update: my new hire turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde

Remember the letter-writer who hired a guy who was great for his 90-day-trial period but turned into a rude mess once he was hired on permanently? Here’s the update.

I wanted to sincerely thank you and your readers for your insight and commiseration, it was a huge relief to hear what everyone had to say; especially knowing that everyone felt it was as bizarre a situation as I did! I’d love to supply everyone with an update that has a bittersweet, but ultimately good, resolution.

I took your advice and went to my ED a few days after you posted my question. I just laid it out for him; I told him about the 90 days being fine and the ensuing nightmare once he had been made permanent. I told him about my concerns for the position, both with this guy in it and what would happen if he were let go. And once the conversation got going I also ended up sharing how embarrassed I was for my hire’s behavior, both toward patrons and the full staff, and the fact that I had brought this guy onto the team. It ended up being a great conversation about my role in the organization and it was a relief to know that my director was just as baffled by this guy’s behavior as I, and all the AAM readers, were. As a side note, a lot of readers assumed this was a younger hire out of college, but that is not the case. It makes this whole situation much weirder and I probably should have mentioned in the OP that Mr. Hyde is in his early 40s and was coming from a similar position he had held for many years at a sister organization in another state.

For legal reasons, my ED and HR decided the best course was to put him on a PIP. Not what I would have wanted but there it is. When I met with Mr. Hyde to discuss the terms of the PIP, he handled it as gracefully as you’d expect – by initially refusing to sign it, demanding to get his lawyer involved, but eventually signing albeit with a very poor attitude.

Enforcing and tracking the PIP was just the worst; it was a lot of extra work that compounded my already heavy workload. And while Mr. Hyde was generally improving on trackable issues by making fewer mistakes, his attitude and general professionalism got as low as it could go. It was difficult to manage however because a lot of the ways he did this were in grayish areas. For example we don’t have a mandatory dress code because we are all adults who know that when you come to work you look presentable and, well, clean. He would come in smelly gym clothing or filthy t-shirts and jeans – to the point where visitors would comment on the office smell. He would take his breaks at the worst times possible, leaving my other reports to deal with the fallout. He would speak on the phone with donors in a snarky, sarcastic tone using terms like “ma’am” or “sir” to address them. His responses when these issues were addressed were about there not being a dress code so how was he to know, how he had to take breaks by law and didn’t realize it was a problem, or how his tone with donors was just being polite, etc. I hope this makes sense – basically he was doing his job in the most passive aggressive way possible. Professionalism was included in the PIP and I just have to assume he didn’t take that portion, or me, seriously. I was incredibly frustrated but hadn’t realized how frustrated my team was until one asked to meet with me. This report is one of the most passive, patient, and empathetic people I’ve ever met and , so I was completely floored when he asked to make a formal complaint about Mr. Hyde. In short, I had no idea some of the things that were happening when I wasn’t watching Mr. Hyde and of course my team was not aware of Mr. Hyde’s PIP. But the information this other team member brought to me was enough that I met with my ED that same day and asked for immediate termination regardless of preserving the position. And that is exactly what happened. Mr. Hyde was terminated and I did lose the position. But, as your readers commented, just having the toxic element gone has been completely reinvigorating. My team is so much happier and what seemed like a heavy workload previously is now approached by everyone, including myself, as worth the effort to maintain our workplace morale and overall sanity.

But here’s the real kicker. Earlier this month I attended a conference and happened to run into my counterpart at the organization Mr. Hyde came to us from. I couldn’t help myself and had to ask if they had had any issues with him since I had gotten such a glowing recommendation from his supervisor (which wasn’t my counterpart). Turns out they had numerous problems with Mr. Hyde but his supervisor was unwilling to fire him and was apparently thrilled when I called for the recommendation. He hadn’t known Mr. Hyde was looking to move on and gave me a great recommendation in order to pass him off without any unpleasantness on his end.

Wow.

{ 199 comments… read them below }

  1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

    Well, I guess you know how to take that supervisor’s word in the future! I hear there are some salt mines that should be ample enough for your needs.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          Oooh . . . I’m glad someone asked. I came back here once more before going to bed to see if I ‘got it’ yet, and I was still a little slow on the uptake. Nooow I get it. :-)

    1. Lowercase holly

      Yeah. But now that they no longer have him at their org, they probably would no longer give a good reference?

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

        More that it calls into question any future recommendations they receive from this same supervisor for other employees.

        1. KarenD

          Honestly, I’d be tempted — more than tempted — to call that reference back and say “Your dishonesty ended up costing us a position that we needed. Care to explain yourself?”

    2. AdAgencyChick

      Ha!

      OP, I’m sorry that supervisor did such a crappy thing to you instead of doing the right thing and, you know, managing that employee out.

  2. neverjaunty

    Wow indeed, OP! Glad this turned out as well as it could have and that your team is now happier without Mr. Hyde.

    (I would also be making it a professional goal to insure that Lying Supervisor received some long-term and permanent career repercussions from ditching Mr. Hyde on my company, but that’s me.)

    1. Rafe

      It’s already appalling, but what makes it even more egregious is that the sister company basically is partly responsible for the OP company’s loss of the position as a result of this mess.

    2. Robin B

      Wow. Most companies I have worked for ban us from even giving out good references, in case the employee became like this guy and the referring company could possibly be sued.

  3. "Computer Science"

    I’m so glad there’s a happy resolution for you, your team, and your organization. It’s disappointing that this sister organization doesn’t realize that their ineffective management has tarnished their reputation as far as future reference checks go.

    OP, will this change how you hire from this organization? Will you be looking deeper into applicants from this company?

  4. Sadsack

    Oh yeah, this guy. I don’t know how you can keep from calling his former supervisor to complain about his recommending his terrible employee to you. Anyway, glad you are rid of him. I wonder how he plans to use your company as a reference now.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian

      I would have wanted to find out if the former supervisor was at that conference at which OP spoke to the other employee from the sister organization, and then hunt him down and kick him directly in the shins.

      1. LBK

        Here I was thinking this comment was going to end with something along the lines of telling him how inappropriate and unprofessional giving a false reference is, but I like your idea better.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          I was channeling Elizabeth West. Sometimes kicking someone seems like a really good plan, and this guy deserves to be kicked by someone wearing ice skates.

    2. AMT

      I think more people should do this, if only to discourage this behavior! Outright lying to another company’s hiring manager to get rid of a problem employee should at least earn you a stern phone call.

