good employee faced with this battle.

    Get well, get strong, return kindness to others when you can, but I am sure that your bosses aren’t thinking “I hope she can do extra work when she gets back”.

    (My employee, of 20 years, had her surgery on Friday, and received a good prognosis and I’m crying kinda happy as I’m writing this. Get well, don’t pay us back, just get well.)

    1. F.

      Pay it forward, OP#5. I’m sure at some point in the future, you are going to have a colleague who will need to be on leave. Do what you can to help them and the company in their absence.

    2. OP #5

      Thank you, this is nice to hear. I feel like I can never repay how helpful my employer has been and they certainly have my loyalty. I’m thrilled your employee has a great prognosis!

      1. valc2323

        I’m seeing this right now as a co-worker of someone facing this situation, and our mutual supervisors have done everything they can to accommodate. We don’t expect anything from our colleague when she returns to the office – there’ll be no “payback” for covering her projects while she’s out, no expectation of her volunteering for internal committee memberships (that we all trade around as “not it!!!” instead of “sign me up!!”). We just want her back on her feet, healthy and with us again.

        You do the same, and pay it forward someday when you are in a position to do so.

        1. valc2323

          In other words, never mind the support of supervisors – there’s no jealousy or resentment from people at the same level either, at least not in our workplace.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

        :) There are plenty of issues at Wakeen’s. It just sounds better in writing. :)

        We are good people though. Doesn’t solve up everything but is valuable when chips are down.

      2. Zahra

        Yeah, I want Wakeen’s Teapots as a boss: she looks like someone who wants to be an awesome manager (and a feminist, which is always a plus!). No workplace is 100% good, but I find that you can tolerate more issues when you have a great boss.

    3. Bwmn

      This is beautifully put – and I would also like to add that in if part of someone getting better and staying healthy means that they leave the company – in my experience there is also no need to force yourself to stay if that place of employment isn’t right for your health.

      When I was a child, my father had a very aggressive form of cancer while being a professor in a position that had the fun combo of publish or perish, grant writing, research and teaching all while living in an intense large city. While the university was very understanding during my father’s illness, they were also very understanding during his exit for a position that would just be research and in a less demanding part of the country.

      Loyalty works in a lot of different ways, and while my father ultimately left his employer during his illness – there’s also absolutely no animosity.

      1. Ama

        This is a great point. I had a boss who experienced a serious health issue that put her out of commission for several months. She eventually recovered and was able to return to work, but realized very quickly that the long commute (90 minutes each way) was now too much for her and she ended up taking a job that was closer to her home. No one blamed her, and no one resented that she took several weeks’ disability and then resigned only a few weeks after her return — we all just wanted her to continue to recover and stay healthy.

        1. Bwmn

          Yeah – my father’s employer was very considerate that changing healthcare providers mid-treatment would have been terrible for his health (a likely result had he left his job/new insurance). But then after his recovery, juggling his duties on top of a crazy commute in traffic, it just wasn’t going to be possible. For all the university did for him to support his recovery, it would have been nuts to see him just get sick again by doing a job he just couldn’t handle.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

        You’re sweet but I swear I’m not.

        How many time do you hear something tragic or upsetting and there’s nothing you can do for the person? Being able to get her paid fully during her surgery/recovery/treatment was a blessing, to me, because I could actually do something to help someone I cared about. It helped *me*.

        That makes sense right?

        1. Tomato Frog

          I used to date a guy who was a performer, and would occasionally embarrass himself spectacularly on stage. I get awful second-hand embarrassment and assumed it would be SO much worse when it was someone I was dating. But in a way it was actually easier, because I was in a position to comfort and reassure him after the show, which was such a relief for me. And this is waaay off-topic, but I just wanna say, I get what you’re saying.

        2. A Bug!

          Part of what makes your actions noteworthy is the fact that it was a no-brainer for you. Your employee was bearing a burden, and you were in a position to ease it, so you did. It was your natural response to the situation, and you don’t see it as a sacrifice or hardship, but an opportunity to make yourself happy through helping someone else. I wish that response wasn’t noteworthy, but it is, so thanks for being a decent human being. Don’t go getting a big head about it.

