my boss sent around photos of my coworker in body paint, getting paid for commute time, and more

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

1. My boss sent around photos of my coworker in body paint

My boss and a coworker became Facebook friends. My manager was snooping around on her Facebook profile and saw some pictures of her without clothes on but with her privates covered in body paint, and then sent them to me and several other coworkers via text message, from his work cell phone. For this and many other reasons, I consider him a despicable human being without integrity or honor. I have not reported this to my coworker for fear of causing her shame and embarrassment, and I have not reported this to HR for fear of retaliation by my manager if he were to not get fired. If he were to get fired, then I would still face retaliation because my manager’s boss is one of his best friends.

I guess I am stuck in a legal and moral pickle here. Ethically and morally, I should alert my coworker, and if I were to change jobs I would do it in a heartbeat because of fear of retaliation. With her approval of course, if she chooses not to go through the embarrassment of this then I won’t force her to do it. Can my manager even be punished for what he did by HR because they were Facebook friends? He sent pictures to non-Facebook friends of hers.

Your manager is an ass. The fact that they’re Facebook friends and that gave him access to these pictures doesn’t make it okay for him to send around unclothed photos of an employee to other people. That would be disrespectful and violating no matter who did it, but it’s so much worse when it’s a manager doing it to an employee, particularly since it makes recourse for her more difficult (as you’re seeing firsthand when you consider the qualms it’s giving you).

At a minimum, you should tell your coworker what happened. She’s entitled to know that this occurred (so that she can cut off her manager’s access to her page, if nothing else). It’s her call whether or not to report this to your company or to speak with your manager about it, but you really can’t make that call for her, which is what you’d be doing by not mentioning it to her. Ideally, you’d also tell your manager that you don’t want to receive those photos and that you’re concerned that he would send them, and possibly consider speaking to HR yourself. But that part is up to you; the part that isn’t optional is alerting your coworker. Her boss is behaving in a skeevy, violating, and possibly harassing way to and about her; she deserves to know.

2. Boss is including commute time in our work day

I work in an office building that is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but my team works on shifts between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. When we are scheduled to work outside of office hours, we work from home and then travel into the office when someone else arrives to cover us or travel home early and continue working from home until late. All my other colleagues live over an hour’s drive away, but luckily I only live five minutes away.

My boss has now decided that that commuting time is to be included in our actual working hours. As in, if we are scheduled to work between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. (eight hours with an hour for lunch), those are the hours we work, regardless of how much of that time was spent driving to the office. My colleagues are obviously very pleased with this and I think it’s a nice perk for the company to offer. However, it means that I will actually be working about 250 hours more a year than they do. Do you reckon there’s scope for me to ask my boss if there is any way I can receive an equivalent perk, or is it just luck of the draw and I should simply be happy that I live so close?

Luck of the draw.

If I’m understanding this correctly, this means that someone scheduled to work 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. would work from home from, say, 6 to 8, then drive an hour to the office, arrive at 9 when it opens, work there until 3, and then drive home. They’d be paid for the full time between 6 and 3 (but presumably not for their drive home after their shift ends at 3). Basically, when your shift starts, you’re on the clock and getting paid until it ends, even if some of that time is spent driving to the office mid-shift. The idea is that you’re still in your work day, even when you leave to change work locations.

While it does mean that they get paid for more time in their car and less time sitting at a desk doing work, I don’t think you can feasibly make an issue of this without looking petty. You’re all being paid for full workdays; theirs just involve longer times to move from one work location to another.

3. Can I offer to proofread our error-ridden newsletters?

I work in big-box retail, but I’m trying to find places where I can start building an experience base to transition out when I finish my degree. Just recently, my store implemented a monthly newsletter, and I’ve noticed the spelling and grammar of some of the writing is iffy. This honestly doesn’t bother me at all (my degree is in Linguistics–we’re all about letting go of hangups over variation in language use), but it occurred to me that I could offer the committee responsible for it volunteer services as a copy editor.

Is this at all done in normal professional environments, let alone retail? The newsletter is so casual that I would hate to cause bad feelings over the implication that the people responsible for it have “bad” spelling/grammar. On the other hand, I like copy editing, and it would give me experience copy editing outside my friends’s papers. Do you have any advice?

You can definitely volunteer to do it! I’d say it this way: “I really like reading these newsletters — thank you for doing them! I wanted to mention that I’ve noticed sometimes they go out with small spelling or grammar issues. I love proofreading and would be so excited to volunteer to proof them before they’re sent out, if that’s something you’re interested in.” You could also add, “I could give you super-fast turnaround time” if you actually can.

You might find that they don’t really care — in which case, you have to accept that — but they also might be happy to have the help. Either way, it’s totally okay to offer, as long as you do it in a nice way, as opposed to a judgy way (and I’m confident you can pull that off, based on your email).

4. Asking how the overtime salary change will impact a position I’m interviewing for

I’m about to start job searching for a lateral/semi-promotion in my industry. In this industry, the average work day is at least 9-6, with working lunches and semi-occasional later nights and weekends. The average salary is probably around $42,000 a year.

In December, new overtime rules will go into effect, which has the potential to impact the person in the position I’m applying for in a number of ways. Offices could choose to mandate lunch breaks and leaving the office at 6, they could bump up salaries to $48,000 to exempt the position from overtime pay, or they could just pay overtime. Either way, something will change and (for the time being at least) it won’t be handled consistently across offices. I would like to know what they plan to do and how my job might change a few months after I take it. Is there anyway to bring up in the interview or negotiating process?

Wait until you have an offer. At that point, assuming that the offer is for a salary under the new $47,476 threshold, say this: “I know that currently this is an exempt position, but won’t qualify as exempt after December 1 when the new overtime regulation goes into effect. Have you decided how that change will impact this position?”

Be aware that they may not be able to give you an entirely clear answer, or that the answer they give you now may end up changing. But it’s a very reasonable thing to ask about.

5. Can I guess at the exact dates I worked for a job application?

Many online job applications require exact starting and ending dates for my previous jobs. I only put the months and years on my resume. Many of these jobs are years ago, so I don’t remember the days. I can dig into old emails and paychecks, but I can’t always find the information. I also don’t know whether employers want the days I worked my first and last shifts, or the day I was officially hired for and the day I gave notice for. With shift work, those aren’t always the same.

Is it okay to guess? I would probably be just a few days off. I would hate to be disqualified for lying if my references or human resource departments had slightly different dates of employment. Alternatively, I could put the first of the month for everything to make it clear I wasn’t giving exact information. That would make some of my temp jobs would look very short, though, especially the one that was three weeks within one month. I’m just starting out so I do need every little job in the record.

It’s totally okay to guess about the day as long as you’re getting the month right. It’s also totally fine to just put the first or 15th of the month for everything to make it clear that you’re not getting the day exact. (For the temp jobs, if they were all through one agency, I’d wrap up all the individual temp assignments into one overall temping job, which is actually what it was.)

Also, this is a small thing, but you asked about whether the dates should cover the dates you actually worked or the dates you were hired and gave notice. It’s the former; it’s the period of time you were actually employed there.

{ 280 comments… read them below }

  1. anonykins*

    Op 4 I have been dealing with this issue too – just accepted an offer around $40k for a position that involves periods of extensive weekend/evening work and travel. They have no idea what they’re going to do yet (although my soon to be immediate boss is pushing for raises because of the nature of the work). They actually brought it up in interviews, so maybe that will happen for you too.

    Personally I see it as a win win. Either I get more money, or I go hourly and they likely try to limit my overtime. Both of these scenarios seem fine to me!

    1. Jeanne*

      I hope most companies are aware of the new rules by now and are making a plan. Asking what their plan is is totally appropriate. Even before the offer stage you can ask if the job is exempt or non-exempt (if it isn’t obvious).

    2. TCO*

      As Alison has written about here, a third option is for employers to lower your base pay going forward to balance out the additional overtime. It doesn’t sound like your employer plans to do something like that, but it’s important for people to know that they won’t necessarily win (by getting a raise or working less overtime).

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Well, then things are status quo. So I agree, not a “win” necessarily, but no harm done.

        1. Artemesia*

          Feels like harm to me; the whole point was to stop exploiting low paid workers. Lowering their pay misses the point.

          1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

            I agree that it misses the point, and perhaps there should be regulations to prevent it. But if the employee ends up with the same amount of income, for the same number of hours, it’s irrelevant how that was calculated.

            1. Jadelyn*

              But that assumes that their OT will for sure end up being enough to balance it. What if it’s not? They change it down to “account for” the OT factor, then hire someone else and the workload eases so the person doesn’t get OT anymore. That’s definitely harm right there.

          2. Observer*

            True. But there is only so far that you can go with that, as you hit things like minimum wage.

  2. Sourire*

    #1 – Please tell her, if for no other reason that she will almost definitely want to lock down her security settings. Or even if not, this is really information she should have about her boss. She may not care if the whole world sees the photo (in general), but in this case context matters, and a boss showing it around is super skeevy.

    This may also be a part of a larger picture of harassment (or it may not) and it could be the concrete piece of the puzzle she is missing to feel like she is able to report it. Sometimes it’s hard to report harassment because it all feels very he said/she said, or can easily be explained away by the offender, but something like sharing pictures is pretty hard evidence, and very hard to reasonably deny/explain.

    1. eplawyer*

      That’s what I was thinking too. The boss friends her. Problem 1 right there. Then he sends around nude pictures of her to her co-workers. Problem 2. He is clearly trying for something with this person, but is not getting it. So he is retaliating against her.

      Also people. you don’t have to accept every friend request you get on Facebook. Unless you are REALLY friends with that person, just ignore it or decline it.

      1. ZuKeeper*

        Mypersonal rules on FB use are:
        1. Never friend your boss, he’s your boss, not your friend.
        2. Keep track of any work friends. If they friend the boss, it might be time to unfriend them, since boss can see friend’s comments, etc, therefore potentially seeing your posts.
        3. Lock your privacy down as much as you can, and remember it’s still not 100% private.
        4. Don’t post pictures of you doing something illegal, partying a little too hearty, or in body paint, lingerie, etc if you don’t want the whole world to eventually see them, because someone is going to be like the jerk of a boss and share them where you never expected them to be shared! And as Axl Rose is now finding out, once a picture is on the internet, it’s almost impossible to get rid of it (Sorry, Fat Axl, haha).

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Fat Axl, LOL

          I never friend people at work on FB until they or I leave the company, especially not bosses. My old boss and I friended when she retired, though. I’m glad–though she’s torturing me with pictures of them on the lake every weekend, LOL.

          It just occurred to me that I might want to see who else she’s friended, though. o_O

          1. Nerfmobile*

            I don’t friend current co-workers on Facebook – that’s my policy. But I happen to have a friend who works at Facebook and she says they use it for work communication so if you work there you basically have to friend a huge bunch of people you work with and then you get to see all about their personal lives too!

            1. TootsNYC*

              This has been my policy–to not friend current coworkers. But I’ve then i been in the position of actually hiring some of those former coworkers. So I place extra emphasis on not putting something on Facebook that I wouldn’t discuss in chitchat around the conference room table during the lunch period.

        2. Bowserkitty*

          #1 is typically my rule too but now I face the dilemma where a coworker who added me shortly after I became employed here is now my boss.

          1. Rebecca in Dallas*

            I was in a similar situation, I created a friends group that I can set different privacy settings for and put her in that group. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, so I can’t remember how exactly but I’m sure the Google could tell you!

            1. Bowserkitty*

              I have her on restricted but I’m worried that might create a rift if she notices (and she may already have)! If she brings it up I’ll give her the “not comfortable being friends with my boss” line but I still feel a little guilty because she’s a wonderful lady.

        3. miss_chevious*

          My own Facebook rule is that I am FB friends with no one I currently work with, even the people I am close to outside of work. After one of us leaves, we can be friends, but not while we are employed at the same place.

        4. Jen S. 2.0*

          So much #4. If I don’t want the whole world to see it, I don’t put it on social media. Period. I also don’t let anyone post photos in which I am tagged to my wall unless I approve them. They stay in Timeline Limbo unless I release them.

          But mostly, it takes a lot to get me to take a photo in the first place that I don’t want shared. Sure, there are a few unflattering pictures of me out there, but if I’m doing something I’d rather not have seen, there’s not a lot of identifiable photographic evidence of it in the first place.

          So if I were wearing just body paint (which, not my thing, but if it’s yours, rock on), and didn’t want that visual to spread? The odds I would take a photo, post it online, or have it somewhere that my boss could see it? Slim to none.

