attending a coworker’s disciplinary meeting, rescinded vacation time, and more

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

1. Do I really have to attend my coworker’s performance meeting?

I am a pharmacist in a small hospital. We have three rotating shifts during the day. One is decentralized and exclusively reviews patient profiles, while the other two divide their time between profile review and dispensing in central pharmacy. Most of the full-time group balance these duties without major conflicts, but one guy makes an art of not pulling his weight. We’ve assigned specific tasks to each shift, tried to talk to him, and for the most part given up on getting more out of him. This week I finally sent an email complaining to our assistant manager because the person who followed his shift mentioned that he hadn’t even done what he was ostensibly too busy working on to help me. It was my first complaint, but not the first about him, and I hedged by suggesting that they check whatever metrics they can monitor in case I just wasn’t appreciating what he was doing.

No act of frustration goes unpunished; now they want me to participate in a discussion with him. They DO have metrics, which she wrote raised “huge concerns that they need to validate with him” (I wish I didn’t know that before him, but I guess I didn’t set a very formal tone in my email). My question is: Is it a weenie move to try to get out of this? If I have to participate, and I’m not trying to get him fired, how do I proceed without making the work relationship worse? I was annoyed when I sent the email, but it was factual and I don’t want to prompt the meeting and then walk back my concerns.

They’re mishandling this. You brought an issue to their attention that they can investigate independently of you. They don’t need you in that meeting.

One option is to say this: “I don’t feel comfortable participating in a performance discussion with Fergus, since I need to preserve a good working relationship with him. My intention was to make you aware of problems with his work that I don’t have the authority to resolve on my own. If my presence in the meeting is essential, please let me know (and hopefully we can talk beforehand about what role you want me to play), but otherwise my intent was simply to bring this to your attention so that you could look into it and draw your own conclusions.”

That said, there’s potentially some value in you attending and getting the issues on the table — if and only if his manager is one to deal with issues once they’re uncovered. But if she’s a pushover or a wimp, I don’t see much value to you to doing this without at least having talked to her directly and gotten a sense of her thinking.

2. Vacation time is being rescinded — but we have nonrefundable reservations

My husband and I planned an expensive, once-in-a-lifetime vacation for two weeks in November, which was approved by both of our companies months ago. Recently, my husband’s employer suggested that they may need to rescind the approval and that we will need to cancel or reschedule the vacation, because they will need him in the office during that time period. The trip is nonrefundable and the trip insurance does not cover work-related cancellations, so we would lose a substantial amount of money if we cancel the vacation now. My husband’s company has stated that they will not reimburse us for the lost cost of the trip.

My husband has explained the above to his boss and they are hoping that they can find a solution that will not result in us losing a ton of money and/or my husband having to quit his job. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

If they have a point and he really will be needed then — well, okay, sometimes emergencies happen, but in that case his company should make him whole. At a minimum they should reimburse him for any lost money, and frankly they should probably also give hims some additional vacation time to make up for the inconvenience. That’s what a good company would do.

If he hasn’t already, your husband should say something like this: “I made nonrefundable reservations based on your okaying me being out on those dates. I understand that the business needs changed, but I would lose a substantial amount of money if I need to cancel. Since I relied on the company’s word and acted in good faith, I can’t see canceling and losing all this money unless the company will make me whole. Otherwise, no one will be able to plan with any confidence on ever being able to take a trip, and that would be horrible for morale, beyond just me.” (And if the company doesn’t agree, he should indeed make sure that his coworkers know about this.)

If he’s in good standing with the company and has some capital to use, he could also say something like, “This is a really big deal to me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, our plans have been in place for a long time, and it would be a serious blow to my relationship with the company if I not only have to cancel, but have to lose thousands of dollars to do it. I’ve gone out of my way for the company numerous times over the years, and I’m really taken aback by how this is being handled.”

Alternately, he could try to see if there’s a way for him to do whatever the crucial work is from your trip or agree to be available for calls, etc. That’s not ideal since I’m sure he’d prefer to have a real vacation, but it may be the least bad of the available options.

3. Can we be made to work with a convicted rapist/murderer?

I used to work for a typical dysfunctional family-owned company. The owner was nice, but employed (in all the highest positions, like president) all of his kids… except one. His oldest son has been in prison since 1980 for a murder of his schoolmate during an attempted rape when he was 17. He was on parole at the time for another rape the year before. (I’ve attached a link so you know it is a heinous premeditated crime, and not just a date gone wrong-type thing, and that the first rape was unbelievable for a 16-year-old, but would rather not have you print it because it would be identifying.)

When I worked there, he came up for parole, and the family got all the employees together, saying they expected him to be released and of course he would have a job there, which we would all take a pay cut to fund. Understandably, everyone was quite upset. After the first rape victim wrote the parole board, he was denied parole.

Now I still have friends who work there, and he is up for parole again. Again, they were told that of course he will have a job there “when” he is released. My question is, can they be forced to work with a convicted sex offender/rapist and murderer if he is let out? Is there any recourse they can take? It seems that “hostile work environment” is an understatement in this instance? It is a very small company — like 50 people at most?

There’s no law that would make it illegal for the company to employ a paroled felon, even one convicted of horrible crimes like this. Your former coworkers could try banding together and protesting this as a group, making it clear that they’re not willing to work with him and that the company will be left with no non-familiy employees if they bring him on … but ultimately the company is allowed to go forward with their plans, even if it means losing everyone else.

Hopefully this will end up being a moot issue since the heinous nature of the crime may mean he’s denied parole again … but really, knowing that the company is going to put them through this worry every time he’s up for parole, your former coworkers may be better off starting a job search now so they’re not scrambling if he does get out.

4. Why should you expect confidentiality when job searching?

I have a question about the confidentiality most people expect when job searching. You allude to this, but I can’t find an explanation for it. Why would I expect confidentiality under these circumstances? I can see why it would be to my advantage if potential employers kept my application a secret, but my expectation is that as soon as they see my application they would call my boss right away (particularly if they are acquainted) and warn her “Hey, your minion is applying for a job in my shop.” Please help me understand this.

There’s an informal rule that employers won’t tell job candidates’ current employers that they’re looking, because doing that could get someone fired and that’s a really serious thing. So primarily it’s understood to be a really crappy thing to do to someone. And people who hire are humans, not evil villains who want to ruin other people’s lives. But also, if word gets out that an employer is abusing the confidentiality of the process, good candidates aren’t going to want to risk applying with them.

5. Can I take a four-week vacation with my stockpiled time off?

My company has a generous leave policy. I accumulate 6.5 weeks of leave per year with sick and vacation time combined. My PTO rolls over every year. (If I don’t use it, I DON’T lose it!) Our company policy also allows us to “cash out” leave after we’ve surpassed a certain amount of PTO. I’ve already got a stockpile of leave built up. After next year, I will start to accumulate seven weeks of leave per year.

I would love to use my PTO and take four weeks “staycation”; however, I don’t know one person in our company who has taken that much time off. I’m afraid that if I do take a long break, it will be frowned upon. If a company gives you that much PTO, will they get irritated if you actually use it? Or do you think they just expect me to use it as a “cash out” perk?

It varies, but in general I’d assume that you’re supposed to use it unless/until you see specific evidence to the contrary. That said, they may not want you to take four weeks all at once; many companies are hesitant to approve more than two weeks at a time. But “hesitant” doesn’t mean “won’t” and it’s reasonable to ask about it.

Talk to your manager, tell her that you have a large stockpile of leave built up and that you’re interested in taking a four-week vacation, and ask if that’s something you might be able to work out. The fact that you haven’t seen others do it doesn’t mean that they absolutely won’t approve it, especially if you’re a high performer who they want to keep happy. Or maybe they won’t — but it’s not an outrage to ask.

{ 570 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#3, having to work with a convicted rapist/murderer does not meet the definition of a hostile work environment. Aside from the specific facts underlying this guy’s conviction, there are enough barriers to employment for most folks who are convicted of crimes that I don’t think we need to create more legal hurdles. That said, what the owners are doing is not cool, and docking everyone’s pay to subsidize their (likely unemployable) son is also not ok.

    But unfortunately, the only real recourse (aside from mass protest, which doesn’t sound like it would be successful) is to quit.

    1. Drew*

      I would want to know what safeguards are being put into place around this scion so that his future coworkers don’t feel (rightly or wrongly, but certainly justifiably) as though they’re being placed into danger just for having him work there. If the family is in deep denial and refuses to admit that these concerns are valid, I would quit as soon as I found a new job, rather than waiting around for the day he is released from prison.

      Also, cutting everyone else’s pay so you can hire him? Not. On.

      1. babblemouth*

        The paycut is what worries me the most, because of what it signals – it tells the other employees that the bosses don’t care what kind of discomfort they inflict upon them, as long as their son has a job. So if the son starts making anyone uncomfortable, it’s unlikely the owners will do anything about it.

        Waht they’re doing is legal, but it’s also a big red flag. The employees should all be looking for ways to get out soon.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          That’s what I can’t believe! Some people have no concept of putting themselves in another person’s shoes.

          1. Jesca*

            Yes, this! And like what babblemouth says, it is so worrisome that they are basically saying this guy is going to employed here At All Costs. It does make one question how far things would have to go before they would put a stop to it.

            1. RVA Cat*

              They’ve made it clear that “how far” is him sexually assaulting a co-worker.
              Get out get out GET OUT.

              (Note that threatened pay cut itself should be enough reason to give while interviewing if you want to avoid drama.)

              1. Michelle*

                I agree. OP says she still has friends who work there so I would advise them to dust off the resume and get out now.

                1. DArcy*

                  Yeah, this is the writing on the wall. OP needs to leave and should point out to every coworker that the company leadership has made it absolutely clear that this dangerous convicted criminal will have carte blanche to abuse coworkers.

                2. bookish*

                  Yes. I’m glad OP already left the company, but they should encourage their friends to ramp up the job search because this sounds horrifying.

              2. Gazebo Slayer*

                Oh, I highly doubt they would do anything even if he DID sexually assault a coworker. They’ve already made it clear by the pay cut that they value him above anyone and everyone else.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I had the same thought–the pay cut speaks volumes. I mean, I get that it’s their son and they probably know it’s really difficult for convicted felons to get a job, especially if they committed these kinds of crimes. But they shouldn’t make their other employees pay for it.

          Depending on how much the others are making now, a pay cut might not be tenable for some of them. It would provide a good excuse to leave if they don’t want to come right out and say they don’t want to work with the son.

          1. SophieChotek*

            Good point about the pay-cut. (And honestly, that could be true even if the son was just home from college and had no convictions and they just wanted to give him a job. I would still be upset if my pay was cut because business owner wanted to hire son.)

    2. Mike C.*

      I have to also point out that having to take a pay cut so that someone else can work there is absolutely nuts.

        1. Amy*

          Agreed. Docking other people’s pay to hire a new person would be egregious and nasty even if the person was all sunshine and rainbows and everyone adored them. His history is just icing on the cake–a legitimate reason to fear that the way they’re prioritizing him over everyone else is going to put people in physical danger, on top of hurting them economically.

        2. Steve*

          Well the whole situation is egregious but the pay cut is the most cut and dried as ridiculous. Like, maybe the son has truly reformed (or maybe the parents just want to believe he has), maybe they are just thinking about how hard it will be for him to get a job with his past, etc. But even if those things are true, it should be the parents whose finances are impacted, not their employees!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yes. And as an employee, this may be the spot to focus: you don’t take a paycut so your employer can transfer the extra cash to their family members. This would be true if the son were upstanding yet gravely ill, and the family had decided that the way to fund the cancer treatment was to make all their employees take a 10% pay cut so they could redistribute the money to their relative.

        This company is a textbook example of Alison’s rule about the nuttiest companies being small family-run businesses.

        1. RVA Cat*

          This. If they have to cut everyone’s pay to bring him on, they really don’t have enough cash flow to stay in business.

          1. Jesca*

            Exactly. A family business with concerning boundary issues wanting to, on top of that, hire their multiple rapist son …

      2. K.*

        Agreed. I’d start looking over that even if the person coming in was a rock star and great person to be around and not related to the owners. Under no circumstances would I take a pay cut to fund someone else’s salary. How demoralizing! That’s bonkers.

      3. LKW*

        Yes!! “So we’re going to potentially put your safety at risk AND you’re going to take money from you to do it.”
        Please tell your coworkers to get out and to spread the word. This family isn’t willing to cut their own salaries, just yours. Screw that!

        1. RVA Cat*

          Note that they must also be giving this guy a pretty good salary if they have to do this. I could *maybe* see giving him minimum wage if he needs a job as condition of his parole, but…wow.

          1. Jadelyn*

            Either that, or the business is doing very, very badly.

            Or it’s just that the parents aren’t willing to take any reduction in their profit margin so they’re forcing the employees to bear the costs. Which certainly tells you a lot about their priorities.

      4. Decima Dewey*

        Maybe the employees can chip in and buy Owner’s Son a book on jobseeking for ex-offenders, when he’s finally paroled.

    3. GingerofOz*

      I agree with PCBH . I’m a “ban the box” propionate and would rather have more legal protections for ex-cons in general. In theory, parole means they have been reformed and can be contribution members of society (obviously this is not always the case, but we should strive to be that society). Unless you are working with children or providing services to battered woman or something of that ilk, I can’t think of a reason why it would be illegal.

      The concerning thing to me is docking everyones pay to make room for him – that is a big sign they don’t value their employees. For that reason alone I’d start looking for new jobs.

      1. Artemesia*

        This. The fact that they would even suggest cutting salaries to accommodate this monster (and two vicious rapes years apart put him in that category) indicates that this person will do no wrong even if he is a danger to other employees. No effort will be made to protect employees and he will be allowed to do what he will short of a new arrest. Everyone who can should be looking for work and post why on glassdoor after they leave.

        1. Original Poster Here*

          He also murdered the second girl. It isn’t “just” rapes. He tied her up, put her head in a drainage ditch, and stood and watched her drown. At 17 years old – while he was on parole for the first rape. Experts have studied his case and said he can’t be rehabilitated. So I’m hoping it is a non-issue and he’ll never get out.

          1. Anion*

            Jesus Christ.

            I wonder if there’s a way to make known in the community that this guy is up for parole, and start a petition to keep him in? I know the petitions started by the Tate family have been instrumental in keeping the Manson family killers behind bars (I signed two of them myself). It can actually make a difference. Maybe that’s something to consider?

              1. Anion*

                Sorry, you don’t think the OP should be “putting energy” into attempting to ensure that a dangerous rapist and murderer stays behind bars instead of being released into the community?

                What should she be putting energy into, then?

          2. Anonfortoday*


            The parole board will take the expert testimony and the effect on the victim I yo account if it makes you feel better, but I will say sometimes I would be so upset at who got released. (I did get very frustrated when a guy who killed a very nice older lady got paroled, he tied her up and left her to die, it was so awful).

            Victim impact statements and family testimony do matter, as well so if the family speaks up, it is less likely.

            1. Original Poster Here*

              Unfortunately, the murder victim’s family forgave him years and years ago, and have advocated him being released. Not so with the first rape survivor. She wrote a letter to the parole board last time detailing the depravity of the crime (it was messed up – plus he came back for her after he let her go, but she had called the police from a payphone and the cops showed up at the same time and caught him – she thinks he would have killed her) and they denied parole.

        2. eplawyer*

          actually considering he was on probation for rape at the time he murdered someone, yet the family thinks everyone will be okay working with him — and taking a paycut to hire him — tells me that even an arrest will not cause the family to do anything. They are probably still in denial and think their poor son was railroaded.

          Some family run companies can be run well. If they are run as companies, not family. This is not one of them. The only solution is for everyone to start job searching now. The family won’t care if everyone leaves, they will just hire new employees, at lower salaries to keep that money for the wayward son. But at least people will get out as soon as they can every time this comes up.

      2. Wintermute*

        as an aside you may want to look at the impacts of “ban the box” on minority unemployment before you support it too strongly. It turns out that not being able to ask if someone is a felon causes many employers to make some very unkind and racially-charged assumptions.

        1. Gaia*

          Those assumptions always were being made, I’d bet. It is just clearer what the bias is now.

          I am a huge proponent of “ban the box” because the reality is, when we prevent people convicted of crimes from finding gainful employment, we encourage recidivism.

          1. Ramona Flowers*

            And even if you need a criminal background check for a post, employers still don’t – and shouldn’t – get to ask in the interview.

            I think the way my employer does this is fairly typical over here. If you have convictions that need to be disclosed you fill in a separate sheet of paper that goes to HR but doesn’t go to the panel making the decision about whether to hire you. You are considered equally to other candidates.

            If, like me, you work in a post that is exempt from the rehabilitation of offenders act 1974 (as I work with vulnerable adults) it will say so in the advert. You’ll need to pass an enhanced criminal background check but whether you pass or not the information only goes to you – you then take it to HR to copy (or not, if you failed it and can’t take the job).

            1. Turquoise Cow*

              That seems fair. I wonder if the hiring manager(s) would figure it out anyway, though. I mean, if a person has a (long) gap on their resume where they were in prison, they’d need to explain that gap somehow in the interview, right? It’s all well and good to not outright say, “I was convicted of (felony),” but then they see a gap from 2002-2012, what was going on then?

          2. Wintermute*

            they were being made but there’s no disupting the fact unemployment goes up, sometimes several percent, among minorities when you ban the box. I’d rather protect the innocent than the guilty.

            1. Ramona Flowers*

              I think the solution here is education, not validating racist assumptions – because that basically says it’s not unacceptable for them to wonder so they should be allowed to check out their assumptions.

              Let’s work on changing the assumptions, not give people ways to keep validating them.

              1. Mookie*

                The justice system in the US — and I know you know this, I’m just reiterating it — is not color blind to begin with. Enforcement of laws and rates of prosecution, incarceration, and sentencing already operate with a racial bias, so it’s difficult to debunk a racist assumption when the whole truth is being manipulated by a system that disproportionately targets people of color and provides harsher, less rehabilitative sentencing for crimes stemming from poverty and disadvantage, factors which include joblessness, lack of education coupled with fewer professional prospects, and the racial wage gap. Educating people about this is tough because (a) it’s a complex problem that eats its own tail and (b) education is not what many bigots, unconscious or otherwise, are thirsting for. Plus, focusing on the “education” of ignorant white people means we’re prioritizing them over people of color in the here and now who need to earn a living like everybody else. Education’s great, but it’s unfathomably slow-going, and overhauling the system collectively, even if it’s in increments, is better. This is not a problem that can be ‘taught’ away on an individual basis.

                This is an issue where racial justice intersects with the rights of convicts and labor rights. The system in the UK, as you describe it above, operates with considerably more maturity and nuance. Here, when The Box is at work, the nature of the crime, the context in which it was committed, the time that has elapsed since, and the nature of the job and its responsibilities is conveniently, and by design, concealed.

                That doesn’t mean that the phenomenon Wintermute describes is not real or does not matter*. It’s a serious problem. So was the box. More has to be done (like removing first and last names). Giving employers free reign with this background information early in the screening process, however, is not going to make racism dissipate.

                *the study I’m familiar with involved low-skilled entry-level work and ‘suggestive,’ but real names

                1. Mookie*

                  One thing we could do to change the public’s perception is to remind them that the world is a safer and happier place when people who’ve committed crimes, especially those out of desperation or need, are reintegrated back into society outside of prisons and hospitals. That can’t happen when they’re unemployed, underemployed, and/or homeless. Employment (and affordable housing, access to healthcare and mental health services, and training programs) can help to reduce recidivism.

                2. Temperance*

                  I honestly don’t think that will work, Mookie. I mean, I wouldn’t feel that the world is a “safer and happier place” when I’m forced to work with a violent rapist. (And I’ve been in that situation before, and will never, ever forget how our boss got super angry when someone called Denny’s corporate to let them know that a violent sex offender was hired without a background check.)

                3. Temperance*

                  That’s the practical implication of your suggestion, though. Do you not see it, especially in conjunction with this letter? The man is a violent rapist and murderer. He’s dangerous. Not quite comparable to a small-time drug pusher or user.

                4. Mookie*

                  The subject of this subthread is the unintended consequences of implementing Ban the Box. I think you are wanting a different conversation altogether. I do hear your objections, yes. But no, I don’t think it’s practical, reasonable, or realistic to expect that people who have served time in prison will never be employed again or only in places and under circumstances that suit you in particular. Again, this is not about making you do anything you don’t want to.

                5. Anonfortoday*

                  There are some crimes though that are much much worse. I have a cousin who just got out of prison for a horrible assault on his ex girlfriend and I do think I would defend a woman who did not want to work with him. Just because he served his prison sentence doesn’t mean everyone has to pretend he didn’t do those horrible things.

                6. nonymous*

                  I think a big part of the problem is that as a larger community we know recidivism is highest in the first years out of jail/prison, and that incarceration rarely rehabilitates. Even if I as an individual support opportunities for felons, I am cognizant that the odds are hugely stacked against them. I can’t tell from the letter whether former employer’s son has the right combo of luck and support to succeed. I doubt his potential new coworkers do either.

                  And that’s where it gets scary for the potential coworkers – do they want to bet their health and safety that this guy, with a track history of violence and poor citizenship, will successfully navigate what by all accounts is a stressful life path? The felon’s immediate family may be willing to take this risk, but what happens if an attractive coworker turns him down? This is not a case where logic necessarily triumphs, and there are so very many variables at play which coworkers have no control or even knowledge regarding.

                7. Anion*

                  The UK has serious issues with minority arrest & conviction rates vs. those of whites, as well. Their numbers for black vs. white men aren’t quite as bad as ours, but for women the opposite is true.

          1. Wintermute*

            to put it bluntly states that ban the box see unemployment go up among african-americans, and to a lesser extent latinos, by several percentage points because employers “don’t want to take the chance”. So innocent minorities get caught in the crossfire because of the presumption they’re more likely to be a criminal.

            1. Ramona Flowers*

              Serious question, do you have laws about this?

              We do. Rehabilitation of offenders act 1974. You can’t simply ask people if they are criminals and then not hire them if they are.

