update: I’m in trouble for what I wore when when my boss made me pick him up for the airport in the middle of the night

‘Tis the season of updates from letter-writers! Between now and the end of the year, I’ll be posting at least one update every day (including weekends!) from someone who had their letter answered here this year. I received a lot of updates this year, which I’m very excited about.

Today’s update is from last week’s letter-writer whose boss called her in the middle of the night, demanded that she spend hours picking him and some colleagues up from the airport and dropping them off, and then gave her an unpaid suspension because she wasn’t dressed professionally enough? Here’s the update.

First I would like to thank you and all of your readers for the thoughtful responses.

When I returned to work on Tuesday, I was planning on speaking to HR about what happened. I didn’t even need to. When I got in to work, the assistant to someone who is higher than my boss brought me in to talk to that person because she (the assistant) heard about what happened. I explained what happened and he said he would talk to my boss.

The next day my boss was dismissed. My situation probably had something to do with it, but he was already being looked at and was found to be fudging his time sheets and putting personal expenses on his company credit card. It’s likely that he promised the others a ride home from the airport but couldn’t deliver because his card was maxed out.

My boss’s boss held a meeting where he addressed what happened because of the talk about it. He reminded us that no matter what our job is we aren’t to work outside of working hours no matter who asks and that if anyone calls asking us to work when we are off the clock we are allowed to hang up on them. Our work can’t be done from home and we don’t have work phones or anything like that. Only management travels sometimes. When we aren’t at work, we are not on the clock. He said the only time someone might call us at home is if we hadn’t shown up for several days and people were getting concerned.

He also apologized to me before the meeting. To reimburse for the mileage and the suspension, I was given two extra paid vacation days for 2017, and the write-up was removed from my file. The other two people I picked up with my boss were both embarrassed when they found out what happened. Since I never got out of the car and it was dark and they were both in the back seat, they never even saw what I was wearing. My boss told them I was okay to pick them up because I was already there dropping someone off. I also found out that my boss had called others, both men and women, before me and they all refused to do it. I accepted the apology because my boss’s boss didn’t cause this and made it right as soon as he knew.

Thanks again to you and your readers for all the support and kind comments. It helped me realize that I could stand up for myself and say no in the future or go to HR or a higher up if I felt something was wrong. This was definitely something I will keep in mind throughout my career.

In regards to what people were saying in the comments about it being sexual and creepy, my boss is gay. Also wearing a skirt is not a requirement for my job. We have to wear suits but we have the choice to wear pants or skirts. I wear skirts only because I find them more comfortable. He was definitely on a power trip but it wasn’t anything sexual.

Thanks again. Happy December!

{ 397 comments… read them below }

  1. Dawn*

    Wow, what an update! I’m so glad everything turned out well for you- this was a very strange situation overall and I’m sorry you got caught up in it! It sounds like your company did everything they could to make it right, and kudos to them for telling employees “When you’re not at work, you’re not at work, and you can hang up on anyone who tries to make you work outside of work hours!!!”

    1. Emac*

      Yeah, telling them to hang up is especially awesome. There’s a manager where I work who would totally say that and I really wish I worked for her.

    2. cheeky*

      That last part certainly could have been because some people are hourly, non-exempt employees who are entitled to pay, and the company doesn’t want people working beyond their normal work hours.

      Regardless, this is the best possible outcome!

      1. Annonymouse*

        That and as OP mentioned their work isn’t the kind you can do at home (like reception or face to face sales)

        I mean calling and asking “Hey, where did you put X?” Is one thing but anything else should be a firm “No”.

  2. Me2*

    This is the kind of update that makes me happy. Problem, problem resolved, end of story. Thanks for filling us in.

      1. Working Mom*

        What a great update! It is always awesome when the crappy boss’ boss is reasonable and responds accordingly, to the detriment of the crappy boss. Whew – the good guys/gals won this round!

    1. Bonky*

      I think that of all the posts from this last year, this is the one I most wanted to see an update on. And what a great update! That’s some responsible management from other people in the organisation, a great example of colleagues having each others’ backs, and a nice demonstration of decisive action where it’s needed. I am not sure if “congratulations” is the right thing to say in the circumstances, but I’m so glad it worked out so well for the OP: it’s a great demonstration that her workplace is a very functional one which treats its people properly.

      1. Charlie*

        You know who I feel kind of bad for, oddly? The people with the boss who also got picked up. If I’d been them, I’d have been so mortified that I’d want to crawl into a hole. What an awkward position to be put in.

  3. LQ*

    This is a great update! And sounds like that company really stepped up when they heard what happened! Awesome.

  4. Girl Alex PR*

    I have been waiting for this update! So happy it worked out for you and that your company handled it swiftly and correctly.

  5. anonderella*

    I was hearing the Hallelujah music singing while reading this

    yay for you OP!! nice bonus days

    1. Interviewer*

      I was coming here to type the exact same thing, that the Hallelujah chorus is the most fitting piece of music for this update. So thrilled for you, OP!

  6. Lana Kane*

    Yes! I was so hoping to get 1) an update on this post, and 2) have it be full of righteous comeuppance!

  7. Aurion*

    Yeeees! Good for Grandboss, the VIP, and the VIP’s assistant who blew all this open. (By the way, OP, how did VIP’s assistant hear about all this?)

    Glad to hear it was just the boss being a terrible person, and his colleagues weren’t also on the Terrible People bandwagon.

    1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

      The Assistants (especially for the C-suite) at my job are like the NSA. They know everything, usually within seconds of it happening.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Yep. We have secretaries at my law office, and they know eeeeeverything. They are usually very discrete, so not everyone knows how much they know. But not much gets past them.

        1. Malibu Stacey*

          I’m an admin. I’d assume the grandboss’s asst was looking for the LW while she was out on suspension or the suspension paperwork came across either her desk or another admin who who told her about it in a ‘WTH, why was LW suspended for this??’ kind of way.

          1. Kate*

            To make it unpaid it probably had to hit the HR desk somehow, and if they were already looking into Boss’s timesheets and habits this would have sent alarm bells clanging and it would have been escalated almost immediately (or would be with all the HR reps I’ve worked with). It may have even been given “without comment” as the final icing on the cake for the boss’s performance review.

            1. Anonymoose*

              + 1. Yep. Nobody would let someone go for their unruly expenses without a ton of backup on it. What a douche-nozzle.

            2. sstabeler*

              For that matter, I suspect his treatment of OP was the final straw- he was treating his company credit card as his own, but that could possibly be swept under the rug if he knocked it off and paid for the personal expenses. Covering it up by using your employees as chauffeurs? please let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Yes, this! At all the jobs I’ve had where there were admins, they know everything about everyone (but like JB, are very discrete about sharing that information with non-admins). I found that sometimes it’s because people literally forget they’re there and deal with private matters in front of them, and of course in some circumstances their bosses have shared information that’s private that the admin needs to know in order to redirect other people. I’ve always believed that it’s important to value and treat everyone with respect, regardless of position/role, and stories like this confirm my bias ;)

          1. Malibu Stacey*

            Or sometimes people overshare with us in order to get us ask our boss to approve something faster. The most over the top instances that come to my mind is the coworker who wanted her PTO approved early because her boyfriend suddenly got use of his family’s cabin and it was the first time they’d be alone together. And when I worked at a company that provided reimbursement for taxis home from the holiday party, my coworker asked three times in two days when her reimbursement would come through because her taxi driver didn’t take cards and she had to borrow the cash from her 15-yr-old daughter.

            1. sstabeler*

              I’m not entirely sure it IS oversharing, actually- in the first case, it’s pointing out that you presumably don’t have time to wait on the normal process, in the second, it’s pointing out that someone who probably really could do with the money is out of pocket in the meantime ( I assume that they can’t just pay the daughter off until they get their reimbursement for some reason)

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            As an admin, it’s kind of a combination of all this: people eventually become comfortable with you being there and deal with private matters in front of you; the boss shares private information (and will often vent to the assistant with even more information about private circumstances); co-workers will overshare with assistants for various reasons; gossip is exchanged among assistants. And pretty soon, all this shared information forms patterns, and a thoughtful and observant assistant can read people and read between the lines.

            1. Gadfly*

              And since often part of the job of the assistant is liason (aka cat herder/monkey wrangler) between all of these people, knowing all of this becomes essential to basic functioning.

              1. Noobtastic*

                Sometimes, a good admin can look at a troublemaker, pointedly, and say something cryptic, like “cheeseburger,” and make the troublemaker go all putty-in-their-hands.

                Makes me really curious what the story is, and who they would tell, but DANG! It is a joy to behold, on the rare occasions I’ve seen it done.

      2. OhNo*

        I always suspected that assistants had some kind of secret knowledge of Office Happenings (they certainly seem to everywhere I’ve ever worked). I’m kind of happy that’s so common!