      1. Anon for this one

        So….wait one cotton picking moment…
        So I had a Jekyll and Hyde employee. Sweetness and light to anyone outside my department. Lying, oppositional, passive/aggressive slacker to me and the others who she had to work with. Not new to the work force. In her mid-thirties.

        She resigns on the day she was going to be termanated after a lengthly PIP. A miserable experience for all involved.

        Recently, I find out she is in her first 90 days at a “sister” institution. I ask- should I give her new director a heads up.

        On AAM , an avalanche of No, how horrible. why would you do that?

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Totally different. In your situation, you’d be going out of your way to call someone when you weren’t asked to give input. In the OP’s case, she directly asked for input and the person lied to her.

          1. Anon for this one

            I see what you are saying and I didn’t but…
            I AM going to run into this supervisor at professional meetings and I teach adjunct at her school.
            It is on her to reach out to me…obviously not on this employees list of recommendations?

            Okay then.

            1. hbc

              I feel like there’s an equation based on how well you know the hiring manager and how awful the person was. You would tell your sister if the employee was a bit annoying, and you would tell a near stranger if the employee only missed out on a grand theft conviction because of a legal technicality and you have video of him walking off with company equipment. But you wouldn’t call up a stranger about that annoying employee.

              An acquaintance who’s just going to be inconvenienced by a passive-aggressive slacker? Debatable, but I’d fall on the side of not making a phone call.

        2. Master Bean Counter

          Honestly if you had a good connection with the new boss, a heads up might be in order. If there isn’t a good connection you come off looking vengeful. And honestly the new boss should have called you for a reference anyway.

          1. LanLinesareLosers

            Maybe not. It says that this employee only did not work well with this one department. Maybe she did not manager this employee and would not be a reference that would usually crop up.

          2. Ted Mosby

            I agree with Master Bean.

            I don’t think it’s horrible! Not at all. I think you have good intentions and valid worries, but it just wouldn’t go as you would hope. They should have called references to vet the candidate. There’s a good chance they did (I would hope…) in which case they must have found someone with something nice to say (again, I would hope/assume). I think that might undermine you and make them unsure of your intentions. And if they’ve already gotten a few good references, one bad one would just be confusing and probably not enough to rescind a job offer, which is a Bid Deal.

            I’m in the habit of believing other AAM readers, so I assume he sucks, but on the off chance there was just something going on with him and your organization or some issue he’s fixed, I think all a call would do would spoil his reputation in a new place, since it’s unlikely they’d fire him off one phone call. If he still sucks, I’m sure they’ll find out soon enough, and if they didn’t call other references, that will be his lesson learned.

            I hope you don’t/didn’t feel personally attacked. This is an understandable instinct, but sadly I don’t think it could play out in a good way.

            1. Anon for this one

              No…I get what everyone is saying. For my hires , I do reach out as widely as possible. And yes I did call your supervisor where you interned three years ago.

              And yes, the ex employee presents in an absolutely delightful way. An HR specialist used the word sociopath.

              And if I had been contacted…I couldn’t have shared the issues but inferred that she had trouble meeting the expectations of this position. I do believe in second and third chances. People can change. Checking HR references here would merely get you hire and end dates. And that she resigned. She cannot however ever get another position within the institution. The hiring manager will hear the words, would you like to come to HR and review her file. That indicates negative disciplinary action.

            2. Master Bean Counter

              Yes, This. If you called my last boss I’m sure there would be a list of things he said I did wrong. We just did not get along. Mostly religious differences (He thought he was a Supreme Being, I disagreed).
              Granted I can tell you has was a loon and the reason I will never work for a family business again. Who knows what he woulds say…In another year or so I do plan on having someone call for a reference just so I can see what kind of crazy I’m up against.

              1. KMS1025

                LOL @ Master Bean Counter…religious differences! HA HA! This just struck me as such a funny way to describe an egomaniac…thank you! I know a former boss that I obviously had religious differences with : )

        3. the cake is a pie

          I think the difference here is that the OP in this update had called Mr. Hyde’s supervisor and directly asked about this potential hire. So he outright lied about Mr. Hyde’s terrible behavior. It seems like it gets trickier when you’re reaching out on your own accord.

        4. LanLinesareLosers

          There is a huge difference between lying when called for a reference to pass off a problem employee and calling a manager you do not know unsolicited to provide a negative reference of an employee you heard just got hired. Both are unprofessional.

          Alison has actually suggested several times that if you know someone well at an organization it may be OK to contact someone unsolicited with a bad reference, but even then it is not on you to insure that the other company does it’s due diligence.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

            There are also two concerns here

            1) if the “bad” employee turns out be OK in his/her new job, you’ve only hurt yourself. No manager worth his / her salt would give any credence to an unsolicited negative reference from someone he doesn’t know.

            2) look up “slander” in any legal dictionary. If this is a practice you wish to engage in, get a lawyer. And don’t expect your company’s legal department to back you up on this. In fact, they may wash their hands of YOU.

              1. Anon for this one

                This topic is pretty raw for me. I just found last week, an uncashed foundation/donation check, for a thousand dollars in an unopened envelope addressed to our department from two years ago in a file . (I’d say misfiled, but what was it doing there???) Yes these were her responsibility. Yes she would have been the first person to tell you she knew check processing procedures.

              2. Turanga Leela

                That’s true—truth is a defense if you’re accused of slander. But that wouldn’t stop an employee from filing suit against you; you’d still have to defend yourself.

                1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

                  Absolutely. See my comment .. also regarding malice, financial damage…

                2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

                  And also, a plaintiff’s attorney would go after the caller on maliciousness first – then financial damages, then on your credibility and would use your employee reviews / PIPs, etc. against the former manager.

                  This would establish a credibility argument in favor of the plaintiff. And if he had references – including his current employer, and including co-workers, it’s “let’s settle this in the back room, ok?” time.

              3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

                Perhaps you would be able to defend that point in court. But what if you can’t?

                Remember, it will come down to a slick lawyer, grilling you because he’s going to get a third of whatever the judgment is. And …

                a) he’s smarter than you
                b) he will try to trick you into saying things you didn’t mean to say and
                c) oh yeah, you’re under oath! You wanna put yourself in that situation? GO AHEAD! Make that call!

                You would have to defend yourself by saying it wasn’t true. Now, if the guy or gal is an effective employee at his new situation, it’s going to be very difficult for you to defend yourself. Other employees may be deposed, and if, in discovery, what happens if they DON’T follow a scripted “house line”? What if they say the problem was YOU?

                If the employee casts doubt on his ineffectiveness – the other two facets of slander and libel will also certainly get you into trouble.