              1. Wintermute*

                That is what “ban the box” means, they ban a checkbox asking if you are a convict. States that enact those laws see employment of minorities go down significantly immediately.

                1. Anna*

                  The answer to raising one group up isn’t to push another group down. This is a weird argument to make in support of racial equality, especially since people of color are disproportionately imprisoned when compared to white people. I don’t really know where you’re going with your point.

              2. Former Hoosier*

                It is not illegal in the most states in the US to discriminate against a criminal background. In the US you can ask about a criminal background and in my experience, I have had more employers not hire someone because they lied on the application and not because of the actual criminal conviction.

          2. Mike C.*

            Studies show that in general (outside of looking at specific policies like ban the box), white dudes like me get a free felony compared to similarly experienced people of color.

            1. Mookie*

              White people also have their records more readily and frequently expunged, which further exacerbates the inequality. One study I’ve read indicates that employability certificates make ex-convicts, across the board, almost as likely to receive an interview and a job offer as people with no criminal background. The certificates (available up to one year following release) are also useful because the connection between employment and recidivism is strongest during that first year after parole, hence the focus on “immediate employment” by people interested in reforming these laws.

              1. Specialk9*

                I had never heard of these certificates, so I’m copying the summary here, because *fascinating*.

                “Obtaining employment is difficult for ex-offenders due to the stigma of having a criminal record. In recognition of this difficulty, some state legislatures have created certificates of relief (also known as certificates of recovery), which lift occupational licensing restrictions, limit employer liability for negligent hiring claims, and aim to ensure that employment decisions about certificate holders are made on a case-by-case basis. This test indicates that having a certificate of relief increases the likelihood of receiving an interview invitation or job offer more than threefold. Importantly, certificate holders and their counterparts with clean criminal backgrounds were nearly equally likely to receive an interview invitation or job offer. These promising preliminary results suggest certificates of relief may be an effective avenue for lessening the stigma of a criminal record for ex-offenders seeking employment.”

            2. Elizabeth West*

              Yep. It’s disgusting, and not in every case, but it’s mostly true.

              Two words: Brock Turner. If he were black or Hispanic, he would likely have had the book thrown at him.

        2. Linguist Curmudgeon*

          This is just like the argument that providing parental leave makes companies not hire women. Even if that’s true, FIX THAT, don’t just keep doing the unjust thing.

          1. Zillah*

            This. Whether or not the son can be reformed isn’t really relevant to the OP or the OP’s friends, who will potentially have to work with him. They have understandable concerns, both because of the nature of his past crimes and because of how his family has chosen to handle the situation. If it was me, I’d be looking for a new job – an employer who’s willing to dock my pay to hire their child and sees parole for a heinous crime as a foregone conclusion isn’t an employer I’d be inclined to trust – not in general, and not if their child started behaving inappropriately with me/harassing me/assaulted me.

          2. Regular poster, anon for this one*

            It may be bold, but it’s true.

            Serial rapists and serial child abusers (and pyromaniacs) have the highest rates of recidivism and are the least likely to be helped by treatment. They are still really, really likely to reoffend even when they have a great, realistic support system and treatment. That’s not the case here. Parents seem to be enablers.

            These aren’t crimes that are mistakes. This aren’t crimes born of povert, racism, and oppressive drug laws. These are compulsion crimes by predators that cannot be fixed, only contains if everything is done properly and the offender wants to contain the impulse.

            This we know now. DNA testing of rape kits has shown the predator theory of rape is correct.* These guys rape over and over and over and stop only when caught or they die.

            I personally take pro bono expungement cases bc I believe in second chances for people convicted of crimes. I am pro ban the box except for child abuse and sex crimes.

            They are different. Period. Full stop.

            This isn’t a Jamal who sold weed and robbed a liquor store. It’s a Fergus who raped at least two women and killed one.

            I’d we as a society cannot see that difference, then we are doomed.

            * that 2008 study saying recidivism among sex offenders was inflated looked at arrest, not committing the act. It used the wrong metric. The DNA studies that look at rape kits show a very, very different picture. The flawed 2008 study showed higher “recidivism”for robberies. Why is that so? Cops who know a guy was in prison for robbery will go after him if a similar crime is committed, particularly if he’s black. Rape? Well, if it’s not reported to them, it’s not in the system. If it is? Well, cops don’t really do due diligence in those cases.
            The best measure we have of recidivism for sex offenders is DNA testing of rape kits. Even that is insufficient bc so few women have them done.

            I’ve worked with victims and seen more serial rapists in court than I can count. They are different from other criminals. I’ve worked with murderers, Mexican gang members, and drug dealers. Those guys can be reformed. I would have zero issue welcoming any one of them in my law office or my home. This guy? I don’t want to be in 5e same zip code.

            1. Halster*

              Woah, so, even if that is true, it might not actually be due to the nature of the crime, but to the nature of resources we have for dealing with it. There’s considerably less effort and money in reforming sex abusers in prisons, and very little mental health treatment (which would seem to be the dominant issue here!). In contrast, when it comes to crimes of need, a change of location and finances can be enough.

            2. Anion*

              My (very conservative) dad manages a factory, and often hires parolees–he likes doing so, because he likes giving them a chance (he’s very proud that several of his parolee hires have stayed with the company for years after their parole ended, and have been promoted during that time), and he likes the fact that the rules of their parole make them reliable.

              But he doesn’t hire sex offenders. The risk is too high; there are women at the factory and he refuses to make them uncomfortable or put them in any potential danger; and he’s frankly just creeped out and offended by their crimes and doesn’t want to know or work with them.

              1. MJ*

                While I agree with your dad’s practice, is it skirting the law a little bit about not hiring someone because of felony status?

                1. Anion*

                  I’m confused. By “felony status,” do you mean it’s illegal to refuse to hire them because they’re felons, or because of the type of felony they committed?

                  Is there a law requiring people to hire felons? Or sex offenders? Not being sarcastic, genuinely curious.

            3. another regular poster on anon*

              I’m glad to see that my gut and personal experiences have actual data to back them up, as this has been my (admittedly limited) experience with the criminal justice system. I have never met a rapist or child abuser who did not skeeve me out, while I can and have worked with other types of violent offenders without fearing for my safety.

            4. Criminologist*

              That DNA kits show a majority of rapes are committed by serial rapists doesn’t say anything about the recidivism rate among sex offenders. Those are two different units of analysis.

              Maybe 50% of rapes are committed by 5% of rapists, but the other 95% of rapists might never reoffend.

              I’m not aware of a prospective study that uses DNA kits as a measure of recidivism. That would be fascinating, and I’d love to read it if anyone can provide a citation. But then again I assume the results would be similar to studies based on official statistics, since if there were DNA kits then the rape and the perpetrator’s identity would be known to the police.

          3. Observer*

            Actually, if it’s true – and the numbers I’ve seen indicate that it’s probably true – it is helpful. Because it tells the OP that although there is no LEGAL issue with the bosses are planning to do, the coworkers are being perfectly reasonable in their objections to these plans. This is absolutely not a case of people “over reacting”.

        1. Zip Silver*

          I dunno about that, it was 37 years ago and he was presumably a teen. I’m not the same guy I was even 10 years ago.

          1. Trout 'Waver*

            Would you take a job working for family where the other workers’ wages were docked to pay your salary?

            Doing so requires a massive sense of entitlement.

            1. WerkingIt*

              It also would make me feel terribly uncomfortable as a woman. What if he did something inappropriate? I would feel like a family that was willing to dock my pay to empty him would certainly not address issues with him.

              1. Trout 'Waver*

                My point is that this particular rapist still feels entitled to other people’s money to support himself. To me, it’s an indication that he is not reformed.

                1. Elsajeni*

                  To be clear, we don’t know anything about the son’s feelings on taking the job, only what his parents have said they would offer him. Even if we roll with the idea that “feeling entitled to other people’s money” would mean he wasn’t reformed, we have no information as to whether he feels entitled to it, is willing to take other people’s money when that may be his only employment option, has no idea the other employees would be taking a pay cut, or even has any interest in intention of taking the job.

                2. Samata*

                  I am not on the side of the rapist – but he is not actually the one that is cutting salaries here, it’s his parents.

                  Saying he thinks he’s entitled to their pay isn’t quite accurate – but the owner-parents thinking he’s entitled to their employees pay? That in itself, convicted felon or not, would be what got me job searching.

                3. sstabeler*

                  to be fair, he MIGHT not know about that part. I don’t disagree that I doubt he is reformed, though, and almost certainly won’t stay reformed, since I suspect his family may be one reason he offended in the first place,

                4. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

                  His parents think that, since they are the ones cutting pay. Which is more than enough reason for the employees to want to quit. Not only are they hiring him, they are not financially able to do it without cutting pay. I’d assume the company was struggling.

                5. Myrin*

                  Not only are they hiring him, they are not financially able to do it without cutting pay. I’d assume the company was struggling.

                  @Danger, that’s exactly where my mind went immediately! If you can’t hire an additional employee without cutting the salaries of the existing employees, you can’t afford an additional employee!

                6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  We don’t know that at all—his parents feel entitled to dock other’s pay to support him. We have no idea what his position on it is.

            2. Falling Diphthong*

              Most ex-cons–see all the “it’s unfair to ask me work with someone who once committed a crime, served their time, and was released” comments–do not have a whole lot of choices when it comes to jobs.

              The blame should go on the family-run business for the insane plan.

            3. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

              Having the job would be part of parole. I wonder how many of us would accept a cut in the salaries of strangers if it got us out of prison? I’d like to think I wouldn’t, but can’t say 100% what I would do

            1. Specialk9*

              Raped AND MURDERED someone while on parole. Raped, tied her up and stood and watched while she drowned, with just her head in a water filled ditch. (Shiver)

              1. Anion*

                Yes. If it was a date rape at seventeen, I could say, “Well, maybe he’s learned his lesson.” But he was on parole when he re-offended, and re-offended worse. Even at seventeen, being imprisoned should have taught him a lesson. But the murder suggests to me (just what it suggests to me, I’m not saying it’s fact) that he was trying to eliminate the victim so she couldn’t report the crime or testify–the “lesson” he learned from being incarcerated was to hide his crime better, not to stop committing the crime. So I don’t have high hopes for this guy now.

                1. Observer*

                  Well, the way he murdered her indicates that it wasn’t just a “pragmatic” decision. In fact, the reverse – if he were just looking to hide the crime he would have tied her up and stuffed her in a culvert, and gotten out of there. Instead he WATCHED HER DIE.

                  The sadism there is just horrific. Please don’t try yo justify or minimize this.

          2. Observer*

            Kids who are wing pullers generally turn into adult wing pullers, 10, 20 and 30 years later, unless someone intervenes and some serious therapy happens – and even then it’s not always successful. This guy committed TWO premeditated rapes and a murder. This is NOT a matter of a guy being an immature jerk leading to some ad choices that lead to some tragic outcomes. This is someone who specifically committed some heinous crimes. No one “grows out” of this.

        2. Soon to be former fed*

          May be an unpopular opinion, but I agree. I would not work with this person and would not want my daughter to either. I would advise this OP to find a new job now. Sociological discussions aside, the violent crimes this particular offender committed warrants checking several boxes. I would act with an abundance of caution here. Convicted sex offenders already have post-incarceration restrictions, it’s just reality that re-offending is a very real risk. This employer has its head up its rear end. Leave them to work with this person, and good luck.

          1. Anon21*

            “Convicted sex offenders already have post-incarceration restrictions, it’s just reality that re-offending is a very real risk.”

            While the first part is definitely true, the second part isn’t, or at least not in any way that’s not true of anyone who has committed any crime. Laws passed to restrict and immiserate the lives of people convicted of sex offenses were passed with the assumption that those offenses predict a higher rate of recidivism, but research does not bear that assumption out.

            1. Observer*

              That’s actually not true. The way our sex offender laws work doesn’t reflect the research, but if you actually look it turns out that recidivism is very high once you separate out the people who commit “lower” level crimes (eg flashing) and first time offenders of non-physically violent crimes.)

          1. Temperance*

            It’s not quite that simple. Murderers have low recidivism rates because they’re barely ever let back into society. The issue with statistics regarding sex offenders is that most are never caught, so while yes, the recidivism rate is slightly lower for those who are monitored, it’s not that rapists are not dangerous, it’s that many are never caught or punished for their crimes.

            1. finderskeepers*

              But we only care about the murderers that are let out. Why would you care about the murderers that aren’t let out?

              1. Chalupa Batman*

                Because there are relevant differences between the ones who are let out and the ones who are not. My guess (no data, just a guess) is that the majority of murderers who are granted parole had circumstances tied to the original crime that also impact their likelihood of recidivism. Someone who kills an abusive partner would be more likely to be granted parole than someone who kills because of gang ties or in a robbery, because it’s not very likely that the first person will get in another abusive relationship AND think it’s a good idea to kill their partner again. It’s much more believable that someone who was living a violent lifestyle before incarceration will also live a violent lifestyle after incarceration.

                Taking the OP at their word about the nature of the crimes, I’d say it’s not very likely that the issue of having to work with the son will materialize, but they have flashing neon signs that the family comes first, including at others’ expense, and this could go bad for non-family employees in a lot of ways. Get. Out.

                1. Criminologist*

                  Many states no longer have parole the way it’s commonly thought of. For example, my state releases all offenders after they serve a % of the sentence, unless their time gets extended for misconduct while in prison. They are under supervised release like they would be in a parole system, but there isn’t a board deciding whether or not to let them out.

                2. Criminologist*

                  Specialk9 Yep, we still have some lifers from many years ago who were grandfathered in, but no one else has discretionary parole.

                  On another note, “life” often has a set number of years attached to it (e.g., 30 years).

              2. Temperance*

                Because it’s statistically relevant. If we’re saying that x% of murderers reoffend, it’s only honest to include those who are released from prison.

            2. Criminologist*

              Murderers are almost always released back into society. Life without parole or death sentences are quite rare.

              Now, some of them get out pretty old and that likely affects their recidivism, but even life sentences aren’t given for all murders.

            3. Criminologist*

              Sorry, I know this thread was days ago. Most studies on recidivism test samples of people released from prison (assuming they were incarcerated, of course), and test whether/how soon they reoffend after release. So murderers who don’t get out (which is not most of them, LWOP/death is not that common) wouldn’t usually be counted.

          2. Merci Dee*

            That’s all well and good, and it may be the case. But the OP mentions that the son was already on parole for one rape committed the year before when he committed the second rape that ended in murder. He’s already proven that he’s part of the recidivism rate, no matter how low it may be.

          3. Layla*

            It was mentioned upthread that when you look at DNA evidence- rather than rape convictions – most rapists are serial offenders. The issue is that rapes often go unreported and are difficult to convict.

            Note the fact that he committed murder while on parole for *another rape*. Why was a convicted rapist on parole in the first place?

        3. Blue Bird*

          #3 I’m a psychologist and I want to be optimistic about people’s abilities to adapt and change, but with crimes of this sort (i.e. sadistic) I’m usually not. You can’t grow a conscience where there was none before. You can learn to manage sadistic impulses and control them to a degree, but even that usually requires intensive therapy and dedication on part of the offender. So if the crime was as heinous as it OP #3 makes it sound (and there’s no reason to believe otherwise), I can understand their unwillingness to work with them.

          That being said, the employers are justified in giving their relative a job, just as you’re justified in looking for jobs elsewhere. The only thing that is not ‘justified’ at all is the pay cut you’re expected to accept.

        4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          That’s not true. The likelihood of reform is extremely low, but it’s not “never.”

      3. Specialk9*

        I really appreciate the discussion on criminal justice reform and post prison employment. I’m doing a lot of thinking.

        I’m still trying to fit ‘I know American justice system has a terrible color bias’ and ‘jail shouldn’t be a life sentence’ in with ‘but I don’t want to work with a serial rapist and murderer’. Not in this specific case, but as society wide rules. Because plenty of black people have been wrongly convicted of murder and rape, and people should be able to do their time and then have options other than lifelong criminal. But, I mean, working with a known violent convict…

        Thanks for sparking an uncomfortable but necessary thought process.

        1. Yorick*

          I think looking at things individually is important. I know how important job opportunities are for reentry, but working with this particular guy might make me uncomfortable.

        2. Temperance*

          I would like to caution you here since you’ve intermingled some issues. It’s documented that POC are over-policed. It’s documented that there are some issues with conviction integrity, particularly in the era before DNA became widely accepted science. However, I don’t think it’s either accurate or honest to say that “plenty of black people have been wrongly convicted of murder and rape”.

          I think that certain acts and crimes are so heinous that you can’t ever really atone. Taking a life is one. Rape is another. Even assuming that you could just move on, I think that the safety and comfort of innocents needs to take precedence.

    4. Tuxedo Cat*

      The pay thing bothers me more, TBH. I’d be bothered by that regardless of whether the new employee was the best person in the world. I don’t think it’s right that through no fault o my own that I would have to take a pay cut to subsidize another employee who isn’t needed.

      I have a friend who works with an alleged murderer. The alleged murderer was convicted but the conviction was overturned on technicality. It’s not fun, but the guy mostly keeps to himself.

      1. Soon to be former fed*

        The pay thing is the least problematic aspect of this scenario. I would rather have a cut in pay than be raped or killed.

        1. Anna*

          It may be secondary, but it is the one that is most easily addressed by the OP. If the parents want to hire their son because they think he’s reformed and they want to give him a shot, they can do that and it will probably fall on deaf ears for the OP and their coworkers to quote statistics on recidivism, etc. But if they approach the pay cut that in no way will upset the view the owners have of their son’s reformation, they can probably make better inroads.

      2. babblemouth*

        Agreed. They could have hired the best Teapot Manager to ever Teapot, and it wouldn’t justify cutting everyone’s pay for it. Whatever way you turn this, the owners show a remarkable lack of judgement, and anyone working there should be looking for a way out immediately.

      3. Amy*

        We had someone at a former job that was convicted of vehicular manslaughter while employed by the company. They kept his job open during his relatively short sentence and let him come back when it was done. He was a jerk and had a temper. When I left he was still employed by the company. He was in another location so I didn’t have much day to day interaction with him but I did once see him go off on someone during training.

      4. Jstar*

        I think either one (the pay cut or being forced to work with this type of rapist/murderer) would be enough for me to be looking for a new job. I certainly can’t say that the pay thing bothers me *more* though. If I HAD to choose between those two options, I’d take the pay cut.

    5. Paul*

      I generally agree, but a rape, an attempted rape, and a murder…I can’t blame people for being uneasy of working around the guy. There’s no legal protection here, but I can’t really fault them for being worried either.

      1. Anonfortoday*

        I believe in “ban the box” for most crimes, but I do think there should be some exceptions for certain crimes. For instance, violent crimes (so you can keep employees safe) but also things like “this job involves working with sensitive financial information, I need to be able to ask if you have a record of identity theft”. Of course, background checks should pick most of this up, but getting to that level with a clear no wastes everyone’s time.

        1. Bagpuss*

          In the UK the way it works is that less serious convictions become ‘spent’ after a period of years. (‘less serious’ in this context means offences where the person was sentenced to 4 years or less in prison)

          The length of time it takes for an offence to be ‘spent’ depends on the seriousness of the offence, but varies from 1 to 7 years, with the times being halved where the person was under 18 when they were convicted.

          It’s unlawful to withdraw a job offer or to turn someone down for a job, as a result of learning they have ‘spent’ convictions’, unless the job is one where the exceptions apply. (although of course proving that that was the reason for denying the job might be tricky)

          If a conviction is spent than for most jobs you are not required to declare it.

          For some jobs, all convictions including spent ones have to be declared. Primarily this is for jobs which involve working with children or vulnerable people but there are exceptions – lawyers, for instance (and while I can’t speak for other professions, I know that my professional body requires me to self-report in the event I were ever to be convicted of any offence, and if I had had any convictions before I was admitted, I would have had to declare those. A university friend of mine, who was a mature student so around 35 when applying for admission, had to have a personal interview before he was allowed to become a member of the Law Society, because he had been convicted of fare-dodging on the tube when he was 18.

          I am not sure which other professions have similar rules but I think anyone dealing with regulated financial issues, plus police, medical professionals and teachers, are all exempted.

          I think it strikes a reasonable balance – someone with recent convictions, or convictions for serious offences, can be identified, but it does allow people to move on and to be rehabilitated, and for greater protection forthe public where people will be in a position of trust or dealing with vulnerable people.

          1. Layla*

            And yet, in the UK, men who have raped 14 year olds have gotten sentences of 18 months or less. Would that be considered a ‘less serious’ crime too?

        2. Liane*

          For those who aren’t in the US, “Ban the Box” laws DON’T bar companies from conducting criminal background checks or similar practices. What is banned is application questions like “Have you been convicted/pled nolo condere to a crime other than minor traffic offenses?” (The “box” in the phrase refers, I believe, to the YES checkbox.) I am not sure if the laws apply to questions during interviews.

          I am posting that because I don’t think it is clear in the comments what is banned–but IANAL.

      2. Anon42*

        Yeah this. Committing what sounds like a violent rape, a violent attempted rape and premeditated murder is very different than those who commit crimes out of desperation and it does a disservice to join the latter in a conversation about the former.

        I’ve actually worked with a convicted murderer. I think it was 2nd degree maybe, done in conjunction with another crime – noir premeditated. He was actually a pretty nice guy, reformed. He was rather young when it happened and hasn’t been in trouble since. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat, especially over some of my current colleagues.

        1. Specialk9*

          As a woman co-worker, murder by itself, especially if the courts give a light enough sentence that one gets out quickly, is FAR less troublesome than serial rape of women and murder of a rape victim. I mean, murder mysteries and Dexter make it clear how pretty much everyone can see how murder could be an option in some cases, though most wouldn’t actually murder. But sadistic sexual violence + gendered murder is a whole nother shivery scary thing.

            1. Emi.*

              Yeah, I agree with you. If it were regular murder, it miiiight be “I murdered him because he threatened my family” or what have you, but all we get here is “I murdered he because she wouldn’t have sex with me,” which is an elaborate way of saying “because I’m a violent misogynist.”

