updates: the maternity clothes, the nude snapchats, and more

Here are updates from four people who had their letters answered here this year.

1. My boss doesn’t like my maternity clothes

My situation ended up taking a very unexpected turn. I took your advice and went to HR. The first person I spoke with was absolutely horrified about the situation. She asked to see the emails and ended up calling her boss into our meeting. Her boss told me that I had nothing to worry about, to continue wearing the maternity clothing I had, and that my job was not on the line. My boss “apologized” about a week later with all kinds of qualifications. The apology didn’t feel very genuine but I let it go. I thought this was the end of the matter.

While I was out on maternity leave (I had a baby girl!), I received a somewhat baffling call from an HR rep wanting information about my boss. I reached out to a coworker and he let me know that our boss had been fired for sexual misconduct. Boss apparently promised an intern a job in exchange for sexual favors and the intern reported him. HR launched a clandestine investigation and discovered Boss had been doing this for a very long time. He was immediately terminated, and no one has seen or heard from him since. He didn’t even clean out his office. I came back from maternity leave to a new, sane boss. Thank you so much for your advice. I also really appreciated all of the commenters who were very supportive and helped me see that the situation was not normal.

2. I think an employee is sending nude Snapchats to his coworkers … with animal filters

I’m sorry it took me a while to get back to you. To be honest, I really struggled with if I wanted to provide an update because I don’t really have a satisfying resolution to offer so I’m hoping that if you post this people will be understanding.

I wrote my letter in early June and at the time this situation arose my supervisor had just left for a two week vacation with her family out of the state. She would check email occasionally during her trip, however she was vacationing with her young children and spouse and to be honest I didn’t want to email her on her vacation about something I may or may not have correctly heard (if you’ll remember, I thought I heard staff talking about a certain co-worker but when I asked if they were talking about what I thought I heard them say they didn’t answer and quickly went back to their work). To give you some context about my job, this is the first HR role I’ve ever worked in and my training wasn’t very… great. I’ve done relevant work like assisting with hiring, new employee orientation, conducting reference checks in previous positions but everything besides the hiring aspect of this position is all new to me and it’s been a big learn as I go experience. I work at a very small company and besides my supervisor (who also doesn’t have any formal HR experience) there wasn’t really anyone for me to turn to for advice so I decided to write you. I had every intention of bringing it up to my supervisor when she got back from her trip, however in two weeks other things had come up and it completely slipped my mind until I saw you had answered my letter in July. By that point it had been over a month since the issue had happened and I felt like too much time had passed for me to bring it up, especially because I was never confident that I had heard the situation correctly in the first place.

I definitely wish I would have taken action when I first heard the group talking or at least pressed them for answers so I could be sure of what was even being said, but I didn’t really feel confident about what to do. I appreciate your advice in your letter and the comments as well. Even though I ultimately didn’t take your advice, it has helped me become more confident about how to handle any similar situations that may come up in the future.

3. Work travel expenses with a baby

Thanks for publishing my question. Based on your response and feedback from the commenters, I didn’t end up asking to expense any of the cost of my husband’s trip. But I did successfully expense a rental car from the airport, which was helpful with the baby and her stuff.

Coincidentally, a month later, I was staffed on a client in the same city. To meet the team, I flew there and back the same day, which was very ridiculous because it’s a 3.5 hour flight. Since I was brought in as part of an emergency team after the senior manager in the client’s city quit, and we were desperate to make the client happy, I felt bold enough to ask if there was any way I could expense a flight for my mom, for her to watch the baby. There was not. But they said I didn’t have to fly there any more than I was able, so I worked with the team remotely for the rest of the client engagement. After the deadline, I made another day trip to take the team out to lunch and then immediately headed back to the airport.

We’re talking about having a two-day event with the client coming up, so I’m thinking I will either pay for my mom to come or fly with the baby by myself and put her in a local daycare during the day. My baby is 13 months now but I still nurse her to sleep every night and I’m not ready to leave her yet.

I still haven’t used the $400 we have allotted for overtime daycare, but I have used our backup daycare at a center near my office and it worked out great.

4. Someone is deleting my work

Pretty sure everyone’s forgotten about this one, but here goes!

I didn’t completely explain what was going on in that letter. I was writing for a newspaper. I don’t remember why I didn’t want to say that then.

