someone I’ve known for years lied to get me to hire someone terrible she wanted to get rid of

A reader writes:

“Arya” and I were classmates in college. We were in the same year and did the same major. We’ve known each other for 16 years and have worked together twice; one time she was my manager and the other time I was hers. We often attend the same work-related conferences and exchange thoughts on articles that appear in industry publications. Our relationship is a professional one, although I did attend her wedding because her husband was in the same fraternity as me, and she did introduce me to my future husband at a networking charity event. Besides her wedding, we have never talked outside of work or a networking event.

I was hiring for a position and one of the promising candidates was working for Arya and had put her down as a reference. Arya sung her praises and told me she was the best employee in the department. The position I was hiring for would be a promotion for the candidate, and Arya said there was no room for promotion in her department at the moment. Based on Arya’s glowing review and the same from another manager there (and her strong resume), I hired her.

It was a catastrophe. Her work was sloppy and disorganized. She struggled to do basic tasks, missed deadlines, and was sometimes cold to her coworkers and clients. She was asked to take point on a project because her resume listed a similar project, and it went so far off the rails we had to bring in outside help to get it back on track. I know a promotion and new company can be an adjustment, but she was incompetent beyond having to adjust to a new place. Her mistakes cost us so much money she had to be fired.

When I spoke to Arya the first time, she played dumb. The second time, she admitted to lying about how good the candidate was because she was tired of dealing with her mistakes and wanted her gone. She told the candidate she wouldn’t fire her if she quickly left on her own and promised a good reference in exchange. The other manager agreed to do the same thing when Arya asked him to. Arya also told the candidate to lie about how long she worked there to make it seem like she was there longer and to put the project on her resume even though she wasn’t point on it. Arya said it was business and nothing personal.

After she was fired, my boss told me the bad candidate is being investigated by federal authorities for regulatory violations from her time at Arya’s company. The investigation started just when we were interviewing her, and Arya knew about it and didn’t tell me. The other manager is also being investigated for the same violations, which is how Arya got him to lie about the candidate. If the candidate had not left her job there, she would have been fired when word of the investigation got out. We had another candidate who worked for Arya, and Arya told me he was a mediocre employee who does the bare minimum. He just won two different prestigious industry awards. Arya also admitted to lying about him because she didn’t want him to leave. He still works at the same company as her.

I’m angry. She knowingly lied to me. I put stock in her opinion because of our relationship. I feel stupid and duped. I’m afraid making such a bad hire and passing up a good candidate will make me look bad and affect my career. My boss and her boss are upset about this debacle, and everyone knows something is up because the regulators came in when they found out the candidate worked here. They haven’t found anything yet but everyone is still nervous. The other manager who lied about the bad candidate has already been arrested and, based on what the bad candidate is accused of, she will likely be arrested soon also. (Arya cooperated with authorities, isn’t being investigated, and isn’t accused of doing anything against regulations.)

I don’t plan on talking to Arya again beyond being arms-length and professionally cool if I run into her at a conference and others are present. I’m not even sure if I can go to her boss because I don’t have any proof beyond her telling me verbally. Whether I knew her or not, the lie was egregious. Do I tell her boss? Do I confront her or leave it alone? She didn’t show any guilt or apologize to me.

Wow, Arya behaved horribly.

It’s bad enough when references lie in order to pass a problem employee on to someone else — instead of doing their own job and firing the person if it’s needed. That’s crappy, and it’s negligent. But doing it to someone you’ve known for 16 years — someone who was at your wedding! — is a whole new level of audacity. And then add in that she gave the candidate her blessing to lie about both her tenure and her work, and that she knew the person was under federal investigation, and that she also lied to keep a good employee from getting a job somewhere else, and Arya is officially an awful person.

As for whether to tell her boss about this … Do you know her boss at all? Or does your boss? If neither of you do, I wouldn’t just call up out of the blue — but if there’s any relationship there at all, then yeah, I’d detail all of this to her. You don’t need proof in order to say something; you can just factually explain what Arya did, and that she admitted it to you.

I also wouldn’t be shy about sharing with others what she did. You should feel free to warn people in your field not to trust references from her, and to explain why. What she did should be a reputation-ruiner, and you’re not under any obligation to shield her from that.

As for confronting Arya herself … I would. This isn’t a situation where you have anything to gain by doing that so you may decide not to bother, but certainly on principle you have every right to tell Arya how unethical and unacceptable her multiple lies were. And in response to her claim that it’s “just business,” you can tell her that ethics apply in business too and that her professional credibility is shattered.

{ 429 comments… read them below }

  1. paul*

    That may be the most thoroughly burned bridge I’ve seen on this blog. Wow.

    I don’t have any great advice, but I think I’d stay the hell away from Arya and yeah, if someone asked about her I’d tell them about this.

    1. Roja*

      Yeah, that’s not just burning a bridge, that’s sending a nuclear missile straight into it, and then salting the earth afterward just to make sure. WOW.

      1. JessaB*

        Forget nukes, someone sent in Gojira. Seriously. Fire breath and all. This is just beyond. I think Arya might make worst boss/friend of the year. If she’d done it to a stranger, but she did it to her FRIEND and what if miss under investigation did something illegal at OP’s company? Beyond tossed under the bus here.

        1. Anonymoose*

          Eh, they weren’t friends though. They were long-term aquaintences. This is not excusing Arya, becase hot daaaamn – but we shouldn’t make it a personal betrayal when it’s really not. Arya is a shit person, full stop. An even more stupid business person. I find it hard to believe that she’s not under investigation too if this is how she runs things. I would probably find her boss’ boss and let ‘er rip with what happened. They might not care, but considering the investigation, I’m thinking it would be the nail in the coffin of her career there.

        2. Liane*

          I was thinking, “Hitting the bridge with the Death Star’s superlaser.”

          But wow, oh wow. You know how Captain Awkward preaches against the Darth Vader Boyfriends? Arya is the Emperor Palpatine Manager because she not only does horrible things, but–unlike Vader–NO ONE in the (AAM) galaxy thinks there is still good in her.

    2. BadPlanning*

      Ha, as I was clicking on comments, I was making burning bridge analogies in my head…

    3. Greg M.*

      I can think of one but only one and that’s the dude who ghosted and left the freaking country.

    4. Hills to Die on*

      I have advice: If the awesome candidate is still at her company, tell him what she did so that he knows his job search is being impacted. Even if he already left Arya, I would still probably give him a heads up because using her as a professional reference ever again is going to be very, very bad for him. Maybe that would be sticking OP’s nose where it doesn’t belong, but I would really want to know if I were Awesome Guy.

          1. Annonymouse*

            This is what OP needs to do

            1) Inform your bosses about how badly you were deceived. 3 people lied to you to get that person hired under seriously shady circumstances.

            One who was a close acquaintance who lied to your face to keep an amazing worker and get rid of a poor one.

            2) Ask if other candidate can be reconsidered since they were a top choice, have won awards and you know Arya’s poor reference means jack.

            3) Reach out to other candidate and offer them an interview for the newly opened position and/or inform them of Ayra tanking their reference.

            4) Confront Arya at the next conference or networking event. That she behaved so unethical that you want no further dealings with her and that cheating and lying aren’t what businesses are about.

            5) If anyone asks (professionally) what happened between you and Arya tell them that she behaved in an unethical way that means you will no longer deal with her.

            If they really push go into rough details.

      1. AKchic*

        I’d also be suspicious of anyone coming from that company right now, especially if they worked for the manager already arrested/charged/convicted and the other one who has willingly lied so easily. You don’t know just who has lied and for what reasons.
        It stands to reason that candidate 2 is unaware of the lies about their own references, but has stayed on and willingly lied to protect the company and Arya’s reputation. Right now, everyone within Arya’s shadow is tainted.

        1. Natalie*

          I don’t actually think it does stand to reason that the other candidate has participating in a coverup, but regardless, Hills to Die On was just suggesting giving him a head’s up that his job search was being sandbagged. That’s still true regardless of how many farfetched conspiracy scenarios might be happening.

        2. Gingerblue*

          No, that doesn’t actually follow. It’s possible, certainly, that other people at this company were involved in the violations, but it’s also entirely possible that the two people already being accused were the only ones involved. Candidate #2 is in a department which is apparently being investigated pretty thoroughly and hasn’t been accused of anything that we know of.

          1. JessaB*

            And the sooner it gets out into the industry information pipeline what Arya and her co-conspirator did, the better, because people will know and that’ll help candidate 2 and protect OP’s reputation as well, because who wouldn’t believe their friend of 16 years if they said an employee was stellar?

        3. Clarice Fitzpatrick*

          That’s really more reason to give him a head’s up. Given that there’s nothing to definitely indicate candidate #2 is complicit in the violations and deception beyond sharing employment with these people, it makes more sense to give him that information. The sooner he can leave for someplace else/cut ties with Arya, the sooner he can leave behind any potential shady associations. If he’s actually shady himself, there’s really not much OP could do anyway and this kind of heads up wouldn’t really give him some undeserved advantage/getaway.

          1. BaristaBandit*

            I’m sure that if regulators are looking into things there, anything shady the other candidate may have been involved in would come to light eventually. I definitely would be interested in Allison’s take on warning the candidate that was passed on. Maybe if OP reached out and said “I passed on your candidacy in part because of a negative reference from Arya, who has admitted to lying in order to keep you at the company. We can’t change what happened, but at least you have that information in case you wanted to change up your references.”

        4. Forrest*

          That doesn’t stand to reason at all – I don’t understand that jump in logic.

          I do think hiring anyone from that company should be put on a hold for right now.

      2. Engineer Girl*

        I was coming here to say this. Arya defamed him in order to keep him.
        I would also suggest to the employee thar he contact his company’s legal and HR departments. Because the company could get sued for this.

        1. Annonymouse*

          There are lots of ways to give a bad reference that are perfectly legal unfortunately.

          You can’t lie about things that are easily checkable facts (like was fired if they resigned with notice or they stole company property) because those are the illegal but more subjective things i.e not being a good team player or a thinking inside the box are legal.

          1. Engineer Girl*

            Arya told me he was a mediocre employee who does the bare minimum. He just won two different prestigious industry awards. Arya also admitted to lying about him because she didn’t want him to leave. He still works at the same company as her.

            Arya admitted to lying. She claimed he was mediocre and did the bare minimum. Yet later he won awards.

            I’d say this is egregious enough. And the facts conflict with what Arya originally told OP.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              The facts conflict, but what you’re describing are unlikely to be significant enough to support a defamation lawsuit. But OP should still give that employee a head’s up, imo.

              Thankfully, Arya’s behavior is so horrid that there doesn’t need to be a legal cause of action for word to spread that she’s a lying liar who cannot be trusted.

            2. Lindsay J*

              Mediocre and doing the bare minimum are going to be difficult to be able to prove as lies in a court, though.