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I don’t blame them for being uneasy, either! If I were in their position, I would have serious concerns about personal safety (especially in light of the underlying facts of his conviction). And I think the docking pay approach is just flat-out egregious. I just wanted to clarify that this isn’t a legal problem, but rather, a management problem.

    6. miyeritari*

      OP1: completely regardless of this person’s felony status, based on your description of this company, I have zero faith that this person would have any real consequences for any negative action in the workplace, be that actually threatening, or just crummy performance — and that’s a good reason to start looking elsewhere unrelated to other things. (Not to say, of course, that this does or doesn’t occur with any of your other coworkers.)

      Also that pay cut thing is so YEUGH. How more clearly can you state that all employees are significantly less valuable than this guy?

      1. blackcat*


        I, in principle, do not have a problem working along side felons, even violent ones. BUT that only holds true in an environment where I can trust the powers that be to come down on the felon (or anyone, really), for inappropriate behavior.

        This business clearly will not do that. They are happy to make the lives of their employees harder to hire their felon family member. That says that if the family member crosses a line, it won’t be properly handled.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          BUT that only holds true in an environment where I can trust the powers that be to come down on the felon (or anyone, really), for inappropriate behavior.

          I think this is the key point on this aspect. I think ex-cons deserve a chance to re-integrate into society. But this family is so far off their collective rocker on supporting him (everyone take a pay cut?!!!!!) that they would clearly ignore any problems.

        2. Annabelle*

          Yeah, I think this is a really important distinction. One of my sorority sisters worked with someone who had been convicted of a pretty high-profile murder when we were in college. But her employer made it clear that they would act swiftly if he did anything inappropriate or made people uncomfortable.

        3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*


          Back in college, I worked with multiple ex-cons. Our boss’ philosophy was that she would hire anyone BUT she would also not hesitate to fire if they proved they couldn’t be relied on. One of the guys who’d gotten out of prison turned out to be the sweetest and most polite people there — he was the one who often gave me a lift home after late shifts.

          Other people… well, other people didn’t last long. And this was the same boss who listened to me and declined to hire a shift manager after I said I wouldn’t want to be alone in the shop with him. Knowing she had my back made a world of difference.

          1. Anion*

            Yep. As I said above, my dad often hires parolees at his factory. He’s really proud of the fact that quite a few of them stayed on after their parole ended, and several of them became such good employees that they were promoted and are now leads and supervisors; they have families and a life that one of them told him “[he] never thought would be possible for [him].”

    7. Lora*

      You’d think they’d pay everyone extra to keep it quiet and not lose customers. One of my dear friends works for a family run business that employs a convicted child porn distributor as an office manager, and when the other employees found out about his background, it was raises and benefits for everyone, “now please shut up and never breathe a word to anyone thanks”.

      I don’t care if they’re hiring the ghost of princess Diana, you don’t cut my pay to do it.

      1. Temperance*

        These are the type of people who are rallying around a convicted rapist and murderer before he even leaves prison or is granted parole. In their minds, this family member is more valuable than the people working for the company, for whatever reason.

        And, yikes. I feel like bribery is not the way to handle something like this. I almost think it’s better if the company was honest and up-front from the getgo.

        1. Samata*

          2nd here! I think that being up front and honest and allowing workers to process, accept, choose not to accept -whatever – working with a convicted child porn distributor would sit much better with me that finding out they covered it up and then throwing some extra benefits at me to buy my silence.

          1. Lora*

            I’m not saying I didn’t tell my friend to quit because her employer is unethical. I’m just saying that weirdly enough, it mostly worked.

    8. Say what, now?*

      See… I’m not a ban the box proponent. The sort of crimes the OP is describing are not avoided by providing gainful employment. Gainful employment may end recitivism for someone who was jailed for theft, money eliminating the need for further criminal activity, but having a 401k doesn’t deter a rapist. I’m not sure what can, maybe life-long therapy to control impulses? I don’t know. This isn’t a happy read but here’s a list of offenders of violent crimes that went on to repeat, and this only covers a short timeframe in Oregon). There’s a trend and mostly it doesn’t look great for people who testified or pressed charges to begin with.

      Employees should be aware of violent pasts, especially where domestic abuse and rape are concerned. Hiring them puts a seal of approval on them and then a female employee is working late one night, the busses are no longer running and she accepts a ride from her coworker because why wouldn’t she? He’s her coworker and the company must have vetted him? If he’s a convicted rapist and the company had disclosed that she might have gotten a cab but now she’s in a dangerous situation. If she gets raped you’d tell her to sue the company for non-disclosure. But here you’re saying ban the box.

      1. Halster*

        Uhm, the business doesn’t have an obligation to disclose any individual’s criminal history. Furthermore, the focus of ban the box is the problem of racism – black men, in particular, are more likely to be arrested/convicted than white men, even though they commit crimes at about the same rate.

        As for the creepy rapist – there are so, so many rapists who never get even close to incarcerated, and who are held in high esteem (jeez, look at politics)

        1. Anion*

          Black men are indeed more likely to be arrested/convicted than white men, and they are more likely to be wrongfully arrested/convicted. But black and white men do not commit crimes at about the same rate. They commit about the same *number* of crimes, but that means a disproportional *rate* of crimes, and those numbers jibe with victim accounts (meaning those numbers are not due to any kind of police bias). Of course (I hope I hardly need add), this is likely due to poverty rates rather than anything inherent in skin color itself.

          (The above is from a “Factsheet” done by UK Channel 4 in November 2014, which analyzed several US studies and FBI databases.)

        2. Say what, now?*

          I’m not speaking about the racial profiling aspect. I’m not sure how to combat that since, as others have pointed out, even without a felony box many employers were quick to jump to conclusions about applicants based on nothing but skin colour. Box or no box, it seems that this view point persists. If anything, seeing the box ticked by white people as well will maybe be an eye-opener.

          You may be legally correct in that the company doesn’t have to disclose anything about an employee’s past, but they do have an obligation to keep the workplace safe that goes beyond OSHA. I wouldn’t want to work with a rapist and definitely not a rapist that had escalated to murder.

        3. Ego Chamber*

          “Uhm, the business doesn’t have an obligation to disclose any individual’s criminal history.”

          True, but I’m in a fairly rapey section of my state and I’ve never had a job where someone didn’t quietly take me aside and give me a heads up on which coworkers aren’t safe to take a ride home from. Women tend to look out for each other because we tend to have to, in lieu of legal obligations.

    9. Koko*

      Yeah, the pay cut to everyone else is a huge WTF.

      But at the same time, if a felon is granted parole, what is society supposed to do with them? If we really believe that someone can never be rehabilitated, then why do we ever give parole, or sentences short of life in prison or the death penalty? Presumably the parole board only grants the petition when they believe the person has been rehabilitated and is no longer a threat – or in this guy’s case, so far they haven’t agreed that so he hasn’t been released.

      I’m not sure what I would do in the situation because it would definitely make me uncomfortable if I knew my coworker had done that. But at the same time, he has to work somewhere, doesn’t he?

      1. Emi.*

        Well, in theory, he could work somewhere where his employers wouldn’t be so very biased in his favor. That would go a long way towards making me feel safer, if I worked there.

      2. paul*

        I’ll be blunt: I’m not a fan of parole for people with multiple violent crimes. He’s raped/tried to rape twice and murdered once. Keep ’em locked up for life.

        I’m a believer in second chances but this person had one and blew it, and murdered a person in the process.

        Even given that they got parole’d out, I don’t trust them, and won’t fault people for not wanting to work with them. I wouldn’t. The pay cut is icing on a crappy cake but even without that in the picture, I wouldn’t want to work with the guy.

        It sucks and I hate it when someone whose crime was fairly low level has a conviction follow them for 20 years, and I’ve argued for protections for felons in those circumstances…but this isn’t a case like that.

    10. Janelle*

      I worked with a man who after some months I found out had past addiction problems and had been jailed numerous times. He also admitted to taking steroids at that time he worked with me. He was nice enough but it did make me uneasy. He had a past restraining order and was jailed for assault.

      Months into my employment he attempted to attack me. My boss of course was involved but said he would not fire him since he made the company the most money. I was out the door that day. I wouldn’t recommend staying. Your safety is at risk. People can change but this level of violence rarely does. I’ve never been so terrified in my life and will never stay in such a situation again.

    11. Not Rebee*

      In the banking/financial services industry he would not be employable, but you would probably already know if that’s the case. I come from a mortgage background and I know for a fact that several states (GA being the one that springs to mind) won’t allow any employee in the company to have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a felony, even if it’s unrelated to financial crimes. And the states are accessing a better background check than your company’s HR department (which typically only goes back 10 years), so I’ve definitely seen instances where an employee has been hired and has had to be let go because we are not allowed by our regulators to have them with the company.

      Similarly, I’d imagine any job which needs a professional license (something administered by the government in some way) or falls under the government work category would have this come up on a background check. But in terms of it being illegal to make you work with him? No.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#5, have you accrued the time from not taking vacation? I’ve found that even employers who don’t normally approve four-week vacations will do it for (1)staff who are underutilizing their leave or for (2) staff with insane workloads who need the time off to avoid burnout. It’s worth probing!

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I think it potentially just takes a bit of planning ahead.

      Two tips to the OP. Firstly, have a think about when would be a good time and how it might work – what you could move around, how you could prepare in advance and who could cover certain tasks.

      Secondly, don’t mention what it’s for. I’m absolutely a fan of staycations and am taking a two-week one in November. But some people have this idea that time off spent not travelling or volunteering or otherwise being ‘productive’ is somehow a waste of time – and they are wrong, but they exist, and may exist in your office.

      Also, if they know you’re around they may grant the vacation with an idea that you’ll help out with stuff or be around to answer queries and then get mad if you aren’t and don’t.

      1. Antilles*

        +1. Excellent point on #2. Especially for this length of time off.
        If you’re taking a full month off, people will usually assume it’s some mind-bending trip to another continent where it clearly makes sense to take a full month off due to flight times/etc…but if they’re already reluctant to approve this length of time, they’ll absolutely respond with confusion and questions when they find out you’re just sitting at home – “why can’t you just take two weeks off?” “could you do two weeks in January and two weeks in March instead of four straight in January?”, “what about one week a month for the next 4 months”, etc.

        1. Jay*

          You could possibly call it a sabbatical. Are you planning on doing any sort of personal research or projects?

          1. OP5*

            My job is 6 days/week. By the time Sunday comes around, all I want to do is rest. I’ve pushed aside my personal issues for too long. I am only planning on taking care of the personal “stuff” that I keep pushing aside.

            1. Nacho*

              I don’t know what kind of work you do, but it sounds hectic. If they’re giving you 7 weeks/year with unlimited roll-over, then there’s probably the expectation that you’re going to work hard with no breaks during the busy season, and take a lot of time off during slower seasons to make up for it.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I remember overhearing a conversation in which someone described their most relaxing vacation ever–one week at home taking care of all the stuff they’d been meaning to get to. One week of regular exotic vacation, after which they came home to an empty to-do list.

        1. Liane*

          I was just going to suggest this to the OP. If the 4 weeks is okayed but you are worried that people might assume you are informally “on call,” make plans for 1 or 2 short trips but let your colleagues assume those will take up most of the time off. Say, “Yes, we are finally going to see Rohan, with a relaxing side trip to The Shire and Bree’s Prancing Pony B&B.” Not, “The first week, we’re touring Rohan, then a staycation before spending my last long weekend off at Prancing Pony.”

        2. Turquoise Cow*

          I want that kind of vacation. Actual vacations where you go away just make more work when you get home.

          I used to take a day off every other month or so, and I’d use that to catch up on housework, run errands, and maybe go shopping. After spending 3/4 of the day at work, I had no time or energy left to do that stuff at night, and social commitments and such made it hard on weekends also.

        3. OP5*

          This sounds like the perfect plan. Maybe I’ll rethink the “staycation” and make it a “stay-vay-cation.”

      3. Janelle*

        My mother banks a lot of vacation time so she plans a week off every few months to do whatever she wishes, hang out at home, run long overdue errands, etc. This works well for employer and she has a week off every three months. Win win.

        1. Specialk9*

          Sometimes it’s hard not to be jealous of generous leave. And at my company/in My country I’m lucky with the amount of leave! But talking with Europeans/Canadians makes me sad.

      4. Lynca*

        I want to second planning. When I plan to take more than a week off, (I have taken 4 before) one of the things I do is basically prepare a “This is what needs to be handled while I’m gone” list. I try to clear as many projects as I can before leaving but there are inevitably a handful that will need attention.

        I lay out who has been delegated what work, what work can wait until I get back based on current parameters (we have long track projects), where the work files are, and what to do if x, y, z should happen so you don’t have to email or call me. This has basically kept my vacation phone calls/emails to zero and my bosses are happy with this system.

        Taking 4 weeks for going overseas (we employees who are foreign born, or like me have relatives overseas) isn’t uncommon where I work. I haven’t seen anyone take a 4 week vacation at home but theoretically we could as long as we provide proper notice and plan for it.

    2. Darren*

      If you are accruing 7 weeks (even including sick/caring leave) a year I think it’s pretty much assumed a long vacation will be part of it at least occasionally. My job in Australia is 10 days sick/caring leave, and 25 days annual leave. Most people take a 3-4 week trip most years (historically I’ve done in nearly every year). With leave accumulations that high it’s just naturally assumed.

      Now do plan ahead look to finding a time when your workload would be lower and easier to shift off. But even if you can’t get a clean transition the leave is intended to be used.

      1. Oryx*

        Yes, I had a coworker at ExJob who was grandfathered in to the really, really long vacation per year and would 3-4 trips, 1 week to 2 weeks, per year.

        1. Runner*

          This is the norm where I work (once you’re in your fifth year, the vacation really accrues fast. There’s even more at 15 years). One staffer used to take a month-long vacation each year. But that was a long time ago. Another underperformer requested a 5- week vacation (this is a US company) and that was the unofficial end of not just lengthy vacations but him, he was the first cut at layoffs. Now I think our guidelines are 2 weeks max in one shot, which is fairly common — though the real norm is 3-4 one-week periods off a year. Sabbaticals are entirely different, as are leaves of absence.

          1. Koko*

            Where I work senior staff accrue 5 weeks/year, junior staff 3 weeks/year. It’s almost universal among the senior staff and pretty widespread among the junior staff to take a 2-week vacation. Junior staff are more likely to time theirs with office closure holidays to use a bit less time but still have two full weeks out, and senior staff are more likely to do a 3 or 4 week vacation. But for those who do 3-4 weeks it’s universally taken during their department’s slowest season. Each department has a particular month where you can expect it to be half-staffed because it’s the only time of year that folks can get away with being out that long, so everyone takes their long vacations then.

      2. Chocolate lover*

        It’s not assumed everywhere. My colleagues and I get 5 weeks, plus a week in December, when the university closes for winter break. Rarely does anyone take more than 2 weeks at a time. Barring a medical issue though , if you took 4 weeks for vacation during the semester in busy times, leaving everyone else to pick up your work and their own, you’d have some strained relationships when you came back, right or wrong.

        1. OP5*

          This is what I’m worried about, as well. I hate to leave my co-workers with excess work. We don’t have an end to projects. It’s continuous work that is always busy, with the summer season being the busiest. I am scared to leave the rest of the staff with the burden of excess work.

      3. Parenthetically*

        Yeah, Aussie work-life balance culture is such that this is fairly common there in my observation. I’d say the vast majority of my friends/relatives there have taken month-long trips (or longer — several friends have done 2-3 months overseas, with their bosses hiring casual workers to cover their positions in their absence). My now-husband did eventually have to dip into his unpaid leave as we were flying back and forth during our courtship, but that was only after 6 weeks or so of paid leave.

      4. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yeah, if you only had so much accumulated because you’d rolled over 1-2 weeks of vacation every year I would think maybe they couldn’t be prepared for someone to take a break that long. But if they are actually giving you 6-7 weeks every year then taking 4 weeks at once doesn’t sound unreasonable to me at all.

    3. OP5*

      Hello, I earn 6.5 weeks paid time off per year (10.5 hours/pay period). I already have 6 weeks “banked.” I did take a vacation earlier in the year, but it was only a week long. I don’t take many sick days so my leave just keeps piling up. I worked 6 days/week and it has been really hectic at my job, so I was scared to take a longer break. I feel like I *need* a “staycation” to catch up on everything in my personal life that has been getting left by the wayside.

  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#1, what you’ve described is exactly the kind of office interaction that gives me stomach aches. I’ve been the person pulled in for a peer’s disciplinary meeting, and it suuuuuucked. Hopefully Alison’s scripts will work for your managers—if they’re halfway competent, your pushback will hopefully remind them that asking you to be present puts you in an awkward position and is likely unnecessary. And I’m sorry your coworker is jamming everyone up.

    1. Drew*

      I got pulled into a termination meeting by the terminated employee because he wanted a witness to what management was claiming so he could file unemployment and have backup for his story.

      As I agreed with the termination, this was a very uncomfortable meeting for all concerned, especially when at one point he turned to me and demanded to know what I thought. I said I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to comment since I wasn’t in his supervisory chain, which was not at all what he wanted to hear. That’s the only termination I can recall in my entire career that resulted in locks being changed the same day.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        To be fair, many employees are entitled to take someone with them which could be a union rep or a colleague. But it should be someone who’s okay with being there!

        1. Chocolate lover*

          What specifically do you mean by “entitled”? I assume that unions can stipulate to that, but if there’s no union, is there a legal obligation?

          1. Apollo Warbucks*

            In the uk if you go to a formal disciplinary meeting by law the company has to let you bring a witness this could be a union rep, co worker, friend or family.

          2. Bagpuss*

            I think Ramona is in the UK, where people do have that right. Normally you are entitled to have a colleague or your union rep if you have one) accompany you to any disciplinary meeting.
            If someone is subjected to disciplinary procedures (especially if they are dismissed as a result) and they were not given that choice, then the action may be held to be unfair and give them a right to appeal it. In cases of dismissal it could mean that the dismissal would be held to be unfair, in which case the employee might be entitled to claim compensation for unfair dismissal. (they would not automatically succeed, but procedural unfairness is a common reason why people succeed if they go to an employment tribunal

        2. LQ*

          I will also note that if it was an unemployment hearing (which doesn’t (at least in the US) happen at the employer, but usually at least several weeks later) the state may grant the right to the unemployment office to subpoena witnesses. But that’s…after you’ve been fired, and after you’ve gone through at least 1 round with the unemployment office, and after the judge decided that yes this person’s testimony would really matter (at least around here they do not throw around those subpoena’s willy nilly). (Not applicable for Drew directly, but it may help with understanding what you are entitled to.)

          Also it’s always surprising (to me at least) how often people agree on the fundamental facts of the cases in unemployment. They just don’t understand the application of the law.

    2. Cringing PharmD*

      Op #1 here! I wrote back that I wanted to think about it before agreeing to a meeting, and our manager does want to talk to me about it first. I think I’ll be able to extricate myself pretty cleanly, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just being a bad team player (or whatever) by doing that. I haven’t come up with a single scenario in which turning up for this meeting will go well for me.

      1. Liane*

        I’d say just use Alison’s wording for when you talk to your boss, and hopefully that will get you out.
        Good luck and update us!

      2. Specialk9*

        I’d be pretty upset. They’re putting you in a bad spot for trying to help the company. You now need to work with someone who will consider you a narc. Awesome. The unintended consequence of this kind of bad management is I’ll bet you don’t report next time.

      3. Specialist*

        Physician here. I will disagree with most of the people here. Our work is different. We have a license to practice in our field. There are a large number of legal requirements on how we practice. There should always be a licensed practitioner included in these meetings. If you have a director of pharmacy who is a pharmacist, that is the appropriate person to be there. Small hospitals have a hard time filling all the positions with appropriate people. If they don’t have a director or lead person who is a pharmacist, it is important that you attend.

        I will likely fail in my attempt to explain this. But I will try. The practice of medicine, pharmacy, and anything related to patient care has some really important ethical issues. It has to be about the patient. The hospital business people very rightly support the business of the hospital. Sometimes the interests of the patient and the interests of the hospital conflict. The physician/pharmacist/nurse would then step in and advocate for the patient appropriately. This is more important now than ever. The number of practitioners who are employed has been steadily rising. This is sometimes called the practice of corporate medicine and it has some pretty severe ramifications on patient care.

        1. Dot Warner*

          That’s a good point, although chances are very good that OP’s boss is a pharmacist – in most states, the director of pharmacy is required by law to be a licensed pharmacist.

    3. Tim C.*

      One of the problems here is a hospital pharmacy department is 24 hr a day department. The management may not have capacity to monitor each and every shift so they have to go by what others report back. Some may call this hearsay, but management should take it seriously. There is also a great potential to “pile on”. I agree that management should not have you in on the meeting. They should get the facts looking for objective measures. How many orders were processed that shift, how many consults, were there any complications (computer malfunction, sick-calls, etc…), or any other issues. Then look at what was not done and left for the next shift. Since you rotate the shifts, you have your own internal comparison. If all the other staff are able to accomplish everything except Ferugus, then there is a definite performance problem that you do not need to be involved in.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        But they have objective metrics – that’s the part that’s kind of absurd. They just aren’t doing anything until other people draw attention to them.

    4. Former Hoosier*

      As someone who has spent most of her career in HR, I have asked a co-worker to sit in on such a meeting. However, that has been in very specific situations. HR should not need you in this meeting. You have provided information and it is up to them to see if there really is a concern.

    5. Specialk9*

      Tell management that you will now not report problems, because they put you in such an uncomfortable spot. Thanks for explaining the rules.

  4. LadyPhoenix*

    Allison, would have a sex offender cause a hostile workplace? Or what conditions could make it hostile (like with him working with underaged coworkera)?

    1. Paul*

      There’s not a conviction that’d result in something being a (legally) hostile workplace.

