our new hire was secretly working another full-time job and lying to us

A reader writes:

My organization hired a person to start on January 3 of this year as a sales development rep. At the time, he told me he lived about an hour and a half away, but he’d be moving to be closer to work shortly.

On January 19, he called me and told me he was going through some family issues. His wife had been diagnosed with a disease that caused her to lose a lot weight and now the effects had caused her body to shake uncontrollably. She was not able to watch their two kids on her own in case something were to happen to her. He told me that being an hour and half away from his family wasn’t going to work for him. I’m a family first person, so I worked out a temporary solution for him to work from home. He told me it was tough for him to get his work done because he was taking care of his five- and three-year-olds. We worked out a schedule for him to do some of his work after his kids went to bed and when they napped.

After each week, he would fail to get all of his work done and came with family excuses. He then called and said his wife was in the hospital because she was having seizures. On February 16, we spoke again and I told him this wasn’t working because he wasn’t able to manage both and he needed to be with his family. He then went on PTO. All along, he kept telling me that this would be temporary and once she was strong enough, he’d be back.

On March 1, we spoke again and he kept saying what a difficult time he was having and that he wasn’t sure what to do, etc. I said, “I think I can see what you are trying to say. I think you are saying you can no longer work here and take care of your family.” He said yes and officially gave his notice (in writing) that his last day would be that day, March 1. He kept saying he would love the opportunity to come back down the line when he moved closer and his family situation was resolved.

Then, soon after that, I noticed on his LinkedIn page that he had another company listed as his employer since this January. I was confused and thought maybe he had already found a job where he lived and his fudged his start date to eliminate a gap in employment since he didn’t list my organization at all. I was curious so I called the HR department at his new company and they verified a start date of January 22.

I was floored. This was a guy who I would never have expected this from as I had actually known him from my previous employer. He had even RSVP’d yes in February for an all-company trip in June out of the country.

My question is, what recourse does my company have (if any) to recoup his salary?

I’m not a lawyer, but my guess is that it’s almost definitely not an option, unfortunately.

It’s not against the law to work two jobs at once, and it’s not against the law to be a crappy employee. It sounds like there was fraud involved here, so maybe there’s a legal argument someone could put together around that, but you’d have to prove the fraud was deliberate and I suspect it would be a long shot.

You tried to be kind and accommodating with someone who told you he was in a difficult personal situation, and he took advantage of that and screwed you over. But this is probably not money you can recover, and your efforts to get it back might end up costing far more than it would be worth.

That said, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a lawyer anyway if you’re curious. And sometimes lawyers can get results with pretty low-investment approaches, like just sending a letter. Just don’t get too invested in recovering the money; you don’t want to throw good money after bad, especially if it’s just the principle of the thing that’s driving you.

I’m very curious to know how this all happened though! Was he giving both of the jobs a shot at one point and planning to jettison one of them once he’d settled on the one he liked best? Was there a point where he really thought he could do both at once? Or was it nothing more than a scam all along — he got two job offers and figured he might as well accept both and get paid for both as long as he could? Is there a third company out there that he’s still “working” for?

The fact that you’d known him previously probably means it didn’t start out as an intentional scam, but who knows.

Anyway, the situation is particularly crappy because the next time a new employee is in a bad situation and needs special accommodations to help them through it, this situation is going to be on your mind — and you might extend that person less grace because of what this guy did. So if you can, keep in mind that his actions are unusual enough that you’re not likely to see repeats of this.

If you could go back and do this over again, I’d advise you to talk to the employee earlier on about the utter lack of work you were seeing. It’s good to cut people slack when they’re in hard situations, but especially with a new employee whom you don’t yet know well, I’d be wary when you’re seeing no work at all. That doesn’t mean the person needs to be at 100 percent — humans can’t always do that and people do have genuine crises that you’ll need to accommodate — but when a new employee isn’t giving you much at all, that’s a sign you’ve got to revisit what might be going on.

{ 656 comments… read them below }

  1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    Wow. That’s… um, that’s something, all right. Unfortunately, Alison’s right that you likely don’t have the ability to recover any of the employee’s actual pay for hours worked (whether or not he was actually working during that time). But I wonder if there would be some way to recover at least the PTO money.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Although, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if there is something more genuine going on here — after all, if you’re in the US, health expenses are pretty staggering, and I wouldn’t put it past the realm of believability that he took on a second job (that it turned out he couldn’t maintain along with yours) in order to try and cover the bills.

      That’s a charitable-verging-on-Pollyanna reading, but I think it’s worth considering as a possibility.

      1. Wednesday Mouse*

        This was my first thought/assumption – guy needed the money from working two full-time jobs, really hoped he could make them both work out but sadly couldnt, and rather than coming clean straight away (or at even just jacking one job in) he tried to string them both out as long as possible. He may have decided it was worth the risk of being found out, burning bridges, damaged reputation etc., if that extra paycheck each month really helped towards healthcare or other huge bills.

      2. D.W.*

        That was my first thought. Taking the employee at his word that his wife was actually ill. I’ve heard of some elaborate plans and actions that people take for healthcare.

        1. LouiseM*

          Very much this. He f*cked up, majorly, but there is no reason to throw compassion and good faith out the window.

            1. OklahomaSpeaks*

              Even when you have insurance the cost of treatment for a chronic condition can be astronomical in the USA

        2. Meg Murry*

          Or if OP’s job offered him health insurance and the new job had a waiting period, so he kept OP stringing along until March 1, 2018 when the new job’s health insurance kicked in.

          Again, really crappy thing to do, but I know I’ve made bad decisions when dealing with a health insurance gap right when I needed it most.

    2. Antilles*

      Based on the way employment law works in the US, it’s really doubtful. The probable argument a lawyer could try to frame together would revolve around fraud – he deliberately signed an Employment Agreement with no intent of honoring it and then deliberately used his PTO/salary under false pretenses. However, the Employment Agreement and Employee Handbook (or equivalent documents) almost certainly explicitly state that they are not contracts, employment terms may change at any time, and that employment is completely at-will for both parties. Additionally, since there’s zero to few laws regarding PTO, it’s very likely that a court wouldn’t see any real reason to distinguish between “salary compensation” and “PTO compensation”.
      And quite frankly, even if OP did find a lawyer who wanted to fight such an iffy legal case, it very likely would not be worth it. You’re limited to recovering your ‘damages’ – two months of salary from a sales development rep isn’t that much, particularly compared with the time/energy/hassle/money you’d need to spend upfront to fight the case.
      As Alison suggests, OP could try the strategy of “Pay one hour of a lawyer’s time to send a letter on Legal Letterhead” (which does sometimes work!), but anything beyond that is probably just too much effort for too little potential reward.

      1. The Bimmer Guy*

        Right. I’d think the only way you could successfully sue for damages on this is if this were a contractor /vendor.

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            Even then, the employer wouldn’t be able to claw back pay, though — the employee would be fired and FINRA would bring down the banhammer.

      2. Kyrielle*

        Also, you’d be taking on the “look” of a company that does that – and there are a *few* scenarios where he could elicit compassion and outrage. (His wife really is quite ill. He took the job in good faith, THEN got the offer from the second company, but health coverage wouldn’t start until….)

        It’s still not a good move, but it’s one that (phrased properly) might get a fair amount of sympathy.

      3. Arjay*

        And then, assuming dire financial need was the impetus for his behavior, that money is gone. Even if they got a court judgment, you can’t get blood from a stone.

    3. Yep, me again*

      I’ve been in sales for 10 years, let me just say, this is sort of a thing here in this profession. It’s not common, but it does happen in sales. Any type of sales role for that matter but I’m just surprised it was an SDR. Those are usually inside sales entry-level positions but since you worked out the accommodation he made it work. I knew of it happening at one job definitely and my co-worker confessed she did it at another job too. Aside from that another manager at another job suspected an employee of doing it too and fired him.

      Typically a sales rep who does this ( or in this case, an SDR ) will sign on with a company, use the time meant to be in the field prospecting/selling /working on crap to work at another job and then come back at the end of a day with some bogus activity and maybe a little bit of true work. The key for these guys is to get someplace out of the office (like most outside reps or remote work reps) and then keep the office job or the other gig going.

      These guys are usually found out. Takes a couple of weeks, maybe a month or so to catch on, but they can’t keep them up forever. Sometimes they do it because they don’t know if they’ll like a position, but more often than not it provides additional income where they don’t have to sell anything, just collect a paycheck. Now, you didn’t suspect anything which pretty much says how sly he was, but since he figured he was going to be on the way out due to the performance issues cited and because he knew you before, why not resign now and if things fell through, be welcomed back with open arms.

      Now, that’s the bad news. Here’s some more bad news, you really don’t have a claim here. You’re not the first person it’s happened to, and you won’t be the last. You might be able to charge back the PTO if he still has the other job…

      Here’s the semi-sort-of- good news (if you’re still raw and upset by this). Remember when I said they can’t keep it up forever? Weeeelll…Calling his new employer to verify employment may have tipped them off he was working two jobs. If he had performance issues at your job, he most likely has some issues at his new place of employment too. Probably fed them the same sob story too, that is, if he’s still there. I wouldn’t count on Linkedin to be updated if in fact he was fired because he still needs to keep up appearances he’s still gainfully employed but ‘always open to new opportunities’.

      1. hayling*

        Yeah, that happened with my old company. The guy was let go pretty quickly for performance so we didn’t catch on when he was still employed. We found out because the person who got his old phone extension started getting calls for the guy’s second job (it was apparnetly a limo company and people were calling to confirm/change their bookings).

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I’ve seen this happen, too. Actually, we never could prove it but the person was out of the office often enough that we got suspicious. Now I can’t remember if they quit or got let go, but we suspected they had accepted two jobs and were trying to see which one they liked better.

      3. essEss*

        It seems that there should be legal restitution possible because the employee was paid for hours that they weren’t working. Since they claimed to be working and received payment for that but obviously didn’t work those hours, it is wage fraud. A lawyer should be able to contact the other company, find out the work scheduled at the other location, and then be able to prove wage fraud by comparing that schedule against the one he claimed to be working at the OP company.

        1. Natalie*

          From the description, it seems like this person was being paid on a salary basis, so you’re not really paying them for specific hours. If this person was hourly and was clocking in and leaving you might have a claim, but that seems like a stretch from what’s relayed in the letter.

          1. selena81*

            the part about working around the children’s bedtime makes it sound like there were specific worktimes, not just ‘8 hours a day, whenever you feel like it’

    4. essEss*

      I worked for a company that had it in the employee policies that we could not collect employment money from another company for the same hours that we were being paid by that company. It even said you could not take PTO in order to work at another paying job for the time you were being paid the PTO.
      This was many years ago so I don’t know if this type of limitation is still legal or not.

  2. Snark*

    I’d get in touch with his new bosses and let them know their new hire is ethically compromised. Petty? You bet. But I’d go out of my way to ruin his reputation.

    1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

      Yes, contact his “real” job because his work at the second job must have suffered while he was juggling the LW’s job. Also, I don’t believe the wife was ever “sick”.

      1. DogG*

        That’s a bit cruel! We can leave his wife and kids out of it while maintaining that he behaved in an awful way.

        1. Murphy*

          I’m not sure why that’s cruel. The simplest explanation is that he was lying to cover his time at the other job.

            1. Murphy*

              That’s actually a more complicated explanation. That he was somehow juggling two full time jobs, while lying about it, managing not to get fired from either job, and simultaneously taking care of a sick wife and two kids.

            2. Snark*

              I don’t think that’s the most parsimonious explanation at all. Lying to cover his time at the other job is way more likely, and fully supported by the facts know to OP.

              1. ANon.*

                But how awful would you feel if you did this and his wife really IS sick, and the poor guy was just trying to make ends meet?

                It’s not illegal to have two jobs if you’re able to spend the appropriate amount of hours for each one. In fact, we have no idea what the work hours are for this other job – or even if it’s full-time! It’s entirely possible that this guy, in an effort to cover the enormous amount of medical costs, got a full-time 9-5 job and a part-time job for weekends and nights. That’s not even a particularly uncommon thing to do during a stressful financial time!

                Unless OP is 1000% sure that this employee was doing something nefarious, s/he should ABSOLUTELY refrain from contacting the other employer; the consequences are way too cruel otherwise.

                1. Samata*

                  I normally hate to go completely balls to the wall negative on someone I barely know, but the employee arranged to do the job the OP wrote in about in the evenings when kids were asleep. So how could he be taking care of kids/wife all day, working 9-5 job at night and working PT job at night/weekends. It’s a schedule that doesn’t make sense – unless he was doing 9-5 job while simultaneously doing PT job? It’s just so perplexing.

                2. JM60*

                  It’s possible that that’s the case, but the more likely explanation is that he was outright lying to both (all?) employers.

                3. ANon.*

                  Innocent until proven guilty/reasonable doubt, or something like that…

                  This guy can no longer cause OP’s company any more damage. It’s done – he’s gone. If there’s any small chance the employee wasn’t trying to pull one over, then there’s no benefit to the company to reach out to his other employer. Again, if there was conclusive proof that the employee was intentionally trying to screw over OP’s company, then yea, sure, definitely tell his other employer. But otherwise why not assume there’s another explanation?

                  Here’s where others’ opinions may differ: if he’s Jean Valjean, hoping to screw over OP’s company out of 2 months’ worth of paychecks as a last-ditch effort to cover surmounting medical costs. Wrong? 100%, totally. But also a bit pitiful. (How horrid must your life be if you think you need resort to this tactic to keep your life together?) Fortunately, OP has already handled it by cutting ties with him. And if OP’s company wants, they could try to recoup the comp they paid him. But in my opinion – and here’s the controversial part – why ruin his life further by reaching out to his other employer?

                4. Fiennes*

                  I say leave the wife out of it. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s false, but either way, this guy was lying to his employer about real drains on his productivity, I.e., the other job. There’s no way the employee wouldn’t have mentioned the second job as an issue if he weren’t trying to conceal it. I think that’s an ethical breach worth mentioning.

                  (I would feel differently about someone with a side gig who was still getting their work done. In this case, the other employer should know this guy is perhaps even now looking for a second job. If the wife IS sick and this is about desperation, the employer can decide how much they’re willing to help on that. But the facts should be on the table.)

                5. Stranger than fiction*

                  Op could try and check social media for postings from yje wife about progress, treatmemt, etc. some people arr open about that stuff

                6. JM60*


                  “Innocent until proven guilty/reasonable doubt, or something like that…”

                  The OP doesn’t need to have 100% conclusive evidence to factually report what they know to the person’s real (?) employer. For comparison, the standard for being found guilty for lawsuits is “preponderance of evidence” (i.e., >50% chance of guilt, and the OP is well past that.

                  Does the OP have 100% proof that the OP wasn’t lying about the sick wife? No, but it’s close enough to justify factually telling the employer what you know (that he started for you on date X, you weren’t aware that he had another job, he told you about the sick wife, for which you gave him time off, etc.). From there, whatever they do or don’t do is up to the other employer.

      2. AKchic*

        We don’t even know there is a wife and kids. For all we know, they are fictions created to cover for not being in.

        “Oh, well… she wasn’t on our company insurance.”
        “Yes, well, she has her own through her employer and the kids are on hers” or “since we just started here, we’re still on state insurance” or “we’re private-pay insurance”

        This guy’s not trustworthy, so anything is possible.

        1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

          That’s where I’m going. I don’t believe anything he said.

          He was working the other job and trying to make up the LW’s tasks at night. There was no sick wife. There was one guy trying to run a hustle and cutting his losses when he couldn’t pull it off.
          There is not a doubt in my mind that he was using his paid vacation or PTO days to go into the other office and work there.
          He wasn’t distracted by kids at home, he was in meetings at the other company.

          He took two job offers because they were made at the same time and he thought, I can pull this off. It will be awesome.
          He left the LW 1 job when he realized that two jobs was an impossible dream. He picked job #2 because he won’t have to spend the rest of his tenure remembering all his lies, keeping coworkers away from wife and kids so they don’t accidentally ask the five year old if he missed mommy while she was in the hospital.

            1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

              I think Hey Karma is right on the money, or close enough anyway. My sensors started pinging at the part where he called on Jan 19 to talk about his sick wife, and it only got worse from there. And when LW confirmed his start date at the other job as Jan 22? I was sure.
              I think it’s highly unlikely that his wife *just happened* to *suddenly* come down with some sort of debilitating disease that would require employee to work from home, a mere THREE DAYS before the start date of his new job.

              Not impossible, but I don’t believe it.

          1. LadyCop*

            It’s 10x more likely (especially if we look at the dates) that he was applying to several jobs and got an offer from OP’s company. He took the offer, and did not pull out of processes (or even continued to interview) with Job B. He got an offer from Job B and took it because it’s “better” (in one way or another) didn’t have the adultness to back out of the job with OP’s company…and thought he could bluff/buy time/get PTO money and disappear into the sunset…

            Also, as noted above, belief beyond a reasonable doubt isn’t required. You only need Totality of Circumstances, which tells us the guy is a liar about one thing, he is likely a liar about other things, and Job B should know this.

    2. Snarkus Aurelius*

      I’ve gone back and forth on this, and I think you should do it too. Wouldn’t you want to know?

    3. Mike C.*

      This is pretty messed up. It’s one thing to fire the person outright, it’s another to go after their other jobs.

        1. Mike C.*

          Then fire him. That’s what you do with generally bad employees. This isn’t a situation involving certifications dealing with safety or the public interest, so going scorched earth is going way too far.

          1. Snark*

            Like I said, it might be petty. But it’s also natual consequences for being incredibly unethical and engaging in time theft, and I wouldn’t blame OP for being down for whatever with this guy.

            1. Mike C.*

              No, having one employer go after your other employers in an effort to make sure you cannot work at all for no reason other than to be petty is not a natural consequence of being a bad employee.

              1. Snark*

                A bad employee is one that, for example, has performance issues, or isn’t qualified, or who is insubordinate. This goes beyond “bad employee” territory, and lies smack in the middle of “hey, watch out for this guy, he’ll screw your business too if he gets a chance” land. And getting a reputation for being a fraud, and being viewed as a risk by your employers, is a natural consequence of engaging in fraud.

                1. Snark*

                  And if you do this, you don’t deserve to work at all, because any sane employer would view you as a high risk for misappropriation of funds, time fraud, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and other unethical practices that can do immense damage to a business. This is kind of stuff that hits the grapevine for the best of reasons.

                2. SheLooksFamiliar*

                  Perhaps this fellow is a ‘bad employee’ who screwed them over, and then some. The OP’s company can’t give in to the satisfaction of screwing him right back. Others have pointed out it’s unlikely, but it is possible there’s a reasonable – if not innocent – explanation.

                  Regardless, I contend that the OP and employer would become the ‘bad employer’ if s/he did what is you suggested, Snark. As frustrating is this situation is, I think the OP has to drop it. Let the Karma Kart get loaded up with whatever the employee is handing out, and the cart will come back to dump on the employee.

                3. JM60*


                  I don’t think prospective employees will hold it against them if they warm their employer or that person’s possible fraud. What this person did was basically a form of theft, and reasonable people wouldn’t hold it against an employer for reporting to others that a former employee was caught stealing from the register.

                4. Mike C.*

                  And if you do this, you don’t deserve to work at all

                  Then that means they don’t deserve shelter, food or access to medical care. WTF? Take a step back and think about what exactly you’re advocating for.

                5. JM60*

                  @Mike C.

                  While society as a whole should ensure that nobody, including criminals, starves to death, employers have the right to not hire thieves. The OP would be doing their real(?) employer a favor by informing them of their employee’s theft.

                6. KHB*

                  Mike C.: I agree with you that it’s far too extreme to say that he doesn’t deserve to work at all, ever again.

                  However, I would say that he doesn’t deserve to work at a place with good PTO benefits, telecommuting, flex time, and an accommodating, trusting boss – at least for a while.

                7. Snark*

                  “Then that means they don’t deserve shelter, food or access to medical care. WTF? Take a step back and think about what exactly you’re advocating for.”

                  Oh, fer Chrissake, dial it back. He’d find another job and he’d get a second chance. He just doesn’t deserve the job – jobs, plural – he defrauded. That’s a reasonable consequence.

                8. Michaela Westen*

                  He could still work in a job that is highly structured and strictly supervised so there’s no chance he could get away with anything… hmm, are there any jobs like that?
                  Is there any way to confirm if the story of the sick wife is true? That would be key to knowing what happened here and whether notifying his other employer is reasonable. Was the wife on his insurance?

                9. Katniss*

                  Michaela, are you suggesting the OP should look up this person’s health records to verify whether or not the wife is sick?

                10. JB (not in Houston)*

                  @Snark you said: “And if you do this, you don’t deserve to work at all.” Mike C was just reacting to the words you used. You didn’t say “he doesn’t deserve the job,” you said he doesn’t deserve to work at all. That’s a pretty extreme statement, and that’s what Mike C was reacting to.

                11. Mad Baggins*

                  “You don’t deserve to work at all”…? I feel like questioning what the guy “deserves” is not helpful or relevant. “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

                  I can see the relevance in informing the employer of the facts, but too much of this guy’s “punishment” depends on how repentant he is. If he wrote to AAM about how to reclaim his reputation after this (regardless of whether the sick wife story is true), we would be much more sympathetic. We don’t know if he lied out of need or out of compulsion or out of maliciousness, we just know that he lied–OP should inform the other employer of that fact without speculating on the circumstances and let it go.

                12. Michaela Westen*

                  Katniss, I don’t know if I would go that far but it would be good to know, if the OP can find out without being unethical.
                  To me the question is: Are we dealing with a good person who was desparate to take care of his sick wife, or a sleazy con artist? I would be willing to go to a little trouble to find out, just to know what I’m dealing with and whether to tell others.

                1. JM60*

                  @Mike C

                  And it’s also why they should warn the other employer about his behavior. What he did was equivalent to taking money out of the register, except this was to the tune of thousands, rather than hundreds, of dollars. That’s the type of behavior that his new employer needs to know about.

              2. Luna*

                I agree with Mike. This is no longer the OP’s problem and he shouldn’t go out of his way to get revenge on this person. What good will that do? We don’t know this person and we don’t know his life. People can do bad things without being bad people. I have no idea why someone would do what this man did, but I’d advise the OP to consider it a bullet dodged and move on. If someone specifically asks the OP about this employee then no need to cover for him, but otherwise stay away from it.

                1. JM60*

                  “What good will that do?”

                  The same good that warning an employer that you caught somwone stealing from the register. It may do them a favor by preventing them from being victimized by the theif. What this employee did is basically a form of stealing, but instead of being hundreds of dollars from the register, it’s thousands of dollars in wages.

                2. Phoenix Programmer*


                  Except he did complete work. It’s not the same as stealing from a cash register at all. Even when he used PTO.

                  And even if he did steal from the register snooping through his LinkedIn calling his current ploywr and going “you should know he stole” is not reasonable.

                3. JM60*

                  @Phoenix Programmer

                  Taking PTO under fake pretenses with planning to not swindle the OP for free paychecks is stealing (morally speaking). Legally, there is such a thing as stealing through deception, and I highly doubt that he isn’t legally guilty of either stealing of fraud in that jurisdiction.

                  “And even if he did steal from the register snooping through his LinkedIn calling his current ploywr and going “you should know he stole” is not reasonable.”

                  If someone did something that egregious, it’s reasonable to give a potential victim a heads up.