I finished writing a bunch of briefs on things like garden club meetings and Cub Scouts event registration deadlines, sent them to my editor, and then heard from him that huge chunks had gone missing! It happened over and over. In my letter and comments, I was pretty convinced that someone was deleting my work, and that it wasn’t just a computer bug.

In the end, after some DIY detective work and asking everyone who could possibly have accessed my work, I discovered… Nothing. I still don’t know what was up. However, the vanishing acts eventually stopped during a several-month phase of reorganization in the company.

You could tell in the letter that I was way over-the-top frustrated. There were many other problems in that job. I think I was so bent out of shape about the missing writing because that problem was the easiest to define. I stayed for several more years, burned out slowly but spectacularly, broke down and quit. Now I’m very happy in a completely different job.

{ 134 comments… read them below }

  1. TiffIf*

    #1 This is an awesome update! Looks like you have a really responsive and responsible HR department too!

    1. Say what, now?*

      Yes, I think the happiest update we’ve received thus far this update season! And congrats on the new baby!

    2. Artemesia*

      Rarely do we get such a totally satisfying denouement. Congrats to the OP for going to HR and to the company for opening their eyes and doing something about this guy. It looks like everyone’s darkest suspicions about this guy were well justified.

    3. RB*

      Hoo wow! I love the abrupt left turn that this update took in the second paragraph, but as mentioned below, it is in keeping with his overall MO.

  2. Murphy*

    Whoa at #1! Firstly, congratulations on your baby :) I’m glad HR had your back about your boss’s thought on your clothes. His comments really were ridiculous. And again whoa at the sexual misconduct thing! Good for that intern for feeling confident enough to report him!

    1. Candi*

      I’m trying to get over him being that blatant about it. Don’t most ha rassers try to maintain at least some plausible deniability? Or at least scare the crap out of their targets.

  3. Samiratou*

    Not glad to hear your boss was behaving like that, but very glad that the company took action and got rid of him!

  4. rosiebyanyothername*

    Glad #1 has a good resolution. I think about that one often! And congrats on your baby girl. :)

  5. Discordia Angel Jones*

    Update 1 – Oh. My. God. I’d like to say I’m surprised, but… I’m actually not.

    1. KG, Ph.D.*

      Same! Without getting into a long discussion about gender theory, it makes a LOT of sense to me that someone who gets on a female subordinate for her maternity attire not being visually appealing (!!!) would also be likely to engage in quid pro quo sexual harassment. I’m glad the company acted on both issues.

      And good on that potential intern for speaking up! I know it can be incredibly difficult to do that, because you never know if the outcome will be a good one. Brava.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        I wonder if the LW bringing up her issue made HR take the intern’s complaint more seriously more quickly. It sounds like the HR department is on top of things but it probably didn’t hurt.

    2. blackcat*

      Yeah, lots of commenters on that one thought that his issue wasn’t about her clothes, but him being really weird around pregnancy/women in general. I am not at all surprised that he turned out to be a grade A asshole towards women.

    3. KHB*

      Yep. Men who act like pigs toward women don’t usually limit themselves to one woman or one particular brand of piggishness.

      I’m so glad we’re in an environment now where stories like this are being brought out into the open. Far too many pigs have been getting away with far too much for far too long.

      1. Cary*

        Yep I call it my once an assholes always an asshole theory. Basically if you are a boundary violating asshole in one situation then I’m going to be keeping a very close eye on you especially if you handle money or confidential informantion cause I’m expecting you to replicate this behaviour in other situation.

    4. ScienceLady*

      My goodness, the Alanis-Morrisette-level irony of her “inappropriate” work attire next to his, um, actions has me rolling my eyes enough to induce optic strain.

    5. Amber T*

      Ugh, yep. Not surprised. But happy ending so yay! And congrats on the little one and yay for having a sane boss!

    6. DrPeteLoomis*

      Yeah, really. The OP started by saying it was an “unexpected turn”, but honestly I was not surprised by the revelation about the boss. OP, congrats on your baby! And I think it’s pretty safe to say that your boss’s problem was 100% about your pregnant body and 0% about your clothes. What a creep.

  6. Kate*

    Today has really been a roller coaster of emotions with these updates. In #1 alone, I went from “Aw, congrats on your baby daughter” to “WHAT?!?!”

  7. Millennial Lawyer*

    So glad #1 worked out. Thank you for coming forward about the maternity clothes issue, OP, it was brave. Although this is anecdotal, I think it shows if someone has shown poor attitudes regarding women in the workplace one area, it might also occur in others….