    2. Chalupa Batman*

      Thanks for putting this into words. I knew this made me feel gross, but the fact that the picture was pulled from Facebook meant it was by nature not completely private. The violation is in using the picture to give something from her private life to her coworkers without her permission. Just because there’s an innate risk that photos posted online could become public doesn’t give anyone who sees it the right to proactively increase that level of publicity. The fact that Boss saw it is on Coworker. The fact that Boss decided it was ok to share it with others was skeevy, unprofessional, and harassing both to Coworker and the people who received a semi-nude photo of someone they know from their boss.

      1. lemonack*

        Regardless of the fact that it’s a violation of the coworker, I think Boss sending OP1 an unsolicited nude (even of someone else!) should count as sexual harassment for most HR policies.

    3. MeridaAnn*

      I keep thinking about how this should be treated if it was, say, an old elementary school photo that was being passed around. That’s something that anyone might put on Facebook, but if your boss copied the photo and started showing around and, for instance, laughing about her braces and 80s-sytle clothes, then the boss is still absolutely out of line and needs to be told to stop.

      The content of the body paint photo makes it even more problematic for the boss to be sharing it, but that still doesn’t mean the person in the photo is at fault, and it doesn’t lessen the fact that the boss is sharing something that he shouldn’t and likely creating a very uncomfortable work environment for the subject of the photo.

      OP, I’d suggest treating this as if it was any other photo being shared behind someone’s back – an old school photo or a silly Halloween costume or whatever. Even in those cases, the person in the photo should still be told that her photo is being spread around so that she can address it as she sees fit, and if people are making fun of her or talking about the photo, you should let them know that you are not okay with a coworker being mocked or gossiped about, no matter the context.

      I would still let HR know, too, because the boss is passing along a photo with the apparent intent to mock or demean one of his employees. That would never be okay, regardless of the content.

  3. Christopher Tracy*

    OP #1, your boss is a vile piece of excrement. Please alert your coworker immediately so she can block that asshole from seeing anymore of her photos.

    What the hell goes through some people’s minds?! I mean, what functioning adult would think it was a brilliant idea to take photos of their subordinate, and risqué ones at that, and circulate them to other people?! I’m seriously stunned that anyone could be this stupid.

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      And I just re-read and noticed he sent the photos from his work-issued cell phone. He just opened your company up to a lawsuit. HR needs to be made aware of this immediately as well because I would think a well-functioning company would fire his ass on the spot for this (mine would, no questions asked).

    2. enough*

      He didn’t take the photos himself. The boss took them from the Facebook page where the employee had posted them. While he shouldn’t have downloaded and sent them they are already out there for others to see.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        I didn’t mean he took the pictures – I meant he took them off her page. And I don’t care if she plastered them on a billboard in the middle of Times Square – he still has no right to circulate suggestive photos of a subordinate to coworkers without her permission.

        1. nofelix*

          Yeah totally agree. The intent to titillate or embarrass is clear. Whatever context the photos were taken in, it’s still inappropriate.

    3. Sourire*

      “I mean, what functioning adult would think it was a brilliant idea to take photos of their subordinate, and risqué ones at that, and circulate them to other people?!”

      Um yeah, one of my coworkers sent a picture or herself in a state of undress to a few of my male coworkers (I really don’t know in what context or why, nor is it my business) and they all thought it was a hoot to share them around with most of the other male coworkers. Because she’d sent them to multiple people, she was of course a (insert lovely word here) and clearly didn’t care who saw them/has no further expectation of privacy. (This was, I am sad to say, before our state enacted any revenge porn laws)

      And because of the joys of working in a highly dysfunctional workplace that has a very ingrained boys club/thick skin mentality, not much was done other than move her around to a different shift and tell her to make better choices. And yes, before anyone asks, I would love to get out, but because of the seriously ridiculous pay and benefits, it’s very hard to find something comparable. I am always looking though.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        Nothing justifies the guys behaviour, your coworker should not have been insulted and the photo shouldn’t have been shown to other people.

        But I think the context and reasoning in which your coworkers photo was sent is really important.

        I’m having a hard time thinking of a situation where it would be professional and necessary to send a partially clothed photo to coworkers.

        Say the photo had been accidentally attached to an email that had been sent from her personal laptop or she had somehow entered the wrong email adressed and it was meant for someone else that’s very different in my opinion to her choosing to send a partially clothes photo to a number of colleagues. My first two examples I wouldn’t think anything badly of the personal sending it, someone sending it intentionally is going to make me question their judgement and professionalism.

        1. Sourire*

          And I’m having a hard time thinking of a situation where you, as an uninvolved party, should know about it in the first place. If they were sent unsolicited, that’s harassment on her end and should have been dealt with. Regardless, they should not have been shared.

          The bit I do know, is that it was the result of mutual flirtation. So any issues of professionalism go both ways. Or they should anyway…

          1. Apollo Warbucks*

            I said in my first comment the photos shouldn’t have been shared.

            As for professionalism yes it should go both ways, it just sounds to me like everyone was acting unprofessionally.

            1. Sourire*

              My point is, you really shouldn’t have that bit of information about her to be able to make that judgment in the first place. Pandora’s box and all (once it’s out there, you can’t un-know it), but it’s fruit of the poisonous tree. Had the male coworkers not been umpteenth times more unprofessional than her by sharing it, you never would have known.

              I also work in an industry where it is very common for coworkers to date and marry each other, so the flirtation between coworkers is not necessarily as unprofessional or outside the norm as it would be in most workplace (sharing photos however is beyond the pale, even here). I’m not sure if having that context changes your view at all though.

              1. Apollo Warbucks*

                I see where you’re coming from, about the fruit of the poisonous tree and with the additional context you’ve added it seems the guys were a lot more unprofessional.

              2. hbc*

                I don’t think “fruit of the poisonous tree” belongs anywhere but a courtroom. If a jerk employee snoops in a coworker’s car and finds out that she’s stealing from the company, the company doesn’t have to ignore the stealing. They can discipline both people appropriately. Similarly, if some sleazeball takes pictures through a hotel door and catches me having an affair, I don’t get to tell my husband that he needs to pretend he doesn’t know.

                A bad act being exposed by another bad act doesn’t negate the first act.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  But just having nude photos is not a bad act. Unlike theft and adultery, no one is being harmed–at least not until a sleazebag shares the photos in an inappropriate setting, i.e. work.

                2. Sourire*

                  I don’t really think the scenarios are comparable though. Coworker was not stealing, she was not engaged in adultery, she was flirting, consensually… What if in the course of flirting she said she was into a sexual fetish someone found out and make sure it around the office? If she’d confided something else personal and the jerk thought it was ok to share around the office…

                  Or, to flip it around, what if she’d slept with someone and then decided to tell the whole office about his size and/or bedroom abilities? What if he’d sent her a picture and she thought it was a great idea to share it around the office?

                  Nothing about them sleeping together, flirting, or sharing pictures in the above examples was inherently wrong. It became wrong when somebody shared that information without consent, and in a horribly inappropriate context (the workplace) to boot

                3. sunny-dee*

                  @Kelly L, but the issuing isn’t having nude photos. It is putting them out publicly, which both of these women did. The manager is all kinds of skeevy, and I think he should be punished or (better) fired for professional misconduct — but I can’t drum up a huge amount of personal sympathy for the lady involved. She put nude photos of herself ON FACEBOOK. That is just such breathtakingly bad judgment. It’s hard for me to feel sympathetic, on a personal level, that people saw and circulated the nude photos that, um, she took of herself and posted in a public forum.

                4. Kelly L.*

                  I don’t even think she was necessarily flirting–I think the commenters who are guessing at a Burning Man type thing are probably on the money. I think she was probably in a “clothing optional” setting and displaying the art of the body painter as well.

                5. Kelly L.*

                  @sunny-dee, I don’t care if she has bad judgment or not (and I don’t even think it’s categorically bad judgment, but that’s a whole other discussion). The boss is the only one who did anything wrong here.

                6. Kelly L.*

                  @Sourire, sorry, now I see what you meant by flirting, you were talking about this second woman. I got lost in the quote tree and was still talking about the festival lady.

                7. Sourire*

                  @Kelly L.

                  The comments can definitely get really confusing on here, especially when they get past the point of nesting like this.

                8. Apollo Warbucks*

                  I took Sourire using the concept of “fruit of the poisonous tree” not in a strict legal sense but to illustrate a point that it’s not appropriate to use information that you shouldn’t have, to then form a negative opinion of someone. Which on reflection I agree with.

                  It also seems that the guys didn’t suffer any consequence from their actions, so while everyone was behaving unprofessionally, the person sending the photo at least had the common sense to be discreet about it.

                9. sunny-dee*

                  @Kelly L — I think we completely agree that in a professional context, the only person who did anything wrong is the boss. And, like I said, I think he should be fired for it. (He probably won’t, because justice is rare, but whatever.)

                  I only mean, on a personal level, my outrage meter isn’t going to 100 only because this is something she put out publicly. Professional level — she’s innocent as a newborn babe and has nothing to feel ashamed about. But, personally, if you don’t want to risk skeevy, creepy, inappropriate people looking at your nude form — don’t post nude photos on Facebook.

                10. Apollo Warbucks*


                  The issue isn’t people seeing photos put out in a public forum, it’s bring them in to the workplace that’s messed up. People can post all the nude photos they want in private as far as I’m concerned but shouldn’t bring it to work. Which is what prompted my initial comment

              3. sunny-dee*

                @Sourire, if we’re getting all legal — there is no privilege if multiple people are involved in a communication. Like, what I tell to a therapist is privileged; what I tell to a group therapy session is not.

                Your coworker sent partially nude photographs of herself to MULTIPLE male coworkers. Um, that’s not an innocent flirtation or relationship that someone betrayed. Like, a little discretion or judgment on her part would have avoided all of the bad things.

                That doesn’t excuse or okay anything done by the male coworkers. However, she is, arguably, guilty of sexual harassment and wildly inappropriate professional conduct. That’s on her, not them. I honestly would have fired her. If this is an upsetting situation for her (and undoubtedly it is), she can avoid it in the future — it’s all under her control.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  It’s sexual harassment if she sent them unwanted and unsolicited. But if, say, she was dating Bob from accounting and shared photos with him in the context of their relationship, and they broke up, and then she was dating Wakeen from PR and the same thing happened, and then they broke up too, and then the two guys were hanging out one day and thought it would be a lark to get back at their mutual ex, then what has she done wrong?

                2. Marty Gentillon*

                  Please forgive the strong language.

                  @sunny-dee Let me get this strait: a coworker has demonstrated that she is a ‘slut’ and therefore it is our duty to ‘shame’ (and apparently fire) her. That is some sanctimonious weapons-grade bullshit.

                  There is nothing particurarly wrong with a coworker sending her sexy friends sexy pictures. If they felt harassed by it, they could report it. They apparently didn’t, and instead decided to be grade A* assholes, and share the photos with everyone. The problem here is that your office is filled with grade A* assholes, not that someone has sexy friends at the office.

                3. sunny-dee*

                  @Marty, let’s turn it around. Dude sends pictures of his junk to 3-5 female coworkers, who take it as a joke and send it around the office. If I were a manager, I’d fire him in a heartbeat, and discipline the women. It has nothing to do with labeling someone a slut and then slut-shaming. It was to do with someone doing an unacceptable, sexually-tinged act involving colleague. Yes, having sexy friends at the office is incredibly unprofessional and inappropriate. There are professional boundaries and she crossed them. (As did they.) You don’t say, “oh, no one complained, so this behavior is totes-okay!” Because people may not feel able to complain, because everyone is saying it’s okay and management allows it.

                  (Honestly, I’m on the fence about firing the male coworkers, simply because it seems they didn’t solicit them, so she started that chain of events. So, maybe final warning? And I’m assuming the people they forwarded it to were people who asked for it to be forwarded. But if either of those weren’t true, I’d definitely fire them, too.)

                4. Marty Gentillon*

                  @sunny-dee changing the genders of the involved parties has no impact in my analysis. The person who sent the pictures and recieved them were (hopefully) all concenting adults. What they do in their bedrooms is none of my concern. (If they are not all consenting adults, it is a different situation. unfortinately I am not psychic, so wouldn’t be able to know that without a complaint.)

                  Sharing those pictures, on the other hand is completely despicable and ought to be (frequently is) criminal. I severly doubt that the subject of the photos consented to them becoming public. And, given the tendancy of our society to slut shame (as you are clearly doing) puts their livelyhood in clear danger. There is a reason that we are writing revenge porn laws.

                  As for slut shaming: your position is consistently, “fire the slut, maby fire the nearly criminal scumbags.” This is a textbook definition of slut shaming.

                  Question: is dating someone at the office a fireable offense? If so, it makes sense to fire the person who initially sent the pictures, if not firing the person who sent the pictures is a double standard.