                Making an unsolicited call to bad-mouth a new employee at a new company certainly places the caller into the state of maliciousness. Make a call like that after the employee departs? WHY would you do that, if you didn’t have malicious intent? You would have to defend that. Fat chance. “I am loyal to my profession?” Bwhahahaha says the defense. Bwhahahaha thinks the judge.

                And there is no doubt it would hurt, or was an attempt to hurt the employee in his new job and he could encounter financial setbacks.

                Not a route you want to go down. At the very best, you – or your company – would have to do an out-of-court sealed settlement, and after a few months, your employer will no longer need you.

        5. PegLeg

          I think the difference is lying when asked for a recommendation versus going out of your way to make a bad recommendation. If your problem employee’s new director had called you and asked, then by all means give her a heads up. That is different than going out of your way to let her know. If she doesn’t do her due diligence, that is on her.

        6. Anna

          Yeah, not the same situation at all. Alison’s advice is pretty consistent around this, even if I don’t always agree. Don’t go out of your way to tell someone, but be completely honest if you’re asked. That road goes both ways.

        7. Rick

          My take, as a non-manager (i.e. feel free to chew me out for being totally off the mark):

          This should’ve come up when the new employer conducted reference checks. If they suck at reference checking it’s their own damn fault.

          For whatever reason, the new employer decided that taking on the employee would benefit the org. If they don’t like your crappy ex-employee, they have the option of termination. Again, if their discipline and termination practices suck, that’s their own damn fault, and none of your business.

          If you have the power to suggest improvements to the sister org’s hiring or reference checking practices, then go for it. But it really doesn’t sound like you do. Unless this person did something so incredibly over the line that it would be (fraud, embezzling, assault in the workplace), both they and their new employer have made their beds, now let them lie in them.

          As is, you’ll seem like a creepy ex or something, and it’ll only hurt your reputation.

          1. Rick

            Ugh, fourth para, it should be “so incredibly over the line that they’re an actual danger to the new employer (i.e. fraud, embezzling, assault in the workplace)”. Technology is killing us, maan.

          2. Kyrielle

            This. Going out of your way to tank someone’s rep when you weren’t asked, after they have the job? Reserve for the very worst of circumstances, if you know someone at the org well enough to even bring it up. Otherwise, no.

            When you’re responding to a reference check? Before the new employer is committed, and when they’re doing their due diligence? *DON’T LIE*. An honest answer would be best, and very appropriate, but if you don’t want to give one, decline to give a reference at all. Don’t lie. (And if the person is currently employed there and undesirable, do your job and manage them out. Before this point.)

            1. SandrineSmiles (France)

              Then, tell you what, you can wash your hands off the whole thing, actually. You still have your good conscience/faith (darn, can’t remember the correct phrase, I can’t English this morning) for you.

              If the other manager stumbles upon you and tells you the employee is horrible, why didn’t you tell me, blah de blah, you can just say it’s on the new manager to check for references, not on you to call.

              You’re still the bigger person in that case ^^

      2. Random Lurker

        I had this happen and it’s made me very distrustful of references that I don’t know personally or don’t have a contact in common with.

        Wish there was some sort of review site for references so you can tell if they were legit – like Yelp for References!

        1. Chriama

          That’s why there’s value in calling people not on the reference list as well as speaking to *former* supervisors as well as current ones.

      3. Oranges

        I have done this. But I was in a co-worker position. I’m not proud but holy hell was the firing process not moving fast enough and I don’t think managment knew how BAD it was since our culture is very much don’t say anything about someone unless it’s nice.

    3. someone

      I would send them a frankly worded note about the effect this will have on their own professional reputation.

  5. bearing

    I really feel like this update has just spawned my desire for another update in which I fervently hope that the guy who gave the glowing recommendation experiences a consequence for his action.

    1. ThursdaysGeek

      Maybe Mr. Hyde will ask to return to his old job and weak manager will be unwilling to say no. That should work out well for everyone involved. :)

    2. Lowercase holly

      Someone from second co becomes first co manager’s manager, discovers they are weak on management, fires him.

  6. Apollo Warbucks

    I’ve got to ask what was he doing when ou weren’t looking?

    Also his reference is an ass, he should have fired the guy not palmed him off on you thay makes me mad on your behalf.

  7. C

    I was really looking forward to an update on this! Wow, this guy was truly awful, and glad he is out of your hair now, OP. And very sorry to hear that, as you feared, the position itself was eliminated.

  8. CH

    One thing to keep in mind is that it seems like OPs field has descent networking opportunities. It sounds like the horrible reference received will come around and haunt Mr. Hyde’s former supervisor. OP found out about Mr. Hyde’s false reference without even meeting the former supervisor, who’s to say others won’t make the same discover. Former supervisor’s reputation is on a downslide.

    As for Mr. Hyde for someone who has been working for a while, it sounds like his PIP was on common sense areas. He should not be shocked that he was let go.

    OP I’m sorry you lost the position but you have a great time that pulled together. Thanks for the update.

    1. neverjaunty

      Yes, this. Most professional communities can be pretty tight-knit and word gets around.

    2. Stranger than fiction

      I believe what mr horrible reference did is called passing the trash. I’ve heard of it but it still boggles my mind it actually happens.

        1. Anon for this one

          So… I did try to “pass the trash” but not in a malicious way. In the beginning I thought there were miscommunication problems. That the employee would very happier and more productive in another department. A fresh start. My supervisor said no…we don’t move on problems, we deal with them.

      1. One of the Sarahs

        My former section manager tried to do this and wow, it backfired. Civil Service, when Terrible Man applied for promotion out of the team, formally said “yes, he can do it”… he didn’t get it, she then couldn’t put him on a PIP for bad performance because she’d said he was good enough to promote, and DRAMA!

  9. Totally anon for this

    Now I really wonder if our Jekyl/Hyde is the same as yours. A glowing rec is how our passive boss got rid of him.

      1. Oranges

        Previous co-workers. Because co-workers have the exact same desire to get the problem gone but less power to make it happen.

      2. Regina 2

        But hasn’t Alison said coworker references don’t carry as much weight? Or do you mean in addition to manager references?

        1. alice

          I think they should always be in addition. They help you get a well-rounded view of who the person really is. Obviously, as Oranges mentioned, coworkers may lie to get the bad employee out faster, but it’s still better than not checking.

  10. Bob

    Stupid question moment. What exactly is a PIP? I’m assuming that it’s some kind of probation, but don’t know for sure.

    1. Blue Moon

      A Performance Improvement Plan is a process of setting out formally what the problems with your work are, what improvements are needed, how this will be measured, and a timescale for reviewing progress. It’s often tied to formal disciplinary processes, and often the last step before firing.

