new employer says I can’t wear my wedding ring, does it look bad to send emails late at night, and more

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

1. My new employer won’t let me wear my wedding ring

I’m getting ready to start my new job in a fast-moving but rather conservative industry. I’m starting as an assistant but have the possibility of advancing up to management throughout my career here. Last week, I had a meeting with the woman who is going to be my supervisor and we finalized things like my salary, work hours, etc. She also spent a significant amount of time making sure I understood the dress code, as it is very strict, even stricter than many other offices. There were things like only certain colors of clothing, absolutely no nail polish, minimal makeup in only natural colors, no heels over two inches but no “casual” shoes either, etc.

One of their rules is that, while some jewelry is allowed, it can only be either gold or silver in color and absolutely nothing else. Here’s the thing: My wedding ring is purple (amethyst encrusted). My husband got this ring for me because he knows I dislike gold and silver jewelry and prefer colors, and it’s also my birthstone. My supervisor pointed it out during our meeting and said, unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to wear it during work hours. I was a bit taken aback but did not argue.

Now that I’m getting ready to start, I don’t know what to do. On one hand, rules are rules. On the other hand, it’s my wedding ring and it’s very precious to me and I never take it off. I also don’t want to go out and buy some arbitrary silver ring to wear in place that means nothing to me. It would seem silly to give up this great job over a ring, but I just don’t know. If it were any other piece of jewelry I wouldn’t care, but not this one. What should I do?

That’s a ridiculous rule and I cannot fathom any legitimate business need for it, other than that they have a need to be overly controlling.

I’m curious to know what would happen if you say, “I understand your rules about jewelry, but this is my wedding ring and I don’t take it off. I’m certainly willing to abide by the dress code, but it’s not an option for me to remove my wedding ring. What’s the best way for me to proceed, given that?” They may say that yes, they’re going to require you remove the ring if you want to work there, but I’d like to make them say it out loud because it’s ridiculous.

But if they do, then you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to remove it for work every day (and also if you’re willing to work for people who give adults rules for rules’ sake).

2. Does it look bad to send emails late at night?

I have a question about a seemingly minor behavior – time of emails or general tech correspondence. I have a work phone for a new job, and my work email is web-based, so could be accessed on any computer. So my question is, how bad does it look to send/respond to an email after work hours? I am generally forgetful, and the smaller a task the more likely I am to forget. Randomly, at 10 p.m. I will remember, “oh shoot, I didn’t tell Jane that Wednesday doesn’t work and Thursday would be better.” How bad is it to send these emails after hours? Am I overthinking it, or will it look really unprofessional for people to have emails that are time stamped at 10:30 p.m.?

It’s usually fine.

If you’re doing it a lot, it’s possible that your manager might at some point check in with you about your workload and your hours in order to make sure that you’re not overloaded and/or to make sure you know you don’t have to respond to emails late at night. But if you choose to do it because it makes your life easier, it’s fine.* Some people do, some people don’t, and it’s generally no big deal. (That said, there are some offices where this would stand out as unusual for their culture, but even then, if it’s just occasional it still shouldn’t be a big deal.)

* Caveat: If you’re non-exempt, you’re supposed to be paid for that time, so that’s something your manager might care about.

3. My husband says he can’t call the daycare run by my employer

We’re enrolling our children at the daycare that is run by the hospital where I work. We had a question about the kids’ physicals for the enrollment, and I suggested that my husband call the daycare since he had some free time. He said that he didn’t want to do that because the daycare is a benefit provided by my employer, and it would be comparable to me trying to set up health insurance through his employer. He went on to say that they would wonder why I wasn’t the one calling and that it could get back to my manager and reflect poorly on me.

I thought this was crazy, and no one would think any more than that this is a dad with a question about his kids’ daycare. It wasn’t like he would be asking about payroll deduction or anything related to my job. Which one of us is right?

You are.

This would be like if your kids were insured through your husband’s work plan and you thought you couldn’t talk to their doctors or take them to medical appointments because the insurance was through his employer.

This is a daycare. It would be really odd if they were only supposed to talk to one of the parents of the kids in their care. It’s 100% fine for him to contact them. If it somehow got back to your manager (which would be odd to begin with, because why would anyone take up your manager’s time reporting to her on the minutia of her employees’ daycare arrangement?), she would care precisely zero amount. Tell him to make the call.

4. Why can’t I take unpaid leave?

I have a question regarding “required PTO usage.” Let me start by saying that I work in Texas, for a “not-for-profit” ministry (nursing care home associated with a church). I am a non-exempt hourly employee. I work a set rotation, same set of days on/off in a row.

My employer requires us to utilize our PTO hours for any and every request off we submit if the day in question falls on one of our regularly scheduled days. In addition, if we call in sick or can’t make it to work, we are required to utilize our PTO hours for missed time on one of our regularly scheduled days. I’ve been told in the past that this is to inconvenience the employee because the facility has been inconvenienced by our call-in.

I feel that my PTO is to be used however I deem fit (within the law) as it is my PTO and if I want to take an unpaid day off or I call in, I should be able to save my PTO for when I want to use it. Honestly, to prevent my check from being short I will probably use my PTO hours anyway, but I guess I don’t like being told that I absolutely have to, especially when I would prefer to take a one-off smaller check this time to save my PTO for my vacation time.

Can you clarify the law on this policy so that I can provide it to my employer in the possible case that I am entitled to take an unpaid day?

What they’re doing is actually legal — and pretty normal! It’s very common for an employer to not allow unpaid time off and to require that you use PTO when you miss work. The reason for that isn’t generally to inconvenience you, but because they hire you to be at work a certain number of days per year. For example, if you get four weeks off a year, they assume you’ll be there the other 48 weeks — and they plan their staffing accordingly. If everyone can just take unpaid leave whenever they want, in addition to their PTO, then suddenly they have people present for fewer person-hours per year than they planned on and they can end up understaffed. (Sometimes you can take unpaid leave for exceptional situations, like sickness or an emergency or even a wedding, but it’s common not to offer it in less extraordinary circumstances.)

5. Should I be the one to make sure my staff knows when people will be out?

I have a team of three who I manage at an off-site office. Normally, this is totally fine and they are a strong, autonomous team. However, something came up recently and I’m not sure what I should do.

“Endora” asked for Thursday off. “Tabitha” asked for Friday off. Both requests were granted and added to the system. On Thursday, “Samantha” called and asked where Endora was. I said that Endora was taking a planned day off and that Tabitha should have things under control. But Tabitha hadn’t shown up yet, and despite the days being communicated in advance and marked in the system, Samantha had no idea that Endora would be out.

The way I see it, we have a system in place for dealing with vacation, and it’s not up to me to make sure the three of them discuss their vacation days with one another. It’s up to them to use the system and communicate with each other about their days off, as needed. Or should I expect to take a hands-on role in making sure that everyone is aware of everyone else’s vacation time? That just seems like micromanaging to me. At the same time, this was kind of a mess to deal with, and I don’t want a repeat.

You don’t need to be the one making sure everyone is aware of each other’s vacation time, but you do need to be the one setting the expectation that others will do it. In other words, you need to tell your staff that it’s their responsibility to inform their colleagues ahead of time when they’ll be out. If they’re not in the habit of doing that, and it seems like they might not be, then it would be smart for the next few months to remind them about it whenever you approve vacation time. (You might take this opportunity to think about whether there’s anything else that you want them to do ahead of being out as well, like set up an out-of-office auto-responder or so forth.)

{ 583 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I know it might be tempting to speculate on what’s motivating the husband of letter writer #3. Ideally we’d keep speculation to a minimum, but if you do speculate on facts not in the letter, please accompany it with an explanation of how it impacts your advice, specifically. Thanks!

    1. Susana*

      Alison, I admit my first thought was that husband didn’t want to deal with child care tasks, and this was a convenient way to shove them off on his wife. But I wasn’t going to comment because, you’re right – not useful. But it got me thinking – maybe he’s just uncomfortable since it’s not his domain (I mean, WORK domain). So maybe the answer is to have him come by the daycare a couple of times? (It’s on site, right?). It really might be a case of him thinking he’s invading her work world.

  2. Robbie*

    Op1: any boss that requires you to remove your wedding ring for non-safety/health reasons (like health care or construction, etc.) is ridiculous. Whether you are willing to push back is up to you, but I would.

    OP2: depending on the office norms, your colleagues might not even notice. My coworker and I have an understanding that we may send late night emails if we want to write it before we forget (Jane wants to meet us at 3pm, so adjust your stuff accordingly, and so on). But as long as there is no expectation that the recipient will read them until office hours, it can be fine in many places.

    1. EPLawyer*

      I cannot imagine any office being so conservative that someone will have the vapors over seeing an Amethyst wedding ring.

      All I can think is they got burned in the past with a less than clear dress code (you said conservative jewelry, my skull and cross bones ring is under a half inch, that’s conservative) so they went with really really really detailed to avoid arguments.

      Someone needs to point out that there is a happy medium between having a reasonable dress code and micromanaging adults.

      1. Emi.*

        Yeah, this isn’t “conservative,” this is just “strict.” Probably “arbitrary and domineering,” even.

        1. Sloan Kittering*

          Ironically, the OP is coming from a somewhat “conservative” perspective (I must always be wearing my wedding ring) so it’s weird here that she’s being outflanked by an even more conservative perspective.

          1. Dragoning*

            I don’t think “always wearing your wedding ring” is a particularly “conservative” approach. Some people like their wedding rings and their spouses and are the type of person to want to do this. Nothing in the letter signals LW wants to signal unavailability.

          2. seller of teapots*

            I am certainly far from conservative (socially or politically), and my wedding band is very meaningful to me. I also have a sterling silver bangle bracelet that was my grandmothers, and I never take that off either.

            My wedding band and my grandmother’s bracelet are really meaningful, and I wear them everyday as a reminder of the love that they represent. I hardly think that’s a conservative persepctive.

          3. MCMonkeyBean*

            Not wanting to take your ring off for work is not an inherently conservative perspective. People have lots of reasons for not wanting to take off their wedding rings.

            1. Veir*

              Conservative means clinging to the old ways, so yes, refusing to be flexible about your wedding ring is conservative

              1. Sloan Kittering*

                Yeah sorry, I do kind of stand by my perspective on this – I mean “conservative” as in “holding to traditional attitudes and values,” rather in the political sense – but we shouldn’t pile on since it’s probably not helpful to the LW.

              2. Sophie before she was cool*

                What? No. “Being flexible” about your wedding ring isn’t a progressive stance.

                The OP’s position might be conservative if she were insisting on wearing the ring at all times to signal to everyone that she’s married. But being attached to a piece of jewelry that has no business being subject to a dress code isn’t conservative.

              3. Marlowe*

                Except that wedding rings have a social function! Clinging to the old ways without a reason is being conservative. Using a social marker to indicate a status in life on a daily basis is no more conservative than my choosing to wear the same necklace everyday because it was an inheritance from my grandmother.

                1. Veir*

                  Conservative is not a negative term. The scientific method is very conservative for instance and for good reason.

                2. Marlowe*


                  I think there’s a difference between using the word conservative for the informed, slow, painstaking approach of scientific method to progress conservative, and for one person’s refusal to part with a cherished piece of jewelry. The former describes how steps are taken in the field, in order to ensure few errors are committed. The latter implies a value judgement.

                  Besides, I don’t see how ‘clinging to the old ways’ isn’t used in a negative manner here.

                3. Marlowe*

                  Er, ignore that random ‘conservative’ in the middle of the paragraph there. It’s starting not to look like a word anymore…

          4. Falling Diphthong*

            Lots of liberals always wear their wedding (and engagement, and maybe anniversary or Aunt Susie’s that she left to me in the will) rings. In part to avoid losing them.

            I think EPLawyer is onto something–that they might have had a restrictive “No ____” dress code in the past and someone managed to get around its spirit. So now it’s an “Only _____” dress code in an attempt to pre-empt rebellious choices in tie color. But an amethyst ring would have been appropriate mourning wear for the Victorians, so ruling it out seems especially bizarre.

          5. Rey*

            I think “conservative” was meant in terms of social norms versus extremes or traditional versus new-age, not necessarily in the political context. For example, some traditional offices might expect women to wear pantyhose and while companies like Google and Facebook are well-known for their casual flip-flops and hoodies atmospheres. But I have never heard of any office setting that dictates so much about what employees can wear (only certain colors of clothing?) I would be very curious to hear about this was implemented and why it has continued to be used.

            1. Emi.*

              Yeah, but “no stones in rings” is not a traditional social norm, at least not since the ascendancy of the diamond solitaire. That’s what makes this so weird to me — if they said “skirt suits only, pantyhose at all times, no white after Labor Day, you have to wear a hat but remove it indoors,” at least it would make a weird kind of sense, insofar as they would be conserving something recognizable. But they seem to be making up *new* rules instead.

                1. Xarcady*

                  No stones rules out most women’s wedding rings–most have some sort of stone, even if it isn’t diamonds. That is very odd.

                2. a username*

                  My wedding ring has seven diamond chips set into the top of the silver. Now I could theoretically flip it around since the other side of the ring is plain silver, but I would likely turn down the job because this seems idiotic.

                  And I had a job where I would routinely take off my wedding ring and wander around without it for hours, to avoid damage to it. I’m no “taking off the ring means you’re not married!!” prude.

                3. Stik Tech Drone*

                  I am presuming that if this OP were in a field where wearing a decorated ring wasn’t acceptable, otherwise she would already know.

                  That said, when learning how to do food industry inspections some 20 years ago, I was surprised to learn restaurant workers could wear a plain smooth band, but would have to remove a non smooth band (jeweled or texture patterned bands) for sanitation reasons.

                  Currently my husband is not allowed to wear either of his rings (he has an expensive, patterned, and dingable one, and a smooth cheapie that shows less wear and tear) and management enforces across the board, citing sanitation and safety reasons. If it wasn’t for the matter of safety/cleanliness, he would absolutely wear one of his rings to this job.

                  Also working at sea and other jobs where hazards abound, it wasn’t a requirement but a suggestion (if you didn’t want to lose a finger) to remove your bands at work. Kind of nice that there are silicone bands now that are perhaps less dangerous alternatives.

                4. Stik Tech Drone*

                  Also, I think I know what you are getting at A Username, but it feels strange to me “that not wearing a wedding ring means I am not married” would be a Prudish attitude. Maybe you meant it ironically?

                  I have been in some more off the beaten track places, where no ring, real or not (knew single women who wore fakes just to avoid attention), signaled that you were game. Combine a lack of a wedding ring with a visible ring mark, and it was, unfortunately, assumed by most that you were married but on the prowl. Unfortunately none of this meant having ring was necessarily a deterrent (because it’s never that easy).

                  Just for the record, I don’t condone women (or men for that matter) being compelled to wear a ring to fend off unwanted advances, or face chastisement either. :)

                5. Cousin Itt*

                  I assumed the problem is that the stones are purple and that a more traditional style of diamond in a gold or silver band would be fine?

            2. IDontRememberWhatNameIUsedBefore*

              I don’t think the issue is “no stones in rings” but “no PURPLE stones in rings”, which is still ridiculous.

          6. Meg*

            I wear my wedding ring rather sporadically. If my boss told me I couldn’t (unless it was for safety reasons), I think I would suddenly feel compelled to wear it daily. Not sure where conservative comes into it.

        1. Anonymosity*

          I wondered that too. Do the men in the office have to abide by the same dress codes? Do they have to remove wedding rings? If you work with machinery, etc., it can be dangerous to wear rings, but in an office?? What the hell?!

          1. Sloan Kittering*

            To be fair, she could wear a gold or silver ring, which is presumably the same standard applied to men, so I don’t see any sex/marital discrimination here. The bigger issue to me is, what business purpose is this serving? Does an amethyst ring really violate that purpose? Sidenote, I think OP should request an exception from – somebody above this specific woman, if possible. Hard to do without irritating Joan, but having Mr Sterling’s approval would presumably be the final word.

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              Women’s rings are more likely to have stones, or be paired with an engagement ring with a stone. Men’s rings are more likely to be plain.

              So, you could legit see it as sexist.

              But the authoritarian aspect is more relevant and troublesome. It would be strange if this micromanagement *didn’t* extend to other areas of the company.

              1. Kat in VA*

                (in agreement with “Men’s rings are more likely to be plain”)

                My husband wears a very heavy gold wedding band with a three diagonal rows of diamonds in it. I can’t begin to imagine his reaction if he were told he could not wear it in a traditional office setting. Back in the day when he was an electrician, certainly, but in a regular office setting? He works in government contracting so yes, they are very conservative, as well.

                This whole rule is odd. I have plain “house” rings (one is gold, one is actually tungsten carbide for yard work or whatever), but I also have four different wedding sets with the traditional solitaire+wrap (we’ve been married 30 years and I know I don’t have to explain but feel compelled to) and I would far, far prefer to wear those to work than the house rings.

                Jewelry is very personal. I don’t go anywhere (within safety reasons) without my wedding rings on because they are very, very important to me. To tell someone “You can only wear *this* specific type of ring” is really ridiculously controlling…as others have noted.

        2. MassMatt*

          I don’t think so, the letter said they allow plain silver or gold rings only, the issue was not that she had a wedding ring, but that the ring was purple.

          IMO this sounds like a very controlling organization and I would be very turned off. I would wonder what their other policies were like—do they demand to know where I go for vacation? Are bathroom breaks assigned? Are you only allowed to buy lunch from approved venues?

          OP it’s your job (and your ring) and maybe you are OK with the stipulation but I would take it as a warning sign. At the very least try to talk to some current employees and ask some probing questions about the culture.

          1. GreenDoor*

            But is it really the organization? OP said she “went over the dress code” with the supervisor. Did OP actually see the dress code codified in an employee handbook or on the organization’s website?

            Maybe this is one kooky supervisor going rogue based on the supervisor’s own personal preferences….
            I’d push back. If they are weirdly insisntent on these rules for no clear business/safety reason, I’d really think twice about working there – because what else are they going to be weirdly rigid about?

            1. Niki*

              It’s not 100% clear whether the supervisor realised the ring was actually her wedding band though – presumably it was on her wedding finger but there’s no guarantee they’d have picked that up – OP said she was taken aback but didn’t argue.

              A workplace with such a strict dress code might take a very conservative (in the old fashioned, not political sense) view of most things, so it might not have occurred to her that somebody would have an amethyst wedding ring. Yes, it’s not that outrageous, but traditionally wedding bands are plain gold or silver and a lot of the ones with inset stones are diamond/clear rather than coloured gems.

              I still think the guidelines are ridiculous – I’ve been offered a role before by an organisation which wanted my office wear to be in company colours at all times despite not being customer-facing and that was enough of a red flag for me to say a hard no – but I’m just curious as to whether saying ‘Oh, actually this is my wedding band’ would have been enough for the supervisor to back off. Traditional workplaces can often have traditional views on things like marriage traditions – they might not dream of requesting an employee leave off her wedding band.

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          It’s neither of those things (at least from a legal perspective), because the jewelry policy applies to all employees. I think it would be difficult to argue that the policy has a disproportionate effect on married women, as OP’s ring sounds beautiful but is also relatively uncommon.

          That isn’t to say it’s a good policy. I agree with EPLawyer and think it’s a draconian overreach based on some prior experience being “burned.”

          1. Anna*

            I don’t know if it is that uncommon, though. I would argue the majority of women’s rings are designed with stones or to be welded with their engagement ring, making into a ring with a stone. I know women wear plain bands, but I’m talking about the large number of women who wear wedding sets and not just bands.

            1. Kendra*

              Giving them the benefit of the doubt, they may just not have wanted to open a can of worms by allowing any stones, because there’s such a huge variety of setting types and sizes. For instance, should they say that stones that are set into the band are okay, but any that stick out aren’t? Only solitaires, no clusters? Or is it the size that matters, or the color: diamonds under 0.5 carats are okay, but a 2 carat ruby would be too flashy? Or the cut: square cut emeralds are okay, but not brilliant cut (because, after all, that’s a non-standard shape for an emerald, so if you’re really trying to be “conservative,” it does actually matter, even though 90% of the people who enter your office wouldn’t notice the difference if their lives depended on it).

              Of course, that’s often the problem with ridiculous policies like this: once they meet the real world, they get insanely detailed and/or fall to pieces. Then the company has to either double down and get even MORE micromanaging, or admit they were wrong and drop it, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should.

        4. Number Ninja*

          I was thinking the same. If the OP were a man, I bet the wedding ring would not brought up. The discrimination of marital status is a little trickier. OP’s employer may want all female employees to appear “available” by not wearing wedding rings. Gross.

      2. tacoTsunami*

        re: late night emails.

        Does your client have a scheduled send feature? I use that pretty often when I’m compelled to fire one off in the middle of the night, because I know some team members have work phones and they’re sort of obligated to be monitoring after-hours. Plus, there’s some workaholics on the team who will see those late night emails and reply in kind, but loop in other folks and expect replies from them. The mentality is “If I’m working, why isn’t everyone?”

        And, as one of those folks with phones? I can say that even if I’m not planning to reply or your email says to wait, those emails have the potential to take me out of a non-work headspace and can be a real downer on personal time. Plus if it’s something important, I won’t be able to enjoy myself until I deal with it, even if I *know* it can technically wait until the morning.

      3. Dr. Pepper*

        I would be willing to bet money that this is so. How many letters have we seen here where one single employee doesn’t follow the rules and yet the whole office is punished? Management, for whatever reason, doesn’t simply address the issue directly with the person flouting the rules and instead sends out dress code “reminders” en masse, or re-issues policy handbooks to everybody, or adds new stricter rules. Couple that with managers who really love following and enforcing rules, no matter how arbitrary, and you get this type of situation. Things can easily devolve to following the letter of the law instead of the spirit, and indeed forgetting completely why the rules are there.

        Aside from health and safety regulations, there is zero need to police the sartorial choices of grown adults so strictly.

      4. Kathy*

        I would love to know what industry this is. I never heard of such stringent dress code rules (well, except for Disneyland in terms of makeup, nail polish).

      5. JustMe*

        OP #1. I work in the healthcare industry, so I know a lot of people who would purchase a very simple, cheaper band to wear so they wouldn’t have to worry about contaminating or losing a valuable ring. Others would wear their ring on a long chain tucked into their shirt or pinned to their bra strap or inside of their shirt – concealed but still close, if you are looking for options to keep your ring on you. But I agree with the others that this seems silly for an office job.

      6. IDontRememberWhatNameIUsedBefore*

        Interesting perspective, because although I ended up deciding to forego a wedding ring altogether in the end (neither my husband or I wear one), I did for awhile consider getting one made by a friend of a friend who is a designer of fine jewelry. It would have been a white gold skull & crossbones with aqua blue gemstones as eyes. And you can bet if I had laid out that much money on a ring I would be wearing it pretty much 24/7!