                5. Marty Gentillon*

                  Another reason why I certianly wouldn’t fire the lady who initially sent the picture: this entire situation reeks of extortion. It feels like it is much more likely that the assholes who are sharing these photos got them through ilicit means than that she shared them willingly. So by fireing her, you likely make her a victim twice.

            2. DMC*

              I agree with you. Granted, we don’t know whether this was a mistake, but it seems hard to mistakenly send one photo to several people. If it was intentional, then yes it’s unprofessional on her part, as well, and the coworkers who passed it around are just as culpable. Just because she sent it to a few people doesn’t mean they get to share it with anyone and everyone. So, I do agree, both parties were acting unprofessional and problematic. In fact, a male coworker who did NOT want to receive partially clothed photos of her would have a reason to alert HR and she could be the one in trouble.

              1. Marty Gentillon*

                Which the male coworkers could have done themselves. Instead, they decided to share the pictures with everyone. If anyone gets in trouble, it should be the jerks who shared the pictures.

            3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

              I agree. Please see my response to AAM about exercising poor judgement.

    4. Jeanne*

      I’m too jaded. I’m not stunned or even surprised. Sexual harassment occurs frequently. I will take OP at her word about the possibility of retaliation so it might be not even unusual there. It’s really hard when you need your job yet something bad is happening. I think OP should talk to her coworker in private and tell her what she knows. Then if she wants to drop it, ok. If not, it would be really kind, OP, to back her up in her talk with HR.

  4. Mando Diao*

    OP1: Your boss is gross for spreading those pics around, but I’m hoping that your coworker wouldn’t be bothered by it. If they’re pictures from a festival or an artistic photo shoot, she’s probably a personality type that’s okay with those pictures being out there in the general universe. Plus, she knowingly added your boss to her facebook. She’s an adult, she chose to accept the friend request, and I’m choosing to err on the side of her being okay with her boss having seen the pictures that her other facebook friends have seen. You don’t need to protect her.

    However, I would still inform her of what happened, and let her decide whether to go to HR. If I posted pics from Burning Man, I’d be cool with people seeing them, but I’d be grossed out if my boss was sending around my hippie pics and being lewd like Beavis and Butthead. That’s not what the pictures are for, and if I wanted those coworkers to see them, I’d add them to facebook.

    OP could certainly go to HR to complain about receiving inappropriate pictures from her boss, but she should be prepared to be told that she’s misrepresenting what happened. We all know why the boss forwarded those pics, but they’re still festival/art pictures that the subject/model did not intend to be kept private.

    1. Sourire*

      Your first paragraph makes sense and I almost wrote something similar, but like I said in my post, the context here matters. She might not care who sees the photos, but the intent of how they are shared definitely matters.

      If I wear a blouse to work that clings a bit or has a lower neckline, I’m clearly okay with people seeing that. I’m not okay with people, especially my boss, being really gross about it.

      1. Mando Diao*

        Exactly. I worried that my post sounded like I was victim blaming, but I get the impression that the OP might not run in circles where those sorts of pictures are the norm. If someone sent me a pic of someone in body paint, I’d tell them to stop wasting my time with Bonaroo junk. It’s not porn, and it’s not a picture that was sent privately to one person.

        Whatever way this shakes out, the OP has the right to say that she’s offended by being sent those pictures by her boss though. I’d be offended if my boss sent me (for example) a picture of Megan Fox in a bikini. Totally public picture from one of 800 available magazines, but soooooooo not something your boss should be sending you.

        1. Christopher Tracy*

          If someone sent me a pic of someone in body paint, I’d tell them to stop wasting my time with Bonaroo junk. It’s not porn, and it’s not a picture that was sent privately to one person.

          Doesn’t matter if it’s not porn – it’s still photos of an employee nude and covered in paint being circulated to coworkers who would not have otherwise seen these pics had it not been for the inappropriate boss and using company property to boot. If the OP’s coworker had shared those photos herself? Fine. I could see OP having a response like yours. But she didn’t. Presumably, OP’s coworker doesn’t know the boss copied her photos and sent them around to her coworkers via text message – consent matters here. He didn’t have permission to objectify her, or to possibly put her in a position to be objectified by her peers.

          This letter reminds me of that story of the blogger in Calgary who recently found pics of herself on some guy’s blog asking ransoms to rate her hotness after she shaved her head. It wasn’t okay when it happened there (and she too posted her pictures publicly for the world to see), and it’s not okay here either.

          1. Mando Diao*

            My point is that we can’t speak to the feelings of the coworker, so there’s no point in assuming that this will destroy her. It’s just as reasonable to assume that she’s a bit of an exhibitionist who doesn’t care if her facebook network basically sees her naked. I know lots of people like that, and I’m trying to set the OP’s mind at ease by stating that people who do body painting in the first place are most likely fine about others seeing the pictures. They’re either art photos that she’s proud of, or they’re photos from an event that she enjoyed.

            We can only tell the OP to inform the coworker, and to feel secure in her own feelings about being sent the pictures by her boss, in a context that overrides the original intention.

            1. Christopher Tracy*

              Who said anything about this situation destroying the coworker? My thing is, the coworker needs to be told because of the serious breach of professionalism by the boss and the possibility that she wouldn’t be cool with every Tom, Dick, and Harry in her office getting sent these photos. I mean, if she wanted them to see them, she could have easily shared the photos with them herself.

              1. Loose Seal*

                My read is that one of the reasons OP is hesitant about telling her coworker this happened is that the coworker will feel very bad about it, possibly shamed and maybe destroyed. As someone who has posed nude for artists, I agree that it wouldn’t make me uncomfortable to know those pictures were out there, especially since it’s the artsts’ work and I just provided the body but I think I’d want to know if it was being shared and whispered about behind my back at work.

                1. Sourire*

                  I read it as shame and embarrassment that she is being talked about/thought about this way at work, not about the pictures themselves. I’m not sure which is the correct interpretation but either way I think everyone agrees that she should be made aware.

                2. Christopher Tracy*

                  I think I’d want to know if it was being shared and whispered about behind my back at work.

                  The at work part is key. Look, I’m about to begin posing as a burlesque pin-up – I see nothing wrong with this, and I consider it to be art. But I’d have a problem with my boss of all people going onto my Instagram and copying my burlesque photos and sharing them with coworkers since I work to keep my private and professional lives separate. And there are lots of people who feel the same way and take those same steps while not being at all ashamed of their body.

                3. Myrin*

                  @Christopher Tracy – off topic to the letter at hand but that sounds extremely fascinating! Would you be willing to talk a bit more about it at Sunday’s open thread?

                4. Christopher Tracy*

                  @Myrin Sure! I planned on talking about my trip to BHoF, which is what led to this situation anyway.

                5. MlleALX*

                  Yes. I’m a burlesque performer on the side. I keep my work and professional lives separate, although a couple of my coworkers to whom I am particularly close know about that part of my life. If someone went onto my burlesque persona FB or Instagram, copied photos, and distributed them to the office in the context of talking about how attractive I am, I would be super duper grossed out. It’s just inappropriate.

                6. SimonTheGrey*

                  This. For me it isn’t burlesque but Steampunk. I post photos of myself in garb and cosplay on my business facebook page. Corsets, lower-cut shirts, clingier fabrics than I wear to work, etc. Obviously they are public, and if they were shared around, none would destroy my reputation. However, I would still feel really disappointed if I found out that my coworkers were distributing photos of me in those settings and gossiping about the size of my thighs or bust. I don’t promote my personal business at work, I only have two coworker friended (three if you count that my business partner now works at the same school I work at, though in a very different field), and my personal page’s privacy is locked down pretty tight.

                7. Kat Rue*

                  Re: OP #1: I’m a semipro bellydancer, with headshots and videos and the whole nine. My boss is aware of my second job, and even thinks it’s really cool, and my dance shenanigans are all over the Internet. Also, my gentleman is a nude artist’s model for life drawing classes on the side. Both of us have our bodies on display in an artistic context, and there are plenty of drawings/paintings (him) and videos/photos (me) out in the world, online and offline. For the record, both of our bosses know, and both of our bosses think our side hustles are really cool.

                  We would both be highly insulted and offended if anyone brought one of those pictures into the workplace, especially with the intent of humiliating us. If I was out in the world and someone recognized me from a performance and started acting inappropriately, that’s one thing… unfortunately, dealing with cretins is part of the price for living in today’s society. However, at work, we are held to a higher standard of behavior, to focus on the thing we’re getting paid for and not by getting our rocks off about the random stuff we know about a coworker on the side. I might come across something in the aether that makes me think less of a coworker, sure… but it’s my job to get the work done while I’m on the clock, and not start a harassment campaign.

                  Your disgusting boss can absolutely get in trouble over what he’s done here, even though they’re connected on social media. I don’t know how it would work, depending on policies you have in place and plenty of other details, but it’s definitely a possibility. However… I’d strongly advocate for you to talk to the coworker in question privately, away from work if possible. If it were me, I would much rather deal with a potentially mortifying situation by having a kind coworker tell me super-privately, rather than being dragged into a meeting with HR and absolutely blindsided.

            2. Cambridge Comma*

              Yes, even though in any scenario the boss is gross and wrong and shouldn’t be trusted, the OP shouldn’t assume that the co-worker will be devastated; perhaps she won’t care, and that’s up to her. I would tell the co-worker in a neutral, just-thought-you-should-know way, without acting as if it is hugely humiliating, because that might unintentionally make the co-worker feel worse about it.

            3. Katniss*

              This doesn’t seem fair at all to me. I spent ten years as a nude model on a very popular website. I was okay with my pictures being seen on that website. I would still have been extremely creeped out and uncomfortable if a coworker had spread those pictures around without my permission to everyone in the office. Context matters.

              1. Catalin*


                Exactly! Just as you are okay with your photos being in the location you agreed to, Body Paint Woman is okay with her (probably tasteful TBH, body paint covers things well) picture(s) being on FACEBOOK for her FRIENDS to see: if her boss is a “Friend” and she gave him access to those photos, that is one thing. Her coworkers and whomever else the photo was shown to may or may not have been “Friends” and wouldn’t have been given access.

                Also, magazines use body paint all the time for their covers and articles: check out SI and they’ll have several covers where the models are only wearing paint. It’s really no more revealing than a skin-tight suit or an X man character. Her nudity/exposure level isn’t necessarily exhibitionist. However, even IF she is an exhibitionist, the consent to access (i.e. friending someone on Facebook) matters.

                Maybe BPW didn’t use good judgment giving her boss access. Maybe she had done it before she worked there. Maybe, if he’s the retaliating glassbowl that he sounds like, he pressured her into granting access (directly or indirectly). I think everyone’s in agreement here that the BOSS shouldn’t be spreading pictures to coworkers (or anyone) and HE KNOWS he shouldn’t spread personal pictures. If this was my office, it would spark an investigation and disciplinary action immediately even as a stand alone incident. That’s shenanigans right there.

              2. Rebecca in Dallas*

                Exactly. I have a friend who does bikini fitness competitions and posts lots of pictures of her in competition on Facebook. She’s proud of how hard she works to get her body conditioned for the shows (as well she should be!) and posts them so that her friends/family/training buddies can see her progress. It would be totally inappropriate of someone to circulate them around her workplace.

      2. rainy*

        The way I’d make that analogy: Most people wouldn’t fret about wearing a swimsuit to a pool party and getting group pictures taken. If it was a work-related event, you’d probably also be fine with and expect that the photo would make its way around the office.

        But you’d have good reason to be skeeved if a coworker who wasn’t even at that party took the group pictures, cropped them to emphasize your swimsuit, and texted those pictures to a bunch of people.

        (Well, even if they were at the party, that’d be creepy!)

        1. Mando Diao*

          I can’t tell if you’re agreeing with me or if you think you’re disagreeing with me.

        2. Dynamic Beige*

          There was a letter on here somewhat recently about someone whose coworker had taken a photo of her in a bathing suit from her Facebook page and used it in a presentation to the rest of the team (? office?) on a joke slide. The male coworker did not see why this was offensive and was refusing to apologise for doing it.

          Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Just because the employee in this case shared her page with her boss (! whaaaat?!?) doesn’t mean she was giving him carte blanche to do whatever he liked with her posts.

          Yes, she should be told that he did this. She may have caved to his friend request because she was afraid to stand up for herself and enforce that work/private life boundary. He is, after all, her boss. The fact that he then went creeping on her page (how long ago was this photo posted?) says that he’s got an obsession with her (to some degree). Then he took that one step further and distributed it without her consent to other people in the office — for what purpose? I doubt it was full of pure intentions praising the artistry of the painting. Who knows how many of his personal friends he then sent it to?