      1. Anon for this one

        What Blue Moon said, in addition- Performance Improvement Plan
        where I work is to formally in writing let the employee know that the issues (lateness, timelines, accuracy, etc) are significant enough that the consequences for not improving might be termination.
        It is the supervisor’s responsibility to lay out reasonable goals (as reflected in their job description) as well as measurable tasks/outcomes for the employee to meet.
        It is possible that the employee disregards the PIP.
        It has also been my experience that the PIP is a “wake up call” The employee realizes how important this aspect of the job performance is and makes sure they meet the expectations of the supervisor.
        It doesn’t always end in firing.

        The misery is the documenting. It is a part-time job.

        1. ThursdaysGeek

          Although the one time I was on a PIP, it was a nebulous “you’re not doing what we expect, you’re not pleasing the boss, and we want you to do better” sort of improvement plan. There was nothing concrete. I found a new job — how do you fight something like that?

          1. alice

            I was presented with something like this. I refused to sign it, citing the lack of concrete info as my reason. They let it go and nothing was done. I know this doesn’t help you now, but you might get something out of formally requesting concrete details through HR.

          2. hugseverycat

            In my previous job (in a call center environment), I was put on a PIP.

            The stupid thing was, this was literally the first time I had ever received negative feedback from my manager. I knew that I was not performing very well (call centers are very stats-oriented) but I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong and had in fact been planning to talk to my manager that very day to ask for coaching. So while I understood that this meeting was bad news, I didn’t quite understand that being on a PIP is (supposed to be) kind of an exceptional circumstance.

            I found out later on that some managers at this particular call center were extremely competitive and would basically try tomake their team look good by quickly firing everyone who wasn’t great out of the gate. They could “afford” to do it because, like most call centers, they had no shortage of applicants, and this was a call center for a very popular, very “cool” company and it paid decently well, for a call center.

            1. One of the Sarahs

              Years ago, in the call centre I worked at, there were targets to everything – including targets for section leaders to get a certain number of staff on disciplinaries, and fired…. It was terrible, you’d see people put on them who totally didn’t deserve it. Some team leaders refused, but that’s such a gamble…

              1. hugseverycat

                Wow, that’s really terrible… but at the same time I’m not particularly surprised.

                I ended up surviving my terrible manager (possibly because his manager now knew that he had never worked with me prior to putting me on a PIP – he didn’t seem to be particularly pleased to hear that from me in our meeting) and staying at that company for longer than the manager did.

        1. Anon for this one

          Yes, it must be concrete. Let’s say there are no medical or disability issues at play. Or other workers delaying this employees deliverables.

          On these dates payroll sheets were delivered 3 days late.
          A verbal conversation
          Did you know and understand that the finance department needs the payroll sheets by noon on Monday ?
          Documenting the next three pay periods .
          Another discussion…including what tools are in place to help the employee succeed in this task.

          Rinse and repeat
          Another conversation – you only delivered the payroll sheets on-time one of the last three pay periods. This is an issue of 100 percent. This affects other people.
          Rinse and repeat
          Written warning documenting the previous rounds, delivered to the employee with their job description attached.
          Rinse and repeat..written warning with documentation and consequences. (Poor performance review, etc) as well as perhaps a termination conversation.
          Rinse and repeat
          This goes on until the supervisor is satisfied with the performance and/or until hr gives advice

          1. TootsNYC

            the requirements for a PIP are a company’s own requirements not a legal requirement enforceable bya government entity. (However, if a company has stated those procedures or requirements in an employee manual, may end up being a legal requirement, since some states, like NY, require companies to follow their own procedures).

            Being specific is smart, and good business, and fair, etc., etc., but as this update shows, it can sometimes create its own difficulties if the target gets into rules-lawyering. “We don’t have a dress code, how was I to know that smelly gym clothes aren’t allowed?”

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Yep, totally up to the company and they don’t have to go that route at all. (But good point that if they commit to them in writing, that can be binding. That’s one reason why smart companies will say things like “we may do X” rather than “we will do X” in talking about this stuff)

              1. TootsNYC

                or flat-out say, “we may do this, but we reserve the right to terminate employment with no notice if we deem it necessary.”

                I was told by a lawyer here in NY that if a company hasn’t written a policy down but HAS consistently followed one, they may be legally required to treat it as if it was written down.

  11. Rowan

    “It was difficult to manage however because a lot of the ways he did this were in grayish areas.”

    Wow, it’s fascinating to see someone using the same “plausible deniability” tactics used to sexually creep on people, but instead “creeping” on their job.

      1. the_scientist

        Honestly, I can’t think of anything more infuriating that someone playing the plausible deniability game like Mr. Hyde. It’s SO smarmy, and dishonest, and condescending. In my experience, that people that do it always think they’re so smart so clever so putting one over everybody and it’s like “no, a-hole, we all know exactly what you’re doing”, and yet they often get away with it in organizations with weak policies and weak managers who don’t want to have difficult conversations. I’m SO glad that this was a PIP with some teeth and that OP and her boss were on the same page, and that they were able to terminate this guy’s employment.

        1. anonforthiscomment

          Reminds me of hearing stories from people who work for a corporation owned (through several layers) by well-known public figures. I’ll modify the key words a bit.

          They have a philosophy for their employees at all the corporations they own that encourages “honest independence” in the form of, among other things, “questioning” your colleagues. The idea being that “questioning” is a normal part of work, calm and professional arguments are fostered, and unsafe decisions by management can be safely called out.

          In practice, it sounds like it often leads to managers overly eager to please upper management smarming the heck out of the key words in that philosophy. The end result is completely going against what it stands for. This often leads to things like an installation getting scheduled even when lower managers and employees “question” the decision, in that the prerequisite tasks aren’t complete and can’t possibly be complete by that date.

          Imagine hearing something like “My honest independent opinion is that you can achieve this, and I question your professionalism in resisting the idea of doing it so much.” rather than even something like “Well, it’s what upper management insisted upon me and they’re willing to pay for the installers to hurry up and wait, sorry” and you wouldn’t really be that far off in some cases.

          People who truly believe in that philosophy (it’s actually a good one, in my opinion) see right through it and try to make themselves heard. However, with upper management all too willing to completely ignore the smarm to reach their goals, there’s not much they can do without getting painted as unprofessional and too “eager to question”.

          I felt so bad for the people who talked to me about working there.