    1. Jesca*

      I agree. I think it is also overlooked a lot of times. But usually where there is smoke there is fire. Its that whole “if they are willing to say/do that openly, then what is going on when no one is looking” kind of thing.

  8. cobweb collector*


    Please give your intern a hi-5 from me. There are far too many people who don’t stand up for themselves in situations like this, especially when they’re young and don’t know what the professional norms are. I’m glad she did.

    1. Specialk9*

      To be fair, lots of us learned that when we stood up to report abusive men with power, *we* got punished and not the perp. But it seems like that may actually really be changing.

    2. LBK*

      Amen – I certainly understand why women often choose not to report sexual harassment since it often ends up making things worse for them overall, but good for her for doing it.

  9. Tedious Cat*

    OP #1: Your update was perhaps the one I most wanted for this year; I was appalled and worried for you. I’m delighted to see that HR backed you up and your company is well-rid of that creeper (and good on the intern! I imagine that must have been scary for her but clearly your company is moving in the right direction). Congratulations on your new little one and Happy Holidays!

    1. teacher123*

      Yes, this is the one I’ve been obsessively checking for every day! I’m so glad it worked out for you. Just found out I’m pregnant myself and I was totally cheering for you as I read your update! I’m a teacher, which tends to be a little more friendly towards working moms in general, but I am so happy for you!

    1. designbot*

      It sounds to me like someone was messing with it and once they saw that OP was looking into it they backed off.

    2. Prince of Snarkness*

      Sounds like someone got reassigned, fired or just backed off once investigation started. “Deleted” files aren’t gone right away, and the system stores who deleted them. It’s easy to catch someone once you know to be on the lookout.

      1. Karen D*

        Not always. Content management systems (which is the depressingly bland name newspapers use for the software that gets the copy into print) can have various levels of controls governing what kind of tracking is available and who can see it. At some point, many papers lock the writers out of the ability to edit or track their stories. And some papers use a mashup of three, four or even five programs that were never actually made to work together.

        Our previous CMS had a bad, bad habit of randomly gobbling chunks of copy out of the stories just as they were being published to our website, or stripping off necessary coding. And the web-publication process itself was absolutely lacking in either tracking or the ability to recover deleted files. I didn’t actually remember OP’s letter, but I can totally believe that it was just random glitches in the software. It’s also totally within the realm of possibility that somebody was messing with the OP – especially if that paper locked writers out of the ability to see who “touched” their stories after they were filed.

        1. seejay*

          Or you have a company that writes their own CMS and it’s an absolute dumpsterfire with all sorts of weird little glitches and only fiddly developers with an eye for details and nuances because that’s the crap they work with every day will figure that stuff out, so don’t ever count on the everyday user to work out all the bugs in it and it’ll just barf up on their content every day and make their lives *HELL* and the people that wrote it will think it’s still the best thing since sliced bread because ~*they wrote it from scratch*~ instead of investing in the actual real CMS software that professionals have spent thousands of dollars perfecting and making sure isn’t a flaming pile of muppetfarts.

          No I’m not mad about it or anything why do you ask?

          1. Oranges*

            Do you work for my company? Because seriously. Wait no. Our homemade CMS went down in flames (it’s STILL talked about…). Sadly they went with a CMS that doesn’t play nice so we still get daily barf-spawn.

            1. Karen D*

              OK, I think we all did work together. The CMS we had prior to the one that we just replaced (and yay, we’re about to replace it again!) was also a “custom” job (to be diplomatic) and Ho. My. Dog. it was a mess.

        2. Red 5*

          I’ve never been more glad that my days as a journalist were before CMS were quite so prevalent (well, they existed then but were too expensive for the low budget paper I worked at). But as somebody who uses various CMS for web related stuff at my job now, I hate every single one of them individually and for different reasons.

          But my experience in journalism also tells me that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also intentional on the part of a co-worker. Hard to tell without more evidence. But either way, I’m also not surprised OP burned out and flamed out into another career since that is _exactly_ what happened with me only on a much shorter timescale.

    3. Prince of Snarkness*

      Sounds like someone was messing with him. Either that person was reassigned or fired, or they realized the OP was on to them.

      Deleted files are still in the system for a while, along with info on who deleted them. If the person did it again, the OP could easily have caught them.