          It’s bad enough when this kind of thing happens to a teenager who is too trusting and naive but you would think that once people get old enough, wiser, more mature and out of school, this kind of thing wouldn’t be done anymore. They would see what sort of harm it causes not only to the reputation of person whose photos they are sharing around, but also to themselves, they would stop doing it. Seriously, who would trust this guy now that they know that anything told to him in confidence could be passed around? SMH.

    2. neverjaunty*

      While it may well be that the co-worker is chill about pictures of herself in body paint being out there, there is a huge difference between “my boss has seen these on my Facebook page” and “mu boss texted these pictures to a bunch of my co-workers”.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      I think it’s the nature of the sharing more than the details of the picture that make it skeevy and inappropriate.

      Say the picture were of the coworker at a party, in a short shirt and plunging neckline, or at the beach in a bikini. Something totally appropriate to wear out in public, if not to work. Having her boss take those pictures off Facebook and distribute them to coworkers is still gross, because forwarding “isn’t she sexy” photos of a coworker is not professional or appropriate behaviour.

        1. Mustache Cat*

          But the thing is, people aren’t actually agreeing with you. They’re taking something that you pretty much minimized and are saying–actually, yes, this particular thing is a big deal. You don’t have to tell them that you’re actually agreeing.

    4. Daisy*

      I think your comment is bang on. I’m pretty laissez faire about nudity- I used to be a model for life drawing classes, and I think there’s some photos knocking about too. I wouldn’t mind anyone seeing the pictures of me, but I would find it super gross if someone acted the way the boss did about it. So yeah, it’s both a bit patronising the coworker would be devastated about it, while at the same time something she obviously needs to know about.

    5. Macedon*

      We all know why the boss forwarded those pics, but they’re still festival/art pictures that the subject/model did not intend to be kept private.

      Wait, what.

      The model intended for those pictures to remain private outside of the circle of acquaintances with which she directly consented to share them by allowing them access to her Facebook feed. Distributing these pictures without the model’s consent is a breach of privacy first and foremost — one that is amplified by the employee/manager relationship, in this scenario. But it starts out as an issue of deliberately broken privacy.

      Let’s not skirt around that by hypothesizing that the coworker might not be bothered, the coworker might have a personality amenable to the distribution of these pictures, the coworker might not need protection. We don’t know that. The boss doesn’t know that either, because the only way he might’ve were if he had asked the model to distribute those pictures.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        The model intended for those pictures to remain private outside of the circle of acquaintances with which she directly consented to share them by allowing them access to her Facebook feed.

        Oh, lord, let’s hope she’s not that naive. Let’s hope NO ONE is that naive.

        1. Christopher Tracy*

          I don’t think OP’s coworker thought no one else outside of her Facebook page would ever see the photos; however, there’s a distinct difference between random people you don’t know stumbling upon your pictures and your manager deliberately copying said photos and sending them to coworkers who probably would have never known the photos existed in the first place.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            Yeah, the boss is a great big bag of dicks. I completely agree with that. But I still hate to think that there’s a grown woman out there thinking “I can put this picture on Facebook and only share it with certain friends, and no one else who knows me will ever see it.”

            1. Katniss*

              Sure, but I don’t think most people are accounting for people maliciously spreading their pictures around when they post to Facebook.

              1. Ad Astra*

                I mean, I think a decent number of people are accounting for the possibility of people maliciously spreading their pictures around when they post to Facebook. That doesn’t mean OP’s coworker or anyone else would be cool with the gross leering that her boss is doing, but I think most people realize it would be easy for a Facebook friend to save a picture and distribute it with whatever comment or context they want.

                I doubt she thought no one outside her circle would ever see the photos. She probably just assumed that her boss wasn’t a creep, which turned out not to be a safe assumption.

          2. Student*

            Guys. Facebook was founded in 2004. These pictures could conceivably be up to a decade old. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember every picture I took 10 years ago in college. It’s possible that she’d completely forgotten these pictures were on her Facebook page at all by the time she added her current boss as a Facebook friend. It could be that she had them locked down at one point, then forgot, changed her settings, or had Facebook change privacy settings automatically on her.

        2. Macedon*

          Be that as it may, the fact that something is open for abuse does not justify this abuse.

          Yes, you should be mentally, emotionally and otherwise prepared for the possibility that anything you put on the internet might stay on the internet, because of individuals like OP’s employer. That genuinely doesn’t matter.

          We all operate on social contracts. That of privacy implies that, if I share something with you in confidence, I expect you to respect said confidence within the parameters of our agreement. I could be the shrewdest or most naive person in the world – I would still be right to go into a social contract expecting you to carry out your part.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            Absolutely. Nothing justifies what the boss did.

            But, you know, this is why I’m teaching my daughter not to put things on the internet that you wouldn’t be willing to put on a billboard. Because there are people out there like that boss.

            1. sunny-dee*

              Yeah, exactly. I’m thinking of this like advice I would give my younger cousins, and I would be screaming “don’t do it!” so hard. It does not excuse the boss in the slightest to say point out that there was an easy way to avoid the problem.

              We do all operate on social contracts. But I don’t go to an ATM in a bad part of town after dark and then stand around waving my stack. I should be able to go anywhere, any time, and not be robbed … but that is a really really unwise choice, and it is a choice I have the power to avoid making.

              1. Macedon*

                I’m sorry, but that’s just too close to ‘the victim was asking for it’ territory for my comfort.

                For my part, I prefer to not discuss the situation of OP’s friend with caveats a la, “She was wronged, but she could have avoided it by going out of her way to work around individuals like OP’s boss instead of them just not wronging her.” I’d rather leave it at, “She was wronged.”

                1. Rusty Shackelford*

                  Eh. I never said “She was wronged BUT…” I said she was wronged and I hope she wasn’t naive enough to assume she could not be wronged in this way. Doesn’t mean she deserved it or asked for it. It just means people suck, and trust in Allah but tie your camel.

            2. MeridaAnn*

              I just commented further up about this, but the thing is, this situation would still be just as problematic if the boss was passing around an elementary school photo to make people laugh about her braces and out-of-style outfit. The boss is still a jerk, he is still intentionally creating an uncomfortable environment for the coworker, and he is still bringing something in that has no place in the office. The content of the photo isn’t the issues here, nor is how the boss gained access to it – all that matters is that the boss is acting inappropriately towards one of his employees and he needs to stop. End of story.

    6. Ad Astra*

      I’m also hoping that the coworker won’t be bothered. If they’re on Facebook, there’s a decent chance she’s not ashamed of them, and I bet they are related to some kind of festival or cultural/artistic thing that she’s interested in. I guess it’s possible that she didn’t realize they were on Facebook or didn’t make the connection that her boss could see them, but it’s less likely.

      It sounds like the boss is taking something she’s not ashamed of and spreading it around like it’s something she should be ashamed of, and that’s gross. The Beavis and Butthead comparison is dead on. He’s sexualizing something that, I suspect, wasn’t meant to be overtly sexual. I can’t decide if that’s more or less gross than sharing photos meant for, y’know, actual sexy stuff.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        It’s more gross because of the position of authority he has over her. That’s her boss! He’s sexualizing an employee and by sharing her photos without her permission with her coworkers, he’s telling them that it’s acceptable for them to do the same.

  5. Edith*

    #2: I’m having a hard time understanding what the perk is that OP thinks her coworkers are getting that she’s not. They’re not getting paid for their commute– they’re getting paid for travel time between two worksites.

    OP: When you say you want to ask for an “equivalent perk,” what exactly do you have in mind? Do you want to be permitted to leave work and drive aimlessly around town for an hour?

    1. rainy*

      It’s so common for people not to be compensated at all for this kind of time, too!

      I’m exempt with some ability to get overtime, but my company until recently did not consider travel time to be reimbursable overtime. It sucked when you worked a 40 hour week but had a 10 hour round trip to where you worked that week.

      I also happen to be one of the few traveling types who lives within 10 miles of the office; most of the rest live 1-2 hours away. I’ve long gotten over the fact that they get paid “extra” for going into the office – the convenience of living near the office (and its direct, speedy connection to shared folders) is worth it.

    2. Sourire*

      (Not OP) If it meant less time at my desk dealing with the craziness of both my clients and coworkers, yep, I totally be down for that. Then again, I work in a highly dysfunctional workplace.

      I do think it would be nice if OP was given perhaps a bit more leeway in terms of DR’s appointments or leaving early on occasion.

      1. Q*

        I see their hour commute as an hour away from dealing with the craziness. I’d be pretty pissed too if my coworkers got an additional hour break each day and I didn’t.

        1. Sunflower*

          But this is actually kind of teetering into OP having to cover for co-workers which could possibly be a totally reasonable thing to bring up. But it would need to be brought up in that context.

    3. Op2*

      OP2 here.

      I guess what I forgot to mention is that there is no actual requirement to come into the office at all if you are working a shift during out of hours. You could just work a full 8 hour day from home without any problems.

      The boss marketed this as a perk as we aren’t given any shift allowance (normal where I live for my type of work), which is why it feels like I’m missing out. I guess I’d want to be reassured that I’d have some flexibility if I needed to go to an appointment or something.

      1. One of the Sarahs*

        I think you need to let this go, and not try to connect it to other things, or it’ll drive you crazy, and I think you really risk coming across as petty.

        For sure, definitely ask the boss if they’ll be flexible about appointments, if you’re dealing with them, because they sound like a nice, reasonable boss, and that kind of thing helps the whole workplace – but there’s pretty much no way that saying things like “Sansa gets paid when she travels, so *I* should have something else” can sound positive, and not nitpicking. As Alison and others have said, this is luck of the draw, and something that obviously helps the business by enabling your colleagues to work flexibly.

      2. Chriama*

        I get why it seems unfair, but are coworkers using that time for appointments? Presumably there’s some value in having them in the office rather than working from home all the time even though that’s allowed. So he’s incentivizing them to come to work. Flexibility to go to an appointment as compensation for not having an hour-long commute seems like a false comparison.

      3. LBK*

        I think you also have to look at it from the flipside – if people aren’t getting paid for this time, their paycheck is basically getting shortchanged just because they live farther away. I think it’s more fair to ensure everyone’s getting the same pay for working the same shifts than to essentially scale everyone’s pay based on the length of their commute, even if that means you technically end up spending more time in the office while getting paid the same.

        Also, I’d try to not think of this commute time as free time. It’s not like everyone else is getting an hour-long break where they can do whatever they want; sure, it’s time where they aren’t talking to clients or sitting in meetings or answering emails, but it’s still time spent doing an activity mandated by their employer (and, frankly, commuting isn’t usually that fun, especially if it’s an hour long).

      4. Joseph*

        Not to be too critical, but I think your last paragraph is viewing the situation a bit inappropriately. You have the opportunity for the same perk everyone else does, you just get less benefits than others. However, keep in mind that for every single group-wide benefit or perk there will be some people who get more use out of it than others.

        >Corporate healthcare plan? Employees with chronic health problems get lots of cost savings, but Iron Constitution Guy might as well not even have it.
        >Company match on the 401k? An employee who’s debt-free is much more likely to max the corporate match than someone living paycheck-to-paycheck with lots of credit card debt.
        >My company has free coffee in the break room and provides high quality beans (supposedly?). Since I don’t drink coffee, this provides no benefit to me.

        1. CrazyCatLady*

          I really like these examples :) Seriously, would one complain about the fact that you’re missing on chemotherapy?

        2. Anonymous Educator*

          Never mind that you can actually move farther away if you view commuting to be a “perk” in this situation.

        3. Op 2*

          Not sure the examples you give are completely the same – how would you feel if instead of an on call allowance you were given free fancy coffee? This perk is supposed to replace a shift allowance.

      5. Gene*

        If you are a 5 minute drive away, why not make it a nice half hour walk? That way you get the perceived benefit of getting paid while not working, and you get an hour’s worth of walking built into your day. Win-win.

        1. Anonymousaurus Rex*

          I love this idea!
          I also agree with other commenters that commute time is not a break. I recently went from an hour/ hour and a half commute to a 2 mile commute, and you’d have to pay me more than just commute time to go back to that lifestyle.

        2. Op 2*

          Yeah sorry I don’t actually drive. I mean it literally takes me 5 minutes to walk. I get what y’all are saying.

          Not sure the examples you give are completely the same – how would you feel if instead of an on call allowance you were given free fancy coffee? This perk is supposed to replace a shift allowance.

    4. De (Germany)*

      It’s also a kind of two-sided “perk” – they still pay their own money to get into the office and back, and have less free time at home, because they still need to get back from the office.

      1. Gaara*

        And, I mean, a rush hour commute can be stressful. I’m not sure I’d rather be paid to commute than paid to work!

        1. LBK*

          My feeling exactly – I’m not sure you could pay me enough to sit through an hour-long commute in rush hour traffic!