        3. QualityControlFreak

          It makes perfect sense. And also just underscores why we’d all like to work for you. :)

    4. TootsNYC

      I think one thing I might want is for you to remember that we treated you well.

      So, when you’re thinking of leaving, remember that we treated you well, and do us the courtesy of not leaving without giving us a chance to fix something that is driving you away.
      If you’re leaving for a great new opportunity, we can’t do anything about that, so best of luck!
      If you’re leaving only because someone got snippy about something, please let us know about that so we can see if it’s something we can address.

      And, if someone asks what it’s like to work here, be honest. And mention that we treated you well when you needed it.

      In other words, give us an accurate reputation.

      And yes, pay it forward–be a willing part of helping us handle anything like this that arises for someone else.

    5. Bob

      As an employee, this is the kind of thing that makes me want to work for a company. I think things like this are defining moments for companies as well as people. Anybody can treat people well during the good times.

  11. LSCO

    #5 If you really want to do something, bringing in cupcakes/donuts/baked goods for your team as a “thank you for being understanding/let’s celebrate now that I’m in remission” thing would likely go down well. But there’s certainly no obligation to do anything at all.

  12. TMW

    OP#3- I was in this situation 5 years ago. I worked for a large company and was (kind of) unexpectedly laid off. HR said they would help with my job search. Well, that turned out to be a joke. Whenever I saw jobs posted on the company’s website, I would send an email to my “HR Rep”. She never responded to any of my emails. So just take what your bosses said with a grain of salt and search for jobs on your own (or with your own network of people). Good Luck in your job search.

    1. Jennifer

      Yeah, in my experience anyone saying they’re going to help you with this aren’t actually going to do it.

        1. Oryx

          Yes, it does — when ExJob merged with Second Location, some people were let go and our president absolutely helped get several people jobs, even at our competitors.

      1. ToxicNudibranch

        That’s really unfortunate that you have had bad experiences and feel so cynically on this point.

        I, (and many of my former coworkers) have had the opposite experience WRT help offered after layoffs.

        When my last position was being made redundant, my boss hauled ass to help me. He ended up finding a way to reorganize our cost center and keep me around, but before we knew that was an option, he also called around to his contacts, got my resume into the right hands, and got me three interviews based on his personal recommendation.

        People really do want to help in most cases, and although it isn’t wise to count your chickens before they’re hatched, that doesn’t mean you ought to throw out the basket of eggs as useless just because you once had a rotten one.

    2. Bridget

      Thanks!

      I think I may have better luck, considering I work for a pretty small company. I don’t think I’ll get lost in any HR inbox shuffle. Here’s hoping…

  13. Former Retail Manager

    I feel that there’s more to OP #1’s situation on both sides of things….it all just sounds off. If they need to pay her a final paycheck, mail it. They clearly know the address. If they need to recover work property such as a badge or laptop, leave a voicemail to that effect with a deadline to mail it in. I cannot imagine these people are coming to her house, including an HR director for a “massive organization” no less, because they are certifiably nuts. I just don’t buy it. OP says she quit effective immediately allowing for no transition period and she had no contact with anyone after that time. Is it possible that she has login information to company systems that hasn’t been shared with anyone or changed without other’s knowledge. Or perhaps she was working on a project that now cannot be located. There could be any number of things that she has information regarding that she isn’t sharing. While I agree it’s definitely odd that these people would come to her house, I can’t imagine their persistence in doing so without a valid reason, regardless of how toxic the environment may be. I personally assume that the HR director may have been brought along to communicate to the OP that information or login info she has regarding a project or system must be conveyed to the company if in her possession.

    I suppose it’s possible that I’m waaaayyyy off base here, and if I am, my apologies, but I really think there’s just more to it than what’s being disclosed.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      So, we know the boss and HR director are acting irrationally and trampling all over acceptable norms, and your explanation is basically to blame the victim, saying they must have done something offensive and outlandish to cause it? Way to blame the victim. Anything’s possible, but let’s stick to the facts we’ve been given and keep away from wild conjecture, especially when it involves blaming the OP.