    2. MLB*

      #1 would be a non-negotiable for me. I would push back…a lot. If this job meant the difference between living in my own place vs living in my parents basement, I might let it go, but I would push back first.

      #2 I think it also depends on how the people respond that you’re sending emails to. After hours I may look at an incoming email and respond if it’s urgent, and when I’m on vacation I turn off my notifications so I don’t even see the emails. But I do work with people who read and respond to them when they’re off work, even when I specifically tell them it’s not urgent. So if OP works with people like this, it may start to create a problem if they’re doing it frequently. I would suggest OP email herself, so she sees it in the morning.

      1. Seriously?*

        I was thinking the same for #2. If you work somewhere that there are sometimes late night emails that need an immediate response, I would hold off on sending non-urgent emails until the morning because I would be worried about disturbing someone late at night. If there are no urgent emails late at night, then it should be fine since they should know they can wait to check it.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I agree–if sometimes late emails need to be acted on, then you can email yourself a reminder, and then forward it, or act on it, when you get in.

          1. Starbuck*

            Can’t wait for the day gmail will allow you to schedule when an email sends; if I don’t follow through with something like this right away(even if it’s late in the evening) I’m going to forget! It’s so much easier to just do the thing, than go through the extra step of setting myself a reminder or making a list about it.

            1. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

              Install the Boomerang extension for Chrome! Has send later feature as well as the option to push the email back into your inbox after X days if you don’t get a response, all sorts of stuff like that.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I sometimes notice late night work emails if I’m using my laptop late at night, and sometimes don’t see them until the next morning. Ideally, office culture is that you send things when you have a chance and deal with things sent you when you have a chance. (Assuming everyone is non-exempt and this isn’t unpaid overtime.)

        Spouse often works with people 12 time zones away, so trying to only send emails when the recipient would be in a 9-5 space would be arduous on everyone.

        1. MLB*

          Your last sentence is not what I was saying at all. I’m talking about knowing your audience, and if they will respond regardless of time of day. If they are those types of people, numerous emails at off hours may start to wear on them, and set an unrealistic expectation of a response.

      3. Annoyed*

        For #2 I agree completely. Unless it’s urgent she should email herself and then do business during business hours.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      For OP 1, unless I was really desperate for a job, I’d pass on this one and keep looking. I mean, it’s my wedding ring and I wouldn’t want to take it off, it’s not some random ring I like to wear, which is different to me. But only the OP can decide that.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Caveat–I don’t think OP told the interviewer it was her wedding ring. As far as the interviewer is concerned, she noted that a bit of jewelry chosen to compliment the grey suit wouldn’t be okay by their dress code. I’d try pushing back first. (Amethyst-encrusted wedding rings are unusual enough that the company probably hasn’t had the question before.) Before withdrawing from consideration it’s probably worth asking if an exception can be made for this excellent reason.

            1. Totally Minnie*

              Not necessarily. Lots of women wear non-wedding rings on their left hand. Some women who are widowed or divorced decide to replace their wedding rings with something else. Women raised in religious purity culture often wear a ring on their left hand as a symbol of their commitment. Just because it’s on that finger doesn’t make it a wedding ring.

              1. Workerbee*

                And nationality/culture comes into play; I had friends who wore their wedding rings on their right ring fingers. In any case, I hope OP does bring it up, and also watches out for what others have posted upthread, because these can’t be the only things this organization fixates on. Timed bathroom breaks seem very feasible.

            2. DivineMissL*

              I was once asked out by a car repair guy while picking up a company vehicle, and he didn’t believe me when I told him my sapphire-and diamond-band on my left hand was a wedding ring.

              1. PersonalJeebus*

                Sounds like the kind of obnoxious person who also might “not believe you” if you simply said, “Available or not, I just don’t want to go out with you.”


        1. Annoyed*

          Agreed. She needs to let them know it’s her wedding ring.

          Also being a February baby I have a ton of amethyst jewelery (people, people I like orher stuff too!) but my wedding rings are diamonds and sapphires.

          They do *look* like wedding rings, but at a company like this if it’s so arbitrary that people can’t wear colored stones, or stones at all (?) I’d take serious issue with a policy like that.

    4. anonforthis*

      OP1, I wouldn’t take that job. Seriously. Any job that’s going to be THAT insane about clothing, unless you are working in a sterile environment or literally going onto a spacecraft, is going to be equally insane about other things. I really can’t imagine this ending well. Telling you can’t wear a wedding ring because it has colored gemstones is just a level of micromanaging that is truly bizarre and out of the norm.

      1. Kaaaaaren*

        Agreed! If OP absolutely NEEDS this job or else she’ll be living in her car or something, that is another matter, but this clothing/jewelry policy for an office job is a major red flag. I absolutely can’t imagine this is their only unreasonable policy.

    5. Could be Anyone.*

      I would run. Not only do they not want you to wear your wedding ring (lacking a legitimate safety concern) they are trying to control the COLOR of your clothes? In a regular office?? This place sounds ten steps past conservative and pretty far into scary territory. I would bet they try to control a lot more than your wardrobe.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I can think of a lot of places that have dress codes about clothing color, and I don’t consider them to be “scary”. High end retail (“black or gray suit”). Finance (“blue or white shirt only”). Banking (“no prints”). They’re not necessarily places I would choose to work, but I don’t think it’s completely crazy to ask people in some offices and industries to make certain color choices. I mean, a lot of places have actual uniforms, so they’re dictating the very clothes their employees wear.

        1. Could be Anyone.*

          I guess I am assuming, but this didn’t sound like that to me. I’m fine with actual uniforms or neutrals or all black (common in restaurants) but this just read to me as needlessly controlling. She did say it was a conservative industry.

          1. IDontRememberWhatNameIUsedBefore*

            I’m the type that thinks if a workplace wants to control what it’s employees wear, they need to be issuing them uniforms. At the cost of the employer.
            Other than that, if the employee is clean, there are no safety/sanitation issues, and the clothing doesn’t interfere with the performance of their job, they need to effing butt out.

        2. Bones*

          I work at one of the most influential hedge funds in the world, and even we don’t have dress codes this strict. This is just bizarre.

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I agree with AvonLady, here. There are lots of industries that can be very strict about the color of your clothing, even in white-collar fields (or strict about color when you’re junior, and then when you’re senior enough you can break some of the key rules). So the strictness of the clothing-related terms doesn’t alarm me, even though I would find it personally irritating.

          That said, the limitation on jewelry sounds jarring (although not uncommon in some fields), and I don’t see why a reasonable employer wouldn’t grant OP an exception to wear her wedding ring.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            And many employers who had strict dress codes are walking away from them, because they’re a competitive *disadvantage* when trying to attract top employees. Take IBM, for instance – 70s/80s, it was ‘blue pinstripe suit, white shirt’ for everyone, male or female, office or field installer. Now I think only the sales teams are required to dress formally regularly, because programmers will not go to a company that requires suits, or even slacks.

            LW1, watch for other symptoms of dysfunction, and come back in 6mo and let us know: are they as micromanaging all over as they are about dress codes?

        4. batman*

          I know there are industries where dress codes are stricter than in others, but I think that if the OP were in one of those fields, they would have expected it and wouldn’t be writing in. Also, even stricter industries are loosening up.

      2. Matilda Jefferies*

        Agreed. Even if you win this battle and they “let” you wear your wedding ring, what’s the rest of the war going to be like? Could you possibly talk to some other people who work there, to see if there are other kinds of ridiculous rules that haven’t come up yet?

        I’m not saying “run,” because you’ve already been hired and it sounds like you’re pretty happy about the job otherwise. So it may not be worth burning the bridge over this one issue – or maybe it will? Just, proceed cautiously on this one.

      3. Annoyed*

        “ I would bet they try to control a lot more than your wardrobe.”

        Like how she lives her life away from work…

  3. Eric*

    #2, one other thing to keep in mind is if you are emailing people junior to you (especially people who report to you). Make sure it is clear that you are not expecting them to read the email at 10PM and do anything or respond until under morning.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I was going to say the same thing. In cases where you’re senior, I find it can be helpful to use email tools to schedule when emails are sent so that they appear at a normal hour. I also tend to emphasize to junior folks that I don’t expect them to respond outside of standard work hours.

      1. Tiny Orchid*

        Yes to email tools! I sometimes wonder if folks notice that they will occasionally get multiple emails from me at 8:00 am (when I work in the evening and batch the emails to send in the morning).

      2. Susan K*

        I work in a place that runs 24/7, so sometimes I’m actually there at 10:30 at night, and nobody would find it unusual for someone to be sending e-mails at any hour, but I use Outlook’s “delay delivery” function all the time. In Outlook, when you use the default inbox view, the most recent e-mails show up at the top under a heading of “Today,” and e-mails from the previous day as “Yesterday,” etc. I find that people often ignore/don’t notice e-mails under the “Yesterday” heading (and even worse if it’s a Sunday and they show up on Monday as “Last week”), so if I’m sending an e-mail at night to someone who’s working day shift, I’ll delay delivery until around the time the recipient’s shift starts.

        1. Mad Baggins*

          This is a great point. I might try delaying my emails to others’ start times so it gets filed under “Monday” instead of “Last Week”.

      3. Persimmons*

        Ugh, I have to use a document review system that automatically sends updates at midnight. (I asked for time zone customization and was told they would “consider it for the next release.” FFS this is basic functionality.) People are constantly complaining that I expect them to work in the middle of the night. I can’t help it, folks. I know it’s terrible.

        Use all the scheduling tools you can, never take them for granted! *weeps in envy*

        1. ExcelJedi*

          Sorry this is tangential, but…I used to schedule my reporting to go out at 2 am when I knew no one would be working because it wouldn’t bother anyone that my scripts were taking up all so much of the system’s processing power.

          When people complained, I’d tell them that the reason they went out at that time was precisely because they weren’t supposed to be working, and that if they wanted me to send it out during the day, it would mean slowing down the server while they wanted to be on it. Not sure if that would be true here, but it’s worth asking if you could use some reasoning like that.

      4. MCMonkeyBean*

        Sometimes if I remember a question late at night I send myself an email from my personal email to my work email so it will be waiting for me as a reminder when I get to the office the next day.

        1. SpiderLadyCEO*

          I do something like this all the time – I pretty regularly will use facebook messenger to send myself links to websites I want on my personal computer from my work one, or vice versa. I also use it to send important info to my phone if I’m traveling. Then, it’s all in messenger, and no matter what device I’m on, phone, laptop, tablet, other laptop – it’s right there and it’s almost always logged in.

    2. KTB*

      + a bunch to the email tools. In my consulting days, I made certain to take advantage of Outlook’s delay send feature so that my direct reports didn’t feel obligated to be checking their email at 10PM just because my schedule meant that I had to.

      1. C*

        #2 – definitely look into the time delay feature. I love being able to set up emails or text messages now but have them actually send at a later time.

      2. TootsNYC*

        I had that capability on the very first email system I ever used, and never again.

        I didn’t have it for Outlook on the Mac (“you can set a reminder!”–it’s not the same). Don’t have it on GSuite.

      3. Miss Mouse*

        Yes! Outlook delayed delivery is a godsend if you want to write that email at 10:00 pm while you happen to be thinking about it but want it to go out to everyone tomorrow at 7:30 am.

      4. DRE*

        Yes, delay send feature is the best.

        I always set it to send emails early in the morning (like 6am) so it would appear I got to work early.

    3. Kala*

      I find that if I email at night I have more issues with people failing to respond and needing to be prompted. I think it’s because they check email on their phones outside of normal hours, mentally catalog it as non-urgent, and then forget to follow up. For that reason, I’m a huge advocate of saving the emails and sending them in a batch at the start of the next business day.

    4. the gold digger*

      Exactly. My new co-worker started in March. She was having trouble setting up work email on her phone.

      Me: Is the company paying for your phone?
      Her: No.
      Me: Then why are you putting your work email on it?
      Her: In case Boss emails on Saturday?
      Me: He will. But only so he remembers to do it. He does not expect a response until Monday.
      Her: But my old job —-
      Me: Yeah. No. He’s a good boss. He’s not like that. I have been here four years and not once has he asked me to deal with a work issue outside of work hours.

      1. Engineer Woman*

        Not necessarily. I email at in the evenings because it’s convenient for me – I might forget to do it later or did not or will not have time during work hours or had to leave work early for an appointment and still needed to get an email sent. I am Not Available in the evenings and I have No Expectation that the emails are read that evening.

      2. Observer*

        The solution to that is to be explicit as to what your expectations are.

        I do a LOT of late night emails. I always tell people who need to deal with me (including people who report to me) – I’ll email you at night, but I don’t expect you to see it till the morning.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          This. For my job (most people are remote) if the context doesn’t make it clear how urgent this is, then you state when you need a response including the time zone. Spouse does emails around the clock, including when he is traveling 12 time zones off from the home office–it is not assumed that every email needs a response right away. Flip side, when his subordinates are 12 time zones away, he figures they might appreciate a reply from him as soon as he can get to it, rather that within what’s currently 9am-5pm for him. Or them.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I think this is the key. If you’re like my Great Grand Boss and are going to email at 3 a.m., it’s helpful to let folks know you don’t expect a response at 3:05 a.m., and in fact, you strongly prefer they do not respond until standard working hours.

        3. CMart*

          This exactly. I just changed groups from a manager who never even took her laptop home outside of the busy periods and didn’t have work e-mail on her phone, to a manager who as far as I can tell never stops working. So it was a little disconcerting at first seeing an e-mail notification from when he was still in the office at 8pm, or sent from his phone at 10:30pm etc…

          But this new manager made it clear that just because he’s crazy he doesn’t expect me to not have a life as well. Unless it’s an explicitly stated busy/important deadline time, all work related things can and should be handled between 8 and 5, M-F. It was very good to have it stated in black and white terms like that.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        But this is really easy to head off if you’re clear about your expectations. I have kids and try to get out on time so I can help with homework, pick them up from sports, etc., which means I often have to shift my work later into the evening. I gave my assistant a heads up on this (and that I certainly don’t expect a response in off-hours), and, because I’m a stickler for stated, specific deadlines, tend to send emails at 11:30 p.m. on Monday night that say, “Hi, Assistant – When you get in Tuesday morning, can you talk to Jane and Jill about the upcoming training agenda and get me a copy of it by noon? I need it to prepare for a late afternoon meeting with Big Boss. Thanks!”

        I also work in legal, which is 24/7, so I often exchange emails with my boss between 9 and 10 p.m. (because she also has children and shifts work until after they’ve gone to bed, too). There ARE people that I expect will be checking their emails and respond in the evening/on weekends, but they get hazard pay and know that’s the job coming in.

      4. Larz*

        Agree. I really, really, really wish that my boss would stop sending emails on weekends, when there’s nothing I can do about the issue–except spend the whole weekend worrying about it!

        1. CaitlinM*

          I use the Inbox app by google (might only work if you have a gmail hosted email) and I turn off my work inbox on the weekend. It’s so nice.

      5. Annoyed*

        I despise the “must be available 24/7” mentality. We (ok I) have a very strict policy about people not being bothered when not working, even if they are just takng a break.

        Bothering someone with a non-urgent (like fire, imminent threat to life…) issue when they are not “on the clock” is a discipline issue in these parts.

        I’m on a break. Anything that’s non-urgent can wait ten minutes.

        This is pretty much my only “dont mess with the boss” iron fist, non negotiable, nope, nada, uhuh, don’t ask, etc. policy though.

    5. That Would be a Good Band Name*

      And if you feel really awkward about sending stuff outside of business hours either use the time delay or send yourself a quick email to send the update you wanted to send in the morning. I’ve sent myself an email a few times when all I need is a short reminder. That way I don’t have to mess with setting the delay, just a quick “email Jane about X” and no chance I’ll forget by the time I get to work.

    1. Bea*

      It’s most likely to keep everything neutral. To go with the no makeup or color pallets that will stand out.

      Most places just do the “only one ring per hand” rule but since these are over the top folk, they need to deny even that one ring being too much flare. Regardless it seems so strict it’s exhausting.

      1. Jemima Bond*

        Interesting – here it is very common for married women to wear an engagement ring as well as s wedding ring and I would be shocked if they were told not to even in a very conservative office. Is a Sauron Policy (one ring…geddit?) common in other countries?
        On the same note, although diamonds are probably most popular, coloured stones on engagement rings are far from unusual so the rule in LW’s new office would be bizarrely extreme even acknowledgeding that an amethyst wedding band is less traditional. What I mean to say is, this is strangely strict for most people not just those with ever so slightly more individual tastes! This is a policy that rules out a string of pearls which i would think was the epitome of restrained conservative elegance.
        Anyway by way of contributing I wonder if the LW could, if asked about the ring, adopt the attitude Alison often recommends of appearing to assume she and the manager etc are obviously on the same page if everyone is sufficiently informed – the asker is of course not asking anything as daft as that. “You can’t wear that ring” – “oh this is my wedding ring, I never take it off [subtext – only an insane person would expect someone to remove their wedding ring, outside of health and safety rules!]

        1. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

          Because the stone came out of her engagement ring many years ago, my mother in law only wears her wedding band. Not a choice, per se, just a budget and time for fixing it thing. Because that’s what he saw (and because he’s amusingly non-observant at times and just didn’t notice other people’s wedding rings, like, ever, even if he was around them for extended periods of time), my husband didn’t realize that most women wear both rings throughout their marriage. He thought it was strange that I cared so much about what my engagement ring looked like, if I was only going to wear it for the time between getting engaged and the wedding!

          Having said that, my rings are soldered together, so I couldn’t only wear my wedding band even if I wanted to. They have to count as one ring.

          1. Red 5*

            I think these days most engagement and wedding rings are almost designed to fit well enough together to appear to be one ring. Mine is actually designed to be nested, but that’s a whole other story because it’s custom. But when we were talking about getting married, almost all the engagement rings I saw were actually part of sets. Most people would have no idea they were two rings, I think.

            That said, a place that would get cranky about an amethyst wedding ring probably would try to rules lawyer engagement/wedding bands given the opportunity.

        2. Eulerian*

          Because it’s been a few years since my wedding, I can no longer take my wedding ring / engagement ring off. If I were the OP I’d be a bit tempted to “conveniently” find her wedding ring stuck.

          Also an amethyst band sounds awesome!

        3. John Rohan*

          The issue here was that the band itself was purple, it doesn’t just have an amethyst for a stone.

          1. anonforthis*

            I didn’t read it that way at all – amethyst-encrusted would mean it is an eternity band, with the stones all the way around the band, or that it’s pave-set stones, where they cover the entire surface of the ring so all you see are the gemstones and not the metal.

            I wonder what the office’s policy on rose gold rings is?

            1. Elle*

              You just made me realize this policy would ban my (rose gold) wedding set with a faint pink stone and I got really sad, lol. So knowing that’s how it made me feel, I think this is a deal breaker for me.

              I mean, if you’re someone who values things like ‘out-of-the-box’ wedding bands, I can’t imagine you are also someone who would be culturally a good fit for such a tyrannical office environment? Not that anyone would (or should) be a good fit for this crazy place, but still.

          2. Red 5*

            It’s kind of semantics, the band itself is not purple, I would imagine, because there’s not a metal that I know of that’s both purple and sturdy enough to support that many stones. But if it’s amethyst encrusted, and she doesn’t like gold and silver jewelry, I would imagine that the band is pretty much covered in stones, which means it gives off a primarily purple appearance because of the purple gemstones across it. So it’s not just one stone, no, but the band itself is likely gold or silver.

            Also it’s unlikely her ring is encrusted with stones all the way around, because of cost and the fact that it would be incredibly uncomfortable. But again, the most visible part of it on the top of her finger could very well be.

            There’s actually just a lot of different things this description could mean, all of which aren’t a simple gold/silver band or a band with a single stone, but all of which should be perfectly acceptable even in a conservative office because what the heck, it’s her wedding band, you know?

            1. MassMatt*

              We are getting into a tangent here about rings and metals but there are many strong metals that can be anodized many different colors, titanium for one.

        4. Bea*

          One ring per hand is to avoid the trend of a ring per finger. A set is a horse of a different color and most places wouldn’t push against a wedding set.

          Honestly jewelry has never been regulated in anything I’ve seen personally, I’ve only read this in dress code mumbo jumbo that’s been floating around for years.

          1. LadyPhoenix*

            The only time I seen it regulated heavily is areas where the jewlerry could get stuck in machinery, or either grabbed by unruly patient or tear open gloves for sanitation.

            But those places also have rules about wearing confortable, closed toe shoes, no loose clothing, and long hair put into buns or pony tails.

            In other words, all of it is SAFETY based, not some draconian equalizer policy like this place.

      2. Nom Nom*

        No, most places don’t just do the one ring per hand rule. That’s an absolute outlier, OP is well beyond outliers and into a parallel universe. However if OP needs the job or the other benefits are over the top awesome, OP will need to make a judgement call as to whether it is something OP can live with because of the other benefits or whether OP can afford to wait and find another job.

        1. Nom Nom*

          Sorry, an absolute outlier unless there are specific health and safety reasons why you can’t wear jewellery.

    2. MommaCat*

      The only place that comes to mind where those rules make some kind of sense would be a mortuary, where everything would need to be somber and tasteful, but I’m sure there are other areas where this would make sense. When I worked at a religious institution, I needed to keep my hair and makeup reasonably natural-looking, but they didn’t care much about my clothes and jewelry outside of “business casual.” Or even a law practice that specializes in wills and estates, where they would be dealing with grieving people reasonably often. I’m sure there are more places where this would make some amount of sense, but it’s still ridiculous to extend those rules to something as tasteful-sounding as that ring.

      1. Dove*

        I find it hard to imagine even a funeral home or a law practice mandating that employees remove any jewelry that doesn’t fall within specific guidelines, beyond “please don’t wear excessively morbid jewelry, please be conservative with visible piercings” at the funeral home. Because sure, those two businesses would be dealing with grieving people more often than the rest of the world (although a law practice that specializes in wills and estates still doesn’t deal with grieving people nearly as often as you’d think), but it’s unreasonable to expect your employees to stop having lives just because the clients are grieving. Yes, Old Mrs Jenkins might have just become a widow and is having to arrange the funeral and deal with getting her spouse’s estate through probate, but trying to hide evidence that other people have spouses and lives is…not exactly going to help her.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Also grieving people are rarely going to be noticing the jewelry or even the clothes someone else is wearing — unless it’s really out there. They might notice a neon green jumpsuit and clown make up. But an Amethyst ring — no.

          1. Julia*

            This. They might notice if Elle Woods became their new consultant, but an amethyst is hardly a bright color for a gem stone.

          2. Red 5*

            I mean, I do have to admit I fixated on some really weird stuff when I was dealing with funeral home directors so if either of them had been women I might have noticed their jewelry. But I also 100% would not have cared one bit about it, it would have been a “my brain is not functioning properly and there is something pretty in front of me look at that, isn’t that a thing that is in front of my line of sight…” kind of thing.