      3. Aurion*

        Now I really want the assistants of the AAM commentariat to chime in with how they know everyone’s secrets. :)

        1. Malibu Stacey*

          We open the mail so we know who is getting the kind of mail you don’t want sent to your house for a spouse or roommate to see. We answer the calls asking for your income verification, so we know some change is happening in your life. Also, we process PIPs and set up termination meetings for our supervisors/

          1. Kai*

            We also get emails forwarded to us like “Kai, please set up this meeting between Bob and me,” and there’s an entire email chain detailing a situation.

            1. Malibu Stacey*

              Yup. Or the boss stops by and says, “This is confidential but I will be in the Dallas office Thursday, coming back Friday morning” which means “somebody in Dallas is getting the ax”.

              Or asks us out of the blue about certain employees, what’s Jeff’s phone number? Is Jim in the office yet?

            2. Jadelyn*

              Mmhmmm. It’s always in the email chain. They don’t bother to take out the whole high-level discussion that led to the decision they’re wanting to communicate, so I can see all kinds of stuff. Just keep reading, just keep reading, just keep reading, reading, reading…

              1. Annonymouse*

                Also it’s our job to make things run smoothly (or at least where I am. I’m the receptionist/admin for a sports based company.)

                For bosses: I handle mail, bill payments, leave details, scanning personal documents, researching specific things for them, reminding them of upcoming events (Valentines, birthdays, anniversaries) and taking calls and messages for them from anyone (spouse, doctor, telemarketers etc).

                This alone gives me a good view into what’s going on plus there are the general conversations we have about stuff – life, health, family etc.

                For clients: it’s my job to know everyone and manage their accounts. Who owes money, who needs new details, who is on hold, who is upgrading and new people joining.

        2. Annie Admin*

          There are also a lot of people who treat us as invisible unless they need us so we overhear A LOT!

          1. Sled Dog Mama*

            Yes, this was so hard for me when I temped as an admin. I once temped at the company my dad was an exec for, that was hard! I’m still amazed by the things I learned in just a few weeks.

          2. Turtle Candle*

            In a similar vein, I was always amazed at how many people would hold sensitive personal conversations RIGHT in front of me when I was working customer service. Like, talking about their affairs in detail level of personal. I had just totally vanished from their brains, I guess.

              1. Kathlynn*

                I’ve been saying for years, if the cops want to catch more drug dealers, they need to get people undercover as gas station cashiers (or informants). You see and hear so much. Also, heard way too much about some one’s STI last week, and her affair with the guy she got it from.

              2. sstabeler*

                they do. ( which is why from what I know, the ones at the CIA under the most scrutiny are their admin assistants.)

          3. Chinook*

            Add to that well-trained ears. I never know when people talking near me might say something that I need to know or others may need to know, so I always have one ear open for chit chat. When I have been in positions that are not assistant like, I turn that “super power” off and it feels weird not to be in the know, but keeping track of all those details/factoids actually takes a lot of bandwidth in the back of the brain and I want to free up the computing power for focusing 100% on what I am doing.

              1. Chinook*

                I learned this technique in Japan (the land of paper walls). They would enter a home/office by saying something and there was a response. If you didn’t say something, the others acted like you weren’t there and didn’t acknowledge you even though everyone knew you were there.

                It is like someone else mentioned – you don’t know something until someone tells you that you know it. With practice, your brain relearns not cataloging long term every detail that goes on.

                1. Annonymouse*

                  I’m the reverse: I’ve taught kids sport programs so I have to have eyes and ears in a ring on my head.

                  I can’t just watch Jimmy whose in front of me. I have to keep an eye on what Bobby is doing to Anna and the rest of the kids in my group and everyone else’s group too.

                  Potential horror story:
                  I was at a different company with another coach and two new coaches and 20-30 kids. We divided the groups into 4 and other coach was leading the group. One of the kids from his group, a special needs boy got upset about something and took off running. We are near a very busy main road.

                  I shouted for new coach 1, “Go after that kid!” (I’m very short and had a knee injury at the time. There was no way I was going to catch them)

                  They did and managed to grab them right before they ran into the busy intersection 200 metres away from our class.

                  What is most terrifying for me is:

                  1) The coach didn’t realise they were missing a kid.

                  2) That kid was from experienced coaches line – not the new ones who had yet to learn how to monitor a group.

                  3) If I hadn’t been paying attention myself there would be a dead/injured child and a lawsuit.

                  Experienced coach was still allowed to coach and did not learn from this experience.

          4. Callie*

            When I was a grad student I worked in the office of an associate dean for a while… the things I would hear coming out of her office stunned me. The dean would come into the associate dean’s office all the time and they would have conversations that blew my mind. I heard so much over the years that I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have known.

          5. Kelly O*

            And this goes double for vendors who think that because you’re sitting at the desk up front you are deaf. My nameplate doesn’t have my title, and they don’t know I support the Chairman/CEO, and all sorts of VPs. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) what people will say in the middle of an office lobby.

          6. Noobtastic*

            Then, too, if the admin puts out a candy bowl, people will come to munch and gossip, first with the admin, and then with the other people who also come for the candy (and then forgot there was an admin there).

            Also, a lot of the time, people will ask the admin to take care of sticky situations, like “my office-mate has body odor,” and the like.

            Admins are everywhere, and the best ones are frequently invisible.

        3. Andrea Elizabeth*

          It’s true, we know everything! My desk is in the hallway outside of three C-suite offices at my smallish company, so I hear a lot (even when I don’t want to, like disciplinary meetings or arguments between aforementioned higher-ups – but a closed door only keeps in so much) and because my work puts me in contact with pretty much everyone in the company, I’m privy to most everybody’s bitch sessions. Add in some gossipy salesguys and the EVP who likes to vent aloud and looks for validation when he has to have a Serious Talk with someone and I know *everything*. The president jokes about it, even.

        4. Aurion*

          Hahaha. All of these stories are awesome. I actually used to be an admin, but I worked for some very self-sufficient people at a very small place, so I definitely missed the Admin Handbook of Knowing Everyone’s Secrets that seems to be common at larger places with more hierarchy/bureaucracy. (For this and other reasons, I think I was only an average admin and certainly not the cream of the crop we see on AAM.)

        5. B*

          Oh yes, I know a lot of what is happening and yet pretend to know absolutely nothing. However, that is why I love being an exec assistant – knowing the information but not being responsible for it. My boss and colleagues know I am trusted with confidential information from emails that are forwarded, meetings asked to be arranged, items to be scanned, mail that is opened, invites that are accepted and declined, money that is brought in and out, etc. Perhaps the biggest part is I become an extension of them so they “forget” I am there.

          1. Anonymoose*

            Yes, I do admit some small part of gratification at knowing news that everybody else doesn’t. Until I became a leader and had to make decisions with that info and then I went PLTH, eff this noise!

            But yes, it’s surprising what people will say when they’re waiting to use the copier, think their door is shut or that they’re talking quietly outside. Idiots. OH!!! and how they submit their expenses. The excuses they come up with for taking someone to lunch and you know they’re #$%&-ing, but they say that business was ‘discussed’. Mmm-hm. So transparent.

            1. Emac*

              Okay, I have to ask – is PLTH you blowing a raspberry or is it an acronym? I’m terrible at figuring those out, so I usually have to google them, but this time I just found something about a hydroelectric company in Indonesia, which I don’t think fits your story.

              1. Noobtastic*

                It’s a seeeecret hydroelectric company in Indonesia, built entirely by admins, as part of their retirement plans. Anonymous decided that since the PLTH was so near completion, they could say “Eff this noise!” at their job, and leave.

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            It seems that part of making people comfortable with how much you know involves not seeming to know overly much. I’ve seen some admins take too much pride in knowing everything about everyone, and they get a reputation for being nosy and prying. My motto is, “I don’t appear to know things that I’m not supposed to know.”

            1. Jadelyn*

              I don’t know it until someone tells me I know it. Unless there’s a real reason for me to step in I play ignorant until the knowledge is made official. This has led to a reputation for discretion and professionalism which resulted in my being trusted to gather and collate peer feedback for members of the executive staff, information that even my boss, the VP of HR will not be able to see. Know nothing, but hear everything, and you’ll be set for life as an admin.

              1. HR After the Fact*

                Yes, like Sergeant Schultz, “I know nuthhing.” Two of my employees started dating, and were seen coming to work together in one car one morning, so I started getting, “Are Jane and Fergus living together?” I knew they were, because he had filed address change paperwork to her address, but it wasn’t my news to tell. I like your way of putting it: “I don’t know it until someone tells me I know it.”

              2. Noobtastic*

                When I worked as an admin, I was always the last person to know if someone was pregnant, because my rule was, unless she’s crowning, or she’s told you, herself, she’s not pregnant. I didn’t mind when people looked at me as if I were an idiot for not noticing.

                Seriously, they thought I didn’t gossip, at all, and didn’t know anything that was going on around me. But like you said, you don’t know it until someone tells you that you know it.