              3. Kyrielle*

                Agreed. Now, having the place you burned horribly – and everyone who was working with you at the time, especially your manager – remember you and not hire you again if you apply with them later? That *is* also a reasonable consequence.

            2. Temperance*

              It’s totally a natural consequence of his actions. He could have chosen to work one job, like a sane, rational, ethical human being. He could have worked two jobs openly, with the blessing of both companies. Instead, he either screwed over LW’s company or screwed over both companies while babysitting. Not cool.

              Not to mention, if he works in sales, presumably the other job is in sales, so that’s two active conflicts of interest.

              1. Aunt Vixen*

                Tangential drop-in comment crusade: Assuming there really were kids he was looking after when he was supposed to be working, he is their father. Please don’t dismiss parenting as “babysitting.”

                (I agree with Snark and Temperance in the rest of this thread.)

                1. Falling Diphthong*

                  “Babysitting” is a third unpaid job he was doing on top of the two paid jobs. Three and five year olds don’t entertain themselves for eight hour stretches while you do other stuff that fully occupies your attention. Caring for a three and five year old is a full-time gig that takes all your attention.

                  Working from home because your 12 year old has the flu and you want to keep an eye on them while they watch movies and video games is very different.

                2. A Good Problem to Have*

                  Ugh! Totally agree! I have always always hated when men taking care of their own children is referred to as babysitting. Their yours, it’s called being a parent.

              2. Mike C.*

                You’re going to have to explain how going on a crusade to ensure this person gets fried from their other jobs is a natural consequence when contacting the other employer is not something that happens without direct intention and action on the part of the OP.

                1. JM60*

                  Him getting fired from his other job would be a natural consequence of them knowing about his theft, because his theft shows that he isn’t trustworthy.

                2. Hiring Mgr*

                  So what are you going to do? Hunt him down forever on LinkedIn and keep calling up his new employers to warn them? There are a lot of bad employees who have been fired–should all their new employers be warned about their misdeeds? Jesus fucking christ, let it go

                3. JM60*

                  @Hiring Mgr

                  You don’t have to solve all the world’s problems, but if you’ve reported one (probable) theif to their potential victim, you’ve probably made the world a better place. It won’t guarantee that he won’t steal from another employer, but it decreases those odds even if you take no further action beyond reporting them to their current employer (and maybe the district attorney’s office, who are better equipped to investigate criminal wrongdoing). If his current employer fires him, that will leave a hole on his resume, may discourage him from doing it again, and may help him get a reputation in the area/industry that reflects his behavior.

                4. Temperance*

                  Losing your job for theft and dishonesty is a natural consequence of theft and dishonesty. LW isn’t lying or exaggerating things here, and I lean heavily towards doing the right thing. To me, the right thing isn’t protecting a liar, but trying to root out what damage was done by said liar.

                5. Phoenix Programmer*


                  By denting a thief of gainful employment all you are doing is I suring they will have to continue being a criminal. Also I do not see this as thievery as he did complete work just not at the high output they wanted.

                6. JM60*

                  @Phoenix Programmer

                  Why do you assume that his employment with his real (?) employer is legit and not riddled with fraud and theft? He was defrauding one employer, so it’s not unlikely that he would defraud the other.

                  And yes, stringing the OP for PTO under these circumstances with false pretenses without the intent to work as a full time employee is stealing. Stealing by deception is still stealing.

            3. I See Real People*

              It’s also illegal since OP cannot prove what his intentions were and would be, in effect, stalking this guy. He could turn the tables on her really quick legally and then she’d be paying him again.

              1. JM60*

                Seeing someone’s public LinkedIn profile is legal. Factually reporting that person’s behavior to the employer (E.g., “He began working for us on X date, he told us Y, we were surprised by what we found on his LinkedIn because we thought we were his only employer”) is legal.

              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                What? It’s not illegal for OP to report that he had another full-time job and that he said he was unable to perform because of family medical concerns. It also doesn’t amount to stalking by any definition in any state.

              3. Wintermute*

                This isn’t in any way illegal, though if they take it VERY far the guy might be able to claim tortious interference but that is a very specific and fact-dependent tort and it’s hard to prove under the best of circumstances.

                Warning his employer this guy is a thief is in no way illegal, intentions don’t matter. All they have to do is state the facts, which are legally protected, and if they wish opinions, which are legally protected. Almost anything he could do just by talking to people is protected by the OP’s first amendment rights.

                Stalking has a very specific legal meaning, and it doesn’t in any way apply here.

                1. Ego Chamber*

                  1. That’s not how the first amendment works.

                  2. Most states have laws against “maliciously preventing someone from obtaining or keeping employment” or similar phrasing, so it’s best to give facts only, not opinions or speculation, especially if it’s something that you know is a fireable offense or has a good chance of being.

                2. Wintermute*

                  @Ego Chamber

                  1: Yes it is how the first amendment works, the court is an agent of government, as a result you cannot use the power of the court to suppress speech you don’t like, meaning you can’t sue someone just for saying things you wish they wouldn’t. The limitation is libel/slander, but true facts and opinions cannot be libelous, hence why I said what I did.

                  2: The “law” you refer to is the tort of tortious interference, which I referenced. It takes a LOT to meet that bar, usually malicious intent and pervasive conduct at the very least, but as I said it’s highly fact-dependent and a pain to prove even in clear-cut cases. It’s not something I’d really worry about so long as I was not lying, because again, truth and opinions are both protected.

            4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              It might not actually be unethical, though. I know lots of folks who work two full-time jobs (and they work both jobs diligently and without committing ethical lapses or fraud). If there’s not a provision barring other employment in the employee manual or other policies of the company, you can’t really penalize people for having outside jobs. You can only penalize them if they’re committing time-card fraud or whatnot (likely not the case, here, where the guy sounds exempt).

              In the absence of verifiable proof that he lied, the most OP can/should do is notify the other company that he was “working” full-time for them and did not work out. Although even reporting that seems punitive/excessive, to me.

              1. Marthooh*

                LW can certainly tell the other employer that Fergus was “working” another job (unsatisfactorily) and also taking 2 weeks of PTO. There’s no reason not to give them a heads-up.

                1. Phoenix Programmer*

                  I don’t see why the PTO matters. He had PTO available and took it.

                  Would we call it theft if he did this and then quit? I should hope not!

          2. Murphy*

            He probably wasn’t giving the other job his full attention either, which they might appreciate knowing.

            1. Mike C.*

              If he wasn’t giving the other job his full attention, don’t you think they’d notice? For all we know he could be doing everything they want and are perfectly happy to have him.

              1. Temperance*

                He’s a proven liar and thief. I don’t think he deserves anything remotely close to the benefit of the doubt.

                If his other job is in sales, it’s an active conflict of interest and the company deserves to know. Period. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

                1. Snark*

                  This is a good point. There’s lots of reasons why the current employer needs to know, besides petty revenge.

                2. Mike C.*

                  I’m not giving anyone the benefit of the doubt and I’m really surprised at the effort people expending to justify their revenge fantasies.

                  I already left room open for issues of public interest and safety, so if there’s an industry specific issue then that would certainly apply as well. That being said, it still feels like a massive leap just to make sure this guy ends up on the street.

                  Christ folks, read Othello.

                3. Temperance*

                  But public interest and safety aren’t the only two reasons to dime this guy out. His current company can do what they want with the information. If this guy is in sales in both places, it very likely is a conflict of interest and, well, both orgs deserve to know if any trade secrets are in jeopardy.

                4. Mike C.*

                  I meant Merchant of Venice. Going after this guy’s other employers to ensure that he never works again is like demanding a pound of flesh. Take the loss and move on.

                5. Falling Diphthong*

                  Truthfully relating to the other employer that he was paid for full-time work by OP’s company at the same time is a natural consequence most reasonable people would foresee, and judge as one of the factors that made this plan too risky. You should avoid putting yourself in a situation where someone factually stating what you did last month is going to destroy your career.

                  And if you know anything about game theory, revenge is a powerful motivator.

                6. Seriously?*

                  Don’t think that the OP or their company has any particular obligation either to speak up or keep quiet. If you are scammed, you should feel free to tell whoever you want about it and warn them so that they don’t make the same mistake. Or not if you would rather just let it go. The company does not owe the scammer their silence.

                7. JM60*

                  @Mike C.

                  Would you really be saying the same thing if this guy had instead stole money right out of his employer’s cash register? That’s the equivalent of what he did, except to the tune of thousands of dollars, not hundreds.

                8. JM60*

                  @Mike C.

                  How are they not the same? Taking money from the register and taking wages for a job you aren’t performing under false pretenses are both stealing. I don’t get why you see one firm of stealing as morally better than the other.

                9. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  Is he a proven liar and thief? Because it sounds like OP has significant suspicions and that the guy held two full-time jobs. That doesn’t necessarily equate to liar and thief.

                  @Mike C., I don’t understand the revenge fantasies, either.

                10. JM60*

                  @Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  Holding two jobs doesn’t make someone a liar and a theif, but holding under false pretenses to get paid for the job without doing it does make someone a liar and theif.

                11. Natalie*

                  @ JM60, underperforming at work isn’t theft (not legally and to most people, not morally), and any “false pretenses” that would make this fraud or theft by swindle are assumed at this moment. I’m sure it feels easier to label the guy as a thief so you can just write him off, but it’s lazy.

                12. JM60*


                  The most likely explanation of the evidence is that he was stringing along the OP for as long as he could without intending to perform the job. That puts it into the realm of wage theft via fraud.

                  About assumptions, you have to make assumptions for drawing any conclusions about anything. The issue is what’s the most reasonable set of assumptions. If you have money missing from the register and you have video of an employee stuffing their pockets with money from the register, you have to make all kinds of assumptions to conclude that the employee stole the money. You have to assume that the video hasn’t been edited by a theif who managed to skillfully edit the video as well steal the money. You also have to assume that the person in the video isn’t someone who just happens to look like your employee, and managed to open the till, etc. Yet, at a certain point, the preponderance of evidence shows that they stole the money.

                  For comparison, the stardard of evidence needed to win a multimillion dollar lawsuit is “preponderance of evidence” (i.e.,likelihood of guilt being >50%). I think the conclusion that he was trying to string along the OP to get paychecks without doing the job is significantly beyond this level.

                13. Natalie*

                  Still not theft, JM60, and fraud is a criminal manner so I’m not sure what the standards of civil court have to do with anything.

                14. JM60*


                  Morally, lying your way into getting paychecks without working or intending to do the work, is theft. It’s much like if you reported working hours you didn’t work. They’re both lying to get paid. Legally, the law in most places includes theft by deception. Regardless of whether the employees behavior legally falls under theft or some other bucket (fraud), what he did is still morally theft, which morally justifies the OP reporting this to other potential victims.

                  The point with citing the standards of winning a lawsuit was to address your point about making assumptions. You don’t always need to be 100% certain about everything. If >50% certitude is good enough for a multimillion dollar lawsuit, then the evidence that the OP has should be enough to factually report his behavior to his current employer, who he might be deceiving too.

                15. boo bot*

                  Chiming in extremely late to say that even if Desdemona had been sleeping with Cassio, like, murdering her was still an overreaction.

              2. Snark*

                Or he’s playing the same sad song about the sick wife and kids, and being basically decent people they’re not second-guessing him, much as OP didn’t.

          3. KHB*

            And if the other employer sees the situation the same way you do, or if they think he’s so great at what he does that they don’t care what lies he’s told, they have every right to keep him on as an employee.

            As with so many things around here, you’re not “getting him fired” – he behaved in a way that (potentially) got himself fired.

            1. Mike C.*

              Again, there’s no need to put your thumb on the scale for petty reasons. Why is firing him not enough for you?

              1. Snark*

                Thought experiment: what if he causes his next employer to lose a major account (due to, say, undisclosed conflicts of interest or something) and causes them to lay off 20 people to deal with the loss?

                1. Mike C.*

                  That didn’t happen, so I’m not sure why it applies here.

                  Still, you fire him. You don’t go after other employers, you don’t key his car, start dating his wife, or anything else. If you really want to pursue that legal option then feel free to speak to a lawyer.

                  Even still, why didn’t the employer do more due diligence if this account was so important? Did 20 people really have to be fired, or could they instead have been reassigned or work share programs instituted? Are they in a field where it’s easy for them to find work?

                2. Snark*

                  It’s not their business, particularly, but these little warnings and caveats do hit the grapevine for a reason.

                3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  OP has no responsibility in that scenario, though, and wouldn’t have any responsibility no matter how little or how much they knew about the guy holding down two jobs.

                1. Mike C.*

                  I didn’t say that he was, only that the option of firing is a perfectly fine way to go. Why are you being so nit-picky?

                2. Murphy*

                  Because you keep saying “fire him” when that can’t be done here.

                  From the information we have here, he certainly deserves to be fired. OP shouldn’t make it their life’s mission to get him fired, but I don’t see how telling his other company the facts in evidence and letting them do with it what they will is some horribly petty thing.

              2. KHB*

                I’d argue that it’s “putting your thumb on the scale” to withhold information from the other employer, not to supply it. What they do with that information is their own concern.

                Why do you have such a problem with this guy having to lie in the bed that he made?

                1. Mike C.*

                  No, you just want to make sure that this person becomes completely unemployable without any sort of moral, legal or public interest justification. You want revenge and you’re cloaking it in morality.

                  Seriously, read Othello.

                2. KHB*

                  Wow, Mike C., calm the heck down. You don’t know me, and you don’t know what’s in my head – don’t presume that you do.

                3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Mike, you’re coming across as very heated with others here (whereas people with revenge fantasies aren’t being heated toward fellow commenters). Please scale that back!

                4. Snark*

                  Alison, I’d be really interested to get your take on whether taking active steps to spread the news is justifiable.

                  And Mike, these are not “revenge fantasies.” I think those of us arguing for letting his other job know about the fraud have adequately justified a number of good reasons for taking that action, whether you agree with them or not. If you disagree, that’s 100% valid, but using rhetoric to diminish a viewpoint is a bad look.

                5. Glomarization, Esq.*

                  Snark, your viewpoint is that OP should ruin the guy’s reputation. That’s a viewpoint that should be diminished.

                6. KHB*

                  I’m not saying “BURN HIM.” I think it really would be petty to actively try to ruin his wider reputation, or to stalk him from employer to employer to let them all know.

                  But I’m all in favor of letting his current employer know – the one he was working for when he claimed to be working for me. Among other reasons, that’s because we might have been co-victims in his scam: We might each have been defrauded in ways that we don’t realize from having only half the story.

                7. Glomarization, Esq.*

                  Because you call up the other company and call the employee a fraudster, you ruin his reputation, and now you have a defamation lawsuit on your hands.

                8. Snark*

                  I mean, okay, sure, burning his entire reputation is probably going too far. Fair enough; following him around and crusading is off the table. But contacting his current employer seems totally fair. In addition to satisfying my petty need for justice, and ensuring some kind of consequences for being a shitheel, it would be both ethical and justifiable for the reasons I and others have described elsewhere. His current employer would most likely want to know.

                9. Falling Diphthong*

                  Glomarization, what do you think a reputation is? The salesman took an action that ruined his reputation; there is no requirement on everyone in the industry to not factually state things about him because that would have consequences he wouldn’t like.

                  And in the US, making true statements about someone’s actions is not defamation. Calling up the employer and claiming that he stole all the pens at the office, when he didn’t, would be defamation.

                10. Glomarization, Esq.*

                  Snark, your stated goal was to ruin his reputation. That’s the definition of defamation.

                11. Snark*

                  No, the definition of defamation requires that the claim be false. If the statement is factual, he wasn’t defamed.

                12. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Snark, you wrote, “Alison, I’d be really interested to get your take on whether taking active steps to spread the news is justifiable.”

                  I wouldn’t do that, but I also wouldn’t blame someone who chose to share what happened in their professional community.

                13. Mike C.*

                  It’s two months wages. That’s it. As far as business expenses go, that’s pretty much nothing. You can already write it off.

                  Take the L and move on.

                14. JM60*

                  @Mike C.

                  “It’s two months wages. That’s it.”

                  That’s a LOT of money to steal. That’s 1/6 of a year’s salary. At $65,000/year, that’s over $10,000 stolen! For comparison, they of over $950 is punishable by a year in jail in my state, and most reasonable people would think that a cashier stealing $100 from the till would be a huge deal.

              3. JM60*

                Informing the new employer of his actions isn’t pressing a thumb on the scale; It’s providing them information and leaving it to them to decide what to do with it. If they fire him for it, then it’s not the OP getting them fired, it’s him getting fired due to his own behavior that makes him unworthy of trust.

                1. Mike C.*

                  At least Snark was being honest when he said that he was likely being petty and believed that this person never deserved to work again.

                  Removing the context and intent of what you propose isn’t changing anything.

                2. JM60*

                  “Removing the context and intent of what you propose isn’t changing anything.”

                  The fact that there are otg feet reasons for doing something out get than revenge (based on justifiable outage for being wronged) does matter. If someone stole thousands of dollars from me, the fact that warning others served the purpose of protecting them is very relevant.

                3. Yep, me again*

                  @JM60 I gotta chime in here. OP said this was an SDR position. By and large it’s entry-lead generation and appointment scheduling. It’s not a high paying job but SDRs in certain parts of the country can break 50k for salary/bonus incentives together. Typically you’re looking at 40-45k base. Nothing to sneeze at and it still costs the company no matter how you cut it but it’s not associate level type pay.

                4. JM60*

                  @Yep, me again

                  Two months of wage theft with an annual salary of only $40,000/year (excluding benefits) is still $6,667 of theft. For comparison, in my state, a theft of $950 or more can get you a year in jail. If each cash register has $500 in it, a store clerk would need to steal from at least 14 registers to steal that much money from their employer.

              4. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                You seem to think that the point of telling the other company is to “get him fired” so as to further “punish” ex-employee for his dishonest actions.

                It is not.

                The point of telling the other company is to WARN them. I suspect most businesses would be very grateful to be tipped off that they’ve hired someone who can wreak havoc within their company, and BEFORE they have to go through a bunch of long drawn out BS with him like LW did.

                And I’m really not sure why “person tries to hold two full time, M-F, 9-5 jobs at the same time” sounds anything other than hinky & dishonest to you?
                And you don’t find it suspicious that his wife “just happened” to get ill in a way that would require ex-employee to work from home, only three days before the start date of his new other job?

                1. Yep, me again*

                  @JM60 Didn’t see this until now. There is no such thing as wage theft. They hired him at a monthly amount minus taxes. Whether he did work or not is irrelevant. He was a hired employee who was salaried so it doesn’t matter how many hours you work, the employer was legally required to pay him.
                  Likewise if he resigned and the company chose to pay him an additional two weeks as severance. You wouldn’t call that charity or a bonus. The only time there would be actual recourse is if there’s an overpayment after he’s gone and it’s established he’s no longer on the payroll there. Then yes, you can go after him. In this case, he was a lousy employee who did a lousy thing and burned a bridge in the process.

          4. brightstar*

            I think what he did is a serious violation of ethics and as a manager, I’d want to know that one of my employees was so amoral as to do such a thing. Someone willing to go to these lengths is likely to be dishonest in other ways that may impact that company.

            1. Mike C.*

              Do you also need to know the details of their previous relationships with friends and family to properly judge their moral worth as well?

              1. DaBlonde*

                No, but we need to know the details of their previous work habits and abilities.
                If a prospective new employer called OP for a reference, OP would need to give an honest accounting of the problems they had with this employee.
                Contacting the current employer and letting them know that he was working for OP concurrently is information that the current employer should have, especially if the employee was having attendance or productivity issues at job 2 as well.

              2. Lara*

                Everyone deserves a fresh start. Having been a thief shouldn’t preclude you from employment forevermore. Employers should still *know* the candidate used to be a thief though, so they can make an informed decision about the risks of hiring them.

                1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                  Second chances, fresh starts, nothing wrong with any of that.

                  AFTER the person has taken responsibility for their actions, accepted the consequences, and worked to mitigate the harm they’ve done- confessed, shown remorse, made amends/restitution, served time/paid fine/etc if it is a legal/court/criminal case, treated any mental or physical health issues (if applicable), got clean/sober (if applicable), so on and so forth…which it doesn’t seem like this guy has done any of.

              3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                Would you be fine hiring & managing someone that you later found out had stolen thousands of dollars from m their other/previous employer?

                Or one that you found out had lied to you, and was working another job, scheduled for the same hours they were supposed to be working for you?
                And found out that they told the other company all sorts of lies so they could work around your business hours, without telling either employer they have another job?

                Or that they’d been working for a competitor at the same time they were working for you?

        2. Jules the Third*

          Does it make any difference if his wife really is sick, in the US – with new jobs, probably uninsured?

          1. Snark*

            Honestly, I’m not factoring in the sick wife at all, because I don’t think she’s sick in the first place.

            1. AKchic*

              I question whether she (and the kids) exist in the first place.

              I may be biased, but it sounds like something my first ex-husband would do. Get hired somewhere, work a few weeks and then “oh, I got injured” and need to start working part time (or not at all). Cue fake medical appointments, really fake doctor notes, etc., then when the company starts questioning it, cue the fake emails from doctors and attorney; all written badly in his writing/speaking style threatening the small company (because it’s always a small company, always trying to do the “poor, downtrodden man with a sob story” a favor; usually by paying him under the table).
              He can’t fake anymore kids, or kids deaths (yeah, he faked a teen daughter for a while, and he faked “her” death, plus faked the death of at least one of his real children – real winner I divorced).

              Alaska – where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.

              1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                I have a relative that I can see doing this kind of thing too. Would not even blink if I heard it about them.

                I almost envy the people who think these kinds of situations are exaggerated…“almost” because the only way you really learn this kind of stuff is the hard way. And BOY, do you learn a LOT about the dark side of human nature (and the WTF stuff people are capable of) when you have toxic people in your life!

          2. Antilles*

            Frankly, even if we assume that she does really exist, it still doesn’t make a difference as far as I’m concerned.
            I hate the US employer-provides-insurance system as much as anybody, but the fact the system sucks and he needs the job for his wife’s healthcare *does not* give him an automatic pass on being a liar, bad employee, and pretty awful person.

          3. Michaela Westen*

            I think it does because someone who wouldn’t normally do this might if it was the only way to get health coverage for his sick wife. It’s still wrong, but he could be shown some compassion.

            1. Clare*

              Not really. He ruined his reputation with this one person and company. Any further actions taken by the OP for petty revenge are on the OP.

              1. JM60*

                The whole point of reputation is that how you treat one person can serve as a warning to others that you might do the same to him. This isn’t merely punishment out of just outrage for stealing; It’s also providing valuable needed information to his employer that’s directly relevant to them.

              2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                No, because the company he is now with, he was also defrauding when he was working for LW at the same time. They deserve to know.

      1. Dame Edna*

        I agree that doing it for revenge goes a little too far, but if the other company was in my industry and its managers in my professional network, I think I would feel obliged to say something. If the roles were reversed, I would want the other company to let me know about it.

        1. Samata*

          At the end of the day, this is where I come down. Especially if it were within industry – not saying something count potentially ruin my credibility/reputation if people found out I knew and didn’t say anything.

          1. tangerineRose*

            That would be my concern too. This wasn’t something minor – this employee took serious advantage of the company, and I wish they could get their wages back. This was a serious ethical breach. If I had hired someone who was doing this, I’d want to know – what else is this person likely to do that could hurt my business?