            I work in a super conservative environment (dress code wise) and even I am having trouble fathoming what kind of industry/job would be so restrictive on jewelry just based on aesthetics.

      2. WellRed*

        I have zero idea what the funeral.home people wore when I met with them. And wouldn’t have cared. Why in earth is this company dictating no nail polish, minimal makeup? Frankly, I’d be worried.

        1. Kittymommy*

          Seriously. When my mom died the only thing I remember about who I met with at the funeral home is that it was a human being. I don’t even remember what gender they were, much less jewellery they were wearing!

        2. Collarbone High*

          It sounds like someone at the company has very definite ideas about how women should look. I’d be wary.

      3. Susan Sto Helit*

        I know someone who works in the legacies department of a charity, and so she does to a certain extent have rules like that – you’re meeting predominantly with people who will be dead soon (and who you want money from), or the recently bereaved (whose relatives have left you money). The overall look is “appropriate to attend the funeral of an acquaintance” at all times. She can’t, for example, wear brightly colored nail varnish in the office.

        Even she, I imagine, would still be allowed to wear an amethyst ring though.

    3. Cambridge Comma*

      It could be that they are so conventional that it never occuree to them that a wedding ring could be a colour other than silver or gold.

      1. Dove*

        Then they had better hope that none of their employees are both allergic to those metals and planning on getting married.

        1. Cambridge Comma*

          They don’t need for staff members to be actually allergic for them to realise they’ve drafted their dress code too narrowly.

        2. Allison*

          I hope they also know that rose gold is becoming popular as a color for an engagement ring band, that could complicate things as well. I don’t necessarily know if I want that myself (even though I’m a basic bish who loves rose gold), but I sure don’t want my employer to make that decision for me.

          1. Anonymosity*

            And there are all kinds of popular alternative wedding rings for men now, like the black tungsten ones, etc.

      2. Jen*

        I feel like I have seen sapphire rings on about half my friends who got engaged in the past five years. It is definitely a trend.

        1. Kathleen_A*

          My engagement ring is an emerald – but I admit to being an outlier. (And when I got married 30-some years ago, I was reeeeeeally an outlier.) I only know a couple of people who have an emerald instead of a diamond, but I definitely agree that you do see quite a few more colored stones in engagement rings these days.

          I too really wonder how in the heck this place enforces this ridiculous rule. And since when is an amethyst flashier than a diamond, anyway?

        2. Annoyed*

          Mine are sapphire and diamond because Husband is a September baby. His has an (one) anethyst in a ‘manly’ (ugh) style becsuse I am a February baby.

          Mine are platinum, his are titanium because his religion says men aren’t allowed to wear gold and platinum (Muslim).

          Something about wasting money on personal things instead of charity…I think.

      3. Antilles*

        That was my thought too – are we sure her boss actually realizes it’s a wedding ring? I’m in my mid-30’s and I’ve never personally seen a wedding ring that wasn’t silver, gold, white gold, platinum, or rubber/plastic (for safety reasons).
        Since OP said she was “taken aback and didn’t say anything”, I’m wondering if the company is just assuming it’s a personal fashion statement and no more. And if so, I think OP needs to make sure to politely-but-clearly emphasize that it’s a wedding ring.
        That puts them in the box where they can only object by directly saying they disapprove of your wedding ring…which is far enough that many people (even unreasonable ones!) would just let you be an exception to that part of the rule.

      4. Bow Ties Are Cool*

        But a lot of conventional wedding rings/sets, especially for women, contain stones as well as the metal, and the policy specifically states only gold or silver. So even a perfectly plain gold diamond solitaire wouldn’t be allowed, or a wedding ring with diamond chips, etc.

    4. KR*

      I too was taken aback by the rule. I could see not allowing rings unless they were wedding rings. I wonder if OP could put their ring on a necklace.

      1. Quoth the Raven*

        But the problem, as I understand it, is the colour (only gold and silver) and not the piece of jewellery itself, so it wouldn’t really make much of a difference.

        1. Grits McGee*

          OP could put it on a discrete gold or silver chain that’s long enough that the ring will hang below the neckline of her shirt. It would still be ridiculous, but maybe that’s something OP could propose as a compromise if her new employer still won’t allow her to wear her ring openly.

          1. Horsing Around*

            I think that sort of compromise is unnecessary to even float, because they might take her up on it on a permanent basis.
            There’s also the likelihood that for someone who never takes their wedding ring off wearing it around their neck would lack the important symbolism of wearing it on the appropriate finger has.

            1. Tiny Soprano*

              And some people can’t even take theirs off. My mother’s knuckles swell on a regular basis to the extent that often she wouldn’t be able to remove her rings at all.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Because wedding rings hold a special ‘weight’ in symbolism that other rings do not. Wedding rings usually hold a special spot in both the owner’s emotions and in society’s perception, because in general, society values long-term, stable relationships for child-raising and gives approval to the signals that a relationship is long-term and stable, like marriage.

    5. Jen*

      I would take this level of control as a serious red flag. I have worked in conservative fields (suits, haircut and color restrictions, shoe rules, etc.) but nothing this extreme. Ask yourself carefully if this is the only issue they are extremely controlling in and whether this new job is worth it.

        1. MonkeySeeMonkeyDo*

          I’ve worked several jobs where men’s hair was expected to be cut above the collar or that forbade facial hair.

    6. Thomas E*

      I work in retail and one of the jobs involves open food handling. It is the rule that the uniform requirements allow only plain gold or silver wedding rings. It’s a food hygiene requirement; other jobs within the store are much looser.

      In a office or even most retail environmentsI would be shocked by this requirement. Food handling it’s absolutely legitimate IMHO.

      1. Slartibartfast*

        That’s the exact reason why rings can be restricted in the medical field as well. It’s not unusual to have medical personnel wear their rings on a necklace.

        1. anonforthis*

          My father only started wearing his ring after he retired from active duty – if you get injured on the field, the med tech is not going to have the tiny ring saw to get your ring off and delaying treatment to try to remove a ring could mean an amputation. A lot of his colleagues only wore their wedding rings when they weren’t deployed.

      2. EPLawyer*

        Legitimate health and safety reasons for restricting jewelry, sure. My husband can’t wear his white gold wedding ring to work because he’s an electrician. It stays in my jewelry box except on his days off.

        No legitimate health and safety reason, the only reason is “we want to project this extremely conservative look” no okay.

        1. Been there, seen that, the T-Shirt doesn't fit*

          Many years ago my dad got his wedding ring stuck in a machine at work (car manufacturing) & it took half his finger off. Mom always joked that he did it on purpose because he hating wearing the ring. It sat in her jewelry box for the next 30 years. That kind of safety thing is the only reason I can see for not being allowed to wear a wedding ring.

    7. One place*

      Food manufacturing would be one industry. Plain wedding bands are generally allowed on a plant floor, but anything with stones is a hazard and wouldn’t be allowed.

      1. lost academic*

        I do a lot of auditing at plants and most of the ones I’m in, they don’t allow any metal jewelry at all. Most of us carry silicone wedding bands as a matter of course for those times.

    8. Artemesia*

      “But it is my wedding ring, not fashion jewelry; I never take it off.”

      My own wedding ring is 40 tiny faceted saphires in worked gold band — totally conservative but it doesn’t meet their requirements. No way I am not failing to wear it for this bogus reason unless I literally have no other employment choice. And if I felt compelled to take the job, I would continue looking and leave when I found a new job, letting them know that the reason I only stayed 3 mos or whatever was this absurd rule.

    9. Dragoning*

      It sounds a lot like the dress codes I’ve seen for lab work and factory work. No nail polish unless covered, no hairspray, no jewelry, etc.

      But this appears to be an office, so I am extraordinarily baffled.

    10. Nita*

      Regarding their reasoning… I can’t help noticing the link just below the post. The one about the office where employees had to wear certain clothes and line up in a certain way at the bus stop.

      1. Qosanchia*

        I thought of the same letter. A few people have mentioned “Only a wedding band” jewelry restrictions, and I kept thinking, “I guess that’s better than all jewelry must be symmetrically paired at all times”

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      Theory from upthread: In the past they got burned by someone finding the holes in the restrictive policy (“No ____”) and replaced it with a prescriptive policy (“Only ____”).

      Caveat I think is getting lost: I was a bit taken aback but did not argue. It’s possible that this could be resolved with a simple “This is my wedding ring.” I get not pushing back in the moment, but it’s possible that as wacky as this company sounds, they wouldn’t actually ban a wedding ring if they knew what it was. (Cue an employee to order a wedding ring with a large sculpture of the giant spider trying to eat Frodo.)

      1. Anonymosity*

        That would be awesome.

        I would at least say something, but if they still insist on this, I’d think twice about whether I want the job.

      2. Dr. Pepper*

        I think that theory has a lot of merit. Aside from a ludicrously micromanaging chief, this is why such rules tend to be implemented. And how many letters have we seen here where there was a problem with ONE employee not following the dress code or doing something egregious and the whole office was punished, policy handbooks re-issued, or new rules put in place? I would be willing to bet money that at some point in the past, there was an employee or two who took too many liberties with the dress code and instead of addressing the issue with them directly, the management took the wussy way out and just added stricter rules until they got to this stupid situation.

      3. Jules the 3rd*

        I have been married for 15 years with no rings on either side. The only ring I ever wear is totally a replica of the one ring, with the script. It’s gold, at least….

        I would totes wear a Shelob ring.

        1. Mad Baggins*

          I would love to see the company justify why it’s NOT OK to wear a wedding band with a colored stone, but TOTES OK to wear a symbolic replica of the Dark Lord’s malice and will to dominate all life.

  4. MommaCat*

    OP 1, I’m coming from an artistic field, but only silver and gold jewelry, along with all the other rules, seems insanely strict. I have no advice, only sympathy, and an acknowledgement that yes, they’re weird. And your ring sounds really cool.

    1. Steve*

      It seems to me that following or not following the rule won’t end up mattering. I would bet that the workplace is strict and employee-disempowering in aspects far beyond just the dress code. I suspect OP#1 won’t work there very long either way.

  5. Temperance*

    LW2: what I did us draft some emails at night, and then schedule them to send the next workday. Could that work for you? It’s a feature in Outlook. Alternately, you could save as a draft.

    LW3: I’m not following your husband’s logic, but it seems like he’s resisting emotional labor.

    1. Kj*

      I agree on LW3- husband logic is weird and I’d be worried he is dodging his share of child care duties. Does he do other forms of emotional labor, such as remembering doctor visits and scheduling the next ones? Does he partipate in managing the house or do you have to manage it all and delegate tasks to him? If he is dodging his part in the running of the household, you have a bigger issue than this one thing. I hope this is a one-off!

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        This would be where my mind would go for many men I know, but based on the OP’s letter, it’s quite speculative. Probably she would realise herself if her husband has form for weaseling out of equal contribution to the household work, so she may just be asking about workplace norms.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes — it’s definitely speculative so I’m going to ask that we not take it as a given that it’s definitely happening and that we not derail on it. Thank you!

      2. BRR*

        It’s also possible he just doesn’t like talking on the phone, which is pretty common nowadays. My husband and I both try and pawn off phone call duties to the other.

        1. MtnLaurel*

          That’s what I was thinking. My husband hates making phone calls, so I make all the calls for the household, even his medical care. He helps me greatly in other ways, though, so I’m glad to help him with this.

        2. Temperance*

          I mean sure, that’s possible, but there is kind of an elaborate leap of logic here on his part. “Your boss might think you’re lazy because you didn’t make this one phone call” is pretty ridiculous, and I’m saying this as the person who ends up making the vast majority of phone calls because I have an office and my husband is in a hotdesk setup.

        3. aett*

          My wife and I do the same thing. When it comes to email or other tasks, we are eager to help each other out, but throw in a phone call and it’s like a game of hot potato.

    2. namelesscommentator*

      Yes. And as admittedly, neither a parent or a partnered person (but as someone who works with kids), I’d be very, very wary of any daycare situation where a co-parent didn’t feel comfortable conversing with a child’s caregiver.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Yeah—I am side-eyeing OP#3’s husband, hard (apologies, OP#3). I can’t tell if he’s come up with this (convoluted, not logical) rationale because he believes it or because he doesn’t like dealing with childcare and is trying to avoid it.

      1. Observer*

        Or because he’s seen some really crazy stuff which has warped his sense of what’s normal and not. It’s unfortunately not as much as a stretch as that sounds.

        On the one hand, he may have seen a fair amount of boundary crossing parents / spouses and doesn’t want to be THAT person. On the other hand, he may have seen a fair amount of rigid gender – role stereotyping at work, where fathers do NOT take care of this stuff unless “something is wrong” and assumes that the OP’s employers are the same way.

        Are either highly common? No. But are they all that rare? Unfortunately not.

        1. Red 5*

          Yeah, I was just actually wondering if this was something he picked up from somewhere and not entirely coming from his own mind. I mean we see some truly bonkers career advice from people’s parents all the time, so maybe this is an extrapolation from something he saw with his parents, or experienced in a toxic workplace, etc.

          It’s still weird, but I’d be willing to give him a chance to explain where he got the idea from as long as he didn’t double down and insist when he heard he was wrong.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I don’t think it’s at all convoluted. For example, my husband and I have had the same joint checking and savings accounts at our bank for 25 years. Since he first set up auto bill pay, drawing on our joint checking account, I pay bills when I am signed in as him. It hiccuped a few weeks back, and I could not get the person on the phone to confirm my question about it since I don’t sound like “Bob.”

        At least he was in this time zone for that one–on another occasion a few years back the home phone was getting hourly robo calls about “Someone tried to use your ATM card in Korea!!!!” (Yes, him, on a business trip.) And they wouldn’t cease and desist on those calls at my word–the woman answering the home phone number they dialed, who can answer all the security questions, who is also on the account in question–until he stayed up to call them in US east coast business hours, from Korea, where those are the middle of the night. At my request because I was so fed up with the calls.

        So OP 3’s husband is wrong here, but it’s easy for me to see how he went astray.

        1. Tableau Wizard*

          For this reason, I often impersonate my husband on the phone and have to jump through extra verification hoops because they don’t think I sound like the name that I’m claiming to be. (They never come out and say this, but it’s clear there’s a hesitation – also there’s commonly a discomfort with the “Ma’am/Sir” response…)

          1. ket*

            I once had a cable person having this problem ask to speak with the man of the house. At that point I basically threw the phone at my husband and did wash my hands of the whole problem.

      3. That Would be a Good Band Name*

        I don’t know… I could see my husband coming up with this. He tends to think in black and white, so this is a benefit that your company offers, clearly you have to do all the setting up process. I can actually imagine that one of the first things he would say if we were to use a company provided daycare would be to ask if he would be allowed to pick up the kids. Since it would be a thing at my work, provided by my work and that’s so separate from him that he legitimately wouldn’t be sure that he could. I’d say that as far as emotional labor goes, he does more than I do so he’s definitely not the type to try to get out of anything.

    4. Cambridge Comma*

      If I saved as a draft I would be even less likely to remember to go back and send it the next day as my brain would feel like it had been taken care of.
      If the OP, like me, can’t access the delayed delivery feature outside the office, what works for me is to send myself an e-mail with the thing I need to remember in the subject line, e.g. ‘Write pass./agg. mail to Fergus re. lunch theft’. Then I take care of it in the morning. It has the added bonus of taking less time and care outside working hours than a properly formulated mail.

      1. Just Employed Here*

        Yeah, I do that.

        You have to watch out to not address that reminder email straight to Fergus, though, which is easily done since you are thinking about him anyway… X-)

        1. Carlie*

          I do that but instead of an email to myself, I put it on my calendar in my email system as an appointment for the next day. Then I get a notification in my email in the morning but no risk of accidentally sending it to anyone. Recently I’ve started getting fancy and putting the reminders in when I know I’ll have time to handle them instead of all for right when I get to work. I remember I have to contact people A and B, but B’s will take longer, so I put A in at 7:45 to knock off when I get there and put B in at 10:00 when I have a built-in break. Otherwise I’d see the reminder first thing, decide to do it later when I have time, then promptly forget about it again…

        2. Jaydee*

          But wouldn’t the most passive-aggressive way to email Fergus about lunch theft be to just cc: him on your email to yourself reminding you to send him a passive-aggressive email about his lunch theft?

      2. BRR*

        I treat my draft folder almost as a to do list but I can see thinking those tasks are done.

        I also email reminders to myself all the time. I often wonder what would happen if IT were to see my emails.

      3. Temperance*

        Ah fair enough – I keep my drafts folder empty unless I’m actively working on something, so I’ll look over and see that annoying number next to the folder and know that i have things to do, lol.

    5. Mad Baggins*

      I’m going to give OP’s husband the benefit of the doubt and say he’s probably read too many letters on AAM about spouses overstepping their boundaries with regards to their spouses’s workplace (calling the boss and asking for their spouse to have the day off, asking about healthcare policy details, etc.). Perhaps he didn’t want to get OP in trouble with her boss or make her boss think she was in a dangerous situation. I think addressing it with the husband from this angle, and thanking him for his concern and explaining how this situation is different (as Alison said, contacting a doctor covered by work health insurance vs. calling boss about work health insurance) will solve the situation nicely without making any assumptions about his contributions to the household.

    6. Jen*

      Daycare is definitely the exception. While the daycare is in my office building, the place wants the contact info.of both parents and we both had to go to the initial meeting. Daycare does not function like an office benefit, their primary concern is the safety of the kid and the ability to reach a parent, either parent, when they need to. They definitely do not care which parent is the employee (my husband even has a special building pass to.pick the kiddo up).

    7. Utoh!*

      One thing I really don’t like about Outlook’s delay delivery feature is that it will still stamp the email with the date/time it was created. I wish there was an additional option to stamp it the date/time it was actually going to be sent…KWIM?

    8. Falling Diphthong*

      I think the husband may legitimately have mixed up calling my spouse’s insurance company to talk about withholding (where they refuse to tell me anything because my voice is clearly not “Bob” even if caller ID is giving Bob’s home phone number and I can answer all Bob’s security questions) and calling them to ask about how payment is calculated for this procedure (where it’s fine because I, “Alice”, am on the insurance plan).

      He’s wrong, but sometimes you can just tell people they are wrong. Like, my initial understanding of filing the health insurance claims on the old plan was that they had to come from my husband’s office’s IP. I didn’t object to doing them, and took over that job once we figured out what my misunderstanding was–I wasn’t trying to dodge work, emotional or otherwise, but to remind him of a task that needed to get done that I thought only he could do because regulations. To this day I remind him to file his travel reimbursements, and he wants me to do this because he puts it off until ‘after this crisis’ and then forgets. And I can’t file those for him.

    9. Maggie Bee*

      Re LW2
      Or if scheduling the message isn’t an option, email yourself and then send the message to the intended recipient when you get in to work.

      I would only send midnight mail if the recipient needs the information before I will get in to work.

    1. Fergus*

      I would really like to know what employer would have such a stupid rule, so I could avoid them at all cost.

    2. Seriously?*

      There are other hazards that could make restrictions reasonable. Prongs can cause scratches or poke through, bands that have stones can be harder to keep clean in a health setting, metal can be hazardous if working with electricity, ect. But I can’t think of any reason that the color would matter for health and safety.

      1. Decima Dewey*

        If an employer is going to demand that I wear a suit, I reserve the right for it to be in pink herringbone tweed or pink boucle.

        1. AKchic*

          Okay there, Umbridge. Calm down.

          Sorry, couldn’t resist. The 9 year old and I rewatched Order of the Phoenix last night.

          1. Gotta be anon*

            That’s where my mind went, too, but that may be because I’m currently listening to the audiobook of OotP.

  6. tra la la*

    #2 Re emailing at night: in my particular job I tend to avoid doing this, because a lot of my email goes to people who are in a kind of client relationship to me, and I don’t want to signal that I’m available/accessible after a certain time of evening. But I’m the same way — I’ll remember that I need to do/say something at 10pm. When something like that pops up I’ll usually write out a draft of the email — either as an actual email, or in longhand in a notebook (because I’m really really really trying not to engage with email at all outside of working hours) so that it’s written/drafted and can just be sent when I’m at work in the morning.

    But, if you’re in a situation where email at night doesn’t raise the expectation of response (either from the people you’re mailing, or from you), then I think it’s likely not a problem.

    1. Jen*

      I think this is a good point. I do not check my email after hours, so a late night email is just in the stuff to read through in the morning. I get emails from people in Asia regularly and those are often after hours.

      As long as your employees Don’t feel pressured to respond, there is no issue.

    2. Lemon Bars*

      My personal rule is 9pm for this reason, I don’t want it to be a thing that at 2 am I can be emailed and expected to have something together by 8am when someone gets back to work. I don’t want the expectation that I am usually online working so its ok to ask me to do more work for you. I also set my Instant Messenger to Appear Away, an hour after my work time.

      1. tra la la*

        Exactly! I am teaching a course this semester and I’ve told my students that I won’t be checking email after 8pm ish on weekdays or on weekdays. I feel obligated to check in the early evenings, but after that, no. I am often in my office after my area closes, because I’ve got a heavy workload this year, but I don’t want to signal availability during that time — often because it’s my only “work” time where I don’t have to deal with tons of interruptions.

        I’ve also done the thing where I type up the draft and save it as a draft in my nonwork email (drafts are easier to search for there!) — and then cut and paste it into a work email the next day.

  7. CBE*

    #3 – your husband is just grasping for ways to get out of it. Frankly, it’s not all that uncommon for people to deal with health insurance through their husband’s employer, either. I call up the insurance company and address issues all the time!

    #4 Why SHOULD you get to take paid time off whenever you feel like it? I’m baffled that you seem to think just calling up and saying “taking an unpaid day” is just fine and dandy. It’s not. Your employer is counting on you. I mean, it sure would be nice to just give myself a paycut and three day weekends every weekend and still have 2 weeks paid vacation, but if you were the employer and someone tried that, would you be okay with that? Or let’s take it to the extreme: Keep the paid PTO and take the rest of the year off unpaid! Silly, isn’t it?
    Why would it be okay on a smaller scale?

    1. Diamond*

      Hahaha you could get several jobs, take the PTO from all of them, and take the rest of the time off! It’s genius

    2. Jen*

      I will note that unpaid leave could also create a potential benefits headache. I took some unpaid leave when I was on maternity leave, but how we worked it out is I did it in chunks so at least half my time was paid leave. This was worked out in advance with my boss and had something to do with maintaining full eligibility for everything.

    3. KES*

      Where I live, everyone legally has paid sick leave. It’s absurd to think about being forced to use PTO for this. PTO should be for relaxing away from work. We all need that for our mental health!

      1. Jesmlet*

        Different companies classify PTO in different ways, for example we have vacation days and personal days which are sick days and last minute time off, but it’s all essentially the same pool of days available. If one isn’t prone to getting sick, they should still be able to have as many days off as someone who is. Now if you’re talking about more official medical leave, that’s a whole other story.