            2. Kelly O*

              This is what I do.

              I know absolutely nothing about anything (even if I did, I couldn’t tell you) – I preach the same line anytime I get asked. If I’m doing my job properly, you may not even realize I’m there, or that I heard a word.

          3. MissDisplaced*

            Really good Admins are worth their weight in gold!
            I’ve personally never had one, but I have worked with some great ones. And yes, they really do know just about everything!

        6. Former Admin*

          We’re also expected to know where our bosses are at all times, and we aren’t always told, so you have to practice being nosy/noticing people’s behaviors. I spent two years in an admin position and after the initial getting to know you months, there was only one instance where my boss was nowhere to be found for more than 10 minutes (he was getting his glasses fixed).

        7. SL #2*

          I wrote this below, but: there’s a lot that comes through my inbox either from the ED herself, our consultants who have their own wide-ranging networks, other VIPs trying to get in touch with our ED, and other admins at partner organizations. You learn to read the entire email chain after a while. I also have access to certain financial files that no one else on the team does and literally every invoice billed to us goes through me first.

        8. Been There, Done That*

          Actually, when I was an assistant I minded my own business. (BTW, being an assistant doesn’t put one in an alternate universe; presumably you are part of the whole team.)
          However, the people at my current job have collective logorrhea and “overshare” to an uncomfortable and boring extreme. It’s hard not to know all the doings, but there’s nothing secret about anything here.

          1. Kelly O*

            I’ve found the opposite to be true, in my experience. I am not part of any individual team, because what I do is confidential, so I don’t get involved too much with any one group. I stay on the edges of each department and do my best to keep things coordinated. I have to maintain some space, just so people don’t start asking me prying questions that I couldn’t answer anyway.

        9. The Rat-Catcher*

          The conversation above about email chains is a big chunk of mine. It’s so easy to just hit “forward” and not delete any of the high-level discussion that went on below.
          Somebody has to make copies of those performance evals, even for the big wigs.
          Because our agency has a lot of roles that require coverage, the emails that say “please submit X type of request by Y date” translates to “someone here is leaving on Y date and we’ll be short-staffed for a while after that.” It’s often not hard to figure out who is leaving.
          Also, we are the schedulers and we need certain info from the higher-ups in order to be able to schedule. When I don’t get that info in a timely manner, I know it’s because some other shake-up is on the way. And that is why I often know about new training initiatives before the trainers do.

      4. LBK*

        A lot of big management decisions require background work that’s likely done by the admins, so they probably know stuff is coming before it happens (or at least can piece it together based on who they’re setting up meetings for or what kind of paperwork comes across their desk). I work in reporting and I can usually tell if management is putting together a case to fire one of the salespeople based on the types of data requests I get.

      5. I'm Not Phyllis*

        This. I’ve been the EA in two organizations now and I generally know everything that’s going on (more than I want to know, really). I actually consider it part of my job to know what’s up … the tricky part can sometimes be triaging what your boss needs to know about vs. what ticks me of but the boss doesn’t really need to be concerned with.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I would bet that either a coworker overheard the reason OP was suspended, or just a coworker noticed OP was suspended and also was one of or knew about the people who were called before OP (and refused to go pick up the boss) and put two and two together.

      A good assistant, especially at a high level, will hear a _lot_…and if OP’s coworkers were annoyed with former-boss’s overreaches, going to a VIP’s assistant about this would be a very obvious approach.

    3. SL #2*

      As an admin to our ED… there’s a lot that comes through my inbox either from the ED herself, our consultants who have their own wide-ranging networks, other VIPs trying to get in touch with our ED, and other admins at partner organizations. My job description literally says to “handle sensitive information with tact and discretion,” so I keep 99% of it to myself unless it’s relevant to our entire team. I’m willing to bet that Grandboss’s admin was told to keep an ear to the ground about Boss’s wrongdoings, or was already on the lookout herself because she knew about the investigation.

    4. Jessesgirl72*

      I have a high school teacher who told us to always make friends with the janitors and secretaries. He said they know everything and have a lot of the real power, as a result.

      1. Erin*

        Security guards too. When I was a substitute teacher they told me I must sub for a high school band for an hour. I usually would turn those down because 70 hormonal or irresponsible teenagers, 10+ practice/storage room and just one adult that they won’t listen too is a recipe for disaster. I quickly asked the security guard to lock all the little rooms except for the large band room, made my job 100 times easier.

      2. SignalLost*

        This is absolutely my M.O. I like it when I like my colleagues, but I don’t have to; however, I have to know and be friendly with the cleaning crew and the admin staff, because they know shit and have power, and as a bonus they’re almost always just awesome, fun people to know.

      3. Can't think of cool name*

        Last but certainly not least to the list, make sure you have an IT friend. They are invaluable too, they generally know about most hirings/firings etc. I dido all the remarks about the exec. C-suite assistants they are the best allies to have, if employed judicially. Lots of situations have gotten resolved/escalated because someone dropped the word to the Assistant.

        1. Gadget Hackwrench*

          Confirmed: IT does in fact know everything. We hear things much like the Admins do, but… well… TBH, in a well run IT dept, there’s a very good chance that anything one minion hears will be disseminated to the others, including and most especially their direct superiors. It never leaves the dept though. What’s discussed in the IT Cave, stays in the IT Cave.

      4. JessaB*

        And librarians. Especially if you’re in Law you wanna kiss up to the Law Librarians. They’ll do you all kinds of favours if you’re nice.

      5. dawbs*

        Ha! I work in education (not quite as a teacher, but in education) and I got asked to do a career day in the recent past, and “the secretary and custodian are the 2 most important people you will deal with at ANY job” was one of my talking points.

    5. Lily in NYC*

      I’m an admin who turned in our marketing director when I overheard him calling his assistant a “stupid bitch”. Every single person in marketing had gone to HR to complain about him but he was so good at “faking it” with his own bosses that nothing ever happened. I guess they took me seriously because I was from outside their department. To me, it shouldn’t have even gotten that far. But he got fired for it!

    1. JM in England*

      As am I!

      It makes a refreshing change to see such a boss get their (well-deserved) come-uppance rather than the usual closing of ranks by senior management in situations such as the LW’s……………

  8. Tequila Mockingbird*

    Yay for a happy update!!

    Your former boss was (among other things) an enormous idiot for disciplining you, because that discipline is likely what drew the company’s attention to everything else he was doing wrong.

    1. dmk*

      This is absolutely what I was thinking. If he had not said anything to you at all, his other misbehavior would not have come to light. Talk about a power trip gone wrong!

    2. TootsNYC*

      I think it would have come out anyway, because he called more than one person in the middle of the night for a ride home, and they’d have talked.

      But it might have been slower.

    3. k*

      Sounds like he was getting cocky after thinking no one was noticing the other scams he was pulling, thought he was untouchable. Little did he know this would just be the nail in his coffin.

      Updates like this are the best :)

    4. Lemon*

      Seriously. I’m trying to imagine what possibly could have been his motivation for disciplining the OP. Maybe he thought if she had a day off (suspension) then she wouldn’t get a chance to talk to coworkers about it and spread the story around? Or maybe he thought he could scare her into not asking to be paid for the time spent chauffeuring?? Either way, it’s kind of inexplicable.

      1. Observer*

        I think he was concerned that the others might have seen how she was dressed and figured out that he wasn’t telling the truth. Remember, he lied to them about her being there. Supposedly she was there for other reasons (in which case she might have been dressed more formally – or not.)

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          This was my hunch, too—that he’d lied to them and said she was there to drop someone off, anyway, and then freaked out thinking what she wore was too casual for that. But really, I think he just got caught in his own web of lies and was in panic-mode and making increasingly stupider choices.

      2. Turtle Candle*

        I’m afraid that my thought was no more complicated than “arrogant power tripping.” But I’m delighted that it came back to bite his posterior in this situation!

        1. RVA Cat*

          Exactly. I’ll bet some of the other people he called also complained.

          This is a great example of how people who do shady things in one area tend to do them elsewhere. Also, the company may have dodged a liability bullet – imagine if you’d gotten in an accident?

      3. Yep, me again*

        What I wonder is how did he explain this OP’s suspension to his higher ups? I would think you have to provide documentation. What would that look like?

        Then again, he was putting person expenses on the company card so when he was asked about it, he may have been ‘Oh Hai Mr. Boss man, wat is buziness expenze?”

        I’m so glad it worked out. I was SO angry when I read the original post.

        1. k*

          He probably fudged the facts or left them very vague so that no one would questions them. Like he just said the OP was dressed inappropriate for work on X date. If he wrote it in a professional tone, filled out all the forms right, HR or whoever processing suspension may have thought nothing of it.

      4. Bonky*

        I couldn’t get my head around that either. My best guess was that he was angry that the other people she was giving a lift to had seen she wasn’t in a suit and might have guessed that she’d been called out of the blue.