      1. Natalie*

        Although it wasn’t files, it was segments of completed work, presumably stories, that were deleted while the work was being edited and reviewed. Presumably one of the OP’s editors was responsible (whether out of malice, tech incompetence, or mindblowing passivity) and that person was canned or reshuffled.

      2. OP 4*

        Unfortunately, those chunks of text were totally gone! It was strange. Typically, one could retrieve deleted text by using the version manager (save history? whatever it was called), but that didn’t work.

        At one point I asked a couple of people who could access my files if they had seen anything funny. They hadn’t.

        1. Karen D*

          I posted my reply above before I saw you were here :) but if you were using a certain system I’m thinking of*, then a glitch might be more of a possibility than you know.

          *first two syllables same as a musical instrument?

    4. OP 4*

      No gremlins… :)

      I don’t have any particularly strong theories. The best I can come up with is that someone who had access to my writing deleted pieces accidentally. This person was the only one I knew of who had the same problem, and the problem stopped at roughly the same time as he retired. However, there were a lot of other changes in the company at the same time.

      1. Red 5*

        Oh man, that actually sounds really feasible. I’ve had multiple co-workers in my life who would mess up things that would cause big problems but could not fathom that they were doing something wrong themselves and it wasn’t just “I can’t believe the software glitched again.” Especially if he was retirement age, that sounds really possible.

    5. TheX*

      I believe Alison was correct in her initial response to the LW saying it was very likely a user error and not a maliciousness. This is coming from someone who’s done IT security investigations including legal discovery.

      1. Specialk9*

        I just found several posts from people confessing they did that very thing to coworker’s. I didn’t post links because they and the commenters were violent toward women. I’m feeling pretty sick about having trailed my fingers through that slime.

        1. seejay*

          when I was 15/16 and managed to sneak my computer teacher’s super user password, I would sneak onto other student’s accounts and do silly things like reset the screen and font colour to black so when they logged in, it would look like the monitor died. I also poked around in their accounts a bit to see what they wrote but it was all boring stuff (cause no one was using computers in the early 90s except for class stuff to write code and homework in, except for me, since I was busy trying to break into the actual system and do other more nefarious things with it).

          I could *easily* see someone who had access (either allowed or by a badly secured system) and a grudge or chip on their shoulder going in and being an asshat and deleting stuff against a coworker. I worked in IT investigations too, and some of the crap I found in peoples’ emails and their browser history and cache files (on work computers no less) was astounding. And these people *knew* we were capturing everything for legal purposes.

          Never underestimate the stupidity of people and the power of a grudge they can carry.

            1. Candi*

              I think Specialk9 is referring to that, while it’s not about the same series of incidents, there are totally jerks out there who will deliberatelly sabotage their coworkers for advancement, undermining, and just to feel pleasure in their malicious withered hearts.

    1. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      +1 to this. If we all knew what to do in the moment the first time, I would bet a good 50% of us would never have found this site. :)

      Best of luck going forward.

  10. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    No.1 This is a wonderful update. When your daughter is older you can tell her the story of how she played a small role in bringing down a predator.:)

    1. Former Employee*

      Good point. I hope the OP reads all of the comments. To be able to tell your little girl a story like that is priceless.

  11. SallytooShort*

    LW#1 Congratulations on your baby girl! Congratulations on your new boss!

    LW#2 I think the stance here has always been that the letters/advice are meant to help various situations not just the very specific one brought up. Usually that’s mentioned in the context of whether a letter is fake (it doesn’t matter since the advice is supposed to work for others, to) or republishing older letters. But I think it works here too! Maybe you couldn’t use the advice for that one situation but it still helped overall.

      1. Nichelle*

        I am really enjoying the updates Alison :) Did you ever get an update on Michelle (the employee who would change up her appearance in the middle of the work day)? I am dying of curiosity to know if anything happened after the OP wrote in. If you haven’t, could you reach out to the OP and ask for one the next time you are asking people for updates?

  12. Carpe Librarium*

    #3 I’m glad you’ve been able to navigate the situation to find solutions that work for you, your company and your client.
    It’s always useful to know that babies get less and less dependent as time passes, so travelling will take less and less kid-oriented planning from trip to trip.

  13. Pollygrammer*

    LW #1, I’m glad he was stupid enough to put his harassment in writing. I’m sorry you had to deal with so much garbage.

    1. Anna*

      Not every update has a satisfying conclusion. Sometimes we get more context or a Part 2 or whatever but it’s still nice to read.