      2. MLB*

        That only works when a company specifies vacation vs sick time. PTO is generally from one bucket to use for everything.

      3. SarahTheEntwife*

        I have separate vacation and sick leave, but when discussing benefits I’d refer to all of it as PTO because it is all, well, paid time off. I prefer having it separate so I don’t have to worry about how much vacation time I can take and still have enough time for sick leave, but plenty of companies put it all in one bucket.

      4. NotAnotherManager!*

        Sick leave is a subcategory of paid time off (PTO). Some employers still separate PTO into sick/personal leave and vacation leave; some just use one pool for both. It’s just an umbrella term for time that you’re not in the office but for which your employer still pays you.

      5. TootsNYC*

        paid sick leave may be PTO. Because PTO means “paid time off,” not “paid vacation time.”

        Lots of places lump them together.

        1. Happy Pirate*

          In Australia, legally, every full time worker has 10 days paid sick leave and 20 days paid leave. Nowhere would get away with mixing sick leave and vacation into one pool. They are for very different purposes.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      I’m baffled that you seem to think just calling up and saying “taking an unpaid day” is just fine and dandy. It’s not. Your employer is counting on you.

      To be fair, it doesn’t sound like the LW wants to do what you’re accusing her of. She mentioned being able to take sick days as unpaid instead of using her limited PTO, which isn’t baffling to me at all. And even if she just wants extra vacation time, there’s no indication in the letter that she plans to do it without warning or permission.

      1. Seriously?*

        She can ask for unpaid days for the vacation after the paid ones are used. If the employer is ok with it, then the end result is the same. The only way it makes a difference is to get around the employer having to approve it.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          I mean, it’s not likely to happen either way, because of the issues with giving unpaid time off. I’m just saying it’s not “baffling” that it occurred to her that it might be possible.

          1. Observer*

            Might be possible is one thing. What IS baffling is that they think that the employer is flat out wrong.

            1. Someone Else*

              Yeah. Everywhere I’ve ever worked had a handbook, and the handbook specified the circumstances under which they may consider approving unpaid leave, and it always required that all paid leave had been used up already. OP’s handbook may not have the exact same policy, but if they have a handbook (or written time off policy) at all, it’d be odd to me it wouldn’t mention anything about paid vs unpaid. Maybe they don’t have one at all, but it’s odd to me that OP has never encountered such a spelling-out of things. Heck, even just from watching television or movies, any workplace set plot…it’s just….I see why OP might think it’s logical from her perspective to want it to be the case, but I can’t think of any cues out in the world that would give someone the impression That Is A Thing. It sounds like super wishful thinking.

              1. Rusty Shackelford*

                But it *is* A Thing. Just not in this particular context. It’s actually not that weird if you think about hourly, part-time work, which may be the OP’s biggest or most recent frame of reference. If your entire working experience up to this point has been that you call out sick, or get someone to cover your shift because you want to do something else on a day you’re scheduled to work, or even just tell the scheduler “I know I usually work Saturdays, but I need next Saturday off,” and the only fallout is that you miss a shift’s pay… well, is it really all that bizarre to think it might also work this way at a full-time job?

                1. Someone Else*

                  To me, what you just described is a different thing than what I consider “unpaid time off”. By definition, with hourly part time work you’re not expected to be there full time. So not working next Saturday, to me, wouldn’t strike my mind as “taking an unpaid day off on Saturday”. That’s just not being scheduled for Saturday. Any day or time you’re not working is of course unpaid because you’re not working. To me I wouldn’t even think of something as “time off” unless it were a time when one were otherwise scheduled to be in the office, but since part-timers often so commonly have malleable schedules to begin with, not all “not working”=”time off”. I do see where you’re coming from, and perhaps that is where the OP got the idea from, but the way the letter was phrased in general did not give me the impression that was part of their reasoning.

      2. Browser*

        Unless she’s planning her sick days in advance, wanting to take unpaid time for them is no different than calling in one morning and saying “not coming in today, taking an unpaid day.”

    5. Dragoning*

      #4 sounds like they recently moved from retail or other part-time work, where you can simply ask for the day off and take it, but you don’t get paid.

      Or, perhaps something like my contract-leasing nonsense where I don’t get any PTO whatsoever, but I can talk with my on-site manager about “hey, I have a trip, can I can take a few days off, knowing you won’t pay for them at all?”

      1. epi*

        That is what I thought. Hourly workers in some industries routinely take unpaid time, and a request for time off can just mean “please try to schedule me on days other than these”. It’s common in retail or food service, probably anywhere that hourly employees have variable schedules.

        IME as an hourly worker with a set schedule, I needed to use PTO for time off during my normal work hours. Depending on the type of work (really whether you’re providing coverage for something), you can ask to come in early/leave later or to take it unpaid, but your boss doesn’t have to agree. I only knew people to get it approved in that situation when they were out of PTO but had an unavoidable reason to miss work.

    6. rear mech*

      Why is it silly when a large percentage of the population MUST take unpaid off because we have no PTO whatsoever? It does seem odd to me that there is no middle ground between all time off is unpaid, and all time off must be paid.

  8. Maggie*

    LW1: That’s a line in the sand to me, FWIW. I wouldn’t take my ring off for a job! What if it got lost???

    LW4: 100% standard. “I don’t want to work” quickly translates into “Great, we’ll hire someone else.” I needed unpaid time off to finish my last class of my graduate degree, “just” 7 weeks. My HR department advised me to quit with notice as they don’t rehire people who quit without leave. I quit, applied 2 weeks before I graduated, and they rehired me. Big employers don’t have time for this kind of stuff.

    1. HannaSpanna*

      While I am kinda confused by lw4 thinking, and I am also giving a bit of a side-eye to your company Maggie. I don’t get how a quitting/rehiring is cheaper/less effort than just allowing unpaid time off (for less than 2 months! To complete a degree!) But it gives you the worry that you might have not got rehired.
      (I’m aware being UK there may be different issues at play.)

      1. TootsNYC*

        It may just be the way the HR folks were gaming the company rules.

        Maybe the process for unpaid leave is kludgy, or the company has restrictions on who is eligible.

        But if HR and the manager know they really like this employee, then they just have her officially quit, and then officially rehire a “replacement” for her (i.e., her). THAT is a really common scenario–someone quits, you hire a replacement, the company lets you hire a temp to cover the gap–that’s easy to “corrupt” (not that it’s truly corrupt) to get what you want.
        And it really doesn’t cost that much, not in hard cash.
        -They don’t spend any money on recruiting, because they’re going to rehire the same employee.
        -They use the salary money to cover the temp (if they even have one).

        And they get to keep their great employee!

    2. Jesmlet*

      We are for the most part a base + commission company, and had an employee who took a ridiculous amount of unpaid time off because his commission more than covered his financial needs. Of course that placed a huge strain on the company because he was responsible for more than just his commission-earning role. We ended up changing the policy and he was essentially pushed out.

      OP, what your company is doing is so standard, I’m surprised you thought it might be illegal. What it sounds like is you want to take one offs as unpaid so you can use your PTO for a larger block of days. Regardless of their size, companies aren’t typically set up to be able to handle people just taking unpaid time off whenever they want which is why they understandably have that policy in place. Just budget your time off a little better.

    3. Smiling*

      Our company frowns upon unpaid leave only to the extent that it means you’ve exhausted all of your leave and seem to be taking more time off than usual. For example, one male employee called in sick every 3rd or 4th Monday (and always a Monday) and went through the allotted PTO quickly. Plus he took off random times during the week. Like at 10:00 he would say that he had to leave at noon for the rest of the day because of something that just came up that he HAD to do that day. It shows a lack of seriousness about the job.

      On the other hand, another employee was in the last semester of his masters program and was missing a lot of work due to studying late at night and then sleeping the next morning. We eventually arranged it so that the employee could have scheduled days off to study. It helped us to plan a schedule for work that needed to be done. Instead of being disappointed that Fergus was missing another unplanned day, we knew exactly when he would be in or out.

    4. Kenneth*

      Re LW1, don’t wear it out of the house if you’re going to the office instead of taking it off at the office. And if you insist on wearing it to work, accepting you’ll have to take it off once there, then you could stow it in a small lock box in your desk.

      Note: I’m not making any statement regarding the reasonableness of the rule, only replying to “What if it got lost?”

  9. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#4, generally speaking you have no legal (or other) right to take unpaid days, period. It’s even more uncommon to take unpaid days at your own discretion. The only area where this can be a bit gray from a legal perspective is FMLA leave, and even then, your employer can require you to exhaust your paid PTO (concurrently or consecutively) before allowing you to take additional unpaid leave.

    1. Greg NY*

      I’d argue that you have a moral right, even if not a legal one. I completely disagree with Alison saying that you are expected to be at work every working day of the year in excess of the number of allotted PTO days. PTO days are days that you are paid despite being absent. Retail and food service workers, for example, are not disallowed any days off whatsoever despite often receiving no PTO. As your tenure in an organization increases, you receive more days you can take off while still getting paid, but I don’t think any organization really thinks that a longer tenured employee is entitled to be absent more days than a shorter tenured one. The shorter tenured one just will have to take more of those days unpaid rather than paid. I don’t think an organization actually plans on someone being in the office less once they reach a certain number of years of service, they just know that they will have to pay them more.

      In fact, even those with PTO are not legally entitled to take any days off at all. They simply must be paid for the number of PTO days they are allotted and that the organization doesn’t allow them to take, because a benefit once given (even though not required by law to be given) cannot be taken away. The only difference here is monetary, it doesn’t change the fact that the LW isn’t entitled to days off as they see fit.

      I don’t think there are many well run organizations (poorly run ones are another story) that will have a big problem with unpaid time off provided that it doesn’t disrupt your workload (or the workload of colleagues you’re working closely with). That’s why unlimited PTO works very well. Many organizations in fact do not staff for a certain number of days per year and expect their employees to actually work 260 days minus their allotted number of PTO days. What happens in case of illness late in the year once your PTO is exhausted? It’s going to have to be unpaid, and the organization knows it.

      LW #4, if I were you, I’d take your PTO days first and take unpaid time after. First off, it’ll make sure you use those days and won’t have to worry about possibly losing them. Second, if your organization does have a problem with unpaid time off, you will know it and can talk to your manager about it. (Worst case scenario, you know that your organization and you do not see eye to eye and you can proceed accordingly.)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That actually isn’t correct. It’s very, very common not to be permitted to take unpaid time off, unless there are unusual circumstances in play, and most professional employers do indeed assume that you’ll be at work every day minus your vacation leave and sick leave (again except in unusual circumstances). Or they might allow a couple of days off if needed, but definitely not as a regular thing.

        1. Greg NY*

          Let me ask you something: I’ve seen 3 years of service as being a common time frame for an increase in PTO. How does a typical organization plan for someone to be out for, say, 15 days instead of 10? Their job may very well be the same in Year 3 as it is in Year 2. Work isn’t getting done by that employee for 15 days in a year instead of 10, but unless a temporary employee can be hired for that additional week, it’s going to fall on other employees. Companies may staff for Position A for 50 weeks a year when the employee is first hired, but what do they do when that number drops to 49 or 48?

          That’s why it honestly makes no sense to me. I’d imagine that taking time off (total days off in a year, not just PTO) is a product of your workload and how accommodating your colleagues are rather than how long you’ve been in your position. Employers would have to make staffing changes, on the fly, every single year in many cases as certain employees get increases in PTO if they otherwise are very hard-lined on any additional days off. That seems very complex. Isn’t it better for the organization to just say “take whatever time you want or need as long as you get your work done”?

          1. Diamond*

            I agree that increasing PTO with longer tenure doesn’t really make sense! That doesn’t happen everywhere though, I didn’t realize it was something that happens actually. In Australia you pretty much just get a standard 20-30 PTO days from the start and that doesn’t change.

            1. Cambridge Comma*

              It makes sense as a way to retain people. For me, the longer I’m in a job the better I can organise my absences and anticipate issues that may come up so if that’s true for others it could also be a factor.

            2. Birch*

              Well, it makes sense if you assume that more senior employees are more efficient workers and thus their time off doesn’t have the same impact. And as Gen points out, it’s usually more junior employees who have more customer-facing, boots-on-the-ground type roles where their constant presence is required.

          2. Engineer Woman*

            But PTO is a benefit also. So companies are providing/rewarding employees that remain employed with them with extra benefits. Kind of like a bonus.

          3. Gen*

            I don’t want to derail but I just wanted to explain how this sort of this is calculated, and yes sometimes it’s really complex. Depending on the size of the business there might be a whole computer program just for calculating day-to-day coverage. For example I worked in an emergency call centre where it’s vital to have enough staff on the phones to take calls or lives can be lost (in the same way that OPs care home needs staff to look after patients health). They had a whole system that predicted months in advance the amount of calls that would be received each day and therefore how many staff would be needed. So you have 100 staff, the computer says you need 90 on a specific day, you allow 8 to book PTO so you have wiggle room of 2 extra people in case someone has to be out because of an emergency. Sometimes there are bad periods where the system says you need all 100 staff so you have to say no to anyone booking time off (we had a blanket summer ban for example) and hope no one goes off sick but in most cases you try to always have more capacity available than you need. More senior folks with increased time off are accounted for automatically but are also usually not in the same service based roles as the majority so it has less impact. To go back to OPs care home example the majority of staff will be doing things like direct care, senior staff are likely to supervising or managing. You can hand over paperwork based things to colleagues or leave them a day or two without any impact, but you can’t leave a patient in bed all day. Which is where just taking unpaid leave because you feel like it becomes a problem- the company is planning its delivery based on the number of staff it has available, it might have some flexibility built into its calculations but there’s only so many extra people it can hire on the basis that someone might decide to take more time off than is agreed when they were hired. What if 70% of the staff decided to take Valentine’s Day off as unpaid leave on top of the people who were already authorised to take it as PTO? The company then has to find agency workers at a higher rate of pay to fill in or services go unprovided. In an office job that might just mean some forms are delayed but in other industries that could mean someone not being fed or emergency calls going unanswered.

            1. Just Employed Here*

              Thanks for explaining this! It was really interesting to get something I felt intuitively, but wasn’t sure of, all spelled out.

            2. Greg NY*

              That makes perfect sense, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m fully on board with (as much as you can) not inconveniencing your colleagues and your manager with unplanned time off, whether paid or unpaid. Yes, your employer is counting on you. But at the same time, it’s irresponsible of an employer to actually staff as though they would be in every single working day of the year minus their PTO (or vacation and sick leave) allotment. Things happen, sometimes unexpectedly. People get sick late in the year when they may have used all their leave. People end up in the hospital. People get cancer. If the employer cannot get by, or it would be difficult to, with even one person a day off beyond what was projected for, the employer is too short staffed.

              It’s perfectly reasonable for the employer to tell you that a particular day isn’t good for you to take off and they need you to come in (obviously this wouldn’t work for illness), but someone taking off an extra week or two of unpaid vacation is equivalent to someone being out an extra week or two to recover from an urgent surgery. If every FMLA leave results in the employer being short staffed, that means staffing was too lean to begin with. There needs to be a little slack in the system for these types of absences. Same goes for bad weather (even in a call center), what happens if there is a major storm? Some people won’t be able to get in.

              Someone like the LW, who wants additional time off for vacation, should be able to take it as long as they time it for a period in which they aren’t imposing an undue burden on their colleagues. If someone in their department is out on FMLA leave, they should postpone the additional vacation until that person comes back. But the employer should certainly be able to be down one person at a time beyond initial PTO projections. If employee A takes FMLA leave and comes back, and then employee B takes unpaid vacation, the impact on the department’s operations is the same.

          4. MK*

            Greg, you are overlooking the fact that, while some employees will increase in PTO, other will leave and be replaced with new employees who will have less PTO. So while person A might be gone 15 days in year 2, person B, who was gone for 20 days in year 1 has been replaced with person C who will only be gone for 10 days in year 2. Also, that person A was a newbie in year 1 and probably spent a lot of time learning the ropes and can probably do the same amount of work in 49 weeks that they did in 50 in their first year.

            1. Greg NY*

              How about the inverse situation, where an employee is trying their best but is taking a long time to learn the ropes (and needs more hand holding), should they not use their PTO even though they’re entitled to it, simply so they don’t further disrupt their department?

          5. Jen*

            It makes sense to me. I work as a trainer periodically and am involved at various levels for the first couple years. New employees are less efficient and require more intense supervision. I am far more likely a longer term employee to be able to absorb the work and not place an additional burden on the trainer. I encourage the people I am training to take their leave and learn how to prep for it, but it does require more work from me to guide them through the extra work that is prep and return from a longer absence.

            People who have been around longer are more used to their jobs and don’t need to be as closely mentored.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              Yes, yes, yes. I deal with a lot of people who are new to the workforce and still developing a sense of professional norms. The amount of time I have to invest in supervising someone a year in is probably twice that of someone who’s been here longer than a year. I absolutely get more productivity out of a longer-term employee, both in terms of their efficiency and in terms of my time required to monitor and train them.

          6. media monkey*

            from a UK perspective, most people will get a minimum of 20 days paid (statutory – although i believe they can include 9 paid public holidays in those 20 days, however most employers don’t). it’s really common to get an extra day off for each year of tenure. for example i get 30 days PTO plus 9 public holidays. i can assure you people cover for each other and work gets done!

            1. Leelee*

              It’s actually more than that – employers must give a minimum of 28 days paid holiday (otherwise known as 5.6 weeks per year), and can choose to include the 8 bank holidays within that. So a full time employee, at the barest minimum, will have 20 days holiday to take plus 8 paid bank holidays.

        2. bluepillowcase*

          It might depend on the industry, but I just started a job in a creative/design field that allows people to take up to 3 months off unpaid (they call it sabbatical even though we aren’t in academics). It’s technically per year but I’m sure taking it every year would be frowned upon. I know it has been used by higher ups before. It does have to be planned and approved in advance though, but it may be common if she’s in a certain kind of field.

          1. cryptid*

            She’s in some kind of direct care, nursing or adjacent. The people she’s responsible for don’t stop needing care because she wants a freebie.

              1. Just Employed Here*

                Where is the line between a freebie and job abandonment, then? One freebie a month? Five? Five days in a row?

                If an employer is happy to allow what the OP is expecting, great. If not, an employee normally has no standing to demand they do allow it.

              2. AcademiaNut*

                It’s the predictability that’s the problem.

                With a well run organization, they figure out how many full time equivalents (FTE) they need to staff it. Then they factor in the vacation time (a known quantity), and a buffer for sick leave and hiring/training new people (variable, but somewhat predictable based on past data) to figure out how many employees they need.

                If the vacation time is completely unknown – some people might take two weeks, others might take two months – then they don’t know how many people they need to hire. Either they’ll overstaff, ensuring they’ve got enough people to cover things but driving up operating costs, or they’ll understaff and overwork the existing employees.

                The other widely used option, of course, would be to to hire people part time with no guaranteed minimum of hours per week. They can staff flexibly, and have the added benefit of not actually needing to offer PTO or other benefits. This is not necessarily an improvement for the employees, however.

              3. MK*

                Hire more staff and offer them what work exactly? The few days a year the OP might (or might not) decide to take unpaid?

                1. WS*

                  Allowing extra unpaid time off (excluding certain days) works okay in my business, but only because we have several staff who job-share, all of them with young children at home and they prefer to work 2 or 3 days per week considering childcare costs etc. This means that when someone needs an unpaid day on occasion, there’s usually someone who can do an extra day as a one-off (and with young kids, this happens!) I’m aware this is not standard, and it’s in a country with universal healthcare, but it really works for us.

                2. boop the first*

                  And then there’s people like me who would love to work part time but keep getting sucked into these jobs that promise me a workable schedule yet stick me with 40 hours a week anyway and “phase out” the “extra” part time staff.

                  (No sick days or vacation for me, then, I guess???)

              4. cryptid*

                Sure, with the huge sums of money we all know nursing homes secretly have. Each worker costs more than just their take-home pay and the agency budgeted to have as many as they do (which is almost certainly too few), so they can’t just pull staff out of their collective butts. Don’t be asinine.

        3. CanCan*

          Being allowed to take unpaid time is actually a perk, which not many jobs offer (in my experience). My current job (gov’t) allows one lifetime period of up to 3 months, and one lifetime period of 3-12 months. But that’s lifetime, so I wouldn’t spend it unless I had a very good reason. Even then that’s subject to approval and sufficient notice.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I’m concerned that this is going far away from OP’s question, which was narrowly focused on the law/legality of their employer’s approach.

        You may also be operating from different experiences with PTO? For example, studies indicate that workers take less leave when given access to unlimited PTO. Additionally, retail and food service workers are fairly often fired for taking off time. As was emphasized in yesterday’s letter about sick leave, some workers are subjected to extremely abusive policies that limit their ability to I’ve seen similar issues in white-collar work where someone’s desire to take unpaid leave begins to significantly cost the employer (in coverage, efficiency, load distribution, etc.), even if their individual workload is being covered or isn’t suffering. I wish the data suggested otherwise in the American labor market, but I haven’t seen widespread or industry-wide exceptions to the studies mentioned, above.

        1. Greg NY*

          Yes, I definitely don’t want to derail either, although I think this is still on track with OP’s question. Work-life balance is important to me and one of the things I have asked, sometimes during an interview and sometimes when an offer is made, is the organization’s (and sometimes the particular manager’s) philosophy toward both working hours and time off. Whether it’s more quantity or more quality that’s important. I steer clear of employers that seem not to have the ability to have employees take meaningful trips, take off the appropriate amount of time for an illness, or work long days without flexibility to have a shorter day to decompress from the crunch.

          I know that there absolutely are employers who do what Alison suggested, and I’m not denying that reality, but I think that it morally shouldn’t happen. It’s not what SHOULD happen in the American workplace. There are a lot of things that happen in the American workplace that shouldn’t. That’s why I said that I feel that they have a moral right to do so, and if they find out that their employer isn’t cooperative to them doing that, the employer may not be the right fit for them.

          1. MK*

            I would agree that people have a moral right to a reasonable amount of PTO. Failing that, to a reasonable amount of time off, paid or not. They don’t have a moral right to take unpaid time off whenever they decide to.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              This is where I land. From a “moral” or ethical (or personal politics) perspective, I believe there should be generous (compensated) leave policies for all workers, in addition to a number of other protections. However, I don’t think a person has a moral right to take unlimited unpaid leave at their own discretion, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to require someone to use their PTO before turning to unpaid leave. (I think it’s less abusive to require someone to be compensated before being uncompensated.)

            2. Drago Cucina*

              Exactly. They also don’t have a moral right to create a financial liability for my company. We have separate sick and vacation pools. If an an employee leaves I’m required to pay out any unused vacation days.