    1. AMT

      Classic manipulator tactic. It’s very easy to do this when the person who has the power to fire the employee isn’t assertive enough to say, “I don’t care if your horrible behavior technically doesn’t break any written rules. Stop or you’re out the door.”

      Lots of managerial letter-writers seem to get hung up on the fact that the workplace norms or requirements that their employees are violating aren’t in the employee handbook/offer letter/whatever, so they “can’t” do anything about it. Some seem to be worried that there are laws against it. Others feel uncomfortable enforcing rules that, while reasonable, have yet to be codified. The standard AAM advice (be direct, enforce consequences, don’t let bad behavior slide just because you’re uncomfortable) still applies.

      1. Anna

        And it’s this idea that because nothing is explicitly written about a behavior, you can’t be fired for it. It’s a mistake for an employee to assume that and it’s a huge mistake for a manager to believe that.

        1. Elizabeth West

          I think sometimes they think it might be a legal issue, that they have to document what behavior is acceptable or not acceptable, and if they don’t have it in writing, they could get sued.

          Technically that’s probably not true (I am not a llama), since we’re talking about at-will employment–at least if the behavior doesn’t violate any discrimination laws. There’s a reasonable expectation of professional conduct in most places, and being an ass and dressing like a smelly hobo is probably not okay in any of them.

          1. AMT

            I can’t fathom what is “grayish” about being filthy at work! On what planet would it be unreasonable (or illegal or unprofessional) to say, “Dress code or no dress code, don’t come to work smelling like something died in your armpit”?

            1. Jadelyn

              I’d guess it’s an issue of enforceability. If there was no preexisting policy then it’s a lot harder to give concrete PIP-able feedback saying “you Did A Bad” about it.

            2. OhNo

              Well, actually, if the smell issue is related to an ADA protected disability or directly linked to cultural/ethnic differences, the employee might actually have a case.

              For example, say that one employee is from a culture where they eat a lot of food that smells very strongly, or use a lot spices that affect your body odor. The manager and coworkers might think they smell bad, but firing them based on that would come really close to violating anti-discrimination laws.

              1. neverjaunty

                C’mon. Strong spice odors aren’t anything like what’s being discussed here, and if an employee has body odor due to a protected disability, that’s something for which they can seek accommodations. Firing an employee based on showing up in tatters and smelling bad after being asked to clean up when the employee never mentioned a disability is not a world-beating ADA case.

      2. INFJ

        Yes. Kind of like how a task “not being in your job description” isn’t an excuse not to do it if your manager asks you to.

      3. Artemesia

        I once had a department chair tell me that we couldn’t flunk a doctoral candidate writing his second set of quals for bringing a disc loaded with canned material into the exam unless we could prove we had told him in writing he couldn’t do this. Now cheating on a timed and isolated final exam is on the face of it, grounds for dismissal; to me this is akin to saying you can’t fire the cashier for skimming if you didn’t give them a letter saying they weren’t allowed to steal the money. Luckily I had in fact made sure that all those writing exams had been informed of the rules about what they could bring into the exam. But I lost all respect for the chair that day. There is being careful and then there is just wimpy cowardice to do your job.

        1. AMT

          It’s the workplace version of those Disney movies where there’s no rule that a penguin/alien/dog/robot can’t play soccer/tennis/chess/bocce. Does there reeeeeeally have to be a rule that you can’t paint your office with Easy Cheese and answer the phone with “Heil Hitler”?

    2. Melissa

      It’s the following the letter of the law, not the spirit of the law that kills me. For example, you are supposed to check your email to be prepared for Monday morning’s staff meeting. Checking it at 7:55 for an 8 am meeting is technically following the rules in your PIP, but if you can’t actively participate or comment, then you aren’t following the spirit. Sure, you are prepared because you know the topic…but you are just wasting everyone’s time.
      And how exhausting is this life? Going over every rule and finding the grey area.

      1. hugseverycat

        “And how exhausting is this life? Going over every rule and finding the grey area.”

        These are the same people who seem to get energy and joy out of complaining. Each new technicality is a new thing they can complain about, and complaining about how oppressed they are (generally without actually experiencing any true oppression) is their true life’s passion.

    3. Serin

      I had the same thought! And in the same way, it depends on the person in charge being ready to say, “I don’t need to spell out all the details of [courteous tone of voice] [excessive touching and personal space violations]. If you don’t know how to behave, it’s your responsibility to learn, not my responsibility to write you a document that covers every single thing.”

    4. starsaphire

      I can’t help but wonder, what is Hyde’s end strategy here, anyway? Why would someone go around repeating that sort of behavior at job after job, and getting fired or let go repeatedly?

      The only thing I can think of is, either he is hoping at some point for someone to make a big enough mistake that he can file a lawsuit and hope for a sympathetic jury come award time. Otherwise, I got nothing.

      Or am I off-base in thinking that most folks in the workforce have an end strategy in mind, whether it’s to retire or get promoted or gain enough experience to move on?

      1. Kiryn

        I’m going to guess his goal is to find a job where he won’t get fired for this kind of behavior, and he can get paid to treat other people like garbage.

        1. TootsNYC

          or his goal is to simply make the whole process to wearying that the OP will throw up their hands and vow to simply step over the missing stair. Because the hiring of a carpenter, etc., etc., is so much harder.

          Fortunately the OP was focused on how much easier things were going to be, and for longer, once all the “construction work” was done.

      2. One of the Sarahs

        Well, he didn’t get fired from OldJob for the same behaviours, did he? I reckon the endgame was “work as little as possible, retire as soon as possible”

  12. Sarahnova

    I cannot express enough my disdain for people who duck the responsibility of performance managing toxic people, then take the coward’s way out and palm them off on other people with glowing lies.

    1. vivace

      I don’t understand how much “unpleasantness” is really avoided going this route anyways. Is it paperwork? Or the drama of actually firing the guy?

      1. Sarahnova

        I never cease to be amazed at the lengths many people will go to just to avoid an awkward conversation.

          1. NotAnotherManager!

            Yes, and it’s so important to address it because it starts killing the morale of the people who are coming in and doing their jobs well.

            I had an employee who was good at a lot of aspects of the job but was just a dark cloud hanging over our department and was often rude and disrespectful to his coworkers. Addressing it with him was hugely unpleasant because he became combative, argued every point, and accused me of persecuting him because I disliked him (which I didn’t — when he wasn’t being a jerk, he was quite good – you just never knew which version of him was showing up on a given day). But he had to either get it together or go because it just was not fair to the other employees to put up with him on his bad days.

            1. hugseverycat

              I have an acquaintance who suddenly become the office complainer. We were all so relieved when he was let go. It was like the clouds parting to let the sun back in.