              More objective things like “turned work in past deadlines”, “came in late once a week”, “made major errors that cost the company money” would be easier to prove as false.

              So it really depends on what exactly was said in the conversation – whether “mediocre” and “does bare minimum” are the letter writer paraphrasing/summarizing more detailed objective feedback or what was actually said.

              If she made actual false statements, he should be able to prove the material harm part, as the letter writer would have hired him for a better paying job if it weren’t for Arya lying about him.

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        OMG yes, I’d feel so terrible if I were Awesome Guy. He’s trapped at Arya’s and doesn’t even know it. Agree, he deserves a heads-up!

      4. General Ginger*

        Yeah, he deserves to know that Arya has tanked his reference, especially if he’s still looking/looking again, which is very likely!

      5. Chatterby*

        +1 Please, please, let this guy know. That he’s still there raises the possibility that other attempts to find work elsewhere were likewise sabotaged.

      6. nomorejibbajabba*

        Yes, my thought went to that stellar candidate getting a mediocre reference also. How terrible for him to have his career stunted by a crap manager.

    5. Snark*

      I mean, definitely, bridges got burned, but that’s so….incomplete. Bridges got burned, as part of a terrifyingly devastating campaign of Mongol-like sacking of the Kingdom of OP, including pillaging of hovels, decimations of the humiliated defending army, salting of the land, and forcing the king to abegnate himself before the khan.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I mean, even that doesn’t seem extensive enough to capture what Arya did. I feel like it’s closer to Cersei and the Destruction of the Great Sept. Or Dany and the Battle of the Goldroad. But even those scenarios seem lacking compared to what Arya did.

      2. Annonymouse*

        I’m feeling more Bane from Dark Knight Rises.

        1) Destroy almost all bridges in and out of Gotham

        2) Have a bunch of crazy/bad people in charge wreaking havoc on the good people

        3) And a slowly ticking bomb that will destroy everyone still there.

        Sounds about right.

    6. John travolta*

      Scorched earth. And that’s what I’d do to Arya as well – not for the desire for revenge but to make sure people know she professionally carries zero credit.

  2. Wee Sleekit*

    I hope it was worth it to Arya to throw away a 16 year relationship…
    You had no way of knowing that she was lying to your face and no reason to suspect here; anyone would have fallen for that.

    1. Merci Dee*

      She didn’t throw away only a 16-year relationship. She’s also effectively thrown away everything she’s worked to accomplish in those 16 years. When word of this gets out (and it will — it always does), her professional reputation will be worthless. Who in their right minds would work with her again if they heard about this from credible sources?

      1. KHB*

        I hope there’s enough justice in the world for that to be the case, but it seems like manipulative people always seem to keep enough people on their side to keep themselves in a safe position. What surprises me most is that Arya came clean to the OP in the end instead of spinning more lies. Either she’s not very good at being a manipulator, or else she is good at it – and she knows that she has enough people wrapped around her fingers that her account will be believed over OP’s.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            This. I suspect this is the answer. Anyone who responds to being coy about egregiously lying by saying “it’s just business” is pretty arrogant and has no shame.

            1. Chaordic One*

              I suspect that Arya believes that she can always beg for forgiveness if there are any negative consequences to her actions. I’ll bet she gives good apology.

      2. Samiratou*

        I’d be doing my best to make sure that it gets out, if I were the LW.

        But she probably doesn’t need to, as Arya is certainly going to be hit with the sh*t splashed from the federal investigation fan. If the best that can be said about you is that you cooperated with authorities and won’t be arrested, too, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to get near her going forward.

      3. JessaB*

        And it’d get out sooner rather than later, if I were OP, I’d be leaking this like I was a cold war double agent.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        She realized that the light at the end of the tunnel is an on-coming train and she started protecting herself first and foremost.
        If it were a burning building she would step on people to make sure she got out the door first.

    2. serenity*

      More like, throw away a reputation. I completely agree with Alison that this should be a total reputation-ruiner for someone like her who was so brazenly unethical.

    3. Just Call Me Karma*

      Aren’t you just BEGGING for karma to come calling? In my vision, Arya loses her job, and begs OP for a job, and/or begs LW to be a reference for her.

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        Arya is cooperating with the investigation and hasn’t been charged. BUT when the dust settles her bosses may decide that she is tainted by association and cut her loose or tell she she needs to resign.

  3. SleepyTimeTay*

    Wow…just wow. That is right out of a soap opera. I wish the OP all the best with this situation!

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      This is so much more interesting and dramatic than a soap opera. Eastenders has nothing on Arya and her craziness.

    2. Fake old Converse shoes (not in the US)*

      I can imagine Soraya Montenegro doing this. *laughs in Spanish*

  4. Anonymous37*

    I just wanted to be the first person to write “Foisted!” in this comments section, because someone is going to, and it might as well be me.

    1. Ramblin' Ma'am*

      Literally thought of this by the time I finished reading the subject line. But this was even worse!

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      If anyone reading this can spare a few minutes, it’s so worth it to watch the Curb Your Enthusiasm “Foisted” clip on YouTube.

      1. TootsNYC*

        thank you.

        I always miss these sorts of references, because my pop culture exposure is to very limited. So I appreciate these sorts of hints.

  5. Marcel*

    “If the candidate had not left her job there, she would have been fired when word of the investigation got out.”

    Am I the only one who is surprised that someone would be fired simply for being under investigation? Suspended I can see, but an investigation itself doesn’t prove that anyone did anything wrong. I wouldn’t want to see someone fired before the outcome of the investigation was released.

    Also Arya is an awful person and I agree with everything Alison said.

    1. Bea*

      I assume she wouldn’t be fired for simply being investigated but coupled with the fact she’s so awful at the job, they would cut ties rather than try to ride it out with her.

      1. Lance*

        Yeah, this is basically what I was thinking. She’s already doing a poor job, so why keep her on when the investigation is adding further icing to the ‘fire her’ cake?

        1. Oranges*

          Apparently some people hate firing that much? Or maybe every day Bad Employee was at Arya’s company a random item of Arya’s would spontaneously combust???

    2. Michele*

      That statement surprised me as well. I would hate to work anywhere where just being accused of something meant I would get fired.

      1. Anony*

        I assumed it was one of those things where it is not so much that someone accused her of something but rather that her work was raising enough red flags to cause an investigation. If someone is doing something that looks sketchy, I can see a company not wanting to give them a second chance, even if it turns out that it wasn’t technically illegal.

        1. my two cents*

          Right – like being under investigation after an annual audit, where so many things were already found to be incorrect during the audit to then warrant the full Federal investigation.

          We’re a tiny office of 17 people, and our sales/finance people are all audited annually. If anyone of them mucked it up enough to then warrant a full Federal investigation, they’d get let go just out of liability.

          1. TootsNYC*

            or for incompetence. If you screw it up that badly, even if what you did isn’t illegal, you are bad at your job and wasting company time & energy

            1. JessaB*

              Exactly what TootsNYC said. If you screw up so much you trigger an investigation even if every single thing you did is completely and totally legal and above board and the investigation not only finds nothing wrong, but finds everything right, you get fired for the incompetence of making that many mistakes. Seriously.

      2. eplawyer*

        Something tells me that Arya knew little Miss Incompetence was being investigated for a darn good reason. Like she would have been fired because she would have been arrested.

        I do have to wonder if Arya really is going to get off scot free in this investigation. Cooperating with authorities does not always mean no arrest — unless you have an immunity agreement. Which still means you were involved.

        1. Michele*

          I don’t want to seem like I am defending Arya because I don’t agree with what she did to OP or the award winner and I don’t think she comes out of this looking very good.

          But OP said that Arya talked to the authorities and co-operated with them. He said she herself is not being investigated and isn’t being accused of anything. She wasn’t arrested or charged like the other manager was. From all of this, it shows she wasn’t involved. The authorities also came into the OP’s office once they found out Arya’s former employee worked there. They have a handle on the investigation better than anyone else and are not investigating or charging Arya.

          1. JessaB*

            Not necessarily. Arya could be guilty as sin, and not charged nor investigated because she turned state’s evidence and if that’s done properly you’ll have NO idea of it until or unless someone comes to trial and she has to testify. No investigation or charges could just be protecting their source.

          2. This Daydreamer*

            You’re making assumptions that rely on Arya telling the truth. I wouldn’t trust her to tell me if the grass is green.

        2. Decima Dewey*

          The British expression “helping the police with their inquiries” comes to mind.

      3. borednerd*

        Could also be a situation where the company definitively knew she had done something wrong, but the investigation by the regulatory body might take some time to resolve because they have certain procedures they have to follow.

      1. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

        Yeahhhh… The regulatory bodies for my industry don’t quite operate like the criminal justice system. They do routine exams or can request any info/documentation they’d like – as part of a pre-investigation. You’re only considered officially “under investigation” after there’s some sort of proof/documentation under their belt. At that point they’re just looking at how bad it was/if there were any other issues, not if misconduct occurred. If you are officially “under investigation” you are essentially considered guilty within the regulatory body (so no new licesures or registrations and you are unable to do certain things that require registration within the regulatory body) until/unless you are cleared of charges.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      It’s possible that she works for a heavily regulated industry in which she did some things that led to regulatory violations for her employer, and then the regulators saw that this company had numerous, or a few particularly egregious, violations and decided to launch an investigation into the business and those involved for possible criminal charges. If an employee is causing numerous regulatory violations that then cause the regulators to launch an investigation, I’d likely fire them, too. It really depends on what those violations are, where her role is in causing them, how does it affect the company overall, etc.

  6. Sara without an H*


    I think I’d be tempted to have a terse, carefully-worded conversation with Arya, to the effect that I’d lost all respect for her professional integrity…IF I could trust myself not to lose my temper. The effort required might be more than was good for my blood pressure.

    By all means, sever all ties with Arya, treat her with glacial coldness when you can’t avoid meeting her, and, if anyone asks you for you opinion of her, be truthful, but unemotional.

      1. MerciMe*

        Warranted, but perhaps not best productive, especially if OP is a woman. Emotional displays can damage our credibility.

        1. Q*

          OP mentioned being in a fraternity with Arya’s husband. I find it unlikely that OP is a woman in this case.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            I was in a fraternity and I am a woman.

            Professional/Service oriented ones can be co-ed.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Or OP is LGBT. There’s a lot of options that do not require gendering OP!

          3. AMPG*

            I’m a woman and a member of a co-ed social fraternity, dating back to my college days. It’s technically a Greek society, but I generally use the word fraternity when talking with non-members, because it’s clearer.

      2. Sara without an H*

        Actually, I’ve found that a calm more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger delivery can be much more effective. (I’ve been trained by experts.)

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          AGREED. I call this the “I am very disappointed in you” voice.