              Why would I allow someone to use unlimited unpaid days instead of vacation? If someone takes 10 days throughout the year that is easily budgeted. Suddenly paying those days, in one lump sum, in addition to having to pay someone to cover shifts? It quickly becomes a hardship for my non-profit.
              (As an FYI we provide 12 paid sick days, begin at 10 paid vacation days, 3 personal days, and 11 paid holidays.)

          2. CM*

            Morally speaking, I agree that norms for U.S. employment relationships should be a lot different — employees should get more time off, healthcare shouldn’t be linked to employment, parental leave should be longer and paid, lots of things. Realistically, I understand that I cannot expect these things from a U.S. employer.

            For OP#4, I think it’s very odd that someone said the reason to require that you take PTO rather than unpaid time is to inconvenience you because you inconvenienced the employer. I would forget about that — I’m guessing that either it was somebody on a power trip, or maybe you misinterpreted. As others have said, what your workplace does is the norm. Unpaid leave usually requires special permission and you shouldn’t assume that it’s available. The workplace is set up to do staffing and payroll in certain ways and allowing people to take unpaid PTO at their discretion would be too disruptive.

            1. Rusty Shackelford*

              For OP#4, I think it’s very odd that someone said the reason to require that you take PTO rather than unpaid time is to inconvenience you because you inconvenienced the employer.

              Yeah, I can see someone saying “we don’t care that it inconveniences you, since you inconvenienced us,” and interpreting that to mean that it’s the reason, instead of a side effect that at least one member of management finds pleasing.

        2. Slartibartfast*

          Retail and food service are often part time and not on a set schedule either. So week to week, you could give someone who normally works 30 hours an extra shift to cover a day off, or shift hours around for multiple employees to cover a week off for one employee without generating over time (the company’s payroll cost remains the same). But in a care home, where everyone is full time and your unpaid day means your coworker gets called in, that means the coworker works 48 hours that week, 8 hours of overtime at time and a half, the employer’s operating cost is 4 hours of labor more than they budgeted for. As a one-time or rare occurrence, no big deal but if that happens on the regular in an industry with low profit margins and high operating costs that could be catastrophic.

          1. Liza*

            This could vary from care home to care home. From my experience in the industry, a lot of care staff do work casual or part time hours, and so covering leave does not incur additional costs in those cases. You just rota somebody on to cover, and usually people are happy to do so. I think this may be a very subjective and varied issue, and will depend on the staffing, policy and discretion of the individual employer. My former job certainly had no problem with people having unpaid days off now and again, as approval was based upon ability to cover the necessary shifts.

            1. Slartibartfast*

              Fair point, and if OP previously worked for a care home like that, it would explain the current question without it seeming so “entitled”, for lack of a better word. Thanks for the insight.

        3. Jessen*

          The big problem I’ve seen where I work now is that sick leave is strictly for when you or a family member are sick. Vacation time has to be scheduled about a month in advance. Which means there’s occasionally reasons where someone isn’t sick but really does need to take care of something that day, and it ends up as unpaid leave.

          Honestly, management still kind of threw a fit, but they pretty quickly realized that they were going to lose that battle. (The situation I’m most aware of involved an emergency vet visit.)

          1. Totally Minnie*

            I will admit that I would probably kick up a fuss if I had to take an unpaid day to stay at home and wait for the plumber. There are some very good reasons to let people use their paid time off without advanced notice.

      3. KatieZee*

        One thing I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned is that there are also considerations beyond coverage issues. At my job, people being paid is important to our revenue and finances. Folks taking unpaid time off could impact our revenue goals, since we can only bill our clients for work we actually perform. On a one-off, one day once in awhile basis it may not seem like much, but it could add up over time to a lot of lost income for the company, which in turn affects our overhead rates and so on, making us more or less competitive for future work.

    2. Typical Lurker*

      Also if employee is getting full time benefits and taking unpaid days, this may put her below full time requirements. This is how it operates at my job. You can’t just take a bunch of unpaid days.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        This is a really good point. If you’re non-exempt and your benefits hinge on you working a certain number of hours per week, unpaid leave could throw that completely out of whack.

  10. ENFP in Texas*

    “I should be allowed to just not show up for work if I feel like it with no repercussions.”

    Who thinks like this?

    1. Nursing Home CFO*

      Particularly in a nursing home where residents lives literally depend on employees being there. Even if the employer can get someone to come in last minute, it is often at an overtime or some premium rate.

      1. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

        Yeah, but I bet there is a lot of burn out in that kind of place, especially if you want to take a vacation later in the year but an unexpected illness wrecks those plans. Personally, I am at a job where I don’t accrue PTO (no sick time, no vacation time) until after a year- should I just quit if I get sick, so as not to take unpaid time off? I would hate to “steal” from my employer.

    2. Spider*

      Two of my former coworkers, and one current coworker, that’s who! The current one is tenured faculty, so nothing’s being done about him. The other two former coworkers were staff (unionized), and neither of them were fired — both were offered early medical retirement for alcoholism and mental health issues, respectively. The second one was sent to HR SEVEN TIMES for not showing up without calling out at least one day a week FOR THREE YEARS, and she still managed to not get fired for it.


  11. Drop Bear*

    LW 1: Are you sure your supervisor to be realised it was your wedding ring? You said you didn’t argue, so I’m wondering if you told actually told her what it was. If not she perhaps assumed it was just a ‘non’meaningful’ ring. If she did know, then wow!

    1. Akcipitrokulo*

      Good point! And also may reconsider if specifically spelt out “it is actually my wedfing ring”

  12. Veir*

    #1, maybe you could think about it the same way people who need to take their rings off for safety reasons do? My husband works at a factory and no jewelry whatsoever is allowed there and there are quite a few married couples, both white collar and blue collar.

    1. justcourt*

      Why? It seems pretty clear from the letter that the dress code is for aesthetics rather than safety. The LW shouldn’t have to delude herself in order to normalize her employer’s insane dress code.

      1. Tiff*

        At the same time this is the employer’s rules. If a wedding ring worn between 9-5 is more important than this paycheque that is up to the employee.

        How is this any different from employers that don’t want facial piercings and employees need to replace their piercings with plugs every day? The only focus with those policies is usually the non-conservative appearance.

        I will open this saying that I have been married for years and my wedding ring is dear to me: it is JUST a ring. Yes it is heavily symbolic and sentimental but at the end of the day it is only a piece of metal. I had a conservative job where I was asked to remove my engagement ring and only wear my wedding band… that is when I bought a necklace to hold my ring under my shirt while I worked. No big deal and really wasn’t worth losing my income to protest.

        1. Beatrice*

          Facial piercings don’t have the same level of social acceptance as wedding rings. The purpose behind the rule is important. It’s clearly not for safety reasons, because she can replace it with a different metal ring. It’s not because they don’t want the clientele she’s working with to know she’s married.

          Of course it’s the OP’s decision whether she wants to deal with the rule or forego a paycheck from this particular employer. And in this economy, there’s a good chance she has other options. If they have weird, arbitrary, controlling rules about this one thing, it’s a good bet they have others. I’d be thinking pretty hard about whether I wanted to deal with that.

        2. MLB*

          It’s different because it’s her wedding ring. Something that 99% of married people wear, and just because it doesn’t fall into their “acceptable jewelry” guideline doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be able to wear it. Specific dress codes are implemented because one person decided to push the envelope. So unless she has a working carousel popping up from her ring finger, her wedding ring should be allowed regardless of the stones that are in it.

          Not to mention, if they’re that specific about the way she dresses and the jewelry she wears, what else are they particular about that is generally acceptable by most? If a company us more worried about the clothes and jewelry I wear than the work I’m doing, it’s probably not the company I want to work for.

            1. Essess*

              found a bunch –

            2. Totally Minnie*

              I have a necklace that’s a tiny working carousel. It was a gift, so I don’t know where it came from, but it’s a thing that exists in the world.

          1. Close Bracket*

            > It’s different because it’s her wedding ring.

            Signing a piece of paper doesn’t make her jewelry better than my jewelry. I’ve had my opal nose stud for 20 years and the piercing for going on 30, which I’d like to point out is longer than most marriages. If I liked the job enough, I would replace the opal with the plain silver stud or leave it out entirely even though it has strong sentimental value to me. I won’t die without my nose ring. Married people won’t die without their wedding rings.

            1. Greh*

              Exactly. Jewelry, wedding ring or not, is jewelry. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you get special dress code exceptions.

        3. Izzy*

          I disagree very strongly. Whether it is legal for them to do so or not, a good employer should be able to employ some common sense to issues like this. I mean, a ring? A wedding ring? They’re going to make a new employee, one who they presumably value and want to bring on board, make this kind of decision over her wedding ring? It’s absurd. If the ring is so inconsequential that it would be fine for her to remove it, why does it matter if she keeps it on?

          Whether they have the right to make these rules or not, employers who engage in this type of petty because-I-say-so rules-lawyering over tiny things like the colour of a ring are not good people to work for.

          1. pleaset*


            And if it’s so important, they should have been very upfront about it earlier in the hiring process.

            1. TootsNYC*

              they were upfront about it before the job offer. They brought it up at the exact same time they discussed all the other dress-code rules. How much earlier should they bring it up?

              1. Rusty Shackelford*

                I wouldn’t say they were upfront about it *before* the job offer. The OP describes a meeting with the woman who is going to be my supervisor and we finalized things like my salary, work hours, etc. as the first time it came up. I’d be surprised if you had that kind of meeting with someone before you offered them a job.

                Honestly, if I had such a strict dress code, I’d bring it up in the interview, just like I’d bring up any other working conditions that were outside the norm.

                1. Totally Minnie*

                  Dress code at my workplace is standard business casual, but I still bring it up at interviews. It’s an important thing for some candidates to know when they’re deciding whether or not this job will be right for them.

                2. AKchic*

                  All of this.

                  I get being in an industry where clothing choices will be limited due to industry norms. But dictating my wedding rings? No. My employer does not get to dictate my personal jewelry taste, especially prior to hire and then tell me that my wedding ring(s) are unacceptable for work in an industry that has no known physical dangers keeping me from wearing said ring.

                  Having said that, I am not a flashy jewelry kind of person. The only time I wear “unusual” jewelry is for certain costumes. Certainly not at the office. This office wouldn’t like my 11 earrings though. Even if they are small white or black diamond studs.

              2. pleaset*

                “they were upfront about it before the job offer. ”

                I don’t see that – can you point that out?

      2. Veir*

        I think having a job and earning money is more important to her marriage than wearing her ring. Many people need to take off their jewelry at work, usually for safety reasons. I strongly dislike dress code policies myself and I think it’s silly but not wearing your wedding ring while at work is not that big of a deal and many people manage to do it just fine.

        1. Indie*

          Since she doesn’t work in a field where rings are removed for safety, it’s nitpicky. It won’t be the last time she’s nitpicked and there are lotsa non nitpicky fish still left in the sea. It’s not the only job there is!

    2. Jesmlet*

      I think it would be hard to think of it that way when most likely every other married employee is able to wear their rings. It’s a dumb rule, but whether or not OP confirms to it is a personal assessment of her priorities. If it were me, I’d ask one last time, then if they still hold firm, put up with it until I found a new job. If they’re this unreasonable here, I’m sure it’ll manifest elsewhere.

    3. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      While I personally think that the rules are quite onerous, I don’t get the pearl clutching. Yes, it’s a dumb requirement. But having worked in labs and food production, there are lots of people who are deeply attached to their wedding rings but manage to get through a work day without wearing a ring, or having a plain band that wouldn’t tear their gloves.

      The problem is not the ring, the problem is the company’s bizarre need for control.

    4. Ledgerman*

      Sure, if everyone had to take off their rings, that would be one thing.

      LW1, I would take Alison’s great advice here and gently push back. I had a similar situation once, except that my wedding ring is even more out of the norm – it’s a tattoo. An employer told me they had a policy of no visible tatttoos and I said okay but this is my wedding ring, and it’s very discreet (small design based on a Celtic knot). They told me they wanted me to wear a band-aid over it whenever I was on the clock.

      I really needed a job, so I said okay. Worked there about 2 days before getting a better job. They refused to pay me. My sister worked for them for a while and as you might imagine, they were terrible employers in many ways, including not paying OT and other violations.

      Point of the story is, I would side-eye any job THAT unwilling to bend on such rules. I work in public accounting now, a fairly conservative industry, and my wedding ring has never even come up in a professional context.

  13. GingerHR*

    OP2, if you don’t want to schedule, just email yourself or put a calendar reminder for the next day. I often get in to work to emails from myself… (saves me drafting a proper email at 10pm at night!).

    1. Sami*

      That’s exactly what I do. When I remember things at off-times, I am very likely to either send myself an email or text message.

    2. Marion Ravenwood*

      This is what I do (eg put a note in my Outlook calendar along the lines of ’email A about X’), although more for things like people being on vacation so the email doesn’t get lost in the shuffle when they come back, or if I need to chase people up for things when a deadline is approaching.

    3. Stan*

      You can also ask Google or Siri to add the reminder. I always seem to think of important things as I drift to sleep and struggle to remember them in the morning. Now, my last words as I drift off are often, “Okay Google, remind me to…”

  14. AudreyParker*

    OP #2 I’m always thinking of things I need to remember to do or people I need to remember to contact the next day, so will often email myself a list late at night so I get that reminder first thing in the morning. If you’re concerned about the time stamp and the email isn’t urgent, maybe you could do something similar?

  15. Greg NY*

    #5: This is why a shared calendar is so useful. Everybody can know when everybody else is scheduled to be in and out.

    1. Utoh!*

      Yes, we have a shared Vacation calendar for my department, and then a separate calendar for my team so we know where people are on any given day. It works very well for us.

      1. irene adler*

        Or reading the calendar regularly to know when folks are planning to be out.

        We have the community calendar too. Works well – except for the folks who won’t enter in their days off and those who simply will not look at it. Guess it’s more efficient to simply walk the halls asking where Moe is or if anyone has seen Shemp today.

    2. BF50*

      We have one, too. Mostly the shared calendar is used so that we don’t overlapping time off. For knowing on a day to day basis who is in our out, we block days in our outlook calendar as out of office, put an out of office reply on email, and sometimes print out a note to tack up outside our cubes. When you type it all up, it seems like overkill, but each thing takes only a couple of seconds and it is just so helpful to know when people are out and when they will be back.

    3. epi*

      Yeah, I couldn’t tell from the OP’s wording whether they have this. They said the time off was “added to the system” which seems like it is only relevant to the question if the OP’s employees had some way to see that, and didn’t use it.

      I have never worked somewhere that we had a shared calendar just for this, but there are lots of ways to handle it. I used to just send a calendar invite for my days off to the other people in my same role, who would cover me and needed to know. I made my own even that marked me busy/out of office so that I would show up as unavailable for anyone else trying to schedule meetings, without me having to predict who that might be. My current boss just wants me to email her the dates and she keeps track of it herself. As long as people are letting each other know, it probably doesn’t matter much how it gets done.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      You don’t even have to have a shared calendar. I can look at my coworkers’ calendars in outlook. I can’t see the details so I don’t know specifically what their various meetings are for, but I can see when they have time blocked off and if they are marked as “out of office.”

    5. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Shared calendars are only as useful as the people sharing them. That is, if people don’t put in their scheduled days out or never look at the calendar, that’s not particularly useful. But OP can tell the team that they have the calendar and need to use it and hopefully they will and that will solve the problem.

      1. RegBarclay*

        One can hope but I’m in a similar situation (three person department, one person won’t share when they’re off) and she just won’t use the physical calendar/Outlook calendar/IMs/anything. The worst part is she works the late shift so whoever is covering needs to stay late, and I can’t rearrange my schedule to do so without warning.

        I’d also be sure that the other employees have access to and know about the shared calendar.

  16. HRJ*

    What color is the material the stones are attached to? I would assume either silver or gold? I would point that out. Most wedding rings are not entirely silver or gold because they have some sort of stone of whatever color, whether it’s a clear diamond or something else, attached to them, but I bet they allow traditional wedding rings.

  17. LizM*

    OP#2, I’ve counseled employees not to send emails at 2 am.

    If a more senior employee is sending an email to a junior employee, it can send the message that those kind of hours are expected. Depending on the dynamic, the jr. employee probably doesn’t understand that you’re doing it for your own convienence.

    I would actually prefer if my team not even email their peers at that hour. I’ve seen that behavior normalized very quickly on a team, where other team members felt the need to respond to emails at night because they didn’t want to walk into work behind the next morning.

    When I end up writing emails late at night, I’ll save them to my drafts and send them out when I get in in the morning, or I’ll email a reminder to myself if something pops into my head in the middle of the night.

    I get that my office is unique, and our leadership team has worked really hard to help employees understand what’s actually urgent and what can wait, so I guard that understanding pretty jealously.

    1. Greg NY*

      Regardless of the people involved, if one is at a higher level than the other or if both are at the same level, isn’t it a matter of just knowing each other’s styles? I thought it’s common practice to email whenever you want (to get something out of the way quickly) but to understand that it’s unreasonable to expect a response outside of business hours unless it has explicitly been discussed beforehand? Some people would prefer to email at 11 PM and others might like 5 AM.

      1. Antilles*

        In theory, sure, it should be just “know each other’s styles”. But in reality, it far too often doesn’t end up working out that way.
        1.) As Liz mentioned, when senior managers respond late in the evening, it creates the impression that it’s expected. No matter how often your CEO might say “this is just my style because I check my phone during TV commercials at 10:30 pm, it’s not expected”, his actions are going to speak louder than words.
        2.) Among peers, it can create a kind of peer pressure – Johnny answers all emails promptly, even when it’s sent at like 5 am; should I be doing that too? Even if managers aren’t doing anything to encourage it, it’s still very easy for this perception to come about.
        3.) New employees won’t have the same personal relationship and realize the context/styles. Even if your veterans know full well that it’s just a meaningless personal preference, newbies will just come in and see the reality that lots of people email at night and assume the “don’t feel the need to check/reply emails at night” is just for show.
        It certainly can work out just fine to let people email whenever they want, but it takes real commitment and effort by management to make it stick and to avoid a subtle shift from “totally optional and unnecessary” to “well, maybe you should check a couple times just to make sure there’s no building-on-fire emergencies” and downwards from there.

    2. Ms Cappuccino*

      If someone sent me an email at 2am it wouldn’t bother me because I would be sleeping and wouldn’t even realise an email has been sent.
      I don’t understand why people would read emails as such hour unless they are night shift workers or there is some kind of massive emergency so they are expecting it.

      1. cat socks*

        I get emails at 2 AM because I work with developers that are in India. It’s common for me to log into my email in the morning and see multiple emails that were sent overnight. I guess it depends on the office culture and type of work, but emails sent at all hours are common here. People in the US aren’t expected to respond to these emails overnight. The offshore team usually stays until 10 AM EST to attend meetings and address issues with the US people.

    3. HannaSpanna*

      My workplace (education) has just introduced a specific policy that we are to avoid sending emails between 6pm and 6am to preserve work/life balance. And if we do receive any, we should not reply until the morning. (We get texts for any emergency info we made need to know.)
      My first thought was, wow what has been happening for them to put this in the staff handbook, but then felt it was nice the organisation trying to ensure no one felt obliged to be checking emails at all houts.
      I don’t know what my boss (regular late night emailer) is going to do (although she has never put any pressure on response before typical working hours.)

      1. MassMatt*

        This is being spelled out because too often there is an expectation that people should be checking their email/texts for work and be available/responding at all times. There was a huge story a couple years ago about a major employer, many employees complained about how horrible it was to work there, including that they were expected to be “on” constantly. One employee said he received an email after midnight and his boss followed up angrily 45 minutes later asking why he hadn’t responded.

        There have been many letters to AAM on this very topic, I am surprised Alison’s response was so blasé. OP are you being clear to your employees/coworkers that you don’t expect a reply until business hours? And must every thought or detail you remember be sent via email? Are you forgetting to tell people about a rescheduled meeting when you hear about it, and only remembering at 9PM? I would consider making notes to yourself for things to do the next day vs: sending emails where possible.

    4. WG*

      I’ve had several managers (C-level executives) that would email me late at night, as that’s when they were catching up on work. They made it clear to me that they didn’t expect a response outside of regular business hours. But since my normal hours meant I was in the office one or two hours earlier than them most days, I was often able to get a jump on what they needed first thing in the morning.

      It’s really dependent on each person’s workflow and ensuring expectations are appropriate. I’m sure there are workplaces that say late night emails don’t need a response but then expect a response or action anyway. My experience was not that – my managers just wanted to email at their convenience, but knew I would handle any work tasks in a reasonable time frame within the normal workday.

    5. CM*

      I agree. I understand that late-night emails don’t seem like a big deal, but they have consequences:
      – Your coworkers assume you are working and available at that hour.
      – Your coworkers wonder if they are also expected to be working and available at that hour.
      – Your coworkers may feel pressured to respond right away.
      – Your supervisor may wonder if your workload is too much for you.

      I’m in favor of saving as a draft and sending first thing in the morning, or using the send delay feature of your email client so the email isn’t sent out until the next day.

  18. Lalaith*

    I hope we get a follow-up from #1. If they’re this controlling about your appearance, I can only imagine what other things they micromanage!

    1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

      Good point. I thought at first I would love this kind of dress code because it’s clearly defined. Ambiguous rules give me a lot of anxiety in work contexts and I would definitely prefer a long list of very precise rules. But it’s true that there’s really no reasonable reason for these rules and it could be a sign of micromanagement in things that don’t matter.

    2. Chocolate Teapot*

      Wasn’t there a draconian dress code for a bank (possibly Swiss) which did the rounds on the internet a few years ago? No visible tattoos and wearing skin tone underwear were on the list.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Ok “no visible tattoos” isn’t that unusual, but skin tone underwear? What, are they regularly inspecting?

        1. Lyman for President*

          Maybe it was an issue with a colored bra showing through under a blouse? Or, maybe peaking out the front of a partially unbuttoned blouse? That’s the only possible rationale I could think of for the flesh toned underwear rule. (Those issues could also be covered by a rule that says “make sure your underwear isn’t showing”.)

          1. anonforthis*

            I’d assume it’s that they didn’t want you to be able to see someone’s underwear or bra through their clothes – I have some shirts that I don’t wear colored bras underneath because you can faintly see the color, so I wear one that matches the shirt.

        2. Anonon*

          For the melanin challenged that don’t know, a dark skinned person working at that bank could not follow the rules while wearing white or light colored clothing. Dark skinned people wear black undergarments under light clothes. If you wear anything even slightly lighter than our skin tone, it will show, and our skin tones vary so much it is nearly impossible (or economically not feasible as many of the fancy “nude for you” underwear sold is in the $40+ territory). A natural oversight by a Swiss company (I’m sure 90% of the workers were pale to very pale). But the most neutral rule should be “no visible undergarments”. That covers VPL and bra straps. Easy peasy.