    2. OP 4*

      That’s not a very nice thing to say. Anyway, the points I tried to cover were:

      1. Some stuff happened in my previous letter. Here is what happened next.

      2. I believe the first letter showed some overinvestment on my part. When you find yourself bothered by one single issue and focusing an unusual amount of mental energy on it, step back and look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself what’s up with that.

      1. Antilles*

        Your update seemed perfectly fine to me. And I certainly can’t imagine complaining about a story that ends with “I have a new job and I’m much happier” – seems like it’s a pretty good resolution for all involved, even if you never figured out what happened.

        1. Specialk9*

          Exactly. Thanks for writing in, OPs! (And feel free to do update 2 or even 3 if something else gets revealed.)

        2. JessaB*

          Especially when it’s an update on a much older issue, it’s nice to know that people are doing well and that they’re still around the AAM family

      2. JulieBulie*

        Yeah, I actually was curious about what happened to you. I had a similar problem at a job a long time ago. IT was not interested, and it was the kind of thing that really would have required effort for someone to do, and it was unlikely to be a system problem because it was happening only to my files.

        Like you say in point #2, I was missing the bigger picture: that I worked with the kind of people who would do something like that. Even bigger picture: I worked with enough of those kind of people that I couldn’t even figure out which person it was.

      3. Optimistic Prime*

        I liked your update! You realized that that feature of the job bothered you enough that you got out of there. I like hearing what happened to LWs all the time no matter what happens, so I’m glad you came back and shared.

        1. Elizabeth H.*

          Same. I found it very satisfying for the same reason, it’s so useful to be able to look at something you’re feeling or experiencing and use that information to make a change for the future.

    3. HannahS*

      Wow, that was so unnecessary. A lot of times, the update to an unfortunate situation is “nothing satisfying happened” which would be a crap ending in fiction but since this is a real site considering the lives of actual, non-made-up people, sometimes we don’t get “and they all lived happily ever after” and if that’s all you’re looking for, fiction might be a better bet.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Exactly. These are real people, and real endings are not always terribly satisfying or sensational. It’s still interesting to know where situations ended up.

        1. Karen D*

          I replied above before I saw this exchange (I really should be better at reading ALL the comments before I start yapping) but to be honest, if every story ended up tied up tight with a neat little bow (“and then he turned around and his boss was standing right there and fired him on the spot!”) that would set off my hinky meter.

          Yes, sometimes we do get incredibly satisfying (OP1) or bizarre denouements, but if every story ended with the flaming sword of justice crashing down it would quickly seem a little less … real.

          1. HannahS*

            Yeah, and honestly, I think it’s a good thing to include stories like this, so that the rest of us get to see that unsatisfying resolutions to conflict are very common, and it’s not a personal failing to live through an injustice that never gets really resolved.

            1. LBK*

              I think having so many updates that end in “I quit and I’ve been at a new job for a year now and I’m much happier” is actually nice because it reinforces that generally speaking, workplace issues aren’t permanent, and there are ways to get out if the situation isn’t solvable. In so many of those letters people feel trapped, frustrated and hopeless and it’s refreshing to be reminded that there’s light at the end of the tunnel (even if it’s a tunnel to another company).

              1. Mints*

                So true!
                I remember writing to Alison about a pretty minor thing that my boss was asking me to do that I thought I should do differently, and she was like “Just ask your boss” which, duh.
                But at the time that seemed like a terrible idea because I hated talking to him because of all the sexist/inappropriate jokes he made. Thinking through that helped a little but not at all in the specific way I wrote to her.
                (I’m two jobs and five years away from that boss, hooray.)

            2. Candi*

              I think it’s important too. “Happily Ever After” can be toxic if that’s how you expect all things to end. “Life goes on” is an incredibly important lesson.

              It’s one of things that first drew me to anime and mange. Bad things happened, people died, things changed. It wasn’t the reset to status quo or happy endings of the western shows at the time. Life happened. Even if it was fantastical life.

              I think that, despite its problems, is one of the reasons I like the movie Steel Magnolias. There really isn’t a happy ending; life just continues.

          2. Specialk9*

            And, I mean, we’ve been getting lots of cosmic deliciousness lately. The office poop monitor who now has the trots all the time due to pregnancy, and #1 above, the patchouli smeller who got rebuked for messing with the freakishly unscented OP, and the sneak-girlfriend-and-country-leaver who lost his job and had to leave the country.