      What we know is that the boss and HR person are behaving unreasonably and in a fashion consistent with bullying and abusive behavior by trying to force the OP to behave the way they want instead of communicating in a more businesslike fashion (mail, email, phone messages).

      1. LabTech

        Combine that with the information OP1 mentioned above – that they rejected their initial resignation – and the abusive behavior on the part of the employer and reluctance to contact them suddenly sounds a lot more reasonable.

        1. LabTech

          (OP’s behavior sounds reasonable, that is – not the employer’s behavior. Poorly-constructed sentence on my part.)

        2. Former Retail Manager

          Oh the drama! I’m not “blaming the victim.” I’m just saying that there may be a reason that they are behaving that way and we only have one side of the story. I also don’t think it’s a rational response for most people to jump to restraining orders and allegations of stalking. That all seems a bit much, as does the absolute refusal to talk to them in any way, accept your final paycheck, and a refusal to attempt to get disability if you are legitimately disabled. It just doesn’t strike me as rational behavior and it’s even more questionable that these individuals are employed by a large corporation which tends to keep a tighter leash on the behavior of it’s employees. This is not a 3 person company where the owner can do whatever they want.

          As I said, the boss and HR director could be real nutbags, but I can’t imagine an HR director of a large organization willingly getting into the car to drive to an employee’s home and adamantly try to get into the gate unless there were a really good reason. I can only imagine that there is some type of conversation that needs to occur in person with a witness. Maybe Alison could shed some light on what type of situation that might be. Maybe they are dysfunctional and are now trying to fire her or maybe they need her to provide some information she’s withheld. Anything is possible. I just think there is more to both sides of the story. I hope it works out well for the OP. If she tells them flat out to buzz off and they persist, then she should take action accordingly.

          1. A Cita

            I’m just going to repost what Mike C said in an earlier comment:

            What is it with folks who have never worked a toxic job calling those who have crazy for their reactions to it?

            1. Not So NewReader

              Life experiences. Some people have never had a cohort deal with an explosive device wired into the starter of their car. Some people have never been told not to go to sleep at night. Some people honestly believe that this stuff never happens. Those people are most fortunate.

              I hear the alarm in OP’s writing. I refuse to take the chance that she is over estimating the nature of her setting. I have to encourage her to get to a safe place THEN sort out what happened and why. Later on she will figure out one of three things: She over estimated the severity of the situation. OR She was right on target in her thinking. OR She will figure out the situation was actually worse than she knew. Get to a safe spot, OP, then you can sort it all out once you get there.

            2. AlyInSebby

              Thank you for saying it in way less words than I would have.

              This, 110% this to the end of the internets!

              I worked somewhere that no one, no one would believe how toxic it is in every department.

              The founder is awesome and does amazing awesome stuff, but the HR Dir.? I’ve never seen worse. My therapist actually said it was bordering on unbelievable.

              Don’t assume because a company or workplace is X or Y or Z that there can’t be crazy from the top down and everywhere in between.

              And yay for you for apparently never having to have this experience. It is REAL.

          2. Observer

            Since you seem to be convinced that the OP’s HR person and Boss are being rational, could you give us ONE rational reason they HAVE TO MEET with her, rather than sending her a letter, email or text?

      2. The RO-Cat

        Yeah, I’m with you here, CA. What we have:
        1. “my resignation was rejected”
        2. “they identified themselves as my current bosses”
        3. “I am not even interested in a final payment with regards to my salary”
        4. “I also refused to sign for disability because I’m not claiming any benefits”

        FRM, all the above point far, far away from the MO of a sane company (or at least of a sane business unit with sane bosses). If we are to make wild guesses based on info we don’t have, my experience says it’s quite likely that any “offensive” things OP1 might have done (note that I personally allocate to that so small a probability as to be effectively zero) stem from responses to an insane environment. Plus, the level of emotion and anxiety I read in OP1’s letter isn’t something you normally see, even in your average, run-of-the-mill toxic companies, populated by a garden variety of toxic bosses.

        So yeah, we can imagine all sorts of scenarios, but doing that is at least useless, if not actually damaging to the OP.