        1. CognitiveManager*

          That’s what I figured, but now that it says he said she was coming there anyways for a personal thing, it makes more sense to me that she should’ve been dressed down. I guess sometimes you just can’t get into peoples’ heads and figure out what their reasoning is.

    5. AcidMeFlux*

      His treatment of OP reeks of contempt for younger, less experienced and perhaps female employees (his being gay or not). I’ve been people like that eventually trip over their own feet because it never occurs to them that people they see as vulnerable will stand up for themselves.

      1. Anion*

        Yes, being gay certainly does NOT preclude someone from being contemptuous of women or misogynistic, or from wanting/demanding that the women around him conform to a particular standard for appearance and dress.

    1. Kms1025*

      Was just about to write the exact same thing :). Love that this power tripping jerk got his comeuppance!

  9. designbot*

    Can there best a Best Comeuppance of 2016? I feel like this and the boss-didn’t-tell-me-my-horse-was-dying boss would be neck and neck for it.

    1. Rachel*

      So would the coworker who stole the OP’s spicy lunch, went to his friend in HR to claim the OP tried to poison him, and the HR person fired the OP. That was a satisfying update!

      1. paul*

        every time someone brings that up I get a craving this really blazing hot curry a local Thai place does.

      2. Bonky*

        That was brilliant. It’s so great when these stories go so right! (And a nice nudge to the people reading about how company cultures should be.)

    2. Gadfly*

      I think rather than a competition, just a collection of the top 5 or whatever. Because they all are heartwarming in different ways.

        1. Lovemyjob...truly!*

          LOL! This comment made me laugh so hard! People in the office actually turned and gave me the “share the joke” look and I had to shrug helplessly.

      1. AW*

        I’d dig a Year End Top 10 Resolutions (which wouldn’t have to be all ‘comeuppance’ ones, the autistic teen getting a job made a lot of people happy) but those types of lists take a lot of work.

        Maybe an Open Thread specifically to discuss just the updates?

    3. New Window*

      I fourth this motion! With all the awful stories we hear,, the good news and updates of righteous comeuppance are a salve for the soul.

      1. LavaLamp*

        I vote we have an ask the readers post regarding these stories as a balm for all the crappy bosses we’ve seen this year.

    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Yes! Maybe owner + grandboss who addressed the way OP’s manager mishandled her horse’s illness/death?

  10. Little Miss Cranky Pants*

    Great news from this update; thanks for letting us know. And it sounds like your company did their best to make it right with you.

  11. Kyrielle*

    Yayy! So glad for this happy update – and to know the other two managers involved had been told something so much more innocent. Especially as you’d mentioned in the original letter that they thanked you and they sounded generally polite, it’s nice to know that this was an issue with your boss and not your organization more broadly! Such a great ending.

  12. H.C.*

    Yay for a happy ending and yay to admin professionals like this one, who acted upon what she heard & kickstarted this motion of comeuppance.

    1. the_scientist*

      Indeed! Certainly, the boss’s boss and other higher-ups deserve praise for making the situation right, but it was the admin who noticed that something was off, brought it to *her* boss, and acted as an advocate for the OP! She deserves some praise and thanks of her own, I think.

  13. Rachael*

    I’m so happy to hear this. It looks like your company acted just like I would if I found out this happened…which would be….Hell Naw!

    I was thinking that if I was in management and I heard someone do this to their employee I would certainly be up in arms – because that is just WRONG! The companies I work for would certainly nip that in the bud.


  14. Whit in Ohio*

    Now I feel the need to apologize on behalf of gay men. We’re not all creeps on a power trip.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No more need for you to apologize on behalf of gay men than there is for a straight man to apologize when we read about a bad straight boss (or a woman to apologize on behalf of female bosses, and on and on).

    2. CM*

      Yeah, I think the only relevance of the boss’s gay-ness is that some commenters on the original post were saying that the boss wanted her to wear a skirt so he could see her legs.

      1. Gadfly*

        Although I do think it should be pointed out that there is still a spectrum of attraction to consider (he could be gay and still find women’s legs sexy, and that is before considering bi.) Also it can be sexist even if it isn’t sexual.

        Although it does sound like he didn’t specify skirt as much as normal daytime work attire. So this is more of a ‘gay men can be sexist bosses too’ psa.

        1. AD*

          Let’s just leave it at “this boss was a jerk”. I don’t see how it’s helpful to harp on sexism in this particular case, as it likely did not factor in.

          1. Jennifer's Socially Responsible Thneed*

            It didn’t factor in here, no, but I think people should realize that gay men can be sexist toward women too. Hell, *women* can be sexist toward women. Sexism doesn’t have to be sexual; it’s about power abuse, not about sexual preference.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Of course, but as I wrote below, I’ve been asking recently for people not to leap to assuming it’s sexism when there isn’t actually evidence of it in the letter, because it’s (a) been happening constantly, (b) exhausting and (c) often not helpful to the letter writer.

      2. Jessesgirl72*

        I think it illustrates why Alison doesn’t want us to immediately leap to “SEXISM!” It could be the answer in a lot of cases, but it also might not be. And it doesn’t really speak to the OP’s problems.

    3. Oranges*

      Actually I was like: Yay! We’re letting gay people have the full spectrum of humanity from cool to a-hole. Finally! Normalization works!

      1. MoinMoin*

        This made me think of a Patton Oswalt bit about auditioning to play a very cliched gay best friend part in a movie and how he’d only do it if he could play the person completely dumb and useless instead of the usual wise and sassy character.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      It’s not up to any one individual to apologize for the actions of others who are tangent to their group.

      FWIW, the worst bosses I have had were women, hetero. Every group we could ever think of has its rotten apples.

  15. Kelly L.*

    Yay for being vindicated!

    And yup, someone called it, he’d maxed out the card he was supposed to use to get transportation.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      That was a really insightful comment, to whoever said that. Boss must have really felt the pressure after calling a few people and getting NO for an answer. No wonder he spoke in a manner that gave OP the idea she could not say no.

  16. LBK*

    Oh sweet justice! The only thing that might have made this more satisfying is if the OP got to smile and wave to the former boss as he was escorted from the building post-termination.

  17. Jael*

    What a great outcome! Your boss got what was coming to him, and your upper management and their assistant proved that they could be depended on to have your back! All the feels!!!

    Thanks for coming back with the update!

  18. VivaL*

    I love this update! So glad you dont have to deal with that boss any longer.

    But… did you still miss out on pay because of this? They should definitely be making that up – not just with extra vacation time, but with the actual $$ you’re out! The extra vacation time should be bonus for having to deal with that request in the first place….

    1. Anonononanonononononnon*

      Yeah I wondered about this too. The extra vacay is great, but should be in addition to making your check whole again.

      1. VivaL*

        but it sounds like she got reimbursed with vacation days – not the actual $$ that she was out. If she gets paid bi-weekly, that’s ~1/10 of her check that she’s out this week.

  19. TwinCitiesHR*

    This was a crazy story, so glad we got a quick update and it was positive outcome! I totally understand how hard it is to say No and its something I still struggle with.

  20. Gretch*

    I don’t totally understand why they’d reimburse you with vacation days and not just actually pay you for the time and mileage, but sounds like a good outcome regardless.

    1. Is it Friday Yet?*

      Way to go OP. I’m glad that you mentioned this experience helped you learn that you can stand up for yourself or say no in the future if you feel like something is wrong. That is really important.

    2. Whit in Ohio*

      My guess is that $ to pay for anyone’s overtime and mileage is not in the budget, so if OP will take paid vacation time in leu of pay for mileage that will save them some money and a major headache.

      1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

        Now I am wondering if the unpaid suspension was to cover up that the employee would have needed to be paid overtime otherwise.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Agreed, but personally, I would absolutely choose extra vacation days if I had a choice between the options!

    3. CAA*

      My recollection from the original letter is that this happened on a Thursday night, it took 4 hours, and she was taking a planned vacation day on Friday. She wasn’t entitled to overtime because she only actually worked 36 hours for the week (assuming she does not live in CA, where she would be entitled to overtime for more than 8 hours in a day). She got the Friday day off back as an extra vacation day for 2017, giving her a net of 4 hours.

      She also got suspended on the Monday, and she didn’t actually work that day. Presumably she could take a vacation day to cover the unpaid suspension and got paid for that entire week. She got that vacation day back as an extra vacation day for 2017 also.

      Overall, she should not be out any money, and the extra 4 hours of pay covers the mileage, so she’s been made whole. It would be nice to get more, but I think this is about the best outcome she was going to get.

      1. paul*

        Plus the boss got fired. I can be a vindictive SOB and that would be at least as important to me as 4 hours pay

      2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        If OP were suspended and it was reversed, she likely was paid for the day.