  14. Mad Baggins*

    LW 2: Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to respond perfectly in the moment with no proper training or support! The way everyone clammed up when you asked about it might have made them rethink what they were doing–and maybe they stopped looking at the pictures, or at least talking about it (so openly) during work hours. Maybe someone even told the picture-taker to stop taking/sharing them! Your act of showing interest and concern, and showing that you will investigate these things as HR, was still the right thing to do.

    1. Mad Baggins*

      What I mean is, the fact that they clammed up means they may have rethought what they were doing. So you might have had an impact you couldn’t see!

      1. OP 2*

        Thank you, that’s a good way of thinking about things. I haven’t heard any similar gossip since I wrote my original letter, so I’m truly thinking either I misheard the issue or it has stopped. And now I do feel more confident in how to handle anything similar that may come up in the future (although hopefully it never does)!

  15. emmylou*

    I am also loving the updates, and particularly glad to hear the satisfying resolutions on so many this week — not because I need a great plot but because so many people got a bit of a comeuppance. Yay letterwriters ;-).

    I have an ongoing curiosity about a letter not from this year — from Nov 2016 — from the person whose boss was making a group that had diverse political perspectives spend election night together at a mandatory retreat. I am so curious about how that one played out over this politically fraught year.

    1. JulieBulie*

      Excuse me WHAT?
      I’ve never read that letter, but from your description (so many problems packed into one sentence) I’m afraid to look.

  16. The Supreme Troll*

    OP#1, congratulations! I am very glad that everything turned out for the best for you. Your company seems to have a fair and effective HR dept. Really, nobody should have to put up with that, and I am glad that karma got him.

  17. Observer*

    #1 I am SOOO glad that you have a sane HR. As for the intern, she is my new hero! It must have taken a LOT of courage for her to report him, and I give her a TON of credit. It says good things about your employer that they took her seriously and took action.

  18. Optimistic Prime*

    There’s a theme that I see in a lot of updates that I think here is most explicitly illustrated in update #4.

    So many time AAM gets writers who are in clearly toxic, upside-down, and/or topsy-turvy work environments that they’ve grown so used to that they have a hard time telling what’s normal and what’s not. In so many of these cases, the writer will say something like “What do I do? I love every other aspect of this job, except for [this glaringly large problem that is an essential feature or aspect of the job].” When in reality, they really don’t love every aspect of the job, or that problem is so big that it doesn’t really matter if you love everything else – that torpedoes it.

    In their original letter, update #4 said “I love every other part of working here, but when my work disappears and nobody seems to care, I don’t feel that what I’m doing is valued/valuable.” But interestingly, in this update, they say “There were many other problems in that job. I think I was so bent out of shape about the missing writing because that problem was the easiest to define.”

    Maybe some of those many other problems surfaced later, but I’ve gotten the sense that the “I love everything else about this and I don’t want to leave!” is a defense mechanism against the scary idea of restarting a job search and not knowing if somewhere else will be saner and less weird than the place you’re currently in. And I think in a lot of the updates in which people have moved onto other jobs, when they have the benefit of hindsight and clarity they can look back and say “wow, no, that was insane and I don’t know how I managed for so long.”

    1. RB*

      It’s like when someone writes Dear Prudence and says “I love my partner, he’s great in every way EXCEPT for this one little thing” which turns out to be a major obstacle in the relationship and something worth breaking up over it.

      1. Specialk9*

        Oh yeah, that’s the kiss of death. Perfect except for just this one tiny thing… She eats kittens / he poops on people from catwalks / they conduct horrific satanic rituals that disturb my sleep.

      2. Gingerblue*

        I’m reminded of a bit in one of the Sherlock Holmes stories about an older couple who have a perfectly loving, happy marriage except that every day the husband takes his false teeth out at the dinner table and hurls them at his wife.

      3. Jaybeetee*

        It’s a side rant and OT, but I do think NuPru is a bit *too* blase about relationship breakups – it seems her go-to now for every relationship question (even relatively minor or moderate issues) is “Your partner is a bad person, break up, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.” I did prefer the Ann Landers/Dear Abby formula of “Are you better off with or without him?”

        1. Red 5*

          I agree with you that the real question is “are you better off leaving the relationship” but I actually think that in a lot of cases with somebody who has romantic blinders on the very terse and to the point “then break up with him” can do a LOT to shake up their mental process to get them where they need to be. I know it happened to me at least once (I did break up with the guy).

