update: we have twice-daily mandatory group therapy at work

Remember last week’s letter-writer whose office was requiring people to attend twice-daily group therapy? Here’s the update.

Hi! OP here! OMG it’s been a week. So when I wrote this, I called out the whole week because I couldn’t wrap my head around all of this, and I had luckily enough gotten a job interview somewhere else. I appreciate your comments and the support and advice and I’m going to give some back. I gotta say something here, y’all: no job is worth what I was going through mentally. Never is a job worth it. Never ever. Some of you sound like you’d have stayed. I’ve been living below the poverty level my whole life, I’ve been poor, I’m still poor. I’d scrub toilets before I’d go through that job again. You are worth more than your work.

I ended up talking to a friend of mine who has a lawyer in the family and she had her cousin on the phone in seconds during this coffee date. Monday morning (the day this posted, ironically) I went in with a lawyer, who was boggled at what was going on. She was literally speechless for a few minutes after I told her about the therapy mandate.

My lawyer and I met with HR and the two board members on site and we addressed everything. Their reaction to what was going on ranged from shock and horror to almost comic apathy. After one board member stated that “work was what I make it” and one HR staff member brought up that she was concerned about my safety and retaliation (I can’t even), my lawyer and I decided I’d be better off elsewhere. There are some details I can’t talk about that did end in my favor, so I’m very okay with this.

The aftermath of me quitting over the therapy mandate precipitated two of my coworkers threatening to walk out with me, which precipitated an internal investigation and my former boss being put on suspension. I understand his license is on the line now as well.

It’s okay to be the powder keg when something isn’t right, that’s what this has taught me.

{ 278 comments… read them below }

  1. jenniferthebillionth*

    Good for you! I’m glad things are working out well for you, and I’m still astounded at the mandate in the first place!

      1. thankful for AAM.*

        As applasauce said, great update! So happy to see it and happy for you! And I will remember this and your words/advice if I ever face something that feels so wrong at work.

    1. Busy*

      I am still just blown away by this. The only time I have WTFed this much was while watching Abducted in Plain Sight … cuz the decisions are so baffling.

      1. AKchic*

        Ohmuhlanta. Don’t get me started. I know a relative. The drama that show caused is playing out on facebook right now.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      “It’s okay to be the powder keg when something isn’t right.”

      I’m totally going to steal that. WTG, OP.

    2. RNL*

      It’s a great quote!

      But I think OP’s boss was the powder keg – he created a totally volatile situation, not her. OP was the spark- without his behaviour there would have been no risk of explosion at all.

      1. AKchic*

        Right? OP was merely the spark that lit the fuse (the boss) of the powder keg (the boss and the entire situation).

  2. HarvestKaleSlaw*

    When you know what life is like at poverty wages, you know what risks you run standing up for yourself. That was brave and amazing, and I’m so, so glad it turned out well for you and your coworkers.

    1. wittyrepartee*

      It’s also important for the people who are in the process of getting out and have the privileged of leaving to blow the door off things like this.

      1. designbot*

        Yep. I see so many people say not to rock the boat on your way out, preserve the reference, etc. But often it’s only someone with one foot out the door who is able to be real about this stuff.

    2. Lilysparrow*

      Yes, “I’ve scrubbed toilets and Id do it again before I’d…(fill in the blank)” gives you a great sense of freedom and knowing where your line is.

  3. I edit everything*

    Way to go, OP! I’m so glad you made your own situation better AND that you improved things for your colleagues still there. *pat on the back*

  4. Yvette*

    WOW!!! Good for you!! You said you had an interview, best of luck with that, I hope you get it or something even better!!!

    You didn’t actually state it, but is it safe to assume the therapy has been cancelled? Did anyone actually end up participating? Was the paperwork people had been forced to fill out returned to them?

  5. Amber T*

    “I’m concerned about your safety and retaliation…” I mean, those are always a threat when an employee calls out something wrong/illegal with an employer, right? But to say it like that… that sounds like a threat to me. Jeez, this place sounds like a poopshow.