    4. Bex*

      I think it was because 2 full days of PTO is seen as more generous that 4 hrs of overtime, so this was their way of making up for the fact that the request was so out of line.

    5. Ellie H.*

      My guess is that it would be a little complicated to pay someone back for hours that they weren’t supposed to be suspended for and they don’t want to give. There are tax rules on what kind of payments you can issue to people who are technically employees. It is probably easier to do this in terms of paperwork and if she is happy with it, why not. A full day of vacation would be definitely more valued to me than the mileage etc.

    6. Science!*

      My institution requires that you submit a travel request for reimbursements for travel (which this seems like it would cover, at least the milage part) prior to taking the travel.

      It’s also possible that this company chooses to use company cards in lieu of travel reimbursement, and since she didn’t use the card, it makes it hard to process the reimbursement.

  21. Temperance*

    LW, I totally get you on skirted suits – I’m far too cheap to buy pantsuits, because I then have to pay for tailoring.

    This update makes me happy. I too assumed that he was treating you like a personal assistant because of your gender. I’m glad I was wrong on that front, and everything else. :)

  22. TootsNYC*

    Well, now we know why his “travel arrangements fell through” and why he couldn’t get a different cab from the airport.

    (but wow, to write you up for how you were dressed, when you didn’t even get out of the car, and only he really saw what you looked like that night?)

    He’d have probably been in mild trouble anyway, bcs people would have known about him calling for a ride (those other people would have talked about it, and perhaps you’d have mentioned it).

    1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For*

      I wondered if the write-up was a way to keep her from talking about? Like, if she thought she was already in trouble, she wouldn’t risk more trouble by complaining?

      1. OhNo*

        That’s what I was thinking – he was trying to keep her quiet by insinuating that she’d Done It Wrong so she wouldn’t want to talk about it.

        I wonder if any of the people who declined to pick him up were also written up or censured in some way? It seems like he’d have to try something if he wanted them all to keep quiet about it.

        1. AW*

          he was trying to keep her quiet by insinuating that she’d Done It Wrong so she wouldn’t want to talk about it

          See, now it actually makes sense. I couldn’t figure out why he’d punish her for being the only one to do this ridiculous favor.

          I wonder if people who do this realize that from the outside they come across as Chaotic Evil.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            I could actually make an argument for Neutral Evil on this one. If only because his chosen weapon against the OP was, in essence, the “letter of the law” (aka, the dress code).

            1. sstabeler*

              “letter of the law” is Lawful Evil, not Neutral Evil. LE is when you use the law to commit evil ( it helps to realise that alignemnts are supposed to be a continuum- Lawful/Chaotic is the axis for if you believe a code (“Law”) is more important than personal autonoomy, Good/Evil is about actual morals. Using the dress code to screw over a subordinate is LE because you are using the law to screw someone over.

              1. YawningDodo*

                I’d still say NE. He acted outside the “law” by maxing out his card on personal expenses and pressuring an employee into doing something outside her job duties and outside the company’s policies. A LE character would act entirely within the law, taking advantage of loopholes and so on to put the screws to people. This guy only called upon the law when it suited him, which is a very Neutral-alignment attitude to take on the Law-Chaos axis.

      2. mskyle*

        Yeah, I see the write-up as part of the boss’s general panic response to the whole thing getting out of control… his behavior makes a lot more sense if he was in way over his head in other areas as well!

      3. Gadfly*

        Which backfired because the first thing she did was ask people.

        Not to give bad bosses any ideas, but a lecture followed by ‘I’m not writing you up YET’ but I have my eye on you combined with a compliment in there somewhere so you feel like you disappointed someone who is looking out for you and feel ashamed is far more effective, IMO. (Or maybe that is just on me;) )

        1. Daffodil*

          Yeah, threats are often more effective than actual consequences if you’re trying to terrorize someone. And actual, predictable, reasonable consequences are more effective if you’re trying to build people up.

          IMHO, knowing how to be evil is one of the best tools for avoiding being evil by accident. And knowing how to be evil definitely lets you spot when other people are doing it. It’s also useful if you write fiction. :-)

          1. Bwmn*

            Goodness – this describes a former “bad boss” to a tee. I have no recollection of why she was mad, but one day in the midst of yelling at me off and on for 2 hours – so after hour one but before hour two kicked off – she tells me that I’m being given a 12% raise. It was this bizarre moment of being terrorized but also knowing that it wasn’t like I was about to be fired. And also to not feel remotely positive about being given the raise as though I’d been doing good work or anything.

          2. Noobtastic*

            Don’t forget the random element. If you want people to feel confident, and build them up, make it predictable. If you want people to fear you, then make both punishments and rewards as random as possible.

      4. Observer*

        That makes a lot of sense. Notice that when the OP wrote in she wasn’t sure that her boss was completely and totally in the wrong. So, yes it is definitely likely that he was trying to intimidate her into shutting up.

        It’s nice when this kind of nastiness backfires.

    2. Kyrielle*

      If I were one of the other two managers, just the fact that his card couldn’t be used would be something I’d hesitantly bring up to the company when I got in the next day – my boss or HR, depending. “Maybe this is nothing, but are you aware….” Because normally those things are supposed to be good for enough to cover expected expenses and then some (for emergencies), IMX….

      1. Joseph*

        Yeah, the interesting part about this whole story is just how ridiculously flimsy the boss’ whole thing was.
        1.) He gets his company credit card declined in front of other managers, then has someone else pick him up. Which seems like it would last exactly as long as it took for one of the other managers to be talking to their boss the next morning. “Oh the trip was fine, but we had to have Alex come pick us up because Johnny’s company credit card was declined”.
        2.) He tells the other managers that she was there already. Even if you leave out the fact that he’s already called other people first AND that she was an hour away, this again seems like the kind of thing that lasts about five minutes once she’s in the car when one of the other managers innocently does the typical “thanks for getting us, I heard you were here dropping off a friend?” conversation.

        1. k*

          They likely had no idea that his card was declined. He could have had it declined earlier on the trip and known he was over the limit, or tried to book a car in advance when they weren’t present. Without even mentioning the card he would say “Oh OP is going to be here anyways so she’s going to give us a lift.” It would sound as if that was the plan all along. Since he was pulling multiple scams on the company, I suspect he’s the type that is used to having a clever line ready to brush off potential red flags.

          1. Chinook*

            I don’t know. I once had a boss have his AMEX declined during a business meal and he said he had never been more embarrassed in his life. That started a whole investigation into why/how an AMEX can get declined (the idiot accountant not paying the bill will do it) and the transfer of all Canadian based vendor bill payments going through my hands (idiot accountant would have to scan me copies of the cheques once they were paid) while my boss gathered enough evidence to get idiot accountant (who worked in head office in another country and tried to blame it on me until I was able to send to the big boss a copy of my accounting books with scanned documentation and day stamps) fired.

            Boss and I were quite happy when idiot accountant was finally given the boot. :)

        2. TootsNYC*

          Or he could have gotten to the airport, there’s no car, he calls, the car service says “your card was declined, we’re not coming,” he tells the other managers: “The car service was overbooked, they don’t have a car free, let me see who can come get us, luckily the OP is coming here anyway to drop her friend off.”

  23. AndersonDarling*

    It is great that we get updates like these as a reminder that not all workplaces are loony-toon. I was on pins and needles wondering what the outcome would be because it was quite possible that HR would ignore the problem or back up the bad manager. Between this letter, the one about the horse, and the hot sauce, I think this is a good year for operational excellence!

    1. Adonday Veeah*

      I hate to break this to you, but ALL workplaces are loony-tunes. Because, people. But luckily, not all of them are stupid.

    2. Augusta Sugarbean*

      I’m job hunting because my workplace is a mess but at least it’s a known-quantity mess. Reading AAM daily, I do sometimes worry that I could just be making a lateral move. I agree that these updates (almost always) help allay those fears.

  24. Sophie Winston*

    It’s so nice to have a happy update, where the company did exactly the right thing! Wipes away a smidgen of my cynicism.

  25. Emi.*

    Hooray! I’m so happy for you, and good on everyone up the chain of command who came down hard on your terrible boss.

  26. Parenthetically*

    YES! I was just thinking how much I wanted an update for this letter! And satisfaction all around. Huzzah.

  27. Justanotherthought*

    YYAAAASSSSSSS!!!!!!! I’m so happy this worked out well – and without you having to do anything else!! I so wish you had gotten just a little more out of the deal ;) But really, what’s wrong was righted and most importantly, you feel justified that you were NOT wrong in this situation and you feel like your company does actually have your back. Yay for weeding out the bad apples!! Thank you for sharing your AWESOME update!

  28. Editor*

    So glad that this situation was resolved fairly and that commenting feedback was helpful in addition to Alison’s advice.

    Also, I would like to note that I don’t often comment on updates because I don’t feel there’s anything constructive that I can say. So, the lower number of comments on updates is just an indication to me that there’s not a thorny problem to solve. I love, love, love reading updates, and I hope those who provide them aren’t disappointed by the modest number of comments compared to the posts on the original problem.