        2. Risha*

          Exactly. Mike C. and Glomerization are hung up on the idea of warning the other company being “revenge”, when really this is the same situation as all those asses we get letters about here, who do outrageously unethical things and then blithely move on to new jobs in the same industry.

          “How was it nobody warned the new employer!” we all exclaim. “It was common knowledge at her previous job that Sansa stole printer toner and cash from the register to smear on her body while she danced naked on what’s supposed to be sterile hospital equipment! That’s so outrageous that someone should have said something!” And yet here we are, with people saying that just because this guy defrauded THIS company of a ton of money, that doesn’t mean he’ll do it at this other place. Why would we say anything and ruin his life! We don’t know his circumstances!

          1. Mikasa*

            I think they were responding to people saying that the guy should “never” have a job again. Not about just telling one other company.

        3. designbot*

          Exactly, if they were strangers to me I don’t think I’d do this. But if people there were in my network, I’d probably mention it.

        4. Sarah*

          I agree. Suppose the other company finds out you knew — in fact, you called their HR department to confirm! — but then didn’t inform them of the situation. This could really hurt YOUR reputation and the reputation of your company.

          You’re not tracking down every employer this guy will ever work for. You’re informing this one employer of specific information that applies directly to his employment with this company, during a time he was working for them. They are then welcome to do their own investigation and make their own determination — if it turns out that the guy was only working for this place part time, or has some other reasonable explanation, they may decide not to fire him. You’re not dictating what they do with the information.

        5. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          I would tell them no matter what kind of industry it was for the simple fact they were the company he was lying to & defrauding while he was lying to & defrauding mine.

      2. Alli525*

        To me this is like discovering that your significant other is actually already married, and telling that person that their spouse was cheating on them. This is “get yourself tested and DTMFA” for the business world.

      3. Health Insurance Nerd*

        I agree. What he did was unquestionably shady, but putting his job in jeopardy is an act of pure revenge enacted under the guise of “doing the right thing”. If this guys moral compass is really that far off, he’ll dig his own grave at the other job sooner or later.

        1. Snark*

          You’re not wrong, but take this as an example: my employer once was in the final discussions around hiring a Fergus, when one of our competitors let us know that he’d had undisclosed conflicts of interest that ended up costing them a contract. We dropped him like a hot potato. That kind of thing can have significant repercussions to other people’s jobs and the overall health of the business. If he can dig his own grave without screwing anybody else, fair enough, but nobody wants to see collateral damage.

            1. Snark*

              No, we declined to hire him. The other job fired him – they were in OP’s position, and warned us.

                1. Falling Diphthong*

                  …unlike “The other company should have kept their mouths shut and not warned any other employers, because stating true facts about an employee’s work would damage his reputation.”

                2. JM60*

                  Do you think the competitor was wrong to inform Snark’s employer? I don’t. Yet that’s the equivalent to what the OP would be doing if s/he let the theif’s current employer know about the theft.

          1. Health Insurance Nerd*

            This is a perfect example of when such an action is warranted; if the LW were in the same situation, I would absolutely agree with making a call to the other company in order to potentially prevent additional risk/exposure.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              And she did call the other company and ask about dates of employment. I can see a chain of events wherein the other company figures things out, looks back at that call, and thinks “Wait…. OP knew? And didn’t give us a heads-up?” In various professional communities this would be likely or unlikely; we don’t know.

              1. Health Insurance Nerd*

                I dunno, that seems like a stretch. If he’s showing up for work at the other company, I can’t see them putting together any chain of events. She called the other company to satisfy her curiosity, not out of some sense of obligation to warn them (IMO)

                1. tangerineRose*

                  People tend to repeat patterns. Maybe he has a new second job. It worked for him before.

              2. ket*

                Why not just call the company back to check again on those dates, and then say, Huh! We were employing him full-time at the same time, and he had trouble getting his work done. No wonder. Hope he’s doing better for you.

                No discussion of character is needed, and the other company can do what they like with the info, including say that his work there is stellar and they’ll keep him.

                1. Mike C.*

                  Once again, you’re just trying to get this guy fired on the flimsiest of information just to fulfil a personal sense of revenge.

                  That’s gross behavior.

                2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                  Mike, it’s not revenge when someone has to face the consequences of their own actions.

        2. Temperance*

          It’s what is required to protect the business interests here. Some other commenters raised good points about potential billing fraud. I was focused on the obvious conflict of interest if both positions were sales-related.

        3. Fortitude Jones*

          Agreed, Health Insurance Nerd. It would be one thing if the other job called the OP and asked for a reference – then, I’d tell all day long. But they didn’t. So officially fire the guy, tell HR he’s not eligible for rehire, and get on with life. Should he need a future reference from OP’s company (and he just might, and very soon, if he continues to play dumb games like this), then we’re back to it being a-okay to tell everything.

        4. JM60*

          It’s not pure revenge (although such revenge would be morally justifiable given that he stole thousands of dollars); it’s also serving the purpose of benefiting his current employer. I like the analogy above about this being the professional equivalent of finding out your spouse is married to someone else. Telling the other person isn’t merely justifiable revenge, but it’s also telling the other person that they’re probably being lied to as well and that they need to get checked.

          Another analogy would be if a former SO was very abusive. Telling a person who just started dating them about this abuse is doing then a huge favor.

          1. Mike C.*

            No, it’s nothing like finding out someone is married to someone else. You don’t get married to an employer. You don’t pledge life long monogamy with an employer. You don’t have kids with an employer.

            The whole comparison makes no sense.

        5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Absolutely agreed. We don’t know if what he did was fraudulent, a conflict of interest, shady, etc. We just have a lot of data that makes us think he was dishonest. If he’s truly awful, his other employer will figure it out. I don’t think this is a situation where you know a Fergus and have a moral obligation to disclose.

          If OP does reach out to the other company, they shouldn’t speculate. Keep it factual—he took a position, underperformed even after accommodation, and was not forthcoming about his other obligations. No need to speculate on his intentions, motives, or whether he was committing fraud or has a family with medical issues. There’s a slim chance that everything he said was true, in which case, does OP want to be that person who hounded someone in an untenable situation who was trying to work multiple jobs to support their family? (Personally, I wouldn’t.)

      4. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

        I agree. We don’t know the full situation. He could have had good intentions and the situation spiraled out of control. Or he was lying and out to scam the company from the start. Either way, taking someone’s livelihood away is a huge deal. He also has a family, so even if he were out to scam the company (which we don’t know) why should they suffer for his mistake? I’m grossed out by the calls for revenge. He didn’t assault or harass anyone.

        I’m not excusing what he’s done at all. He was dishonest and caused real problems for OP and her company. I wouldn’t blame OP for never trusting him again, or even speaking to him again. But interfering with his livelihood shouldn’t be the go-to option. What about talking to him and finding out what’s going on? I can understand if OP can’t for legal reasons, but isn’t that a better start than “get him fired from his other job?”

        1. ket*

          If his work at the other place is good and the OP is factual, why should it impact his livelihood? The other employer can keep him.

          1. Sarah*

            Yes, OP does not need to call up and say “this person is a liar and a thief, you MUST fire him!” Instead, they can give a quiet heads up stating the facts of what happened, and say something along the lines of — “I don’t know how his performance is at your company, but I wanted to make sure you had full information in case this is helpful.”

        2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          Intentions aren’t magic and he doesn’t get a pass. No matter what his intentions were, he ended up lying to and defrauding *at least one* business he worked for. And it boggles my mind that people are arguing that he shouldn’t face the consequences of his actions. Actions he freely chose, by the way, no matter what his life circumstances were. I mean, say his wife really was sick & he really needed the money & absolutely needed a second job. His ONLY CHOICE was one that expected him to work the same hours/days as the job with LW? He couldn’t have looked for a nights & weekends job?

          I think the whole things a crock, myself. What do you think the odds are that his wife SUDDENLY came down with a terrible disease only DAYS before he was scheduled to start at the other job? Do you think it’s likely that between the 19th, when he told LW he needed to work from home because sick wife, and the 22nd, when he started the other job, that they not only amassed so many medical bills that a second income was necessary, but he also found that second job?


          It seems MUCH more likely that, like most people, he put in applications & went to interviews at multiple companies, and then took the first job offer that seemed suitable.
          Only THIS GUY, when he got an offer from a second firm, didn’t do like *most* people would do, which is pick one job or the other. For whatever reason, he thought it would be a good idea to work two jobs at the same time, and told a big fat fib about “sick wife” so he could “work from home”- when he was actually using those days to WORK AT ANOTHER COMPANY. He made sure to schedule his remote work hours for evenings/nights so he would have his days free for the other job, not to take care of his wife/kids like he told LW. His PTO was another excuse to be free in the daytime to work elsewhere- and get paid for both jobs to boot!

          I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the reason he left LWs place of employment was because the other job was tired of his poor work/shoddy work habits and told him to shape up or ship out.

          To me it’s SO SO SO obvious this guy was just trying to get away with whatever scam he could as long as he could, and was using “sick wife & kids” as a sympathetic diversion/excuse.

          I have a toxic relative who I can totally see doing something just like this (including lying about a sick wife, or even having a wife at all), because they *have* done stuff that’s just as screwy, just as dishonest, just as WTF, just as devious…in actual fact, they’ve done much worse!
          I knew someone that kept collecting unemployment even after they were working. Their excuse was “I had to survive I needed the money”*. EDD did not consider this a valid excuse.
          And even after being caught & penalized? They did it again. (Caught & penalized.) And again. (C&P) And again. (Yep!)

          *FYI: An exaggeration

      5. JM60*

        Their other employer deserves to know. This is a huge integrity issue. His performance at his (perhaps) real job may have been impacted, and he might still have others ‘jobs’ he’s doing.

        This isn’t just punishment (although he does deserve this punishment); it’s also doing the other employer a favor.

      6. Wintermute*

        the only thing I have to add to this exhaustive chain is that the OP should certainly weigh the size of their industry and the nature of competition in it. In my industry we’re all “frenemies” (because I can’t put you out of business, will you please form a partnership with me to provide service to Maine? We’ll both make out well on it!) and there is a lot of mobility between companies inside the industry.

        As a result it would certainly be a calamity for the reputation of a manager who had an employee go THIS bad WITHOUT warning people.

        In other industries competitors and other businesses in the space don’t have that relationship. In yet others they’re small and cozy enough that most people know one another at a certain level in the org chart, and again, not warning your colleagues could seriously impact your reputation, and cost you in very real terms because other people wouldn’t pass along warnings to you about bad employees and you could find yourself having hiring troubles.

    4. Naomi*

      I think OP could tip off his other employer, but I wouldn’t advise going further than that to “ruin his reputation”, unless it comes up naturally in the future (such as being asked for a reference for him). Not because this guy is owed anything, but because it’s not worth it to OP to expend that much effort on him.

    5. Seriously?*

      I would probably contact them to try to find out the extent of fraud that occurred. Was he literally billing company A for hours that we was at company B? That could make a difference if they do want to sue him.

      1. Temperance*

        I didn’t even think of that. Yikes. Especially if their clients are billed based on the sales hours that this guy put in. That’s fraud, or potential fraud. I was hung up on the conflict potential of the whole thing.

    6. Temperance*

      Yep. He cost this company thousands of dollars in salary and benefits – probably for his wife and children, too – so you can take him down. I mean, WTF.

      1. Clare*

        We don’t know what the cost was. It is common for health benefits and PTO time to only kick in after an employee has worked at a company for a certain amount of time (say 2 or 3 months). So this guy might have been taking that time off unpaid, or he might not have had health benefits through that company yet. The OP’s company isn’t entitled to the entire salary back, and the employee did do at least some work for OP’s company, and for the time he was actually working for them he earned that part of his salary.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            PTO is not always compensated, though. We really don’t know the details of what he used, what he didn’t use, whether he was double-billing or fraudulently billing, etc. All we know is that he had two full-time jobs and a difficult to believe (but still possibly true) story about a really awful family medical situation.

            1. JM60*

              PTO stands for “paid time off. By definition, it’s compensated. If it isn’t compensated, then it’s not PTO.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                Some folks use it to mean “personal time off,” but regardless, it’s not necessarily illegal or fraudulent to take PTO (whether it’s paid or unpaid).

                1. JM60*

                  Taking paid time off per se certainly isn’t fraud. However, taking PTO that you haven’t earned that was given to you under false pretenses certainly can be. It’s a form of theft by deception that I consider morally equivalent to an hourly worker knowingly reporting hours they didn’t work.

                2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  We have no evidence that the employee took unearned PTO using false pretenses, though. We have OP’s suspicions and a story that sound s not entirely credible. Absent additional information, that’s not the same thing as fraud or theft.

                3. JM60*

                  @Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  Everything the OP said is evidence that the ’employee’ took paid time off under false pretenses. Is it possible he really had a very sick wife who just so happened to get sick at the same time that his second job (which he kept secret from the OP) started? Sure, you can’t completely rule it out as impossible. But the timing of him requesting to work from home due to this illness the Friday before his second job started is strong evidence that makes the “preponderance of evidence” very much in favor of guilty.

                  Even if lying like this to get free paychecks somehow isn’t illegal through some legal loophole, it’s the moral equivalent of thousands of dollars worth of theft. That justifies informing their employer of the known facts.

          1. Owler*

            I agree that PTO = paid time off. But I have also seen “unpaid PTO”—which drives me crazy. I would agree with Princess CBH that for some companies, PTO is “personal time off”.

            Also, this guy had only been employed since January, so I can’t imagine he had much *paid* PTO, if any.

    7. Aphrodite*

      Yes, I am much more inclined to think he was out to defraud you, sick wife or not. He may also be defrauding the other company, and I would loop them in on your experience. They can take that information or not.

    8. Sas*

      Petty with a capital P. No way. Let it go. He already got his. You can’t own it in every situation. This is petty.

      1. tangerineRose*

        How exactly did he get his? He got paid for 2 jobs while barely doing one of the jobs. He didn’t get fired.

        1. CatCat*

          You’re assuming there is fraud.

          And if your wrong? What consequences do you think should flow to you for ruining the reputation of someone based on a false assumption? Surely sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander here.

          1. Snark*

            I’m not assuming anything; he was collecting PTO while working another job, that’s fraudulent on the face of it.

            1. CatCat*

              Why? You can’t work a second job while using PTO from a first job? Poppycock.

              I can use my PTO for whatever I want. I can take care of sick relatives, I can teach yoga to woodland creatures, I can work a second job as a bartender, I can take my dream vacation to the tropics.

              1. Snark*

                And if he was telling them he was also working a second full-time job, and they were okay with it, and he were meeting his performance goals and requirements, then fair enough! But if he was feeding them sob stories, failing to perform, and failing to disclose, that’s time theft.

              2. Murphy*

                I can’t use my sick time unless I or an immediate family member is sick. Now, my employer takes my word for it and doesn’t actually check up on that, but it would definitely be against the rules to use it outside of its designated purpose. (Probably not illegal though?)

                1. CatCat*

                  @Murphy, OP did not specify it was sick leave, just PTO. (Usually when I see that term, it’s the same leave bank for vacation and sick, there’s no separate sick leave).

                2. CatCat*

                  Even if it were sick leave though, he may have actually been using it for that purpose. (We don’t know if he also was on leave status with job #2.)

                3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  Murphy, that’s your employer’s policy, though. Sick leave and PTO employers are set by the employer, not by any law or overriding policy/rule (unless there’s a CBA). It’s possible the guy was in violation of OP’s employer’s policies, but it’s also likely that no one had a policy in place because they didn’t think they’d run into a situation like this. If it’s the latter, then the employee hasn’t necessarily been dishonest or behaved fraudulently or unlawfully.

                4. Murphy*

                  @CatCat I know it wasn’t specified what kind of leave. I was just saying that “I can use my PTO for whatever I want” is not the case for everyone.

              3. CatCat*

                Snark, again, you continue to build up on your foundation of assumptions. How do you know the stories of his ill wife are not true? What’s your basis for saying he had to disclose that he has a second job he might work at while using PTO? How do you know he was even working that second job while on PTO?

                He was indeed failing to perform, but OP could have denied the PTO and said, “we can’t let you take PTO until your performance improves to X.” If poor performance is a basis for denying PTO, that’s what should have happened.

                1. Temperance*

                  He was given the PTO to take care of his wife and kids. It sounds like they gave this assclown a bunch of benefits based on the idea that his wife is sick.

                2. Snark*

                  “How do you know the stories of his ill wife are not true? What’s your basis for saying he had to disclose that he has a second job he might work at while using PTO? How do you know he was even working that second job while on PTO?”

                  Why are you bending over backward to give him the benefit of so much doubt? My assumptions are justified and justifiable.

                3. CatCat*

                  Your assumptions are the basis for suggesting the guy’s professional reputation be destroyed. Mine are for taking a step back and saying, but what if I’m wrong?

                  I’d hope one would be more circumspect before taking such extreme action.

                4. JM60*


                  “l’d hope one would be more circumspect before taking such extreme action.”

                  Do you know what the standard someone has to meet to win a multimillion dollar lawsuit? Is the “preponderance of evidence” (I.e.the likelihood of guilt is >50%). While it’s not impossible that the OP wasn’t lying about a sick wife, we’re well beyond preponderance of evidence. If it’s good enough for a multimillion dollar lawsuit it should be good enough to justify factually reporting to their real (?) employer what you do know (e.g.,they started on date X, they told you about a sick wife, you have them PTO, you didn’t know about their other job, etc). From there, it’s up to the other employer to decide what to do with that information.

                5. JM60*

                  “Is the “preponderance of evidence”

                  I meant “It is the “preponderance of evidence”

                6. CatCat*

                  @JM60 Are you a lawyer?

                  If so, would you really advise a client to take to trial a multimillion dollar lawsuit based on the information available in OP’s post? Is what you have here really “good enough for a multimillion dollar lawsuit”?

                7. JM60*


                  I’m not a lawyer, but I think the evidence that he was intentionally stringing the OP along for free paychecks by deception is well beyond the preponderance of evidence.

                  As far as whether or not to persue legal action, my guess is that laws that are meant to protect employees from waste theft in the opposite direction make legal action by the employer really difficult regardless of the evidence. Regardless, I think the evidence is strong enough to morally justify factually reporting what he knows to the theif’s current employer.

                8. CatCat*


                  I am a lawyer and do not see evidence here that rises even to the level of a preponderance to show what you are asserting. Your assertion was that what we have here is “good enough for a multimillion dollar lawsuit” and so that’s “good enough here.” It isn’t good enough for a multimillion dollar lawsuit. That is utter nonsense.

              4. Fiennes*

                Some companies have policies forbidding other employment on a full-time basis, particularly at companies that could be considered competitors. Don’t know if that’s the case here, but it’s possible.

                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  It’s possible, but again, it’s an assumption. It’s not illegal to have two full-time jobs. There are lots of people who indeed work two full-time jobs. And it’s not inherently illegal or fraudulent to work at two related companies.

                  There’s a lot of things that could weigh in favor of the employee being a bad actor, but there are a number of equally likely explanations that suggest he was acting in good faith and not being misleading. We really don’t know, and in the absence of more evidence, it’s not in OP’s interest to try to chase this down.

              5. Temperance*

                Okay, but he was given permission to use his PTO to take care of his wife and children. Not to work a second job. He was a brand new employee, so I’m going to assume that he played the sick wife/little kids card to get to use that much time off so early.

            2. CatCat*

              And you did not answer my question: if your assumption is wrong and you wreck this guy’s reputation, what consequences should flow to you?

                1. CatCat*

                  But it doesn’t even need to go that far. You’re not using the legal process for the supposed fraud, after all. He gets to call your employer and trash your reputation right back, right? Seems fair.

                2. CatCat*

                  Temperance, so what? What’s wrong with having two jobs?

                  Note that job #1’s schedule, after job #2 started, was working when the kids were in bed.

                3. Temperance*

                  CatCat, that’s not entirely true. He was granted permission to do work after hours because he said that his wife wasn’t able to watch the kids without supervision. Not to work another job.

            3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              That’s really not fraud on the face of it. There have to be a bunch of policies and other unknowns in place for this to be a fraud situation, and OP can run a real risk by suggesting there was fraud if that’s not true. OP can of course share information and stick to the facts, but I don’t know that that does anything for OP or OP’s company.

          2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

            OP doesn’t have to tell the other company HE’S A FRAUD.

            They tell him the FACTS. Other company can decide what they want to do with the information. No one is saying OP needs to insist he gets investigated or fired.

            But that other company has a right to know he was employed somewhere else at the same time he was working for them. ESPECIALLY if they are a competitor, or conflict of interest, or could in any other way damage the business or reputation of the place that doesn’t know what kind of person they’ve hired.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        Employee has ruined his reputation all by himself by pulling this scam.

        Why are people here so dead set against him experiencing the natural consequences of his unethical, dishonest actions?

    9. Yep, me again*

      ” I called the HR department at his new company and they verified a start date of January 22.”

      She already did it. What I’d want to know is if they canned him.

      1. JM60*

        The fact that the OP called their company and verified the start date doesn’t mean the OP conveyed any information to them. The information about him supposedly working for the OP and getting PTO due to a supposedly sick wife are relevant to the OP’s employer.

    10. Amy S*

      This is a terrible idea since the LW doesn’t know all of the facts of the situation or what actually went on.

      1. Ray Gillette*

        Not to mention if I got that call, my thoughts would be:
        – Crazy former employer.
        – Crazy person from former employer with a grudge.

        And that’s about it. There’s no way I would ever take a call like that seriously from someone about their behavior at their former job. You don’t have all the facts and all it will do is make you sound petty.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          And what if the new employer already knows? Then they’re really not going to take a follow-up call from OP seriously.

          Honestly, I get the impulse to want to punish this guy (and if you check my posting history on this site, I’m usually Pro-Petty), but this was a guy who worked for the OP’s company for two whole months before resigning. In the grand scheme of things, this is not the worst thing that could have ever happened. Why waste anymore valuable time and energy on someone who’s no longer in your employ? Hire a new employee and move on.

          1. Wintermute*

            I think that you raise a good point about wasting time and energy.

            Sure you can go scorched earth on this guy to burn him down, but that’s just letting him live rent-free in your head.

        2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          Really? You wouldn’t want to protect your business interests by making sure you didn’t have a dishonest/unethical/sneaky employee who might end up losing your company thousands of dollars?

          Do you think your higher ups would be pleased if this guy DID cause damage to your business, and they later found out another business had warned you earlier, but you ignored it because you assumed the caller was “crazy”?

          As a former manager and business owner myself, I would be EXTREMELY grateful to the person who let me know that shady stuff had been going on with one of my employees- and let me make this clear: even if this guys “sick wife” story were 100% true, the way he handled this was still shady AT BEST- even if I looked into it and discovered it was something legit or excusable in the end. I would MUCH RATHER hear about something that turned it to be a false alarm than be clueless that I’ve hired a thief until they have already robbed me.

          And if I found out someone else knew, and could have told me, but DIDN’T? Not only would I be FURIOUS, I would make sure as many people as possible knew that they were happy to stick up for and protect a THIEF before they stuck up for and protected a fellow businesswoman.

      2. Sunflower*

        I totally agree. All LW knows is that he’s employed by these folks. Esp if he works in sales, he may be working completely on commission or part-time with other job. If his situation is as dire as he claims and the other job is commission, that would makes sense why he stuck on there and not at OP’s job. If he’s commission based, he may have not even earned a single cent while he was working with OP. There are just so many ways this could backfire on OP and it’s not worth it for someone who is already out of their hair.