        OP1, can you appoint someone close as your representative to your ex-company? Someone you trust, is knowledgeable and who can shield you?

        1. Megs

          Yeesh, I just spent 5 minutes trying to figure out what “FRM” means, convinced myself you did not mean the offensive definition suggested by urban dictionary, only to finally realize you were responding to Former Retail Manager. Whew!

          Other than that, yes, the situation sounds bogus and I hope the OP can get out of it okay.

          1. The RO-Cat

            Jeez, sorry! I didn’t even know it meant… that phrase (tribulation of an ESL in an anglophone world…)

            1. Megs

              I totally didn’t know what it meant either – I’m pretty sure you could pick any three random letters and urban dictionary could come up with something offensive.

          2. A Cita

            And now I just looked up FRM on urban dictionary to see what you were talking about.

            Iterative googling is where I lose time in the commentariat rabbit hole.

  14. KS girl at heart

    OP1 I agree with everyone who says to call to see what your previous employer wants and to tell them to stop trying to contact you. If you are afraid that they will talk you into something then have a friend or family member with you and the call on speaker. This way some with a clearer head (not saying you don’t know what you want but in times of stress we aren’t always at the top of our game) can shut down any inappropriate conversation and can act as a witness if necessary.

  15. Countess Boochie Flagrante

    #1: I can hear so, so much trauma in your letter, and I’m sorry. Whatever happened to you at this job, getting out of it sounds like exactly the right thing for you. Focus on your health, get better, and move forward strongly!

    That said, your former employer does have a legal interest in getting your last paycheck to you — by law, they have to! And at this point, you have nothing to lose by dealing with them for your exit, in a guarded way and on your own terms. Tell them you do not want them at your house. If all they need is signatures, can you have them email documents to print, sign, scan, email back? If they need to discuss something with you, that’s what phone or email is for. If they absolutely must meet with you face to face, you can find a public place to sit down and keep everyone on “I’m visible and in public” behavior.

    They have no more power over you. You’ve quit. They can’t threaten you or control you anymore — they no longer have any authority. You have a strong position here. Restraining order or not, they have no right to trespass on your property, and you’re in your right to bar them.

  16. Sassy AAE

    OP #4 – You don’t really talk about what your boss thinks of the misquote, or what your position is, but if possible I’d either flag it for in-house communications department or your company’s public relations agency. Often people in those positions know reporters personally, and can better address it.

    Also, while this is wasn’t the best way for a journalist to get a quote, the information WAS on your website. It should’ve been attributed to your website, but that information is fair game.

    1. Journalist

      I would address this as a correction, not as a personal affront. Mistakes happen, and an email requesting a correction: “Your article ran this quote attributed to the CEO, that’s not the case, here’s what we would prefer you say” can get the point across without any confrontation.

      1. SassyAAE

        I think you misunderstood. I meant that PR/Comms people often know journalists personally. So if it’s a common industry writer, like let’s say Steve French, the PR person can call up Steve and explain the situation. Rather than a relatively unknown person asking for a correction. Businesses (usually) want communicators to build their own relationships with reporters. If OP is someone like an assistant to her boss she shouldn’t be reaching out.

        1. Anna

          It shouldn’t matter who calls. If the journalist attributed a quote to someone and they shouldn’t have, they should correct it when it’s pointed out. That’s what good journalism is. Part of my job is providing stories and information to local newspapers and I do not have local journalists on speed dial, but you bet if I see something attributed to my boss that isn’t correct, I will be on it for a correction and I expect that correction to happen.

  17. Allison

    #3, when I was let go due to budget reasons a couple years ago, my manager both gave me a glowing reference and reached out to his network to help me found a new job, and exactly one month after finding out I was being let go, I was signing paperwork for a new job. It does happen.

    1. TootsNYC

      as a manager I have done this. My company closed a project, one week before a freelancer was going to come work on it. I knew she wouldn’t have other word lined up.

      I called total strangers who had my position at other companies and asked them if they knew of work for her. And one of them said, “Oh, thank goodness, I desperately need someone. I’ll call her.” She ended up w/ a full-time job at that place eventually.