    1. Jane D'oh!*

      Same. I figure people only want to scroll through so many “congrats, way to go” comments.

  29. Rachel*

    This is a great update. Hooray for your company for making it right, and hooray for you for not having to work for that terrible boss anymore!

  30. Whats In A Name*

    So did anyone else imagine rainbows shooting out of their arms as they danced for joy at this update?

    Or is it only me that took the update from Friday quite literally and now imagines rainbows when happy things occur?

    1. INFJ*

      I read this update at the same time that an email hit my inbox marking the end of a very long project. Someone pop the champagne!

  31. RobbieJean*

    This was the update that we needed. On top of it all, you know that your higher-ups will have your back, and sometimes that makes all the difference. Congrats OP!

  32. Imaginary Number*

    You have no idea how happy this made me. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Sometimes the right things happen when people are jerks.

  33. LavaLamp*

    Oh I’m so happy this got fixed!

    Sounds like the boss had a lot of shady irons in the fire and was generally floundering. When people are overwhelmed they can have disproportionate reactions to things.

    I hope you get an awesome new boss.

  34. seashell*

    Great update, if I was one of the individuals waiting for the car to get home while OP’s boss called people in the middle of the night, I would have grabbed a cab on my own. I wonder why neither spoke up?

    1. Observer*

      Probably because they didn’t realize that he was calling around. I’d bet that he walked away from them and talked with his back towards them. Otherwise they would have realized that he was lying about her being there for someone else anyway.

      1. JMegan*

        But even then, OP said it took her an hour to get there. I’m having trouble imagining this conversation:

        Boss: My original transportation fell through, can you believe it? You just can’t get good help these days! But no worries, someone will be here in an hour to pick us up.
        Other managers: An hour? At midnight? Sure, no problem, we don’t mind waiting that long!

        That’s the only part I really don’t understand, why the other managers were okay with waiting around. Why not just grab one of the cabs that was presumably already sitting there, and be *home* in an hour? Not that it matters at this point, because it has all been resolved (and brilliantly!), but I’m still curious as to how it all went down from the point of view of the other managers.

        1. Imaginary Number*

          OP said that he has lied to the other managers and told them she was already picking someone up. I bet he also lied about her expected time of arrival. “Hey, Sophie’s actually going to be dropping someone off in 30 minutes and she offered to give us a ride home.” That’s sounds pretty reasonable, and 30 minutes later he could have just told them “she’s going to be a little delayed” and it still seems reasonable.

        2. Yep, me again*

          Why did this guy and the other managers carpool to the airport or better yet, arrange for someone to pick them up. I think this was more telling about the manager than anything else. He may have been trying to make himself look good to these managers. However, jerking your employee out of bed to make her pick you and them up???

          Something (with the boss who did it not the OP. I totally believe this was legit) is way off there. Plus, the credit card use for personal expenses. I can’t help but think maybe he knew he was going to be caught and needed to manage appearances in case he knew he was going to be canned and having them as references would be helpful to him but he totally would have blown it when he suspended his employee!

          This dude wasn’t interested in anything but himself. If someone went to his house, they’d probably see tons of company property taken from the office.

          So glad OP was vindicated!

        3. Sled Dog Mama*

          Nothing says that OP’s former boss waited until they had collected bags and were on the curb to call. He very well could have started calling as soon as he hit the ground and between walking to baggage claim and getting luggage it might have only been 15-20 minutes they actually stood around waiting on OP

    2. Turtle Candle*

      Given this guy’s level of entitled dishonesty, plus human nature, I imagine there was a sort of slow creep effect. “She’s dropping off a friend, she’ll be here any minute” becomes “ok, just 15 minutes until she gets here,” becomes “oh there’s a delay, it’ll be a bit longer” becomes “ok, just 15 more minutes!” It’s a very, very easy thing to fall into–if someone tells you the price (in time or money or whatever) up front, you might reject it, but altering the deal (“pray I don’t alter it any further”–er, sorry, geek moment!) by bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, is easier to sneak past even fairly savvy people. Especially when combined with the sunk cost fallacy (“I’ve been here half an hour, surely it’s better to just hang in…”).

      So I guess it doesn’t shock me that even “smart” people might do the waiting around.

        1. JMegan*

          Ah, that makes sense. And I know I’m not at my decision-making best at midnight either! It probably did seem easier to let someone else make all the decisions, even if it did mean waiting around for a bit.

      1. Chriama*

        Yeah, this happens all the time. Waiting for a late bus? At what point do you give up and call a cab? Usually not until it’s so late that even if the bus arrived *right then* you wouldn’t make it on time.

    3. TootsNYC*

      Also, sunk costs fallacy.

      They’ve been waiting, and someone is actually coming, so they don’t want to bail and have her offer of help be for nothing.

  35. ArtK*

    Great update! It sounds like they’ve done a lot to make this right, including the personal apology from management.

  36. paul*


    Glad to see the person is gone. I’m going to pretend in my head that the grandboss reads the column and pieced it together.

      1. Imaginary Number*

        Ooh, that’s a theory. I’m wonder if anyone has ever identified their own workplace from one of these letters. There have been one or two that I’m pretty sure are my company (nothing really bad or identifying of the individual though, just policies that seem to fit.)

        1. yep*

          I recognized my own workplace here earlier this year, and warned the letter writer that I’m probably not the only person there who reads AAM…

  37. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    Congratulations OP! I’m so glad that the creepy, inappropriate, power-tripping manipulative rot seems like it was limited to your boss and that your company did almost everything right to try to fix what he had done. And kudos to the assistant who had your back—you both prevented someone who was committing ongoing theft and terrorizing his direct reports from escalating his behavior. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that work becomes more normal, now.

  38. not really a lurker anymore*

    If they were busy calling home, they might not have noticed he was making all those calls. Or if the boss was doing it on the discreet side – like in the bathroom or while they were getting a drink/newspaper/shoe shining/whatever else you can do in your airport while you wait for your ride.

  39. AnnaBananaCanada*

    This is how a work place should deal with bat sh*t crazy & power mad employees.
    If I’m reading it right, she got the suspension removed from her file and so she was paid for the day she was supposed to be suspended and then 2 days extra PTO for next year? Looks to be a good deal.

    I’m so happy this turned out well.

  40. Merida May*

    So glad this was sorted out for you OP. Also loving the turnaround time on this one, it’s pretty darn near close to instant gratification! So satisfying all around!!

  41. Allison*

    I’m glad the employees were empowered to say “no” and hang up if someone asked them to work outside of normal work hours. However, I’m wondering if managers were told anything similar, like “You shouldn’t call your employees outside of work hours, your employees are not to accept requests after hours, and we have told them to hang up on you if you call and ask them to work when they’re off the clock. If you do this, we will find out and you will face consequences.” They need to set this expectation for everyone.

    1. Chriama*

      I get the impression that all the other managers are reasonable, and this is more to prevent employees from abuse by letting them know this is the expectation. They don’t want anyone being terrorized like OP was. Also, if all the lower level employees got pulled into this meeting then I don’t think the contents will be a secret from the managers.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I thought the managers would be in the meeting, hearing the CEO say, “if someone calls you after hours, hang up on them.”

      1. Not So NewReader*

        If so, it did not bother the GOOD managers to hear this, they were nodding their heads in approval.

    3. Artemesia*

      No one ever told me this and yet oddly in over 30 years in management positions, I never called a subordinate at midnight to come get me at the airport — in fact I never had a subordinate get me at the airport. I have driven a few visiting candidates or dignitaries to the airport myself though.

  42. INFJ*

    My heart sank into my stomach in fear of what update may come when I read the headline for this, but I am SO GLAD it turned out this way. Thank you for updating!

  43. KG, Ph.D.*

    WOW! When I saw the title, I was really worried that it would be an update along the lines of, “Well, I got fired, and now I’m job-hunting,” or possibly, “I still have my job, and HR knows about what happened, but they’re just sweeping it under the rug and my boss wasn’t disciplined in any way.” Such a relief to know that justice was served in this case!

    As for your ex-boss, I hope he learns from this experience and decides to make some improvements in how he behaves as his next job. That sounds probably kinder than he deserves, but truly: other coworkers will have to deal with him down the road, so here’s to hoping he stops being such a jerk.

    1. Fafaflunkie*

      Even better, if what OP says is true about bad boss’s fudging time sheets and charging the company credit card for personal expenses, the best karma of all would be for the company to see charges on said bad boss. When last I checked, embezzlement is a Federal felony in he US, and an indictable offence in Canada. Let him rot in jail for awhile. Karma served!