    OP, you’re inspirational!!

      1. Busy*

        Yeah. The only time HR has ever brought this up to me or in my presence was to let an employee or manager know that THEY in HR would not tolerate it. This is one of those times where what is best for the company aligns with what is best for the employee lawsuit wise. It is literally their job to make sure this doesn’t happen and at the first even glance of it, take care of it.

      2. JSPA*

        Kudos to that HR manager for speaking up when there was a chance to make actual change. We can say she should have done so earlier, but having the board members and a lawyer in the room, she could have gone either way, and she came down hard behind OP. I hope there was a lovely severance in it for OP. But also that the HR manager gets a bonus (or the name of OP’s lawyer, if there’s retaliation).

    1. Karyn*

      My naivete may be showing, but I read it as the HR person saying that they know this manager, and they wouldn’t be able to fully protect LW from the blowback they expect from him.

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        … but they’re HR. They would—or at least SHOULD know if something is retaliation after this.

        1. Karyn*

          Possibly. But they may not be able to do much about it, especially in an organization as messed up as this one clearly is.

        2. Not Sayin' Who I Am*

          HR here. In most companies, a main HR function is to keep the company legal so they stay out of trouble. Alas, in a truly dis-functional one, HR might be expected to defend the company against all the illegal things a company wants to do.

          Listening with My HR ear, I heard them say, “bad things might ensue, and we’re powerless to help you.”

        3. MassMatt*

          This seems to assume HR is in charge and hands-on, when in fact they may not even outrank the OP’s manager, or know anything about any retaliation unless the OP or a bystander tells them. And even then, in an org this dysfunctional odds of them being able to do anything about it (or even caring) are poor.

          Congratulations OP, I hope you land someplace wonderful! And I hope you pursue things with licensing, legal settlements, etc as best you can. And if nothing else, this screams for a Glassdoor review! Best of luck to you.

      2. kittymommy*

        That’s actually how I read it as well. Almost as if HR knows this person is unstable and/or retaliatory but they are not in a position to be able to stop it.

        1. SusanIvanova*

          Except the boss did end up on suspension, so obviously there was something that could be done, and HR ought to be the people to know how to get the attention of the people who can do that.

          1. Not Sayin' Who I Am*

            “…so obviously there was something that could be done…”

            My cynical ear heard “there were money-related consequences to the company, so a head had to roll.” This may have been totally without HR input.

          2. AKchic*

            The boss only ended up on suspension after two others threatened to leave. One person bringing in an attorney and quitting wasn’t enough. It took multiple people making a scene for it to become worth investigating and then suspension-worthy. That is some serious company mismanagement.

      3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        HR 101, you don’t say it out loud like that. It blows the door open to get even more of a settlement, I’m shocked they can’t keep their mouths shut, they aren’t suited for HR.

          1. animaniactoo*

            To the point that you might wonder if saying it out loud in front of the lawyer wasn’t a purposeful act of sabotage in an effort to effect change when all other options have been ineffective.

            1. Bookslinger*

              You stole the words (type?) right out of my mouth (fingers)! Kudos to the HR person if that’s the case.

            2. Jadelyn*

              That was my assumption as well. “Fine, you won’t listen to me when I tell you you need to rein in that jackass? Here, let me just loudly announce in the presence of the EE’s attorney that I’m concerned about said jackass retaliating. Now it’s out there and you have to do something about it, neener neener.”

      4. Observer*

        Still not acceptable. Because if there were ANY chance of the supervisor retaliating, HR shojd be watching him like a hawk – and he should be OUT THE DOOR the MINUTE he tried anything!

        1. Jadelyn*

          That’s assuming HR has the power to do anything about it, and at a place so poorly managed that this could happen in the first place, I wouldn’t make that assumption. Speaking from experience here, sometimes HR says “This is Bad, we need to fire this dude ASAP” and the CEO or the Board or whoever says “Nah, we’re not doing that, and if you argue about it we’ll fire you instead.”