  7. Bea*

    Woah, that’s beyond anything you would expect to happen, especially when you’ve known her for sixteen years. Especially when you throw in she tanked the other guy because she was trying to keep him.

    I would share all this with your bosses and they should understand how outrageous things are. They shouldn’t be holding anything against you because you did all the right things, you clearly didn’t have any reason to not trust this terrible narcissistic woman.

    1. k.k*

      If your bosses aren’t already fully aware of the details, absolutely tell them! You did your due diligence in hiring. There’s no way you could have predicted that this would happen, and no one that knows the full story could find you at fault.

      1. Lindsay Gee*

        I agree- let all your bosses in on the info you have from Arya ‘confessing’. I’m quite sure if your bosses know the extent of the decepiton they won’t blame you. Also, i’m sure she would be fired from her own job if they knew that she was deceptive and shady as hell

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Totally. This type of due diligence only works if the person you’re interviewing acts in good faith and is honest. Neither of those things happened, here, which is not really OP’s fault. I do think OP may want to consider calling other references (or employers who are not listed as references but appear on a resume) in the future, assuming that’s ok with their employer’s hiring practices.

    2. Gingerblue*

      Yes, absolutely. LW trusted the word of two recommenders, one of whom she had a longstanding relationship with, and they both turned out to be lying! LW, make sure your bosses are aware of how this happened–absolutely none of this is your fault.

    3. TheCupcakeCounter*

      Share it with the other candidate too so they know not to use her as a reference.

      1. Bea*

        I would wonder if they could call him up and offer him a job…get him out of the tire fire company he was trying to leave.

      2. AnonEMoose*

        I was going to say this. If there’s any way you can discreetly invite the other candidate (the one Arya deliberately sabotaged) out for coffee or a happy hour or something, and fill him in about what Arya did, I’d do it. That person is also an innocent party in this, and deserves to know not to use Arya as a reference.

        1. Mrs. D*

          I agree that OP should reach out to the employee Arya sabotaged, with one caveat. Focus the discussion you have with him only on how Arya influenced his job application. “After some additional follow-up on your application, we discovered that your skills and abilities may have been misrepresented by Arya. She told us X about your work, but we’ve discovered Y. I wanted to let you know this is going on.” I sense that going into depth on the whole story in this context could be construed as gossip.

          1. Specialk9*

            What’s the concern if it could be seen as gossip? If there has ever been appropriate workplace scuttlebutt, this is it! One would have to be seriously out to sea to be in this industry and not know about this kind of outrageous thing, and the onus for that is on Arya, not on OP.

            But to be clear, repeating the full story to the maligned candidate is a kindness and a good deed. Not gossip. And so long as it stays factual, not even defamation of (nonexistent) character.

        2. Anony*

          I don’t even think it has to be discrete. Send an e-mail or give a call to let him know that Arya lied about him to sabotage his job search. He really needs to know not to use her anymore and I don’t think the OP needs to worry that people will find out that they told the applicant the truth.

      3. Lance*

        Tempting as it would be, especially depending how long it’s been, whatever window of opportunity might have been there may well have passed. But then, others may disagree.

        1. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

          The original window of opportunity might have passed, but a new one could be opening… In my industry – if two people from my department were arrested (well one was arrested and one was soon to be arrested I would be job searching hard core. Being associated with a company that had two employees arrested would be pretty damaging to my reputation. Tthough my job/dept’s function is to ensure compliance with said regulatory rule, so you can see where it would be so problematic, so you mileage may vary.

  8. A Good Jess*

    Is there some way to let the good candidate know that Arya tanked his reference, and that in general nobody will trust references from her anymore? I mean, best case is that he’d come join you, but at the very least I wouldn’t want the poor guy wandering around wondering why he can’t get hired anywhere else.

    1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      There are a few comments in a row to this effect and I agree. Let this guy know not to use Arya as a reference since she is lying to keep him.

    2. Lynca*

      I feel the same way. She intentionally tanked him and she obviously would do so again if it suited her agenda.

    3. LouiseM*

      +1. I would be LIVID if I were this guy…he should know how unscrupulous his reference is so he can look elsewhere.

    4. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      I was thinking she should reach out to him and see if he’s still interested in the position. But at bare minimum, if I were the good candidate, I’d want to know there was a reference that I shouldn’t be using.

      1. President Porpoise*

        Furthermore, the good candidate probably would like to have a lifeline out before the crap hits the fan.

      2. Thlayli*

        This is what I came here to day. Bad Candidate is gone, Good candidate is still working at their original job. They might still be willing to come work for OP.

      1. MerciMe*

        I mean, even if the candidate still needs her as a reference (unclear if she’s his current boss) at least they can prime interview committees to understand her feedback by diplomatically letting them know it was reported to the candidate that the bad reference has previously admitted to giving negative reviews to avoid losing the candidate as an employee.

    5. A Person*

      This reminds me of this morning’s short letter #1, where the candidate was told and was trying to figure out what to do with this info.

      If the job is still open, maybe you can recruit that guy now.

    6. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      This I think that in addition to cutting off contact with Arya (really, you heard “sucks to be you” and that’s all you’re going to get. Any more and she will go into attack mode. She has no scruples.) you should reach out to the person in her company. Obviously there’s a shake up going on now. You can say that you would like a chance to meet in case the situation resolves in a way that makes the employee unsatisfied.
      And then when you meet, you can share how you were interested in the beginning, but you got misinformation about this person and Arya.

  9. Michele*

    If I was the other candidate (the one Arya said was mediocre but then won 2 awards) I would want to know that my boss was giving me terrible references and had cost me at least one chance to get a better job/promotion somewhere else. I would be really upset if it happened to me.

    1. KWu*

      Came here to suggest this as well–Arya’s good employee is the one that I think most needs to know what Arya’s really like.

  10. Nephron*

    Would it be worth it to contact the good candidate Arya lied about? The guy missed out on a job that he applied to because Arya lied about his abilities and he might be wondering why he is having trouble getting out of what I think might be a very dysfunctional company.

  11. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

    Is your boss aware of the extent of the lies you were sold? I am not sure how this can be on you, honestly. Arya clearly was going to lie to anyone calling about that employee. Even if you didn’t know her, you would have been given this lie, the lie from the other manager, and the false resume. This is solely on Arya, the other manager and the employee.

    If your boss doesn’t know the complete details, please fill her in. Certainly mention how awful you feel and that obviously references from that company can never be trusted again. But if your boss and grandboss know the full extent of the deceit, it would be wrong to hold it against you, IMO.

    I am so sorry you had to deal with this. And please, spread the news far and wide about what Arya did.

    1. Lynca*

      Even without the 16-year relationship, the fact a resume was falsified and a manager was also in on the regulatory violations would sway most people to understand the OP really couldn’t have known. They did their due diligence and multiple people lied.

      If anything it should make her bosses wary of trusting the other company ever again, seeing how their employees behave. I feel bad for anyone that works there that is ethical. They’re going to be tainted by this.

    2. Loopy*

      This! I hate the thought that OP is suffering on her own reputation when really, she did due diligence. It’s not even like she was using Arya’s reference alone!

      I so want an update where OP successfully smooths things over with her own bosses.

  12. Kate*

    The other manager is also being investigated for the same violations, which is how Arya got him to lie about the candidate.

    Wait, did Arya blackmail the other manager? I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but I can see how those names are more than appropriate for the level of backstabbing in this letter. Arya is terrible. I agree with Alison that I would be more than willing to share this story with colleagues. Arya destroyed her credibility with all of this.

    1. Ella*

      Arya (in the show) does her share of terrible things, but backstabbing is never one of them. This is more of a Littlefinger/Cersei move.

      Personally, I want OP to have a confrontation with Arya just so that when Arya’s chickens all come home to roost (and hopefully cave her roof in), she’ll know exactly why they’re there.

      1. MsAlex*

        In the show, Arya would be much more likely to stab you in the front. While looking you in the eye. :-D

      2. Ann O'Nemity*

        Eh, Arya might stab you in the back. With a knife.
        But I can’t see her conducting this grand scheme.

    2. GreyjoyGardens*

      It looks like Arya, Other Manager, and Bad Employee all worked at the same company. Two out of three (Bad Employee and Other Manager) were being investigated for crimes (“violations” bad enough for Other Manager to be arrested). As I see it, ethics is not the strong suit of anyone working there. I don’t think Arya had to blackmail Other Manager – more like amoral, lying turtles all the way down.

    3. I'm Not Phyllis*

      This is what I came here to comment on. This is the only reason I’d be tempted to contact Arya’s boss. I can’t decide if I actually would, but it’s tempting.

      Totally on board with the don’t trust Arya, and don’t be shy about making sure that nobody you work with does either. Awful.

  13. KHB*

    It seems like this is far from the first letter we’ve seen here about a manager who lied in a reference, either to get rid of a bad employee or keep a good one from leaving (or in this case both). Is this something that happens very often? Is there any way to guard against it (as either the candidate being referred or the hiring manager doing the reference check)?

      1. LouiseM*

        I don’t think this is true across the board. It really depends on your relationship with your boss and also the nature of your position. If it really had been true that this person was a superstar whose position offered no room for promotion, then a good manager might have been happy to recommend her.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          I was answering KHB’s question about how to guard against having a reference lie to either get rid of a bad employee or keep a good one.

        1. soon 2be former fed*

          I’ve never done it in 40 years. Only if you were being downsized or laid off should your current manager know you are seeking employment elsewhere, in most cases except with the most benevolent of managers.

          1. Canadian Teapots*

            What if your work is explicitly part-time and your supervisor understands you’re looking to fill in your work schedule with other jobs?

          2. Breda*

            I’ve had only one full-time job, at a very small company, since graduating college. Not sure what else I could do. I’m sure my supervisors from part-time service jobs in college would give me lovely references, but that’s not going to have anywhere near the same weight.

          3. Isben Takes Tea*

            It’s great that you’ve never been in that situation for 40 years, but that’s hardly enough evidence to say nobody could be in that situation.

          4. Totally Minnie*

            I worked for a garbage fire of a company a few years ago, and when my supervisor found out I was job searching, her reaction was basically “get out while you can,” so sometimes it’s okay for your current manager to know. You have to carefully gauge your situation, though.

          5. McWhadden*

            1) It’s your first professional job in that area and your supervisor is the only pertinent reference;
            2) You’ve been at a job for many years and no one from the past is still willing to be a reference since they don’t know your recent work; and/or
            3) Some places all but demand it be a current supervisor.

            1. bonkerballs*

              Yep, my current position required a reference from my then current supervisor because otherwise they couldn’t talk to someone who had supervised me in the last four years. I was super annoyed by that since my supervisor and I had a somewhat rocky relationship, but I understand, too. A lot can change in four years.