      If there are conditions on someone’s probation or parole, some types of employment may be off limits (someone on probation for drunk driving probably can’t work at a bar in a lot of places). And there’s some crimes that’ll get you barred from some industries (i.e no child care place should hire a sex offender). But having to work with a felon doesn’t make it a hostile workplace.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Would you be willing to describe why you think it would/should be a hostile work environment claim? You’re definitely not alone in wondering this (OP did, too!), and I’m trying to understand the underlying rationale.

      1. Sue Wilson*

        I think it’s one or both of two things:

        1) People think “hostile” means threatening alone (and don’t realize that the hostility has to be toward a class characteristic) and they find people convicted of violent crimes threatening by their very presence.

        2) they realize that hostile work environment can apply to pervasive sexual harassment and find that having a rapist in the workplace to a pervasive and consistent sexual threat.

        Underlying both things is doubt in the efficacy or probability of rehabilitation, at least for violent criminals and probably for rapists in particular.

      2. Blue Anne*

        I read it as LadyPhoenix having pretty much the same question you do – “The OP thinks this, is there an actual reason for that?”

    3. persimmon*

      “Hostile work environment” is a term used for a type of discrimination case where there is constant low-level harassment based on sex, race, or similar (even though there may not be one specific incident that would otherwise meet the threshold for discrimination). Workplaces that are indiscriminately miserable aren’t “hostile” in this sense.

    4. Wintermute*

      “hostile workplace” has a VERY SPECIFIC legal meaning, it is often overused because of the common plain-language meaning of “hostile”.

      A hostile workplace is ONLY a workplace that is pervasively or systematically prejudiced against an EEOC protected class (that is sex, religion, race, skin color, national origin, family status, pregnancy, age but only if over 40, citizenship, disability, or genetic information).

      So if your boss is a jerk to everyone. Not hostile. Your boss starts a fight with you, he’s being hostile towards you but it’s not a hostile workplace. Your workplace widely and openly discriminates against people from southern states, not hostile workplace because state of origin is not protected, only national origin. Your workplace refuses to promote anyone under the age of 35 to management, not hostile because age IS a protected class but only for people over 40, you can freely discriminate against those younger.

      The conduct must also be pervasive or systemic and occur over a period of time.

      1. Observer*

        The conduct must also be pervasive or systemic and occur over a period of time.

        Not necessarily – if conduct is severe enough, once or twice can be enough.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Yes; there are two primary “branches” for a hostile work environment claim. Either it has to be one or more truly egregious incidents, or it has to be pervasive and systemic so as to “change the conditions of employment” for the employee.

    5. Holey Cheese Sauce*

      It would only become a hostile workplace if, after he started working there, he also started sexually harassing coworkers (or threatening or bullying them on other protected grounds, like race), if the coworkers could prove the bad behaviour, and if (as seems likely) the employers then failed to do anything effective to discipline him and protect their other staff.

      That said, if OP did end up workig with him, they could report him to his parole officer and/or call the police and get him arrested for anything that could be intereprested as dangerous, threatening or violent. Employment law and anti-workplace-discrimination laws were never really meant to deal with dangerous criminals – that’s what criminal law is for.

      Speaking personally, calling the police on his first offence would be my choice in this case, considering the severity of his crimes, the length of time he’s been in jail (jail damages even people who were sane and stable to begin with), and the lack of effective therapy offered to prisoners and parolees in general, let alone sex offenders.

    6. blackcat*


      But if sex offender proceeds to be a creep/harasser, and the work place doesn’t do anything about it (which this workplace clearly wouldn’t), THEN it could get into hostile workplace stuff. This seems possible in this particular case (mostly the workplace doing nothing in the event that the felon crosses lines).

  5. Mike C.*

    OP4: In additon to everything AaM said, there’s also the issue that if a group of employers get ttogether and let each other know when folks are applying elsewhere (and refuse to hire), it starts becoming illegal very quickly.

    I have to ask though, why is it your expectation that someone looking to hire would go through their candidates resumes and immediately rat them out to their current employers? Have you seen this before? Generally speaking, an employer who is hiring doesn’t care about the needs of your current employer and they’re trying to convince someone to accept an offer at some point – screwing the candidate over doesn’t really help.

    1. Just Biz*

      Maybe OP #4 is from an industry where people move around a lot and there isn’t the fear of being dropped like a hot potato if your employer finds out you’re job searching? Or as I read it again, maybe someone getting ready to enter the workforce?

      Unfortunately, most employers are going to start planning for your departure if they find out you’re searching, rather than thinking about how to retain you as an employee unless you’re really valuable/indispensable.

    2. OP4 9272017*

      In the company where I work, there are about 3,500 employees organized into some sixteen divisions, with a fair amount of division-crossing moves by employees seeking promotions or escape from an unpleasant situation. Many of the hiring decisions are made by managers with long tenures who have known each other well for a long time. These managers have more in common with each other than they do with their own division staffs, longer relationships etc. and tend to share information about all kinds of employee issues while networking and socializing. So when one of these hiring managers receives an application from an employee of another, they don’t always feel bound by this confidentiality convention; if they’re curious about why an employee is applying — for example, if the move would mean a pay cut — it’s not unusual for the managers to compare notes. I don’t think they feel they are “ratting anybody out” and it seems that there are seldom consequences for the employee making the application. Maybe my particular workplace is unusual that way. My question was prompted by my own take on this. If I applied for a job, I would not expect the hiring manager to maintain confidentiality. I would assume it would become more or less public knowledge and plan accordingly.

      1. Doodle*

        Oh, I think there’s somewhat of a difference if it’s an INTERNAL hiring situation. At my company, you have to tell your current manager if you’re applying for another internal division. I think that’s reasonably common — especially because if the other position is a better fit, it benefits the company as a whole — it’s not seen as a loss. That’s different than an outside company for the reasons others listed above (and below).

      2. CrazyJ*

        What’s described here is different from the impression given in the original question. If I were applying for an internal transfer within my company, I’d expect the managers to discuss it with each other fairly early in the process. Some companies/bosses can have an unhelpfully territorial attitude, but in general they’re more likely to think “This is a loyal employee who’s asking for career development within our company. Now we’ll figure out whether it makes sense to do that.”

        It’s different if you’re applying for a job outside of your current company. There, if your boss gets wind of it there’s a danger that you’d get pushed out sooner than intended. Maybe they’ll worry you’re likely to take business with you to a competitor, or they want to start planning your replacement immediately, or they take it personally and are crazy about it. That’s why it’s normal to expect hiring managers to keep things confidential.

        1. WerkingIt*

          Here’s the thing though, IT HAPPENS.

          I have a friend (Jane) who manages someone (Tom)… Tom applied to a job and someone else in the office (not even the hiring manager or someone in the same department, which in my opinion makes it weirder – let’s call her Patty) contacted James who works with Jane to ask about Tom before even deciding to interview her. James then told Jane that Tom had applied to a job at Patty’s company.

          My friend didn’t act on it or bring it up with Tom. But the point is, it happens.

          I ask this, what was Patty’s plan? In this instance she was informed that Tom was a below average employee, but what if she had been told that Tom was the best? She wasn’t the hiring manager. And even if she was, they aren’t likely to hire someone based on one comment. So either way, she’s outed Tom. And she’s put James in a very awkward position (he felt an obligation to tell Jane who is both a friend and fellow manager at their company). Boo on Patty is all I can say.

          1. Marty*

            Add in the fact that performance is often contextual, and whatever she learnt isn’t likely to be to meaningful. If he was a better fit, she would likely get better results.

        2. Chocolate lover*

          And I’m thankful yet again that my company doesn’t require you to tell your current supervisor you’re applying to another position in the organization, and many managers don’t discuss it with each other.

      3. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

        I wouldn’t expect any confidentiality for an internal move. The majority of companies I’ve worked for even require the current manager to approve the application for an internal position.

      4. Diane Nguyen*

        Many companies have policies that specifically address this with internal hiring situations, noting at what point in the process they expect you to notify your current manager. Some companies will require your manager’s permission just to apply for an internal position, while others ask that you let your manager know when you get an interview. In these situations, you’re right that you probably can’t expect a ton of confidentiality.

        In situations where you’re looking to leave your company, most hiring managers try to keep things confidential because outing candidates would discourage future applicants.

      5. Lindsay J*

        Internally is way different from external hiring.

        Internally, as a manager, you generally need to expend some sort of political capital to hire a good employee away from another department (especially when it is a lateral move rather than a clear promotion for the employee). Because basically, you’re just taking a problem that you have – an open position you need to fill – and shifting that same exact problem to another manager to deal with. There are also sometimes rules about internal transfers (have to be with the company a certain amount of time, not be in a disciplinary process, etc). You’ve also got to consider the impact on the company as a whole.

        For example, one of my employees just accepted a position in a different department. The hiring manager for the position spoke to my employee first to gauge his interest, and then came to me. I had to loop in my manager as well, as my employee has been with the company for less than a year and there is a company rule that requires an employee to be here a year or more before transferring that I do not have the power to waive. I am happy to let the employee go, first, because the new department is something he is currently in school for and interested in so it’s a good step for his career, and secondly and more practically, I know that if I blocked him from transferring he would likely start to look elsewhere for a similar position eventually and I wouldn’t be able to block him from leaving if he left for an external position.

        However, I just started in my position relatively recently, and I’ve had an open position since I’ve started that needs to be filled (someone was hired for the position at the same time as me but failed their background check, and then we went through another round of hiring and the resumes we got were weak and the top candidate wound up accepting a different job offer before we made the offer to him so we scrapped the whole round and are in the middle of trying again.

        The position my employee was interested in/being recruited for has been open for like 6 months, and is non-essential.

        So we talked to the hiring manager for that position and my employee and we all agreed to a start date of November 1st. My employee gets the new job, the new department gets a known quantity in a hard-to-fill role, and I get time to fill my one open position and start the hiring process to fill this employee’s position before he leaves me.

        If they had just hiring him away without talking to us, my boss would likely be resentful towards the manager of that department, who he has to work with regularly. I would be frustrated with the company for leaving me short-staffed. I would risk losing my one remaining (excellent) employee who would have to shoulder the work of 3 people while we hired for two positions, waited for them to clear background checks, and got them up to speed. The department that hired him away would also be adversely affected as we would not be able to adequately support them while we were short-staffed.

        If he did get hired away externally or something else happened we do have the resources to deal, but it would involve shifting those resources away from where they are needed elsewhere in the company. Giving us 60 days of lead time allowed things to work out well for everyone.

  6. Just Biz*

    I’m going to chime in on #2 because #3 is just too… yikes!

    “If he’s in good standing with the company and has some capital to use, he could also say something like, “This is a really big deal to me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, our plans have been in place for a long time, and it would be a serious blow to my relationship with the company if I not only have to cancel, but have to lose thousands of dollars to do it. I’ve gone out of my way for the company numerous times over the years, and I’m really taken aback by how this is being handled.””

    I love this suggested verbiage from Allison. Hopefully the company realizes that an employee potentially quitting over a flaky vacation policy is way more expensive and disruptive than just letting him go on vacation and making due. I mean, if he’s so irreplaceable that he HAS to be there for the time he scheduled for vacation, wouldn’t that mean he’d be too valuable to have quit as well? Please give us an update on what ends up happening, I’m really interested to see how this one pans out.

    1. Artemesia*

      No words for a company that would do this to someone. Certainly if these words don’t turn it around, the employee should leave the company as soon as they can find a good position elsewhere. In the rare case where the leave really cannot be granted, the company needs to cover the loss. This is totally outrageous that they would do this and not do so.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        There’s also a concept called promissory estoppel that could come in to play. Basically if you break your promise and the other person suffers financially then you have to make up for it.
        Perhaps the OP could check with the company’s legal department? At least they’d hink about paying for it.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I don’t think this would fall under promissory estoppel. That concept relates to contractual relationships between parties, and in this case, OP’s husband isn’t being harmed because of his employer’s failure to perform a contractual duty. That said, if they’re really going to rescind his vacation, the only decent thing to do is to try to make him whole for those losses. Refusing to even try to make an effort to resolve this fairly for OP’s husband is an indicatoin that this company does not value its employees’ wellbeing or itspromises to them.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                It doesn’t require the formal elements of a contract, but it does require that some sort of transaction or quasi-contractual agreement is taking place. You can’t just “promissory estoppel” people willy nilly.

                While there’s detrimental reliance, I suspect OP’s husband’s employer has a policy saying they can rescind vacation leave. If that’s the case, then there’s no underlying (legal) basis for a promissory estoppel claim.

          1. Apollo Warbucks*

            What about a non contractual claim like a Tort?

            It seems the company owe a duty of care to the OPs husband and that they would suffer damages as a result of having the PTO revoked.

            I know the law and what’s fair aren’t always the same thing but it just seems wrong the company are telling the OPs husband to suck it up and take the loss.

              1. Apollo Warbucks*

                Thanks for clearing that up. It’s a shame the company don’t have any obligation to cover the wasted costs.

        2. Wintermute*

          If you rely on someone else’s representations, and they mislead you, to your detriment, that’s about as classic a common law tort as you can get, however. Contracts don’t have to enter into it, only reasonableness and reliance.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Rescinding your vacation is not “misleading you” in most workplaces. I don’t want to get into a legal argument about U.S. common law, but promissory estoppel sounds in contract, not tort. If you’re trying to advance a tort claim based on detrimental reliance, it’s equitable estoppel. Regardless, neither applies to OP’s husband, and I don’t think this is a way for the husband to actually get what he needs/wants (i.e., vacation reinstated or reimbursement for non-refundable costs).

            In general, it’s not helpful to advise folks to go to their company’s legal department for personal legal advice on how to rebut/defeat the company’s decision. I wouldn’t even advise OP to speak to a lawyer about it because I don’t think it’s a useful or compelling negotiation strategy. Start with Alison’s approach and escalate as needed. Take notes about how the company reacts and whether this is the kind of employer you want to work for long-term. But don’t invoke legal-sounding phrases, particularly if you’re not willing/able to back them up.

        3. Triangle Pose*

          OP, don’t do this. Do not bring this up with your company’s legal department or assert that this is promissory estoppel. That’s not what this is. Take Alison’s script.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      “I mean, if he’s so irreplaceable that he HAS to be there for the time he scheduled for vacation, wouldn’t that mean he’d be too valuable to have quit as well?”

      This is a superb point.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yes, I really hope this is a case where “Screw it, I’m quitting” is on the table.

        There was a comment a while back from someone observing a controlled rage quit: Internal transfer denied because her boss had decided that she was so valuable that she could never leave him to go elsewhere. She made that her last day at that company, not just that job.

        1. RVA Cat*

          This. I’m hoping they have enough savings for him to give notice if his company won’t budge on the vacation.
          Bonus points if he can swing it so his last day is right before the vacation and he starts a new job right after.

        2. JM60*

          Perhaps if the OP is willing to risk losing their job over this, they could just go on vacation even though the request was rescinded. In that case, the employer would have to decide if they want the OP when they get back or not. If they don’t, they’ll have to pay for the PTO anyways (from what I understand).

      2. Changed*

        No-one’s irreplaceable, ever.

        Well, maybe one or two people in a million are so hard to replace that the hassle wouldn’t be worth it even with the most egregious of behaviour, but thinking you’re irreplaceable is a trap.

        If you’re “irreplaceable”, it just means that when they do go through the pain of firing you, it means the problems you caused were big enough that you effectively don’t have a reference.

        If your husband isn’t willing to quit over this, make sure he doesn’t suggest he might. Even if he is willing to quit over this, I’d still recommend not suggesting he might do so – an employer who’s heard a threat to quit is likely making backup plans and could even start thinking of pushing him out, even if a solution is found for this particular issue.

  7. Crystal*

    Oh my gosh, that vacation question leaves me so enraged on their behalf. Here’s a question, what if they still say he has to come in and he just doesn’t? Getting fired you get unemployment vs quitting right? I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It can vary by state, but usually you don’t get unemployment if you’re fired for misconduct or other cause, and not showing up to work is generally going to be considered a clear cut firing for cause.

      1. Wintermute*

        I think it might also be considered, in at least some cases, as quitting via abandonment. There’s some industries where it’s not the norm but at least fairly common (restaurants being the usual suspect, though a friend tells me that in the carnival and circus business it’s not rare either).

          1. Wintermute*

            The US has constructive discharge on the books, it just means you didn’t get fired but their conduct was egregious enough to make any reasonable person quit so you’re still elligible for unemployment. Typically they have to make working conditions “intolerable” or they need to be a substantial departure from what you were hired for. Pay cuts over 20%, reduction from full to part time or a significant number of hours, drastic changes in job duties or the level of work, intolerably close supervision and other means of “catching enough mistakes” to fire you (above and beyond what is the business and industry norm), those kinds of things can all be a constructive discharge.

            1. Samata*

              My step mom was award unemployment after quitting under constructive discharge. She went up against her multi-national company that she had been the top performer at for close to a decade. They sent in a dozen lawyers from home office to the hearing and she brought in a 3-inch stack of printed emails from her new supervisor, including ones that said “You did finish top in sales again this year, but with your new family I feel you haven’t been giving us your best. As a result, I will not be paying your bonus this year, which I have final authority on. You need to choose between being a mother and an employee, I trust I’ll have your decision by the end of the month.” Surprisingly this was not the worst of what her boss PUT IN WRITING. Boss got fired shortly after hearing from what we heard.

              1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

                Just wow. Good for your stepmom. I’m always a little paranoid so I tend to keep records of any interactions with my work, called in for extra shifts, sent home early, it is easy just to send a confirmation text which I then keep.

                1. Samata*

                  yes, this had caused me to probably over hoard documents in my special CYA folder. Good ones, bad ones, I have them all.

            2. LQ*

              Some states may have that. But all unemployment law varies from state to state. And what you are calling “constructive discharge” may be something else in a different state. (I know I say this a lot but this is really important, because you don’t want to assume something is universally true when it doesn’t even exist in the state you are in.)

              There may be other ways that constructive discharge is national or relates to national laws (or other employment laws). Just saying be ware from an unemployment perspective.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        I’ve had at least one employer who spelled out, in the policy manual (that you had to sign indicating you had received), that not showing up for three days in a row was considered abandonment and therefore you wouldn’t be fired, you would have officially quit.

        1. Peter the Bubblehead*

          But if you then go to Unemployment with paperwork showing you were approved for vacation at that time, and say as far as you knew you had approved vacation time and came back to find your locks changed, would that not look bad for the company that is claiming you quit via abandonment?

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            But that’s not what’s happening here. The LW has been (or potentially will be) notified that the approved leave was rescinded. They can’t claim they just “came back to find the locks changed.”

      3. LQ*

        Eh…this varies greatly by state. And WHY you don’t show up matters a lot in many states. (Not showing up because you’re on a vacation may make you not eligible, but not showing up because you’re sick/in the hospital may make you eligible.)

        It doesn’t matter what your handbook says, it matters what the law of the state is. So your handbook can’t say something and act like that’s going to make it legal: “like not showing up because you’re sick 3 days in a row is a cause to fire you” …sure it’s a cause for your workplace to fire you. But unemployment may say you are still eligible for benefits.

        1. LQ*

          And again, depending on the state? You’re in general more likely to get benefits if you are fired than if you quit. But first and foremost check your state laws, they are all that matter* if you are talking unemployment.

    2. attie*

      I’m not versed in US unemployment (and I think it varies by state) but generally if you fail to show up at your job and get fired for that reason you won’t be able to collect unemployment immediately. (Where I’m from it results in a 6 week exclusion period.)

      1. Natalie*

        While we have exclusion periods in the US, as far as I’m aware they aren’t applied due to the reason for unemployment. Rather, you might be excluded for a few weeks if you receive a severance payment, the exact number of weeks determined by how much the payment was in relation to your unemployment benefit.

    3. Artemesia*

      I don’t think he has any option except to bury his hatred and suck it up and then search for a job leaving hopefully at an inconvenient a time as possible and making sure everyone on the planet knows what occurred. This really fills me with rage. He won’t get unemployment if he no shows; but to continue to work with an employer so cavalier with an employees life is in supportable.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        And if this happens post about it on Glassdoor, Monster, and Indeed. Every person they know should know about it because that company doesn’t treat employees well.

        Reading about the possibility of them losing thousands without reimbursement makes me so upset for them.

        And I also hope he could quit at the worst time for them, when that company really needed him.

    4. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      The trip is in November and it is the end of September, so I would get my resume out there and try to line up a new job starting soon after the vacation. Then he can quit before the vacation and start the new position after.

  8. Artemesia*

    I think #1 needs an even stronger script. There is no excuse to drag the OP into this and essentially expect her to manage this loafer. She is not his manager; she has no authority to manage him; he is not her problem. Management needs to manage and there is no upside to putting her in this position.

    She needs to make clear to them that she is a co-worker not his manager and that she cannot work with him as a peer and somehow be expected to evaluate him. This is a management issue and is manager needs to address it. They sound like dotards; so good luck on this.

    1. Cringing PharmD*

      Ah, North Korea. They may figure out how to blow us off the map, but damn if they won’t teach us to love our own language again.

      I am tempted to agree with you, but the same problems that make them want me to do this dirty work for them (I suspect) make criticism directed their way even more loaded. I think I’ll have to lean on the work relationship/authority card.

  9. Gaia*

    I cannot even begin to imagine how mad I would be if my employer told me I had to cancel my vacation that I booked and paid for after they had approved my time off. And then, after I told them it was nonrefundable, they basically told me too bad? Ooooohhh man….. I would be seeing *red* and I’m not sure I’d be able to reasonably see myself continuing to work there, even if they eventually came to their senses.

    1. AJHall*

      I agree: I think it’s a dealbreaker even if they come to their senses and agree to let OP’s husband go *this* time, because they’ve shown that they cannot be trusted to keep their word AND they expect their employees to pick up the tab for their bad planning. If it had been a last minute emergency, OP’s husband was the only possible person to carry out what needed to be done, and if they had come to him with an “I’m truly sorry and OF COURSE we’ll pay all your non-refundable expenses and give you the time in lieu” then it would still have sucked but OP and her husband wouldn’t be left with this sense that they’d been suckered into a trap by the workplace and left holding the bill. This is the kind of management decision which leads to an exodus of good employees and a downturn in the quality of recruits very rapidly.