    11. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      No. That’s a gross thing to do. Why not try and find out what was going on first?

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          Because the other company deserves to be warned that they’ve employed somebody who engages in shady & dishonest practices?

          Even if the “sick wife” story is 100% true, the way this guy handled the situation was shady & dishonest and there is NO getting around that. Even if he had the best of intentions, he messed up BIG TIME. And has not come clean, apologized, or made any amends/restitution for the company he defrauded- which he *still defrauded even that was never his intention to do so*. Legally, “I didn’t mean to do the crime I ended up doing” will not get you very far.
          And the other company is already involved in the situation (if unwittingly), because they are the company he was working for at the same time he was working for OP.
          Even if he is innocent of intentional wrongdoing, or it’s not legally prosecutable, or the work hours didn’t conflict, the company STILL deserves to know that they’ve employed someone who will panic & go down the shady road when they are having personal/financial problems instead of trying to resolve them honestly. There also may be serious conflicts of interest or other business repercussions because of what he did. If they are competitors, he could have jeopardized proprietary information or trade secrets.
          And then there’s OP, who could end up ruining her own reputation by being “the person who could have warned us but didn’t” if this guy ends up screwing over the other place too.

          This guy wasn’t stealing office supplies or taking more than his share of free snacks- what he did is a HUGE violation of ethics and he is a serious risk to other businesses. I don’t understand why ANYONE thinks OP should forget about it or just let it go.

    12. ANon.*

      Snark, I’m really surprised by your reaction to this.

      Here’s what we know:

      Jan 3: employee started job
      Jan 19: employee informed company that wife was severely ill
      Jan: 22: employee started second job (unknown hours, level of commitment, flexibility, etc. – really, we know nothing about this job)
      Mar 1: employee resigned, citing that he couldn’t manage and had to take care of family

      Given this timeline, wouldn’t it make just as much sense to assume the employee started a new job, learned wife was severely ill and told employer, got a second job to make financial ends meet, and then realized (after trying to make it work) that he could not and left job #1? Why is the assumption that he was playing job #1? Why all the vitriol towards this employee when there’s no real evidence that he wasn’t working in good faith?

      Furthermore, I hope OP’s company checked with this employee’s references/past managers before they hired him. And since they hired him, I assume the references were positive. Logically speaking, it’s seems unlikely that a previously good employee would suddenly decide to scam a company for two months of pay.

      1. Sunflower*

        Exactly. IMO, the situation you’ve laid out seems way more logical than him trying to scam someone. OP was extremely accommodating to this person- I would have expected to be forced to take unpaid FMLA the minute the employee said they were having a tough time. I can’t imagine many people trying to pull this off with the assumption they were going to get this accommodating of a boss.

        Or the employee thought if he quit, he would be giving up rights to unemployment, etc so he was hoping to be fired and instead ending up with a super accommodating boss.

      2. Where's the Le-Toose?*

        Thank you for this post! I couldn’t agree more!

        I’m in the middle of my 23rd year as a lawyer, and while it’s all fine and dandy in the abstract for people to say the OP should report the former employee’s “fraud and theft” to the new employer, as ANon. points out, we know absolutely nothing about the former employee’s job for new employer and whether the duties for new employer overlapped with time the former employee was getting PTO from the OP’s company.

        And even if the OP happens to be correct and can get a defense verdict as part of a defamation suit, really good defense counsel on a civil suit here in California starts at about $325 to $450+ per hour. I wouldn’t advise OP to take a course of action that is going to cost OP’s company infinitely more in attorney’s fees than what former employee was paid during former employee’s two months of work. “Sorry CEO, I was upset at former employee so I spent $200,000 on legal fees to prove a point.” I would hate to have that conversation and poor OP might be fired for engaging in that sort of conduct.

        The OP doesn’t have proof of anything that former employee did. Is it suspicious? Yes. Does it raise a red flag? Sure. Does OP have video of former employee working as a landscape contractor during a time former employee was supposed to be on a sales call? Nope.

        My free legal advice would be for the OP to just let it go.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          Nobody is saying for OP to report his “fraud and theft”.

          They are saying that the other company needs to be informed of the facts of what happened when this employee was working at both companies at the same time.

          Because even if the guys story is 100% true, and he really needed money, the job hours didn’t conflict, and he never intended to defraud anyone, the way he HANDLED the situation was dishonest and unethical, and that’s looking at it in the BEST possible light, giving him all the benefit of the doubt. It didn’t just “appear” to be that way- it actually 100% WAS, no matter how good & pure his intentions.

          Other company deserves to know that they’ve employed someone who will not handle his personal problems honestly but will panic and lie about it and try to solve it by engaging in highly questionable practices that could end up losing them a lot of money.

          Why is this so hard for people to understand?

          Would *you* want to have an employee working for you who handled their personal problems that way?

          I sure wouldn’t, because they’ve proven themselves to be untrustworthy.

      3. Someone else*

        The math doesn’t make sense to me.
        The reason he was working nonstandard businesshours at job #1 was to take care of the kids during said normal business hours. He worked this job after the kids went to bed. We also know he had second job three days after starting this one. We don’t know for sure if it’s another full time job but OP seems to believe it was (possibly confirmed during the verification call?). If he were initially working for OP at night, after caring for the kids during the day, but also had this other job too, when did he sleep? Possibly he didn’t. Which led to the using PTO for job #1, while working job #2 (also on a flex schedule? at night after the kids went to bed?) This is what leads to the keeping both jobs for a monthish. After which he realizes he can’t go back to doing both and caring for the kids in the day. So he resigns second job.
        He got second job after already accepting this one; tried to do both for a bit; decided to try to use up the PTO at #1 until healthcare from #2 kicked in (or just until PTO ran out). Work normal days at #2 while on PTO from #1. Resign once covered at #2 and/or PTO from #1 runs out.

        There’s nothing wrong with having two jobs. There is something wrong with saying “I will be taking time off because of family illness” when you actually mean “I will be taking time off because I will be spending business hours at my second job.” Even if he hadn’t set out to scam one or both, what we do know about the situation indicates something sketchy. The assumptions/guesses going on deal with the WHY, but the WHAT that we know is definitely something not cool.

        I’m not agreeing with revenge fantasies or anything. But I am puzzled by some folks seeming to suggest he didn’t do anything wrong at all and it’s all very reasonable if the story about the wife is taken at face value. To me, even if everything about the wife is true, the dude went about this in a dishonest way.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          Nobody is saying for OP to report his “fraud and theft”.

          They are saying that the other company needs to be informed of the facts of what happened when this employee was working at both companies at the same time.

          Because even if the guys story is 100% true, and he really needed money, the job hours didn’t conflict, and he never intended to defraud anyone, the way he HANDLED the situation was dishonest and unethical, and that’s looking at it in the BEST possible light, giving him all the benefit of the doubt. It didn’t just “appear” to be that way- it actually 100% WAS, no matter how good & pure his intentions.

          Other company deserves to know that they’ve employed someone who will not handle his personal problems honestly but will panic and lie about it and try to solve it by engaging in highly questionable practices that could end up losing them a lot of money.

          Why is this so hard for people to understand?

          Would *you* want to have an employee working for you who handled their personal problems that way?

          I sure wouldn’t, because they’ve proven themselves to be untrustworthy.

        2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          OOPS that is reply in the wrong place!

          Someone else, I totally agree with you here:
          “Even if he hadn’t set out to scam one or both, what we do know about the situation indicates something sketchy”

          Even if the guy had the best of intentions, his story is 100% true, and he really needed the money, the way he handled the situation is completely unethical, and as an employer it would make me wonder what other kinds of dishonest behavior he would engage in if he felt driven to it by financial need or personal problems.

          And if I found out another employer knew about this and didn’t alert me? I’d be furious, and wondering what kind of honest business person covers up for a shady employer rather than warn others about them.

      4. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        I find it REALLY hard to believe that he somehow *just happened* to find a new job that started THREE DAYS after he told OP his wife had suddenly become ill.

        Employee tells OP on FRIDAY “My wife suddenly became ill, I need to work from home” and it JUST HAPPENED that he started at the other company on MONDAY? He applied for, interviewed, and went through the entire hiring process on a WEEKEND? And even if that were true, why the hell would ANYONE take a second job that required them to work the same hours/days as their first one? No one can be in two places at the same time!

        No, I think it’s MUCH more likely that he applied for both jobs around the same time, interviewed for both, and took the first job that made an offer (OP’s business). Then the second job made him an offer, but instead of doing what most people would do and choose ONE job to work at, this moron thought he could pull one over on BOTH companies and proceeded to try and do so. He made up the “sick wife” story, and arranged to do work for OP at night, and took PTO, so he could have his days free to work the 2nd job. And surprise surprise, he couldn’t do both at once.
        Who knows WHY he did it- maybe he wanted to see which one he liked better before he picked, maybe he just wanted to scam a 2nd paycheck as long as he could, maybe he really is in debt and needed the money. IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is that he did it, and in the most sneaky, underhanded way possible. He lied to and defrauded TWO companies (do you really think he was doing his best work for the 2nd job either?) for as long as he could and thinks he got away with it.

        If I was this guys new manager I would be EXTREMELY grateful to whoever let me know the kind of dishonest & unethical behavior this guy is capable of.

        And ALL OP has to do is let them know the plain, unvarnished, unelaborated facts. They don’t have to angrily demand he be fired, or even investigated. It’s up to the new company to decide what to do once they have that information.
        If he ends up without a job, well that’s called “facing the consequences of his actions”, not ruing his reputation, being petty, or getting revenge.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      You know what? I wouldn’t bother. Whatever he’s doing at that job would not be my problem. I’m not going to go out of my way to ruin something that he’s likely to wreck all by himself.

      I mean, think about it. How would that make ME look?

    1. Samiratou*

      Or leave a “recommendation” on his profile about how he didn’t quite manage to juggle two jobs, but did an excellent job of convincing “the other employer” that his flakiness was due to family health issues.

        1. Temperance*

          Why? It’s kind of fun to enact revenge on bad people. I’m not even sure it qualifies as revenge; it’s good business to let the other org know about his malfeasance.

          1. Luna*

            That’s pretty sick. It absolutely qualifies as revenge. Doing a bad thing does not automatically make someone a bad person.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            I don’t get where accurately stating what someone did–a month ago, not in their childhood–is some sort of elaborate revenge fantasy, on a par with kidnapping their family and dangling them over sharks.

            This is what a reputation is. It’s why many of us hesitate to do things with short-term benefits, because the long-term risk isn’t worth it.

            1. Temperance*

              Right? These are actions he took. I feel like requiring OP to not mention it to anyone ever is weird. It makes her a part of the fraud, imo.

              1. ANon.*

                The issue is that we don’t know the full situation based on this letter.

                If OP’s letter said, “I have 100% confirmation that the employee was intentionally using ‘sick family’ as an excuse to get two months of paychecks from my company while doing little to no work,” then yes, go ahead, ruin this guy’s reputation. He’s horrible and deserves it.

                But that’s not the case here. That’s not what the letter says.

                And how awful would you feel if you ruined this guy’s professional reputation because you assumed the absolute worst in him when that’s not what was going on?

                1. Decima Dewey*

                  If OP’s company had hired someone else for the position, and that person got fired for doing little to no work, the company could be out the same two months worth of paychecks. Sigh, chalk it up to experience, and let everyone get on with their lives.

                2. JM60*

                  You don’t need 100% proof to factually tell the employer what you know (e.g., he started on date X, told us Y and Z, we gave him paid time off, we didn’t know he was working for you, etc). While it’s theoretically possible that he wasn’t lying, and he was trying to legitimately work both jobs in good faith, the evidence that he deceived the OP out of free paychecks is stong enough that the OP would be morally justified in passing that evidence to their employer.

                3. Wintermute*

                  if you hear hoofbeats, it’s logical to assume it’s a horse. It might be a zebra, though, that’s true.

                  But so many people in this thread think that you absolutely should not take any action until you have photographic proof that it’s not a rogue group of coconut-shell-carrying cows attempting to pretend to be a herd of horses.

                  You can just say what you know, and let other people draw their own conclusions.

              2. Natalie*

                I feel like requiring OP to not mention it to anyone ever is weird

                Oh come on, there’s a difference between “never mention it to anyone ever” and “don’t deliberately call up his current employer and tell them all of your suppositions”.

              3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                We don’t even know if there’s fraud to begin with.

                No one’s saying “require OP to not mention it.” Folks are saying, “Hey, we don’t know all the facts, and since we don’t know several material facts, maybe don’t destroy someone’s reputation.” That’s a pretty reasonable position, and it’s certainly less risky than torching someone’s reputation before you know whether it’s appropriate to do so. If he’s truly a horrible, fraudulent liar, he’s going to dig his own grave, anyway.

            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              But what’s being suggested isn’t necessarily what happened. All we know is that he wasn’t able to juggle both jobs. We don’t know if it’s because he had two jobs, if he had actual family caretaking/medical responsibilities, or if he’s just a terrible liar and horrible person. It’s pretty awful to leave a recommendation (or elsewise) based on assumptions that aren’t validated.

              The only thing that OP knows, for sure, is that this guy was working for two employers, theoretically full-time, without disclosing that double-employment to at least one employer. And OP knows he didn’t perform (but doesn’t know why). If OP sticks to facts, the comment is a lot less salacious and a lot less interesting (and probably not as impactful from a reputational standpoint).

        2. Glomarization, Esq.*

          Agreed. The company got burned by a bad employee … for 3 months. Let it go.

          1. JM60*

            3 months of pay is a lot to steal. If their compensation was $60k/year, then stealing 3 months of pay at that rate is more than 15 times what you an get a one year jail sentence for stealing ($950 in my state). You an argue that he worked through some of it, but fraudulently getting these wages like this is a really, really crummy thing to do.

        3. Uncertain*

          I’m with you on this, Mike C. I don’t understand this desire in some people to pursue this person to the ends of the Earth (or why you’re getting so much stick for calling them out on it). Did this person work two jobs simultaneously? Seems like it. Did they do a poor job at one of them? Yup. Did they then leave that job after two months? Yes.

          That’s it.

          There are any number of reasons why he might have tried to work two jobs at once and, honestly, not many of them involve some kind of Machiavellian mastermind out to swindle innocent business owners. Whatever the reason, they’ve gone, and it’s no longer the OPs problem.

          1. ANon.*

            I’m with you on this as well.

            OP even said s/he knew this employee from a previous job. Good, normal employees generally don’t suddenly decide to undertake an elaborate scam to swindle innocent business owners. The much more likely case is that we don’t have all the information, and that the situation is a lot more nuanced.

            1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

              Good, normal people can absolutely do bizarre, harmful, and/or dishonest things that are completely out of character.

              Lots of people are also not quite so good or normal as they appear to others, especially people they are not close to, like coworkers.

              And LOTS of scam artist & sociopaths are excellent at making themselves look like good, normal people…until they have bled you dry. And even *they* do good, wonderful, generous, helpful things for others when they want to.

              People really can’t be divided into “good normal people who never do awful things” and “bad abnormal people who always do awful things”.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I agree with Uncertain and Mike C. “CHASE HIM DOWN AND RUIN HIS REPUTATION FOR LIIIIIIIIFE!” I know we sometimes joke about getting revenge, but you all seem serious about it today.

            What the f*ck have you been drinking? The comment section is not usually like this.

            1. Wintermute*

              I feel like it’s the same on both sides here, people are normally good about going “well sure we can’t know for sure but it’s reasonable to assume the quacking, paddling, waddling, duck-shaped object in your pond is indeed a duck.” But for some reason people are acting like we just can’t know enough about his situation to say this is exactly what it appears to be, and rather stridently insisting as well.

              It seems like a few people with very strong opinions leaped in early and skewed everything towards the extremes.

            2. boo bot*

              I’m reading this all at once and I find it a little odd, too. I’m noticing a couple of sharp divides in perspective: (1) People who see the two-job scenario as akin to someone cheating on a spouse vs. seeing it as normal, albeit difficult to have two full-time jobs, and (2) People who think revenge is acceptable vs. people who think revenge is reprehensible, and different from acknowledging that actions have consequences.

              Lest anyone think I’m trying to stand above the fray, I think it’s normal, albeit difficult, to have two jobs, and that revenge is reprehensible (though sometimes fun to think about). The dude failed at job, then lost job. Action, consequence – done.

              1. Kalamet*

                Same. I’m reading through everything today, and… man, the comment section here is usually _much_ more positive than this. I’m not sure what it is about this situation that’s triggered the torches and pitchforks on either side.

                No one will probably read this comment (since it’s coming so late), but I hope everyone here was able to take a step back. There’s very little concrete fact in this story (other than the timelines given by OP), and everyone involved is a real person out there in the world. It’s so, so easy to turn someone you don’t know into a cartoon villain online. What advice is OP supposed to take from this massive thread?

                1. Anonny*

                  There’s no advice in this thread. If I were the OP I wouldn’t even waste my time. These comments are not meant to help ANYONE but the commenters, who need to prove themselves and have the last word about what they think is right. It’s not in the spirit of the site, or at least, the spirit of the site I started coming to many years ago.

                2. Lara*

                  I think cut your losses, move on, and let the new employer know if the two of you are acquaintances.

                  I agree there have been extremes, but I think the facts are pretty clear. The guy had two full time jobs and sick dependents. At best. IMO that’s unethical, unworkable, and i’m not sure why so many people are defending that as a setup. It’s inevitable that someone will be shortchanged, because he is a human and not a meth fuelled cyborg.

                  Equally, I don’t see that there’s call for pursuing the guy with torches.

            3. Anonny*

              I noticed that too. The comments on this post are awful. I’m actually disgusted with most of the people here right now and need to step away. And the fact that MIKE got reprimanded? I read every single comment and he is not the problem here. I’ve read every single post for the last 6 years and the comments are one of the main reasons I kept coming back. Something has shifted – the nitpicking, imagining scenarios that aren’t actually in the letter, piling on when someone has a dissenting opinion – it’s AWFUL.

              Elizabeth, I agree with you that the comments section didn’t used to be like this, but for the last few months I’ve noticed it more and more. It’s not the place it used to be.

          3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

            No, it doesn’t mean he planned some diabolical scheme.

            It’s much more likely he saw what looked like an opportunity and just took advantage of it.

            He got hired at Job 1 first, and when Job 2 made an offer, he (for whatever reason, there are lots of possibilities), he decided he’d work both, instead of picking just one.

            So three days before he is scheduled to start at Job 2, he comes up with a “sick wife” story (or maybe she is sick, but he’s greatly exaggerating it) and requests remote work, at night, so he can have his days free to work Job 2. When OP brings up his performance issues, he then takes PTO to have his days free. And at the point when he thinks he can’t pull it off anymore (or maybe he was having performance problems with Job 2 as well, and they PIPd him or something), well, that’s when his wife is “too sick” and he can’t work for OP anymore.

            That is FAR more logical than thinking that Employees wife got sick on Friday, and he got flex hours to take care of her, when suddenly a brand new job drops into his lap over he weekend where he applied, interviewed, and went through the entire hiring process in 2 days, on a weekend, outside of normal business hours, and was able to immediately start the following Monday. Oh, and it sure was lucky he arranged to do most of his work for OP at night so his days were miraculously free for him to *take* that job! AND he had enough energy/time to work a day job + a night job + take care of a sick wife + watch two small children! And then {every other fabulous coincidence/unlikely occurrence that would need to have happened to make this story true}!

            If you buy that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. And some seaside property in Kansas.

            And even *IF* his story is 100% true, he is honest as the day is long, was broke & desperate & panicked, and never had the slightest intention of doing wrong to either company- the way he handled the situation was dishonest and unethical AT BEST.

            And that other company deserves to know that they have an employee working for them who will solve his personal/financial problems by panicking and engaging in shady, dishonest, unethical behavior that could end up costing them thousands of dollars.

            I don’t understand why anyone here sees this as controversial.

      1. ThatGirl*

        This is very tempting, but those recommendations get OK’d by the person receiving them, so he’d easily delete it.

      2. Coffee & Cronut*

        Please don’t do this. It’s assumptive, and the potential for it to blow up in the OPs face is really high. The commentary that his wife was not ill is an assumption, and if OP chooses to make a statement of fact regarding this former employee on a social media account of his as a representative of her company, that’s a risky move to make. Even if true, doesn’t result in her company looking all that great to an outside audience. If I stumbled across that on someone’s LinkedIn account, I’d be inclined regard that employer poorly more than I would the candidate.

        This kind of potential situation is part of the reasoning behind employers requesting documentation to support requests to care for one’s own or family member’s serious health issue, especially when it involves PTO or schedule accommodations. If OP did not request this on behalf of her company, then that’s a policy to consider implementing for the future and a learning experience for the OP.

        I agree with Alison’s advice on this, behaving in a petty or vindictive manner against this former employee could easily result in consequences for the employer that would exceed the value of any salary or benefits the employee was able to obtain.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          Why is it “petty & vindictive” to warn the other company that they have an employee who is known to engage in unethical & dishonest behavior- and did so while he was working for them?

          I sure as hell would want to know that if *I* was the manager or business owner that he was working for.

          And the fact is, that even if his story is completely on the up & up and he never had the slightest intention of doing anything untoward…the way he handled the situation was STILL dishonest and unethical. Good intentions don’t magically make things be un-wrong.

          And if the other company decides they’d rather not take the risk (they may have already had issues with him too because of it), that’s not “revenge”, it’s “facing the consequences of his actions”.

          HIS actions, not OPs. HE is the one that engaged in unethical behavior, and now he needs to be responsible for it. His reputation is ruined? He chose to do it to himself, and NO ONE else is to blame.

      3. Bea*

        I chuckled. But in reality a professional who did this would fry their reputation as well. It’s like business owners telling reviewers they’re lying etc. You see them as an outsider and say “idk if they’re right or not but wow what a nut job taking it so low.” as a potential future employee of that manager, hell nah.

        I take the OP seriously and think this guy is horrid but don’t take your ship down on this kind of crusade over a few thousand corporate bucks you’ll never see again.

      4. Lara*

        I’m not calling this a revenge fantasy (because it’s not) but I think *this* would make the company look bad. A discreet heads up to his new company is very different from causing dramaz on social media.

  3. Wannabe Disney Princess*

    Oof. I’m not extraordinarily superstitious, but (potentially) lying about family health concerns in order to cover up a scam is just icky. I actually think you dodged a bullet here. If he was willing to go to those lengths to cover up a second job – or was too cowardly to admit he had accepted another job offer – that’s not someone you want working for you. Just truly, truly, TRULY questionable judgment all around.

    1. LouiseM*

      Agreed! That’s why I personally wouldn’t go after this guy’s other job. The spiritual and moral consequences he will face are much greater than anything that would accomplish!

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        What is wrong with him facing actual material consequences for his actions?

        His freely chosen actions, that he needs to take responsibility for- which includes accepting any unpleasant consequences he faces as a result. Lose his job? Bad reputation? Sorry, he has no one to blame but himself.

        I seriously doubt that anyone who thought they could get away with this (even if he meant no harm, his actions were still unethical and dishonest) is going to give a flying flick about any possible spiritual or moral consequences.