      1. Snazzy Hat

        I called total strangers who had my position at other companies and asked them if they knew of work for her. And one of them said, “Oh, thank goodness, I desperately need someone. I’ll call her.”

        A few years ago, my s.o. got a decent job (and got out of a really crappy job) because I called a former coworker at the right time.
        “Hey Mary, my s.o. who you met a few months ago is in a terrible job situation, do you have any openings at Your Location?”
        “No, but he should call your old supervisor Steve because someone just quit from Other Location and they’re desperate.”
        The next day’s interview with Steve ended with a job offer. Moments like that make me so happy even when I have nothing to do with them, so huzzah for your freelancer’s opportunity!

    2. Bridget

      Wow, congratulations. My old company does have a lot of pretty cool connections (some big-name networks)…and I’m hoping some similar good fortune that got you will befall me…I’m going to keep the line of connection open with my old bosses and hopefully something will come up. thanks for the comment!

  18. KS girl at heart

    OP1 – I agree with what everyone else is saying about contacting your previous employer to A) find out what they want and B) let them know you do not want further contact from them. I can tell how nervous and traumatized you sound so why don’t you have a friend or family member with you when you call them? Have the call on speaker so your friend can shut down any attempts from them to get you back and can also serve as a witness if it becomes necessary.

    1. fposte

      Oh, that’s a really nice idea. Obviously we don’t know the OP’s exact situation, but in general they don’t have to accept your resignation any more than they have to accept gravity, and having somebody there could help bolster her if they start talking about not letting her go–or could tell her it’s time to hang up the phone.

      1. the_scientist

        I have done this myself for phone calls that I knew were going to be difficult. It’s very helpful, both to keep you grounded, and to have a witness to the conversation. In my case, the person I was speaking to was well and truly unhinged and we knew she’d try to claim that I’d lost my temper, yelled, flung racial slurs, whatever she could to make me seem horrible. I needed a third party there to attest to the fact that I hadn’t done any of those things.

        1. Elizabeth West

          This is a good point–I personally would email rather than call, to have everything in writing, but a third-party witness makes sense. Plus someone for moral support.

      2. fposte

        To clarify, belatedly–they don’t have to accept your resignation for you to resign. Resigning just is. It doesn’t need to be accepted or rejected.

    2. Muriel Heslop

      OP #1, this is a great idea! I have a few parents who bring advocates/representatives with them for meetings or who handle phone contact with me. It really relieves a lot of their stress.

      Part of my job actually involves making visits to students’ homes, and I find this entire scenario really bizarre. I certainly have never waited around for hours! All initial contact is made by phone/email and if people don’t respond, I just document all of the attempts to reach them. I send things via certified/registed mail, I copy others on email, and keep a log of all attempted contact. Granted, if I am worried for someone’s well-being, I call the police.

      OP #1, I am really glad you are out of your situation because it seems incredibly stressful with terribly poor boundaries. Good luck with your next chapter and please update us!

    3. Solidus Pilcrow

      OP, if you do contact them via phone (or they contact you, either way), please remember that you have the power and control to hit the “end call” button at any time, or put it on mute while you and your support buddy do Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque riffs on them, or have a drinking game every time the boss says something stupid/cliched/irrational.

      Stay strong, OP. Don’t let them hijack the call. Don’t open the door. If they show up on your property again, tell them to go away or you’ll call the police (then make the call if they don’t leave). It’s your phone, your house; you have the power there, not them.

      1. Not So NewReader

        OP, was talking about getting a lawyer. Maybe she could call from the lawyer’s office on speaker phone. Or maybe the lawyer could just call for her and find out what they want.

  19. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    #1 – ask for a telephone meeting to discuss whatever it was that they have to. WHY do they want to meet with you in the first place? What is this about? But, I would definitely hear them out.

    And you can record it (making them aware legally that you’re recording it).

    Alternative – offer to meet them on “neutral ground” – such as a restaurant or lounge in an open area. I had that once – where a former employer wanted me to come back. They wanted me to come into their office, I said no. Let’s meet on neutral ground, such as a coffee shop. I didn’t want to give them the opportunity to show others there “see, he’s begging for his old job back!”