      1. Zathras*

        Seriously, I knew someone who had to delay a month-long trip to visit family overseas because of an emergency. In that case it really was an emergency – last-minute huge IT disaster, it was a small shop and the other IT person had resigned a few weeks earlier and not yet been replaced. He stayed, dealt with it, took his month a bit later than he’d planned – and his employer bought him new plane tickets in first class.

        1. finderskeepers*

          thats not an emergency. They could have hired other IT people or contracted it out. Here are workplace emergencies: meltdown at nuclear power plant, PD handling city wide riot, natural disasters threatening thousands of lives.

          The fact that the employer bought new first class tickets is a start, hopefully it was in real first class on an international carrier, and not United for example

          1. Zathras*

            From a business standpoint, a technical issue that completely brings down your services is an emergency. It’s no good for you if the company goes under while you are on vacation, so when the stakes are truly that high I think changing plans on the company dime is an appropriate ask. I agree that in this case the emergency could have been prevented by better planning on the company’s part.

  10. Blossom*

    OP4… Why on earth is that your expectation? People are allowed to change jobs! You make it sound like they’re runaway slaves! How perverse would it be for an employer to advertise a job and then punish people for applying?

    If you’re worried this would happen to you, I’d say breathe easy. The risk is more that the new employer would accidentally let it slip by, say, calling for a reference. Which would be a careless and preventable mistake.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Yep, your expectation is way off. Why would they do that to everyone who applies, which could be hundreds? Why would they have time and why would they bother when it would cause problems for a lot of people, like their boss firing them or being upset that they are looking or taking away opportunities or promotions?

      1. OP4 9262017*

        Ramona, thanks for your feedback. It sounds as if the place where I work is really unusual. While hiring managers here would not notify every applicant’s current employer, if the hiring manager personally knew the employee’s current supervisor (a fairly common circumstance where I work) it would not be unexpected for the hiring manager to call the applicant’s current supervisor and talk about the application, particularly if it involved a pay cut or was for a very different job.

        I would not expect that if I applied for a job elsewhere that my current boss would fire me or be upset with me, so that’s probably another example of how much I have to learn.

        1. serenity*

          What you’re describing is an internal hire in the same organization but different department.
          That’s quite different than what you implied in your letter (and what people are commenting on).

          1. OP4 9262017*

            Serenity, thanks for clearing that up. I am learning a lot, but I don’t think I’m really clear on this yet. Why would it make a difference if it were an internal hire or promotion? If this principle is so important that violations of it enrage AAM commenters, I can’t understand why that distinction is important. My original question was prompted because I work in a specialized area, and if I apply for a similar job at an entirely different company, the hiring manager is going to be somebody my current boss has known for years and sees at conferences, association meetings etc.

            For my own personal career planning, I will factor in the likelihood that if I look for a job anywhere else, my current boss will find out pretty quickly, and I will prepare accordingly. To do otherwise would be dangerous, because relying on this confidentiality convention seems unrealistic.

            1. Gandalf the Nude*

              With an internal hire/transfer/promotion, it makes more sense for the parties to communicate because they’re all working toward a common goal and the benefit of the same business. In that case it becomes more of a collaboration to find where the employee in question will be best utilized. The team might be losing the employee, but the organization on the whole isn’t. That doesn’t exist for an external applicant, whose employer might start pushing them out when they find they’re looking to leave. In some cases, that might work fine, but it takes the control out of the employee’s hands. For example, even if their boss doesn’t immediately fire them out of spite (worst case scenario), they might start making plans to replace the employee long before they actually have another job lined up.

            2. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

              But remember, those outside the company may be colleagues, but they also work for the competition. Many companies do not want their personnel moves discussed with competitors because it might cause them to not be able to hire the best candidates. For that reason, outside hiring tends to be more discreet.

            3. Anonygoose*

              It’s different because you are not leaving the company – you are moving to a new position within the company that you may be better suited for. It’s a good thing for the company, generally, if you get promoted or move between departments for something you are better at, because they get to keep you, so the managers might talk about whether or not it is really a good move, but either way, you are keeping your job (usually).

              Whereas it is a bad thing for your current company if you are moving to a new company, because they are losing you. So if you apply outside of your current organization, there is the expectation that the hiring manager won’t call your current manager to blab on you, because that may result in you getting fired.

            4. Diane Nguyen*

              The convention is to expect some confidentiality from outside potential employers as a professional courtesy, and because presumably the hiring manager’s loyalty here is to his current company rather than a colleague who works for a competitor. It is possible that your particular industry in your particular location doesn’t follow that convention — but that would mean there’s something unusual about that whole group.

              There’s certainly no harm in preparing just in case someone does break your confidence, because it does happen. It’s just generally regarded as pretty crummy behavior.

            5. AdAgencyChick*

              Oh my goodness, it’s an incredibly important distinction.

              You are looking internally = no one doubts your commitment to the company; if you are offered the position you’re applying for, your current boss has the opportunity to negotiate with your soon-to-be boss to make the transition easier.

              You are looking outside the company = Uh oh! You’re not “committed”! Suddenly it’s a situation in which your boss, if you are left to your own devices, will have no say in the timing of your departure or be able to call on you with questions after you leave. Your boss may decide to take matters into her own hands by searching for your replacement — before you’re actually ready to leave.

              I take the confidentiality of applicants very seriously because I’ve been burned myself when a rogue employee at a place I was interviewing decided to let my then-boss know I was looking. I don’t want people to avoid applying for a job on my team because they’re afraid they’re going to be ratted out to their current boss.

              1. Former Hoosier*

                And also, the company may decide that it isn’t a good move for the company to hire you in a new department. You may not like that and can choose what to do after this, but it isn’t unreasonable for the company.

            6. JN*

              Most US employment is “at will”, meaning that it can end at any time, for any reason (i.e. not tied to a signed contract with a guaranteed term of employment). If someone wants to leave a toxic work environment, for example, and is secretly job hunting, if a potential future employer “Sue” tells the current employer “Felix” that “Jane is applying for a job with me”, then Felix might (unjustifiably) give her a bad report to Sue, which could result in Jane not getting an interview or an offer, plus Felix now knows Jane is looking to leave, which could cause him to treat Jane worse than before. Or, he might just tell Jane to pack up her stuff and leave now. Given that most Americans have little–if anything–tucked away in a savings account or emergency fund, being let go for something like this without having already found a new job would be a financial disaster.

              My last job search (when I found my current job) was open, but that was a combination of having just graduated with my advanced degree and having had my position cut to half-time (with loss of benefits) due to a workplace financial crisis), so everyone understood me looking for something full-time with benefits. I’m job hunting again right now, and pick references other than current boss or coworkers, and I also note when listing my current workplace that I ask them not to be contacted given my quiet job search. Hasn’t been an issue so far, that I’m aware of. Granted, I don’t think my boss will be surprised when I leave for a better-paying job, and I don’t think there’d be much risk of being let-go for this (really don’t have anyone else here to pick up my tasks) but that doesn’t mean I want it advertised that I’m looking to leave.

          2. nonymous*

            My boss happily google-stalks candidates for overlapping social/professional circles and proceeds to ping them. These are not internal hires, and when I asked if he waited until after first-round phone interviews the answer was a cheerful “nope!”. He clarified that it’s not really his problem to deal with the fallout from this type of search (b/c presumably the applicant is confident they are leaving current position), but what he’s really looking for is a candid reference check, not one that has been rehearsed or prepared.

            1. RR*

              WOW. I hope he realizes that as word gets out (and it will) that there will be well-qualified folks who will simply not apply. Maybe they are confident that his position is worth leaving their current position for. Maybe they think doing this so early in the process (before the first round of phone interviews!) shows someone who uses the inherent power imbalance in this equation to full effect, and infer what kind of other less professional practices he might also engage in.

      1. OP4 9262017*

        Jolie, the more I read these replies, the more I understand that the place I work is really unlike the places most of you work. Yes, many hiring managers here are have close relationships with each other and see their staffs as subordinates, minions, assets or whatever, and this is just a part of the culture you deal with if you want to work here.

        I would be very surprised if I applied for a job elsewhere and my current boss punished me for it. That sounds like something most of the commenters here expect, but at my company, I don’t think that happens very often.

          1. Specialk9*

            It sounds like OP is unaware that minion has negative connotations.

            So here’s the wordquation*: minion = subordinate + managerial contempt + subordinate buttkissing + servant/dependent relationship.

            *Not the actual iPad app by that name. That one is for complex verbs.

            1. OP4 9262017*

              Specialk9, it took me 24 hours to realize that your wordquation insightfully summarized a key aspect of the corporate culture where I work. You nailed it!

        1. Observer*

          I’m finding your replies quite puzzling. For one thing, you don’t answer the question presented – why would you use the term minion?

          Also, you keep on talking about what happens with INTERNAL moves, which is fundamentally different from EXTERNAL moves. Do you not see the difference?

          1. OP4 9262017*

            Observer, when I used the word “minion” I meant “a follower or underling of a powerful person,” which is definitely the way many managers in my organization regard their employees.

            The distinction between the internal vs. external moves is also not as clear-cut where I work. While a transfer from one division to another might seem like a company-wide cooperative interest, in practice, the competition between divisions is as fierce as the competition with other companies. And if I applied for a job at another company, if it were local, my boss would almost certainly know the hiring manager at my target company, having seen him/her numerous times over the years at association functions, conventions etc. So I would not be surprised if my boss got a call from the company I’m applying at, since the two of them would probably have known each other for a long time.

            I am finding all of the feedback fascinating and appreciating more and more how unusual the place I work apparently is!

          1. OP4 9262017*

            Bugbutt, I am a native English speaker, born in America. Apparently the word “minion” has connotations I should be more sensitive to.

    2. hbc*

      It sounded to me more that OP thought the managers are an evil, finger-tenting cabal trying to keep good honest people down. I’m sure there are some people like that, who would run off and tell their cronies the minute they found someone “disloyal” in their resume pile, but they’re really outliers. Most people don’t consider ratting someone out because of morality and the golden rule and all that, and for others, they’d have to coincidentally have an applicant connected to an acquaintance *and* decide that passing along that knowledge was worth the potential risk to reputation and future applicant pools.

      I think even your average sociopath wouldn’t bother.

      1. OP4 9262017*

        I am OP on this question, and I’m really glad to hear such energetic replies – they’re very educational. The place where I work may be unusual, but I don’t get the sense that the managers here feel that they are “ratting out” anybody by asking an applicant’s current supervisor why one of their staff people is applying for a job in another division of our company. I wrote to AAM because I would never expect a hiring manager to keep my application a secret, and I would not expect my current supervisor to punish me for applying elsewhere.

        1. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

          Does it help to think of it this way? If your manager knows you are looking for other work, why wouldn’t they protect their department by going ahead and finding your replacement? Then if your interviewing doesn’t work out, you are out of a job because they already replaced you. That’s why the confidentiality is so important. Again, this doesn’t really come into play with internal positions. If you apply internally, then the company still has the power. It gets to decide where they want to use you.

  11. AJHall*

    OP#2: I cannot imagine how furious you and your husband must be feeling right now. Furthermore, since it looks like a case of a employee who did all the right things (booking time well in advance, only making the reservations once it was confirmed) being punished for it anyway, is it possible to get to the bottom of why this is happening? That is, it can’t be a sudden emergency keeping him in place, because the departure date is six or more weeks away, so why on earth didn’t the office either know the need for him at the time when leave was requested, or rule him out of their planning when the need for cover came up after he had been booked off? Asking those sort of questions (hopefully in a constructive way) may help bring home to them just how big a mistake going back on an agreed vacation arrangement and leaving their employee badly out of pocket is. The employment relationship is a contract albeit one with specific features, and this company has just shown itself incapable of keeping to its side of the bargain. Every employee in the company will be wondering if it’s them next.

    1. Matt*

      I can imagine how such a situation could come up at my place of work: I’m a software developer at government, more especially my city’s municipality. Usually vacations are no problem, but the one thing where we have a general “all hands on deck” situation is an election (for which we have to run the entire IT system, from keeping the electors registry to counting the votes to publishing the results on the web site, transferring result data to TV stations, etc. pp.). Mostly election dates are known at least several months up to a year in advance, but it has happened that the major government parties have decided to split up and get into a new election (or the president would die, or whatever …), and then a date for it is set with about two months notice. Of course by political decision with no whatsoever regard to employees vacation plans. I once had to cancel a September vacation because in July an election date for exactly that weekend was set. (That’s why I nowadays schedule my vacations in the main summer season – not because I had children at school, love to pay higher prices or sweating at high temperatures, but because these are also the political h0lidays and safe of elections ;-)

      Not wanting to defend your employer if they don’t deserve it though – this is a really bad situation and I hope they have a really good reason for it.

      1. AJHall*

        I can certainly imagine how such a situation might come up, but OP2 didn’t mention it was “all hands on deck”, just that it was her husband who was being required. But I still think the sticking point is their refusal to make good his wasted costs.

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          I can see it happening in a situation where, say, something unexpected happens and they need to replace major system X, which will take several months and this one person is the only one who can really run that sort of project.

  12. JonSnow*

    At 5 – seriously ? Is it a big deal in the states to take 4 weeks vacation? 3 weeks is recommended to get a proper break away from work where I come from (Denmark / Scandinavia) and every full time has at bare minimum 6 weeks per year + national holidays.

      1. Jaz*

        Taking 3-4 weeks at once it’s standard where I’m from (Sweden, so also Scandinavia). Five weeks is the legally mandated minimum.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      The US don’t get the holidays you do. We also don’t do as well as you in the UK – I have 25 days to take when I want and about 13 set ones (bank holidays etc), but that is not above average.

    2. Alienor*

      It’s a pretty big deal. I’ve only worked with one person in my 20-year career who took 4+ weeks of vacation at once, and it was for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not regular vacation. Two weeks is unusual, but not unheard of –I’ve done it a few times, and known others who did, mostly for overseas trips. I would say the standard is to take a week at a time, though, and a lot of people never take more than a couple of days to create a long weekend.

      1. Alienor*

        Also, there’s no legally required amount of vacation in the US – some people don’t get any, some people only get a week or two. I get just over five weeks a year (plus seven or eight paid holidays) but that’s after being with the same company for quite a while and isn’t standard at all.

    3. Apollo Warbucks*

      I’m in the uk and it’s standard to take two weeks off at once, but more than that is normally considered to be at your managers discretion although the last three places I’ve worked have been fine with me taking three weeks or more in one go.

    4. Engineer Girl*

      It’s a big deal now. It was OK up until the end of the 90s. Then employers started to squeeze. It’s hard to get a 2 week vacation any more.
      Employers can do that because of at will employment. People are scared to take longer vacations. On the other hand, employers are much more willing to hire because they can undo a bad mistake. So younger worker unemployment is much lower than many countries because no one is locked in. In the US the unemployment rate is 8.9% where in many European countries it is significantly higher.

      1. MK*

        If an employer needs a worker, they will hire someone regardless of how easily they can fire them. Also, employment contracts do not mean it’s impossible to fire people; usually it just means the employer has to pay severance, which is calculated by how long one has been employed. In my experience, firng someone when severance is mandatory can be a lot more painless “sorry, we don’t need you any more, here’s the check” than what I read about firing in the U.S.. And employers are motivated to handle unsatisfactory workers sooner rather than later, when they know they will pay more in severance the longer it goes on.

        Also, unemployment rates are not solely, or even primarily, determined by how much rights the worker have; I question whether it’s a significant factor at all. The idea that having fewer legal rights makes you more “competitive” as a worker, if it’s even somewhat true, usually applies only the very high-level employees.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          There’s a fairly strong correlation between employee rights and youth unemployment. Look at France.

          1. Myrin*

            I’m not following that logic at all – you say “On the other hand, employers are much more willing to hire because they can undo a bad mistake. So younger worker unemployment is much lower than many countries because no one is locked in.” but… there’s only a finite amount of jobs available. What you’re saying might mean that there’s more rotation, so to speak, but not that there’s less unemployment overall, I think?

            Like, let’s say you hire a young person and keep them on for a year vs. you hire one person, fire them after three months and get another young person to work for you and do the same thing. In the first scenario, you have one person employed for a year and three who are unemployed. In the second scenario, you have four people who are each employed for three months but also unemployed for nine months. Sure, that might be favourable because then at least all four of these people have a bit of money but I’m not seeing the correlation between general youth unemployment and fireability. I feel like I’m misunderstanding a core point here because it has literally never before occurred to me that there might be any kind of relation between the two points.

            1. Em Too*

              Except there’s not a finite number of jobs available. Because people get jobs, and so have more money, to buy more things, which creates more jobs. [Or inflation. It’s complicated.]

              There’s some association between strong protections making companies a bit slower to hire because they want to be really sure they need that post and of course generally slower turnover will mean fewer openings for young people, but in the end if employers have the work, they’ll make the hire.

              1. MK*

                In the current climate of employer mentality, eeople buying more things is more likely to create more overworked retail and manufucturing workers than more jobs.

                1. the gold digger*

                  This is anecdata, but my company, which designs and manufactures equipment that automates processes that humans can do, is doing gangbusters business in France. Employers have told our salespeople that they just do not want to deal with employees anymore.

        2. Five after Midnight*

          If an employer needs a worker, they will hire someone regardless of how easily they can fire them.

          I respectfully disagree. The ease of termination does play a role in employer’s decision to hire. This is especially true where (like in the UK) there exists an employment contract for essentially every position and there are strong statutory employee protections.

          AFAIK, in the UK, after 2 years of employment you can only be terminated a/for misconduct or b/due to your position being eliminated. In case a/there is a lengthy (and often expensive and distracting) process to effect the dismissal. In case b/ you do pay severance but cannot hire a replacement (well, not in an obvious one-for-one way). Hence the rise of so-called zero-hours contracts that allow employers to create flexible workforce. But guess who gets the short end of the stick under those contracts… (hint: they get around the employee rights and benefits)

          OTOH, the US’s at-will employment is extremely flexible, but that comes at the expense of the employees’ rights and protections. Some states are more progressive than others in providing the safety net for unemployed and legal protections for workforce in general, but it’s a patchwork approach.

          1. Em Too*

            I think most of the lengthy dismissal processes are down to employers and/or unions rather than a legal issue.

    5. Five after Midnight*

      When I worked in the UK, I was jealous of the Swedish team’s vacation allowance – they got almost entire August off, plus several other weeks throughout the year, plus national holidays, plus 1/2 days before national holidays; while all I had was the statutory allowance of measly 25 days plus 8 bank holidays. Of course, that was a significant improvement over US’s 15 days (PTO-vacation/sick combined) plus 7 holidays, of which I never ever took more than one week at a time.

    6. Justme*

      Considering I get 2 weeks of vacation time per year, a vacation as you suggested is impossible. So it’s a big deal.

    7. Enya*

      I’m in Israel, and many people at my company, including me, take a 3-week vacation every year. Very common here.

    8. Sonya*

      I work in finance and ten consecutive days’ leave is mandated in our industry. It’s got a dual purpose: to prevent burnout and, really, to pick up “irregularities” – i.e. creative accounting can’t be maintained if the culprit is out for some time, and will be detected.

      We are obligated to take this leave regardless of whether we are permanent, contract, temp or casual, and it makes no difference if you have the (paid) leave available – you have to go.

    9. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      Another Swede – we’re encouraged/almost obligated to take 4 weeks in a row during the summer.

      1. caryatis*

        I would get SO TIRED of taking 4 weeks in a row off. What would you do with all that time? If you travel, it would be incredibly expensive, and if you stay at home, I’d finish all my errands and be bored after a week.

        1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

          I would love it. One long trip maybe for volunteering or immersive language learning, many small local trips, being able to schedule any big home/car repairs, finally catching up on the hundreds of half done projects I have, etc. I could absolutely fill 4 weeks a year.

          1. Amadeo*

            So could I. I work in a higher ed office and we get at very least the week between Christmas and New Year’s off and I always wish I had more. A week spent doing next to nothing and winding down, two weeks or so catching up on all those little hobby projects around the house and the 4th week to wrap them up and get it back in my head that the next Monday morning I’ll be returning to work.

            Sounds ideal!

          2. Chinook*

            ” One long trip maybe for volunteering or immersive language learning, many small local trips,”

            The Swedes, and Europeans in general, have an advantage over us N.Americans when it comes to spending 4 week worth of vacation – they can actually travel to different places more easily. If/when my colleagues take 2 weeks off in a row (4 is rare as most people split it into smaller groupings), they usually just go camping because it takes hundreds of kilometers to leave the province (and days of driving to go to most other provinces, especially if we want to immerse ourselves in our other official language) and usually a flight to leave the country. As a result, 2 weeks is usually enough time to decompress and relax, especially if you can do it a couple times during the year.

        2. Here we go again*

          There is a difference between the cost of traveling and the cost of taking a vacation. Vacations tend to be expensive since people are looking to be pampered. Travelling can be surprisingly affordable, if you are willing to make sacrifices.

        3. Em Too*

          I just took five weeks (between posts – would be a bit much otherwise in the UK). I spent a week doing housework/errands etc, a couple of weeks staying with relatives, a week’s ‘proper’ vacation and a week doing day trips/relaxing at home. It was *fantastic*.

        4. Blue Bird*

          If you’re Swedish, you just need that time to soak up the sun while it’s there. I’m not even kidding. :-)

          1. Chinook*

            “If you’re Swedish, you just need that time to soak up the sun while it’s there. I’m not even kidding. :-)”

            I believe you because that is the number one reason trying to get volunteer groups to meet during the summer in Canada is frowned upon (unless you can guarantee the meeting is on a patio). The period between June to August is also usually a period of time when you will never have all the employees at work (so no all-hands meetings) and even managers and other boss types will plan their vacations so that at least one person with signing authority is around, even if that one person is covering for 5 other departments – which is okay because other businesses are also like this.