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        Yes. I think that making hay of this will make OP2 sound petty. This is a “perk” she would also be offered, if she lived further away. I’d be happy with not having to drive an hour home in the evenings, but I live in DC, land of commutes from hell.

        It sounds to me like the boss is trying to accommodate for the fact that the building in which they work is not open hours to match the work hours (which I don’t get, but I know it’s not crazy-uncommon) and address an issue that affects all of the staff except for one person.

        1. Joseph*

          The boss is also likely observing that a lot of staff are getting irritated of travel time (either from current employees or exit interviews) and trying a new perk to see if that can help make people feel a bit happier and/or keep people from getting burned out/leaving.

          If you don’t have a long commute through Major City stop-and-go traffic on your way to work, you don’t realize just how stressful it can be. So much so that employers often ask interviewees about their commutes, since it can be a major impediment to keeping an employee.

    5. Emmy*

      I also think it’s that the OP could end up doing more actual work during the work day than those that live further away. If I live across the street from my work, I’m in the office working 8-5. If I get paid for my commute and live 1/2 an hour away, then there is an hour I’m getting paid for but really, I’m just driving,, not actually working. The OP didn’t make anyone live further from work and she’s having to work “more” for the same time. One of my siblings lives at least an hour from his workplace. He chose that because he wanted to live out of the city. That’s two hours of commute time at least a day. His choice. If he got paid “portal to portal”, he’d make more for a choice he made in location without working more. He’s just driving in his car listening to pod-casts, audio-books and music.

      1. New Reader*

        I’m in the minority and agree with this point. As the OP pointed out in the letter, this equates to about 250 hours per year that he/she is producing work that other employees aren’t having to produce. If a job requires that you have to move between locations as part of your job, that should definitely be considered part of the workday. But just to get from home to your normal place of work doesn’t seem like it should be part of your workday.

        1. CM*

          I agree, but I think bringing it up now will make it sound like the OP wants some kind of extra perk. I think in the future, if there’s something that the OP needs to negotiate about, they could bring up the fact that they spend significantly more time in the office than other coworkers as a negotiating point.

        2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          But home is a normal place of work for this team. They are obligated to work at home for part of the day.

        3. Cath in Canada*

          Another way of thinking about this is that those extra 250 hours per year make OP look significantly more productive than her colleagues who live further away and spend those hours sitting in traffic instead. Her managers might factor the difference in commute times into things like performance evaluations, deciding who gets raises and promotions, etc., but I think it’s likely that the OP will come out looking pretty good.

          I guess it all boils down to how much you enjoy your work and hate your commute, or vice versa!

      2. TuxedoCat*

        I think it depends on what the work is. I sometimes have to work from home halfway through the day. Traveling home isn’t me just tuning out work- I’m still thinking about projects and would be if I didn’t have to jet home. The difference is that I’m not sitting at my desk when I’m doing this thinking. I still have the same number of tasks that I can’t do while traveling.

      3. Ann O'Nemity*

        Is the extra work falling to the OP? Or making her job harder? Since the commuters are doing 7 hours of work now instead of 8, who is picking up the slack?

      4. Ife*

        I would be annoyed by this too. If we are all supposed to work an 8 hour shift, but I’m the only one actually working 8 hours while everyone else is working 7 hours, yeah I think that’s a legitimate reason to be upset. Even if they’re “thinking about work” on the drive into the office, it’s not the same thing. It’s kind of a tricky situation to raise with the boss though because it’s hard not to come off as petty or picky. Honestly, if I was planning to stay at the company for a long time, I would consider moving farther away. Or if the five-minute commute is driving time, I would be inclined to look into biking, walking, or public transit.

    6. Viktoria*

      The only thing that comes to mind to me, that might be an “equivalent perk,” is if the OP has been wanting to start walking or biking to work instead of driving (that’s assuming the 5 minutes commute time is driving).

      If that’s the case, I think it would be totally reasonable to ask the manager, “hey, I’m interested in walking/biking to work 3 times a week as a way of getting exercise. I expect it will take me 30/15 minutes instead of the 5 minutes it takes me to drive. Would that be ok with you?”

      Still, I wouldn’t connect it to the other employees’ situation, because I do think that could come across as petty. I’d just ask, since it sounds like the manager is pretty flexible and invested in the employees’ quality of life.

    7. Menacia*

      Hell, I would be willing to take a pay cut to reduce my commute! The anxiety relieved would be well worth it. Be grateful you have only a 5 minute commute, driving an hour just sucks.

    8. Patrick*

      I’ll admit I find the “traveling between 2 worksites” thing a little specious personally, but I also understand that there’s no way this isn’t going to come off sounding petty if OP #2 complains. Ultimately the only “fix” would be to stop paying for drive time, and then OP is just going to end up with mad coworkers.

      On a personal note, I honestly get where OP #2 is coming from – I worked at a business that was well established in the large city I live in and over time the generation of employees I was part of started to move out to the suburbs. Over time the employees who moved out of the city became more and more vocal about the demands of their commute, needing to work 9 to 4:30 to get a jump on their commute, not come in if there was a chance of snow, etc.

      Of course, the main issue I had with the office culture there was that they were flexible but wanted to play the “need” game – as in, you have kids or live out in the burbs? Cool we’ll be flexible with your schedule, let you work from home, etc. But if you’re single/young/childless? You need to keep the standard office hours. Overall not an awful place to work but now that I’m managing people I’m glad I know now not to try and weigh “need” when it comes to these things.

    9. Vicki*

      I think the OP feels that her co-workers are getting paid for not working.
      I also think she fails to understand the additional stress involved in an hour of commuting.

      OP #2. You can get up and walk to the restroom, stretch your legs, grab a coffee, turn your head, put on headphones, close your eyes. Your co-workers can’t.

      I’ve done the hour commute. You live 5 minutes from the office. You already have a “perk” your co-workers envy.

      1. Emmy*

        Yes, but it’s not a perk provided by the employer. It’s a perk provided by the OP’s choice of where to live. Her employer didn’t give her that home.

      2. Cassie*

        Agreed. My coworkers and I would love it if our commutes counted as part of our work time. It takes most of us at least 1 hour in traffic each way and there is always traffic. I take public transit and it takes me 1.5 hours each way if I’m lucky.

        Although it may feel like you’d be working an extra hour a day, are you actually working every second of that 55 minutes? Is the workload more for the OP than for coworkers *because* of this? If this was in my workplace, that wouldn’t be the case – I’d still be responsible for my own work, and I have to get it done in the time allotted. My coworker who lives closer would have her own work, and she would have to get it done in the time allotted to her. If she gets all her work done, she technically has to sit there and wait until quitting time anyway. She doesn’t get to leave early.

        So maybe think of it more like you are getting paid for the 8 hours – whether you sit at your desk for 8 straight hours or work from home for 1 hour, commute (1 hour) and then sit at your work desk for 6 hours, you all are getting paid for 8 hours.

      3. Dr. Johnny Fever*

        OP2 feels that her coworkers are getting paid for not working because they ARE getting paid for not working.

        They are getting paid to go to work.

        If only all of us could be so charmed.

        I drive 60+ minutes every day and I think this is nuts. Yeah, my drive is stressful, but not enough to pay me a whole hour of working time vs. someone who can walk across the street.

        Her coworkers “chose” to live further away. They don’t deserve to be paid extra based on the distance of their neighborhood from work.

    10. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      In this scenario, I agree with OP2 and disagree with Alison.

      I work in a large metro area for a large company. My team travels anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes to get to our office. We also have people who fly in.

      Those who fly are paid for travel time. That’s fair as we require them to come to this site.

      Everyone else is paid the same regardless of commute, and no one is paid for driving time. Where you live is a crap shoot.

      This policy at OP2’s office essentially rewards people for living farther away.

      Unless those sites are hours apart, I see no reason to pay for travel time. If these people can make the drive within an hour, it’s ridiculous to think they deserve to paid a whole hour for it. The mileage and gas reimbursement doesn’t even come close.

      OP2, I think you are being penalized by working longer hours. I think if your boss insists on this asinine policy (yes, asinine, completely asinine, because you don’t pay for local freaking transportation), then you should counter for 7 hour workdays/35 hour workweeks, paid lunch hours in your 40 hour schedule, additional PTO time equal to paid travel time for the others, or even full time pay for a 32 hour week.

  6. FD*

    #5- I have, at one point, had a background check that was thorough enough that I had to get the actual hire/term dates, but they were up front about this so I could call and find out what the companies in question listed them as.

    1. Jeanne*

      I hope that was only for recent jobs. Is there a legal requirement for how long companies keep those kinds of records? I would think most would trash old personnel records after a few years, esp those before all records were computerized. For my resume, I always did June 1994-Sept 1996 for the ones I could remember and 1990-1991 for those that I had no idea. (Made up dates of course.)

      1. Blurgle*

        I have old jobs where I know it was roughly in the mid-90s but otherwise nothing. Even if I had kept records – and I didn’t – the house fire I had would have taken care of my side of things, and my bosses’ deaths the other.

        As an aside, I’m always surprised by people who keep decades worth of employment records.

        1. F.*

          Just shredded my husbands pay stubs from the late 1960s-early 1970s last weekend as part of a shed clean-out. They were on IBM punch cards (bonus points for anyone who remembers those!) He kept a few for sentimental reasons.

      2. Emmy*

        If you’re in the US, Social Security can give you a report of the dates of when you worked where. It’s ridiculous that some companies want it for places you worked decades ago, but some online forms won’t let you move forward unless all of the boxes are filled in. I’m glad to hear from Alison that the 1st or 15th should work for guesses, though. He’d had a place that wanted stuff back to high school… High school… and he’s at an age where he’s starting to be concerned about age discrimination!

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          I didn’t think of that. Thanks. (Might need to ask SSA for my records someday.)

        1. Megs*

          When I applied to the bar I was surprised at how many of my former employers no longer existed. But honestly, almost every application I’ve ever done has allowed for some degree of missing information. I think it’s just a matter of determining what level of diligence they expect in trying to locate that information. I put 1st/15th/30th start and end dates on online applications all the time and don’t worry about it. For more serious applications, such as said bar application, I did more investigating and put ?? or XX if I really couldn’t find the information (I didn’t think of tracking down social security information, that’s smart).

          But yeah, to the OP, under normal circumstances it’s not a problem at all to fudge start and end days for those online things.

      3. Brett*

        For really thorough background checks, they will use tax records for confirmation. 20 years is generally the farthest I have seen required for exact employment dates.

        1. Megs*

          The background check for federal judicial appointments has the longest requirement I’ve ever seen – they want all legal employment, which depending on the age of the applicant and when they went to law school could easily be more than 20 years. But you know, you can’t get fired from a lifetime appointment so there’s incentive to be thorough.

    2. CAA*

      Wow, that’s crazy! Form SF86 (the one you fill out for a U.S. Government Security Clearance) asks for all its dates in the form month/year. It’s hard to imagine what additional information you’d get out of the exact day.

    3. OlympiasEpiriot*

      What on earth do they do if a company no longer exists? Or if one was an independent contractor? Is there some unspoken assumption these days that one would have kept full earnings and tax records for more than 7 years?

      I’ve been working one way or another since 1983. There was a time I had lots of 1099’s in front of me at tax time. At least one of the places I worked no longer exists (a bar, which had actually existed for a long time, but, still…) and it is probable that others also have been bought up or gone under.

      I haven’t had a background check (beyond checking references) ever. Do they have some kind of cutoff after a while?

      Enquiring minds, and all that.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        Whoops. I didn’t expand the other responses. Apologies for being repetitive.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I had a background check like that for a potential law enforcement internship. I kept all the information just in case I ever needed it again, because it was a complete PITA to get it the first time.

  7. Hannah*

    #2: Because of the limited hours the office is open, I actually think this policy is very fair. If you start work at home at 6 am, and then leave a few hours later to head into the office, you’re still in “work mode” and you’re probably thinking about what you were just working on, or what you need to do when you get to your desk, during the drive. It would really stink if you weren’t able to count that time as working. They are making you travel in the clock, you aren’t fully disengaged from work, so that is work.

    Now, I get why it seems like those with a longer commute are getting a perk, because they’re likely not going to think about work for an hour straight, maybe they are going to listen to music or a podcast, so it seems like they get free time to slack off that you don’t get. But that is really a function of the weird schedule your work forces them to follow. You can’t really police how much time in a day each person let’s their mind wander anyway.

    1. Overeducated*

      On the other hand, if OP chose a residence based on a short commute and is paying a premium for location (e.g. downtown vs suburbs), it could seem like now the coworkers get a subsidy for their lower rent by halving their unpaid commute time.