              It was weird for me too, because he was a friend from way back, and he’s the one who helped get me the job at this place. But man, he really took a turn for the bad. His behavior at our job kind of ruined our friendship, frankly.

      2. LBK

        As someone who’s empathetic to a fault, it can be really hard to tell someone to their face that they suck so hard at their job that you’re firing them. Especially because a lot of times they aren’t necessarily bad people, so you feel bad impacting their livelihood like that (although in this case the guy sounds like a douchenozzle, so I wouldn’t have any qualms about kicking him to the curb). I felt terrible when one of my coworkers got fired, largely as a result of my influence, because she was so nice and tried so hard but she just wasn’t the right person for the job and she needed to go.

        1. neverjaunty

          Well sure, but the jerkface flat out lied to the OP’s company in order to have somebody handle his sadfeels about being mean to Mr. Hyde. There’s a huge difference between “I have trouble with confrontation” and “Cool, if I dump this on your lap, I can avoid confrontation.”

          1. Anna

            Precisely this.

            I was recently directly involved with someone being let go due to being a horrible fit for the position. I felt some guilt, but it was this weird mix of “Oh, I’m sorry things didn’t go well for her here” and “But ultimately she would have done more harm than good and this is better for EVERYONE.” That latter feeling was a much louder voice than the first because it was the truth.

          2. LBK

            I think you wildly underestimate the power of hating confrontation and the way it warps your decision making capabilities. I’ve gotten a lot better at it through practice but I can totally understand viewing dumping him off on someone else as a win/win solution.

            1. neverjaunty

              I can totally understand all kinds of reasons people do selfish, crappy things to other people. They’re still selfish, crappy things.

                1. Ignis Invictus

                  Huh, I saw it as direct, honest, feedback. Dumping a known horrid employee off on someone else, with a glowing recommendation no less, is selfish crappy behavior. It’s not win/win, it’s not even win/lose it’s MY win at YOUR expense.

                2. LBK

                  Yeah, that does feel a little insulting to me but this feels like a retread of the argument I got into here about calling people “manipulative” so I don’t think it’s worth having again. I gather neverjaunty has a much more hardline approach to these situations than I do so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

            2. One of the Sarahs

              My partner passionately hates confrontation because of her past, and she’s found counselling really helpful – and now she’s temping as team leader for a terrible dysfunctional team, with lack of support above her, and is finding that the temporary nature of it incredibly liberating. It’s so dysfunctional, she could walk out tomorrow and her agency would find her a new job ASAP – so things she’d have seen as difficult conversations etc are so much easier. She’s able to focus on what needs to be done, and discard any worries about what people will think of her (while being empathetic and a good manager – thanks Alison for all the great resources!). So I’m wondering, if this is still a problem for you, could you seek out places to “practice” that you can walk away from?

              1. LBK

                Fortunately I did have some pretty good opportunities to work through this with managers who were there to help me, push me and fill in the gaps when I handled something poorly, so it’s not much of an issue for me anymore. Sometimes when I realize I have to deal with a confrontation I’ll still get that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach for a moment but I’ve learned to just get over that and do what needs to be done.

                I think that’s why I’m more sympathetic to it and why the comments about how crappy and selfish it is are so unnecessary/unhelpful to me – because I know it wasn’t as simple as someone saying “you’re being a selfish jerk” and voila! I was cured. It took a ton of hard work and required the support of others to be able to do it.

                1. One of the Sarahs

                  Yeah, I get that – like the comments in the housing thread, about how the OP should just stand up to her mother. I’ve never been backwards about coming forward, but I’m super-lucky and privileged, and my partner *struggles* – I loved our couple counselling for that, and her own work on herself, but while it’s alien to me, I really feel for people who don’t have self-confidence (and arguing) built in.

        2. Megs

          I get that – I’m overly empathetic as well, to the point that I felt guilty calling our transit system when a bus driver fell asleep behind the wheel at a red light (I did call though). But if I were a manager, I’d hope I could keep those instincts from leading me to make bad decisions or avoid making decisions that were best for the team.

        3. Anonymous Educator

          I don’t think lying about how good someone is so you can have another company be subjected to a horrible employee instead of your company being subjected to that employee is coming from a place of empathy.

          1. LBK

            It’s empathy for the employee, because you feel bad putting them out of work. Shifting them to a new team keeps them with a job and gets them off your team, so everyone wins! (Except the person who’s stuck with them now.)

            I’m not saying this is logical, rational or defensible. Just that I understand it because that’s my natural urge too, and I’ve had to practice fighting it in order to get comfortable doing things like this.

            1. Anonymous Educator

              Maybe it’s too many years of me being a teacher, but I would encourage people to reframe how they look at the situation.

              If you lay someone off or eliminate a whole department, you are “putting them out of work.” If you have to fire someone who can’t (or, worse, won’t) do the job you hired to them to do, they’re putting themselves out of work.

              I’ve heard too many students (mine or other teachers’) try to pull the “You gave me a B-” spin when it’s really “No, you earned a B-.”

            2. Sadsack

              What you describe seems less empathetic and more self-serving. More that you don’t want to be the one who is putting him out, rather than you don’t want to see him be put out. Nothing personal against you, but that’s pretty poor management and not fair to the people you are pushing him onto.

              1. neverjaunty

                Bingo. It wasn’t very empathetic to the OP or her company to fling Mr. Hyde at them.

              2. LBK

                I don’t think I’ve suggested that it was good management or a good choice. Someone asked this question above:

                I don’t understand how much “unpleasantness” is really avoided going this route anyways. Is it paperwork? Or the drama of actually firing the guy?

                That’s what I’ve been responding to.

                1. neverjaunty

                  Sure. But if we’re assuming ’empathy’ for Mr. Hyde, it’s odd that such overflowing empathy didn’t extend to whoever got stuck with him next.

                2. Observer

                  @neverjaunty, that’s because the manager knows the employee, but doesn’t know the person making the call.

                  It’s one of the reasons why people will often say things on the internet that they would never say in person.

      3. Sunshine

        The drama. And the awkwardness of having an uncomfortable conversation. Both of which are the manager’s job to… you know, manage. It’s a dick move, and I’d be calling that former supervisor.

        1. Caroline

          I completely agree. And considering that OP has now lost the position that Mr Hyde was filling (that she fought so hard to get approved), I would definitely be calling that supervisor.

      4. Noah

        Firing people is unpleasant, but for some reason I’ve almost always felt better afterwards. Usually by the time you get to the stage where you are terminating an employee, there have been issue for awhile.