  44. dragocucina*

    What a good Monday update! So glad the Grandboss reiterated that people are to respect their time and that means the expectation/permission to say no. (I love that you “are allowed to hang up on them.”) That’s a good boss. It means they are looking out for their people and the company. The ability to disconnect from work is important for everyone. A neighboring library just had to write an almost six figure check because no one ever told a clerk not to come in and work early. She did. Every day. For years.

  45. eplawyer*

    I love updates where Karma does such a lovely dance on someone’s life. Seriously, if he hadn’t maxed out the credit cards on his personal expenses, he could have called a cab (remember we wondered about that and thought he hadn’t arranged transportation in the first place). Then this whole situation would not have happened and he might still be employed.

    The other bosses were great. “Hang up.” Just great advice. 2 extra vacation days is a very nice make up present.

  46. Erin*

    “It’s likely that he promised the others a ride home from the airport but couldn’t deliver because his card was maxed out.” – This makes so much sense now in retrospect. I remember commenting before that this was so bizarre and out of norm he must be on a massive power trip, or else severely dislikes you personally. But now I see – he literally didn’t have any other options, especially after others turned him down!

    Sounds like all ended well and there’s no need for more recourse – everything was handled. Super glad to hear it!

  47. Louise*

    I’m glad things worked out.

    On a side note: I just want to say don’t assume that because a man is gay he cannot also be sexist or a misogynist or inappropriate towards women.

    1. Artemesia*

      Well of course not, but he probably wasn’t hoping to catch a glimpse of her shapely calf either.

    2. Kay J*

      Yeah, I wanted to say this too. I agree with the LW that it doesn’t seem to be the case here, especially since he called multiple women and men before her, but gay men can be just as controlling about what women do/say/wear because of sexism, then act like it’s fine because it wasn’t sexual. Misogyny is more about power and sex is often a red herring.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Of course, but I’ve been asking recently for people not to leap to assuming it’s sexism when there isn’t actually evidence of it in the letter, because it’s (a) been happening constantly, (b) exhausting and (c) often not helpful to the letter writer.

        1. Kay J*

          I don’t know if it’s necessarily of course, since there are other comments on this post saying “whoops, guess it wasn’t sexist since he’s gay!” Many people think this without examining it. I agree with you that the sexism comments are often not useful and am not trying to push them; I really don’t think they were relevant in this letter.

          1. YawningDodo*

            Tbh the tipping point for me on it probably not being sexist is that he called both men and women before calling the OP.

  48. paul*

    I’ve never remotely run into anything this outrageous at work, so I’m not sure: would a thank you card to the assistant be appropriate here?

    1. AW*

      My first instinct was that it would be OK but I can see how it might look like a “Thank you for helping get this dude fired” which might not be great no matter how much he deserved it.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        One time I said, “I heard you intervened on my behalf. I would like to thank you for that,so THANK YOU!”

        There are probably other ways of making vague references to the situation without really describing the situation. I said it to the person months later and she KNEW exactly what I was saying. I did not have to elaborate. She replied, “Glad to help. If you have any further trouble, let me know.”

    2. Chriama*

      A card would be over-the-top but ok. A gift would be inappropriate. An email would probably be more than enough.

    3. Chinook*

      When another admin assistant has helped me out in a way that was outside of their day-to-day duties (or when I have done it for someone else), I have offered to get them a cup of coffee. It is a small gesture but I think it shows recognition that something extra was done without leaving a paper trail

      1. Artemesia*

        This — a verbal thanks and if she can gracefully say, ‘I’m getting a Starbucks can I pick you up a latte or something’ that would be about right. It is delicate.

  49. kb*

    Yay! So glad this ended so well! I think this is a great reminder that your boss is not the company and if you truly were wronged, it’s worth it to talk to HR/grandboss/ some other person with more power. Even if it seems like those people signed off on punishment, shady bosses have a tendency to misrepresent the facts.

  50. Imaginary Number*

    The only thing I wish was better is the compensation: they gave her two extra days vacation. That covers the day of suspension and the time she took the morning of her day off, but that doesn’t cover the gas mileage. They should reimburse her for that too.

    1. Yep, me again*

      I felt the same way. It’s nice but they needed to give her back her pay at the very least. And they shouldn’t make her wait until 2017 to use the vacation days they gave her.

      1. sam*

        well – It’s already December. 2017 is only a few weeks away.

        It may just be logistically impossible to make extra days in 2016 work at this point (I’m actually having trouble figuring out how to use up my remaining PTO at this point in the year).

    2. Artemesia*

      I think two days in 2017 is great but they should restore her pay for the day of suspension and include it in her next check this year as well. If they did that then the gas etc takes care of itself.

    3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      There is, according to all this, no suspension. If something happens to an employee and they accept an expunge of the incident (translation = both parties agree, it never happened, all will be forgotten) … so technically, she was never suspended, and would have received pay for that day, anyway.

      Actually – I have been involved in two expungements in my career – one, I was written up for something I did not do – indeed, I was out on vacation and proved it to HR! – management gave me the option of expungement but I opted to leave it in my record , along with the response, for obvious reasons.

      The other was an unfair employee review and the manager, HR, and I all agreed that the review was a mistake and while I wouldn’t get a do-over, it was removed. I know that’s rare, but given the circumstances, I accepted that, rather than sign and reply to the review. My reply would have gotten my manager fired, and certainly impacted my director’s advancement… it was better to make a peace acceptable to all and go forward rather than continue a contemptuous situation.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, I am not convinced this is good math here, either.

      However, OP may be in the frame of mind that two more days away from there “is priceless”.

      Just guessing of course, but we are probably only talking about a few dollars in difference.

      Lets say the airport was 50 miles one way for 100 miles round trip. Reimbursement is what? 55 cents per mile? I am not current here. So that would mean$55. If OP gets $12 per hour that means a half day is $48. (Hopefully, she is paid more!)
      I’d pay $7 to get that boss fired. It would be worth it to me.

      If it were me, I would let this go.

  51. babblemouth*

    So glad things worked out! You’d think if the boss was already potentially in trouble for being shady, he would have tried to keep this thing on the down-low instead of doing a write-up…

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      yes, babble, that’s what makes no sense here… she does him a big favor at his request – then turns and writes her up? It makes little sense.

    2. Observer*

      Yes, but there are two things to keep in mind. He may not have known that he was being looked at. And, people like this tend to think that they are SOOOO smart that NO ONE would ever figure out what’s going on. Also, it’s quite possible that he was trying to intimidate and / or gaslight her into keeping her mouth shut.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        It doesn’t matter if he was being looked at. It seemed weird that he’d call attention to it.

        1. Observer*

          My point is that he was probably trying to keep her from mentioning it, not realizing that it would likely raise flags.

  52. Menacia*

    It always amazes me what people think they can get away with without thinking about the consequences of their actions. A coworker of mine was fired because he thought he was too smart and too sneaky to think anyone would catch on to his shenanigans. Now he’s out of a job, on unemployment (luckily for him), and without any good prospects. He had a well paying job, great benefits, a pension and 401K, and numerous accommodations were also granted to him because he had health issues, but he literally threw that all away because he lacked the most important virtue of all…gratitude.

    1. Observer*

      Well, integrity and humility are pretty good contenders – both for “most important virtue” and for keeping you out of trouble.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      That famous story of the accountant who skimmed tenths of a cent off of people’s accounts. He never checked his account where he deposited his loot. The IRS did. They wanted to know how a guy making X per year could manage to bank Y per year.

      Just because people are crooks does not mean they good at it.

  53. animaniactoo*

    OP, I’m glad you were ready to stand up for yourself and feel confident about doing it in the future. But it’s so really really nice when somebody just comes along and takes care of it for you. 3 cheers for the admin, and really 3 cheers for your company not brushing this under the rug but going out of their way to make sure that people are aware of the limits of what can be asked of them. Warm fuzzy feelings. 8•)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, how many times does this happen in life? “I see you got screwed over so I fixed it for you.” It just does not come up that often.

  54. Has a question...*

    I’m not American (I’m guessing the letter writer is but if I’m wrong please excuse me). Can someone explain to me what a bench fleece jacket is? I have never heard of this part of the letter writers outfit and I have no idea what it means.

    Glad it all worked out well and that your (former) boss got the commpuance he deserved.

    1. Is it Friday Yet?*

      I’m American, and I’ve never heard of that either. The only thing that comes up when you Google it is a brand. I’m from the Midwest, and we do not have that around here.

      1. Chinook*

        It is a Canadian brand (Bench) for a fleece jacket (fuzzy, casual, warm). Definitely not office wear unless you are in a blue collar environment where you work outside.

    2. Judy*

      The letter writer doesn’t appear to be from the US, “Bench” is the name of a UK brand of clothing. The company is an athletic apparel company.

  55. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Seems very strange. I did work in sleazy outfits earlier in my career.

    If OP’s boss ran up his credit cards, beyond limits, and abused both the credit card situation and the employee-employer situation by demanding a midnight ride from the airport – I would think the LAST thing Mr. Slease would want to do is report his rescuer to HR for something trivial.