        2. PlainJane*

          Yep. The state organization I work for won’t hire anyone without talking with their current manager. When I was hired, they wouldn’t go beyond a phone interview without that step, though I think they now wait till the candidate is a finalist.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            That’s a poor hiring practice. You are going to severely limit your candidate pool if they have to disclose to their current supervisor that they are looking.

          2. A Person*

            Thankfully mine finally got rid of that requirement. It was horrible sitting in the next cubicle listening to my boss talking to the hiring manager about me and overhearing him make a comment about my health (I guess he didn’t want me to leave.) Was glad it didn’t make a difference.

          3. McWhadden*

            That used to be the requirement at my current job and when I was applying here I saw that referenced. Although it turns out they had ended in the practice.

          4. Anonymous Ampersand*

            Pretty common in the UK. I’ve always had to get a reference from my current line manager before being offered a job.

            1. pandop*

              British employment law does offer some protection from being fired merely for applying for another job though – so it is safer to do so

            2. Media Monkey*

              i’ve never heard of it in the UK and I would never expect to ask for a reference from a person’s current role.

      2. fposte*

        I’d say “don’t *only* use a current manager as a reference.” Current managers can have really valuable things to say, and it’s not worth skipping that value on the off chance you get a liar.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          It’s probably worth delving into why the candidate is using their current manager too since it’s fairly uncommon.

      3. Chaordic One*

        Even if you don’t want to use your current manager as a reference, on many job applications they specifically ask for your supervisor’s name and then contact that person. You don’t always have a choice on whether or not to reveal that information. If you don’t list your supervisor it might well disqualify you from being considered or be considered a “red flag” that would work against you. (It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.)

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Most hiring managers are not going to contact your current manager without your permission because they recognize that your boss very likely doesn’t know you’re looking for a new job.

    1. TCO*

      When possible, it would be best for a hiring manager to speak to references from multiple companies, not just the candidate’s current company. I can see why OP didn’t do that in this case; she thought she could trust Arya and Arya’s company more than she might trust a stranger.

      1. MommyMD*

        The much-talked about due diligence in hiring on this site seems a little wanting in this messy case. No matter how long you’ve known someone.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I agree with you. Two references saying the same thing is usually credible, but not if they’re both at the same (current) employer. I’m not saying OP slacked; just saying that aside from blackballing Arya, there’s an opportunity to avoid this if it ever happens again.

      2. Jules the Third*

        Two references with the same story is usually considered pretty credible, though the # of references depends somewhat on the industry and level they’re hiring for. Anything less than mgr / team lead, two glowing references seems pretty reasonable.

    2. Esperanza*

      In my field (public agency), it happens all the time. This is because it’s ridiculously hard to fire people due to the unions, politics, and fear of lawsuits. I have seen people give good references to get rid of people. I have participated. It happens when we are desperate to get rid of someone who is toxic, dysfunctional, crazy and/or cruel. It’s not just “we’re tired of her mistakes.”

      I gave a good reference to someone who was so terrible that when she finally got another job, I collapsed on my couch and cried with relief. I don’t feel good about it — obviously the right thing to do is performance manage and fire people. But when they won’t fire anyone, your only hope is for the person to leave. What we did was wrong, but our group is now healing and recovering and things are 1000x better. I have no regrets for participating.

      That said, I wouldn’t do this to a friend or if I had any expectation of speaking to the person again.

      1. soon 2be former fed*

        Won’t fire isn’t true, difficult is not impossible. Managers just don’t want to do the work required to fire someone in the civil service or under a collective bargaining agreement (I’m talking about the US here). Thirty one years in the federal government and have seen people fired, some immediately for particularly egregious conduct.

        How can you look at yourself in the mirror? What you did shows a complete lack of integrity.

          1. KAZ2Y5*

            No one here approves of what Arya did (at least I haven’t seen any comments approving yet) so how is this different?

        1. OOF*

          I know this is something we like to say, but not every manager gets to decide whether to fire. My husband works somewhere that leadership won’t allow any firing. It has nothing to do with the work my husband is or isn’t willing to do.

          Another thing to keep in mind is that saying “managers just don’t want to do the work” is a very narrow perspective. As a manager with very tough individual goals to meet (I’m a fundraiser), if I am judged solely on how much money I raise, and I work somewhere with a very long and time-consuming firing process, I have to make a difficult decision. I’m non-union but could have union staff. If I take my focus off of how my success is defined, I’ll lose my job faster than the employee ever could.

          1. paul*

            I’ve shared it here before, but a huge part of a friend leaving his last job was that he had supervisory duty…but his boss insisted on at least a year’s worth of documentation and PIP work to terminate anyone unless they were actually abusing clients (he’s in the mental health field). Yes, you can eventually terminate a person…but that’s a long damn time to put up with a truly awful employee.

        2. Lord Gouldian Finch*

          The problem frequently isn’t that firing is truly impossible, it’s that managers don’t want to do the necessary procedures and just declare it impossible. If you don’t have firing authority yourself, or your boss tells you “stop filing form J393s for Jan Smit, he’s a protected class and can’t be fired,” even if it’s not really true, what can you do?

          1. Gloucesterina*

            Wow, that is really terrible that managers will willfully misuse the notion of “protected classes” when of course we should all know from reading AAM what how it actually operates (misunderstanding the concept of “protected classes” I can understand, but deploying it in this way – ew!)

        3. Esperanza*

          I don’t work for the federal government. Also the fact that people can technically be fired doesn’t mean that anyone on my team was empowered to fire this person. None of us were able to do anything about it. Of course I agree that the higher ups should have done something — but they refused. So our options were to continue to be abused, or to help her get another job. Quitting was not an option for me due to financial and personal circumstances.

          1. McWhadden*

            “So our options were to continue to be abused, or to help her get another job.”

            And ensure others were abused.

          2. Thlayli*

            While I acknowledge what you did was wrong, I think it really was your only option under the circumstances. Hopefully your bad employee ended up in a company where they DO fire abusive staff members.

        4. Totally Minnie*

          It’s great to work for a company that will do progressive discipline and actually take the final step of firing someone. I work for a company like that now. My last company was very much not that way. We had a serial harasser on staff because our CEO would not allow us to terminate anyone. So yes, morally and ethically, you should fire a person who can’t perform their job. But it’s unrealistic to pretend that everyone who wants to do that will be able to.

        5. Not So NewReader*

          If OP here, is cramming 60 hours of work into a 40 hour work week, then they don’t have time to do *just* one more thing.
          From what I have seen our government people are buried in piles of nonsensical, useless paper work that no one will ever look at or use. But if they don’t complete it they have to fill out ten forms to state why they did not fill out the one form.

      2. McWhadden*

        I have worked in the public for most of my career. People get fired regularly. Your place was dysfunctional. It’s not the norm for public agencies. Yes, sometimes there is more work involved (have to give a warning, maybe a hearing) but it gets done.

    3. I'm Not Phyllis*

      I’ve had this discussion at work before. Our CEO wants us to get references from the direct supervisors of potential candidates (I didn’t list mine when I was hired) – some companies will insist on this but I maintain that it’s a bad practice.

  14. Detective Amy Santiago*

    My boss and her boss are upset about this debacle

    I read this as the LW’s boss and Arya’s boss, but based on Alison’s answer, I’m wondering if I read it wrong.

    Someone needs to tell Arya’s boss what happened. And someone needs to let the candidate who got the bad reference know that he can’t trust her to be a reference. This is outrageous.

    LW, have you explained all of this to your boss? I hope they don’t hold it against you that you took Arya at her word since you had no reason to suspect she would lie like this.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        LW’s boss and grandboss… that makes sense! I don’t know why I had so much trouble parsing that.

    1. McWhadden*

      I thought the same thing at first but at the end of the letter LW asks “Do I tell her boss?”

  15. Naptime Enthusiast*

    I also wouldn’t be shy about sharing with others what she did. You should feel free to warn people in your field not to trust references from her, and to explain why. What she did should be a reputation-ruiner, and you’re not under any obligation to shield her from that.

    It’s just business, right?

  16. jimricks*

    The authorities doing the investigation should be looking Arya. She doesn’t sound like she can be trusted at all. I wouldn’t put it past her to be involved with whatever it was they were doing. Her encouraging the awful candidate to leave and basically blackmailing the other manager to go along with it suggest it is possible she wanted her involvement not to be known. If I was OP I would tell the authorities to talk to Arya [not about the lying for references since that doesn’t involve them, but about her action in making the awful candidate leave and blackmailing the other manager].

    1. Bea*

      Seriously. She’s trying to game people, I’m sure she’s happily throwing everyone else under the bus to distract from her involvement. That’s exactly the person who is involved in shady things and to cover their own asses they play an innocent bystander.

    2. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      I read it as the candidate, who messed up the regulations, blackmailed the other manager into a good reference, not Arya. Candidate knew Other Manager was at risk for the regulations thing and used that to get a good reference.

      1. Marcel*

        “The other manager agreed to do the same thing when Arya asked him to”

        “The other manager is also being investigated for the same violations, which is how Arya got him to lie about the candidate”

        Arya did the blackmailing, not the candidate.

        1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

          How is Arya not in trouble with the feds then? She new about the regulations and did nothing – in fact tried to cover it up! Dang – that’s messed up

          1. McWhadden*

            The investigation was already happening, at that point. It started when they were interviewing the candidate. So, it doesn’t appear that she hid anything from authorities. That the authorities were involved was the thing she was holding over his head.

            Arya likely promised to not spread the word that he was being investigated.

          2. The OG Anonsie*

            I assume the thing she was holding over them was the investigation itself, but she would have to have some influence or other for that to make sense anyway… Which fits with her overall pattern of terrible behavior here.

            With the heavily regulated work I’ve done, every time there was a deliberate incident it was always related to someone higher on the chain applying pressure or misleading people below them into actually taking the noncompliant actions, but in a way that doesn’t make their responsibility obvious. The employee’s hands are actually on the paper trail and all, all the pressure or obfuscation (usually obfuscation so the lower employee did not know they were being noncompliant) was verbal and difficult to prove. So during an investigation, management can help this person by presenting it as errors due to disorganization and miscommunication, or they can tank them by presenting it as the unethical actions of a rogue employee.

            1. Lora*

              This. And there’s always financial and a certain amount of “manager always right” and “but hiring senior positions is haaaaaaard” type incentives to pin it on the most junior person they can.

              Doesn’t matter that they’ll be in the same boat in two years after the next inspection/audit, because it solves the immediate problem of “how do we make the mess go away”.

          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            She’s probably cooperating, but the feds may have something on her, still. I’m not questioning OP’s understanding; just saying that sometimes some things happen under the court’s seal of confidentiality, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those things is a cooperation agreement with Arya.

      1. Gen*

        Well OP thought Arya was cooperating with her too, that doesn’t mean she’s telling the truth. Do the authorities know that Arya deliberately lied and coached fraudulent details into the candidate’s resume specifically to get them into a new position knowing there was an investigation going on? Because if it turns out the candidate did something illegal at the new company too then that’s got to look suspicious surely?