        2. Observer*

          Well, six of one, half a dozen of the other. The fact that HR said this means that this place is a dumpster fire of dysfunction and HR is not doing it’s job. The only question is who the incompetent parties are.

    2. Dzhymm*

      Am I correct in assuming that the HR rep said this *while the employee’s lawyer was in the room*?! Did that contribute at all to the terms of the ultimate settlement?

      1. LaDeeDa*

        Yes! If the HR or leadership felt that was a real possibility but were still unwilling to act… !!! I would love to hear what the lawyer thought of all this!

        1. Glitsy Gus*

          That or HR was just saying, “yep, this place is THAT messed up… Do with that information what you will, lawyer. I’m done covering for this nonsense.”

          1. Dr Wizard, PhD*

            That’s my suspicion. I can imagine someone saying ‘To be perfectly frank, retaliation shouldn’t happen but I’m legitimately concerned it might anyway.’

      2. Magenta Sky*

        Maybe their goal was to make the lawyer recuse himself because he’d be a witness? Seems about their speed.

        1. Sam Sepiol*

          The lawyer was a woman based on pronouns.
          And seeing as the lawyer seems to have witnessed this I’m fairly sure if said lawyer did have to recuse herself OP would have no difficulty finding another.

          1. Magenta Sky*

            I didn’t mean to imply it made any sense, mind you. Just all I could think of (unless the HR person was secretly on the letter writer’s side, and deliberately making thing so bad the board couldn’t ignore it, but that doesn’t seem likely).

            I’d compare it to trying to kill a wasp with a lighter and a can of hair spray. Sure, you’ll burn your house down, but dammit, the wasp is dead!

    3. Dagny*

      “I am concerned about your safety and retaliation; would you mind staying in here while we speak with him and go through the process of separating you and your boss?” is legitimate.

      It is also legitimate to talk to the OP about what retaliation may look like, how to identify it, and what to do if she feels threatened or retaliated against.

      But… wow.

      Also, OP, congratulations on having the bravery to march an attorney in there. Sadly, it sometimes takes that, and more, to clean house, but you did a wonderful thing for many people.

    1. Forrest Rhodes*

      Ditto, OP, to the max. Good on ya. I’m glad both that you’re out of there and that you’ve had a positive effect on the atmosphere for those who remain.

      1. lyonite*

        And quite possibly for the patients who were being treated by, what I am very charitably call, an extremely unqualified therapist.

    2. Hills to Die on*

      Yes! This is exactly why I love updates! Way to go! I hope that part that you couldn’t di$cu$$ wa$ generou$ly in your favor.

      1. Cassandra*

        Al$o 100% what I wa$ thinking. Good luck with that thing we’re all very carefully not a$king about, OP.

  6. Sleepytime Tea*

    YES. THANK YOU. Thank you for being the one who was willing to stand up and say something. It is so hard for people to do that, and you did a wonderful thing for your colleagues.

  7. AMT*

    “I got out” updates are nice, but “I got out *and* the jerk is being hoist on his own petard” updates are what I live for.

  8. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Good for you, OP! And also yay for your friend and their lawyer cousin.

    I hope your job search is fast and fruitful.

  9. Quake Johnson*

    Jesus Murphy I’m floored by everything about this whole situation. “Work is what you make it” um what???

    Anyways, congrats tho OP and excellent work bringing the situation to a halt.

    1. Kristine*

      In light of the boss’s investigation and suspension I would be so tempted to demand a severance package (but I don’t know if that can be done after the fact). “Work is what I make it!” Just… beyond ick.

      1. arcticchar*

        I think they did receive something of the sort, given this line: “There are some details I can’t talk about that did end in my favor, so I’m very okay with this.”