    And draw attention to his behavior by writing her up. When someone writes someone up – USUALLY it will be upheld but if something is crazily out of kilter, it won’t be.

    Even a stupid sleaze would try to hide his behavior from HR, not turn in the person who helped him out.

    1. Cat steals keyboard*

      But if everyone in the world behaved rationally… AAM wouldn’t have many letters to answer.

  56. A Nona Mouse*

    Great update, but why does it matter that the boss is gay, or that OP is not required to wear a skirt to work and can wear pants if she wants, or that the boss called both women and men. I’m happy for OP that things were resolved but I don’t understand why any of that other stuff is relevant and why it was included in the letter?

    1. Alton*

      In the original post, some people speculated that the boss wanted her to wear a skirt because he thought it was sexier.

      1. Anonononanonononononnon*

        A gay man can be sexist. A gay man can be a misogynist. Who and how he loves has nothing to do with any biases he holds against other people or any ‘isms he subscribes to. He could very well have been berating her with sexist undertones. Doesn’t matter too much now because he’s GONE, whew!! But… I think it’s irresponsible of people to think it’s not possible just because someone has a different sexual orientation. I too thought it was odd to include that as if his being gay makes it absolutely impossible for him to be sexist or misogynistic.

        1. Myrin*

          Of course any man of any kind of sexual orientation can be sexist and I’m very sure no one here is arguing that. However, the OP’s including the “gay” fact pretty obviously had to do with people speculating on the original letter that the boss wanted to ogle the OP’s legs which he is muss less likely to want to do if he’s attracted to men.

        2. aebhel*

          Right, but it wasn’t that he was being generally sexist–still completely possible–so much as some people were speculating that he wanted her in a skirt so he could ogle her, which specific thing is probably unlikely if he’s gay.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      I think also because he berated her about this clothing issue for something like 30 minutes. It was just so excessive as bizarre.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        He knew he was in deep crap, so he had to make sure that OP did not say anything to anyone. What better way than to try to reduce her to tears over some imaginary thing she did wrong. It took him 30 minutes to get OP’s self-doubt to kick in because OP is kind of resilient.

  57. Jerry Vandesic*

    Any chance we could get a rundown of all follow-ups where the boss was fired in the end? Some sort of schadenfreude greatest hits?

    1. Liane*

      I just noticed earlier today that AAM has a Happy Endings tag. Will that do?

      And I am so glad we are getting Happy Endings like this one!

  58. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms*

    YAAAY! I especially liked the part where his two colleagues were embarrassed because he had lied to them and told them it was ok. Glad for once that someone trying to pull this crap got caught!

  59. Rebecca*

    I am so glad it turned out this way. It’s nice to know that once in a while, sanity rules the day, and stupid silly people get what’s coming to them.

  60. Shazbot*

    Count me among those who posted it was sexism-related. I’m so glad this had not only a good outcome, but also was a case of general assholery instead of assholery plus creepitude. Small favors!

  61. Candi*

    This is awesome and the higher ups at your company are fantastic.

    This is as satisfying as spicy food guy.

  62. Hrovitnir*

    HA. I haven’t read the comments yet but HELL YES. I’m so happy you didn’t have to fight for anything, OP.

  63. YaH*

    Ohhh, this is the gift that I didn’t even know that I needed today. What a wonderful ending to a horrible story! I am delighted for you, Letter Writer.

  64. MissDisplaced*

    Wow oh wow, what a great update OP.
    So many “ifs” now answered. Even the part about the other two managers, which seemed odd, but knowing they were lied to, makes sense now.

    1. Melissa*

      It sounds like the boss told them OP was either already at the airport to drop someone off, or was on her way there to drop someone off. I’d love to know what they thought when they had to wait an hour for her to arrive….

    1. Not So NewReader*

      You exercise good self control. I did a happy dance while reading, I should not have done that.

  65. The Strand*

    I am so, so happy that you work in a business with plenty of decent people, who cared about making this right!

  66. Anonononanonononononnon*

    This is a great update. I’m glad your company isn’t batshit crazy after-all and you just had a bad boss – who is no longer your problem!!

    As an aside, however, this: In regards to what people were saying in the comments about it being sexual and creepy, my boss is gay.

    Someones sexual orientation doesn’t exclude them from being a misogynist or sexist. So people raising those concerns in the last later had legitimate reason to question his reasoning for being so hard on you about your attire. It is still very possible that there were undertones of this nature. His sexuality has nothing to do with it.

    1. Kelly L.*

      Sure, but some of the theories were that the boss either found the casual outfit too sexually attractive, or too sexually unattractive (both were posited), and I think that’s what the OP was responding to.

  67. Cam*

    I’m just going to be the 290th person to say how happy I am that this had such a pleasant resolution.

  68. Fafaflunkie*

    So happy for OP here. Talk about an early Christmas present: company apologizes, makes you whole for the trouble, and shows the a-hole boss the door. It would be even better for her company followed through on the fudged time sheets and charging the company credit card for personal use allegations and press criminal charges on him as well. Afterwards, sue him for what he embezzled × a metric f***ton.

  69. Less anonymous than before*

    Updates honestly are one of my favorite things about reading here. More often than not, I will finish a letter and wonder how things will turn out or how they turned out. There were a few updates today and it’s especially nice when they turn out in favor of the ones who seem to have been slighted or wronged or when the end up in a successful job or career change or resolution to a problem.

    I’m excited to read the rest of the updates that are promised this month. I’m hoping for some updates to the letters I was most curious about after reading! Sometimes I don’t have time to read the comments of all letters and I know LW’s often post updates in comment sections, so I appreciate it when they actually send them to Alison to publish instead.

  70. Not So NewReader*

    Happy Holidays, OP. You already got a great start.

    I was able to help someone at work today, too. When they realized what I was doing they said, “Merry Christmas!” very softly. I said, “Yep, that’s right.”

  71. Lissa*

    I feel like when we say “trust the OP’s judgment” that goes both ways, and the OP here doesn’t think the boss was being sexist or creepy. We shouldn’t tell an OP who perceives sexism that it might be nothing but by the same token, I don’t think we have to question it here when the OP makes a couple different points about why she doesn’t think it was sexism.

    Great update in any case — this was one of those letters where I had an instant rage reaction on your behalf, OP!

    1. Anonononanonononononnon*

      My comments regarding sexism weren’t so much about whether or not this person was being sexist, but that the OP saying that her boss is gay so there’s no way it could be sexism was wrong. Sexism and misgoyny have nothing to do with sex or sexual preferences. It’s about power. Therefore, gay men can be sexist towards women and dismissing the possibility due to orientation is irresponsible.

      1. Observer*

        Yes, but some people were also saying that it was sexual, which is highly unlikely in this case.

  72. FB*

    I was absolutely appalled when I read this writer’s original letter, so I really, really appreciated hearing the positive resolution!

  73. He who walks behind the rows*

    When I read the original post I though “What? I can’t believe… no, actually I CAN believe this.” Some bosses just don’t understand boundaries.

  74. Sing it out*

    SWEET JUSTICE PERFECTION! Usually the updates are often a “nothing came of the meeting and bad boss continues his ways”, but I am so glad to hear about this development!

  75. Mary*

    Great update, it sounds as if your company put everything right for you. And I can’t believe he went down through a list of company people asking to be picked up before he got to you. And that he then formally sanctioned you afterwards. It really beggared belief. Would he have gotten away with it if not for the formal sanction. I am sorry you had to suffer the day’s suspension. I would have been pushing for a monetary reward for you by year end so it was immediate and right, but two days leave next year are to be looked forward to.

  76. Bossy Magoo*

    Thanks so much for the update! I was definitely looking forward to hearing how this one turned out, and was hoping it would be a happy ending, which is was. Enjoy your holidays and your two extra PTO days next year!

  77. Sarah*

    Wow. That’s amazing! I’m so sorry you had to go through all that, but it sounds like it helped lead to some valuable changes in your office! Thanks for updating us!

  78. LiveAndLetDie*

    I’m so glad to hear that this update went in the LW’s favor, because the original letter had me SO UPSET on LW’s behalf! That guy was so out of line. I’m glad he got caught for his other indiscretions and that he paid for it with his job, it sounds like he was just not a good person for that job whatsoever.

  79. Squiggles*

    Still thinking a “Best Update”, or “Most Improved Boss” award might be useful at the end of the year Alison ;)

  80. Johnny*

    Glad to know things worked out for you! Sorry you had to go through that. Oh no! That guy was gay? Oh my goodness, being that I myself am a gay man, I wonder what he would’ve said to me if I were in that situation?

  81. MonkeyPants*

    I know I’m a year late responding to this, but this is an excellent example of the boss’s assistant knowing the dirt, and getting things done to help out an employee they want to help. Always be nice to the administrative assistants, people: they run the place!

Comments are closed.