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          The LW should be matter-of-fact and honest with the authorities if/when they ask questions about bad employee, but I don’t think LW is under any obligation to seek them out and provide more information about what Arya did.

        2. President Porpoise*

          I wonder if LW’s company could take action against awful hire, other awful manager, and Arya for deliberately providing a false reference knowing that the candidate was under investigation, if it turns out that the candidate continued to violate regulations at the new company?

        3. Michele*

          The OP said the authorities came in to OP’s workplace and haven’t found anything. They know the candidate worked there. Arya co-operated and has not been charged, accused or arrested. I’m not defending her but there is no evidence she was involved in the wrongdoing that the authorities are looking into.

    3. Michele*

      Arya co-operated with the authorities and isn’t being accused and didn’t get arrested. I’m not saying she is a great person but no matter what she did to the OP, the authorities have already looked into it and aren’t charging or accusing her.

    4. Overlawyered*

      “The authorities doing the investigation should be looking Arya. She doesn’t sound like she can be trusted at all.”

      Eh. “Recommending” an employee you want to get rid of isn’t in the same class as regulatory violations.

    5. Thlayli*

      I think you might have misunderstood something in the letter. There’s no evidence Arya committed any crime.

  17. Airy*

    Honestly I’m surprised she apparently didn’t realise this would blow back on her and could be described as “just business.” I’m not sure whether she’s just unusually brazen with her dishonesty or absolutely rubbish at predicting the likely consequences of her lies. I hope you do tell people the truth about her. If she comes complaining that you’ve ruined her reputation, please say, “It’s nothing personal. Just business.” Such a satisfying symmetry!

    1. Bea*

      Many smug individuals think they’re smarter than everyone else and therefore they don’t compute the idea of consequences. They aren’t weighing the risks, they assume that they know exactly how to outsmart everyone that they come into contact.

    2. a-no*

      I often find the more crappy the person is, the more shocked they are when it comes back to bite them in the ass. It’s like it genuinely doesn’t occur to them that what they did is not okay and then it somehow becomes your fault for reacting instead of their fault for what they did.

      I am on the team of shamelessly exposing Arya’s behavior as she will likely never accept this was her own doing.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      This could go back to what her family or others surrounding her showed her.

      I know of a business person/dad who taught his kids how to rip off the customer at every possible turn. The kids sincerely think this is how business works. And they will proudly state, “My dad taught me how to do business.”
      Dad was kicked out of countries for the way he did business. There is no getting through to the kids that most people do not operate this way.

  18. CatCat*

    Arya’s reputation is trash.

    I feel awful for OP. And I feel awful for the super star who lost out on an opportunity because of Arya’s lies. At the very least, I would give him a heads up.

    I would definitely confront Arya and I wouldn’t even be “professionally cool” if I rant into her at a conference. I would be ICE cold and refuse to engage with her.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Agreed re: not even being professionally cool. It’s of course ok if OP wants to go that route, but I would go Miranda Priestly frosty.

  19. Cols*

    Me, as I read this letter: “…!…!!…!!!!…?!?…?????????…#$%@#!!!”

    I’d definitely figure out a way to let Arya’s supervisors know she’s a sociopath.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      The story just keeps getting worse and worse as it goes along. The lying never stops. Arya did not just lie, she fabricated an entire story.

  20. LouiseM*

    OP, I think you should talk to your boss about your longstanding *professional* relationship with Arya. You didn’t just trust her recommendation because she’s an old college friend, but because she is a longtime colleague. That matters for your credibility here.

    1. MommyMD*

      Absolutely because this makes her look very very bad. Also a reminder that professional acquaintances are very rarely true, invested, friends.

      1. Imposter Syndrome Graphic Designer*

        Eh, depends on the field. It’s unwise to forget that they’re not *just* friends, but in my field close working friendships is much more the norm than the exception.

  21. Murphy*

    Putting aside the egregious unethical behavior for a second, did she really think you wouldn’t notice after you hired this employee? Or was she just that short-sighted?

    1. Lurker*

      Or she would just double down on the lies, “Hmm, that’s so odd Candidate is struggling with the Llama Teapot project. She handled our Alpaca Teapots project with great aplomb!”

    2. The OG Anonsie*

      Maybe she just assumed the investigation would disrupt that person being able to work there anyway and figured it wouldn’t matter.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        She works in the same industry as the LW, and presumably would want to hire someone from her company at some point. You’d think it would occur to her that the LW could give equally false recommendations.

        1. Marthooh*

          Ahaha, but LW was stupid enough to believe Arya, so they’re clearly not smart enough to lie. No, I think the bad hire was a hot potato Arya wanted to get rid of, and throwing her to LW was the easiest way to do that.

  22. GreyjoyGardens*

    This goes way beyond your common or garden “I hired an employee based on a glowing recommendation and they didn’t work out/were flaky and hard to get along with.” It seems as if the investigation turned up crimes that got Other Manager (grandboss, I think?) arrested, and that Bad Employee was also on the verge of being arrested.

    Given that Bad Employee was about to be fired, Arya needn’t have given Bad Employee a good reference just to get rid of her, because she was on her way out the door anyway. *Nobody* at that company has any ethics – not Bad Employee, not Other Manager, not Arya (maybe LW should have called her “Littlefinger!”).

    Arya deserves to have a terrible reputation, because it wasn’t a case of “good reference turned out to be a bad fit” which happens, live and learn, etc. – but the reference was for someone with a bad work ethic AND criminal AND Arya knowingly foisted this person on LW. Shun her. She really is not a friend.

    1. Menacia*

      Yes, I was coming here to say the same thing, it seems that lack of ethics seems to run rampant in that company and I would absolutely not to be in any way associated with it. What a disgusting and gross human being Arya is! Yes, Virginia, there *are* sociopaths among us!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      At this point I would not be surprised to find out Arya framed the Arrested Manager so that she would get arrested.
      Arya has some tangled web here, I hope she gets counseling.

    1. McWhadden*

      Defamation is a very hard thing to win. But this is all so egregious that the employee whose reference she torpedoed might have a shot. She outright lied knowingly about him in a way that caused damage. Still tough though.

      The OP wouldn’t have any claims against her.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, that’s be another reason to let that other employee know. He may wish to do something about it. As you say, defamation isn’t usually worthwhile to pursue, but this is a lot more promising than the usual examples.

        1. McWhadden*

          I’d be thrilled for OP to be able to sue but what tort are you thinking this would fall under?

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Yeah, I can’t think of any cause of action that would work for the lied-about employee or for OP.

            1. PCA*

              Obviously will depend on the jurisdiction and my recollection of 1L year is fuzzy, but I think I recall some sort of negligent referral cause of action from Torts.

    2. Pwyll*

      I don’t think OP suing makes sense, but it sounds like they’re in a highly regulated industry. In my world, if we made materially false statements to a competitor in order to offload an employee suspected of breaking the law, our regulators would swarm us with the fury of a thousand wasps avenging their dead queen.

      OP should explain what happened to her boss, and potentially get their compliance and legal representatives involved. They might decide the way the regulations work says they can’t do anything about it. But at least in my area of finance, I’m pretty sure our legal team would at least strongly consider a nastygram to the other company regarding their ethical obligation to inform the regulators as to an effort to cover up wrongdoing.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        There may be an ethics violation of such that she could be banned from the industry by her own people.
        At least I am hoping…

      2. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

        Pwyll, agreed. And I smiled over the wasp comment! I would recommend that OP make her boss aware of the circumstances, and because of the “investigation” issue, discuss with OP’s in-house counsel as well. In some regulated industries, you need to make the right people aware of such employee issues for compliance reasons. I would not (as AAM suggested) discuss this with anyone at Arya’s company unless advised to do so by counsel.

  23. NW Mossy*

    As a hiring manager who just opened a position this morning, I recoil in horror at the thought of encountering an Arya in the wild…

    1. MommyMD*

      You won’t. You get very good advice from this site to practice diligence in hiring. Don’t rely solely on current managers. Past employment history as a whole needs to be taken into account. As well as in-depth interviews, and following your instincts if an applicant feels off in any way. Did this employee from he ll go through rigorous interviews?

    2. Not So NewReader*

      People who want on-going relationships won’t do this. There is too much to lose in the long run because of one lie like a bad reference.

  24. Anita-ita*

    This is such a “What about Bob?!” and Larry David Curb your Enthusiasm moment with the terrible assistant!

    Faye, are these corns hand shucked!?

    1. jules*

      LOL came down here to comment: “That’s a foist! THAT WAS A FOIST!” Glad someone’s on my wavelength.

  25. FYI*

    If you (LW) decide to confront Arya, would it be a good idea to do that via email? That way, if she responds, you have something on paper? For me, it’s also a way to make sure that have the sequence and number of lies spelled out clearly. There are so many, it’d be hard to track otherwise!

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Honestly, I don’t see any reason to confront Arya at this point. She admitted what she did, doesn’t seem to care, and the LW isn’t likely to get any sort of satisfactory closure from it.

  26. yup*

    Okay… so, not saying it is right, but if Arya did promise the candidate a good reference in exchange for leaving, I can’t fault her too much for following through on that. BUT…. Lying about an actually good candidate to keep them at her organization? WTF? That is awful and once again, gets into slander territory….

    References seem to be outdated anyway with so many companies only confirming dates of employment, but I am starting to think this is a good thing…. You can either hold down a job or you can’t… Not much more should matter.

    1. SarcasticFringehead*

      It’s unethical to lie about a candidate’s performance. That doesn’t change if she promised to lie; it just means she made an unethical promise.

    2. CM*

      Totally disagree! It’s unethical to lie, and “sung her praises and told me she was the best employee in the department” goes way beyond just giving a decent reference. At least Arya should have taken into account her longstanding relationship with OP, and saved her lies for somebody she didn’t know so well!

      And without references, there would be no way of knowing whether somebody is looking because they can’t hold down a job, or because they have good reasons for moving on.

      1. yup*

        I specifically said that I don’t think what she did was right…. I was just saying that I understand where that impulse came from and she was dealing with a conflict of interest.

    3. soon 2be former fed*

      At best, an employee you want to get rid of should be given a neutral reference.

    4. Observer*

      Seriously? She made a promise that she should most definitely NOT have made. The way to deal with that is to let the person know that you can’t keep the promise because you should never have made it. The response is DEFINITELY NOT to double down and get other people to lie and help them falsify their resume!

      That goes waaaay beyond a “good reference.

    5. Clarice Fitzpatrick*

      If you can’t promise a good reference then you shouldn’t make that promise. No one who asks for a good reference is automatically obligated one. I get the impulse to be polite and to see the best in people when you speak about others but one should still be honest and professional with their colleagues. The point of a reference is to be helpful, not a glossy formality. Plus this clearly went beyond that.