        5. nonymous*

          there was a thread on reddit where a bunch of Scandinavians chimed in that ~1:10 people have a vacation cabin. So it’s pretty common to have access to 1 or 3 cheap vacation locations via family and social circles. I don’t know if that statistic is true, but certainly the amount of vacation time would make a cabin more attractive, financially, than in the US.

        6. Some sort of Management Consultant*

          Oh, lots of different things!
          Let’s see.

          I had four weeks vacation exactly this summer.
          I spent one in Italy on a family vacation. One at home catching up with friends. One and a half at my parents’ summer house. (Like someone said below, it’s REALLY common for Swedes to have some sort of vacation home). And the last half of a week in London with friends.

          The law says you have the right to four weeks leave in a row during June-August (as in employers can’t deny you that. They can deny those kind of long vacations “off season”.)

          I have 30 vacation days in total so I’ll take another two weeks or so off at Christmas. I think it’s a slightly better Christmas this year, time off-wise.

      2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        Same in Finland. Of course there are jobs where coverage is important so everyone can’t be on vacation at the same time, but in some jobs people are encouraged to take the 4 week vacation in one piece and approximately the same time. This causes the known phenomenon that “Finland is closed in July”. Lots of people disappear to their summer cottages and only places that are open are tourist attractions, grocery stores and emergency services. (not the literal truth but not ridiculously far from it either…)

    10. MsChanandlerBong*

      At my first full-time job, I had five paid days off per year. Five total. Not five vacation days and then sick/personal time on top of it. A grand total of five days. I was hospitalized that year, so I didn’t get to take a vacation at all.

    11. Nye*

      If you’re lucky enough to get a job that includes vacation in the US, it’s pretty typical to start at 2 weeks and it often caps at 4 weeks. It’s also often discouraged by employers for employees to take > 1 week off at a time.

      My father, who gets fairly generous vacation for the US (6 weeks, I think) has only taken maybe 2 vacations in this life that were >2 weeks. One was his honeymoon and the other was a trip to NZ to visit me (when I was studying there). He has never to my knowledge taken more than a couple days off when he didn’t check work email and call in for meetings. While he’s a white-collar employee, he’s always been worried that talking time off will affect his job, and he’s probably right. He’ll retire next year.

      It’s not a good system, but all this is to provide some context. Having a 2-week vacation is probably a big deal for the letter-writer, even aside from the financial aspects of cancellation.

    12. Essie*

      It is a huge deal in the U.S. As I mentioned below, I twice took 4 consecutive weeks of PTO, and lost my job soon after my return both times.

    13. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      It’s interesting, you can tell who’s in the US vs. elsewhere by their reactions to asking to take 4 weeks off at once. In the US, yes, it’s a big deal. It’s also nowhere near a given that you have that much PTO to take.

      If your mind is boggled by this, you’re lucky.

    14. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      I’ve never worked anywhere where I could get more than 1 week off approved at a time.

    15. Clownbaby*

      I get 10 days of vacation a year…I can roll up to 5 days over each year if I manage not to use them. I used 8 days all at once in August to take a trip to Iceland. To get my company to approve was like pulling teeth; They generally don’t like people to take more than 5 days at once.

      At my last job I accumulated 1 day of vacation each year. So three years there and I was up to…3 days a year. When I came to my current company, I was ecstatic at the vacation policy, now…not so much.

        1. JulieBulie*

          My first job out of college, 1989, family-owned business (real estate tycoon), I was to get ONE vacation day for my first year. But I lasted only three months in that place, thank goodness.

        2. Clownbaby*

          Nope, you understood correctly. We also didn’t have paid sick time. If we used a sick day, we had to bring in a doctor’s note. I showed up to work more than once because I couldn’t really afford to miss a day of pay…and also because my department was incredibly short staffed and no one could really cover for me.

          It was terrible. The one saving grace of the company was the annual bonus. I hear the vacation policy has improved slightly since I’ve left, but still no paid sick leave.

    16. kittymommy*

      I actually don’t think I would like taking that much time of in one chunk. I like being able to have little breaks through the year.
      Not that being able to take of 4 weeks at a time wound ever happen. My department consists of me and 6 bosses. Taking 3 days off in a row results in meltdowns from the people who have to cover me.

    17. Diane Nguyen*

      Most American workers don’t even have four weeks of paid time off. There’s no legal requirement to provide any paid time off, and the standard for most entry-level jobs is still about two weeks paid time off. Americans who have four weeks’ vacation available to them either work for an unusually generous company or are pretty high up the latter at an average company.

      As such, it is uncommon to take more than a week or two off at one time because:
      a) our culture is weird about vacations
      b) most of us have few job protections and don’t want to risk looking replaceable
      c) companies generally don’t have good plans in place for covering an employee who will be gone more than a couple of weeks

    18. LurkNoMore*

      My manager once said that having a honeymoon would be the only way to get a two week vacation. Since I’ve never married, I haven’t had more that 10 days off at a time in 30 years! A woman in the office just took a two week vacation to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary and it took awhile to get approved.

    19. JN*

      Yes, it can be a big deal. I work at a private university where we get a minimum of 19 paid days off (sick and vacation) plus 15-17 paid holidays (depends on how the calendar falls out) each year. But at least in my department, time off is generally taken in weekly chunks at the most (occasionally up to 2 weeks), simply because if someone is gone for long, there’s risk of things falling through the cracks or not being done right if they aren’t in the office. Granted, we do our best to keep things running smoothly, but there are limits to how well that works when we’re doing things we don’t normally do, plus doing it on top of our normal jobs. Generally the only people here who would take a month off at a time are those who are on 11 month contracts and have to do so.

    20. NotAnotherManager!*

      Taking 4 consecutive weeks off is virtually unheard of in the US, unless you have recently had a baby or are taking a sabbatical or have a very unusually generous employer. Many places don’t even provide that much paid time off for the year.

      Most people I know take a week off, maybe two if they’re travelling abroad, but that is not an every-year kind of thing. For the US, we have a very generous leave policy, and you’re required to get special permission to take more than 10 consecutive business days off.

    21. Artemesia*

      Many US employees have no vacation or a week the first year or two or three. Two weeks is quite standard with maybe earning the third week many years in if at all. This is quite typical.

    22. OP5*

      Yep. Serious. I don’t know one person who has ever taken four weeks vacation time, except for pregnancy leave.

    23. Traveling Teacher*

      Yeah, this is why I always tell my parents that I will never, ever move back to the US. The relatively lower salary is more than compensated by the generous vacation time.

      To all those wondering what to do with 4 straight weeks’ holiday, you also need to bear in mind that some countries don’t have air-conditioning. Summer is brutal. Just imagine working in 40C or higher heat every day in an office with no air-conditioning…that’s also why taking July or August off is an absolute must!

    24. GermanGirl*

      In Germany people usually get 6 weeks vacation a year (4 weeks is the legal minimum) and the employer has to allow you to take up to three weeks in a row unless it would be undue hardship on them.

      I’ve seen a couple of cases where people took all six weeks in one go to travel the world.
      But it is really common to take time off in chunks of two or three weeks.

      You just have to let your employer know far enough in advance – in some companies and departments they make a vacation plan at the beginning of the year. And for those extra long trips it is of course a good idea to pick the least busy time for your department – or a time with no school breaks so parents will be glad to cover for you and you can cover for them when they take a trip with their kids during summer break.

  13. DCBA*

    Q #5 – At my company, most exempt employees earn 3 weeks of vacation a year (sick leave / PTO is separate), and since we have so many employees who grew up overseas, it is very common for people to accrue all of their leave and then take a single trip lasting 3-4 weeks (including some unpaid time) to go visit family. Since that type of trip is expected, it just gets planned for far enough in advance that the impact is minimal. If you can give at least 6 months notice, and pick a time of year that is usually less hectic for your particular position, you should have a good case for taking the 4 weeks (especially if you offer to be “on call” for any emergency situations).

    1. nonymous*

      I worked in a place like that, and we had a cap on the number of people who could be off at any one time. So one year all the foreign-born staff on my team got together and worked out between them who was taking which weeks off so they could be home for birthdays/new grandbabies/etc.

      It meant that the three of us who were American by birth couldn’t take scheduled vacay between Jan and May of that year. Rubbing salt into this was that it was presented to management as “Everyone on the team agreed to this schedule”.

    2. OP5*

      Good idea. I think I will raise the subject very early to give time for projects to get finished and to be sure there’s enough coverage.

  14. MommyMD*

    If the rapist/murderer gets out, find another job. He’s not safe to be around and will likely reoffend. This is his core personality. Bad situation. Rapists have a very high recidivism rate.

    1. MacAilbert*

      That has yet to be proven. The high recidivism rate used to argue for Megan’s Law has not really been demonstrated by further scholarship, but by the same token sex crimes are massively underreported. So, we have no idea what the recidivism rate actually is. We certainly don’t have any conclusive evidence that it’s significantly higher than the median.

    2. Zillah*

      Along with this not being a particularly helpful line of thinking for the OP’s question, I want to point out that the odds are very, very high that most of us have worked with a rapist before, even if just fairly casually, and not even known it – either because we don’t know about a criminal conviction or because the person in question was never charged. I would be job-searching, too, but I don’t think that comments about recidivism among rapists is particularly helpful.

      1. KHB*

        That’s a good point. There are studies that have found that between 5% and 15% of men will admit to having committed or attempted rape, as long as you don’t use the word “rape” in the question. If you work with at least 20 men, odds are that at least one of them is a rapist.

        That said, it sounds like this guy’s actions were pretty heinous, even among rapists, and of course murder is a whole ‘nother thing. I’d be uncomfortable working around him too, especially in a family business that’s committed to standing by him no matter what.

      2. Courtney*

        Right, but if you take into account rapists who have murdered their victim, and where it was premeditated, that number of those of us who have worked with one without realizing it probably goes way down. I sure wouldn’t feel safe working with someone who planned out, and followed through on, a rape and murder. Someone who has the capacity for that is psychologically very likely to be difficult to rehabilitate. Granted, I don’t have any statistics in front of me, I’m just looking at it from a psychology of personality angle.

        1. Zillah*

          Absolutely. I just think that there’s a tendency to get very anxious when we know that someone falls into one of those categories. That’s understandable, and it’s often (including in this situation, IMO) very reasonable. The fact that the vast majority of us probably interact with rapists on a regular basis is just something to keep in mind when we start talking about recidivism rates among rapists or abusers in general.

    3. Anonfortoday*

      The recidivism stats being a myth is true, recidivism is really hard to quantify, but the study that those laws were based on was deeply flawed. I don’t have a problem with personal stands: I have a cousin my siblings and I cut off as a group because of a nasty crime he committed. But general legal policy is something else.

    4. Mookie*

      If we’re going for full moral panic mode, we might as well also acknowledge just how difficult it is to successfully prosecute a rapist, anyway. As Zillah says, many go undetected, except by their victims, and/or unpunished their entire lives. Your copypasta here is not helpful, useful, or particularly true.

      1. caryatis*

        How does the fact that it’s hard to prosecute rapists lead to the conclusion that we should accept working with a rapist (and murderer)? All the more reason to ostracize the few who are caught, who are generally the worst of the worst.

        1. Mookie*

          I don’t think anyone should be forced to accept anything (and I think the LW and her colleagues should plan to find other work). I think you should reasonably expect, however, to encounter undetected criminals and ex-convicts everywhere, including at work. The US justice system is flawed from top to bottom, from the ways that we detect crime to the frequency with which we convict innocent people, how we let others off or treat them with unwarranted leniency while stripping some of their civil rights and privacy. We also treat a lot of victims like shit and put them through hell. I don’t think compounding the problem by creating pariahs and stoking the circumstances that encourage recidivism is the best course of action for us, the majority who will never commit a serious or violent offense but who could be unwittingly made into someone’s victim. This is not about protecting, coddling, or giving privileges to rapists or forcing anyone in particular to hire them, work with them, or provide them with their dream job and their pink house, too; it’s also about not playing Innocent Tough Commenter who thinks we can shame convicted rapists into non-existence. They’re there whether we like it or not. I’d prefer them not to be desperate or subjected to endless humiliation not because I have empathy for them but because people are dangerous when they are backed into a corner and at some point, in a civilized society, we holding our noses and employ pragmatic means to achieve as much safety and security as possible, and that includes extending an assisting hand to bad’uns who’ve done their time according to the prevailing laws.

          1. serenity*

            This has very much come into play with the case of Michelle Jones in the last couple of weeks (she’s the woman convicted of killing her child in the early 90s who was just rejected from a PhD program at Harvard). The case has attracted a lot of commentary, and I think we as a society need to talk about those things. There were quite a lot of people who said Jones shouldn’t have been rejected from Harvard, and the cases they made were certainly worth listening to.

        2. Jessie the First (or second)*

          Yup, ditto with Mookie – you can accept or not accept anything you want. But chances are, you have worked with rapists already.

          And for what it is worth, no, the ones who are caught are not “generally the worst of the worst” – it varies quite widely, based on all sorts of things, and severity of the crime is not actually one of them (race of victim vs race of suspect, socio-economic class, thoroughness of investigators, responsiveness of police, how quickly the victim got to a hospital, availability of rape test kits and how quickly – if ever – those kits are tested, quality of the DA or defender…..and on and on and on). It is just not true that the ones who are caught are always “the worst” and the ones who are not caught are less serious. Big old nope on that one.

          Accept or don’t accept whatever you want. But it is more helpful if we avoid making employment and legal decisions on the basis of myths.

          1. Susie*

            That’s not even counting all the people committing crimes against children and animals. The results would be staggering….. :(

      1. caryatis*

        There’s nothing inflammatory about saying that rapists “are not safe to be around.” That’s why we put them in prison.

        1. serenity*

          That’s not what the comment said. And that’s also….your opinion. Stats on recidivism aren’t as clear, as others mentioned.

            1. serenity*

              For making sweeping, inaccurate generalizations about convicted felons, yes I expect at least a clarifying or correcting comment from the site owner.
              And MommyMD should know better (her comments are frequently brusque, but this is beyond the pale).

              1. Emi.*

                That’s pretty far outside the scope of regular moderation around here, not to mention a helluva can of worms.

                1. serenity*

                  Excuse me? Alison frequently chimes in to correct or address inaccuracies on this site. Saying someone convicted of rape is never safe to be around ever is incendiary, not to mention doesn’t take into account instances of wrongful convictions which certainly happen.

                2. Emi.*

                  Ohhh, I interpreted “Alison needs to shut this down” to mean “Alison needs to forbid people saying this,” not “Alison should contradict people who say this.”

        2. Oryx*

          No, we put rapists in prison when and if (which is always a big if) they are convicted of a crime. Prison is not a holding place of allegedly dangerous people, it’s punishment for those who are found guilty and punished by the laws governing our country.

      1. aebhel*

        The worst thing they’ve ever done is still something people get to take into account when evaluating their character, though.

        1. Anon21*

          Of course. I’m disagreeing with the statement that “This is his core personality.” It wouldn’t be true if he had committed the crime recently, and it’s certainly not true of someone who committed crimes 20-30 years ago.

      2. RadManCF*

        The worst thing a person has done can vastly overshadow everything else they are. I’d point to Anatoly Dyatlov as a prime example.

      1. Seriously?*

        He did it twice in less than a year and murdered the second one, so… not holding out a lot of hope there.

        1. Criminologist*

          I mean, I’d be super hesitant about working with this person. I’m responding to MommyMD’s comments, which are not in line with data.

    5. Owl*

      This guy committed these crimes when he was sixteen/seventeen years old — he’s now at least 54 years old. There’s no way to know what he’s like now. (Though not getting out on parole in the first time is certainly not a good sign.)

  15. teclatrans*

    Yes, the a European approach to long holidays is pretty foreign to us. Here, 2 weeks is a long vacation, 3-4 weeks isnt unheard of but is pretty special, and isn’t even possible for most folks (who often only receive 2-3 weeks vacation time per year, and many don’t get to roll unused days forward). We don’t staff for redundancies, maternity leave, etc., in the way I have heard described about other countries here on AAM

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      So would it be naive to suggest the husband’s employer gets a temp to cover him? Though I guess it depends on the nature of his work.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        If he’s that necessary to the company one could expect that a temp would be useless. Otherwise another coworker could do the job.

  16. Ramona Flowers*

    #3 I think this company does sound dysfunctional – I mean, the pay cut thing is off the wall – but this is arguably preferable to them bringing him in and not telling the staff at all, given they would have figured it out sooner or later. But the way they told the staff is appalling.

    For many types of criminals, I am in favour of people getting the opportunity to reintegrate into society, because if you can’t get a job you’re more likely to reoffend. In general, I think rehabilitation is everyone’s job.

    But I don’t believe that anyone has managed to successfully rehabilitate this particular type of offender (and I say that knowing people who have done psychological work in prisons with sex offenders). This is not really the kind of thing where you can reasonably just note that someone has done their time and assume it’s all okay now. (Please nobody pile on me for mentioning the very idea of trying to get sex offenders to change. I am a rape survivor and a friend of a friend was raped and murdered on a school trip, so I am not being naive about the impacts of such crimes. On the.) And I think it’s understandable to be afraid and to not want to be part of a live experiment to see what he does next.

    If he does start working there, I would make sure they are never alone leaving the premises and that they watch out for each other until they find new jobs.

    I would have thought they’d take steps to protect his identity but they’ve kind of made him a ready target for vigilantes.

      1. Original Poster Here*

        And the actual details of both instances are very, very disturbing and heinous for a teenager…

    1. Psychology nuts and bolts*

      The saying that people who don’t get jobs are less likely to reoffend (reentry to workforce to reduce rate of recommitting crimes) has to do with certain crimes not ~All~ crimes. I suspect it is tied to economic reasons (theft, selling drugs, etc).

      The crimes of rape has nothing to do with having a job!!! What I have heard was that rapists desire to rape was tied to a desire to exert control over a victim, to feel more powerful and feed the inner wolf or wanting to make someone else afraid. It’s not just a sexual crime it’s a Control others crime.

    2. Original Poster Here*

      It was big news around here and continues to be each time he comes up for parole. So there is no “protecting his identity”. Everybody knows who he is.

      1. Emi.*

        The fact that his family is planning to cut all of your pay to fund his salary makes it pretty clear that they are not going to take it seriously if he does act out at work. I hope you can all find new jobs. :(

    3. Aphrodite*

      “If he does start working there, I would make sure they are never alone leaving the premises and that they watch out for each other until they find new jobs.”

      For the current employees, it’s also worth considering that the rapist, as a family member, might easily get to personnel files–addresses, phone numbers, and other very private information that could be used to harm the employees.

  17. Kate, Short for Bob*

    OP3 – how many months salary equivalent are you looking at losing? Enough to make it a better deal for your husband to quit and get another job post holiday? Enough to be confident in forcing their hand by offering a leaving day of the last day before your holiday? What’s the job market like for your husband? Have you got a health plan through your own work that would keep you covered?

    I wouldn’t want to work for a company that messed me around like this, is your husband exploring his options elsewhere yet?

    1. Zathras*

      This is a great point – if you’re in the financial position / job market to do it, it doesn’t hurt to remind them that it takes 2 to dance the at-will employment tango.

    2. Artemesia*

      someone else pointed out that this was a few weeks off. If I were him and this were not reversed this week, I would put the job search in high gear and if he lands something give notice before the vacation he was to take and hope that he really was needed and that the company will suffer as a result.

      It feels like a power play at his organization by someone who likes to bully and knows he can.

  18. Anonfortoday*

    I handled some parole files for a past job so if this parole works anything like it did in the jurisdiction I worked in, I can offer a little perspective.

    First families are often extremely delusional about parole possibilities. I worked a parole hearing involving an extremely heinous murder committed by an 18 year old. At his first parole hearing (25 years later) his family thought he was going home that day but his proposed parole date calculated at that hearing, based on the heinousness of the crime alone, was 2100-something. Parole dates can be entirely enhanced by factors of the crime itself (previous crimes would be taken into account too), as well as behavior in prison.

    Second, often to even be eligible for parole, the potential parolee has to draw up a plan that involves living situation and job prospects. So “He will work in our business” is extremely common because if course it isn’t really possible to line up a non-family job under the circumstances. It may just be some box they are checking off. But that is also why I think protesting may not work because they may view you as keeping their family member in prison.

    I am entirely sympathetic to the coworkers here. I have seen what these bad cases look like and read the autopsy reports, and I can totally understand never wanting to be in proximity of someone who did things like the LW has hinted at. I would quit first.

    1. Tealeaves*

      Based on this context, I think banding together as a group to protest hiring him would be a terrible idea. Even if the company backs down because of the pressure, the working relationship is forever soured. Or they could just fire everyone on the spot. Either way, time to start looking for something new. Proposing to cut everyone’s pay to bring him on is not a good move.

      1. Anonfortoday*

        That is exactly what I worry about. I think the son is probably not likely to get parole, but banding together could be viewed as a sabotage of his parole by the family who owns the business. It is just bad all around, expecting their workers to just accept this burden in pay and safety.

      2. Liane*

        “Even if the company backs down because of the pressure, the working relationship is forever soured.”
        The working relationship IS soured. It was soured the first time Family told their employees, “We are cutting your pay when Sonny comes to work for us.”
        This is true regardless of who Sonny is, what he has done in the past, &/or why he needs a job. Sonny could be a medical missionary who spent the last 30+ years practicing in a hospital that looks like a set for a movie about the 1818 pandemic, the worst thing he ever did was write “Mrs. Teacher loves Mr. Otherteacher” on the board, and will be homeless if he doesn’t get a job ASAP. It would still be wrong to cut others’ pay to hire him.

      3. Liane*

        “Even if the company backs down because of the pressure, the working relationship is forever soured.”
        The working relationship IS soured. It was soured the first time Family told their employees, “We are cutting your pay when Sonny comes to work for us.”
        This is true regardless of what Sonny has done in his life. Sonny could be a medical missionary who spent the last 30+ years practicing in a hospital that looks like a set for a movie about the 1818 pandemic & the worst thing he ever did was write “Mrs. Teacher loves Mr. Otherteacher” on the board in 5th grade. It would still be wrong to cut others’ pay to hire him.