    2. Amy S*

      There is no proof that he lied about the family health issue. The only thing the LW knows for sure is that he started at another company on January 22 while he was employed with the LW.

        1. ANon.*

          I don’t know…. we really don’t know the full situation here.

          For one, there’s no obligation that employees must disclose all other jobs they have. In fact, lots of FT employees have other jobs that their first employer doesn’t know about. As long as it’s not interfering with their first job and their performance, it just never comes up. And it shouldn’t! It’s not the employer’s right to know what an employee does with his/her time off!

          You could say that if the second job was causing a performance issue (or if it’s a conflict of interest given the nature of the job), then yea, that’s not good. Then it becomes the employer’s business to know/deal with.

          But we’re not sure if that’s even the case here. If we assume the employee really does have a sick wife, then *that* is the root of his performance issue – not this other job. The other job is irrelevant!

          So here’s the alternative take: employee gets this job, learns wife is sick, gets second job to cover medical expenses. Can’t perform duties for job #1 because of personal situation, decides with job #1 to resign.

          Who cares about job #2? If you assume he’s honest, then he did nothing wrong. Could he have mentioned the second job? Sure, maybe. But if it was due to tight finances, he was probably too embarrassed to share.

          1. Lara*

            “I don’t know…. we really don’t know the full situation here.”

            The situation is that he was holding two full time jobs at the same time and taking advantage of his first employer’s good nature to maintain the setup. This isn’t like freelancing on the side or having an eBay shop. There’s no way that any human could work two full time jobs, take care of kids, and look after a sick wife. There was no scenario where the employee was going to be doing a good job for OP. Acting in bad faith doesn’t require pitchforks, but it’s a bit frustrating to see so many people defend this guy.

            1. ANon.*

              “There’s no way that any human could work two full time jobs, take care of kids, and look after a sick wife.”

              Very true. It’s not a situation that’s reasonably maintainable. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t operating in good faith; it means he vastly overextended himself. He tried to do it all. You could say he should have realized there was no way his ideal setup would be feasible, but I can’t blame him for trying, especially amidst a serious family crisis (where he may feel like overextending himself is his only option).

              I guess I just don’t understand the jump to the conclusion that he was operating in bad faith. Of course it’s entirely possible that he really was operating in bad faith – I just don’t think we have enough info to really know.

              1. Lara*

                I guess that’s possible! I suppose i’m just a little frustrated that people are so keen to cut this guy slack. OP was the one who wrote in; she’s lost two months wages *and* is going to have to start the recruitment process again. Whatever this guy was going through, she’s been treated really, really badly.

              2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                Even if he was operating in completely good faith, his actions were dishonest and unethical. And THAT is the real problem here.

                Good intentions don’t make bad or harmful actions be magically un-bad or un-harmful.

                And the other company deserves to know because he was also working for them while he engaged in those dishonest and unethical practices.

                Would you, as a manager/business owner, NOT want to know that you’ve hired someone who, when facing personal/financial problems, will not handle them in an honest and aboveboard manner, but will sneak, lie, and engage in shady behavior that could cost your company thousands of dollars, and also waste the time you could have used to hire & train someone who’s actions are always aboveboard?

                Would you be upset if you found out there was someone who could have warned you about his behavior BEFORE he was a huge liability or financial loss for your company?

                I would even want to know about it if what this guy did was totally innocuous, but gave the APPEARANCE of being unethical or dishonest, because that tells me that employee has some INCREDIBLY bad judgment.

    3. ginger ale for all*

      But you don’t know with 100% certainty that he lied about the family situation. It seems likely that he did but you just don’t know sure. He did lie by omission about the other job.

  4. Justin*

    What a jerkbutt.

    And indeed, the next person with family needs you might be a little more skeptical when it’s hardly their fault.

    I had a colleague who was always at doctor’s appts and needed me to cover for her (being young and new I was like “uh okay.”) Eventually I found out she was just… late. And then the next person I worked with who actually was ill, I initially was giving the side-eye to.

    People like this, maaaan.

    1. LouiseM*

      Most people do not lie about medical issues. I don’t think it’s a good takeway to assume based on a few unusual cases that people may be lying. Plus, we don’t know that this guy is lying. Personally I would assume his wife really is sick.

      1. Justin*

        I mean, people who lie about one thing aren’t unlikely to lie about another. I wouldn’t assume “people” lie about such things, but this guy who was lying about his job situation…? Yeah.

      2. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I am not sure what the stats are on people lying about medical issues, but my cousin’s wife lied *to him* about having cancer and going to treatments. After a few months he called the doc and the doc confirmed that she did not have cancer. They are no longer married, not surprisingly.

          1. Lissa*

            +100! Actually though, I would totally base my reaction on whether the wife was really ill or not, because *to me*, “did an unethical work thing in a desperate medical situation” vs “made up a complete lie about a sick family member” are extremely extremely different. The first I can sympathize with (not saying it’s right, but…) but the second is just flat our horrible.

        1. Is pumpkin a vegetable?*

          I’m actually kind of surprised the doctor talked to him, what with HIPAA laws and all.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            There is often a person to whom you can disclose medical information on the forms. My spouse and adult child I listed when going through batteries of tests.

          2. Natalie*

            Doctor’s are insanely lax about privacy when it comes to someone’s spouse, in my experience.

            1. Squeeble*

              Also, I think “no, in fact your wife ISN’T sick” is probably fine to share with a spouse.

              1. anonc*

                legally, no, not fine unless you’ve consented. They shouldn’t confirm whether or not you are even a patient. But in practice things get sloppier.

          3. Bea*

            Lots if docs have disclosure paperwork. My partner can get access to my records if he wants, I signed all the forms.

        2. Sarah*

          This happened to a friend of mine, with her fiance (luckily she figured things out before the wedding). It was an insane situation.

      3. Owler*

        Yeeeaaaahhh, most people don’t lie. But the few who do make it crappy for the rest of us. I knew a person in high school who lied about having cancer (her brother was studying for med school, so she apparently read his textbooks). She did it for sympathy and attention. More publicly, there’s Belle Gibson: https://gizmodo.com/health-app-developer-who-faked-her-own-cancer-fined-32-1818874174
        Or the Eli hoax: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/who-would-fake-a-tragedy-on-facebook-just-to-get-sympathy-and-attention/2016/06/20/fac0150e-018d-11e6-9203-7b8670959b88_story.html

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I’ve got a special rage for people who run scams based on people’s good instincts, rather than bad. If the finance minister of blurgistan embezzled a bunch of money and wants you to help him smuggle it out of the country by giving him access to your bank account, you actually morally shouldn’t be helping him rob the people of blurgistan.

      Also, there’s this whole thing about forming a society, and how once a group gets big enough that you don’t know everyone then there need to be mechanisms for knowing whom to trust. Accurately reporting his actions to the other company is a way that the larger community (in this case a professional one) manages to weed out scammers and reward people who do a good job.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        One of those mechanisms is “Only trust people in your clan” and this whole idea of a merit-based society is that it doesn’t matter that you are just like the CEO and he’s comfortable only with people from his clan, but that hiring is for reasons beyond “Is related to a current employee.” Professional reputation is one aspect of having a merit-based system rather than nepotism.

      2. Lissa*

        oooh Falling Diphthong I think you’ve hit on something that has often made me curious why I react in some ways. I am normally a pretty forgiving “second chances” type of a person, am in favor of hiring former inmates etc. But something about people who create elaborate scams involving themselves or others being sick/dying just sends off all my rage airplanes into the sky. And I think that is it *exactly*. Running scams based on good instincts.

        So I was saying above that like, if it were a case of “had legit sick wife and did something unethical involving work because of it” yeah tbh I’d drop it. But if he made up the situation with the wife altogether? hoo boy I’m suddenly WAY less forgiving and see nothing at all amiss about informing his new job.

        1. Wintermute*

          I think the reason it gets our goat so badly is that subconsciously we realize that unless strongly dissuaded these bad actors punish people for displaying goodwill, which means they victimize people in a particularly low way, but also they make it less likely for the victim to trust again.

          So they don’t just have one victim, their victims are their original victim and every person that victim turns away in need for fear of being hurt again.

          In other words, it’s a matter of “dammit, this is why we can’t have nice people!”

  5. A Person*

    Sounds to me like he had a change of heart about moving and took a different job instead; maybe he kept stringing your company along until benefits at the other job kicked in?

    1. Armchair Analyst*

      Ooo, having just started a position where benefits didn’t start until 60 days post-hire date, I like this theory…

      Also, although it does seem to be, as a job seeker, that interviews and/or offers come in clusters with hard choices to make, this is really surprising to me! Wow!

      1. A Person*

        Yeah it seems likely he interviewed a bunch of places, accepted first job, that he would need to move for, and then got offered second job that didn’t require him to move,
        so he decided to take it and be all shady.

        If the wife actually is sick (the best lies have some truth in them), he wouldn’t want to have a gap in pay and or/benefits.

        Still it isn’t professional or ethical.

    2. k.k*

      If OPs office had benefits that kicked in right away, but the new place had the common waiting period of around 60-90 days, the timing works perfectly for this theory.

      (We could give a very wide benefit of doubt and say that maybe the wife really was sick, new job had better health coverage, couldn’t have a gap….who knows. That’s the best case scenario I can think of)

      1. Meg Murry*

        Yes, I was thinking that as well. Especially since he resigned on March 1 – at many companies insurance will kick in on the first day of the month.

    3. Sunflower*

      Yea I am thinking something like this. Or maybe I missed this but do we know this new/other job is full-time? It’s not uncommon for sales jobs to be part time or even purely commission based. If his wife is sick, it would make sense if he was stressing to get bills paid and took on a job like that that I think most people would treat as a side project

  6. NW Mossy*

    It might be helpful to reframe this as a situation where you learned a lesson somewhat expensively but also quickly – you only paid him for two months, and you can now move forward with replacing him with an entirely clear conscience. Cutting ties with a bad hire (regardless of the reason that person wasn’t a fit) can often be more of a death-by-a-thousand-cuts situation where you’re getting substandard work for months or even years, and in the long run, that’s much more detrimental to the business.

    And while I’m sure it goes without saying, you definitely should not encourage this guy in any fantasies of rehire he may entertain.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      Oh my gosh, I had the same thought. At least this was only two months. OP dodged a bullet, if you think about it. This two-timer could have done so much more damage if he had stayed; the dude obviously has no hesitation to lie or commit fraud. Could have been worse.

      And while it’s all too fresh to appreciate it now, the OP is going to have a damn good story about this whole fiasco.

    2. Lil Fidget*

      Yeah to be honest, you were more generous than I would be with a brand new employee. I would bend over backwards for somebody that had proven themselves, but with brand new hires I’m on the alert for the first few weeks that they’re hinky. This string of excuses, however legitimate, would have definitely concerned me. I probably would not allow a new hire to turn remote – although that stinks so much for someone for whom these are legitimate problems, which I acknowledge. Better to say, “unfortunately, during training we do need you to be here reliably, is that something you can commit to?”

      1. Health Insurance Nerd*

        You know, that is such a great point! The level of accommodation this manager gave to the brand new employee was one that is typically given to someone with a well established record of reliability attained after a decent length of time with the company. This is a definitely a great learning opportunity for the LW.

        1. Jamoche*

          LW knew him from a previous job, though, where presumably he’d built up a good reputation that he’s now torched.

    3. k.k*

      And while I’m sure it goes without saying, you definitely should not encourage this guy in any fantasies of rehire he may entertain.

      Amen to that. And if he is bold/delusional enough to use you as a reference, go ahead and be 100% honest. This guy dug his own grave with this behavior.

      1. LouiseM*

        That would indeed be bold…but some people just have no self-awareness! The reference requests I’ve seen…

        1. Anonymeece*

          I had an employee ask if I’d be a reference… in the middle of a disciplinary meeting. Where I was telling him that if he kept [insert numerous behavioral issues here] up, he could be facing termination.

          It was the fact that he (a) asked for the reference at, literally, THE WORST TIME POSSIBLE, but also (b) the idea that his mind didn’t think, “I have to shape up or I’ll get fired!”, but “I’m definitely going to get fired because I can’t shape up.”

          You said it: some people have no self-awareness!

          1. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

            Ugghhh… I had to, sort of, ask a boss for a reference right after a whole performance issue thing (long story – I wasn’t fired, but I knew I would be if I didn’t get out first).

            Went to dept boss (basically my grandboss) and started to ask if it would be ok to put her down as a reference (and then I was going to finish with “if and only if a reference from a current manager is required”). She cut in and was like “ah, no I don’t think that would be a good idea”. I felt ridiculous, but was able to clarify – told her, oh no, I’ll definitely be putting others down. I just thought that I might encounter a situation where a current manager is required or that she might be contacted “off-list”. Basically I just wanted to let her know that if she was contacted – it was NOT because I had listed her willingly, and could she please work with me on that (like don’t lie, but maybe just try not to lean towards the positives).

            She said she understood and not to worry if that did come up. I don’t think she was ever actually contacted – just made me feel a bit better – that she knew that if she was contacted it wasn’t because I didn’t have the self-awareness to not use her.

        2. Harper the Other One*

          Part of my job used to be calling references on behalf of a hiring manager. I’ll never forget reaching someone who was first confused, then furious, because the person applying had listed him as an employment manager when the truth was that her mother worked in his restaurant and sometimes when she was waiting for Mom’s shift to be done he’d offer her a few bucks to wipe a table or two when they were slammed. And apparently, she wasn’t good at it and drove off several customers with her “ew, this is so gross!” Routine!

      2. Midge*

        The OP’s HR department should also be made aware of what the OP did so that they know not to rehire this guy. Down the road he may apply to a job in a different department, or the OP could have moved on to a different company, so there should be a written record stating he’s not eligible for rehire.

    4. Anon to me*

      This would be my take-away as well. And perhaps not be so accommodating to the next person. Because I think that the OP was extraordinarily flexible with a brand new employee. Unless, he was in a role that is very challenging to fill, i think you would be hard pressed to find many employers who would extend that level of flexibility to a proven performer within the organization let alone someone who was brand new.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        I think be this accommodating if you can, to someone who has proven themselves! But not to someone who hasn’t. Sadly it’s a tit-for-tat world. But I don’t think anybody could say you were treating them unfairly if you were not able to do half this much for a brand new employee.

    5. MLB*

      Agreed. HR needs to mark him as “not eligible for re-hire” and document what happened so if he tries to come back and new people are in charge, they know his history.

      I had a co-worker who was trying to start his own company using access to information at our job to find clients. Once the company found out he was fired. I heard rumors that he was threatening to sue based on racial discrimination, but the company was able to prove what he was doing and he dropped that threat really fast.

  7. Marcel*

    Am I the only one surprised the HR department at his new place would give out his start date like that? I understand companies confirm employment dates but if the just started there it’s unlikely in most cases he would be job hunting.

    I feel for you OP. It’s sucks but the guy didn’t do anything illegal by working too jobs. It would be illegal for your company to try and get back money he was paid for time he worked.

    1. Seriously?*

      It isn’t illegal to try to get it back, especially if it is though a fraud lawsuit. They are not likely to win, but trying is legal.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Employment verification isn’t just for job searching. I do them frequently for people who are trying to rent an apartment or buy a car.

    3. MarylandAnon*

      Sometimes it’s not other HR people calling for that info, but mortgage or banking related things. I’ve worked the front desk and have received calls where people state they’re calling from X bank and need to confirm employment. I mean, I doubt that’s what this person did but I don’t find it that unusual.

    4. Lurker*

      I don’t know that it’s that odd. What if he was applying for a mortgage or something that required employment verification? I guess it depends on what the OP said when she called…was she upfront about why she called, or did she use a guise?

    5. Temperance*

      Meh, illegal and immoral are two different things. What he did was wage theft. I don’t think it’s necessarily actionable, but this greedy ass might not know it.

  8. Snarkus Aurelius*

    Whatever you end up doing, you should let him know what you know, that you called his current place of employment, and that your knowledge of these shenanigans will affect any future references and correspondence that pertains to him. He deserves to know that.

    Plus that could open up the opportunity for an explanation from him. I’d love to hear one in an update!

    1. Jules the Third*

      I’m 100% sure that Bad Employee was not planning to use OP’s company for a reference. Probably not going to list it on a resume.

      I would try the letter from the lawyer, sending a suggested repayment schedule, and a permanent note in his record at OP’s workplace, but otherwise, just let it go. It’s not worth OP’s time and brainspace.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        I thought he did when the OP said he listed “another company” as his employer on LinkedIn.

        (I can’t tell if this guy is stupid or he doesn’t care.)

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        But it regularly comes up here that prospective employers call references through their companies system, not at the number the applicant gave. Or that they reach out to their friends in the field with an “Ever work with Fergus Fogbottom?” Just because you don’t want some people you’ve encountered to color a potential employer’s image of you doesn’t mean the employer will go along with it.

        1. Snarkus Aurelius*

          This right here. Even if he doesn’t put down the OP’s employer, even if he never moves there, and even if he never says a peep about his “work” there, there are no guarantees no one else will ever find out what he did.

          I think the OP should say what she knows to him because this guy deserves to lose some sleep at night over this.

    2. Lehigh*

      I would do that, too, partly because I’m so curious what his reasons are!

      Yes, I suppose the likelihood is that there is no sick wife. But, in states without the Medicaid expansion, a truly ill adult (and their spouse) can be left with precious few options. If he used the company to cover medical bills until his new insurance kicked in…I get that it’s still unethical behavior toward the OP’s company, but you can understand why a person would do it.

  9. Snubble*

    I’m guessing you didn’t have an employment contract in place? Mine requires me to seek agreement from my line manager if I want to work a second job – I think I get a certain number of hours per week before it rises to that level, to allow for things like ad-hoc extra shifts or weekend work, but skipping out on work (included claiming to be working from home!) in order to take employment elsewhere would definitely be a breach of contract.

      1. Snubble*

        Yes, I know that, but since the letter writer didn’t specify a country, I thought it was worth asking.

    1. Silly in Retrospect*

      This is in my company handbook as well, and thus they can fire me over it. I’m in the US and don’t have a contract, but there may be other ways this was against company policy.

      1. Jamoche*

        I’m in one of the tech companies that takes conflicts of interest and trade secrets very seriously; if someone did something like this with a job that was in any way related, they could throw the book at him.

      2. Natalie*

        That doesn’t give a company any more recourse than they already have, though, which is to fire him. You can’t claw back wages because someone violated handbook policies.

        1. Sigh*

          Didn’t say it did, just that there may be a written precedent. Especially if he tries to claim unemployment :)

    2. Oxford Coma*

      Does that apply to any job, at all, as long as the hours are above X? Or only in jobs related to your field? If my office job told me I couldn’t waitress on nights and weekends to pay off my student loans, that would be a major overstep, IMO.

      1. Snubble*

        Any job at all – it’s about capacity, not competition. If I’m working another thirty hours a week somewhere else I’m not going to be bringing my best work to my office job, and my agreement with them includes that I will regard them as my primary employer (until I resign – this is not a lifelong arrangement!)
        The second job would need to know they were a second job anyway, because of income taxes, so it doesn’t strike me as odd for my first job to know about the second? It’s just about keeping my manager in the loop.
        In practice what would happen if I said “I want to take shifts at Sally’s Greasy Spoon in the evenings” we would have a conversation about whether that was going to affect my availability or my capacity, and since I have no history of attendance problems or underperforming it would be signed off without a problem, and if it WAS a problem I would go to HR who would tell my manager to be sensible and sign it off. If I wanted to take a part-time landscaping job which would require me to flex my hours in the office, that would be a much bigger issue. That would likely come back to “no, we need you at the previously agreed times, you’ll have to keep your landscaping work to the weekends.”

  10. Maude Lebowski*

    Bargh! And he took a job that someone else could have had (says the fairly grumpy unemployed lady).

      1. Kelly L.*

        Well, he pretended to be a normal, ethical employee–it’s not an actual preference for clowns!

    1. NaoNao*

      Well…I will point out this is a *sales* job. And it sounds like it was partly salary and partly commission and might have had some specific requirements (travel, client meetings) that might be easy and might not be to meet.

      When I was desperately searching for a job in 2010 I specifically overlooked anything in the sales area, because I knew that was a no-go. In my experience, people willing to or even interested in sales jobs are not often lacking for job opportunities.

      I do however agree with the overall point: why are so many toxic, incompetent people who then harm the company hired over people who are really in need of a job and would do a great job? Why!

  11. MuseumChick*

    Wow, um, that….I have not words. Echoing Alison, I think its unlikely you will be able to recover his salary. It was doing work throughout the week correct? If I’m recalling this correctly (someone please correct me if I am wrong) if this employee was an exempt employee and worked even part of a week, they are entitled to the salary for that week.

    I would put him on your Do Not Hire Ever List and (because I’m felling petty today) I would consider even contacting him and letting him know “Hey I found this out. I wanted to give you a heads up that you will not be considered for any future openings at Company.”

    1. Irene Adler*

      Contacting him just gives him the opportunity to gloat. NO thanks.
      Too bad there isn’t a way to make it very public that he was employed at OP’s company for Jan 2018 to Mar 2018. Such that it is obvious he was employed at two companies during that time period. Let current and future employers ask him how he juggled two jobs at the same time.
      Maybe there’s an employer’s group in the area such that OP (or someone from OP’s company) can attend and then talk about this guy and what he did. They often share the “do not hire” lists with each other.

      1. MuseumChick*

        Someone up thread suggested that they leave a “recommendation” on his LinkIn profile basically laying out what happen. I don’t use LinkIn much so I’m not sure of that is a viable option but if it is that would be a good way to publicly out him for being an ass.

        The OP can also share her experience with others int he field in a “You will never believe this” kind of way. With an added: “If a person named Fergus Fergonson applies to your company I would strongly recommend not considering his application at all.”

        1. attie*

          You have to approve recommendations before they show up on your profile (and thank GOD because my mom tried to leave me one…)

      2. Lissa*

        Honest question – do you really think he’d gloat? In my experience, even the most brazen liars/cheaters NEVER come right out and say “Yup, I totally made up a sick wife and got away with 2 months of pay from you, and you can’t do anything about it now! Haha!” but would be more likely to try to excuse/prevaricate.

  12. Odyssea*

    Since the start date for the other company was later, I would assume that he took your job in (maybe) good faith, got called for an interview with the other company, and rather than declining, went to see if they offered a better deal. And then scammed your company to get some extra money and PTO. I don’t know whether contacting the other company would really work out, but someone with ethics that crappy will probably show his true colors before long.

    1. Amy S*

      He may not have been trying to scam them but rather been trying to figure out a way to make them both work. So many commenters here jumping to conclusions.

    2. nonymous*

      This seems the most likely scenario in my mind. I’d also add that it may be that the pay differential between OP’s company and whatever the other company offered was not enough to justify the personal cost of relocation. Mind you, this could mean anything from OP’s company pays market rate but doesn’t contribute to relocation to that OPs company pays below market rate.

      Honestly, I would be miffed if I took a job in good faith or because of financial pressure, and discovered after the fact that local companies were indeed hiring at a higher wage. The way to deal with that is to either suck it up as a learning moment or understand that you’re burning bridges, but leave as soon as the new position starts. The guy in question did neither.

      As an anecdote I did have one coworker who flamed out after working two jobs. It turned out he was here on a H1B visa from his primary job (FTE days) while working FTE nights with us, and his visa was due to expire. He was planning to return to his home country and this was the final push to make hay before “retirement”.