    6. bb-great*

      I think “I’ll give you a good reference if you look elsewhere” makes sense IF you think someone is essentially a decent employee and person, and just not a good fit for their particular job. Obviously not the case here.

      1. LBK*

        Right – and that’s something Alison has advised on before, that if it seems like you’re going to be fired because of performance you should try to negotiate your reference. But that definitely doesn’t apply in cases where the person would be fired because of potentially criminal activity. That’s not a negotiation a manager should even be amenable to, never mind being the one to propose it in the first place.

  27. CM*

    It’s not clear to me whether the OP has told her own boss the full story. Since the OP’s employee is under investigation, this is all relevant information for OP’s boss. I think OP’s boss could then make the call about whether to say anything that Arya’s boss (I’m under the impression that they may know each other, but only because the OP said that her boss and Arya’s boss are upset).

    1. Michele*

      The OP’s boss and grandboss are upset. Not Arya’s boss. At the end of the letter OP asks if he should tell Arya’s boss (Do I tell her boss?)

      1. Jules the Third*

        I read that as OP’s boss and Arya’s boss, not OP’s boss and grandboss. It’s ambiguous (yay English pronouns…)

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          That was how I read it initially too, but I think it was meant to be OP’s boss and grandboss.

  28. I Didn’t Kill Kenny*

    I simply cannot understand why this twisted mess was preferable to simply firing someone.

    1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      Yeah.. what leverage did the employee have on Arya, I wonder?

        1. Michele*

          Arya isn’t being investigated. She co-operated and didn’t get arrested or charged. I’m not trying to defend her but given that she was not accused of anything after the authorities investigated and questioned her, she really might have just wanted her terrible employee gone.

    2. TootsNYC*

      or waiting for her to be arrested–the crummy employee was already int he crosshairs. Just wait, and she’ll be gone.

      It makes me wonder whether Arya was BRIBING the employee to make Arya look good to any investigators.

  29. Oranges*

    I have given a mediocre peer employee a glowing recommendation before because he was a very bad culture fit. I feel guilty about it but oh man, Coder-Bro is GONE!

    If that was an earthquake it’d be a 3.5. What Arya did? 9.8. All that’s going through my head is: Ethics. She no has (ditto for many people at her business apparently).

    1. Bea*

      This was also a peer of yours so that’s even lower on that scale than a boss who knows someone is god awful. At least mediocre can be useful sometimes or with the right patience!

    2. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      A bad culture fit isn’t really on the same level though — if that’s indeed what made them a mediocre employee. If their work was fine, but they just don’t like that the office allows dogs (for example) or has daily department meetings at the local brewery, then you aren’t punting a bad employee onto an unsuspecting manager — just one that isn’t happy in one particular office.

    3. TheCupcakeCounter*

      Plus I think culture fit is different than overall bad employee. Coder-Bro might have been an awesome coder but a terrible coworker who would be a superstar at a startup.

  30. miyeritari*

    “it’s just business that i lied to your face and told you this person who i knew was abysmal was great, and also completely omitted the fact that they were being INVESTIGATED BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES.”

    I do *not* want to know what Arya has said to other people in the name of “Just Business,” if she thinks this is OK.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      “It’s just business that I flushed a 16 year relationship down the toilet.” [head shaking]

  31. Bostonian*

    Is anything clicking from the past? Like, in the entire time you were Arya’s manager or vice versa, were there hints that she was a lying scumbag?

    1. Dlique*

      I was just thinking, for this exact reason, that Arya’s behavior should reflect just as poorly on her company as it does on her. If OP has worked with Arya and known her for that long and never had reason to think her deceptive, Arya’s “just business” mentality seems to have developed in this environment. We talk about toxic work places and how they can skew one’s perspective so much – that’s what this sounds like too. Definitely doesn’t mean Arya is any less responsible for her terrible behavior though!

  32. Augusta Sugarbean*

    “Arya said it was business and nothing personal.” Even Micheal Corleone would not approve of this usage.

  33. Observer*

    “Just business”? That tells you everything yo need to know about her.

    I’m not suggesting that you (or your company) actually sue her. But in theory, it’s quite possible that you (and the good employee) would have grounds. In both cases, she deliberately LIED and the lie caused tangible damage to someone. THIS is the kind of thing that puts employers in a bad legal situation, NOT a mistaken but honest reference.

    Which is a good reason to let her boss know if you have any sort or relationship with them. While she may be cooperating with the authorities, so they probably think she’s ok, this kind of behavior puts them into real legal jeopardy. I’d leave out the wedding part – but the rest is enough. More than enough.

    1. LBK*

      Ha, I was thinking the same thing – I have no comment to add except that maybe Cersei would be a more apt pseudonym here.

  34. The OG Anonsie*

    “Just business” kinda falls apart when this would be considered ludicrous and unethical even if Arya and the LW didn’t know each other at all. That adds another layer of bad behavior flavor, but it’s not necessary for her to be just sssooooooo wrong for this.

  35. Anonymous Poster*

    You did your due diligence and got burned. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes, but you did what you could do from the outside.

    Make sure your management tiers above you are looped in and know exactly what happened. Sadly, I’d expect them to think the story is a bit sketchy because it is so out of the pale, but I’m also hoping you have enough of a record to point to help them see that generally your judgment can be trusted. The reason it couldn’t be here is because someone went out and lied to you, not because of any neglect on your part. I’d also see about if your hiring management can all be informed about Arya’s lying in case anyone else is looking at hiring out from under her. You want to protect the company as much as you can from this liar. You have to make sure everyone in your organization knows exactly what happened to not only protect your organization, but also hopefully protect your reputation too.

    I’d inform Arya’s boss if you already know this individual, but otherwise you may sound like some crank that’s grinding an ax. Only talk to this person if you already know them or occasionally interact with them. My main worry is they saw dumping the bad employee as a relief, and may have been happier that Arya found a solution. There’s a lot of risk here unless you have a good relationship already.

    Arya lied to you, and it’s fair game to outline what those lies were if they come up. Obviously I wouldn’t go take out an ad about it in your local trade publication or present it at a conference, but I wouldn’t be shy talking about it if people bring it up at a mixer or something of the sort.

    If it’s any consolation, most people also hire people that turn out to be awful. I know a guy that every time he runs into a manager at one of his past companies, he asks if a particular person is still there. They are, and he always says, “I’m sorry, that person was one of my first hires. I screwed up.” All that to say, it happens, and people also understand that.

    1. soon 2be former fed*

      With all the advice out here, like this blog, why are so many bad hires made? And why do genuinely good people get passed over?

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Because some people barely read one line emails that come into their inbox. They aren’t going to seek out good information.

      2. OOF*

        I know it’s easy for commenters to judge, but the reality is, anyone who has done any real hiring in their career has made bad hires.

        Interviews are so brief relative to tenure, and as we’ve discussed numerous times here, candidates only want to (can) spend so much time interviewing. Some people shine in interviews, have good resumes, and have scrounged up enough positive references to look good. And the hiring manager doesn’t have a way through to a known informal reference. Those people can become bad hires.

        Some people were truly considered successful in a different organization – either the culture was different, the expectations were different, or the job was more substantively different than either of you recognized. Those people can become bad hires.

        Most hiring managers I’ve ever known, myself included, put a lot of thought and energy into making good hires. We ask tough questions, contemplate, seek other opinions, look for clues, try to find informal references without blowing a candidate’s confidentiality…but no one is perfect on this front. Not a single person.

        1. LBK*

          Agreed. There are people who just interview extremely well – I had a former coworker who managed to convince a hiring committee that it was better to hire her virtually fresh out of grad school into a fairly senior role over a slew of people with years of experience because she wouldn’t come with preconceived notions about how to do the job and could provide a fresh perspective. Which, I mean, true to an extent, but you usually want *some* preconceived notions when it’s not an entry-level role, eg some idea how to do the job in the first place.

            1. LBK*

              According to her LinkedIn she stayed there for 2 years and just got an even better job at another company in November! So godspeed, I guess.

        2. Seal*

          Agreed. You might also wind up hiring someone good who unexpectedly has something else going on in their life that winds up impacting their work performance just as they’re starting their new job. Hell, you might already have someone whose performance has been stellar for years that suddenly becomes your nightmare employee for the same reason. It’s always a crap shoot.

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Totally this. Even the best, most prepared, most thorough and thoughtful hiring manager is going to hire a bad employee (and pass up a good one) from time to time. You have a really short and narrow window of experience with which to make conclusions about whether a person’s going to work out. A lot of that is guesswork (educated and informed guesswork, but still guesswork). And unfortunately, integrity and ethical behavior are hard to suss out if people you think you can rely on lie to you.

          You can have the best process, ever, but you can’t always control the inputs, which means you can’t always control the end result.

        4. Mary*

          Agree. The times I’ve been involved in bad hires is when we just didn’t have that many great candidates and went with the best of the options available. We couldn’t always continue to keep the search open, and some of the issues making the position unattractive to the masses were not easily resolved or resolvable at all (schedule, pay scale, niche industry with specialized skills, location of office)

      3. Totally Minnie*

        Almost anybody can seem normal for an hour. It can be really hard to tell from two or three conversations if a person is going to turn out to be terrible, even with the best planned out interview processes.

        1. Former Employee*

          No one else seems to have noticed this comment, but I think it is something to cross stitch and frame.

          “Almost anybody can seem normal for an hour.”

          Example: Ted Bundy fooled Ann Rule, of all people. She knew him personally and could not believe that the nice young man she knew turned out to be a serial killer.

      4. Oxford Coma*

        Remember that smart kid in school who just couldn’t pass a test to save his life?

        Remember that kid who aced every test, but couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag?

        They grew up, and now “test” means “interview”.

  36. AKchic*

    Arya so effectively burned that bridge that she completely burned down the forest in which the trees used in the building of the bridge were grown, salted the earth, and then urinated on the ashes for good measure.

    You still have the investigator’s card from when they stopped into your office? Maybe you might consider calling them and telling them about your conversation(s) with Arya and how she admitted she knew all about the issues at hand and pawned a problem employee on to you. And lied. Multiple times. Because girlfriend isn’t innocent.

    And please, feel free to fan that story far and wide. You owe her no discretion there. She sank her own battleship.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I read AAM over breakfast and my husband occasionally asks if there are any intriguing bars of wtfuckery for him to clear. I told him his shot at worst boss of 2018 was gone before we were even out of January.

  37. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

    Calling for the “jerks” tag. Also, I know WTF Wednesday isn’t a thing, but it IS still Wednesday in the US and I am DEFINITELY going, “WTF?!”

    No advice except to add on that you really should have called Arya Cersei and that you have every right to tell about her actions.