      1. Ad Astra*

        I don’t see that as much of a subsidy. It’s not like the company is paying them for mileage. Everyone is being paid for the same number of hours, and everyone is being paid for whatever time they spend driving to the office. The only thing different is how much time is spent driving rather than, say, editing spreadsheets or browsing social media or whatever else someone might do on the clock.

        It’s like saying this is unfair because the OP gets to spend an extra hour in his pajamas while everyone else has to get dressed earlier because their commutes are longer.

        1. One of the Sarahs*

          Yes, or OP’s colleagues are personally paying for electricity, heating, water etc when they’re working from home, and they *don’t* come into the office, whereas OP can just pop around the corner into the office

        2. Overeducated*

          I still really disagree with this! I think the commute time being in the middle of the workday instead of at the end is a bit of a red herring here, because if the commute was at both ends, you would NEVER say the people living an hour away should get an extra hour of pay for the time to get there. In a job with standard hours, if you live an hour away, too bad, you spend 10 hours away from home from work, but if you complain people will say “it’s your choice! you could totally choose to pay $500-1000 more per moonth to live closer. But your commute time is a lifestyle choice, not part of your productivity for your employer.” I absolutely agree that long commutes stink and nobody does them for fun, but I’m looking at one right now because I literally just can’t afford to live next to work. I don’t expect my employer to pay me extra.

          In this job, the people are now either getting their time away from home cut by five hours a week (if they previously had to put in 8 hours + commute time), or they are getting about a 15% raise (getting paid for 8 hours instead of 7 for the same work). Those are both HUGE. If OP chose to spend, say, $500 more a month to avoid having 2 hours of commuting, and then found out that the pay or time calculus was being changed in a way that benefited people who made the opposite choice *for their life outside work*, I can completely understand the annoyance.

          If the issue is that they are working odd hours and have to start at home, I think OP’s point that a shift differential would be more fair to the amount of *work* everyone is putting in makes sense.

    2. TuxedoCat*

      I posted something similar. If the OP is taking on additional tasks that the others get out of, that’s unfair. But at least in my field, you need time to think and plan your work. It can happen at a desk or it can happen during the commute.

      1. Overeducated*

        But it can’t really. I also need to think and plan my work, and I can’t do it effectively if I can’t write or type out ideas. I also can’t do it effectively if my attention is focused on traffic. I think an hour of leisurely pondering in the car with nothing written down as a memory aid is very different than an hour focused just on thinking and planning.

      1. Op 2*

        That was specifically not a requirement. If you drive then that’s a nono even with hands free, if you get public transport still no because of sensitive material. Similarly if you are on a train you can’t load up your laptop for security purposes.

        1. Dr. Johnny Fever*

          OK, then they are definitely not working during the drive, and therefore have absolutely no basis for payment.

          And Dr. Cox might say, “Wrong wrong wrong wrong, wrong wrong wrong wrong.”

    3. Merry and Bright*

      I agree, Hannah. It doesn’t sound very different from travelling from your normal workplace to an offsite meeting during the workday. It would still be on the employer’s time.

  8. Katie the Fed*

    #2 – it wasn’t really your question, but I wonder how the company’s insurance feels about that policy. Because I think if everyone is on the clock for their commute, the company assumes liability for anything that might happen during their commutes. Eek!

    1. Meg Murry*

      Yes, and I also wondered if that meant people would be expected to try to “work” during their commutes – answer phone calls, or even worse, try to text or email at red lights, etc. That could be disastrous, and the boss probably needs to clearly address that.

      However, I could see why the boss is putting this in place – if I technically could work from home all day, but it *might* make sense to come into the office for part of the day, I probably wouldn’t bother if I had to clock out mid-day to drive in (and therefore either lose an hour of paid time or have to stay an hour later to get work done). By not penalizing the drive, I think the boss is trying to make it easier for people to make the decision to come in to the office when it makes sense to do so.

      1. MissMaple*

        How do people feel about being expected to take calls while driving? I work for an off-site manager who regularly calls me when driving and has “joked” about getting everyone bluetooth headsets so we can take calls while driving also. I occasional talk to family while I commute (with a headset), but the idea of works calls + traffic makes me a bit nervous.

        1. Kate M*

          I’m not a fan of the idea, even with bluetooth, but I think there’s a difference in a quick 30 second call of “are you on your way in?” or “can you remember to pick up milk from the store?” and doing customer service calls in the car or something.

        2. Tammy*

          My company’s employee handbook actually says “Under no circumstances is a team member required to answer the phone to conduct Company business while driving…The Company takes its phone and device use policy seriously. Any violations of this policy will subject team members to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.”

          And, yeah, I wondered about the insurance issues with this too. I have an employee who recently requested to telecommute part time, and I discovered that my company’s Worker’s Comp insurance carrier requires her to make all sorts of certifications in writing about the condition of her home workspace (no asbestos, no loose wires, adequate lighting, etc.) before we can approve that request.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            Our company policy replaces the word “required” with “allowed”. In other words, we are not allowed to use a phone in any way while driving on company business or using a moving company vehicle.

        3. JuniorMinion*

          I’m in oil and gas and we are not allowed to take any calls / participate in any conference calls while driving regardless of whether we have a hands free device. The only way I could participate in a call while driving would be to designate that I am a passenger and someone else is driving so can participate while in transit. Apparently they have done studies that there is an increased rate of accidents while using hands free devices as well as your attention is still split even if your hands are on the wheel.

          Our industry is very strict though due to the need to publish recordable incident and lost time statistics. For reference I am also not allowed to walk down the stairs without holding the handrail or carry a hot beverage without a secure lid on it in the office.

          1. TootsNYC*

            Heck, there’s an increased risk of accident when a person is talking with you in the car.

            Now, a person can see that the traffic is getting hairy or you’re getting distracted, and can stop talking. But they’re still a serious distraction.

            I can feel it, when I drive–I don’t let people talk to me unless it’s open highway.

          2. Chinook*

            Same industry and JuniorMinion and we have the same policy – no calls while driving. These guys can spend a lot of work time in their vehicles driving from site to site, so it is wonderful to have it spelled out clearly as a policy as it means no supervisor should punish you for not answering a call, email or text immediately. Then again, some of them also work in dead zones with no cellphone/internet access, so sometimes it isn’t even an option when they stop (unless they stand on top of the truck and hold the cellphone just a certain way to get one bar.)

        4. Observer*

          It’s a terrible idea. Yes, short / easy calls are one thing. But although a handsfree set up is definitely safer than actually holding the phone, the distraction is definitely real, and that’s just a really bad idea.

          If an accident were to happen while the driver were on a work call, you can be sure that the employer is going to get sued. Even if the employer wins, it’s going to cost them.

        5. nonegiven*

          My husband drives a lot during his work day on some days and not at all on most days. He has both a radio and a cell phone he has to answer. He will stop and pull over and call them back before he will have a conversation in traffic or at highway speeds.

          1. Emmy*

            Conversations my husband has had with his boss: “Where are you?”
            “I’m stopped on the side of the (some road).”
            “What?! Why aren’t you driving?”
            “Because I stopped the truck to answer the phone.”

            1. TootsNYC*

              I’d stop saying “stopped on the side of the road” and just say, “On route 6, six miles from the client.”

              1. Observer*

                It depends on what the desired result is. Do you just want the boss to stop hassling you about being pulled over? They don’t mention it. Do you want the boss to realize that he’s potentially delaying you? Then you need to say this.

        6. One of the Sarahs*

          As a non-driver, I was always totally expected to take calls on the train (and manage what I could/n’t say in public) or when walking from site to site while my driving colleagues weren’t, or if I was cycling – but it would be *really* petty to complain about this, or expect a perk in return…

    2. Chriama*

      The thing is, I think they’d be covered anyway. It’s during their scheduled working hours whether or not they’re getting paid, and while commutes are generally not covered travel from one work site to another typically is covered. So paying them for this time might not be what tips the scale in terms of liability coverage.

    3. Rusty Shackelford*

      Insurance-wise, wouldn’t it be the same as me driving to an offsite meeting? Is my employer liable for anything that happens during that drive?

    4. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I think some auto insurance policies have restrictions about using a personal car for work beyond commuting. I wonder if this counts as regular commuting or something else as they are on-the-clock at the time.

    5. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      I would be willing to bet that boss just decided this, and that the Company (HR, Finance, Compliance, Legal, etc) have absolutely no idea.

  9. Moral panic*

    #5 I think that these spots for the day is just a formatting requirement, HR likely doesn’t need (or care) about the exact day in the month you started/stopped working.

    Even if they care, I don’t think anyone would hold it against you for listing for 30th as your last day when it was actually the 20th…

    If it is easy enough to find out the dates then you should do so now, write these days down and keep them with your job search materials for reference.

  10. Lawyer*

    1. My boss sent around photos of my coworker in body paint
    Seriously? Sheesh. This is not only harassment of your co-worker, but also would be harassment of you. Your boss should be fired.

    Anyway, as for “what to do:” The trick is to help your co-worker without YOU getting fired.

    The simplest way is to print out a fully anonymized copy of the text, and send it to the woman in question with a note saying “you should know this was going on, and here are the names of some local attorneys.”

    If you want to get involved, you can start by getting, and reading, your company’s sexual harassment policy. Lots of stuff will be governed by that. You will need to have a copy for step 2 anyway.

    If you want to go beyond anonymous you should strongly consider calling a local attorney. This is state-specific stuff and you need to know how to properly document so you can avoid consequences. If you aren’t the harassee you may not be as protected in your state. I keep writing specific advice and deleting it–you really need local help (and so does she).

    No matter what you should immediately print and save hard copies of everything. Keep them same, OFF SITE (not at work.)

    1. Kat Rue*

      I’d be horrified if I got an anonymous note, personally. It would screw with my head, and I’d be walking around the office with my shoulders up around my ears all the time, looking around to see if people were laughing at me.

      It might be simplest, but I believe the kindest way to the coworker in the photos would be to have that awkward conversation somewhere away from the office, who I could ask questions and get names/dates/places/etc, and then I could proceed from there.

  11. Jozie*

    Regarding #1, it didn’t necessarily sound like OP’s boss is also coworker’s boss? If not, hopefully this will make the coworker more empowered to bring this to HR when informed and shut this creep down.

  12. AndersonDarling*

    #1 You need to tell you friend about the photos because you don’t know who else he sent them to. You only know about the text he sent you and your co-workers, but he could have sent them to his superiors, partners outside the company, or he may have posted them to another website. Eeek!

  13. Anonymous Educator*

    For OP #1, if you’re worried that somehow it will get out that you were the one who informed the co-worker, you can also inform her anonymously. After all, you weren’t the only recipient of that text message. So you can inform her anonymously, she can know to change her privacy settings, and then you can start scouting for a new job (hopefully).

    1. CM*

      I am so not in favor of any kind of anonymous note… even if it’s well-intentioned, I just think it makes the situation even more creepy.

      1. Anon Moose*

        Yeah, and if the coworker whose photos were shared wants to go HR, not having the courage to tell her yourself and also possibly support her later is not helpful at all.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Wow. Way to pile on. I disagree. I think it really depends on the climate in that workplace, which doesn’t sound good. And we don’t know what kind of relationship the OP has with this co-worker. Just because you don’t think a co-worker should have something bad done to her doesn’t mean you like that co-worker or are close to that co-worker or trust her.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        I don’t think people were trying to “pile on,” they just agreed with CM that an anonymous note is not the way to go. And I agree with them. The coworker would then be wondering who sent it, and who knows this about them but won’t talk to them about it, who they can go to ask more questions about what happened without unintentionally provoking curiosity about the pictures, whether everyone is talking about it behind their back. There’s a chance the coworker would be grateful it was anonymous, but there’s a huge chance it would just make the coworker feel alone.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          I’m not blanket-recommending an anonymous tip. I’m saying it depends on the work environment, how well the OP knows / trusts the violated co-worker, etc. It is an option. Not the ideal option. But an option.

  14. Rusty Shackelford*

    I had a hard time wrapping my head around #2 for some reason, but I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. It looks like the other workers aren’t actually being paid to commute to and from work, which is what you do before your workday begins and after it ends. It looks like they’re starting the day at one worksite and then, at some point, driving to the other worksite. Essentially, it’s no different from me driving from my office to a meeting an hour away and being paid for that time. (Assuming, as Alison says, that if their shift ends at 3:00, they’re leaving at 3:00, and not getting paid to drive home after the workday is done.) I can see why it would bother if you if your work is more onerous than driving, because they’re doing more driving and less working.