      4. Gazebo Slayer*

        But would they really be willing to fire ALL of their other employees at once – and likely tank their business – for this?

        (I also agree that the relationship is already soured.)

    2. Narise*

      If the employees wrote to the payrole board and explained what the family had told them would this influence their decision? I would imagine they would explain how they don’t feel safe and employees are being told they have to accept this criminal as a coworker. Would the parole board keep the letter confidential?

      1. Stellaaaaa*

        I wonder if it would make the parole board think that the job being lined up isn’t actually lined up, since it doesn’t exist and isn’t fulfilling a need within the company.

      2. Anonfortoday*

        I do not believe so. Parole decisions in my state were public hearings. While different from a trial there could be serious issues if a parolee was not allowed to confront the evidence used against him.

  19. BePositive*

    #5 – You won’t know if you don’t ask. Honestly you shouldn’t be concerned of optics but if you are planning something that long you should give some notice. Most peers give at least 3 months as most times it’s a big vacation

    #2 – I’m so sorry, I know it’s not as simple of telling them to stuff it and quit but that was my knee jerk reaction. A good company will keep you whole since you booked tickets after they approved the time off. Your boss should be able to advocate for you. Personally of you can’t afford to quit on the spot and they won’t cover your tickets, I would suck up the loss and start looking for a new job and tell them why in the exit interview

  20. Ramona Flowers*

    #1 I seem to recall a recent comment on the Friday open thread from someone whose boss told them someone had complained that they were unproductive and then refused to divulge who it was. That’s one extreme. This is the other. Neither are great.

    1. Zathras*

      I think it’s actually a good idea for the boss to protect the identity of the person making the complaint, but they need to do it strategically. Ideally the complaint serves as a tip-off that something needs more scrutiny, nothing more. For a productivity problem, the boss should make their own observations and proceed from there without mentioning the complaint at all.

      This isn’t always possible – it gets more complicated if the complaint is about actions directed at a specific person, such as sexual harassment. But “he doesn’t do his job properly” is something the boss should be able to gather independent information about.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        That’s what I meant – you don’t say “you’re doing x wrong and I know because a mystery anonymous person told me.” You find something better to say.

    2. ArtK*

      The failure in that comment was the boss refusing to say what the employee did wrong; perhaps it was too tied to the “who” of it, but a good boss would figure out a way to give constructive feedback in any case. “You weren’t pro-active once” is total garbage as feedback. Both for the lack of specificity and the “once.”

  21. Wintermute*

    #3 It’s actually a blessing they’re going to impose a pay cut. If it’s more than a percentage (usually 20% but it varies by state) it’s considered a constructive discharge, so you can receive unemployment benefits if you quit rather than accept the lower rate of pay.

    That said, I’m a bit of a legal expert, I frequent a few legal advice forums and I’m considered a decent contributor. There’s a low-to-very-low chance that this individual will be paroled. He has a number of risk factors, including the nature of his crime, the fact that he is a repeat offender, the fact he violated his last parole by committing a murder, the victim impact statement, there’s a lot of factors here that would make a parole board (already reluctant to release him given the nature of his crimes) very hesitant.

    It can happen, of course, in which case I would look at if the imposed pay cut would qualify as constructive discharge, and quit immediately if it does. If it doesn’t then I’d look at my savings balance first, but I’d probably still quit. “they wanted to cut my pay 15% so they could hire their paroled heinous murderer relative” is probably the only statement on earth that could beat “my paychecks started bouncing, repeatedly” as far as “I can’t hold you quitting without a job lined up against you” in a hiring manager’s mind.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      “That said, I’m a bit of a legal expert, I frequent a few legal advice forums and I’m considered a decent contributor.”

      Are you a lawyer or otherwise trained in the areas of law on which you are commenting? If not, it’s probably best not to imply that you are giving expert advice. If so, can I respectfully suggest you add some context (e.g. the poster above with experience of handling parole files) as that would be really helpful? Otherwise people may just scroll past your post.

    2. Anononon*

      Are you an attorney? I’d really advise against giving legal advice/holding yourself out as a “legal expert” if your legal knowledge comes mostly from online forums.

        1. fposte*

          NAL, but I think there are two different issues on the pay cut; one is whether it would be sufficient to voluntarily leave a job while still being eligible for UI, and another, where you usually hear “constructive discharge,” is whether there’s a cause for legal action because the person’s resignation was the result of the employer’s illegal actions. I don’t see the second as occurring here; the first would probably depend on the state.

      1. Wintermute*

        I have studied law, but am not currently a practicing attorney, I went into I.T. actually because there’s very little money to be made in law unless you go to a very prestigious school. In any event even if I were a lawyer I would not be **YOUR** lawyer, I would recommend you consult with a practicing lawyer in your state regarding your legal position, as I indicated state laws may vary.

        And I wasn’t holding out my legal expertise to support that opinion, which is why I mentioned it after, and said “that said,” which I think makes it clear this is a new topic. At which point I simply gave my experience with parole, which, while not extensive is something, and seems to be backed up by other people in this thread with more expertise than I. In addition, I think that being a recognized contributor who has given well-regarded advice (mostly on employment and general “don’t be a moron, bench warrants/criminal charges/a potential felony are nothing to mess around with” nature) I feel comfortable giving generalized advice. Lexis Nexis finds an article that’s highlighted on the front page of Google that indicates a 33% reduction in pay was found by courts to be a constructive discharge, the figure I had heard but am having trouble sourcing on my mobile is 20%, I’ll look for a better source.

    3. Doreen*

      That low probability of release is assuming that the parole board has the discretion not to release him. The general public tends to call any sort of release “parole” – but there are often other types of release where the parole board has no discretion. For example, in my state someone who is serving an indeterminate sentence is eligible for parole after serving the minimum sentence – but the parole board has no discretion once the inmate has served about two thirds of the maximum sentence

    4. Jessie the First (or second)*

      I agree with you on ““they wanted to cut my pay 15% so they could hire their paroled heinous murderer relative” is probably the only statement on earth that could beat “my paychecks started bouncing, repeatedly” as far as “I can’t hold you quitting without a job lined up against you” in a hiring manager’s mind.”

      But the advice you gave in the first couple of paragraphs – please don’t. I don’t know if you are a lawyer – if you are, you must know that constructive discharge is very much a fact-specific situation, varies widely by jurisdiction, and can’t be addressed by a “usually if you take a pay cut of x%, it counts” statement.

    5. Temperance*

      This is not correct at all, and this is not “constructive dismissal”. Please don’t give legal advice unless you’re an employment attorney. This could put someone at a serious economic disadvantage.

  22. Traffic_Spiral*

    #1: Yeah, the manager needs to put on their big-kid pants and actually manage instead of making the employee do it for them.

    #3: “not just a date gone wrong-type thing?” Um… what? Going on a date first is not a mitigating factor in a rape. To quote Hal Sparks, “once the raping starts the date is over.”

    1. Bow Ties Are Cool*

      Yeah, that line raised my hackles too. Yes, rape-and-murder is (in general) quantitatively worse than rape-without-murder, but rape-without-date is just as rapey as rape-with-a-nice-dinner-first.

        1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

          Yes. In general terms, one might expect a date-rapist to be rehabilitated and not as likely to re-offend after decades in prison. Making it clear that it wasn’t a he-said-she-said situation, or a situation where the details get murky because of drinking or a date or whatever else people use to get jerks like Brock Turner off, but an actual premeditated violent act and not the first one he committed. I think the distinction is important. I am someone who believes felons deserve a chance at work. I could work with a 1 time date-rapist who served their time and was clearly showing rehabilitation. Probably still wouldn’t accept a ride home from the guy, but I could sit next to him and be professional. I could NOT work with a repeat violent offender who raped 2 girls before 18 and murdered on of them while on parole for the 1st one. I would not feel safe ever being around him. Especially not with parents that are clearly enablers and won’t help me should something happen.

      1. Lissa*

        I think a lot of people would think that the chances of ever rehabilitating the type of person described in the OP are much lower, though, and that they are likely to be dangerous 35 years later regardless of circumstances or anything that has happened since, though.

    2. Original Poster Here*

      No, of course I didn’t mean it in that way – it was just a lot more thought out and brutal than a “in the moment” awful act. Both of them were. Obviously rape is never justified or okay, but, like just as someone shooting someone during a robbery is different than kidnapping and sadistically murdering someone. Does that make sense? It makes sense in my head…

  23. Kas*

    I’m seeing a bunch of comments advising OP#3’s friends to resign. Genuine question, not sarcasm: what would you advise them to say in future job applications when asked why they left their last job? Maybe focus on the pay cut or the overall dysfunction?

    1. Bagpuss*

      I think “My employer proposed to cut pay cuts for me and my coworkers in order to fund the cost of employing the CEO’s son/brother, a convicted rapist and murderer” would give a very clear idea of now dysfunctional the place was. I don’t see any reason not to be open about the reason, in this particular case.

      1. Rat in the Sugar*

        Personally I wouldn’t mention it because I’d be worried it would distract the interviewer and have them talking about the story instead of about what a good employee I might be. I would just say that the owners were talking about pay cuts, which is a very normal and boring reason to be looking for a new job.

    2. JB*

      Pay cut.

      “The company unilaterally cut my pay by x% although I was a high performer/had no performance concerns.” More could be said, but no more needs to be said. This is a job application question that you get through with the most concise reasonable answer.

      1. NDC*

        This sounds good. I would also mention that there were no change to the duties of the role that could have justified a pay cut.

    3. Sarah*

      I mean, they can also just do what anyone does when seeking a new job — looking for new challenges/more room to advance/etc. People change jobs for way less serious reasons, and you don’t owe potential employers all the gory details.

    4. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      I think the “every employee was expected to take a significant pay cut for the benefit of the owners and not the company” would be fine but maybe that’s still too drama-heavy

    5. Anon Accountant*

      “Company issued a 10% pay cut to all staff”.

      If pressed further would it be inappropriate to say “it wasn’t due to any performance issues but the company had some changes and issued a pay reduction”.

    6. Stellaaaaa*

      If I wanted to be honest, I’d say that wages were cut or that there was a shift in the office culture.

      I once worked for a company that was the subject of some high-profile legal business. Some interviewers came to the table already guessing why I had left. If they brought it up first, I’d acknowledge it.

  24. Katie the Fed*

    #2 – Employees’ vacation time is sacrosanct to me. You just don’t mess with it once it’s approved. And I work on some pretty major crises – there’s still nothing that would make me rescind vacation time. Ever.

    They have 6 weeks to find coverage – at least. Can you offer to train someone on what needs to be done in your absence or help them find a temp?

    I’d also start looking for a new job. I would not work for people who did this.

    1. Doreen*

      Do you mean there’s nothing in your particular job that would cause you to rescind vacation? Or do you mean there isn’t anything ever? Because non-performance issues* wouldn’t cause me to rescind a vacation I already approved, but that’s because of the particular jobs of the people I manage. I’m pretty sure first responders get days off and vacation cancelled when there’s a disaster , and prison superintendents get vacations cancelled when there’s an escape etc. I think for certain jobs, that’s just the nature of the job – but that’s certainly not most jobs.

      * I theoretically might approve vacation contingent on some deadlines being met before it starts and rescind approval if they aren’t. But it’s only theoretical.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I’m saying even though my work involves some serious crises, I’ve never encountered anything that would make me rescind a vacation.

      2. Marty*

        I could see a major disaster such as a hurricane, but anything short of that, and you should be able to handle an absence, even an unexpected one. After all, one of your employees will eventually have an emergency, and there will be nothing to be done. So an event like this is nothing more than practice for an employee emergency.

  25. Katie the Fed*

    #5 – I made a major career shift a year into my career out of spite because a boss wouldn’t approve a 3.5 week leave. I had been working a special assignment for a year with awful, long hours, no vacation, etc, and I asked if I could take this once-in-a-lifetime trip at the end before I returned to my regular assignment. He said no. So out of pure spite and rage I applied for every open job I could find in my agency until I got a new one. I got to saddle him with an empty position that would take months to fill.

    I never got to take that trip, and that decision has really changed the course of my career, but I still don’t regret it.

    1. OP5*

      I’m sorry that happened to you. My company has been very good to me. I just don’t want to upset them or make it hard on my peers if I took a long vacation…but I *need* the break! I’m conflicted.

  26. Soon to be former fed*

    Regarding the vacation recission, just nope. This employer is basically saying that your vacation allottment is just for show and you are really on call all the time. Is your job really that urgent and irreplaceable? I agree with the advice given but I would make it very clear how unacceptable the proposed recission is. You just don’t treat people like this. I would look for another job if they went through with it.

    1. Wintermute*

      Honestly I’d be looking for another job either way. If you dragoon them this time into letting you have it off, you still know that this is a place that doesn’t respect you, their promises to you, or your work/life balance.

  27. Argh!*

    Re: #5 I gave an employee permission for a long vacation to attend an educational opportunity that would enhance her job skills and one of my fellow managers was outraged. Yet his employee had just come back from 3 months of maternity leave. I pointed out that if we can be down one for three months we can be down one for six weeks. If I’d given her 6 weeks of staycation the outrage would have been even worse, even though we were all able to absorb the extra work for that length of time. So keep that in mind — even though the impact is the same as a medical leave, there may be resentment among those who are pitching in for you.

    1. drpuma*

      “Resentment,” or frustration/jealousy that they don’t have the time/money for a 4-6 week vacation themselves? It’s up to the OP’s manager to make sure that her temporarily dispersed workload would not be a burden on OP’s coworkers; as long as her manager does so, her coworkers’ feelings about her vacation are their business: not OP’s.

      1. Argh!*

        No, resentment that they have to pick up extra work for that time.

        Fortunately, they had 6 weeks to realize it was not that much of a burden and they didn’t give my employee any crap, only me.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        It’s like the distinction between being asked to babysit for someone attending a funeral vs wedding–the latter is by nature last minute AND obviously not what you actually would prefer to do. People resent fun time off in a way they don’t having your kidney out.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Gah. Former. Funerals are short notice and little choice and not fun; weddings are long notice and not your grim duty.

  28. MashaKasha*

    Something similar to #3 happened at my first job. It was a smallish company with a HQ in Philadelphia, and an office of about 30 people in my city. Six months or so after I started, the HQ informed us that they’d hired a new CIO to run our department. As an entry-level programmer, that made no difference to me, but everyone around me in management positions suddenly started quitting or looking for other jobs. Finally our former IT manager told me that our new CIO was a convicted murderer, who’d just come back after 18 years in prison. He was a kid from a wealthy family, he was 17 years old when he and a few of his friends killed a man. (Details removed by Alison at the request of the commenter.) The guy who later became our CIO had gotten life, but was released at age 35 for model behavior. While in prison, he’d gotten a CS degree. His (VERY wealthy) parents pulled a few strings and got the boy a job… Running an IT department!

    There was no recourse. I don’t know if there is ever a recourse. Within the next couple of years, everyone left. The HQ eventually had to shut our local office down because there were only a couple of people left in the office. The CIO stayed on. He was worthless as a CIO, so they transferred him to sales, again to a management position. I met up with an ex-coworker ten years after CIO was hired and she told me about his brief tenure in sales. Anytime any of his employees was about to close on a large sale, he’d fire the employee, take over their account, close the sale, and collect the commission. It took the company ten years to finally get rid of him, and he immediately went on to be a VP somewhere else and then a VP at some other place, where he still works as a VP, according to his LinkedIn. It sounds almost like there is little to no recourse when you’re up against money and connections. At least we weren’t all forced to take cuts to our already tiny salaries for that guy. Update your resume, OP. I do not see a happy ending to your story anywhere in the future, not at your present employer.

    1. Myrin*

      Just a heads-up, can you give a warning at the beginning of your comment if you detail cruel behaviour like in your first paragraph? I’m extremely sensitive to such things – like, almost panic attack-inducing levels of sensitive – and hate to be blindsided like that while reading otherwise interesting comments.

      (Not a dig at you, Masha, but I’ve come across this sometimes even on this site out of nowhere and I’m always reeling from it afterwards.)

      1. MashaKasha*

        Sorry :( I should’ve done it. Allison, feel free to either add a warning or edit/delete my comment, thank you.

        1. Myrin*

          No problem at all – I’ve been meaning to bring this topic up in an open thread but always forget about it, so I thought “Why not comment here since it’s already there?”. Maybe I’ll remember it now so that I can bring it up later.

      2. Anon Accountant*

        Yes I’d appreciate if Alison could make this a rule or post at top of threads. No disrespect to Masha but the same here.

        I won’t derail this thread but I’ve seen very closely money buy someone’s way out of 2 murder cases with 2 separate offenders.

        1. Ashley*

          In general, it’s probably enough to say “horrific” or “terrifying” and leave it at that. Site policy is to believe what people say – delving into details of horrific and terrifying behavior only spreads horror and terror to other commenters.

          1. Ashley*

            I’m not saying that NOT describing details should be a site policy – a trigger warning is enough. I just think it’s worth keeping in mind while commenting, since such details may be disturbing and may also derail the conversation away from the Letter Writer’s situation.

            1. MashaKasha*

              No kidding it’s derailing. Everyone is talking about the one line of my comment, which I admit was bad judgment, and ignoring the rest.

              I am emailing Allison to ask to delete my comment. There is no need to make a 3rd comment telling me how awful it is. I got it the first two times you said it. Thank you.

    2. Original Poster Here*

      Oh my gosh. That is terrifying. It does sound similar, though. This one has very wealthy parents, too. I assume that had some play in the first release.

        1. Original Poster Here*

          Thank you. I’m glad I no longer work there (for many dysfunctional reasons), but I’m worried about my female friends who do, and honestly just feel less safe thinking he might be wandering around town in general in the near future. I really wish I could have included more facts (or the articles I shared with Alison) about the crimes, because they were both THAT bad, but it is pretty identifying. I feel like people aren’t taking it seriously enough? Or something? Maybe I’m just really freaked out.

          1. JN*

            It sounds pretty darn serious. Committed rape at 16 and somehow got parole. Tried to commit rape at 17 and did kill that victim. Clearly he didn’t learn any kind of lesson from the first incident if he repeated and escalated it only a year later. And the fact that he could commit such crimes at such a young age is also troubling. It would make me highly suspicious and alarmed what might happen if that man were ever to be released and be back in a target-rich environment. As a female, I’d be justifiably freaked out to hear that someone with that kind of ‘resume’ was a person my bosses planned to make my future coworker. That alone would make me look for something new. The systemic bad environment/management at that workplace and the promised pay cuts to provide a salary for this felon…good for you on getting out and I hope your former coworkers can and do as well.

    3. Gazebo Slayer*

      Wow. What a horrifically awful person, in multiple ways. When parents keep maneuvering a son like that into positions where he can harm a lot of people, I consider them almost as bad as he is.

  29. Reinhardt*

    #5: I remember just reading a study done that determined the ‘ideal’ vacation length is 8 days. I’ve also read that multiple vacations is better because you planning and anticipating upcoming vacations has a positive mental health affect. Consider using that time to take multiple 8-day vacations. You’d likely get more out of that collective time, and your employer is much more likely to approve the time off.

    1. Myrin*

      I mean, I totally believe that and personally like several short vacations much better than one longer one, but OP wants to take this kind of vacation and I don’t think we should offer her alternatives when she’s clearly thought about this (so much so that she wrote to AAM about it).

      1. Reinhardt*

        My comment is a response to number 5, the letter writer asking about a 4 week vacation. The once in a lifetime vacation letter writer is number 2.

        1. Myrin*

          I know, and I didn’t say anything about “once in a lifetime vacation” in my comment. OP says “I would love to use my PTO and take four weeks”, which means she wants to take that kind of vacation and has certainly thought about the smaller vacations you talk about before, given how aware she seems to be of the topic.

        2. Will I Am Not*

          And OP5 says they want (actually “would love”) to take a 4 week vacation. So why are you trying tyo offer them advice on alternatives to that, when their question is specifically about a 4 week vacation?

    2. Blue Bird*

      It depends on whether you’re flying long distances, because if so 8 days seem woefully short. And I’m assuming a ‘once in a lifetime’ vacation can’t be split into 8 days segments anyway, most likely…if you’re trekking in the Serengeti or hiking in New Zealand, or doing anything else that’s extravagant and special, it might not be doable in eight days.

      1. Blue Bird*

        Oh, and I also know people who do language trips – bascially a couple of weeks of immersive language training in their country of choice, coupled with typical tourist activities. (Which sounds SO awesome). You can’t really cut that short, and those trips are expensive as hell.

    3. Lora*

      Agree that planning alone is great for mental health. I’m dreaming of my January vacation to the Caribbean already…and the spring trip to South America…and the following winter in Morocco…maybe an autumn long weekend in Munich if I can find cheap plane tickets.

      Had a crummy past two weeks and the ONLY thing that kept me from quitting on the spot for a few days was “but you wouldn’t get the island vacation in January OR hiking in Patagonia in spring”. And then it was like, OK, I guess I can tolerate this idiot for a while longer, he’s likely to get fired within a year anyways.

      I have several colleagues who regularly take 3-4 week vacations to visit overseas family, it’s not unusual in my industry. It takes a bit of planning and ensuring that your colleagues can make do in your absence, but it’s do-able.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I have really valued the rare 2.5-5 week vacations we’ve managed to take–it really is a very different break from one week.

      And if you want to introduce any significant jet lag, such as from the US to Asia, I would spend much of that 8 days just getting over jet lag.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Lord yes to your last point! My company sent me to the Philippines for a week last year, and I was still jet lagged by the time I came back home.

  30. Anon Accountant*

    #4- People at my job have been removed from major accounts, denied opportunities to work on great projects, or been pushed out the door before they quit when my bosses found out they were jpbnsearching. 2 were even told “you can just leave whenever you want”. From my understanding this has happened over a 20 year span. I’ve been here to see this happen to 6 people.