    Okay so, honestly, here’s my fantasy: you tell her boss and the rest of your industry, Arya gets fired and has to leave your industry entirely, and when she calls you up for sympathy, you say, “It’s just business.” But again, this is why I’ll never be writing the advice column.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      But again, this is why I’ll never be writing the advice column.


      I feel like my response to this letter would have been “take out a billboard lambasting Arya and her shady dealings”.

            1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

              The Percival. A Fergus is just your garden-variety office doofus. Arya here has demonstrated industrial-strength jerkishness.

    2. Laura H*

      I also know WTF Wednesdays aren’t a thing but THAT WAS MY FIRST THOUGHT when I read this!!

      Also glad that I’m not the one writing the advice collumn.

  38. Falling Diphthong*

    The federal investigation into this person and the other reference while working for Arya is where I start scratching my head. If Arya can just unload one horrible employee, the federal investigation…. will follow her and then company A and all who remain are off the hook*? Maybe at that point she was so set on “I need to get someone else to hire Arya” that she just said “when Arya is gone the problem is gone” every time a new one popped its head out.

    * Okay, I might accept this on Leverage. But the deal with that 42 minutes of pleasant come-uppancing is that you won’t look too closely at any parts of the juggling act. Never assume you are in an episode of Leverage!

  39. Wannabe Disney Princess*

    This is just BONKERS.

    I would let Arya know how upset you are and how okay this isn’t. Not only was the one employee beyond incompetent….she cost you money. She also lied on her resume/application at Arya’s urging!

    I’d start singing like a canary to everyone I knew.

    I’d also reach out to Good Employee and let him know she’s tanking his chances elsewhere.

  40. Death and Taxes Lawyer*

    OP, you might want to check with a lawyer about this if the hiring of the bad employee and the subsequent engagement of outside help to fix the bad employee’s mistakes cost your company significant money. This isn’t my area of the law, so I can’t weigh in too much, but she be liable for some of the costs.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Unfortunately, I can’t think of a legal hook for OP in the U.S. system. All of the closest business torts deal with contract or business relationships with third parties.

      1. Eliza*

        It seems like it could meet the criteria for a civil claim for fraud if Arya made statements of fact that are demonstrably false. Probably hard to prove, though.

  41. Phoenix Programmer*

    I would also reach out to star employee and try to poach him into this role. I would be honest too – we were excited about your candidacy last year and it has recently came to our attention that Arya’s negative reference was factually incorrect. If you are still interested in this role we would love to have you!

  42. arcya*

    BANANACRACKERS bridge burning aside, Arya was being so *astonishingly* short-sighted I have to think something else was happening here. Like, what was her end game? Get rid of wildly incompetent employee and just… no one will notice she can’t do anything on her resume and federal investigators will never find her at her new job? This sounds like someone frantically burying some other problem – did Arya help cover up the crimes, or like never check up on this employee until it became clear that something criminal was happening?

    LOTS more is going to happen before this story is over. Really hope the OP updates!

  43. Lynca*

    The more I’m thinking about this, if you and Arya are part of a licensed profession, you might want to report her to your licensing board for this.

  44. CityMouse*

    Does this letter seem a little familiar to anyone else? The federal investigation seem a like a new detail, but I remember something similar about giving a good reference to a bad employee to make him go away before. Not saying that this is a repeat, just that apparently there are more jerks that we would all like to think.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Not from here, I don’t think. But I don’t remember every letter anymore like I used to, so it’s possible there was another similar situation.

      1. This Daydreamer*

        There was the guy who had glowing references, made it through the probation period smelling like a rose, then turned into the jerk from hell as soon as he was a permanent hire, just like he had at his last job. I remember that the LW had fought for the position to be opened so she could get some help. The position was terminated, along with the jerk, but everyone in the office was much happier, even though they went back to being understaffed.

    2. Amber Rose*

      I think I’ve seen that play out two or three times actually. Not sure if an actual letter or from a comment though.

      There are always more jerks. :(

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        I’ve seen it play out in internal job-searches. There was that one woman who was SUCH a problem socially, but she could code fine, so when she wanted to change jobs in the company her current manager would give her a good review and be glad to lose her.

    3. Kate*

      That was my initial thought too! I started scrolling past because I assumed it was one of the revisiting-the-archives post that I’ve read before. Part of it might just be the number of Aryas we’ve read about doing terrible jerky things have all morphed into one almighty Arya, Queen of Batsh*ttery.

      1. Snark*


        *does some kung fu moves, screams HIYAAH, brutally professionally undermines kindly coworkers*

    4. LBK*

      I think we’ve had letters where the LW had posited this was what happened since they’d received good references from trusted colleagues and the employee had ended up not working out (IIRC there was one just a few weeks ago). I don’t know that I’ve seen a letter where the reference-giver actually confirmed that’s what they did.

  45. TootsNYC*

    the really weird thing is, Arta didn’t have to lie to get rid of her; she was going to be fired anyway!

    I would absolutely directly tell that excellent worker that Arya gave a bad reference. Even if I couldn’t hire him, I would make sure he knew.

    And YES, you do not need “proof.” YOU ARE the proof.

  46. Nicole*

    This is the rare case where a person deserves to be professionally DESTROYED. Hopefully when everything gets out, word spreads that Arya was aware & complacent in all this. With any luck she’ll never work in this field again.

    OP, I’m so sorry. What an awful betrayal by someone you thought you could trust. I’m truly disgusted for Arya’s lack of conscience on this!

  47. Noah*

    Also, I don’t think it’s clear OP explained in detail to his boss what happened. He should definitely do that.

    1. Snark*

      I’d be explaining this in detail to every professional contact I have from intern on up.

  48. Just stoppin' by to chat*

    Not positive if the LW already did this, but I would make sure their boss and boss’ boss know what happened, and all the ways that the LW did their due diligence when hiring the awful employee. I understand their concern about this situation hurting their career, but Ayra’s actions were so reprehensible, that I’m sure other people at the LW’s company are disgusted by Ayra’s behavior as well. And it makes sense that the LW trusted the reference of someone that they have known in their industry for 16 years! That is a textbook example of finding candidates through your professional network, which the LW did. It’s why hiring managers in my own company ask other employees for job referrals…it’s helpful and (usually) beneficial to have a candidate come from an internal referral. Obviously it’s not 100% as seen with Ayra, but usually, people are not giving false references, and encouraging employees to live to former employers. But wow…what an unbelievable and frustrating situation!

  49. Amber Rose*

    New end of year contest: worst professional contact of the year?

    Congratulations, awful contact: you suck.

  50. Indie*

    Fire new hire and meet up with award winning candidate? Ask him if he wants to get far, far away from Arya to come work for you? At the very least, give him the low down so he can use other referees; also so he can spread the word! It’s just business, right?

    1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      But is award-winning candidate still there and interested? Like, it seems like LW might have accidentally burned that bridge – or at least lightly charred it. Good candidate might have just been rejected from the job and decided to move on to something else – and hopefully he actually has gotten out of that toxic rat’s nest, because it sounds like he deserves much better than what he’s getting.

      That said, if there’s any way LW can warn him that his boss is banana crackers, they should!

  51. ArtK*

    Oh my… I agree with what’s come before. Let me summarize what I think that OP and his/her company should do:
    1) Seek legal advice. IANAL and all that, but they did rely on Arya’s recommendation to their serious detriment. I’d also check into the regulatory aspect — is OP’s company in any danger by hiring someone under federal investigation? (See #2 below as well.)
    2) Look at any and all of Arya’s work to see if whatever regulatory rules she may have violated at her previous employer, she didn’t do that again at the OP’s workplace.
    3) Get the information to Arya’s boss, either via the OP or someone higher up in the food chain.
    4) Get the information to the good candidate that Arya trashed. He deserves to know that she’s interfering in his job search and (possibly) defaming him. That *is* the kind of “recommendation” that can put Arya’s employer in legal trouble.
    5) Tell anyone and everyone in the community about this. I agree that Arya deserves to have her reputation ruined. The “it’s just business” excuse shows that she is completely lacking in business ethics and nobody should trust her ever again.
    6) Optional: Tell Arya what an absolute stinker she is. I don’t really view this as necessary, although it might be momentarily satisfying for the OP. I would expect more argument and justification, so I think it’s somewhat pointless. Only professional consequences have any chance of showing her exactly how wrong she is.
    7) Have nothing to do with Arya in the future. Practice the “cut direct” if OP runs into her at events. (In the “cut direct” you treat the person as if they were not there at all — it’s the ultimate snub.)

    1. Snark*

      “Tell Arya what an absolute stinker she is”

      Narrator: What he means is, “cram Arya into a cannon and fire her into a pit of starving hyenas.”

        1. Snark*

          They’re lovely creatures; I just mean to suggest they’re not terribly discriminating about the quality of their meat.

          1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

            See, I’m just imagining the hyenas looking at her, cramming her into their own cannon, and shooting her back at you. (The hyenas are starving, but they have standards, man.)

            1. Jennifer Thneed*

              No, they do not. They eat carrion. By choice. I’ll stretch a metaphor until it breaks, but I just can’t do this one.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            But they could get infected, though. So we must consider the rights of the hyena. ;)

    2. Michele*

      I agree with everything you posted except in regards to the following;

      — is OP’s company in any danger by hiring someone under federal investigation? (See #2 below as well.)
      2) Look at any and all of Arya’s work to see if whatever regulatory rules she may have violated at her previous employer, she didn’t do that again at the OP’s workplace.

      Arya doesn’t work at OP’s company.

      OP says Arya isn’t being investigated, isn’t accused of doing anything wrong and hasn’t been charged or arrested like the other manager. I’m not defending her but there is nothing to show she had wrongdoing with regards to the investigation.

      The regulatory authorities came to the OP’s workplace. They know Arya’s former employee worked there. They have investigated that avenue.

      OP is not the authorities and can’t investigate anyone. That’s for the authorities to do.

      Besides that I 100% agree with the rest of your post.

      1. ArtK*

        I realize that Arya doesn’t work for OP’s company and is not (as far as we know) under investigation. That wasn’t my point. My point was that OP’s company unwittingly hired someone under investigation. Could that put them in any jeopardy? I also wasn’t asking that the OP do any investigation. I was trying to make sure that OP’s *company* had all of their legal ducks in a row. This hire has potentially exposed them to some liabilities. The fact that OP’s company *seems* to have been cleared is good. Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable for a long, long time after this. The feds have this Columbo-like ability to come back with new questions. I’d lawyer up *before* that happens.

    3. Ali*

      Taking into account that the person OP hired was so incompetent it is possible that they were set up by Arya to take the blame when/if the noncompliances were discovered and leave Arya with seemingly no other involvement than not supervising her employee appropriately. In that case I would think the regulator would be interested in knowing that Arya lied to get a subordinate a different job once it became clear there was an investigation underway. It certainly looks like a bribe which might make investigators focus more on Arya and maybe find evidence or not if the person just had verbal instructions but even then it might lend weight if there was someone already saying “but I was told to sign this off by Arya!”