    For the record, the meeting never took place – I had left the company in a major salary dispute, it had gone unresolved for months and I just gave up. Their objective was to get me to come back at my old salary and “we’ll go from there.” Uh, no, we “went from there” for eight months and nothing happened – if you want me back I will do so for a salary of $x and you can send the offer letter to my house if you’re serious. End of discussion.

  20. Pwyll

    OP#3 – Alison is right that this really varies on workplace. At my former job where they made this offer to someone, what they intended was that the laid off employee would identify various positions or companies they thought were interesting and would relay them to their former company, who would go through their Rolodex to see if they had contacts there in order to make a warm intro. She didn’t– she had a pretty bad taste in her mouth over the whole thing, which I don’t at all blame her for–but you may want to compile a short list of the most interesting positions you’ve applied for and send them to your contact to say, ‘Hey, if you know anyone at these 3 companies I applied to, I’d really appreciate it.’

    1. Person of Interest

      That’s more or less the position I was in when I was laid off along with a few other people. The bosses and board all offered to “help” with job searches, but this was a pretty passive offer. OP, I would suggest that you look at the LinkedIn profiles of the boss and other senior folks at your company and see if their networks or work history line up with any of the places/jobs you are interested in and ask them for specific contacts/introductions. This kind of help is much more likely to be fruitful if you come to them with a specific ask, rather than wait for them to offer something undefined.

    2. Snazzy Hat

      compile a short list of the most interesting positions you’ve applied for and send them to your contact to say, ‘Hey, if you know anyone at these 3 companies I applied to, I’d really appreciate it.’

      I just had a recruiter tell me something very similar in regards to my active job search. Fingers crossed for you and me both, OP3.

  21. Bunny

    OP4: Alleged Journalist here. That kind of work is inexcusable. However —

    From a PR perspective, how big a deal is this? Is it what the boss would have said anyway?
    I’d write a letter to the editor pointing out the reporter did not speak to Boss directly, so The Company was surprised to see Boss quoted in publication. Company is always happy to entertain questions. (NOTE: ENTERTAIN, NOT ANSWER) Company does stand by all statements on website.

    Please note this might be an idiot editor who tweaked something incorrectly, or an inexperienced reporter who thinks Oh, this is here so this is a quote. There is a difference between an interview, a written statement, a statement posted to a website, yada yada yada, and all should be ID’d properly in news.

    If you use my above statement to the editor please pay my consulting fee of $500. :)

    1. TootsNYC

      all excellent observations.

      Especially don’t be so scathing–the big scandal at the NYTimes right now is that an EDITOR carelessly removed an attribution (and the software removed a hotlink, apparently) from a story in which a writer quoted directly from other stories (with attribution in place).
      The writer got accused of plagiarism, etc. It was truly an editing error.

      So it’s always wise to get all the information before you “tell somebody off,” or you run the risk of looking stupid, mean, and careless yourself. Which doesn’t help your credibility or your cause.

  22. Jill

    OP, you say you don’t *want* disability, but I would urge you not to sign any papers giving away your right to claim it. You sound super, well, “on edge” was a term used by another commenter. It sounds like you’re in a really desperate place right now as far as getting away from this job. And ignoring those calls and not answering the door are great first steps in getting away from a job that sounds like is affecting your health. But if there is a possibility that you DO qualify for disability or some other time of worker’s compensation please don’t sign away that right. I hope you get to a place where you can apply/demand those types of things if you’ll need them to get yourself better! Don’t be so desperate to get out of an awful job that you those benefits away is what I’m saying. Your health matters!

  23. Artemesia

    #3 The statement you got about helping you find work is the equivalent of ‘You’ll have to come see us some time’ from a casual social acquaintance in the south i.e. it is utterly meaningless.

    Most of the time they will do absolutely nothing. They may however having said that be open for you to ask for specific help. You are authorized by their statement to contact them with requests for references or even to ask them to help identify particular places where you might inquire. But don’t assume anything at all is happening on their end and be thrilled if it does.

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