  13. Marcy Marketer*

    Something really similar happened at my old company. They hired someone from a competitor and he ended up continuing to work for his old company. He collected salaries from both companies and solicited business for the other company while at our company (when his job was to solicit business for our company!).

    His supervisor at our company became suspicious when he didn’t hit any of his goals and figured it out before the 90 day probationary period and fired him. It was pretty insane— but I’ll also say not too uncommon. My husband is a manager at his job and has someone doing something similar, but they can’t fire him because of unions and he used intermittent FMLA to go to his other job.

    1. Temperance*

      Wait, what? I think that it’s a condition of FMLA that you aren’t working at another job.

      1. Marcy Marketer*

        He told HR he needs intermittent FMLA to care for his wife who has a disease where there are bad and good days. However, someone who works at another organization says he works there hourly. They suspect, but can’t prove, and HR isn’t interested in investigating.

          1. Temperance*

            I honestly didn’t think so because it’s a union situation, and sales people don’t usually have unions. Meaning that there are multiple horrible people out there.

      2. Seriously?*

        It is probably less a case of “can’t fire him” and more “decided it wasn’t worth the effort to fire him”.

        1. Lehigh*

          Yeah, without evidence HR at my previous – non-union job – wouldn’t let the manager fire an employee for using intermittent FMLA, either. At least where I worked, FMLA for a family member’s condition used PTO time and then was unpaid, so it didn’t actually cost the company any extra money. And FMLA usage is capped per rolling calendar year–any amount used now for his wife’s fake illness won’t be available should he or anyone he knows develop an actual ailment. That may be part of why they don’t care.

          1. Lehigh*

            Actually, come to think of it, HR also collected info from the sick family member’s doctor, so they may have evidence of a genuine illness that the manager does not have. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t be misusing the allotted time to work elsewhere! But it does make firing him even more unappealing.

    2. Today Anon*

      My husband is a manager at his job and has someone doing something similar, but they can’t fire him because of unions and he used intermittent FMLA to go to his other job.

      Honestly, I approve of the *IDEA* of unions, but unions really shouldn’t protect people when they are doing something so obviously wrong! FMLA is for illness, taking care of family members, etc, NOT so you can try to hold down 2 jobs at once and collect salaries from both.

      1. Marcy Marketer*

        Typically if you document everything you can eventually get a person in a union fired. This particular employee seems to know the rule book by heart though and falls just shy of getting fired. It doesn’t help that HR at this organization has no interest in resolving any issues and there’s stuff legally that the managers can’t do and HR needs to do.

      2. Enough*

        The problem is that the original need for unions is gone. We have wage and labor laws and safety regulations. The only thing unions have is how to keep the dues paying employee on the job and the union contract in place.

        1. Grad Student*

          We may not continue to have wage and labor laws and safety regulations if we don’t continue to have unions, though.

          1. LBK*

            I don’t really understand that – are you saying that unions are what keep things like the FLSA intact? Or rather that if they were stripped, you’d see a resurgence of unions in response?

            1. Kelly L.*

              Unions are part of what keeps companies complying with regulations, by giving employees more power to push back against violations than if they were isolated.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  I said “part of.” The DOL can’t be everywhere at once.

                  Look, I don’t feel like I can convince someone who simply doesn’t believe labor unions serve any purpose, so I’m out.

                2. LBK*

                  Uh, that’s not what I was going for at all, but okay – I just don’t follow the specific train of thought that unions are actively keeping existing labor laws on the books. Unions may help people get existing regulations enforced, but the implication seemed to be that if unions went away, labor laws could be freely repealed. That’s where I’m getting lost.

                3. blackcat*

                  Regulatory bodies do not always do their job. See: the present EPA.

                  And even when they do their job, sometimes they are super lax. OSHA gave my old employer 18 months to solve a carbon monoxide issue. A union could have gotten more prompt response, since failure to provide a safe work environment can be a breach of contract allowing for civil suits/work stoppages.

                4. Sigh*

                  LBK- There are many well paid lobbyists for various industries that would looooooove to have the crappy protections we have to further their own interests. Unions help to represent people who will be hurt by caving to those special interests, not only through enforcement and contract negotiation, but also by doing their own lobbying and political activism for pro-labor policies and politicians. That’s why there are union lobbying days, and unions adopt positions on candidates and policies. It isn’t just “enforce what is here” its “make what is here better.”

                  Also, if you’re ever bored, pick a government regulatory agency and try to find out how they cover your area- how many people, their FTE. My favorites to point out are food safety and housing safety. There’s literally one person for the quarter of a large midwestern state. We’ve gutted these organizations so far that there’s no way they can be effective. There’s illegal dumping by a major corporation happening a few minutes from my home. The press has covered it, the town and county have tried to address it…we’re waiting on the state and the feds. We’ll keep waiting. I mean, hell, look at Flint…who is supposed to be regulating and sampling water and hygiene systems?

                5. LBK*

                  As I mentioned below, I think my point of confusion is just because activism takes such a different form these days; the culture has shifted past necessarily needing specific representatives to go speak on your behalf to someone with power that you don’t have access to. Look at how many of Congress’ recent attempts at legislature have been thwarted by massive call-in and social media campaigns.

                  Unions are obviously a piece of that and can form an arm of advocacy, especially as it pertains to workplace protections. I’m only taking issue with the idea that they’re somehow the sole bulwark against the stripping of labor rights, which I think is a bit of an outdated perception for the modern age.

                6. Not a Morning Person*

                  It doesn’t necessarily follow that all the laws that were enacted in response to union efforts will be repealed. But it is an easy scenario to imaging that if there are not individuals with some power or influence (often in a group such as a union) that those laws will be gradually weakened through lack of attention or lack of push back when those laws and regulations are challenged by companies who find it would be easier and cheaper without all those pesky safety and labor laws. A frog will jump out of boiling water, but if the water starts out comfortable and gets gradually hot, he’ll boil to death.

                7. Gazebo Slayer*

                  @Blackcat: yes, and regulatory bodies often don’t do their job *by design*. Many of our legislators and government executives deliberately starve them of funding and staff them with people hostile to their very purpose because it’s the next “best” thing to not having any regulations at all.

                  US labor laws are a joke, and their enforcement is even more of a joke – because a lot of powerful people ensure it stays that way.

                  Most US workers aren’t in unions, and unions are far from perfect, but their existence is a fundamentally good thing – and the weakening of unions over the last few decades is a huge part of the reason that real wages have stagnated or declined while hours and productivity have risen. (And why so many of us are now in unstable, non-benefited jobs.)

            2. nonymous*

              Unions have also been helpful in recent years for gaining wage and benefits for certain types of contract workers. Grad student TA/RAs, for example. There were some notable decisions in 2004 & 2016 from NLRB regarding grad student unionization.

              1. LBK*

                Maybe I’m just misunderstanding Grad Student’s comment – I read it as saying that unions are the only thing stopping Congress et al from stripping existing worker protections, so they need to continue to exist or the few rights that are codified into law could be freely repealed.

                As a person who’s not in a union, I just don’t follow that because I certainly wouldn’t throw my hands up and let Congress repeal the FLSA. I think we have a different culture around that kind of collective bargaining nowadays, where it’s not formed around a workplace but around, say, a social media platform.

                1. nonymous*

                  > I read it as saying that unions are the only thing stopping Congress et al from stripping existing worker protection

                  In the case of grad students unions have provided resources (legal and financial) to support their position. There has been a huge transfer of teaching duties from tenure track faculty to grad students over the last 50 years and the salary/benefit structure has not kept pace. For example, when I started grad school a decade ago, our institution had no sick leave provisions. For many reasons, it’s a system ripe for abuse. And the unions have really done an amazing job overall promoting civil discussion and disseminating factual information.

                  The big issue from a legal perspective is whether grad students qualify for existing worker protection. I guess it’s technically not stripping protections if the class never had them? But this particular activity is imo a core obligation of the union existence.

                2. blackcat*

                  At my institution, grad students cannot file workers comp claims. I don’t know how it’s legal, but a friend almost ended up out $$$ after getting an on the job chemical burn. Since it was on the job, our crappy student health insurance wouldn’t pay. No workers comp and the university wouldn’t pay. The PI took pity on the grad student and covered it personally.

                  And our administration claims to we have no need for a union.

        2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          But we also have employers who break those wage and labor laws on a regular basis, and the union provides assistance and support for people reporting that crap. As well as assisting in other areas — I have a friend currently going through the FMLA paperwork song-and-dance and her union rep is being incredibly helpful in making sure everything is handled.

          Unions are like everything else involving people — there are good ones and bad ones.

        3. Silly in Retrospect*

          I completely disagree that the original need for unions is gone. There may no longer be a huge fight for things like the concept of a weekend and not being allowed to douse workers in toxic chemicals, but healthy, productive unions are necessary for continued monitoring, compliance with regulations, and keeping laws and regulations updated and current. Plus in the US we’re in an environment of constant pushbacks and diminishment of worker protection laws.

          The original comment here is indicative of an HR problem, not a union problem. The well established, anti-labor myth that unions are all powerful and no one can fire the most egregious employee is just that, a myth.

          1. Marcy Marketer*

            As I said in my original comment, I believe it’s a combination or HR and Union. The union has very specific rules about if and how you can fire someone that makes it really hard to do, especially as this employee in particular always walks right to the line or being fireable per union and then when he gets notified, walks it back.

            If HR was willing to help on this issue, it would for sure be resolved just because they could prove fraud. So I’d say it’s a combo at this point— in this particular situation, both the Union and HR combined are making it impossible to fire this person. If HR wouldn’t help and there was no union, he’d be fired. If HR would help, regardless of the union, he would be fired. Just a sucky situation.

            Regarding the good/bad of unions, I’m pro union but I’ve also never been in one. My husband has complicated feelings about unions even while he was in the union (before he was a manager), because he didn’t like seeing employees getting the same money as him sitting around doing nothing while he had to step up and do more work to make sure customers were getting served. I personally tended to believe, like you, if you document enough you can eventually get someone out. Having always worked in private, I felt bad employees were everywhere regardless of unions and mostly protected by inept management. But not being in one, I don’t feel like my opinion is very credible.

          2. blackcat*

            Right. As someone in a grad student union, our administrators were surprised that we wanted to make it *easier* for TAs to be dismissed. There had been a few incidents of TAs being inappropriate with undergrads and the university continued to give them appointments. Most people went WTF about that, so we wanted clear language in our contract basically saying “you should totes fire those assholes, here’s how.”
            That way, if certain departments continue to have cases of what-about-his-future-itis, no one can blame the union for the lack of firing, and undergrads will have even more leverage.

        4. Anonymeece*

          I agree that unions can hinder firing people when they really should be (see a letter a while ago about the guy who neglected to tell a coworker his wife was in the hospital), but they really are still necessary in some cases. They can protect a lot of innocent people who would otherwise be thrown under the bus by companies trying to cover their own mistakes.

        5. SarahTheEntwife*

          This is probably getting off-topic, but compared to many other countries, the US’s wage and labor laws, especially things like paid sick time and family leave, are pitiful. We still need unions.

        6. Lara*

          If you’re in the USA, I’d have to disagree. You guys average 10 days holiday a year and 12 weeks maternity leave. Those are in the bottom percentile in the developed world.

      3. Pam*

        The union isn’t stopping this company from going after this person- the management is. They suspect, but can’t prove, and HR isn’t interested in investigating.

  14. Captain S*

    What a garbage thing for someone to do. I wouldn’t bother wasting time or energy trying to recoup the salary. You’ve already wasted enough time on this person (through no fault of your own). I understand the temptation but I’m thinking of it a little like a breakup – move on with your life and you can probably safely assume this person’s garbage tendencies will show themselves wherever he ends up.

  15. Nora*

    How much PTO could this guy have after working for 6 weeks? Did he have a negative PTO balance when he left?

    1. Jules the Third*

      Some places have ‘x days in the year’ as soon as you’re hired, and some have unlimited unpaid PTO, or yeah, he could be negative.

      1. a1*

        Exactly. Outside of retail, I’ve never had to accrue my time off. The only thing is sometimes it was prorated if I was starting at the end of the year – e.g. if I started in Nov I wouldn’t get the full 4 week, but I’d immediately get a portion of that, and then Jan 1 I would get it all. Yes, in the US. That said, I know there are a lot of industries and places that do the accrual thing. I’m just verifying that it’s not all.

    2. Yvette*

      That was my first thought, this guy starts Jan 3 (or was it ultimately Jan 19, not totally clear to me) and is able to take PTO from Feb 16 to March 1?!! I want to work there!

      1. Murphy*

        I assume they were kind and gave him an advance. At my job we accrue time every month and you can get an advance for what you would accrue through the end of the calendar year (I think).

      2. Luna*

        In my experience any time taken before PTO kicks in is taken unpaid. You just don’t get paid for the days that you weren’t there.

        1. Gatomon*

          Yes, this is my experience as well. At some places I’ve been able to start accruing it immediately though.

    3. EB*

      My org splits PTO between sick time and vacation time and we have separate banks. The vacation time accrues but we get 12 days of sick time (per year) from your start date so it’d be possible where I work!

    4. LBK*

      At my company you get all your PTO on 1/1, it doesn’t accrue. For your first year it’s prorated based on when you started but if you started in January, you’d pretty much get all of it.

    5. Amy S*

      At my current job we get x number of hours per year. You accrue at a certain rate but you can use hours before you’ve accrued them. And this goes for new hires as well.

    6. Bea*

      We prorate but we have language and contracts that would allow to collect from him if we so wanted. This frigging guy is my bosses “what if he happened to us” nightmare about PTO.

  16. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

    …and I thought the Arya letter from two weeks ago was some intense bridge burning!

    That said, there IS a chance that his wife is also genuinely ill on top of him secretly working another FT job. (There’s also a chance you’re secretly in a soap opera. The correlation between those two things is probably very high, but not quite 100%.) All that said, objectively he was unable to do the job and…did lie to you. I don’t know whether it was fraud per se, and it’s almost certainly not illegal, but it is unethical.

    I was going to second Snark on ruining this guy to his current job, but I have more faith in humanity than I really should. Like, I think the bar for me is if his wife isn’t actually sick – otherwise, it’s “just” a lie of omission, which isn’t quite as bad as actively lying, in my opinion.

    1. Temperance*

      I think you have too much faith in humanity. In your scenario, dude is scamming two jobs, not just the one. Because if his wife is sick, and unable to take care of her kids, this dude is collecting two salaries while not working. That’s just jerkish and greedy on a whole different level.

      1. Jules the Third*

        Or the wife could have been ill but recovered. In the US, no job = high chance of being uninsured despite Obamacare, and they could have been facing the leftover bills.

        We don’t know. OP doesn’t know. Condemning him, or excusing him based on his story and our belief/disbelief is us playing a game to entertain ourselves. It’s ok, but not useful to OP.

        The useful path is to do a minimal attempt at cost recovery , make notes to avoid the problem in the future, and move on.

      2. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        In both scenarios, he’s scamming (or “scamming”) both jobs. Assuming LW is American (which I did), legally you can work two FT jobs if you want to. (And this might hold true for non-US countries as well.) And while he was dropping a lot of balls, it does seem like he did at least some work for LW’s company.

        And we don’t necessarily know how his performance is at the other job. I can imagine, but I’m not positive on it.

        I’ll also note that this is limited to Employer #2. If Percival here wants to use LW’s company as a reference…he’s stupid as hell, but by all means tell the truth (that his performance was not great, and that you found out he was working a second full time job concurrently with his time there). And if you didn’t put him on a Do Not Hire list, LW, do so!

    2. LouiseM*

      Yes, thank you. It seems out of line to speculate on whether or not this guy’s wife was actually sick–especially because when faced with a seriously ill family member many people make illegal or unethical choices.

    3. MLB*

      Regardless of whether the wife is really sick or not, the LW needs to let this one go. I would make sure HR documented what happened, and mark him as “ineligible to re-hire”, but nothing more. It’s not worth her time or energy to try and recoup the pay or ruin his reputation. Not to mention that it could come back to bite her in the ass. Yes it sucks, but trying to get revenge isn’t worth it. It rarely ever is.

  17. Loopy*

    I’ve worked someplace with a moonlighting policy, which might be worth it for the OP to look into. We had to notify the company of ANY other jobs to make sure it wasn’t a conflict of interest.

    1. Loopy*

      Also to add, sure this guy could have lied and not submitted it but at least then it would have solidly gone against a policy. It may be a deterrent in the future at least.

    2. Heat's Kitchen*

      I’m not going to lie, these policies always annoy me. I appreciate companies that treat the vast majority of their employees like adults. And the majority of their employees could freelance or work a part time gig on the weekends without impact to their full time job. As long as I get my work done, I don’t need anyone, especially my boss, knowing I need extra money (that’s only one reason for an extra job, I know).

      If this kind of occurrence has become a problem, or you truly have had issues with conflicts of interest, I could see a policy. But in general, wide sweeping policies like this should be unnecessary,

      1. LBK*

        FWIW, depending on the industry it can be a regulatory issue – my industry is governed by the SEC so conflicts of interest are serious business.

        1. Heat's Kitchen*

          Yes – I totally understand that and it makes sense there. Thanks for the clarification!

    3. Natalie*

      I doubt that would change anything about whether or not the LW can recover their wages – that kind of thing is going to be regulated by legislation and case law, not company policy.

  18. KR*

    WOW. What a sleazy person. I do want to say LW that if his wife had actually been sick (which I suppose she could have been) you did an excellent job trying to accommodate a new employee. Karma will come back to get him, don’t worry.

    1. k.k*

      Yes, it sounds like you and your workplace do a wonderful job of accommodating employees. I hope this incident doesn’t sour you to that, it’s a wonderful and very attractive work benefit. Today’s earlier letter about a chronic illness flaring up at the start of a new job is a perfect example, sometimes life things really have bad timing.

  19. Oxford Coma*

    I wonder why he went through all that cloak-and-dagger nonsense, only to jump the shark on LinkedIn. You’d think a person willing to engage in that sort of deception would realize that permanently hiding it would be the best choice. I guess there’s no statute of limitations on dumb.

    1. Silly in Retrospect*

      Because he was struggling with a sick wife and trying to manage two full time jobs to pay for treatment and other expenses. That’s what the Linkedin thing says to me- less high scale drama and fraud and more overwhelmed and making bad decisions. No real way to know though.

      1. smoke tree*

        I had a similar thought–that it seems more plausible that he was caught up in a series of bad decisions rather than deliberately setting up an elaborate con. His actions seem really ham-fisted if all of his personal issues were made up and he was just trying to pull in two paychecks. When I think of people I’ve worked with who were really sneaky and underhanded, they were good at testing the waters and ingratiating themselves with the higher ups before trying anything.

  20. LBK*

    So, do people think the entire medical issue thing was just a cover story and that the wife is fine (if she even exists)? Or that it was real and that he was somehow trying to juggle two jobs (maybe to cover medical bills?) while coping with her illness?

    I don’t know if it really changes anything in how it should be handled, but it does make me wonder whether this was a pure scam or just a bad plan that went predictably awry. And FWIW, I did two full-time jobs for a few months. It sucked hard and I wouldn’t have stuck with it if I didn’t know one of them had a built-in end date. It seems unlikely someone would put themselves through that just to try to pull down two salaries without some sort of financial burden driving the need for increased income.

    1. Temperance*

      I think it was a lie to cover up the fact that he was working that other job. I don’t think he deserves the benefit of the doubt, at all. He stole thousands of dollars from LW’s company.

      1. LBK*

        But financial hardship is one of the main reasons people commit fraud, they’re not mutually exclusive – it’s rarer that they do it just because they think they can, at least on a small scale like this.

        I’m not saying he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Motivated fraud is still fraud. More just musing on the situation since it’s so crazy.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      I’m agnostic on the subject. I don’t think either possibility is ruled out, but I also don’t think that we’ve got enough evidence to decide one way or the other.

      1. LBK*

        Oh I agree – it’s more just out of fascination with what could possess a person to do something so outlandish and presumably think it would all work out. I mean, I guess it did kind of work out for him, since he made his money off the OP’s company for a few months, then got to leave on his own terms without being fired.

    3. Delphine*

      It’s hard to say either way, but it seems the letter writer knew the employee from another place, so I am guessing if it was a lie or if it was suspicious for this guy to be mentioning family, she might have mentioned it?

    4. BadWolf*

      It could be a mix of both. The wife has some health issue — but he exaggerated it to cover for the second job.

      1. LBK*

        I think that’s probably closest to the truth – but then I wonder if the wife was in on this or if he was just using her as a cover story without her knowledge, which would be a pretty crappy thing to do to your sick wife.

    5. AKchic*

      I have a hard time believing that there was a sick wife at all. I’m questioning the existence of a wife and children in the first place, but I’ll be nice right now and say there probably is a family, but nobody is/was sick and it was a convenient lie to use in order to excuse his absence from the office.

      1. doubtful*

        The timing makes me very suspicious of any actual illness (reality of the wife notwithstanding). What’s the likelihood that his wife’s health deteriorated so seriously three days before he started the second job? And if he needed to stay home to care for her/the kids, how did he actually start that job?

        I also doubt that the March 1 call was supposed to lead to a resignation, he was probably trying to see how long he could string the job out for, but cut bait when OP wasn’t offering additional PTO/accomodations.

    6. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      I have a toxic, criminal, addict relative, and have encountered more than a few shady dishonest people in my life.

      The lengths dishonest people will go to to pull a con/scam, or not do a full days work are ASTONISHING, I kid you not. They’d expend far less effort if they just worked an actual job. My husband works in a warehouse doing heavy manual labor, and has a coworker that STILL expends more effort shirking his responsibilities than he would if he just *worked*.

      So yeah, lots of people will put huge amounts of effort into things when they think they will “get something for nothing” or get “extra” by going around the rules or whatever…even if they are doing FAR more than “nothing” or they don’t actually gain very much.

      It’s not a logical mindset.

      And while there are plenty of clues that this guy was just trying to get away with something from the get go, it doesn’t actually MATTER if he’s a got a sick wife, or is a scammer, or just an average person who thought they could take advantage of a situation.

      What matters is that the actions he took were dishonest and unethical, regardless of *why* he undertook them. And they were actions he freely chose, even if he did them out of panic or financial desperation.

      The other company needs to know they have hired someone who is capable of being dishonest and unethical at work when they feel overwhelmed by a personal situation, and has already done so *while employed with them*.

      AT BEST, (if his story is true) he has absolutely abysmal judgement, and has the potential to be a major problem. I, personally, wouldn’t want the liability of keeping on someone who makes such incredibly poor decisions under pressure.

      (My opinion: his wife is not sick, or is not as sick as he makes her out to be. There are too many amazing coincidences & unlikely occurrences that would need to have happened for it to be even remotely true.)

  21. Temperance*

    LW, I think you should let HR at the other org know what Fergus did to your org. It’s good business. We regularly see letters here about orgs that took on a bad/unethical employee because they weren’t given relevant information about the person.

    Inform their HR about what he had done. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. There are plenty of nice, ethical humans who could use these jobs.

    1. Captain S*

      I tend to agree. I wrote above that OP should waste time or money trying to recoup a salary, but a phone call to HR takes 15 minutes max. You get to possibly prevent a huge fraudster from continuing to defraud another company and it costs you basically nothing.