  52. Svetlana*

    It is always interesting to me that some of the commentators think they know better than the authorities or like to play amateur investigator.

    The LW clear that Arya is not under investigation. That she cooperated with the federal authorities. That she herself is not accused of doing anything wrong. That she hasn’t been put under arrest and is not facing charges. But people are still speculate or say what the authorities should be doing.

    It happened in the letter about the intern and the jacket thief too. The police investigated, the thief was arrested and there was enough evidence that the thief’s own lawyer told her to take a plea deal because it would not go well for her given all the evidence. Instead of giving advice to the letter writer commentators spent a good chunk of the thread saying the company should check the address or login in her Amazon or what else the police should do. There are other examples of this too. Meanwhile no one is an investigator, the actual authorities have done their jobs and it is not even helpful to the letter writer and doesn’t answer the question they wrote in about.

    1. Snark*

      Quite a horse you got there. Do you need a ladder to climb down?

      Snark aside, yanybody willing to do this to a professional contact of 15+ years who attended their wedding may be safely assumed to be thoroughly corrupt. Whether she’s under investigation now or later, this is not the kind of person who keeps their hands clean. It’s not exactly a ludicrous assumption that what she did might have been motivated by wanting to get some distance from an investigation, or to minimize her own role in whatever that investigation might find.

    2. Amber Rose*

      The authorities do the job that is in front of them. They don’t go digging around for other work to do. So it’s not unreasonable to suggest that an interested party might want to do a quick check and get other stuff dealt with at the same time.

      Moreover, there’s really only so many actual answers to a letter. Usually you see that kind of speculation start to really pick up in conversations when all possible advice has been said and repeated a few times. We are all just people after all, with our own thoughts and ideas, and we get to chat with each other about that stuff here in the comments. That’s sort of the point of a comments section.

      1. Jerry Vandesic*

        It might be helpful to the investigation to let the feds know that Arya did her very best, including lying, to help the bad employee make a getaway to another employer.

    3. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      First of all – who said it was theft? LW wasn’t specific about what Arya was under investigation for. I mean, my job’s had government investigators come in for non-compliance issues, but that was because we made a serious irreversible error. (Thankfully, that’s been fixed, and that was a one-off. And it didn’t involve me directly.) Granted, the criminal charges are concerning, but that still might not necessarily point to theft.

      Also, where are you getting that the commenters as a whole are saying that Arya should be investigated? Most of the thread I’ve seen has been dunking on Arya’s (abhorrent) professional behavior, GoT references, and dunking on Arya through GoT references. I think I’ve seen a couple of comments here or there, but nowhere near the majority.

      1. Marcel*

        The theft is in reference to a past letter mentioned by Svetlana. In that case an employee committed theft and was arrested for it. She isn’t talking about Arya.

        +1 to your post.

        1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

          …you’re right. I just went back and re-read her comment, and somehow I merged both paragraphs together. Oops. (I actually vaguely remember that letter!)

    4. Observer*

      Given Arya’s behavior here, it’s quite possible that even though she is not now under investigation or facing charges, she SHOULD be. The best way to deal with that possibility is to let the people investigating the issue, whatever it is, know exactly what Arya did. They can then decide if her cooperation is useful or tainted, and if they should broaden their investigation to her.

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        What is the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together?”

        It might be worth getting her investigated…

    5. This Daydreamer*

      The LW is clear that Arya told her that she herself wasn’t under investigation. i, for one, am not willing to take Arya at her word.

  53. wayward*

    Given that the former employee and other manager who lied to you are apparently under criminal investigation, and Arya herself seems to think what she did is normal “business”, is it possible that their workplace is just generally sleazy?

    1. ArtK*

      I’d certainly think twice about ever doing business with them! Maybe even four or five times. Then I’d still say “nope!”

      1. wayward*

        Yup. Also a little curious whether there’s any possibility that the employee knew too much about what was going on at that place to easily fire?

  54. Sparks*

    If I was you LW, I’d send the link to this article to Arya. Alison really said it all here.

  55. CBH*

    I kind of feel like Arya is blowing this whole situation off; she doesn’t understand that she has burned a major bridge. This is not an OOPS I forgot to mention scenario. OP definitely follow Alison and everyone’s advice with telling the good candidate, Arya’s bosses, your bosses, industry networks and definitely be cool and distant when seeing her. I think things will come full circle when Arya realizes you are no longer associating with her, you’re no longer willing to help her. I know it’s tough right now but karma will come back in your favor and Arya will probably be shocked that you are not willing to assist her in a future situation. I’d also reach out to the good candidate and explain everything. Leave the ball in his court, at least a little while to consider a new and improved job with you. When Arya comes complaining to you about your lack of networking and assistance and tell her it’s just business but she no longer is someone you can work with.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I think you’re being far too charitable to Arya. I think she knew exactly what she was doing and just assumed she was untouchable. I hope she gets what she deserves.

      1. CBH*

        I confess I do believe very strongly what you said that Arya knew what she was doing, but I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.

  56. Jennifer Thneed*

    > I don’t plan on talking to Arya again beyond being arms-length and
    > professionally cool if I run into her at a conference and others are present.

    No, OP, don’t do that. Be ice-cold at best. Do not exchange pleasantries with her. Don’t laugh at any joke she tries for. After she walks away, tell anyone else who was there the 2 sentence version of what happened. (If she has the gall to ask you what’s wrong in front of other people, be sure to answer her then and there.)

  57. Narise*

    She vouched for this employee and I would make her own it. Every time the story of the investigation comes up with any one remotely in your field -and especially if Ayra is present-I would add ‘Ayra gave a glowing recommendation for Eve and she knew she was being investigated by federal agencies. Defiantly not what I would do in that situation but apparently she doesn’t see anything wrong with it.’
    I would also have your boss or someone high up in the company reach out to that company and I would spread the word fast on Arya. If her company is being investigated she could be looking for another job soon and you want to spare another company from dealing with someone who is unethical.

  58. Anon4now*

    If the good candidate still works at Arya’s company, make him a good offer. That way you can stick it to Arya and repair the damage that the bad hire did at your company.

  59. Not So NewReader*

    If you are still reading, OP, I am sorry that a person you trusted blind-sided you so badly. I hope your ability to trust is not too badly damaged. There are lots of good people out there, OP. And you will meet a lot of them as you journey on.

  60. Pomona Sprout*

    Holy lying snake, Batman! Arya sounds like a real piece of, err, work! That’s all I have to say–too gobsmacked for words here. Yeeesh.

  61. Stephanie*

    Oh man, I hope LW gives us an update, because holy hell, I want to know how all of this ends up going down, and what, if anything, happens to Arya.

  62. This Daydreamer*

    Guys, I think we are being way too harsh on Arya. Think about it. She has burned all of her bridges so badly she’s now stuck on an island without enough twigs left to build a life raft. She just lost her one and only ally in her industry. Her one good employee is probably heading for the nearest exit. And her actions are so egregious and immoral that the investigation may now take a closer look at her shenanigans. The poor thing.

    Nah. I’m making popcorn. Anyone else want some? And maybe we can come up with bingo cards with possible repercussions that Arya and her merry little band of conniving jackholes could face. Winner gets a set of Hanukkah Balls and a free meerkat.

  63. RiskyBusiness*

    In the Public School sphere we call this “passing the trash.” Disgusting. If Arya had been documenting properly, or just waited for the investigation (!) she could have fired that lady without legal ramifications. Instead she had to burn all her bridges and risk ruining her professional credibility? I’ll never understand people…

  64. Cheryl the Retired*

    I confess I haven’t read all the comments, so I apologize if I’m repeating what someone else said. I agree that Arya’s behavior is egregious, unprofessional, and all the bad things. But I’m also just a *bit* surprised there’s not a lot of discussion about the rest of the hiring process. I mean, it sounds like the horrible candidate was hired on Arya’s glowing recommendation alone. What about the interview process? Perhaps the person is a really really good liar and BSer and convinced them she would do a great job in the interview, which then coupled with the recommendation made her a shoo-in. But I would hope there may have been some warning bells going off? Maybe I’m missing something.

    1. Elspeth*

      OP says that they received a glowing reference from another manager who also works with Arya (and that manager has been arrested)! So it wasn’t just one (bad) reference.

  65. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

    Full on Carolyn Hax “wow” here. There are no words.

    Well I have words, but they are all profane.

    Sorry you are going through this, OP. Hope things go well for you — definitely enlighten your boss! They may know Anya’s boss (even if you don’t) and can put a bug in that person’s ears.

    Also, vengeful me would definitely call that hire Arya gave the bad reference too and let him know. I’d probably say something about having him check his references using someone else in case he was worried about sour grapes coming from me.

  66. Pomona Sprout*

    “It stands to reason that candidate 2 is unaware of the lies about their own references, but has stayed on and willingly lied to protect the company and Arya’s reputation.”

    To the first half if this, yes. Candidate 2 wouldn’t be using Arya as a reference if they had any idea she was actually torpedoing their chances.

    To the second half of this, no. I see absolutely no reason to make such an assumption.

  67. snuck*

    I have a different take on this….

    When there are multiple people in the same workplace acting in the same way AND the business is being investigated for something illegal? Then is not the time to talk to their boss. The boss knows there’s issues… she/he’s either part of the issues, part of the culture that allowed those issues to flourish, or so head in the sand that they are part of it too. In action, refusal to see what is before you… both of those are intentional acts of invisibility when it gets to this level of unprofessionalism.

    So my thinking is that the OP is best just knowing this about Arya. Know that when she recommends someone she’s probably lying. Know that you will need other references and checks vs Arya, and seek those. If you are interviewing someone from Arya’s workplace ever again ask any other contacts you have about that person (including your own current employees that might have worked with them).

    As for what to say to Arya? Unless there’s a natural and relaxed way to say “The game is up, I’m onto you and your shenanigans now” then there’s no point. A person this unethical in business doesn’t care if they are caught out. Arya didn’t place enough importance on protecting this relationship, now you know where you stand. Which with a person like Arya is very valuable information to have. You know now that Arya will offload whatever problems she has onto you, lie to make it happen, and coordinate others into that lie as well.

    Another thought is if this is a very small industry you’ll have a good chance that word will get around without effort by you. If it’s not, and Arya continues, then fine… but any time someone comes to you and asks about Arya, her employees, or the company and recruitment, you can say (with a raised eyebrow) “Arya? Oh yes. I know her a little. We’ve had some difficulty with hires from her department and we now make sure we double check references very closely and ask for additional ones. We’ve found we have a differing view of what makes a quality employee than her company.” That’s not unprofessional. It’s not lying. It’s telling the truth…

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