      5. F.

        It can also be the threat of a lawsuit. Yes, the company might win the lawsuit, but the time and money expended in defense of the company can be very prohibitive, especially for non-profits and small companies.

      6. AF

        My guess is that Mr. Hyde threatened that guy (who gave the recommendation) with a lawsuit too, and he was too stupid/chicken to call his bluff. I’ve seen it happen elsewhere, so as awful as it is, I’m not totally surprised.

    2. Rick

      Oof, yeah. I can understand giving a good reference for someone who was just suboptimal for their specific workplace (say there’s a long time senior employee who’s known to be difficult but will never get fired or disciplined because they “get results”) 0r industry, in the case of a career-changer. I’ve seen others in that situation.

      This guy was just a shitty employee though – no “they are committed and gives a strong effort, but this just isn’t the workplace for them” qualifiers.

      So it’s some pretty severe negligence on the part of Mr. Hyde’s old manager and they deserve to be chewed out for it. Any damage that gets done to their old boss’ reputation by that is totally deserved.

      1. TootsNYC

        I had this potential dilemma once–I didn’t have to actually exercise it, fortunately, bcs I didn’t get called as a reference. But I wondered what I’d say.

        But I had someone working w/ us on a contract basis who blew off coming in one day and was unpleasantly whiny about it, and a tad belligerent. He was good at the job, and had been a mainstay for a long time.
        I decided to call it quits, and didn’t renew. I had pangs, because the skills were still good.
        But we were all just breathing easier. And I have to say that I think he was too–this was before the “b** eating crackers” phrase, but I think he’d gotten to that point, to be honest.

        I finally decided that’s what I would say, if asked: “Skills excellent; for years very reliable for us; I think he was done w/ working for us, and it started to show in flakiness and neediness. Will probably work great for you.”

  13. Jennifer M.

    My last job did a lot more firing than I had ever seen (and almost all of it within my department). One person in my department got fired 2 weeks after I started. My boss took me and the other person who started at the same time out to lunch right after to let us know that it had happened, but it wasn’t a sign of a layoff so we shouldn’t be scared off. One person got fired after making the same mistake a second time. The first time it happened, he was told what a BFD it was and that it couldn’t happen again. Then it happened again. One person took 2+ years to fire. Lots of documenting her attitude problems, her lack of responsiveness, etc. They took longer to fire her because she was a woman, minority, and over the age of 50 so they were worried about CYA. Another guy lasted for maybe a year and he was just not a good fit. It was a sort of industry change for him and he wasn’t able to adapt. Again they were a bit more drawn out in the process because he was a minority over 50. And finally there was one woman on a temp to perm contract and they let her contract lapse and told her she wouldn’t be considered for perm. She threw a fit. One interesting note on all of these. Other than the first one, each happened while I was on an international business trip. So there was almost a joke about who was going to get fired whenever they heard I was heading to the airport.

    Oh and two people got fired for stealing. And because the company was a government contractor, they ended up on the suspended and debarred list in addition to the jail time.

    1. neverjaunty

      The “it takes longer because protected classes” thing is a sign of bad management. If all problems are tracked and all employees are counseled and managed, then it doesn’t take two years to fire somebody – the company has documented the problems. And because that company documents problems the same way for everyone, they can easily refute a claim that only the fired employee was disciplined while others were allowed to be careless.

      1. Jennifer M.

        Oh, I’m not saying they should have taken that long, just that they did. And the second guy they only took 6 months to fire, not 2+ years. I think that by the time they got to him, they were on a firing roll and just went for it.

      2. Eohippus

        It depends. Just an accusation of discrimination, even if it’s later found to be baseless, can stick with a department. This is particularly true for government jobs.

      3. anonforthiscomment

        I also hope those companies know protected class laws go all ways for all classes, and frivolous lawsuits have happened with the complainant on the side everybody assumes is not protected.

    2. Biff

      You’d think that they might rethink their method of interviewing/vetting/on boarding employees if they had to fire so many people.

      1. TootsNYC

        well, sometimes people are genuinely good for a while, and then fade out (not like this guy, but perhaps they get bored, etc.)

  14. Engineer Girl

    OP – I hope you take comfort in the fact that you handled this with integrity. It’s always harder to do the right thing the right way. Always! The benefit is that you will have gained the trust of your ED and your team. While you lost that position, you have gained a more engaged team. I’m sure your ED will also advocate for you in the future. You will get long term gains out of this because you handled it correctly.

  15. Elizabeth West

    Yay that he’s gone!!! You did the right thing, OP, and I’m glad your manager had your back. Your team now knows that if they have a problem, they can come to you with it and you/management will help.

    Boo to the org that lied about Mr. Hyde’s recommendation. >:(

  16. Mimmy

    Wow, I bet that was an eye-opener for you, OP!! Sorry to hear that the position was ultimately eliminated, but very happy that getting rid of Mr. Hyde had a very positive impact on you and your team.

  17. Collarbone High

    Soooo much sympathy and empathy for you, LW! Especially this part:

    “Enforcing and tracking the PIP was just the worst; it was a lot of extra work that compounded my already heavy workload.”

    I know PIPs require a lot of documentation, but I wonder how often managers avoid them for exactly this reason. I had a similar situation with a terrible employee, and our employer’s process required tons of work from me and almost nothing from her. (Adding insult to injury, it didn’t work, either. Much like your Mr. Hyde, she spent the whole 90 days doing the bare minimum to comply while finding new ways to shirk work and becoming even more toxic. She also made no secret of her PIP status, telling everyone it was due to discrimination and making vague legal threats. In the end HR decided it was too risky to fire her, since she technically complied with the PIP. She still works there. I don’t.)

    1. NotAnotherManager!

      On the flip side, I’ve been happy to do the documentation and had the head of HR refuse to allow a PIP. I went in with examples, performance goals, and timelines and was basically told to just deal with it. So, I did. I met with them, told them what needed to improve, and set a regular schedule for check-ins without the actual PIP form… and got smacked down by HR for trying to do an end-run around their NO on the PIP.

      I don’t miss our old head of HR.

      1. A good old canuck

        Wait…then what did HR mean when you were told to “deal with it”? Did they just expect you to tolerate the poor employee and allow the employee to continue to do below par work?

  18. Ted Mosby

    What the frog??? He should have been fired the minute he said no to the PIP and threated to get his lawyer involved.

  19. jaxon

    Why do people think it’s appropriate to “get their lawyer involved” when presented with a PIP? Do they not understand that they can be fired for cause tomorrow without warning and essentially have no recourse? How can you take someone seriously after they say something like that?