    Employers who disregard the basic courtesy of confidentiality with candidates should lose out on excellent candidates, IMO.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      It’s also 1 reason why my company can’t attract or keep good staff. But they’re oblivious to it and haven’t taken any feedback seriously so…

    2. Gazebo Slayer*

      Employees who disregard the basic courtesy of confidentiality should lose out on ALL candidates, except those so desperate they literally can’t find work anywhere else. (They should also be publicly shamed.)

  31. nnn*

    For #5, depending on internal factors, it’s also possible your employer might be more eager to have you take vacations if you’re reaching your cash out threshold. My employer always strongly encourages us to use our leave if we’re going to cross the threshold because it doesn’t actually like have to write us the extra cheque, and I’m sure my manager would have some explaining to do if he dissuaded an employee reaching the cash out threshold from using up weeks of time.

  32. Essie*

    OP #5 I took a four-week vacation twice, at different jobs. Both times I was downsized within a month of returning. I no longer take vacations longer than a week. It sucks.

    1. Jstar*

      I don’t think we can assume that’s a risk without knowing more about OP #5s workplace culture and type of employment. In my previous jobs, it would have been tough to take 4 weeks at a time, because we didn’t have a
      “non-busy” season and anyone’s absence would increase everyone else’s workload. The longest I ever saw get approved was 3 weeks and that was only for really big occasions like honeymoons. But in my current role, no one really depends on me for time-sensitive work and my workload doesn’t impact others, so I probably could take 4 weeks if I timed it right. This is all at the same company. So really, I think the answer is that OP needs to assess what seems reasonable for their workload and then talk to their boss.

    2. LS*

      I took a 6 week holiday once (first job) and when I got back our major shareholder and biggest client had folded. 10% of our staff were retrenched. I kept my job.

  33. Shoe*

    I took four weeks once. Twice I took three weeks. It did raise some eyebrows, but ultimately I was applauded for taking such significant time off to re-charge.

    No one else in my department had ever taken such large chunk of time. After that, a few people did take some large chunks, when they realized it was a Thing We Could Do.

    When I requested the four weeks I went to my boss, with a plan of what my work would look like during that time, so that she had a good picture of what would need to be covered.

    1. tigerStripes*

      I have a co-worker who once took 4 weeks. It was related to a long trip to see relatives, which is part of why it was OK’d, and he stayed employed. Don’t think anyone really had a problem with it.

      I prefer shorter vacations and to have them more often, but that’s me, not the OP.

  34. Ms. Annie*

    OP 3.
    I have personal experience with a family owned business and a convicted sex offender family member. The victims were both under the age of 12.

    During the criminal court, family court, and Archdiocese Tribunal proceedings related to this, I had the opportunity to ask several mental health professionals with experience in this area what were the actual, realistic, peer-reviewed statistics for “would he do this again?”. The most hopeful answer I received was that sex-based offenses like those were an addiction just like drugs and alcohol. The *only* way for him to avoid doing it again would be to avoid the triggers – you know, the people he was attracted to.

    The family in my case says that once he gets out he has paid his debt and of course is completely forgiven and welcome back into the family without reservation. They say it is their “Christian Duty” to forgive him and let bygones be bygones. Anyone who questions that is “denying them the right to practice their Christian Faith.”

    If it weren’t for the different ages and the murder, I would have sworn we were dealing with the same family.

    You and anyone who has the slightest qualm being up close and personal with this guy need to find a new job. The family has already decided that everything was the victims’ fault and none of this wouldn’t have happened if the victims weren’t such snowflakes. If they just wanted to give him a chance because he is family, they wouldn’t be talking about cutting everyone else’s salary to pay him. They will very likely consider any complaints against him for any reason to be unfair to him and everyone else is just a bully and manage according to that view.

    You also need to be very careful about your job search and how you quit. You will be challenging their whole vision of themselves as a family and as a business. If they have a “Christian Duty” component to this, you are persecuting them for their faith and making them martyrs, so they *will* double down. You may even have issues using them as a reference if they think you are quitting because of this guy.

    This is going nowhere good unless someone smacks sense into that whole family.

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      Ugh, playing the religious persecution card about this. Yuck yuck yuck.

      “Smacking some sense into the family” would likely mean publicizing it far and wide that they’re cutting everyone’s pay to employ this potentially dangerous family member and making it well known that they value his having a job over everything including employee and customer safety. “Don’t let your daughters go to Bob’s Pancake Emporium, they won’t call the cops if Billy molests a customer!” Or words to that effect.

  35. Blue Bird*

    It’s a little unsettling to request a large time off. At my previous job, my boss was a workaholic and would only take off one and a half weeks at most. At my current job, the managers are very dedicated as well and most of the senior staff take off three weeks for their summer vacation. One employee even went on a two-month vacation once (a trip around the world! Jealous!!) and they gladly made that possible. But some companies really do ostracize you for that… it’s hard to tell where the coin will land.

  36. nosy nelly*

    I married into a family where many people are immigrants in the US. These folks commonly save up large PTO/vacation banks in order to travel to their home country for 2-4 weeks at a time (often when kids are on summer break from school).

  37. Lady Phoenix*

    #1: Awkwaaaaard. I would tell them to keep you out of this.

    #2: This would be my wuitting point. This is not like the previous OP that decided to take a 2 week vacation at short notice at the expense of the company and getting her time off takennin favor of someone who had to pick up the slack. You guys gave the company ample time to get their shit together while your husband was away and they failed. And now they won’t even pay for it?! They showed their colors as people who will break promises, work their people dry, and not compensate for them. Yeah… Bye Felicia!

    #3 Nope. Nope. I don’t care if they are “reformed” or not, I ain’t dealing with sex offenders and fuck the store for forcing the employees to do it and take their pay. This place needs to burn in dragonfire.

  38. Emrin*

    #5. I have friends in other countries (I’m in the U.S.) who routinely take 4 weeks –
    Sometimes more – vacation at one go, and yet somehow their companies manage to survive. What is it with the U.S. and the fixation on never being out of the office?

  39. Candy*

    I realize unions aren’t popular on here (or, from what I can tell not being American, in the States in general) but letters like these make me so incredibly grateful to be working for good ones. There’s a very specific process for managers speaking to employees about performance issues (that absolutely do not include having the complainant sit in the meeting), no employer can rescind my vacation request after approving it, no employer can balk at me taking all of my allotted PTO either in parts or all at once…

    Without having to constantly wonder how/if/when my employer is going to screw me over, I’m freed up to focus on just doing my job. The alternative — having to spend time wondering / asking around if taking vacation is allowed/accepted/going to be taken back later — sounds exhausting. I’d much rather take two minutes to check the collective bargaining agreement and get back to work

    1. Temperance*

      I don’t think that this is totally accurate. Many people like unions, including Americans, but are rightfully frustrated when union membership is used to shield bad, lazy employees (like the letter about the man who neglected to tell his boss that his wife was in surgery because he didn’t want to work!).

      1. Emi.*

        Right, and it’s especially galling when the organization *that exists to help employees* makes things worse for the bad, lazy employees’ coworkers, who are after all also employees.

      2. Candy*

        YMMV of course but I’ve been working for unionized companies for 13 years and have never once encountered the fabled bad, lazy employee that unions are rumoured to shield.

        The previous decade when I worked for independent companies, however, I personally encountered many bad, lazy employeRS who refused to pay overtime, asked illegal questions in interviews, fired coworkers once they discovered they were pregnant, offered little to no vacation time/benefits/etc etc etc

    2. Stuff*

      I’ve spent the bulk of my work life in retail unions under orphan contracts, which are about the worst things get. An orphan contract is basically when, at contract renewal time, the union agrees to withhold all or most benefits from new hires, as well as giving them lower pay raises or even lower initial pay, in exchange for the pay, raise structure, and benefits of the union members hired before the contract are protected. Of course, those new hires still have to pay full dues (I don’t live in a Right to Work state). Like, right now I work part time at minimum wage (I’m in school, so I really don’t want more than 15-20 hours per week), and I have to pay $40 a month in dues and had a $300 initiation fee, but my raises are only $.10 every 2200 hours worked (so, about 3 years t get an extra dime an hour), I don’t get any PTO (but dudes who were around before the new contract get between 2 and 4 weeks per year), my sick time is the municipal minimum (calling in sick is NOT tolerated, though, so that’s a useless benefit anyway, and I think I live in the one major American city that even requires part time sick pay), and the union has a nasty reputation of not actually backing employees in disciplinary procedures. This hasn’t been the only such union I’ve worked for. At least at my level, they really do seem to hurt far, far more than they help.

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        Wow, your union is garbage.

        I support unions, but a better solution would be generously pro-worker labor laws that are aggressively and proactively enforced and have penalties severe enough to be a deterrent even to the largest employer. Only a fairly small percentage of workers are unionized, and all too often unions get pitted against each other or screw over nonunion workers (who are often less privileged – temps and the like) to benefit their own members. But all employers are subject to the government.

        Unfortunately, US labor laws are a joke, their enforcement is deliberately starved to the bone, and their penalties are piffling.

  40. President Porpoise*

    #2 -This literally just happened to my coworker, to the last detail. Vacation approved, travel booked and paid, vacation rescinded, non-refundable deposit woes. He was really upset. He tried to work with our bosses but failed to change their minds. So, he is taking a leave of absence, in part to take care a long standing medical issue (not FMLA), and in part to take his vacation. Instead of being gone for the last two weeks of September, he will be gone until January. Our bosses are pissed, an are trying to hire to replace him while he’s gone (he’s always been resistant to change in a change heavy environment, though). Hey not have a job when he comes back. He knows it and is fine with it.

  41. bopper*

    I would just take the vacation and see what happens later. If I got fired, then I would make sure that my local newspaper knew all about it, and Glassdoor as well.

  42. ArtK*

    OP#3: I would have been gone right after “… take a pay cut to fund it.” Sorry, I’m not paying for anyone’s kid to work with me, criminal or not.

  43. ArtK*

    OP #2: Ick. I hope that your husband can get things sorted out with them.

    One of my professors told a story that is similar, but in some ways worse. He got a leadership position in a very high visibility defense program because his predecessor took vacation. The vacation, non-refundable, etc. hit was booked long before some general decided that he wanted a program review on a certain date. The employee asked for vacation and it was granted. He took his vacation and then, on his return, was demoted and my professor got the job. This was supposed to be some anecdote about dedication to the job, but took it as an example of horrible management. The program proceeded just fine, so the employee’s presence certainly wasn’t that essential.

    This same professor praised a co-worker for never taking a vacation in the seven years of the program.

    1. wickedtongue*

      Wooooow. Methinks the professor in question did some behind-the-scenes Littlefinger manipulation to get the other professor demoted. What a charmer.

  44. Halster*

    Re: felon, this is might be unpopular, but look:

    Felons are still human beings. They deserve chances to be able to work, make a living, and engage with society in a way that is healthy and safe. He has served his time. If he behaves inappropriately, there’s a line there, but honestly, you probably have engaged with a non-trivial number of rapists without knowing it. That said, forcing his victim to interact with him, or docking your pay to employee literally anyone is not okay.

    1. DArcy*

      With felons in general, I’d agree with you. With rapists, no.

      With rapists who are related to the owners of a family business that is treating them with such ridiculous favoritism from the get-go? It’s a reasonable expectation that their family is granting them carte blanche to behave as they please and will do their damn best to gaslight and undermine the victims of any bad behavior on Precious Baby Boy’s part. It doesn’t legally qualify as a hostile work environment, but it’s plainly not safe and everyone should get out NOW.

      1. Gazebo Slayer*

        “It’s a reasonable expectation that their family is granting them carte blanche to behave as they please and will do their damn best to gaslight and undermine the victims of any bad behavior on Precious Baby Boy’s part.”

        The pay cut for everyone else spells this out in huge fiery letters.

    2. Vladimir*

      Generally I agree, but wih rapists and murderers it is more complicated. Because if they reoffend they seriously damage or destroy life of innocent person. The question is how many chances should these people get (the guy in letter already blown his second one, and btw. he did not yet serve his time he wasnt released yet). Because every chance they blew someone will seriously pay for. All in all I think rapsist people who cmmited as serious crimes as this one should be released only when chance of reoffending is absolutly minuscule – better to keep person like this in prison needlesly, than have another inocent victim,

      1. Vladimir*

        I apologize for spelling mistakes, but the site is working badly for me today and I just wasnt able to go back and correct them.

    3. Stuff*

      I’ve spent the bulk of my work life in retail unions under orphan contracts, which are about the worst things get. An orphan contract is basically when, at contract renewal time, the union agrees to withhold all or most benefits from new hires, as well as giving them lower pay raises or even lower initial pay, in exchange for the pay, raise structure, and benefits of the union members hired before the contract are protected. Of course, those new hires still have to pay full dues (I don’t live in a Right to Work state). Like, right now I work part time at minimum wage (I’m in school, so I really don’t want more than 15-20 hours per week), and I have to pay $40 a month in dues and had a $300 initiation fee, but my raises are only $.10 every 2200 hours worked (so, about 3 years t get an extra dime an hour), I don’t get any PTO (but dudes who were around before the new contract get between 2 and 4 weeks per year), my sick time is the municipal minimum (calling in sick is NOT tolerated, though, so that’s a useless benefit anyway, and I think I live in the one major American city that even requires part time sick pay), and the union has a nasty reputation of not actually backing employees in disciplinary procedures. This hasn’t been the only such union I’ve worked for. At least at my level, they really do seem to hurt far, far more than they help.

    4. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      I 100% believe most felons should have easier access to gainful employment when they are released. I think we are actively harming our society and promoting recidivism by not providing felons more opportunities. With the usual caveats that if you were an identity thief you can’t work with money, etc.

      That said, there is a line. Violent repeat offenders are over that line, for me.

    5. Observer*

      Honestly, most people have NOT engaged with ANY serial sadistic rapist and murderer without knowing it.

      There is no way, at this point, for him to interact on a significant level with society in a way that is safe. Serving his time (ie punishing him) is not the issue here. The issue is that he is a dangerous and untrustworthy person. And the point at which he crosses the line (into torture, rape and / or murder) is waaaay too late.

  45. phil*

    Many years ago I worked in the technical end of record business. On the Friday afternoon before I was leaving for 2 weeks in England I was given the test pressing-the final step before pressing a million records-of U2’s first record to approve. All went fine until the end of side 2 when the song just chopped off instead of fading. I went to the bosses and the pressing was stopped but what to do? The band got involved and I was asked to remake the master records so the pressing could go forward. This would have to happen on Saturday when I was due to be flying over the Atlantic.
    So tapes were flown to LA by courier and I cancelled my trip and spent the first day of my vacation in LA.
    But there’s a happy ending! U2 paid for a much nicer vacation for me to replace the one missed and my company gratefully approved a new vacation time.

  46. Observer*

    #3 As others have noted, there is almost certainly no LEGAL basis to forbid what your former boss wants to do. But, I do think that they have actually given all of their non-family staff a gift. As someone else noted “My boss wanted to cut my salary to pay for the hire of convicted murdered family member” is right up there in the top 3 “acceptable” reasons to quite your job.

  47. Vladimir*

    OP 3 I am sorry for your colleagues, I understand that must be horrible. I would support option of others that either people should quit or try to unite to fight this – but I do not think it would help, unless whole office quit.
    My opinon on rehabilitation and second chances for offenders is quite complicated, suffice to say that this is not a way to do it and his crime was so serious that people should absolutly have the right to refuse to work with this person.

    But I must say that one thing in the letter rubbed me wrong way, but it may be because english isnt my first languague. I understand that OP did not mean it like that, but the language of the letter seems to downplay seriousnes of the rape murder on the date gone wrong, because that is also very henious crime. Premidated is worse, but not that much.

    1. Say what, now?*

      It’s the family downplaying it. The OP is very much aware of how ugly the situation is. I hope that they don’t allow him unsupervised reign of the place. I’d hate to be in a supply closet with him.

      1. Vladimir*

        I understand that the family is downplaying it no doubt about that. And I absolutly agree that he should be supervised if employed. And I understand that OP is downplaying this guys crime. I was talking about formulation “it was a henious and preditated crime and nou justust a dáte gone wrong” which at least my understanding of english SED to downplay seriousnes of dáte gone wrong rape-murder. But I do not reálky thing that OP is downplaying it but just the formulation rubbed me the wrong way when I read it.

        1. Vladimir*

          And again I have to appologize now I write from mobile and it autocorrects english words to my language. I cought some but other got through. Also I appologize for not beeing clear in my first comment, reading it back now I see it could have been misleading.

          1. tigerStripes*

            Here’s the comment:

            Original Poster Here
            September 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm
            No, of course I didn’t mean it in that way – it was just a lot more thought out and brutal than a “in the moment” awful act. Both of them were. Obviously rape is never justified or okay, but, like just as someone shooting someone during a robbery is different than kidnapping and sadistically murdering someone. Does that make sense? It makes sense in my head…

        2. Emi.*

          I see what you’re saying, but I think OP meant more that (a) rape + murder is worse than “just” rape, and (b) it’s a particular type of rape you have to hit a higher level of depravity to commit. Some rape is more “wanted to have sex and wouldn’t take no for an answer” than “wanted to commit rape as such.” The first kind, while obviously still totally reprehensible, seems to require less viciousness and be easier to be rehabilitated from.

          1. Anonfortoday*

            I completely understand OP. I worked in the criminal system and some crimes just stood out as particularly heinous. Particularly murders or assaults that went on for a particularly long time where you could see that the intention and effort that went into the crime. (States often offer enhancements for murders involving a firearm, but IMO, some of the worst cases were beatings or stabbings that went on – you really have to have a strong act of violence to commit those).

  48. Phouka*

    OP5 — I have historically taken a 4-week vacation each year, and while the first time was received with a bit of a raised eyebrow, it all works out. I usually plan a year in advance and so I had plenty of time to coordinate coverage and projects.

    I just had to remember that no one is indispensable — not me, not my boss not anyone. Any company should not be so reliant on one person that being gone for a few weeks causes things to implode. The world will continue to orbit. It might just wobble a bit until they figure it out.

    I’m curious how they think you ought to take 7 weeks accrued leave every year if you can’t take more than a 2 weeks at a time?

  49. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

    OP2: This would be enough for me to quit. I hope using AaM’s script brings a successful resolution for you. Good luck! And please update us after he speaks to them again.

  50. ladycrim*

    LW #5: It’s unusual but not totally unheard of to take a long vacation when you have a lot of time stockpiled. I took off 3 weeks for my wedding and honeymoon. Your company sounds extremely generous with PTO; presumably they would like you to use it. Talk with your boss about it. Since you don’t seem to have specific travel plans, telling the boss that you’re willing to take the time during a period when there’s not a crushing amount of work to do should help.

  51. Candi*

    Okay. I had to poke around and do some research.

    I am reasonably certain I have read about the case in #3, especially considering the additional information Original Poster Here gave in the comments. If it was, It. Was. Bad. Think worse then Ted Bundy in the Florida sorority house bad.

    You see, I’ve read criminal and forensic histories and stories for years, starting when I was in middle school. I caught an episode of New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science when Discovery was running it on cable, and never looked back.

    (Yes, these means I liked forensic science before it was cool.) :P

    Part of reading so much for so long (nearly thirty years now) is you assemble a lot of information. For me, this combines with my ability to retain information and remember it consciously when reminded when something else related comes up, and my ability to see patterns.

    Thanks the courts (and whatever entities you worship, if you do) that the judge and jury saw through this guy, told his family where to put their influence, and sent him to jail. This is not an exaggeration.

    This kind of proto-serial killer has been caught before. A rape or two, a death. Many times they have served time and gotten out -and gone on to attack and kill again, to become fully fledged serial killers and rapists. There is something fundamentally different in their brains. They require a reweave on the most basic conceptual level to not harm again. After a while, even the threat of legal and social consequences will not deter them. An offender has to want to change, as well as having the opportunity; both halves are essential.

    Many people here and elsewhere have cited the ‘low recidivism rate’ of sex offenders. It’s a false statistic. You must divide each type of offense into its own category to understand the true recidivism rate of each category. Even the specific categories vary by state, both in what is considered illegal (as of 2014, 12 states still considered sodomy illegal, in spite of federal court rulings), and what it is called. From peeing in public, to teens/adults not realizing that dating across statutory lines is often fine, but sex isn’t, to someone realizing and regretting they did the dumbest thing of their life while under the influence, to someone committing the crime, not regretting, and doubling down (which can affect the specific charges filed), up through our vicious serial offenders.

    Serial offenders have a very high recividism rate when isolated into their own category.

    Fortunately, there are people in power who know far more then I do, and have massive professional experience I can never claim. They understand these things in far more depth. And it sounds like they’re on the ball with this guy.


    One of my favorite crime authors is Colin Wilson, contributer to several of the publications I’ve read, such as Crimes and Punishment: A Pictorial Encyclopedia of Abberrant Behavior, plus other more recent works. (You need the secondary title; just Crimes and Punishment messes with search engines’ little brains. Reading older works as well as newer helps establish patterns.)

    Every Contact Leaves a Trace: Crime Scene Experts Talk About Their Work from Discovery Through Verdict by Connie Fletcher (author’s important here, it’s not the only book by that title). Great story in here about a cop who brought the suspect a bucket of chicken and just sat and talked with him while he ate (after Miranda warnings). The suspect wound up giving everything up; the defense attorney was not happy. In his mind, you only got that kind of confession by being cruel, not kind.

    The Poisoner’s Handbook (my son read this at lunch at school; made his friends nervous), The Body Farm by Dr. William Bass and his son, Teasing Secrets From the Dead by Dr. Emily Craig -and note on that, both Bass and Craig discuss the discovery/disclosure of the fact the intercondylar notch’s angle can differ up to 90 degrees between individuals of white ancestry and black ancestry, but the accounts are way different- The Serial Killers: A Study in the Psychology of Violence, other books on serial rapists/killers, and a bunch of other books on crimes that aren’t directly relevant to the question. (Frank Abagnale, for instance, is more stealing money and con games types of crime.)

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