    2. Vaca*

      Agree. In fact, here is what I think you do:

      1. Call the ex-employee. Explain that you’ve uncovered their scheme and that you are going to go to HR at the new company. That part is happening, full stop.
      2. Now give him the option to repay the money he defrauded you of. All of it, including insurance, +25% for the time wasted. If he does, you stop after talking to HR at the new company.
      3. If he doesn’t, you pick up the phone and call every other related company in town and explain exactly what happened. You make him persona non grata everywhere. You end his career.

      1. Natalie*

        Is this a serious suggestion? Demand extra money from him for “wasting your time” or your going to call everyone in town?

          1. Vaca*

            Not for you, for the firm. You don’t think that there should be a penalty for having to do the legwork to get the money back?

            1. Bea*

              No. That’s not how interest works. Accounting will eat your face before you’re fired for being a vigilante by HR.

            2. Natalie*

              I seriously doubt it matters. It’s questionable whether you have a legal right to recoup any of this person’s salary at all, it’s 100% certain that you’re not going to get some kind of PITA fee. Also it’s blackmail.

      2. logicbutton*

        Call every other related company in town? To tell on someone who hasn’t even necessarily worked there? And expect it to reflect badly on him and not you?

      3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        Your sarcasm is pointless.

        Even if this guys story is genuine, and he’s a good person who got overwhelmed by financial difficulties, and his intentions were completely honest- the actions that *he chose* to take to deal with his personal crisis situation were STILL unethical and dishonest to the extreme.
        Even if the situation was completely innocuous, but just gave the APPEARANCE of dishonest/unethical behavior, it shows that he has such incredibly bad judgment that I think most managers/business owners would really appreciate someone letting them know if for no other reason that this incident happened while he was under their employee. This guy has *already* involved the other company in this mess…they just don’t KNOW it yet.

  22. Millennial Lawyer*

    I doubt you could recoup his salary but I would still contact a lawyer just in case. Especially if he’s trying to get unemployment from leaving your job, or potentially used other benefits fraudulently. I would also say that this is worth mentioning to the HR person you talked to, not in a “get revenge” way, but it’s highly relevant information about the ethical nature of an employee.

  23. Lucky*

    Something like this happened at my first law firm, long before I worked there. A senior partner used to tell the story that a paralegal had to take some time off for cancer treatment. The firm continued paying her salary and health insurance during what was going to be a few weeks’ leave. That turned into a month, then six weeks or longer, when one day senior partner thought he saw the paralegal walking into a nearby office building, looking quite well. He waited a few minutes, then followed her in, noting the floor the elevator stopped on (old building). He went to that floor and stepped into the lobby of a law firm and hid behind a ficus waiting for her to walk through the lobby – when she did, he jumped out and yelled “aha!” (very dramatic story teller). Turns out, she didn’t have cancer, she just got a new job and wanted to collect two paychecks. She ended up with no paychecks.

    1. ggg*

      Love the ficus!

      I know of an incident where someone was happily collecting paychecks from two jobs for multiple years. He would do just enough work to convince his bosses that he was being productive, claim he was at offsite meetings, and go to the movies.

      He probably could have gotten away with it for a while longer, but he was caught during a background investigation conducted by a *third* job he applied for.

  24. Anon for today*

    I’ve had to work two jobs before while my husband was sick and I was caring for him. I didn’t tell either job about the other. Nothing I did was quite like OP’s employee. One job was remote and didn’t require me to be online at any particular time, save for a meeting every other week. When I had to be online for that meeting, I would take my lunch hour at my in-person job and eat while Skyping into the meeting. I was never out of office for my in-person job in order to do my remote job and the only time I did remote job work during my in-person job was during my aforementioned meetings.

    Some people may think what I did was unethical and maybe it was, but my husband was seriously ill and his bills had to get paid somehow. I did what I needed to do to make it work.

    1. Captain S*

      This situation seems entirely different from what happened to OP. For one, it sounds like neither of these jobs are remote, and it also sounds like you worked your butt off at these two jobs.

      This guy did not meet deadlines or do actual work, just called in all the time and made special arrangements under presumably false pretenses so he’d still get paid while not working.

      Balancing two jobs is not the issue here; it’s the lying and failing to do work that he did.

    2. Temperance*

      It sounds like you were meeting the expectations at both jobs, though. It’s very different.

      1. Bob11*

        So you’re okay with someone working 2 full time jobs as long as they meet expectations? What about every other letter where someone writes in about a poorly performing employee who the company wont fire? You’ve been extremely adamant the whole time that he should be fired from his second job because fraud, but if your criteria is only that its fraud because he was a poorly performing employee then how is that consistent? Either working 2 full time jobs and lying about it is an issue or its not. If someone is honest about working 2 jobs, is a crappy employee at both, and the companies are too lazy to fire them – is that fine with you?

        1. Temperance*

          Cool assumptions, and no, your logic is flawed. In this case, one of her jobs allowed regular hours, and the other was flexible. She was managing. If someone can do that, and literally not be working two jobs concurrently, that’s fine.

          This guy was not really working for LW.

        2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          It’s not fraud because he merely worked two jobs. It’s not even fraud because he didn’t disclose (or lied by omission as some might say) that he worked two jobs.

          It’s dishonest, unethical, and fraudulent because he had two jobs that he was supposed to be working at the same time, during the same hours. Since it is impossible to be in two places at once (unless you are some kind of quantum physics particle, which I am reasonably sure that shady ex-employee is not), he lied to (at least) one employer about the reasons he both needed to work remotely, and mainly at night- he wasn’t using that time to take care of wife & kids, he was using it to work a second job.
          And when his performance suffered at job one, and he couldn’t finish all his work? He told more lies to cover up for it (“family problems” not “I’m working another job during your business hours”)
          And THEN milked it even more by taking PTO so he could work the other job!

          THAT is why it’s unethical!

          Even if his wife is actually sick (which I don’t believe for a second) and they really need the money, how he handled the situation was shady and dishonest. Best case scenario, it shows that he has incredibly poor judgment, and will engage in unethical behavior towards his employer when faced with a personal or financial crisis.

    3. Lehigh*

      Good for you. Sometimes you do what you have to do, and a living spouse is more important than 100% forthrightness with your job!

    4. Yvette*

      Totally agree with Temperance and Captain S. Sounds like both employers got their work done. I give you a lot of credit.

    5. Nea*

      It sounds like there’s a very pertinent difference, though, in that you weren’t taking leave from Job A to work Job B. That’s the real problem here. By working 16-hour days – and I salute that stamina – then neither job was being ignored.

      Whereas the OP’s employee was obviously ignoring one, if not both, jobs.

    6. J.*

      Working two (or more) jobs is something a lot of people do, and it sounds like you *worked* both jobs. That’s a completely different situation from calling out all the time and not being able to actually to do one job but taking a salary anyway, while presumably lying about the reason he wasn’t completing his work.

    7. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      Lots of Jedi hugs for you for hanging in there during a difficult situation.

      And what you did was LIGHT YEARS away from what this guy did. Even if you didn’t disclose that you had two jobs, you did your honest work for both and did not use false pretenses to make it more convenient for you (like saying you needed special arrangements to be home with your husband but really needed them so you could work another job with the same hours.)

      What you did was a heroic act of love and necessity, and it was not unethical, any more than is anyone who works more than one job.

      What this guy did was take advantage of two employers and lie about it. Even if the sick wife story is true, he didn’t handle the situation in an honest or aboveboard manner at all.

  25. ragazza*

    This story reminds me of a story I heard or read somewhere about someone who worked at Sears in the 80s or early 90s when they were so overstaffed, the person actually had another full-time job and would just come into the office in the morning, turn on his computer, and leave a jacket on the chair to make it look like they were there, then go to his other job.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Amazing. (My boss left his jacket on his chair for a couple days last week… now I’m suspicious! j/k)

    2. Yvette*

      I once saw an article about tricks to make it look like you were in the office when you were not (like leaving early etc.). Leave an old purse on your desk, a cigarette burning in an ashtray (long time ago), a jacket over the back of your chair, an innocuous document with proofreading marks and a pen on the desk, etc.

      1. ragazza*

        Like Dolly Parton did to make it look like Dabney Coleman was in the office in 9 to 5! LOL.

          1. Jennifer Thneed*

            Well, 2 of the 4 are already working together (Frankie & Grace) and gloriously so!

    3. Maude Lebowski*

      Oh, yes, a classic. He either got that from the future (fast forwarded to early 2000s and read one of those “survival” books, this one on how to do as little as possible at work and get away with it) or he went on to great success writing the “survival” book on how to do as little as possible at work and get away with it.

    4. NaoNao*

      I think that’s the plot of “How to Succeed in Business without really trying” with Michael J. Fox :)

  26. Employment Lawyer*

    If he was using paid leave you may be able to recoup some/all of it; leave generally implies an inability to work. For example, you can’t take paid FMLA “parental bonding” leave and then spend the leave working full time for a competitor, while putting your new baby in daycare. There are other situations where you could also get money back.

    In any case, this requires a lot of specifics. What did the employment agreement say; what state are you in (this is huge); what did emails say; etc. It’s worth talking to a pro, and you should DO NOTHING until you talk to a lawyer. (For example, you might be tempted to write a letter to his existing employer. Don’t do that until a lawyer approves.)

    1. LBK*

      Does it make a difference if it’s a legally defined form of leave like FMLA vs the company’s own PTO that’s not governed by law? In other words, would a guideline in a company handbook for how PTO is supposed to be spent hold up in court as some kind of contract the employee violated by using it for another purpose?

      1. Natalie*

        It can’t be FMLA, that doesn’t kick in until you’ve worked somewhere for 12 months.

        1. LBK*

          Employment Lawyer used FMLA in his example, that’s why I was asking if there was a difference in the legality since in the OP’s case, the employee was just using regular PTO.

  27. CatCat*

    Geez, I would not go scorched earth on this guy as some people suggest. We don’t know the whole story.

    “We worked out a schedule for him to do some of his work after his kids went to bed and when they napped.”

    Maybe he really thought he could juggle both jobs with this schedule. Turns out he couldn’t. Sucks for OP’s company, but I’d just let this go.

    1. STG*

      Yea, I wondered the same. I don’t see anything unethical about working two jobs (unless you are knowingly working for competitors, etc) or being bad at your balancing your job/life.

        1. STG*

          But there’s not any actual proof that’s what he did. There are more than 8 hours in a day.

          1. KHB*

            My employee handbook states that we’re required to disclose “actual or perceived conflicts of interest,” including but not limited to “accepting any outside employment that could potentially interfere with your attendance or satisfactory performance of your duties.” Failing to do so – and particularly asking for a flexible schedule under false pretenses in order to work another job – is considered a serious infraction. If the OP’s company doesn’t have a similar line in their handbook, they should think about adding one.

            By itself, it’s not unethical to work two jobs, and it’s not unethical to be bad at your job. But it is unethical, I’d say, not to make a good faith effort to meet the requirements of your job. Now, “good faith” is hard to prove or disprove – he could say, as CatCat said, “I thought I could juggle both jobs, but it turns out I couldn’t.” I suspect that’s exactly the reason for conflict of interest policies like this: so that employees don’t get to play dumb after the fact.

          2. Lara*

            Except he was supposed to be there during the day, and got leave to stay home to ‘look after his kids’. Unless you think a person can work 2 full time jobs in 8-10 hours, Owler is 100% correct.

          3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

            So how exactly do you think that would work out?

            He watches his kids/takes care of wife all day, THEN works 16 hours at two full time jobs?

            When does he sleep?

            No, he lied to job 1 so he could have his days free. He worked job 2 during the day, job 1 at night, and then slept, because if he is not also lying about even *having* a wife & kids, she’s not sick and he’s not the one caring for them.

    2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      I’m sorry, I just can’t suspend my disbelief enough to swallow the story that his wife suddenly got so catastrophically ill on Friday, Jan 19th, that he needed to make special arrangements to work from home, on an unusual schedule, which *just happened* to leave his days free to take the second full time job he *miraculously* acquired over the weekend and he could conveniently start Monday, Jan 22- and that he ALSO had the strength to take care of his kids/wife all day then work 16 hours at two full time jobs (plus travel time) and never ever sleeps.
      It is FAR more likely that he applied & interviewed for both jobs at around the same time, took the first offer he got (with OP), then got an offer from job 2 and took it as well. But instead of quitting job 1, he then got the bright idea to take advantage of the situation & came up with a plausible sounding sob story that most people wouldn’t even think of questioning (sick wife! small children! Oh the humanity!) to try and make it work. Which it obviously didn’t.

  28. Anon For This Post*

    I’ll bite. I did this for a year. After three or four months at a company, I took advantage of the disorganization to negotiate making my position remote, citing a busy class schedule. I then took a second 8-5, which was on-site, and did the absolute bare minimum of work for the first employer. Still, it was a full year before the first employer laid me off, citing redundancy. I was a bit smarter than this guy, though. I didn’t have a LinkedIn at all that year, nor did I have any information on my social media profiles as to who was my employer. Neither employer ever found out.

    And it’s something I’d never ever do again. Aside from the fact that it’s just plain wrong, it could have damaged my professional reputation irreparably. I imagine those who cheat and have whole second families feel a similar level of high-level stress that I did from keeping up that lie. It also caused me to go into higher amounts of debt because my income was higher than previously, which became its own B-plot melodrama when I ruined my finances in short order.

    1. Health Insurance Nerd*

      Ok, clearly what you did falls under the umbrella of unethical, BUT, it doesn’t sounds like at any point you were weaving elaborate tales of woe with either employer in order to obtain any kind of special schedule accommodations. As for doing the bare minimum, so many people do this anyway, without the excuse of having an actual second full time job!

      1. Anon For This Post*

        Well, that’s the thing about lying. If you’re clever, you invent a catch-all lie that’s difficult to disprove and that doesn’t require further explanation. I had a tough class load. It was that simple. If they’d asked for a transcript at the start, I’d have found a way to casually cancel my request for remote work, explaining that, on second thought, I’d be able to manage the on-site schedule after all. It also helped that I was enrolled in college at the time (albeit in night classes). It also helped that the employer was a 45 minute drive from my home.

        If you’re not so clever, you invent an elaborate tale that necessitates more lying down the road in order to keep things up, and that gradually eats away at a good manager’s suspension of disbelief. Like this guy did. Although, really, we don’t know whether or not his wife was sick. Perhaps she really was, and he figured he could juggle both jobs. We don’t know.

        1. fposte*

          Yeah, I think it’s pretty much the same thing and we’re just hearing the broader viewpoint of the person who did it, which humanizes the action for us (and that’s a good thing). It’s sucky, but I don’t think I’d pursue somebody who did that, even if I fantasized doing it.

    2. Lehigh*

      Wow, that’s really interesting! Thanks for sharing, and perhaps we can take some comfort in how poorly it worked out in the end (sorry!) I really don’t think “revenge” is necessary–it’s got to be awful for your health without anyone else’s intervention.

      1. Anon For This Post*

        By all means, take comfort. I’m now a firm believer in the “cheaters never prosper” mantra. I got exactly what I deserved for being so deceitful.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          Thank you not only for being so brave and honest with us, but for not trying to gloss it over/make excuses, or let anybody else do so either.

          Sometimes the most painful lessons are the ones we learn best.
          (I speak from experience LOL)

      2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        How is it “revenge” to warn another company that an employee of theirs not only engaged in dishonest & unethical behavior with another business, but engaged in this behavior WHILE they were employed with the company being warned?

        If I was a manager/owner/C suite exec at employer 2, that is information that I would *absolutely* want to know…and for that reason I would let them know. Plus, I’m not going to ruin *MY* professional reputation by covering up for a liar and a thief (let me make this clear- even if he is being totally honest about a sick wife, he handled the situation by telling many lies, and collecting paychecks under false pretenses) rather than protecting people & businesses in my industry.

        I have walked away from former friendships and even a family member rather than lie for them, cover up their own lies/dishonesty, or protect them from the consequences of their own freely chosen actions. This includes calling authorities, probation officers, etc when it was necessary to protect others. If I was the one acting horribly, I hope the people around me would have the backbone to do the same. And my ethical standards don’t become lower or weaker at work.

    3. BadWolf*

      Hm. Suddenly I’m wondering if my former useless coworker was working a second job and just seeing how long we’d keep him.


  29. Kelly*

    Wow. I get that what he did was shady, but, he’s not working for OP any longer. Chalk it up to a bad hire. I think even calling his other job’s HR department is going too far, kinda like someone calling to check on their kids. Let it go. Move on. Do more thorough vetting for candidates.

    1. Heat's Kitchen*

      Karma is a b*tch is all I keep thinking to those suggestions. Take the higher road. If you meet someone at Other Employer at a networking function and his name comes up, sure, mention it. Otherwise, chalk it up to a bad hire like you said.

  30. seejay*

    We had a guy who did something similar. He had excuses for being late, working from home, being off sick, etc, then on one of his “sick” days when he said he was taking his wife to the hospital, a manager coming in to the office on public transit saw him on the train. He wound up following him (yes, I’m well aware of how sketchy that is, but there were also issues with the manager in question as well). The employee got off at another business and walked in there and the manager went in after and inquired and found out the guy was an employee there. Dude got fired from our company the next day when he came in. I don’t know if they asked him why he was trying to pull two jobs at once, but it was strange and weird.

    1. Shirley Keeldar*

      I used to work in a Very Big Office Building. One block down was another Very Big Office Building that looked identical. I was not the only person at my job who walked into their lobby once or twice. (In my case I just did a nonchalant turn all the way around in the revolving door, popped back out on the sidewalk, and strolled away as soon as I realized I was trying to go to work somewhere I did not actually have a job.)

      I’m glad nobody from my real job was following me or they might have assumed I was trying to collect two paychecks!

  31. De Minimis*

    My employer was badly taken advantage of in a similar way [it hurt even more because we’re a non-profit so we basically threw away grant money on this person.] We bent over backwards to accommodate their many health emergencies, bereavement, major medical event of their spouse, etc. It seemed odd that someone would have that many things happen to them in such a short time period, but stranger things have happened and my employer really tries to err on the side of providing more to employees rather than less. But it turned out it was most likely all lies, and we found out later she had been working elsewhere and hadn’t even been doing the work she’d been assigned her at all [something her manager should have caught, granted…] Looking back we think she was probably more or less some sort of professional con artist.

    About the only thing we could have done to prevent it was better reference checks. She didn’t have any former supervisors or managers as references [she’d have references from staff of organizations that worked with her former employers], and that should have been a red flag. I think it was a case where we were blinded by what seemed like good credentials in a pool of otherwise weak candidates. We’ve since changed our practices. It’s worked out in that a year later we hired a replacement who has been amazing.

    1. CMDRBNA*

      I went through a similar thing recently, although not with a colleague, with a tenant. She also had a string of various excuses about late payments that were varied, confusing, and piled up.

      Now we allow one late payment and then we evict.

  32. Tricksy Hobbit*

    My sister had a similar situation happen to her. One of her co-workers started a new position at a different company while she was on extended maternity leave. Somehow, the boss found out so he called the other company and asked for Jane Doe. When she answered, he said, “What the!@#$ Jane?” I think they fired her. I don’t know if they told her current manager.

    I don’t think the OP should call the guy’s current boss, just in case some or part of his story is true. It may be he thought he could handle two jobs to pay all the medical bills.

  33. Former Retail Manager*

    I have to agree with Mike C. and a few others upthread….fire him and move on. I’d ordinarily say that the company needs to reassess its own procedures to safeguard against this in the future, but the likelihood of something like this ever happening again seems extremely remote at best. Unfortunately, the OP was human and extremely accommodating to someone who fleeced her. It happens.

    To the OP I’d say, you sound like a genuinely good person and good manager. Don’t let this one bad apple change your outlook on things or your future actions. Sorry this happened to you and your company. I’d take comfort that you did the right thing and had no reason to believe he wasn’t being truthful and move on.

  34. mf*

    Is it possible this guy was holding down two AND caring his kids/sick wife? Medical bills could explain the need for a second job.

    Not saying what he did was right, but you might not feel so terrible about being scammed if this is the story you tell yourself: He worked two jobs to pay for his sick wife’s bills and even though what he did was dishonest and wrong, maybe he wouldn’t have done it if he weren’t desperate.

    1. Lara*

      How? How could the human body even be capable? Most companies won’t let you work from home if you have kids there, based on the (entirely reasonable) assumption that you cannot work and look after kids simultaneously.

    2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      Two full time jobs = 16 hours of work per day (plus travel time if job 2 is onsite)

      That leaves him 7-8 hours in which he must make fit:
      Sleeping (a big time suck there lol)
      Cooking and eating meals (even if just his own)
      Bathing & grooming
      Household tasks & chores
      Everything else people do in their non-work hours.

      That alone would be extremely difficult for most people to do, and it also leaves zero time to look after a sick wife and two small children (at least one of which is not in school.)

      And even if, somehow, his story were true? He still handled the situation with lies and deceit. The very best that could be said of him is he has incredibly poor judgement and will default to dishonesty & unethical behavior under stress.

      And he engaged in this unethical behavior *while* he was working for company 2, so they deserve to know.

  35. Nita*

    So bizarre. OP, how long ago did you two work together in your old job? What was he like then? Do you know if this guy does have a wife and kids? Just curious if there was any truth to the story. I had a coworker like that once – worked hard, then seems to have snapped from the workload and/or a family crisis, quit (without notice) and caused a bunch of problems with the sudden exit. When we were comparing her sob stories, they turned out to be full of holes, but we couldn’t rule out that some of it was true. I suppose if even 10% of what she claimed was for real, her meltdown was kind of understandable. Not acceptable, and my boss would never hire her again, but… understandable.

    Also, I’m noticing all the hemming and hawing and “I don’t know what to do” when you had the conversation about him quitting. It kind of sounds like he’d wanted to quit for some time but was scared of the conversation (not that it was a reasonable fear, but some people are like that).

    I suppose if you were paying this guy for PTO while he was employed, that’s fraud and you can demand the money back. A lawyer would know. I doubt you can demand the salary back from when he was sorta working – the normal response to a bad employee is firing them fast, not demanding they pay back the salary. It may be different if you can prove he was double-billing for the same hours. But, yeah, there is the small possibility that he was having some sort of family crisis and he really does need the job he has left.

    1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      I knew someone like that personally, and for a really long time. After they blew up all their old friendships, some of us got together and realized that this toxic ex friend had lied to us all, so many times, so egregiously, and so inconsistently from person to person that none of us can be sure something was true unless we were there when it happened.

  36. McWhadden*

    Since he did do *some* work and he was dumb enough to put this on his Linkedin I doubt he set out to scam you from the start. He just doesn’t seem savvy enough to conceive of this elaborate scam. But it definitely ended up there.

    All the scorched earth revenge fantasies are the kind of stuff that is fun on the internet but would probably make you feel pretty crappy in real life. Especially if it turns out there is some truth in what he’s saying. For instance, you probably know whether he genuinely has kids. And they are the ones who suffer from his being unemployable.

    Like in an open thread there was a woman who mentioned she was suspended for a day for chastising a woman with cancer for calling it her FIGHT with cancer (since that suggests some people who die are losers.) That’s the sort of thing that you say on an internet message board. It’s not well received in real life.

    Not that rightfully reporting someone is the same as that. But I’m just saying sometimes internet things don’t translate to real life things very well. But I do think it’s fun to talk about!