    1. Jadelyn

      And if you’re in an at-will-employment state – which is most of them – your employer can show you the door at any second without any cause at all, because that’s how that works. Your manager can fire you because they don’t like your habit of chewing gum at your desk, or they don’t like how you formatted your email signature. It’s not good management, but they can legally do it. Unless you’re able and prepared to demonstrate illegal discrimination along one or more of the protected axes, there’s not a damn thing you can do to demand that firing be “for cause”.

    2. neverjaunty

      There are a fair number of people who think that threatening to call their lawyer is a big, scary threat that makes them seem powerful.

    3. NotAnotherManager!

      No, they really do not. They also don’t realize that refusing to sign the PIP doesn’t make it invalid, particularly if you have an HR witness (as one should) that you reviewed it with them. I had someone refuse to sign one and was told to just note “Met with PIP-ee and witness on X date at Y time. Reviewed terms, PIP-ee refused to sign.” and put it in the file. Rinse, lather, repeat on follow-up meetings.

      I also had someone refute my performance evaluation and PIP (that they’d refused to sign) with a memo so poorly written, the employment lawyer who reviewed it (because they’d threatened to sue) asked if we were now asking for writing samples with employment applications.

      1. Bibliovore

        In my experience, the employee’s signature is just to confirm that a meeting happened, these issues were discussed not that they agree with the statements.

        1. NotAnotherManager!

          I agree, but regardless of the words written on the paper, the most common reason I’ve seen for not signing is that they do not agree with the PIP, even when you point out its just an acknowledgement that you met/discussed it with them.

  20. (Mr.) Cajun2core

    One comment I must make. In this case it is probably true, but in some cases it would not be.

    “He would speak on the phone with donors in a snarky, sarcastic tone using terms like “ma’am” or “sir” to address them.”

    Don’t always assume that when someone uses “ma’am” or “sir” that it is intended as an insult. In the south it is a term of respect.

    1. Michelle

      +1,000 I use “ma’am” and “sir” daily and it’s not an insult or meant to be snarky. It shows respect to elders or people in authority positions. Of course, some people in authority positions may not deserve the respect, but you still do it as a matter of civility.

    2. Cristina in England

      I believe OP’s point here is that he was using a snarky sarcastic tone and saying sir and ma’am in a clearly disrespectful manner.

      1. (Mr.) Cajun2core

        I agree with you that in this case, it was intended to be snarky and sarcastic. Some people feel that it is always intended that way when it is not. Sometimes, especially in the south and in the military, it is a term of respect. Often, someone from the south will go other places and use those terms out of habit. I just wanted to let people know that it isn’t always intended as an insult.

      2. Serafina

        Agreed. Tone can change even respectful words into an insult. “Can I help you, maaaayum?” “Oh, sorry, siiiir, but he’s not in right now.” A contemptuous person (which Mr. Hyde seems to have been) can convey a sneer over the phone that wouldn’t be noticeable if all you had was a transcript of the conversation.

    3. The Strand

      I live in a place where “yes ma’am”, “no sir” is a daily event. It seemed pretty clear from the letter that he was using the terms along with a gallon of contemptuous tone, to emphasize the difference between them and him.

    4. TootsNYC

      Well, (Mr.) Cajun2core, there’s also the tactic of using the term of address too frequently. I’m sure you can understand, (Mr.) Cajun2core, that hearing it in almost every sentence would be really rude. I see your point, (Mr.) Cajun2core, that “sir” and “ma’am” in themselves aren’t rude. But I’ll say this, (Mr.) Cajun2core, that I’m confident you’d agree they can be used in a very rude way.

    5. a

      I agree. The tone is the bad part, not the forms of address. I’m in California, so it’s not as common, but when people call me ma’am I don’t think it’s rude.

      1. aebhel

        This. I’m from NY (and I’m under 40) so it’s very, very rare for anyone to call me ‘ma’am’, but I would understand it as polite unless it was said sarcastically – I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t.

  21. Michelle

    My friend used to work with a Jekyll and Hyde-type employee. He spends most of his day cursing and/or complaining and as soon as the big boss walks by, he’s all sweetness and smiles. His direct supervisor protects him.

    We happened to be in that particular store one day and he was having one of his fits and we could hear him on the sales floor! My friend looked at me and said “This is one of his milder fits. I’m so glad I got out when I did”.

  22. Bibliovore

    “Enforcing and tracking the PIP was just the worst; it was a lot of extra work that compounded my already heavy workload.”

    I feel your pain and appreciate your hard work and thoroughness. Good job. AND this process and the fact that you followed through to the bitter end even if it meant losing an employee line needs to be part of your next performance review.

    I made a case for a higher rating for mine. My immediate supervisor felt doing the PIP was “meeting expectations” I pointed out the time, the effort, and the grit that it took. Also- after the fact people were coming out of the woodwork with negative experiences but at no time were there any complaints to me.

    1. TootsNYC

      yep–this is an accomplishment that you should write down on your list of accomplishments.

  23. Anon Accountant

    I’m just appalled his former supervisor gave him a glowing, knowingly false reference. How shady and terrible. Unsure if shady is the right word but it’s disrespectful to have given a glowing reference when they had such bad issues with Mr. Hyde.

  24. AF

    The smelly gym clothes were the kicker. Like how awful of a human being are you? How did you get this far in life? That’s some straight up sociopath behavior right there. He’s probably threatened every boss he’s ever had with a lawsuit if they try to fire him or hold him accountable.

    1. Rick

      Yeah! How petty can you get?! I’d say that something like that is dumb and spiteful enough that on its own it deserves to be documented and put on a PIP, even if none of the other horror stories from the letter writer were issues.

  25. NN

    I’m not clear on why it matters if he signs the PIP or not. If his manager says he needs to do X, does it matter if he signs a PIP staring this or not? What could have happened if he’d continued to refuse to sign?

    1. NotAnotherManager!

      No, it really doesn’t. Having them signed makes it clear that they received a copy (and usually some sort of acknowledgement that they can be terminated for non-compliance), but if you have a witness there when you go over it, their signing is just a formality. You told them there were issues, you told them what needed to happen, preferably with timelines. Same for follow-up meetings. You don’t need their signature to document.

    2. TootsNYC

      definitely doesn’t matter.

      Except that in combination, it shows that he’s determined to be as obstructive as he can possibly be.

  26. Ruffingit

    The sad thing is this guy was exemplary for 90 days, which means he does know how to be a good employee, he just chooses not to be. That is just really sad.

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