        1. Tim Tam Girl*

          In context I assumed they meant it literally – as in, matching each person’s own skin tone (as closely as possible) so it didn’t show up as a contrast under their clothing. You may well be right, though.

          1. jolene*

            What’s wrong with “skin tone”? It seems entirely neutral to me and a great way to avoid saying “nude” which always in practice means a light beige – so racist. It’s great to see underwear manufacturers finally moving away from that.

            1. PM*

              “Skin tone” is a less biased phrase, but if you look at the availability of underwear at big box stores and department stores, not everyone will have an equally easy time buying underwear that matches their skin tone.

            2. Dill Pickle*

              Because they still mean that beige which is typically labeled nude and that color sure doesn’t match the actual skin tone of people of color. It assumes that the beige is the default skin tone.

              1. Jesmlet*

                If their goal is to have underwear not be visible through less opaque fabrics then they probably do mean skin tone, as in matching the employees skin tone. Now that’s a bit more difficult for those of us in the vaguely tan to dark categories than it is for white people, but I do think skin tone is a perfectly appropriate term for what they seem to be requiring.

              2. pleaset*

                “Because they still mean that beige”

                We don’t know that. If you’re making a beige crayon or beige slip, then yeah, it’s F7cked up to call it skin-tone.

                But it’s entirely possible they mean “your skin tone.” In which case it’s a great term. They coudl remove ambiguity by using “your” or some other phrase.

              3. Marlowe*

                Wait, do they? I see ‘skin tone’ foundation at Sephora advertised in every shade from ivory pink to ebony. ‘Nude’ is overwhelmingly greige, but it’s being slowly replaced by ‘skin tone’ as a blanket term, and I thought that slowly increasing inclusivity was the reason why.

              4. TootsNYC*

                It doesn’t automatically mean “beige”!

                What other term would you use if what you meant was “a bra or underpants that is close enough in color to your own skin that it won’t show through your white pants”?

                I’d use “skin tone”–your skin, that tone.
                And NO ONE will ever get an exact match. I’m Caucasian and fair without being extremely so. I have NEVER found a bra or pair of panties that’s a close match to my skin. So, get as close as you can. No colors, and no “nude/beige” if you’re a darker tone.

                Sure, it can be hard to find a browner color, but I’ve been running into them a lot.

            3. Just Employed Here*

              The term I’ve always been amused by is flesh coloured — that’s really not the colour of human flesh, you know.

        2. Yorick*

          Sure, underwear don’t come in as many skin tone shades as Rihanna’s makeup line, but they do have different shades of beige/brown/black that would come reasonably close to someone’s skin color.

        3. Anonon*

          For the melanin challenged that don’t know, a dark skinned person working at that bank could not follow the rules while wearing white or light colored clothing. Dark skinned people wear black undergarments under light clothes. If you wear anything even slightly lighter than our skin tone, it will show, and our skin tones vary so much it is nearly impossible (or economically not feasible as many of the fancy “nude for you” underwear sold is in the $40+ territory). A natural oversight by a Swiss company (I’m sure 90% of the workers were pale to very pale). But the most neutral rule should be “no visible undergarments”. That covers VPL and bra straps. Easy peasy.

      2. Close Bracket*

        Skin tone underwear is really race and gender specific. There are more nude options for women of color than there used to be, and there are some nude options for men’s trunks and briefs, but let’s face it: If you walk into a standard department store or store in the mall, all the skin tone stuff will be in the women’s department and it will beige, maybe with some dark beige options. That just sounds like a can of worms waiting to be opened.

        I kind of want the job (except that I really, really don’t) of policing the men’s tighty whities.

      3. zora*

        It was UBS (indeed a Swiss bank) that had a 44 page dress code that made the rounds in 2011. Apparently, because the backlash was so crazy, they revised or dropped the formal written dress code.

        1. Julia*

          I did a lot of business with UBS when I was in Switzerland, and the only things I remember are that they all wore matching ties and that the young woman who counted the money I paid into my office’s account had such long nails she couldn’t pick the coins off the table.

  19. Lb*

    #5, if this will work with your office I recommend a staff calendar. Everyone on the team subscribes to it, and it contains any meetings/events that pertain to everyone and if you’re going to be out on a particular day, you add that too. That way it shows up in everyone’s calendar at the same time and people are more likely to register it than if you send an email or give a verbal reminder in advance of a day off. It’s not necessarily the boss’s job to make that notification, but you should provide a clear way for your team to communicate about it.

    1. Totally Minnie*

      If you’re not going to go the shared calendar route, you can ask that employees use an out of office email reply and change their outgoing voicemail message when they’re out of the office on a day when they would ordinarily be at work.

      1. Jen*

        This is how my office operates. We can also out our schedules up on our office messenger and it displays out out of office status. It takes maybe three minutes to set up and I think should be enouraged. Op can set it as an expectation for them to do it (email explaining how to do it in Outlook and when it is required (does a half day for a dentist appointment need it at her org, for instance).

    2. media monkey*

      we put a note in all relevant people’s calendars (before the start of the working day so that it doesn’t block out meetings) that says that we will be out of the office/ working from home.

      1. Agent Diane*

        We use “all day” meetings that are marked as “free” so it sits nicely at the top.

        OP5 ~ you need to ensure your team at the least mark their own calendars with their leave etc, and train your team in checking. This is important as you want them to be raising if someone hasn’t shown up when they should be in, in case something has happened to them.

        1. cat socks*

          We use Outlook and use the “all day” meetings to let people know we are out of the office. On my individual calendar, my entire day is blocked off in purple, which is the out of office color. Blue is used for meetings. I also set an out of office reply on my email.

  20. Mark132*

    LW3 you may want to add you husband to the approved contact list ( assuming you haven’t already) and just tell him you’ve got it all setup so him contacting the daycare is not a problem. This is important if the daycare needs to contact a parent and you are unreachable for some reason. My wife is a stay at home mother so she deals with most of the doctor stuff, but I still make it a point to do some of the appts etc, so I can deal with it if my wife is unable.

    1. Sparky*

      LW3 – My employer offers onsite daycare, but it is available to anyone, even non-employees. (Employees go to the top of the wait list and we get a very slight discount) Could you check if that’s the case for you? Then it’s a complete non-issue.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        This is the case for my kids’ daycare as well, but it really doesn’t matter. Any daycare that is taking proper care of children will be willing to interact with both parents equally, including granting special access to the building to non-employee parents if necessary. Does OP’s husband think he can never do pick up or drop off (the center may be close to OP’s work, but what about picking up a sick kid, or if OP is traveling)? What about when the child gets closer to preschool age and there are parent-teacher conferences – does he think that only OP would be allowed to attend?

        One other minor point: many on-site daycare facilities are contracted to third party child care companies. So the daycare staff likely don’t even work for the same company as OP, much less have any clue who her manager is or any reason to talk to that person.

        Hopefully OP’s husband is just feeling a little awkward around the transition to daycare and isn’t used to the norms of a child care center. Once the children start he may realize how silly his position is.

  21. C*

    #4 – also sometimes if you take too many leave without pay hours it can impact your benefits.

    I previously had 2 employees that worked 69 hours every 2 weeks each (5 11 hour shifts & 2 7 hour weekend shifts but scheduled so they did not work more than 40 hours per week – so 3 11 & 1 7 then 1 7 & 2 11). In order to get benefits, they had to maintain 28 hours a week/56 hours every 2 weeks average number of hours. When they took days off (scheduled) or missed work (unscheduled), they had the option of being unpaid or using part of their vacation or personal leave balance (no sick leave but did have short term disability for longer illnesses but that did not apply in this case). Well, the one woman had scheduled various days off but they were 1 day here, 1 day there & ended up calling out a few days & had said she did not want to use the paid time since she wanted to save it for a week long vacation later. Unfortunately, her average hours dropped to like 27 & since it was under 28 hours, she lost all her benefits until she got her average hours up again. And HR did not let her go back to do the vacation retroactively or anything & there was documentation she was supposed to have 28 hours a week & we had made notes on the timecard each pay period about not using vacation etc. After that, I encouraged people to go ahead & take the hours if they had them!

    1. Greg NY*

      That’s a downside to my thinking yesterday that someone shouldn’t worry about PTO and just take unpaid time off. I’d imagine that’s more a problem with hourly workers than salaried (exempt) ones, but I guess there are pros and cons to everything, whether it’s unlimited PTO, unpaid time off, etc.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Another thing to consider is that exempt employees must be paid their salary for any week in which they work (aside from FMLA rules). So unpaid time off, if I understand correctly, would need to be taken in full week increments – you could not legally take a single unpaid day off for vacation even if you and your employer are in agreement. Letting you take an unofficial day off off because you worked really hard the previous week would be fine, though.

        But I’ll echo Alison’s comments above and say that any full time job I’ve had experience with did not have the option to forfeit salary in order to take time off whenever you felt like it – if unpaid time off was an option, it was usually something that needed to be specially arranged under unusual circumstances.

        1. Doreen*

          I think there’s an exception that allows unpaid days off if an exempt employee is absent for a full day for “personal reasons”. Not because tbey are sick, or because there isn’t any work or twice a week jury duty, only “personal reasons”

          1. fposte*

            You can deduct pay for sick days, too, as long as it’s in conjunction with an actual sick leave policy (IOW, when somebody’s burned through their sick time). There are a surprising number of exceptions to that full week thing overall.

    2. Garland not Andrews*

      Where I work, unpaid time off (leave without pay) impacts your time in grade and when you are eligible for standard pay increases or promotions.

  22. Mary*

    #1. I wonder if you can cover the ring at work with a band aid? If people ask I would be matter of fact about it and say I have my wedding ring covered as it is in a colour not suitable for work. I would hope after a while your company may prefer the ring to the band aid….

    1. Yvette*

      The problem with that (other than she should not have to) is that the band aid will leave behind and adhesive residue on the ring which can be difficult to remove.

    2. Miss Elaine e.*

      I was wondering the same thing. Also, as others have mentioned above (though not, granted, the OP), the OP’s job could be in the food or healthcare industries. If that’s the case, I wonder if an industry-specific glove would adequately cover it, especially the ring wouldn’t come off easily (mine wouldn’t).

      1. Slartibartfast*

        Stones are more likely to puncture a glove than a smooth band, and for medical jobs where you have to wear sterile gloves vs. just biohazard PPE, any sort of ring will prevent you from being able to do a proper surgical scrub before putting the sterile gloves on.

      2. WellRed*

        I don’t think so or she would have mentioned it. She states it’s a conservative industry, which I doubt is food in any way and in healthcare, this wouldn’t be unusual.

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        Given that she’s also not allowed to wear “casual shoes,” I’m pretty sure it’s neither food service nor healthcare.

      4. Clinical Social Worker*

        As someone mentioned, this wouldn’t fly in the medical industry, and most industries that require gloves for safety reasons wouldn’t allow for metal rings anyway because of safety issues (see: degloving as another reason).

        But I do like the idea of wearing gloves. OP could wear fashionable day gloves. There’s nothing in the handbook that forbides it, it seems, esp if they are in the allowed colors. Yes, it’s incredibly formal, but it’s also another option to not wearing a wedding ring.

  23. Book Badger*

    LW1: Plenty of wedding rings have “accent” stones that are sapphires or other similarly-hard, colored stones. What’s next, banning scrollwork or other unusually-banded rings? Your workplace is bizarre.

    LW2: If your work uses Gmail (or if you are allowed to reroute your work emails to Gmail, as was the case with Webmail when I used it), you can use Boomerang. It’s an add-on that lets you time out emails to send later – I often have insomnia and write emails at 2 AM, and then set them to send by themselves at 9:30 AM so I don’t forget.

    (Note: Don’t use this if your work has a strict confidentiality policy or anything else that might make it not feasible.)

    1. adam807*

      Was coming here to make the same recommendation to LW2. I often just want to get something done and out of my inbox, but don’t want people to know I’m working at odd hours to manage expectations (a lot of my role is customer service, and while I love my customers — really! — I don’t want them to think I’m available at all hours). Before Boomerang I’d draft emails and then send them in the morning.

  24. Jemima Bond*

    LW #5 – shared Outlook calendar (or similar) ftw. In my team if you have leave booked you put it on the calendar, similarly if you are out of the office on a training course or at a meeting. That means people know where you are so they can figure out if anything needs taking care of or if someone calls for you, and so they know you are ok. Similarly if someone calls in sick the person taking the call puts it on the calendar. Dead easy!

  25. Typical Lurker*

    I think your husband does not want to deal with the daycare and is making this ridiculous excuse.

  26. Mystery Bookworm*

    Did this dress code get reviewed during the interviewing process? It seems rigid enough to me that they should have been upfront about it.

    Personally, I’d write a polite e-mail pushing back and try to gauge how they respond, but ultimately it’s a judgement call. It does make me wonder if this is a place that values appearances over actual work.

  27. Typical Lurker*

    I once emailed a coworker late at night and got a jarring immediate text saying “you woke me up”. He had some kind of set up where his phone pinged when he got an email. I never did that again.

    1. Just Employed Here*

      I’d offer to show them how to turn the work email notifications/pings off at night (or any time outside of expected office hours). And then just keep emailing as needed.

      I mean, they’re likely to get some spam emails and other things coming through any time of the day or night, aren’t day?

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      That’s completely unreasonable on his part. Up to him what sound his phone makes and when.

    3. Akcipitrokulo*

      Coworker is being unreasonable… unless they are in support and on call so have to wake if they get a work email?

      1. LQ*

        Yeah, my first thought was if you’re on call or you are the person (on call or not) who will need to address emergencies, then you would really not want things that weren’t emergencies coming through. And phones aren’t smart enough yet to know what is a true emergency email vs the non emergency ones.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          I can imagine the kind of reaction I’d get from our, usually wonderful and cheerful, support guys if I woke them at 2am for something that wasn’t a major issue!

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Not your fault. I keep my work phone on Do Not Disturb between 10pm and 7am so this won’t happen. I get a lot of trade emails and notifications that come through in the middle of the night, and if I don’t want to hear them, it’s up to me to silence the thing. In fact, if I didn’t use a sleep app on my work phone, it wouldn’t be anywhere near me at bedtime.

      These devices are wonderful (most of the time), and they are designed to allow us to manage how we receive calls and notifications. Your coworker should not blame you for waking him up if he doesn’t take the time and make the effort to leave the phone in another room. Him sending you that text is like blaming the recipient of a call for a busy signal.

    5. Observer*

      That’s on him. No one needs to be pinged at night when an email comes in. Even people who need to be contacted in an emergency – if you have a phone capable of email you have a phone capable of other means of contact where you can make special allowances for the emergency contacts.

  28. Ms Cappuccino*

    1 : Are there any law in your state that protects people from discrimination on the ground of marital status ? If so you can use it.

      1. Ms Cappuccino*

        Yes if it is a wedding ring. If OP was fired/disciplined because she refused to take off her wedding ring she probably would have a case. But only if there is a law protecting people from being treated unfairly on the grounds of marital status where she lives.
        It would be a different case if it was an ordinary ring, but OP wears it because she’s married.

        1. Jen*

          This is not accurate. Banning a style of ring =/= banning a symbol of marriage or penalizing the employee based in marital status. If there was a blanket ban in wedding rings specifically while allowing all other rings you might be correct, but not with the facts presented here.

        2. Elsajeni*

          I don’t think that’s correct. If they were disallowing all wedding rings, but unmarried people could wear whatever jewelry they liked — or, for that matter, if ONLY married people were allowed to wear rings — such a law might apply. But if other people are allowed to wear their wedding rings that do meet the “gold or silver only” rule, then they’re clearly not treating the OP differently because she’s married; they’re treating her differently because she has, in their opinion, inappropriate taste in ring styles.

    1. Veir*

      Discrimination would be if they allowed wedding rings but not other rings. A ring =/= marital status, it’s just a piece of jewelry.

  29. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP5… we have a system that seems to work that may help?

    Calendars are shared.

    When you have time off, you make two entries.

    One is an appointment marked as out of office for yourself only.

    The other is a meeting to which you invite the team, marked available, whole day event, with no reminder st and a description like “Endora out all day” or “Tabitha leaving early at 2pm”.

    The first shows that you’re not available if anyone schedules it.

    The second puts an event at the top of everyone’s calendar for that day so they can easily see who is and isn’t there… and has sent them a notification when arranged.

    1. Essess*

      That’s the same system we use at my office to know who on the team is out on PTO that day in our Outlook calendars.

  30. Akcipitrokulo*

    In UK – taking unpaid time when you want here is not an option either (things like statutory maternity/parental leave or emergencies/bereavement excepted).

    Where I work now is unusual that they allow you to take up to 5 unpaid days a year, but we do have generally nicer than average benefits, and I’ve never seen it available anywhere else I’ve worked.

  31. Ms Cappuccino*

    2 : When you realise you forgot to email something and you’re afraid to forget it in the morning, can you just write a quick note that you need to do that in the morning?
    Could you do relaxing activities in the evening that would help to switch your mind off work?

    1. Morning Glory*

      The LW wrote in asking if this was a problem, not asking for ways to avoid doing it.

      I’m sure she could try to find solutions if the behavior is, in fact, a problem – in many offices, it is not.

  32. stump*

    re: #1: I know I’m not the only person getting hinky vibes from a workplace that micromanages their adult employees’ appearance to such an absurdly minute degree. Do they micromanage every little aspect of the work, or are they so focused on other arbitrary rules that they/the employees can’t even focus on the work? Granted my current employer has a perpetually relaxing their dress code, but I don’t know that I’d trust employer that cares So Much about what colors their employees wear to work to not be sucky otherwise.

    ngl, I probably wouldn’t make it through the interview stage with this company. I’ve probably got the interview suit down, but I’m guessing that multiple piercings per ear (even with earrings that are conservative… when there’s only one in each ear) and a short, bleach blond, very asymmetric haircut would probably take me immediately out of the running, no matter how qualified I might otherwise be.

    1. stump*

      Oops, “has a perpetually relaxing dress code”. That’s what I get for changing my thoughts midstream!

    2. Slartibartfast*

      That’s the bigger question:WHY can you only wear a plain band? Is there a logical reason? I don’t know that I would call it a red flag yet but it’s definitely a yellow one.

    3. stump*


      The only time I’ve seen that structured a rule over what the colors of your work clothing is at customer facing retail jobs so customers know that you’re an employee. In those cases, they either give you a uniform shirt, tell you to wear a shirt in the company colors, or give you a choice of shirt types and colors you can wear so you can slap a company issued apron over it. I’m guessing OP #1 isn’t hawking goods at a big box store, so what the heck is up here?

  33. Amy*

    Like Alison I would say something like “I absolutely support the dress code but this is my wedding ring and wearing it constantly is my sacred commitment to my spouse.” Maybe that will help them realize how wrong is their ask. If that doesn’t work what about a bandaid?

    1. Just Employed Here*

      I always think of the saying “everything before the ‘but’ is BS” when I hear something like this (or catch myself saying it). The thing is, you don’t support the dress code (such as it is), so why claim that you do?

      You can still express that you will adhere to the other aspects of the dress code.

    2. Close Bracket*

      Better do that over the phone to spare the hiring manager the necessity of hiding her eyerolls. I’d demand proof from a clergy member that amethysts specifically are sacred and then when she can’t produce it, tell her to wear a gold or silver band like everybody else with a sacred commitment band with the admonition to avoid hyperbolic language next time she doesn’t want to do something that is a condition of her employment.

  34. BossyNurse*

    OP#4-Yay, something I can contribute to! It seems from your letter that you work in healthcare, and you bring up a problem that comes up rather frequently. If you work in direct patient care, your absence causes the organization to either pay overtime to other staff members to cover you or causes the staff to work short which could impact the quality of care that the patients receive. I think most healthcare organizations have formulas that determine how many employees are needed according to the patient population, so hiring extra staff to cover unpaid absences is not an option. Insurance and Medicare are only paying so much for services! The only people getting unpaid time off at my organization are those with unfortunate life events usually associated with FMLA.

    But, stuff happens. Perhaps it would be a better plan to collaborate with your coworkers to swap shifts when you need a particular day off. You also have the benefit of knowing what you’re working every week (look at you with your fancy set schedule) so you can plan ahead for some things and save your PTO for emergencies. Best of luck!

    1. Yourethicsconfuseme*

      But what about those healthcare companies that write you up for calling in/emergencies? When you work 5 days a week, inevitable you’ll have more than two sick days or emergencies a year and any call in, usually whether someone covers you or not, is a write up. Even though PTO is used. Is that normal or totally extreme?

      1. Slartibartfast*

        Extreme. I bet it’s no coincidence they have a higher than average turnover. Find a better employer.

  35. Delta Delta*

    #1 – I’m very curious about what industry this could possibly be that it’s so conservative that you can’t wear a gemstone. I’ve seen bankers wear purple. I’ve seen lawyers wear purple. Is it client-facing? Are the clients of such sensitivity they can’t handle a purple gemstone? Do you really want to spend your life this way? OP says it’s a great job in other respects, although the dress code feels like a warning sign that it’s probably not great.

    1. Laura the Librarian*

      I was wondering this too. I used to work at a super conservative law firm, where suits were required every day , and even they didn’t go this far. My engagement and wedding bands are gold with diamonds and ruby accents. I think I would clarify with them that the ring in question is the wedding band and see what they say then.

      1. Delta Delta*

        I’m a lawyer and I can’t imagine even the stodgiest of lawyers having a problem with a wedding band with colorful gemstones. Most I know would see it, and if they said anything, would say, “that’s pretty” and that’s it.

    2. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      Based on what she’s said about the dress code, I wonder if it’s administrative staff at a prison or other secure facility-based agency. It sounds similar to what I was asked to wear when I toured a prison for work a number of years ago.

  36. Laura H.*

    Op 1: even at my job at a jewelry store, where I’m only permitted to wear their stuff on the sales floor- exceptions are made for wedding bands and watches. And that restriction exists for obvious reasons.

    Although I get that your potential employer’s restriction ties in with the conservativeness of the business, I think it’s a bit over the top… but it’s within their perogative as the company.

  37. What’s with today, today?*

    #5) I don’t think it’s your responsibility to communicate your team’s planned days off to your entire team. That said, my boss is bad about not telling anyone that someone has unexpectedly called in sick (and their duties need to be covered), and it’s maddening.

  38. Roscoe*

    #1 . Now Maybe I’m biased since I’m an unmarried guy. But this sounds perfectly acceptable. There are plenty of jobs where, for safety reasons, you aren’t allowed to wear jewelry. I understand this isn’t safety related, but my point is, its not THAT uncommon. I’ve worked places (including a certain theme park) with notoriously strict dress codes. I knew it was on me to either follow them or not work there. Unless you are in a pretty high level position, I think it would look REALLY bad to push back on this. Everyone else follows the same dress code, not sure why OP thinks they should get special treatment. Especially since this was brought up before you got hired. Had they sprung this on you your first day, I think I’d be a bit more sympathetic But as it stands, you want them to change their dress code for you. When that happens is when other people start wanting small concessions. And they would be right to be upset about not getting them when new person gets one.