  15. burnout*

    #1 – Maybe your conversation with your coworker should go something like this:

    “I’m not sure if you are aware, but Boss texted some photos from your Facebook profile to several of us here in the office. Namely, they were photos of you nude, but wearing body paint. You may want to check your Facebook settings, because anyone who is your friend can save your photos and send them around. Not certain you want that happening.”

    Could be your coworker does not understand how Facebook works. Could be that she’s proud of the photos and doesn’t care who sees them. Boss is creepy for this, but coworker shares some of the responsibility, too. In this day and age, anyone who thinks there is privacy on the internet – regardless of their settings – is really naive.

  16. Brett*

    #5 From about a decade of applying to or receiving applications for public sector jobs (which frequently have these full date requirements), I learned to keep copies of my old applications. I still have a copy of my application to Iowa City in 1996, Davenport, IA, in 2002, and last job in 2007 (I was not hired for the first two of those). Between those three applications, I have my exact start and end date (as well as managers, contact numbers, etc) going back to the early 90s.
    A good guideline to keep in mind when putting these dates on an _application_, if you cannot figure out the exact dates, then neither can your background checker. They are mostly interested in determining that you were not deceptive anyway. (As an example, if you only worked three weeks at a job, you can put down what you think are the correct dates, then add a note in the background explanation section that says, “I worked three weeks at this position, but I am not certain of the exact dates.”)

    If you really need exact dates, you can request an Itemized Statement of Earnings from the SSA ( But these cost $136 and take months, so they are really are more of a plan ahead document rather than something you would request for a specific application. (The form used to be much cheaper and on a sliding scale based on number of years. The fees were increased dramatically in 2014.) If you are actually subject to a background check and list that as the reason on the form, sometimes the fees are waived.

    The SSA form is actually more useful to get the exact name of your employer for background checks. Getting the wrong exact employer name on an application is surprisingly common.

    You can also make a request through “The Work Number”, an Equifax service. This is used a lot by public and private sector background checkers.

    1. Merry and Bright*

      My experience is a UK version of this and information over 20 years old has been so useful to keep. I still need to dig out old employment information and tax data sometimes.

      My dad advised me to hang on to all this stuff when I started work xx years ago. We all know from AAM that parental work advice can be way off the mark but this turned out to be gold star advice.

  17. animaniactoo*

    #1 – I don’t get how this isn’t a clearcut case of sexual harassment. Even if she had directly e-mailed those photos to boss for some reason, his distributing them in the workplace without her permission is an unbelievable act of “Hey, look at Tracy, you can see all her bits even though they’re covered in body paint!”

    I mean – I presume he doesn’t send normally clothed photos of Tracy and others around to everyone for a “hey, check out this pic?”

    OP, you need to tell your co-worker if for no other reason than that so she can decide what she wants to do about his access to her FB stuff.

  18. animaniactoo*

    #1, You also need to make this clear distinction. If she is shamed and embarrassed by this, you are not the person who has caused it. He is. All you will be doing is giving her the ability to do something about it. It’s already out there. Guaranteed that she’ll eventually learn about it anyway. If she would be shamed and embarrassed by it now, how much more shamed and embarrassed do you think she would be to learn that it’s been going on for a couple of months and nobody said anything to her? This is the kind of thing where the longer you wait, the worse it gets. Sorry your boss is such a jerk.

    1. CM*

      The OP doesn’t need to assume anything about the coworker’s reaction — just say, “I wanted to let you know that I and some other coworkers received this text from boss, with a picture of you in body paint that I think he got from your FB page.” That’s it. Let the coworker decide how to feel and what to do from there.

      1. animaniactoo*

        Yes, that’s why I said *if* she would be shamed and embarrassed by it. No guarantee that she will be.

    2. Isben Takes Tea*

      I came here to say this. OP, you are not causing the embarrassment, an you are not shaming her. You are giving her agency in the situation.

  19. animaniactoo*

    #2 – from the flip side, you can also consider that for people who have come into the office (because it’s encouraged, or because there was something necessary for face-to-face, stuff only available on-site, etc.) you have been getting paid more for your shifts than they have. For as long as you’ve been working there. Now it’s true that you’re also putting in more actual work. But it’s also true that by reason of schedule they had less opportunity to make up that time, and have had less personal time simply by having to make that commute. So, luck of the draw – you benefitted more than they did before. Now they’ll benefit more than you do. And if you happen to move for whatever reason, you’ll end up with the same benefit available to you to take advantage of. The same as if they had moved closer to the job, they’d have ended up with the same benefit you previously had.

    Unless the work you’re doing is truly onerous in some way, this is just a thing that can’t always be “fair” equally to everyone, no matter which way it’s being handled, and you’re better off letting it go.

  20. F.*

    #1: IANAL, but if I understand correctly, it is also considered sexual harassment of the recipients to send them nude photos. Same reason why nudie calendars and similar items are generally banned in the workplace.

  21. Observer*

    I haven’t read most of the responses, but I don’t totally agree with the tenor of a lot of the responses to #1 that I saw.

    I don’t think that the boss is being appropriate in sending around these pictures. But two things are apparently being ignores. The first is that the co-worker posted these pictures in a public space which she gave the boss access to. Should he have sent them around? No. But these are not creep shots. Nor was the boss “snooping around.”

    Which leads me to the second point. It’s kind of hard to figure out just how bad things are there. There seems to be a fair bit of projection there. Maybe the OP is right in all the other aspects of her (his?) assessment of the situation, but maybe not. We don’t even know what the OP’s boss said along with the pictures. Was it “Ha ha look at this one thinking she’s hot. What a ***!” Or “Hey, I didn’t know that co-worker is into . Interesting” or something in between.

    What I do agree with is that you really need to tell your co-worker. I don’t see why retaliation should be an issue here (unlike if you went to HR, where poor handling could get you into trouble.) In fact, I’d make it clear that you have no intention of getting into it with HR, you’re simply passing on the information so she can make whatever adjustments she thinks necessary. And, if you are genuinely concerned about the potential shame and embarrassment of your co-worker, you REALLY need to tell her, because the longer this goes on the worse it will be.

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      I don’t think anyone said the boss was snooping around here – it’s very clear he had access to her Facebook page. No one has ignored that fact; it’s been brought up several times. What people are saying is that it’s creepy as hell that he took the photos from her page and texted them to a bunch of people she works with who aren’t privy to her Facebook page in the first place. The secretive nature behind the act makes it seem like the boss either thinks she should be ashamed of the photos or is sexualizing OP’s coworker, both of which are problematic coming from the woman’s manager. Regardless of what his inappropriate ass had to say in his text message to OP and her coworkers, he should not have done it – full stop. He was completely out of line to bring this stuff into the workplace without the woman’s consent.

      1. Observer*

        Actually, the OP explicitly uses that term. Sje writes “My manager was snooping around on her Facebook profile”

        That’s why I am questioning the rest of the characterization of the what happened. We just don’t have any fact, only the perceptions of the OP.

        That said, I do agree that the boss was out of line.

        1. Anon Moose*

          Yeah, well, when you become friends on FB you don’t always go through all of your new friends’ photos. Sounds like this photo might have been from a while ago, not something that was posted recently and was delivered on a news feed, hence “snooping.” A more accurate word is probably searching or digging. Yeah, ok its still not secret if she posted a photo of body paint years ago/ hundreds of photos ago, but its another thing that the boss went back through years worth of photos then shared this one… it adds another layer of questionable intent on the boss’ part and ick creepy to me.

          1. Observer*

            Actually, we don’t know if the boss was digging or not. There is no indication of how old the picture was, how many other pictures were there, etc.

        2. Mustache Cat*

          Well, OP has the right to characterize it any way he wants, but I haven’t seen any commenters saying anything like that.

          (That said! This is entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand, which is why it’s in parens. But if a photo is really buried down someone’s wall or pic gallery, it might be considered a little snoopy according to the arcane world of social media etiquette. Digging through someone’s really old pictures, as well as commenting/liking them, can be considered a weird thing to do, depending on context. I see it between close friends who want to tease each other, and I also see it used as a form of Facebook flirtation. At the least it’s a sign of heightened interest. Again, this is totally and entirely irrelevant to the actual issue. :P)

    2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      It just doesn’t matter that the boss saw the photos legitimately. He doesn’t have the right to share them with her colleagues.

    3. Anomanom*

      I’m wondering if these aren’t current/recent pictures and thats why she’s referring to it as snooping. If you go back seven or eight years on my facebook timeline, you can find some pretty revealing photos of me when I was bartending on South Beach. I now have a very respectable office job. You have to spend some time to go back that far and resurrect pictures from years ago, I call that snooping. I don’t hide that I spent the worst years of the financial crisis working outside of my field to pay bills, but I also don’t know that I would want everyone I work with being sent pictures of me in a cropped halter top. I don’t care enough to take down every facebook photo of me, but I am pretty careful about who my contacts are as I get farther away from that time of my life. If I let you in as a contact, it wouldn’t occur to me that even if you found them, you would feel it appropriate to share them with people I’m not on facebook with.

  22. Oryx*

    I think the fact that OP #2’s co-workers are traveling to and from their home in the middle of the work shift is throwing off the perspective a bit. If they start working at home and travel into work it’s really no different from starting a working day at the office, traveling to a second site an hour away, and getting paid for that drive time.

    We travel where I work and get paid for that time — that includes, time on airplanes, time in airports, time in rental carts, time in the subway, etc. Once our workday starts all of that travel time is included in it. So when my flight was delayed by half an hour, I got paid for that extra half hour even though I was just reading a book but it was still part of my workday travel. When my co-worker flew to Asia and most likely slept for hours on the plane, they got paid for it. It’s travel between work sites — the fact that the first work site is their home doesn’t really have much bearing because they are still working that first part of the day.

  23. Grace*

    #1: And this just cements the reason I have my blanket rule of no Facebook friends with anyone I work with. My boss is so insulted by this but I keep telling her it’s for her protection as much as mine. Who needs to be dealing with that nonsense?

    1. Observer*

      Either that, or treat your Facebook presence a totally public.

      And before anyone says that you shouldn’t have to protect yourself this way, I agree. But it’s like defensive driving. You should not need to protect yourself from drunk and reckless drivers. In practice, you DO need to do that.

      1. Sourire*

        Eh, I still think it’s sketchy. I’d be weirded out of my boss was sharing any photos of me with coworkers, no matter how public they are and how much clothing I’m wearing (or not wearing). Even if they’re photos I have no issue with anyone seeing, and even if I’d facebooked all of my coworkers and they could have seen them on their own anyway, it’s just the sharing that seems weird and inappropriate. The body paint part adds to it and I think is causing many to have a stronger reaction than otherwise, but it still strikes me as very odd/wrong behavior.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        Of course you defensively drive, but if someone deliberately rear-ends you, that person is still completely in the wrong. Completely.

        And this person who texted her photo is also completely wrong.

    2. animaniactoo*

      I have the same rule, but I know others don’t and it hasn’t been an issue for them. I think a lot of it has to do with how you use FB, and what’s out there for anybody to see. 98% of what I use FB for I wouldn’t care if somebody at my office saw it. But there’s a few crossover things that make me prefer to not have to worry about monitoring it closely enough for current work purposes. Nothing outrageous, just nothing I want to be work public necessarily. Others have a different comfort level.

  24. boop*

    #2. I wonder if this letter is real or if it’s a social experiment. A person with a special privilege (in this case being able to live so close to work, thus saving two hours of their day) suddenly gets upset when less-privileged people get a pretty basic perk in an attempt to even the play field. Privileged person loses nothing, but is still mad about it.
    Sounds familiar.

    1. Observer*

      It does, indeed. Like the letter about the people who were upset that people who travel get the perk of being permitted to extend their stay at their destination at no cost to the employer.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Except it’s not necessarily the same. In the case of the traveling coworkers, the people who were upset weren’t losing anything. Their coworkers were taking vacation time that they presumably would have taken at some point, whether or not it tied into a business trip, so the net impact on the complainers was zero.

        But with #2, if I understand correctly, people who would have been spending 1 hour on the road and 8 hours doing work tasks are now spending 7 hours doing work tasks because they get credit for that 1 hour on the road. Who is going to make up for the 1 hour they’re not spending on those tasks? It’s possible the LW will end up with a heavier workload. (It’s also possible the LW won’t be affected at all. We don’t know how their tasks are divvied up.)

        1. animaniactoo*

          My read is that they previously were doing 7 hours work and 1 hour on the road, based on shift schedules. With an additional hour on the road to go home, outside of work schedule that they will still not be paid for.

          So in essence, previously the OP was actually managing to work and get paid for an extra hour a day, purely due to the convenience of living so close.

          1. animaniactoo*

            Sorry, to be clear, they were getting to work and be paid for an extra hour that wasn’t available to others based on shift schedules. I could be wrong and the farther away employees were staying an extra hour to make up for the travel gap, but it doesn’t sound that way from OP’s initial presentation.