    1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      Many scammers are not especially savvy, or even all that smart- they’re just good at lying and taking advantage of situations that come up. And lots of them actually work harder at pulling their scams than they would if they were actually working.

      And then you have a lot of very average people who are generally honest, but will still give in to temptation sometimes when they think they can get away with it- people who cheat on their taxes for example.

      I think this guy got a second job offer after he’d already accepted the first, and for whatever reason, decided to try and get away with working both for as long as he could. I doubt he put a lot of deep thought into it, just worked up an excuse that was plausible, unlikely to be questioned, and enabled him to have his days free to work at job 2. And he could collect that extra paycheck without the crummy 3 hour a day commute it used to come with!

      And even IF his story was true? Sick wife, kids, working 16 hour days to take care of them, was broke & desperate & panicked & screwed up?

      The way he handled the situation was deceitful and unethical. He still LIED about the reason he needed his days free- not to watch his kids, but to work a second job that had the same hours as the first.

      Which shows that he has horrible judgement, and is liable to act unethically, dishonestly, and in way that is detrimental to his employer when he is under stress or having a personal crisis. And he did it WHILE he was working for company 2, which is something I AM SURE they would like to know. As a former manager and business owner, *I* sure as hell would want that information about an employee!

      And even if his actions were totally innocuous and only had the APPEARANCE of dishonest or unethical behavior, it’s STILL a sign of his poor sense of judgement and I would really question whether I would want someone who made such bad decisions working for me.

      I mean, we’ve had people here sagely nodding their heads in agreement that (for one unbelievable example) the interns who got fired when they petitioned for a more relaxed dress code all showed terrible judgement and getting fired was a reasonable consequence of that poor judgement (which I TOTALLY disagree with), but this guy who lied, stole, and defrauded at least one business (even if unintentionally) gets a pass? OP should let it go, forget about it, stop being petty? (And firing interns for taking initiative on something important to them *isn’t* petty? LOL)

      And if OP calls employer two, and gives them the straight facts about an employee who could end up being a huge liability or financial disaster for them, letting THEM decide if they want to act on that information or not- it’s not looking out for fellow managers, or warning of a possible rotten apple, but “scorched earth revenge fantasies”?
      It’s not ex-employees fault if he gets fired because of his own freely chosen unethical actions, but the OPs for not hiding them?
      It’s OPs responsibility to cover up for his dishonesty so that he can feed his kids?
      If OP doesn’t protect him from the consequences of his actions, that makes OP a big old vindictive revenge seeking meanie?

      Whatever happened to the concept of people taking responsibility for their actions?

  37. Sue Wilson*

    Well I’ll go against the grain and say: you actually don’t really know anything here except that this employee had another job, and he was doing subpar work for a month (was he okay for those first two weeks?). You have no idea if he was lying, because you don’t know anything about the requirements of the other position. It’s not even clear to me that he was asking you to accommodate him in that Jan 19 conversation (it honestly seems like he was saying, or trying to say, he had to quit, and you said, “no no let’s work this out”, and frankly that seems borne out by the March 1 convo where he said the same thing about it not working out, when he was on PTO so that conversation , but instead of accommodation, you said he should quit, and then he did).

    I think you are perfectly within ethics to never hire him again. But this seems less to me (with the information I have) like a scam, and more like an a person who didn’t want to quit but needed to and so was vague and ambiguous about his intentions in his convos with you until you agreed he should quit. He didn’t do a good thing here, and it’s super passively shitty at best, but I don’t think you have to frame it like he was lying to you. You can think of it like those people in romantic relationships who say “I’m really unhappy” where the rest of that thought is “and so we should break up” but they’ll just leave that phrase lying there until you confirm that it’s a break-up.

    (Mind you I just watched a Miami Vice ep where a DEA agent was running drugs by hiring drug dealers to wear DEA gear and raid other drug dealers to pay for her son’s kidney transplant and diasbled DEA husband, so I may be feeling WAY more sympathetic than usual).

    1. McWhadden*

      I agree. Nothing about the actual facts suggest an initial intent to scam. It seems like he was trying to get out of the job altogether and OP kept accommodating.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        No, it actually sounds like he didn’t want to go on record as “quitting” but being let go/laid off.

    2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      And I’m going to say that even if his story is 100% true, the two job’s hours didn’t conflict, and he had zero intentions of scamming anyone, the way he handled the situation was STILL deceitful and unethical, and shows such incredibly poor judgement that he is a liability for any company he works for. I mean, what kind of bad decisions will he make the next time he has some sort of personal/family/financial crisis? And since this unethical behavior happened while he was working for company two, he has *already* involved them in his mess and they NEED to know. They may decide he’s worth keeping, but still need the information because the double employment caused conflicts of interest or jeopardized proprietary information or could damage a client relationship or any other reason.
      Letting the other company know THE FACTS is doing them a favor and not at all the same as getting revenge or trying to ruin his life or whatever other ridiculous notions people are coming up with.

  38. Vanilla Teapot Company*

    Send flowers to his office and congratulate him on his new job.
    And then see what happens.

  39. Triforceruby*

    “He told me that being an hour and half away from his family wasn’t going to work for him. I’m a family first person, so I worked out a temporary solution for him to work from home.”
    Maybe he was trying to quit at this point in time!????? He knew that he was starting the new job on Monday 1/22 – called her the Friday before with a lame excuse to get out of that job. The LW says S/HE offered that he work from home instead of the long drive.

      1. Amy S*

        Because sometimes people overestimate what they can do? Sometimes people aren’t good at quitting? Maybe he thought he could make both work and in the moment agreed to what was clearly an unrealistic expectation.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          So? Being bad at quitting doesn’t absolve him of the responsibility of actually quitting, and overestimating what he could take on doesn’t absolve him of the responsibility of fixing the situation when it became obvious it wasn’t working.
          And it’s not OPs responsibility to read his mind.

    1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      So it’s OPs fault because they couldn’t read a passive-aggressive employee’s mind?!?!?!

      I’m sorry, but shady ex-employee is the ONLY one here that is to blame for his actions, and his incredibly poor decision making.

  40. Kisses*

    As much as a jerk this guy was, OP, you sound like an amazing boss that someone should be thankful to work for. I know I would truly value an employer who went to so much trouble for me, especially since I have had both family and health issues and it makes it hard to keep a job. I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t let this butthead ruin what you do. There are horrible employees out there. I hope you continue to be a standup employer even after this guy.

  41. Nonprofit Lady*

    This is nuts! One thing that might work to prevent against this in the future is having a time off accrual system so brand new employees can’t immediately use up a year’s worth of PTO and then quit. Though, I would bet that if faced with a similar situation, many bosses would find ways to work around that system to be generous toward an employee going through a particularly hard time.

  42. Basis*

    We actually had this happened to us with a contractor. In her case she said that her son had been hurt in a car accident and ultimately died during her employment. Turns out she didn’t have a son at all. In her case it was definitely intentional.

  43. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I have to admit that all of the “don’t ruin his reputation” comments are making me very uncomfortable because it smacks of the kind of behavior that led to the #MeToo movement.

    1. Sue Wilson*

      I don’t think we should forego conversations about proportional response because society consistently suggests that harassment deserves a minimal one for misogynist reasons. That’s being uncritical about the purpose and nature of the conversation about harassment and the conversation about appropriate responses.

    2. Wannabe Disney Princess*

      This is also how we end up with LWs who find out that one of their contacts knew Fergus/Jane were terrible employees and said nothing.

      Do I think LW needs to go nuclear here? Heavens, no. But do I think a mild head’s up is in order? Sure. Just a: “Hey, I found this suspicious. Do what you will with the knowledge.” That’s it. Done.

    3. AKchic*

      I have to agree here. His actions are what give him his reputation, not the dissemination of facts about his actions / behaviors. If he has done something that if told would ruin his reputation, that is on him, not on the person(s) telling about the action(s) / behavior(s).

    4. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      I think that’s a bit of a stretch. This kind of situation is relatively unusual, whereas harassment and assault are depressingly common. I’m against ruining this guy’s reputation without knowing what’s going on. Was it something that just got out of control? Or was he out to scam the company from the start? Figure out what happened, then take appropriate action.

      1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

        I should add that I can see why the language can make you think of that, so if that’s how you feel, I can understand. I only think it’s a very different situation.

    5. Tardigrade*

      Wow. Hard and adamant disagree. There’s a difference between “we don’t have enough information to suggest lighting this guy’s life on fire is the right move” and “but what about Brock Turner’s reputation.”

    6. Tequila Mockingbird*

      Oh, good Lord. Trying to somehow link this situation with sexual predation? Overdramatic much?

    7. Amy S*

      That seems like a huge leap in logic to equate this with the behavior that led to #metoo. The LW does not know what actually happened. If they had more details that he was scamming them or acting unethically, sure take him down. Ruining his life without having factual information? Seems like a bad idea. I think in general commenters are encouraging a more thoughtful approach to this.

    8. Uncertain*

      One’s a situation where a person worked two jobs for 2 months, doing a poor job of one of them, and then quit.

      The other is society’s appalling inability to deal with the sexual abuse of women.

      Sorry, but I don’t think that’s a great comparison.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        No, they are both situations where one person is behaving unethically and another person is being pressured/criticized not to let anyone else know so as not to ruin the unethical persons behavior.

    9. Serena*

      Are you serious? This seems like quite a blatant attempt at shutting down any disagreement. You are normally a level-headed commenter and I’m disappointed to see you stopping to this.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        This is not actually different.
        The comparison here is NOT “engaging in deceitful & unethical behavior so you can work two jobs at the same time is morally equivalent to sexually harassing & assaulting women”.

        The comparison IS “these are two situations where someone is engaging in unethical behavior and another person is being pressured to do/say nothing about it because it might “ruin the reputation” of the person behaving unethically”.

      2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        And by the way, the unethical behavior is not “he intentionally committed fraud” but “he tried to solve the problem of working two jobs with the same hours by making poor decisions that were shady and deceitful”

    10. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      It reminds me not only of that, but of a toxic, criminal relative of mine, who had many, MANY good, kind, normal, ordinary people saying the same kind of “Don’t ruin his reputation” “Let it go” “Stop being petty/looking for revenge” comments when he did things like break into his ex-mother in laws house so he could steal his ex-wife’s belongings, lie about getting chemo so he could shoot up dope/sleep with with one of his gross, skanky ex GFs (while married), repeatedly try to get custody of the child he abandoned, steal everything of value from his parents to sell for drugs, and much, MUCH more!

      I don’t understand it AT ALL.

  44. Not really a Waitress*

    I have two perspectives on this…

    First I am a single mom whose daughter had a mental breakdown 4 years ago. At the time I had worked for my employer several years and had worked for them previously and had a stellar reputation. my daughter had two inpatient stints in a mental hospital as well as a week long out patient treatment. Beds are tough to get, and the second admission we had to wait three days after a half hearted suicide attempt for a bed to open up. I sat on her for those 3 days till the bed opened up. I could a large part of my job from home and did so. In the middle of all this, the regime changed and someone who didn’t care for me (i saw through his bs) moved into an influential position and I ended up losing my job “due to performance” but there were no details ever given (And the vaguest of PIPS). I did backflips trying to accomodate what they wanted but I was already spoiled goods due to the out of office issues. I would have killed for a boss like the OP instead of the little punk as twerp who was moved to “supervise me”.

    On the flip side, at another position, we had a sales person who was never available. Amongst other things, She even started a teaching position 3 days a week full time and “did her job at night” which I am not sure how possible that was considering her job was to sell our product/services to business who were open during the day,not night Before that she was traveling in the middle of the week for mini vacations and posting on social media. Our boss had no idea. There was a lot of resentment in the office because the rest of us got the riot act if we were 2 minutes late due to traffic (not a customer facing job)

    Wife , kids, illness aside… he was double employed and deceitful – but the intent is unknown. Maybe he didn’t have the balls to quit particularly since you had a prior work relationship and thought he could pull it off. I wouldn’t take any active steps regarding it with the other employer. Just don’t provide a reference if asked in the future.

    1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      Well, it’s not his intent that matters here, but his actions and what resulted. And the second company is already involved, as they are who he was double employed with, and it’s highly likely he was deceitful with them too. They deserve to know they’ve hired someone who has really shaky ethics who could be a liability.

      And your first situation, I’ve been in similar myself. I worked retail, and after one inventory we showed a huge loss in one category, which was something only employees would have had access to- but the problem was that we had never even had enough of that category in stock AT ALL to show that kind of loss. That’s right, it turned out to be a corporate level error in shipping & receiving, but since our brand new corporate loss prevention monster had already decided everyone in the store were a bunch of dirty thieves, having hard evidence that we were innocent meant absolutely nothing and one by one people got fired whenever corporate had the slightest pretext (oh you got 1 warning/write up that was no big deal? FIRED!!!) By which I learned that if a bigwig takes a dislike to you, no matter how petty or irrational, they will use ANY excuse to get rid of you. As you did with your crappy ex-boss. And I’m really sorry he took advantage of your daughter’s medical crisis to make your life even more stressful.

  45. Ice Bear*

    This reminds me of the time at a former place of employment when we had a new manager for a week. When she didn’t show up the second week we learned that she had never quit her “former” job but instead took vacation time to start working at our company. Her excuse when she quit was that we weren’t a very welcoming group. We all sat down together on her second or third day to get to know one another and everyone was very friendly to her so I have no idea where that came from. Probably just a lie since she wasn’t above screwing over her current employer. I guess if she had decided to stick with us she would have quit that job without any notice? Pretty crappy since I heard she had been there for years.

    The worst part was she recommended by the director (they were longtime friends) and reported to her. I’m guessing that ended their friendship, but who knows. Not a great thing for the director’s reputation either. Had I liked her more I might have felt sorry for her.

    I personally considered it a bullet dodged since the woman was weird in other ways and probably would have been a terrible boss (not that the one hired after she left was great or anything; that place was so dysfunctional).

  46. I'm Not Phyllis*

    Unless your decision is to leave it alone and not take it any further, I’d consult an employment lawyer before doing anything.

    This sucks, OP – sorry it happened!

  47. SallyForth*

    The head of the languages department at my kids’ private school hired a fabulous new French teacher. He had excuses on the start date due to moving logistics (moved from overseas to be closer to grandkids) , then missed a lot of work due to his immune system adjusting to new germs.

    She went to a meeting with other heads and discovered he was also working full time at another school! Both schools had reimbursed partial moving costs, too.

  48. All. Is. On.*

    I was certain when I read the title of this post it was about my colleague. This person…sigh.
    She told our company she was having health issues and had to work from home, then took a full time job somewhere else. She then handed in about 2-4 hours worth of work to our company per week for two months, thinking they wouldn’t catch on. Unfortunately, she was right; they didn’t. But it all came crashing down when someone from her new job (a relative of a manager at our company) spilled the beans. She didn’t get fired. In fact, our company begged her to stay and offered her a raise. That was actually the last straw for me that convinced me to leave. It’s not just that they let her stay, it’s that they generally reward the worst employees and expect the better ones to pick up the slack without any recognition or reward. Six years and I’ve had one raise, and she (who has been there for three years) makes more than me now.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      In fact, our company begged her to stay and offered her a raise.


      Wow. That’s. I don’t know what to say other than I’m so glad you’re out there. Wow.

      they generally reward the worst employees and expect the better ones to pick up the slack without any recognition or reward.

      What a fantastic policy. Can’t see any way that will go wrong! Sheesh. Hope your new job is amazing and treats you right!

        1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

          In that case, sending you all the good thoughts and hope you find the perfect position soon. Remember that you are great and deserve only good things!

  49. CMDRBNA*

    Sadly, I don’t think this is quite as uncommon as Alison thinks – I’ve known at least one person in almost every place I’ve worked who has pulled similar stunts. Obviously we don’t know how much of what the OP’s colleague said was true, but I’ve had coworkers who invented sicknesses, worked other jobs, invented ill family members, etc., or wanted accommodations that made no sense (including one guy who needed to make more money – he was hourly – whose solution was to come in two hours before he was scheduled to start and clock in. Not actually do anything, just…get paid for two extra hours each day. Because reasons.).

    1. All. Is. On.*

      The day that colleague came back from ‘working from home’ and excitedly told me about her raise and bragged about them begging her to come back, I was so angry that I decided to not do any work for a couple of hours. I made my coffee, popped my headphones on, started my music, took my time reading a bunch of stuff online, and looked at the clock in smug satisfaction. It had been half an hour. I looked around. Some people hadn’t even arrived for the day yet.
      I was bored, so I started working. Sigh.

    2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      Yep. My husband works with a few really dishonest & unscrupulous people that seem to get away with murder.

  50. AKchic*

    I think I would only advocate for consulting a lawyer to recoup money if other people had donated leave time to this guy (because then, technically, he did steal from other employees by possible deception).

    Otherwise; he no longer works with your firm. Write up an incident report, put it in his employee file and mark him as ineligible for rehire. Yes, you could drop an line to the HR office at the other company, but I think that might be borderline illegal and harassing, and may actually backfire. Now, if this company’s HR rep happens to call you up, or sees you out and about and asks you about the double-dipper; by all means, spill the proverbial beans on this guy.
    Either way, consult with an attorney before you do anything drastic that could make *you* a liability to your company.

  51. Gazebo Slayer*

    To me, the important question for deciding how to react is: is the sick wife real?

    If so, it seems like he was in a desperate situation and tried a desperate solution – either trying to juggle both jobs and failing, or stringing along his old job until the insurance kicked in at the new one. I’d have a lot of sympathy for the guy (and his family) and definitely wouldn’t interfere with his new job. I might give him a private heads up that I knew what he was doing, though.

    If she’s not real, I’m Team Scorched Earth. I’d tip off the new employer, and be devastatingly honest with anyone who asked if I knew this guy and what he was like. This kind of lie hurts everyone who has a legitimate reason to seek flexibility or time off.

    If you don’t have any way of knowing… I’d err on the side of caution and leave things as they are, because it’s worse for an actual seriously ill person to lose all her household income (and likely medical care) than for me not to have the chance to pass on the word about a scummy employee.

    Whatever the story, though, it sucks for you.

    1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      Even if the sick wife is real (I don’t believe it, he was working 16 hours a day AND taking care of wife/kids? When did he sleep? Eat? Bathe?) it doesn’t actually matter. Because he handled it be making incredibly poor decisions, lying, and engaging in unethical behavior. And did it WHILE doubly employed at the place he is now working, who deserve to know that they have an employee who (AT BEST) will make terrible decisions to do shady & deceitful things when they are under stress or in a personal crisis.

      I also find it difficult to believe that he just happened to find and start a new job 3 days after his wife got sick and he had conviently made arrangements that would leave his days free to work that second job. I mean, he couldn’t find a job that didn’t conflict with the hours he already worked? Something part time nights/weekends? The ONLY job available was for the same hours as the first one, so he was “forced” to be dishonest (as opposed to being aboveboard w/OP about his situation and trying to work something out WITHOUT lying?)

      I used to know someone who kept collecting unemployment after they started working, with the same excuses (Broke! Desperate! Needed the money!) They did it until they got caught and, oddly enough, EDD didn’t accept that as an excuse for theft. And not the next three or four times they did it either.

  52. Elizabeth West*

    Okay, first off, whatever his reasons were for doing it, this guy screwed up. Big time. If he hadn’t quit, firing him would have been completely okay. But that’s the only thing necessary, aside from denying unemployment if he tried to file for it. What happens with his other job is not the OP’s problem.

    Second, pursuing him around town and wrecking his chances at any other jobs, as some commenters have suggested (without sarcasm tags, WTF) would just make the OP look like a raging vindictive numbskull. So no, don’t do that. If he’s a lying sack of weasels, he’ll mess himself up soon enough. If it was a cascade of bad decisions, maybe he’s realized it wasn’t feasible and he won’t try it again. Either way, as people have said, this situation isn’t that common, so with a good vetting process in future hiring, including thorough reference checks, I doubt it will happen again.

    1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

      I think that the other company should be notified because he was working for them at the time that he engaged in behavior that AT BEST was shady, deceitful, and unethical. Whether it was an intentional scam or a bad decision made out of desperation doesn’t actually matter, but his poor decisions, dishonest actions, and the results of those actions matter a LOT. The other company deserves to know the facts of what happened with OP so they can make their own decision on how to handle it. They are already involved in the matter (by his double employment), they just don’t know it yet. If I was his new manager I sure as hades would want that information!

  53. Big Biscuit*

    Did I read this correctly, he had PTO available after being with the company less than two months? That’s a damn nice benefit!

  54. XF1013*

    A friend of mine did something similar: She was very unhappy at longtime Job A. She got hired at Job B right around the time that her manager was pressuring her to use some PTO. She arranged for a weeklong vacation at the same time that Job B began, figuring that she’d quit without notice after the PTO was spent. But she wound up realizing during that week that Job B wasn’t for her and resigned, and returned to Job A the next week with no one the wiser. She’s still there now, a year later.

  55. anyone out there but me*

    Eh, I think you need to just chalk this up to one that makes an interesting story and move on, OP.

    The entire time he kept putting you off, you had every chance to tell him “this isn’t going to work” and let him go. You chose not to. You even gave him PTO before he even had a chance to prove his work ethic to you. I don’t understand that one at all, but hey, maybe your company does that. You might want to reconsider, if so.

    If the sick wife is real, then he was in a hellish situation and may not have done this intentionally. If she isn’t real, then you got scammed. But again, IMO, it isn’t something you can or should go after him about….

  56. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

    I am a little appalled at commenters I generally enjoy being so adamant about burning this guy’s life down. That saying “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” applies here, just replace stupidity with desperation.

    Calling this fraud and theft and everything else seems like a massive leap and going scorched earth because this guy had performance issues while working 2 jobs is a gross sentiment, IMO.

    OP, chalk this up to a bad hire and move on. Don’t let this guy poison your work life. Leave it in the past and move forward with work. Maybe talk to HR about having a policy of disclosing outside work for the future if you are really that concerned this might happen again. My company doesn’t have this policy, but does sate in the outside employment section that if in a performance review it comes out your performance is suffering due to a second job, they will ask you to quit the second job in order to correct performance here. And that company equipment cannot be used for outside employment.

  57. All Anon*

    I had this happen, only the guy was a solid performer. The thing was that he would disappear for hours and when a new manager started wondering where he was and questioned him he lied about it. Turns out he was walking across the street to the other company that he never quit when he took our job. Then he lied about that when we asked him about it and we both fired him. I heard years later that when they cleaned out his desk at other company they realized his spouse (who had no work permit to be employed in our country) was doing a lot of work, hence his ability to hold down two jobs. We had way more of an issue with the lying than the two jobs thing.

  58. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

    Looking at what ex-employee did under the best possible light, assuming all innocence, and giving him all the benefit of the doubt- it was STILL an incredibly poor set of decisions he made, and his actions were still deceitful and unethical.
    He has already involved company 2 by engaging in these actions while he was dually employed by them, and because of this, they absolutely deserve the facts of what happened. They deserve to be warned that they have hired someone who could end up being a big liability or financial loss because he makes terrible decisions that affect his job when he is under stress from personal issues.
    You don’t think his new manager would be grateful to know that? Or upset if he burns them, and they find out another manager could have warned them, but didn’t?
    And if the other company decides to let him go, it’s not him facing the consequences of his actions, but OP getting petty revenge?

    Why are so many people here so adamant that this guy not take responsibility for what he has done?

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