    1. Izzy*

      To me it’s a matter of having respect for your employees. This is clearly not a safety issue or I’m sure the OP would have mentioned it, so the company is telling her to remove her wedding ring just because they don’t like the colour. Sure, they CAN do that, but to me it shows pettiness and a total lack of proportion that they would expect it.

      (And if it’s a case of “our company, or rules” why does it matter what other people think? If someone else asks to wear their own colourful jewellery, by this logic can’t they just say “no, our company, our rules, find a new job if you don’t like it”?

  39. Persimmons*

    LW1: Your ring is the symptom, not the problem. Do you really want to work at a place that emphasizes this draconian nonsense?

    Unless you’re using fast-moving machinery, building circuit boards, staffing an ICU, etc., there is no reason to police your jewelry– and the color of it is irrelevant in any case.

    I’d take the job, wear my ring on a necklace under my shirt, and job search like mad to get out of there ASAP.

    1. Jen*

      I wonder about the calculus. Obviously if you need the money, take the job. But if you can afford to keep searching, will taking a bad job intending to leave be a net negative over time? You will have less time to search and potentially a bad reference, but also get a foot in the door in the LW’s case, where she is trying to break into a new industry. I would have said not to go there, but I think it may be very very situation specific.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I don’t think that’s very fair to the OP. I mean, OK, that’s what you would do, and that’s your prerogative. But there are some industries that are known to be conservative, or known to have strict dress codes, that can be great places in which to have a career, and I don’t think the OP should be made to feel like she’s wrong for taking this job. This is the only thing about the dress code that gives her pause. Yes, there’s a whole lot of, “Wow, that is STRICT,” and I personally balk at the no nail polish thing, but this is a situation where the OP can weigh her personal style vs. the job/career she wants. (That said, I think the wedding ring rule is very strange and the OP would be right to push back.)

      Look– I worked at a place that has a VERY strict dress code, for lots of reasons. Walt Disney World. I even lost a very nice gold bracelet because on my first day, my manager told me I had to take it off and I stuffed it in the pocket of my uniform and forgot it. A lot of the rules seemed silly, but they were enforced, and it was still the happiest dang place on earth and a great job to have at that stage of my life. Sometimes we make trade-offs. If we don’t want to make those trade-offs, we don’t take those jobs, but we can’t take the job and then rage against the trade-offs– unless we’re willing to leave as soon as we can. Which you are, but the OP might not be.

      1. Jen*

        It is funny because I also worked for the Mouse back in the day but I still saw this as being very strict. I think partially because they explained so very clearly why we had strict rules at the theme park (has to do with Disney being a constant so they want staff to be “timeless” and not reflect styles if the time). Whereas they didn’t articulate a reason in the letter. I am always okay with rules with a reason but not strictness for the sake of it.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          The reasons for the strictness at OP’s company aren’t really important, though. And my assumption is that they gave her an overview of the rules but perhaps not why each rule is important (and honestly, even at the Mouse, why does it matter if a man has a mustache? That rule has changed, but when I was there, it was very much in effect). At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter– the rules exist, and the OP can push back about the ring, but ultimately these are the company’s rules. My point is that some companies have such rules, but that doesn’t mean they’re horrible, 1984-esque places to work in.

          1. Alton*

            The reasons for the rules might make a difference in how someone feels about them, though. For example, I would feel more comfortable having to take off jewelry for health/safety reasons than for “image” reasons, because I feel like these reasons say different things about the culture of the workplace. Not being able to wear jewelry isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but a company’s reasoning might be.

            Maybe the reason doesn’t matter to the OP, which is fine. But it’s not a bad thing to keep in mind.

      2. anonforthis*

        There’s a difference between having a very strict dress code and having a dress code that’s nonsensical. Obviously if you’re joining the Rockettes the dress code is going to be really strict because they’re supposed to all look the same. Working in an office? A very strict dress code is one thing, but not allowing someone to wear their wedding band because it has colored gems in it is SO far outside of the norm, that IMHO, it bodes really badly for the OP, and it shows a level of obsession with the employees’ appearance that borders on creepy – and this is coming from a person who, after years of managing interns and volunteers who do not understand what “business casual” means, would LOVE to have a super clear dress code.

    3. Fergus*

      from experience sometimes it’s not even worth the hassle of taking the job, because I can almost guarantee if there is not a problem, they will find one

  40. OP #5*

    Hi folks. OP #5 here. Just to clarify: when I said that things were added to the system, I meant the system through our office intranet where everything is automatically added to a shared calendar. And yes, 100% agreed that shared calendars are wonderful!

    1. Anne of Green Gables*

      Since there is already a shared calendar in place, I think using Alison’s suggestion of making sure that staff know that the expectation is that 1) they will enter their time in once it is approved and 2) if someone is missing, they check that calendar, will help. It’s a pain, but her suggestion of reminding people when you approve the time for the first few times after you let them know the expectations is also a good idea.

    2. CM*

      Is this a recurring problem? As a one-time thing, it seems like it could have been solved by just reminding Samantha in the moment that she should check the shared calendar before calling you and asking where people are.

    3. Akcipitrokulo*

      Oh – in that case, they’re being ridiculous and “did you look at the calendar?” is a perfectly reasonable response!

  41. Random thought*

    Re #2– I try not to send late night emails lest I “train” my coworkers to expect them. Be careful that you don’t create the expectation that you will be available at all hours. I will sometimes write an email and schedule a delayed send so it’s out of my hands but doesn’t arrive until the next morning. (My entire team is mindful about this, but in certain places, I’m sure people would expect 24hour access anyway)

    1. Delta Delta*

      I used to work for someone who sent emails at all hours of the night and on weekends. I got to the point where on Sundays if I checked my email I would feel physically sick because I knew there’d be some email from him, and his expectation was that people would respond right away.

    2. Alton*

      I agree. I’m a non-exempt employee who works consistent hours in a field where a lot of people are exempt and work more flexible hours, and while people are usually very understanding about that, setting boundaries has been awkward occasionally.

      Also, this is definitely a “me” thing and not something I expect others to anticipate or cater to, but I find that it’s a lot harder for me to unplug from work when I know I’m getting a lot of e-mails at night and on the weekend, even if I’m not expected to respond right away.

  42. Kitty*

    In my previous role at a large company, each team kept a calendar spreadsheet on a shared drive that showed travel days, vacation days, holidays. It was helpful in understanding where we stood on staffing on specific days. We are all salary and vacation usage did not need to be approved unless it was a special situation. Data was treated as need to know and was only shared within the teams.

  43. There is a Life Outside the Library*

    As others have mentioned, a shared calendar for sick/vacation/out of office time is always a great idea. There are still going to be people who don’t check it and are surprised…but that’s how it goes.

    1. Oxford Comma*

      We’ve got shared calendaring here, but there are a handful of people who can’t seem to figure out Outlook and because of that, we’re expected to post the information multiple places–on whiteboards and stuff. I find it really, really frustrating.

      1. irene adler*

        I work with someone who actually intimated to me that it was beneath her to have to check an on-line calendar for employee availability.

        1. There is a Life Outside the Library*

          That’s what happened to us at my previous job- and she was the one who insisted on creating it! Omg, people.

        2. Akcipitrokulo*

          OK… everyone, up to our CEO, uses the calendar. Because it works. Anyone who thinks it’s beneath them has a very strange set of priorities!

  44. Not Really a Waitress*

    Op #1. I have read a lot of posts with suggestions but ultimately i think you need to ask yourself 2 questions. If the wedding band policy is not related to compliance or safety issues, is this a hill you want to die on and to help you answer that question, is this a company you want to work for – a culture you want to work in?

    Having worked in both manufacturing and food service, my role was required to conduct onboarding and often explain our jewelry policy. I have had people walk out in both fields because their spouse would be mad if they took off their wedding band (in manufacturing this can be a safety issue but the policy also varied by site and department. One thing that was consistent was no titanium bands) or I am just stiffling their individuality by asking them to remove a hooped nose piercing. In those fields these were pretty common restrictions and in place for the employees safety as well as the customers.

      1. Not Really a Waitress*

        If you break your finger (or hand) they are very difficult to cut off. You need a power cutter. Which presents some new challenges when trying to remove ring but not finger.

        1. anonforthis*

          Active duty soldiers also can’t wear them, for the same reasons. If you get a severe hand injury in the field, you’re looking at an amputation.

        2. LadyPhoenix*

          Mom broke her finger with the wedding band. It was awkward getting the thing cut off.

          Dad then went out and bought her a new one plus an additional ring that goes with it.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        It’s too difficult to cut it off if an accident were to occur. Titanium is a very tough material.

      3. Lady K-Dub*

        Warning gross imagery: For titanium or others like it, the only choice is to cut the entire finger off unless specialized cutters available. With softer metals more options are available because non-commercial cutters are more readily available. The timeliness of getting the restricted ring off is usually more important than the actual injury. Same applies for steel toe shoes. Most people not in the that setting think I should always wear in case something falls on my foot. Sometimes the better safety precaution is not having steel toes because you can’t cut through the metal in time to save the foot from the blood deficit of the pinched steel.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      Speaking of your user name, I think the fact that they can’t wear colored nail polish aligns with the idea that the jewelry policy isn’t about compliance or safety.

    2. Fergus*

      when they say no rings at all for anyone because the machinery can cause a loss of a finger I can swallow. A wedding band because they don’t like the style a whole different thing.

    3. Lady K-Dub*

      OP #1: TL;DR – You should stay and comply even though it is a sexist policy by Lady K-Dub standards. I know conundrum.

      I agree with Not Really a Waitress’s second question; does this culture fit within my core personal values? Only you are able to answer this. But you do need to figure this out because you will be reminded every day if you can comply.

      First I would not quit without another job offer at this time and I’ll explain that in a minute. But really ponder if this is the right culture and get more information from the on-boarder or your supervisor. Ask for clarification on the policy and why this is an important part of the culture’s uniform. Also ask if there is a woman** within the company that you are able to talk to about how they adapted their non-compliant wedding ring. Optional question would be when this policy was added. You shouldn’t feel awkward asking for follow up questions because I’m positive it has been asked by new hires before. If you feel awkward or questions were asked and answered try to find a person on your team that could discuss your concerns with you.

      ** [I say to ask a woman not because I assumed your gender but I believe this is an incredibly sexist policy with the gender impacted the most being female.]

      However, my best advice from your description is to think of the entire dress code as a uniform for your work day, wedding ring included. You should comply with the policy for at least the short term and there are several solid suggestions on how to comply with the policy. For why you shouldn’t quit right away, your letter expressed you like everything about the company, culture, conservative industry and benefits except for this one policy. So this is a harsh question but necessary: Why are you connecting so much of your marriage, emotions and love for your husband to an object? If you lost your ring would it diminish your feelings of your marriage? Or would you mourn the loss of the ring and replace it? Again no one can answer these questions for you; you are the one that has to go to the job each and every day.

      My compliance suggestion is based off of my daily habit. My background is blue collar family, mechanical engineer and now I am COO for a mid-size manufacturing company. I have worked with union, nonunion, on the shop floor and in the office and almost always the only female. I still handle hardened steel almost everyday so I have three rings, my engagement ring (black diamond solitaire), simple white gold band to go with engagement ring and then a diamond eternity band. Part of my morning process is I log in and take my engagement ring and/or eternity band off and place them on my desk in an extremely girly ring dish. The simple band stays on all day and if it gets damaged or dirty I can easily clean it or replace it. In your case get a compliant ring (could the ring be expensed as work related?) and the most audacious ring dish that contrasts as much as you possibly can with your office setting and place it prominently on your desk. The first and last thing you do at work is switch rings. It might even turn into a positive situation if you think about as a uniform, it becomes a natural boundary. I work when work ring is on, when wedding ring is on I am on personal time. Good luck and please update!

      1. Close Bracket*

        Hardly sexist. Women are not the only people who wear colored rings. There are plenty of men’s wedding bands and pinky rings that would also be banned bc they are not gold or silver.

  45. Gyre*


    I work, if not in the most permissive and employee-friendly legal environment of the world, then certainly one of the top ten. We get a lot of PTO, super-reasonable flexibility and sickness rules, stuff dreams.

    No one gets to take random days off unpaid. If you jump through a lot of hoops, you are sometimes allowed to take whole months off, unpaid, with limited guarrantees on what you will be coming back to. It is just not something a company can work with, reasonably, to have as an option.

  46. na*

    #2: If you are concerned about emails showing a sent time after hours, there is almost certainly a way for you to schedule the email to send during normal business hours. I utilize this feature often, though primarily to make sure certain emails get sent when they have the highest chance of getting noticed.

  47. Rusty Shackelford*

    Regarding #3… I knew someone who was convinced you aren’t allowed to take any dealer advertising off your car (license plate frame, dealer badge or sticker, etc.) until it’s paid for. My point being, I know we like to jump to nefarious reasons and worst case scenarios about motives, but sometimes people just get weird ideas about what’s “allowed.”

    1. bobbie*

      I bet a salesperson told them that once and it makes me chuckle to think of the conversation! When in reality you should have bank or credit union stickers on the car if it were true.

  48. idi01*

    #3 – This is why I told my wife I can’t do any work in the house or the yard. I requested an orthopedic chair at work, and my employer would wonder why I needed it if I could still do physical labor at home.

  49. Amtelope*

    In my experience in an office job, being allowed to take unpaid time off is rare. We’ve approved it for people who have run out of PTO because of medical issues, but you’re expected to use your PTO first. And under most circumstances, I think your PTO represents the number of days the company expects you to be out of the office. If you’re regularly going beyond that, it’s a problem.

    1. fposte*

      Yes, I think Alison explained this really well too. I’ve heard this question before and I think with people new to the workforce they don’t always realize that it’s not just about you getting paid for the hours, it’s about the workplace needing the coverage they hired you for.

    2. Essess*

      Also, many companies pay out unpaid PTO if you leave, so it’s not fair to be able to have your days off (even if unpaid) then still have all your allotted vacation time able to be paid out. Also, unpaid time off (unless covered by FMLA) could be used against you for discipline actions for excessive absenteeism.

  50. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I couldn’t wear my wedding ring either in such a place! I’m really active and forgetful, and I fidget, so I don’t have an expensive gold or silver ring, but rather a nice stainless steel fidget ring. The movable part that I can play with and gives it the nice “look” is an iridescent rainbow-type gradient.

    Still looks fairly formal, but not within the arbitrary “rules.” But no, I’m not taking it off.

  51. Health Insurance Nerd*

    Unless I was desperate, being told I couldn’t wear my wedding ring at work would be an absolute non-starter for me (and to be clear, I’m talking about in an office environment where there are no safety issues related to the wearing of certain types of jewelry).

    1. Kat in VA*

      If they’re that rigid and controlling about what type of jewelry you can wear (barring something with 6″ long spikes or belly chains or whatever), what other places do they have unreasonable rigidity? I’m right there with you – that would be a complete “thanks but no thanks” from me.

  52. Bones*

    OP1- Any company that would have such unreasonable dress codes is going to have a lot of other ridiculous, micro-manage-y policies. If you can afford to quit and search for another job, I’d say do it.

  53. RachelTW*

    Related to OP 4’s question:

    What if I am being forced to leave work by my employer instead of voluntarily? We have had a couple instances at my current job where the internet was down or the power was out and we were unable to work, so they said we had to leave and must enter the remaining hours in our workday as PTO if we had PTO available. We were not told we were not permitted to leave and take the time unpaid. I don’t believe this is illegal (though I would love for someone to tell me it is), but it sure feels crummy. For the record, I live in the US, but not a particularly worker friendly state.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Were you exempt or non-exempt? If you were exempt, this sounds like it would be comparable to a closure due to bad weather. Alison has said that in that case, you have to be paid if you worked any of that week, but they can require you to take it out of PTO if you have any available. I don’t remember how it would work for non-exempt employees.

    2. doingmyjob*

      it’s unfortunate but common. Some employers will cover the time as an “act of god” but they aren’t required to and many do require you to take your own PTO to get paid. In our organization, we have started letting people use sick time for these kinds of situations–weather, or situations where the internet is down or the buildings are not suitable (no water or HVAC, other types of emergencies) It helps a bit since most people have more sick than vacation time–the CEO has to declare it a situation where sick time can be used, but he’s pretty good about it.

      1. RachelTW*

        In this case, I don’t care as much about being paid, as much as I care about not having that PTO down the road when I want to use it for a vacation or being sick or a family thing (we have one bucket of PTO). It makes it difficult to plan vacation if I don’t know if I will have the time when I need it if I am made to use my PTO for circumstances outside my control entirely. So I would rather not get paid for a day or two here or there and know that I am able to plan my vacation with reasonable certainty. There’s also just something galling about being forced to use a benefit when that may mean I am unable to use it as expected/desired at a later date.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          Yeah, that’s a risk. But this is a totally normal way to do things and it’s absolutely normal for your employers to insist that you use PTO before you resort to unpaid time off. And it doesn’t negate the benefit–you still have the option of getting paid at least for awhile if you get sick and need a little longer to recover.

    3. AnonNurse*

      That kind of policy stinks. My employer does require the use of PTO for sick/time-off if there is any in the bank. If you are sick and there is no PTO, then it is unpaid. If you have no PTO and want a day off, it won’t be approved until there is more PTO. That being said, I work in an industry where sometimes people are sent home early or called off from a shift. When that happens, my employer gives the option to take the time as unpaid or to use PTO, which I think is completely reasonable and I really appreciate. Most times, if it’s just a few hours, I would rather it be unpaid and would hate to burn PTO for that.

      1. RachelTW*

        If I am asking for the time off, I totally get needing to use PTO (and only PTO), but if I am being told to take the time off (and not in the sense of “You are sick, please go home”), I do wish I had the option to take it unpaid.

    4. Bea*

      The only law governing PTO is if you’re approved and go on paid leave, when you return they can’t go “LOL actually we don’t do paid time off anymore, sorry.”

      If you’re exempt, you work any time in a day, it’s paid. If you take a full day, it can be considered unpaid if you don’t use PTO.

      It’s a crapshoot about who is going to let you choose PTO or unpaid for a short shift in terms of weather or work load. I’ve always let people choose when I’m leading payroll.

      If you’re union, often a CBA includes a minimum shift clause. You’re paid and not docked PTO for X hours, even if you’re sent home after only Y hours.

      1. Lawgurl06*

        Some states actually have laws that expand PTO way beyond this including when and how you can get paid for unused vacation time and even that you can’t have “use it or lose it” policies.

    5. Observer*

      It sounds legal to me, too. But definitely crummy. I can see why they do it. But it’s still unfairly penalizing staff for something that is the employer’s responsibility.

  54. Lentils*

    Hah, I thought for a half-second OP #1’s issue was going to be that their wedding ring was like mine, which *literally* has a rainbow of gems in it. I’m kind of always aware that people might be weird because, well, I did go out of my way to find a gay ring (my wife’s is from the same company and a little fancier-looking, but same rainbow).

    Anyway, I would absolutely die on that hill. Good luck OP.

    1. Quinley*

      You know what though? For me, that *does* put the weirdness of this policy in another context. There was definitely something about it that seemed off when I initially read it, and going back and re-reading it, there are some flags there I didn’t see before. I’m probably projecting a bit though.

  55. doingmyjob*

    #1 I think you will find this is only the tip of the iceberg. I suspect that there is a rule book the size of the Congressional Record… They need robots, not people.

    #4 I hope by the time you read my post you’ve been convinced– allowing a lot of unpaid time off isn’t the norm in a professional workplace environment. In fact many companies consider taking a lot of unpaid leave as a disciplinary matter. If you want that level of flexibility, you’ll need to find a different employer or industry.

  56. CM*

    For #1, I wouldn’t follow the suggested script and say “it’s not an option” to remove the ring — to me that sounds like you’re threatening to quit over this. But I agree with emphasizing that this is your wedding ring and you never take it off.

      1. Observer*

        The EEOC has no place here. As stupid as the policy is, it is totally not related to her marital status, thus it can’t be seen as legal discrimination.

        Stupid and unreasonable =/= illegal.

        1. Fergus*

          if they are directing this to only females of the company then the EEOC would have a standing. It would be up to the EEOC to decide.

          1. voyager1*

            It doesn’t sound like this is directed at just females though. I do wonder if this is a prison or maybe some other type of Law Enforcement type job.

          2. Observer*

            Except that there is no reason to believe that this is only being directed at women. In fact, given how the OP describes this, I’d be shocked that women are being required to be more discreet with their jewelry than the men are.

  57. AnonNurse*

    #4 – this is completely reasonable and extremely common in the U.S. Most employers are figuring payroll costs, assigning amount of labor that can be afforded, and assigning PTO to individual employees based on an assumed number of hours worked. Also, many times, insurance is based on an assumed number of hours worked and the employer portion is based on that number. For example, someone working 36 hours per week would pay less for insurance than someone working 24 hours per week because the employer will pay a larger portion of the full time employee than the part time employee.

    When people take unpaid time off, unless for an emergency or something like FMLA, that results in a few things. First, that causes the amount of hours being regularly worked to go down. Second, it can result in people who receive 4 weeks of PTO a year actually taking 6 weeks off, which results in shortstaffing. Third, when others who cannot afford to take unpaid time off see people taking more time than them, it can breed resentment and hard feelings to the employee and to the employer for allowing it. Recently my employer starting more strictly enforcing policies in which people had to use PTO when taking time off unless it was due to a lack of work available. If that is the case, the employee can choose whether or not to use PTO or be off unpaid. Some people were mad but the policy had been there for years, it just wasn’t enforced. The problem was, people would want to take off and have someone cover their shift, not take PTO, but then use it another day they wanted off. Again, it was resulting in people feeling like they were shorted because they couldn’t do the same thing.

    While I understand wanting to take a day off here or there unpaid, the PTO is there to be used for any days off, whether planned or unplanned, and most employers expect it to be used as such.

  58. Legalchef*

    For #1, do the stones go all the way around the band? Or are they just on the top and the part of the band that faces the inside by palm is plain? If the latter, and you really want this job, maybe you can just turn it around so the colored part doesn’t face out during the work day.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Or wear the amethyst ring on a chain under her blouse (where it can’t be seen) and get a plain ring as a stand-in.

      Most of us compromise our looks for work, anyway, so not liking the appearance of silver or gold jewelry is kind of a nonstarter. Not wanting to take it off could be satisfied by wearing it as a hidden pendant.

      Personally, I wouldn’t take this job because it sounds waaay controlling and absurd, but if I needed it badly enough, yeah, I’d find a workaround.

  59. Bea*

    #4 The “we want to inconvenience you for inconveniencing us” is a terrible excuse.