          2. Rusty Shackelford*

            I’m reading it the opposite way, because of this (bolding mine):

            My boss has now decided that that commuting time is to be included in our actual working hours. As in, if we are scheduled to work between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. (eight hours with an hour for lunch), those are the hours we work, regardless of how much of that time was spent driving to the office.

            So NOW they’re doing 7 hours of work and 1 hour on the road. Which means, presumably, this isn’t what they were doing previously.

            1. animaniactoo*

              It could also be read to be that the commuting time was previously not included in their hours, so if they were scheduled to work from 6 to 3, they either commuted on their “lunch” time, or worked 7 hours, had lunch, and had one hour off the clock.

              Hopefully the OP sees this debate and can clarify for us.

              1. Op 2*

                The commuting time was not previously included in their hours. If we were doing an 8 hour shift we had to work the 8 hours then commute outside of that time.

                My coworkers now get to work 7 hours and get paid for the hour they commute while I work 7 hours 55 and get paid for the 5 minutes I commute. Does this clear things up?

    2. JMegan*

      I’m going to follow Alison’s policy on not speculating on whether or not the letter is real, and assume that it is. But I was about to post the same thing about the OP not losing anything by virtue of this benefit being extended to other employees – as Joseph said above, any given benefit will always be more useful to some people than others. Everybody gets the tools they need to do their job, and it seems that this is a tool that some people need but not others.

      Also, I can see a potential negative impact from the OP bringing this up, in that the boss might suddenly agree with her that it’s unfair, and cancel the benefit entirely. Now, the OP’s boss sounds like a reasonable person, so I don’t know if it’s likely in this case. But we have certainly seen other letters here where unreasonable managers have cancelled benefits or created policies in response to a single complaint, so it’s not impossible either. And then OP becomes the person who made everyone else lose their benefits, which I would think would be a more uncomfortable position than just not having it in the first place.

    3. Rat in the Sugar*

      Hey, now, don’t be so hard on OP! It’s only human to feel like things are unfair sometimes, especially since OP will be working while other coworkers are driving. OP even asked in their letter of this was something they needed to just get over, and they’ve responded reasonably in the comments.

      I also believe Alison had asked us not to joke about letters being fake, as it may discourage people from writing in in the future.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think that’s more harsh than is warranted. It’s perfectly understandable to wonder if it’s problematic that her coworkers are getting paid the same amount as her for doing less actual work at their jobs.

      I don’t see anything about this letter that would indicate it’s not genuine, and I want to repeat my call not to speculate on that kind of thing anyway because it’s pretty awful to letter-writers who are genuinely seeking advice.

  25. ThursdaysGeek*

    #3 You could also add that you’ve been thinking about moving to a job involving proof reading or editing sometime in the future, and allowing you to do this will give you some unofficial experience. In other words, you’re asking them for a favor as well as offering to do them a favor.

    Many people don’t expect to stay in retail, so saying that shouldn’t cause any alarms. Especially if they already know you’re in school.

  26. Anon Moose*

    #3 Yes, you can offer to edit the newsletter, but I don’t know that it will give you enough of the base of experience you’re looking for for a professional job. Its a good experience, but it is still a retail job and the newsletter will only be an informal experience bullet on a resume at best, not the focus of the job. You’ll still need professional office work experience. If you’re financially able, I would look into getting a part time paid professional job or a part time internship either now or once your degree is finished. That will help you transition (while possibly shifting your retail hours around it to pay the bills.) Good luck!

    1. misspiggy*

      And/or, see if there are any university newsletters you could offer your editing skills to.

  27. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #1 – This should be a lesson to anyone who plays around on social media.


    It looks like your friend painted herself a body-paint-bikini and put a picture of it online. Then she shared it with her boss.

    Don’t kid yourself. When you apply for a job, your potential hiring manager will see your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and anything they can use Google to find you with. If you send in a resume, know well that the HR department or hiring group can (and many will) see what you posted and what’s posted about you.

    Do have fun with your “smart phone”. But when you play on your smart phone. play it SMART.

    1. JMegan*

      Right, but there’s a world of difference between the boss *seeing* the pictures, and the boss *sharing* the pictures. OP’s coworker may well have consented to share the pics with her boss when she friended him on FB, but there’s no indication that she consented to having them shown around the office.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      This seems a little too close to victim-blaming to me. In the context of your personal life, there’s no embarrassing or wrong about a body paint picture. In the context of someone not asking your permission to share it and then secretly sharing it out to other co-workers to perv on, the sharing itself is wrong, not the posting.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Let me clarify. The boss is a jerk for spreading them around. I don’t disagree.

        But …if you share a picture like that, and make it available for others to share – those pictures may end up where you don’t want them to end up. Don’t assume the best of human nature to exist with everyone.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          But that’s really irrelevant here, isn’t it? The fact is that the employee feels differently, which is her right, and the boss is still the only one in the wrong.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            The boss is in the wrong for spreading the pics. But it is not irrelevant.

            Now, I’m going to get a lot of “how dare you blame the victim?” …. but – the combination of putting on a body paint bathing suit, taking a selfie of it, and sharing it with co-workers and a boss – demonstrates bad judgement.

            Again – the Internet is potentially forever. And I will reiterate – if you’re going to play with your smart phone – play it smart.

              1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

                I agree that she is a victim – but her bad judgement got her into this situation.

                We will have to agree to disagree. That being said – if I were her manager, I likely would have asked her “what the hell was that about” and recommend that she purge the picture. So on that case, yeah, she is the victim. But you cannot expect every person who receives the picture to have that attitude.

    3. Alton*

      The photos themselves may not be a problem. It’s possible the coworker is an artist or something and would have no problem sharing those images publicly. What’s inappropriate is the manager sharing the photos behind her back, possibly in a mocking or sexualized way.

      I’m also a big believer that people are entitled to have private lives. Yes, you should be careful about what you put online because there are no guarantees that it will stay private. But honestly, I wouldn’t want to work for a company that would penalize me for personal things that I make an effort to keep separate from my public life and that don’t affect my ability to do my job/obviously reflect poorly on my character. It sounds like these photos were set to be seen by friends only, so they wouldn’t have shown up in a routine Google search. If she can live with the possibility of something like this happening, then that is her decision and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not her fault if someone has a problem with the pictures or decides to be a creep.

    4. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      Nice victim blaming.

      Friend can post full on nudes on Instagram if she likes. It still doesn’t excuse the boss for what he did. He harassed her. End of story.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Johnny – not victim BLAMING.

        But advising that whatever you do on the ‘net can come back to haunt you.

        That is being missed here (by most)).

  28. Andrea*

    #4: Alison, my understanding is that a job can stay exempt but just become overtime eligible.

    From DOL’s FAQ: “Nothing in the rule requires employers to change employees’ pay to hourly from salaried, even if the employees’ classification changes from exempt to overtime eligible.”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Exempt literally means exempt from overtime pay and the other requirements of the FLSA. You can be salaried non-exempt, but salaried/hourly is a different thing from exempt/non-exempt.

    2. Agile Phalanges*

      And yes, if someone is exempt, their employer is totally allowed to calculate and pay them overtime if they wish (it’s just not required). It doesn’t work the other way around–if an employee is non-exempt, they MUST be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 in a work week (or more stringent rules if required by the state), or of course the employer can be more generous.

  29. DNDL*

    Re OP 1-

    I friended the assistant manager at my last workplace. For Christmas every year, I change my profile pic to a picture my mom uploaded of me as a four year old WAILING in the lap of this Santa. Oh man, I was a spirited (ill-tempered) kid. It’s a fun memory for us now.

    My assistant manager printed it out and posted it on the staff fridge with a quippy, “Guess which coworker this is,” message. If she had asked me about it first, I probably would have said yes, but she didn’t. I just came into work and encountered a picture of four-year-old me screaming on the fridge. The manager was pissed. The picture wasn’t inappropriate, but she thought infantilizing someone you supervise in a very public way was a big no-no. As soon as my manager found it that I hadn’t given permission to put up that picture, she took it down and had a stern talk with the assistant manager, who approached me and apologized.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have friended my superior on facebook (we had a good rapport), but she definitely shouldn’t have posted that picture without my permission. The same goes for your coworker’s boss, and your coworker definitely has a right to know.

    1. MeridaAnn*

      Exactly! The content of the photo and the way that it was originally accessed does not change that the boss’s use of it is completely inappropriate and rude (at the very least).

    2. Dr. Johnny Fever*

      You did nothing wrong in friending your assistant manager. You are not responsible for her poor judgment.

  30. BTownGirl*

    I don’t know if this has ever happened in AAM history, but it’s highly possible that the person whose photos were sent by her boss is also one of my Facebook friends. If it is, they are legitimate modeling shots and she’s a well-respected professional in our industry. Your boss is an ass!

  31. #1 questioner*

    I am the individual that wrote question #1.

    The manager specifically said in the text message chain not to show anyone else, I should have mentioned that in the original question. Also the coworker and I share the same boss, some people seemed confused by this.

    My coworker definitely doesn’t know about these photos, and she might not be upset about them, I do not know. I can tell her, and she can go to HR, but without proof her complaint would have no merit.

    People are correct though about my boss, he is a bad boss and a terrible person.

    1. animaniactoo*

      Aherm. I once received a photograph via e-mail that was inappropriate in a work situation, and did not want to out myself as the person who did anything about it. I opened the e-mail, screenshot the photo, printed it, deleted the screenshot, and left the printout on the person’s seat in their private office when nobody could see me. It was not traced back to me. The situation was handled.

      I suspect that your co-worker would at least be upset about the method of sharing – the secrecy, etc. Potentially you could download the shot at home from your phone, type “received from [boss’ number] via text”, print it and pass it to her so she’d have proof without having to link it back to you?

    2. Christopher Tracy*

      The manager specifically said in the text message chain not to show anyone else

      So…if it was a secret, he shared it with the rest of you because…?

      Your boss is an idiot.

    3. A Bug!*

      When you say your boss explicitly warned you guys not to share the photo around, I’m not sure if you consider that a mitigating factor. I don’t. If he was motivated by a concern for her privacy and feelings, he wouldn’t have furtively shared the photo in the first place. The single best way to respect your coworker’s privacy and feelings is to not violate them in pursuit of a cheap laugh at her expense.

      Instead, the reason he wants you to keep it between yourselves is that he doesn’t want to be caught taking advantage of the trust she placed in him by granting him access to her Facebook profile. As you say, he’s a terrible person. But more than that, he knows he’s a terrible person and he’s taking steps to avoid facing the natural consequences of it.

      1. Observer*

        Not only is this not a mitigating factor to me, it is a factor that makes it worse.

    4. Observer*

      Print out the picture with the message, without your name on it and give it to her. She needs to know who this is coming from.

      Tell her that you are concerned about retaliation, so she should not mention your name. But, she has the picture so she CAN show that to HR.

  32. HR Girl*

    OP1…This guy took pics off a subordinate’s FB page without her permission and shared them…and he used his work cell phone. You definitely need to go to HR. Not only is downloading her pic skeezy, but using his WORK cell phone…that’s a fire-able offense right there. If he’s sharing her pics, I bet he’s sharing other inappropriate things too.

    1. stevenz*

      What the boss did was wrong. No two ways about it. The person with the paint didn’t do anything wrong but she did do something stupid; she put a picture of herself nude on the internet. People really ought to know by now that that’s not wise. None of this excuses what the boss did. He was not only wrong, he was childish. If he finds her attractive, fine, but he should keep that to himself or at least not broadcast to the world (which is what you’re doing once something leaves the confines of a password-protected site). But she should be more discreet *if* she doesn’t want that to happen. Maybe she’s secure enough in herself to not be bothered by it.

      She should be told. There may be cause for legal action if she wants to go that way.

  33. Anon4Now*

    I’ve had “Confidential” and “Secret” clearance requirements at different jobs. For both of these, I had to have *exact* dates for *everything* going back ten years, information which was meticulously checked. The first time I went through the process, I gave estimated dates. Learned a lesson on that — the tiniest detail was examined and challenged.

    On the civilian/private side, I’ve had background verifications that basically checked that the information I provided was verifiable. If you’re going through a background check with HireRight, I highly recommend that you get all your W-2 forms, that you know a specific individual who can speak for your hire and term dates, salary, and general impressions for every job you’ve ever had, because they actually check this stuff and will stall the process at any discrepancy. “Just the month and year” is often *not* sufficient for HireRight. They will demand tax forms and pay stubs.

  34. Anon4Now*

    A nude image of oneself can be a very different matter in, say, Germany or Denmark, as opposed to Dubai or Indiana.

Comments are closed.