          To bring it back around to the topic, it’s a bit like reminding somebody unhappy at their job that they COULD quit. That choice is always on the table. You have to examine it fully and realize it’s there. Too many people are convinced that their options are either stay with the unhappy thing and learn to live with it or stay with the unhappy thing and figure out a way to fix it. There is always a third option to walk away, and you can’t forget that’s there, no matter how much you might want to pretend it isn’t.

          I don’t keep up with Prudence regularly enough to make a qualitative comment on how she handles it, to be fair, but a lot of advice columns I read will point out “well, you could just leave” because it does need to be said sometimes.

        2. Candi*

          I remember one Dear Abby letter not too long ago where the young woman writing in detailed how her new boyfriend:

          1) Insisted she needed to make more money at her job

          2) Had quit his job

          3) Since then, had spent most of his time playing video games (not a bad thing itself, but when that’s all you do…

          4) Constantly belittled and mocked her

          5) Told her repeatedly he realllllly needed her (I can just guess what other manipulation was going on here)

          6) Was pressuring her to move in with him.

          The young woman was worried that if she dumped him, any other relationship would be worse.

          Abby told her flat out to dump him now, that there was no way her relationship could BE worse. Just about anyone else would be better. (I know that was an exaggeration for effect/no room for qualifiers.)

          And I was SO glad she didn’t bring up the ‘well, does he hit you?’ line. Irrelevant and unnecessary!

  19. neverjaunty*

    OP#2 – c’mon. The problem just happened to slip your mind for a couple weeks, and then you dropped the issue because it was “too late”?

    Nothing prevented you from saying “hey boss, I meant to bring this up earlier, but you were out of the office and then I got buried dealing with the llama-racing paperwork. So here’s the problem…”

    I get that they haven’t given you a lot of training, but dealing with uncomfortable situations like this is part of your job. Avoiding confrontation and dodging conflict aren’t.

    1. Specialk9*

      I wouldn’t have said it that way, but I also feel like this shouldn’t be the end of it, self trained or not. Because that’s not the right thing to do – so now that you know better, you should respond appropriately (even if late) or find a job with less responsibility.

    2. LBK*

      Eh, I think it’s perfectly valid to feel like it’s not worth raising something weeks later when she felt like she wasn’t even 100% certain it was happening and it didn’t seem to happen again after that incident. I think in a case like that you have to weigh the severity of the incident; if she’d caught someone actually taking those photos in a conference room or something, that would be one thing, but I don’t think this is something that warrants follow up if it’s not happening anymore.

      1. LBK*

        Hm – I missed that the OP was in HR, which I see now on rereading. I’m a little more conflicted about the OP’s obligation to follow up, but I think I still come down on the side that since she wasn’t even 100% sure it was happening and it seems to have stopped, there isn’t much to be gained from effectively reopening the issue (when presumably the point of any kind of investigation would have been to achieve that same end, unless people think the employees involved are escaping punishment).

  20. seejay*

    OP #1: Holy wackamole, did you work for a company that begins with the letter U and rhymes with goober? Cause that’s what that sounds like. O_o

      1. seejay*

        You know, now that you say that, that’s *really damn true*.

        I’m currently looking for a new job and I’ve had at least two recruiters approach me with Uber positions and one of them I outright said to her face “that’s resume poison, I’d rather get deported than work there”. She laughed and said I had a point.

        1. Naomi*

          A few months ago, my job-hunting roommate briefly considered applying at Uber but said he was hesitant because of something negative about them that had been in the news. I said “Oh, was it X?” referring to a headline I had seen about Uber that day. We went through three different scandals before we got to the one that he was thinking of.

          He did not apply to Uber.

  21. JenM*

    Update #1 – I love this update. You actually took Alison’s advice! HR actually did their job! And you have a lovely baby girl!! Congratulations :)

  22. Hey Karma, Over Here*

    OP1: that explains the maternity clothes issue. Women aren’t supposed to be people. They can’t be pregnant! They are supposed to be sexual objects for him to appreciate.

  23. Bookworm*

    Lordy. Glad it it worked out, LW1. We’re seeing quite a bit of anecdotal evidence as of late (I don’t know if studies have been done about this?) but it’s not a surprise that your boss displaying such an attitude over maternity clothes (!) would turn out to be a real creep.

    Kudos to that intern and to your company for being proactive and doing the right thing. Hope all is well and congrats about the baby!

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