    Instead this procedure is usually in place to avoid the extra work on payroll administration. If I have to check with every person to see if they want to use PTO or do unpaid leave, it’s extra time and effort. It means the person fielding your call in has to do more work, etc.

    Your employer has a stinky attitude about it.

    We allow people to choose but it’s a small business. You have to fill out the form when you return and check the box. Often people are terrible about even knowing what their PTO bank has. So it still adds more delight for payroll when you have to explain prior that “actually you’re out…so that’s unpaid time.”

    1. Dust Bunny*

      “I’ve been told in the past that this is to inconvenience the employee because the facility has been inconvenienced by our call-in.”

      The thing is, the LW did not say s/he’d been told this *by the employer*. S/he might just as easily have been told this by another, equally-clueless, employee (because, frankly, if the LW is this unacquainted with workplace norms and willing to entertain far-fetched scenarios, it’s not a stretch to think the coworkers might also be).

      1. Bea*

        Why is everyone treating this OP so rudely? I thought the rule was to be kind here. Calling her far fetched is ridiculous and this is uncalled for.

        She’s confused and upset, most people are not as well versed in PTO and other benefits. I’m sorry everyone isn’t as with it and sharp as you are. Jesus Christ, you’re insufferable.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I called her unacquainted with workplace norms, which was pretty much an alternate phrasing of the initial reply. And she did not specify the source of this assertion, so we don’t know that she got it from her bosses or if it was a rumor, do we? So did she just accept that or did she actually clarify with her employers?

          But the point of single-bucket PTO is to also cover when you’re sick. That’s why it’s “paid time off” and not designated “vacation time”. And if you save it all for vacation and then get sick, you don’t get paid just the same. But it’s normal for that to work that way and doesn’t require much sophistication to understand it.

    2. Observer*

      Except that we actually don’t know who told the OP that, and what they actually told them. And, given the OP’s attitude about the matter, it’s not a stretch to say that they misunderstood / were told this by someone who doesn’t understand the reasons themselves.

  60. Lia*

    #1 – I used to work for a jewelry company, and their rule was that ONLY the jewelry they sold could be worn while on the clock. The only exceptions were for plain wedding band rings, plain gold or silver stud or hoop earrings for new piercings (interestingly, we had no rules on the numbers of piercings, just that you had to wear Company’s jewelry in them once they healed), and religious jewelry. They did provide us with a hefty discount plus plenty of free product. Thus, I did not wear my engagement ring on the job, but my band was allowed.

    Also, a friend of mine worked for a very well-known jeweler, and their dress code sounds suspiciously similar to OP1. She was limited to certain colors/patterns, very subtle makeup, etc., and hers was a back-office job. She took the job anyway as it paid quite well, but the dress code was a bit stifling.

    1. Former Retail Manager*

      That’s very interesting….a jeweler isn’t a company I would expect to have such a policy for a back office job. Customer facing, I could understand though. I could see these rules in a very conservative religious organization, perhaps. These rules would be a deal breaker for me. I hope the compensation is worth is for OP.

      1. Lia*

        I’m pretty sure it was because the front of store folks had the same dress code, so it was more about consistency.

  61. Rebecca*

    #1 – I really hope this wasn’t sprung on the OP on the day the offer was made. I work in a very relaxed office, not customer facing, and I work just via email, phone, or Go To Meeting/Skype (no video). We rarely get visitors, and we’re asked to wear “dress clothes” on those rare occasions. So for me to go to a final interview after being offered the job and be told I can only wear 2″ heels or lower, but not casual shoes, only certain clothing colors, no nail polish, etc, I’d be a bit taken aback.

    I wonder why this wasn’t brought up when the OP interviewed? I’m still very curious as to what kind of environment this is. It appears the OP has already accepted the job, so this is one of those Columbo moments “oh, just one more thing”. Initially, I wondered why they’d wait until the last minute to spring this on the OP, but they’ve probably learned bringing it up early meant many more interviews as people probably aren’t willing to submit to this.

    **says the person sitting at her desk wearing multiple non-compliant rings on one hand, nail polish in my favorite NCAA football team’s colors and an accent nail with same team’s logo decals applied, sleeveless shirt – shorts – you get the picture :)

      1. Gotta be anon*

        I’ve had at least half a dozen job interviews in my adult life that included dress code or grooming being mentioned, both in the part-time retailish realm (Trader Joe’s, Disney Store) and in office settings.

  62. Matilda Jefferies*

    #3, my husband has all kinds of Reasons why he can’t possibly make routine phone calls. Most of them boil down to “I don’t wanna!”

    (There may also be a side helping of “this is women’s work” going on, but I’m not going down that road with him, because ultimately it’s more trouble than its worth for me.)

    Tell him to just make the damn call already – if the day care can’t talk to him for whatever reason, they’ll let him know and you can deal with it then. Good luck!

  63. saradesel*

    Re: LW1

    I work in the jewelry industry and know of a very large jewelry manufacturer that has significant restrictions on all metal in the facility. Employees are not allowed to bring in any metal at all. This includes upper management. Every human entering or exiting the facility goes through a metal detector. If your purse has metal zippers, or your coat has metal buttons, it’s not allowed.

    Employees are also only allowed to wear plain wedding bands – all other jewelry is not allowed in the facility. Even for visitors! (There’s a secure safe where they allow visitors to store jewelry.)

    As I understand, there are a few reasons for this:
    1) it’s a jewelry manufacturing company with 1500+ employees, so it would be pretty easy to walk out wearing jewelry that you stole and not get noticed if everyone was allowed to wear jewelry
    2) not allowing metal in or out also helps keep the place secure – there are ridiculously high dollar value items in the facility and forcing everyone to go through the scan helps keep weapons out

    At first, there was a lot of employee pushback on this, but apparently once everyone figured out how much safer the building would be, people were cool with it.

    1. anonforthis*

      How do you find clothing that doesn’t have metal zippers or buttons?? Or is it clothing that would set off the detector?

  64. Dust Bunny*

    LW1 I wouldn’t take this job simply because this workplace sounds controlling and absurd, but it sounds like you’re going to have to choose: Your ring or the job.

    Personally, I’d get a plain stand-in ring and wear the real ring on a long chain under my blouse (where I’m still wearing it, of a sort, but it can’t be seen). I mean, you can push back, but if there’s a chance they won’t compromise . . . how badly do you need this job?

  65. KimberlyR*

    LW4: My employer seems to be pretty lax about this-I am an hourly worker and when I have to leave for a couple hours (or come in late/leave early), I don’t typically use PTO and they have never said anything. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know I was supposed to! I came from a time clock environment to one where I manage my own timesheets and I didn’t know I should be using my PTO for those little chunks of time. But I also don’t abuse it. If I am gone longer than a couple hours, or all day, I do use my PTO. I think different companies will have different policies regarding how strictly they’ll monitor this sort of thing but you also need to make sure you don’t abuse it.

    1. Rebecca*

      Same here – I have some routine medical appointments coming up, so I’m going to come in a half hour early a few days next week to make up the short time I’m out – will still get my 40 hours in, just not in my allotted stop. My manager allows this and people rarely take advantage. 99% of the time I’m able to make up my time, and even if I’m an hour or two short once a year or so, she doesn’t make me take PTO.

      1. Bea*

        This is a common office setup when you’re not in a hugely butts in seat position. It’s just flexing your time.

        Sadly shift work is a different beast. A nursing facility has to have x staff for y patients (like for daycare). So you can’t do much more than a 5 or 10 minute flex and then often the last shift can’t leave until you get someone in the door and on the floor :(

  66. Lisa Simpson*

    OP 2:
    I highly recommend, instead of sending emails to others, send them to yourself, or make a calendar reminder, or write emails and put them in drafts and send them in the morning.

    It’s a cultural thing, if you start sending emails late at night, other people will too, thinking they should be too. Then the whole office starts checking email at all times of day and you’re never off the clock. You shouldn’t send emails late at night to protect people’s personal time and protect a culture of non work time.

    I have very unusual hours, where I’m often off during the week and working on weekends or evenings. The majority of my office works a typical 9-5. So I put all of the emails I write over the weekend in drafts and then make a calendar invite to send them at 9 am the following Monday. That way, I’m not creating a “norm” of people should be on email all hours.

  67. Dust Bunny*

    LW1: I wouldn’t take this job because the company sounds controlling and absurd. But I guess it comes down to how badly do you need this job?

    Personally, I would get a plain stand-in ring and wear the real ring on a chain under my blouse, so I would still be wearing it of a sort but it couldn’t be seen. But if you can afford to do so, maybe keep looking for employment elsewhere.

    I wear a lot of things for work that I don’t love. Most people compromise quite a bit on their preferred look when they’re at work. The fact that you don’t particularly care for silver or gold jewelry is pretty trivial; they’re not asking you to wear it all the time, just at work. I wear a lot of turtlenecks. I don’t love turtlenecks, but my office is cold and they look good enough and they make it easy to get dressed. I leave the nose ring at home because it’s a little too far out for our usual set of patrons. And then I change clothes when I get home.

  68. Yorkshire Rose*

    Regarding late night emails, it really depends on your office norms/industry. If people email at all hours, and others understand that they don’t need to be available at all hours (if applicable to your office), then it should be fine if you are non-exempt.

    With people working remotely all over the world, I’m not really concerned about someone’s time stamp on an email. I know an attorney who has a personal schedule such that he is naturally awake at 2 a.m., and he ends up working from 2 – 4 a.m. every day. It was expected that we were going to get into the office the next day and find work product from him timestamped between 2 and 4 a.m.

  69. nnn*

    Framing for #3’s husband: calling your spouse’s employer to set up insurance for your spouse would look bad because you’re doing it on behalf of your spouse, who’s supposed to be a competent adult (especially in the eyes of the employer!)

    But contacting the daycare isn’t something you’re doing on behalf of your spouse, it’s something you’re doing on behalf of your children, who are too little to handle it themselves.

  70. TotesMaGoats*

    In regards to OP#1 there is a hospital in the DMV area run by a particular protestant denomination. Great hospital but the denominational “rules” around dress for employees sounds strict like this. I knew a nurse that worked there. Only wedding band, no other rings. Watch only. “Simple” earrings. No tattoos. Conservative attire. No nail polish except clear. Some of that makes sense for nurses and front line medical care folks. The marketing person, not so much.

    1. Bea*

      Often it’s due to not wanting a patchy dress code to enforce. “Office can but nurses can’t” starts a divide as well. You get the “Nancy wears hoops, why can’t I?” pushback. Even if it’s a simple “Nancy doesn’t work with patients, you do. You could get them ripped out ” explanation still leads to discontent over time.

      You should have seen the steam rising when they went to standardised solid color uniforms and no fun scrubs at one of my friend’s old employers. Holy moly.

    2. Sharkie*

      I grew up down the street from this hospital and have a few friends that work there as well! Some of the rules are insane. I also have a friend who works for the larger health system and works in the doctors office on the hospital grounds and they don’t have the same dress code which always struck me as odd.

  71. Heather Kanillopoolos*

    #2: If your situation/office would allow it, there is a free Gmail extension called “Boomerang” that gives Gmail a “send later” button- you can type it up at 3am, set it to send at 9am, and be worry free! :) Since I’m in a artistic field and self-employed, I use this a ton since I’m always up late working haha. (to be clear, this is a referral link, so I get a few more scheduled emails per month for free if y’all use it to sign up- but that’s not why I’m sharing: I genuienly love this app and use it all the time <3

    (I also recommend turning on Gmail's "undo send" button, which saves me on a regular basis. Here's how:

  72. Yourethicsconfuseme*

    5 – It sucks in a position that’s normally understaffed when you have no idea your teammates aren’t coming in. I worked in a department where the immediate supervisor was in my department but the actual manager was in another and regularly forgot/didn’t care about us. Someone would call in to the manager, because that’s who they were required to tell, and that manager would never communicate with us. It would be two hours later and we are frantically calling someone who didn’t show up thinking something awful, before they told us they had let manager know. And me and supervisor never would have known. It makes it hard to do your job. It’s also rude.

  73. Lexi Kate*

    OP#1 I’m not sure there is any recourse for you since they disclosed this before you accepted the job (and specifically pointed out your ring) and you didn’t bring up any issues. Are you willing to quit if they wont let you wear it? I think its stupid but I think they disclosed it and you agreed so dumb or not you most likely have to follow the rules or quit.

  74. Snack Management*

    LW #4 – apologies if this has already been posted above. Another reason for a business, particularly a non-profit, to require PTO usage is for budget reasons. Your PTO can be a liability on the finances; unused PTO carries forward (depending on the carry forward policy or a if it’s use or lose it) and often is paid out upon termination. Every time you get a raise, your PTO liability to the organization increases as well and depending on their funding sources, PTO vs. unpaid time may affect if they can bill for hours on a given day or not.

    1. Lawgurl06*

      Someone did mention and it is a great point that often PTO policies (and some state laws) require that you be paid out for your unused time when you leave the company. If that is the case, then you taking unpaid time instead of using PTO cost the company now and later because they will have to pay someone now and then you pay you for that time later when you did in fact take time off.

  75. Kms1025*

    OP#2: sorry if this is a repeat of a previous suggestion. If you’re concerned about late night emails and their perception, or your manager tells you to cease and desist because of the pay issue, maybe just send emails to yourself as reminders of what you need to do first thing the next work morning??? Or even just text things to yourself to follow up on ASAP in the AM???

  76. Katherine*

    Re: OP#1- Alison, a few times you have suggested language that something is “not possible” or “not an option” and I…don’t think that’s a great idea. Nothing is preventing this person from taking her ring off, so it, in fact, an option. (Of course I’m not saying she should do that, I think the policy is insane.) I just find that when a person tells me that something is not possible when the truth is that they are unwilling to do it, it does not make me more sympathetic to their cause. It’s like the person is passing the buck, or trying to blame nebulous external circumstances instead of their own preferences/needs. It might be a small thing, but you suggest specific language for a reason. I’d recommend “I’m not willing to do that,” “I am not comfortable with that,” or even “I am not going to do that” (this would be for more serious conversations, like the person being forced to ride in a car who had driven recklessly and broken another employee’s arm.

    Caveat: I am a writer/editor, and people often tell me that I nitpick word choice way too much and read things into it that the person didn’t intend. So maybe I’m the only person who would react this way to being told something is “not an option” when it is an option.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      I like “I’m not willing to do that,” but I don’t honestly see any real difference in meaning between that and “That’s not possible.” I mean, of course it’s physically possible to take off the ring (at least with most wedding rings – I have known long-married people for whom it is literally impossible), but the actual meaning is exactly the same. So this is, I think, just a case where person A (Alison) and person B (Katherine) just have different preferences in wording. In any case, I don’t think Alison is literally saying “You should use these exact words.” She’s just saying that a polite but firm denial is well within the OP’s rights.

      In contrast, think “I’m not comfortable with that” is considerably…softer than either “I’m not willing to do that” or “That’s not an option.” Maybe this is just my own bias showing now, but “I’m not comfortable with that,” to me, could imply that this is a mere personal quirk of the OP’s, when the reality is that this is just *ridiculous* because these are circumstances under which nobody should have to take off his or her wedding ring.

      1. Lyman for President*

        For me, there is a real difference between “not willing” and “not possible”. Even in a case like this.

        My mom has arthritis in her hands, which make it impossible to remove her rings without them literally being cut off – her knuckles are just too large. That is different than being unwilling to remove a ring because of its significance.

        1. Kathleen_A*

          There can be a difference, sure. But “not possible” is used in the non-literal sense, too, at least by many people. Including me and, apparently, Alison. :-)

  77. ChaoticGood*

    OP#1: Do not take this position.

    Any workplace which seeks to control your appearance so extremely strictly will doubtless have male employees, in high positions, who believe they have the power to control your body in any way they wish. We will not call them ‘men’ because they are not mature, they lack self-control, and they are very, very insecure — hence the need to control others. Like womens’ bodies.

    Ten bucks says one of them is really short. Like, Vladimir Putin level short.

    It doesn’t matter that it’s a woman telling you the dress code: she is a victim of this culture, too, she believes that it provides her freedom (think Aunt Lydia in “The Handmaid’s Tale”.)

    If you are unable to continue searching and must take this job, then take it, but by all means do not discontinue the job search. Do not stop until you are someplace that lets you wear your WEDDING RING I MEAN MY GOD.

    You will be in danger of sexual harassment at this workplace. 100%.

    1. Lyman for President*

      I think is kind of a leap. Is the dress code draconian? Probably (there MIGHT be some rationale to it all that we don’t know, but I doubt it). But, that doesn’t mean there are def. men who will expect to control her body.

  78. Ramalamadingdong*

    OP1 – This is coming across as a bit high maintenance. Some people don’t wear a wedding ring at work or wear a plain metal or silicone band because of job requirements or personal preference. Some married people choose not to wear rings at all. Yes, it’s a symbol of the relationship, but you’re still just as married without it.

    OP1 was told about the very stringent dress code and jewelry requirements and accepted the job anyways. At this point she can take the ring off for work (wearing an alternate ring if she chooses) or she can give up the job.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      I would never have assumed that a requirement to keep one’s jewelry toned down would include removing a wedding ring – and in fact, the OP didn’t realize it either until this final meeting with her supervisor-to-be. There are jobs for which a ring would be a safety hazard or a food safety issue, but this is not one of them, and the requirement is perfectly ridiculous.

      1. Peach Picking*

        It is ridiculous but she agreed to it even when it was specifically pointed out that her wedding ring would not be allowed.

        1. Kathleen_A*

          That doesn’t mean she still can’t push back. Just because she didn’t object right in that moment of bewilderment doesn’t mean she’s forfeited all right to object into perpetuity. Of course, it could be that if she doesn’t agree, she doesn’t get the job, and she needs to consider that. But just because she didn’t object then, that doesn’t mean she can’t object now. At the very least, she could ask for clarification, e.g., “When we talked the other day, you said I wouldn’t be allowed to wear my amethyst ring. I just wanted to make sure you realized that is my wedding ring. Is there no exception for wedding rings?”

          1. Peach Picking*

            no she can ask, I just mean there may not be much room for negotiation since she agreed and its nuts to begin with.

            1. Kathleen_A*

              The only possible negotiation that I can see is if there’s an exception for wedding rings. I mean, if (*if*) they allow diamonds, how could they not allow amethysts, too? I guess it’s possible, but it would be extraordinarily difficult to defend, even by nutty standards.

  79. Kenneth*

    LW#1, Time to play devil’s advocate here.

    This kind of reminds me of the situation wherein interns tried petitioning for a relaxation of the dress code (link: in which Allison said:

    “They presumably have that dress code because, rightly or wrongly, they’ve determined that it’s in their best interest. Sometimes these sorts of dress codes make sense (like when you’re dealing with clients who expect a certain image). Other times they don’t.”

    Which seems tossed aside with this presumption: “That’s a ridiculous rule and I cannot fathom any legitimate business need for it, other than that they have a need to be overly controlling.”

    The one question seemingly missing from the larger discussion herein is *why* they made the determination to allow only silver and gold jewelry (any gemstones allowed at all?). Most everyone is instead bashing the policy. One person directly called it sexist. Which has a rather sexist implication, since it presumes only women wear jewelry other than silver and gold. Now if the policy regarding rings was restricted only to women, then yes that’s sexist, but there’s no indication such a limitation exists based on what’s been provided in the letter.

    Yes gold is still the most common material for wedding bands for both men and women, but other materials are growing in popularity. Indeed for men’s wedding rings, there are plenty of styles available that are not gold or silver, or silver-like such as stainless steel or platinum. I’ve seen tungsten carbide, carbon fiber (no, seriously), various species of wood, even “meteorite” and bone (or something they’re calling “bone”), and various combinations thereof.

    I’m wondering if the reason for the restriction, specifically to only silver and gold, stems from issues they’ve had in the past, since uncommon policies at workplaces tend to stem from that. And if they require plain gold and silver rings – no gemstones – it may stem from someone losing a gemstone at the office, and whatever (chaos) resulted from that.

    Was your meeting with the person to discuss the dress code, among other topics, in person or over the phone? Do they know your wedding ring’s design and style? That would’ve also been the chance to inquire about it, and as to why the policy exists to understand it, even if you don’t agree with the policy or their reasoning for it.

    So while the policy is certainly uncommon, I’d really like to know why they have it. Without any presumptions or speculations being made about the reasons or the company.

  80. Doe-Eyed*

    For the late night emails I installed an outlook extension that let me delay when I send them. Then I can work when I feel like it and people don’t feel obligated to respond at night.

    1. Kathleen_A*

      I do this all the time on my laptop, but I can’t seem to do this when I write emails on my phone. I’m going to have to poke around and see what I can find.

  81. VegetableLasagna*

    Op#1: do you work in a job that requires a lot of public speaking or work with clients? I know that in public speaking, I’ve been told a lot to only wear neutral colored makeup and clothing without prints so you aren’t distracting.

  82. Wedding Ring*

    My wedding ring holds religious significance to me. If a manager were to ask me not to wear it during normal office tasks, I believe that could be a violation of my rights.

    1. Lyman for President*

      It would depend on if you were treated differently than others. For example, if all Christians were told they couldn’t wear their wedding rings, but Atheists were allowed to do so, then there could be a case. But, if the rule is applied across the board, it is unlikely there would be a religious discrimination claim.

      1. Noah*

        That’s not true. Employers are required to accommodate religious dress unless there is some business need preventing it. “Having a consistent policy” across religions is not a business need.

  83. Blue Eagle*

    LW#1 – Does your manager know it is your wedding ring and that you wear it all the time? If not, I would suggest telling her that it is your wedding ring and not a random piece of jewelry that you interchange with other rings. Hopefully that will work and if not, I would touch base with someone higher up to get approval to wear it.

    LW#2 – I disagree with Alison on this one. I think it looks odd if you are e-mailing work correspondence at off hours. My solution has been to compose and send the e-mail to myself, then in the morning during normal work hours I forward the e-mail to the person I want to send it to (making sure to delete any evidence that I initially e-mailed it to myself).

  84. AB*

    LW#1 – everyone is focusing on the wedding ring and have overlooked that the OP is also being asked to where only particular colored clothing. Unless they have a corporate uniform, it shouldn’t matter what color clothing is worn. I think I would be running a mile in respects to this employer, they don’t sound sane at all. Next they will be telling the OP what they can and can’t eat for lunch or what car they can drive.

  85. Anxa*


    I used to schedule my emails, but unfortunately my employers all used Outlook. I don’t have outlook on my computer and I’d rather not install it (I absolutely loathe it).

    I have the OWA 365 version. Do I have to DL the program or some extension to schedule email? I don’t have to do a lot of it, but I don’t really want a 3am time stamp on my emails where I work mornings.

  86. Librarian Liz*

    Op #1, unless health restrictions require it, you should push back. That’s plain and simple boundary crossing, and a red flag.

Comments are closed.