    2. EPLawyer*

      So shocked at that. That is such a cop out so someone doesn’t actually have to, you know, DO THEIR JOB. Really Board Member your job is to make sure the place is run right so you can keep offering services.

      So glad you got O.U.T. OP. With a lawyer at your side. I just love that. I really loved how your friend got her cousin ON THE PHONE while you were telling her the story. That was fast work.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      “Work is what you make it” = “Here, let me show you just exactly how poorly I comprehend what is going on here.”

      1. Jadelyn*

        That is literally the kind of line I’d expect in a bad training video on How Not To Respond To Harassment Complaints.

  10. RUKidding*

    “Work is what you make it?” WTF? Like it was your fault ir something?

    And retaliation?

    I just can’t.

      1. Jane Austentious*

        Spot on! Made me laugh out loud.
        Also, all good wishes to you, OP. Good for you for speaking out!

    1. pamela voorhees*

      can you imagine the kind of wild confidence you have to have to say that to an employee with a lawyer sitting next to them? mind boggling

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Often the go hand in hand like that. You have to be stupid to be so wildly cocky and aloof at the same time!

          Someone brings in a lawyer, YOU SHUT UP AND CALL YOUR ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY. You don’t just sit there chatting unrepresented. This place is grossly negligent to its core.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I immediately applied that line to a recent frustration with one of my work projects, and–No, sometimes work is what other people make it.

    3. your favorite person*

      Did that board member try to #gumption this horrible workplace practice like this isn’t the weirdest possible thing to do?!

  11. emmelemm*

    Still boggled at a board member brushing this off??!!?, but LOVING this update. Seriously, good for you. You did good! You helped two other colleagues who were also struggling. This is what we need in the world.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Believe it – I worked at a very small nonprofit where the ED and his second-in-command were not very functioning alcoholics who were verbally and sometimes physically abusive to the staff. It took DECADES for the board to do anything, and when the shit did hit the fan, it hit it SPECTACULARLY.

      I didn’t realize until I got a few more years in the nonprofit sector under my belt that “board member” can literally mean anything, from someone awesome and invested to someone who is on the board because they’re a donor or the ED’s second cousin’s dogwalker’s niece or whatever.

      1. SavannahMiranda*

        Yep! Board members are like an advisory council. They are as effective as their experience and advice are useful. If they are inexperienced or just plain daft, they are less than useless because they are taking up a space that could be occupied by someone with management experience. And non-profit boards particularly fall prey to the inexperienced and the grossly favored, because the positions are unpaid except for public regard or social credit. Which is not necessarily the motivation you want a board member to be there for. Boards do have oversight capabilities, but many members are loathe to implement them, even in formal, paid boards of large companies. Good luck getting the executive director’s daughter in law’s college friend to exercise structured oversight.

  12. CupcakeCounter*

    Not only did you get yourself out of an awful situation but it looks like you helped several others in the process.

  13. Cordelia Vorkosigan*

    which precipitated an internal investigation and my former boss being put on suspension. I understand his license is on the line now as well.


    (Insert the grumpy cat meme here.)

    1. ooo*

      This here. The most bizarre thing about this situation was that any mental health professional thought it would be OK. Very glad you got out, OP, that you’re doing OK, and that you sent in an update!

    2. Cary*

      Sadly the internal investigation didn’t start until two more employees threatened to quit. A employee turning up with a lawyer wasn’t enough to get the board to take action.

  14. RabbitRabbit*

    Wow! Best of luck with your interview, and good for you on making a stand and getting the hell out of there!

  15. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

    “Work is what you make it”

    Holy shitake, OP. This had me seeing red.

    There was clearly more wrong here than just your direct boss. I am so very, very glad you got out.

    1. Old Admin*

      Holy moly maccharoni!!!
      LW, I am so proud you and your lawyer pushed back against the apathy and the not-so-veiled threats!!
      Your mental health is worth *everything*. You sure have your head screwed on *the right way* for getting out and blowing up the poopshow, don’t you ever doubt that.
      I think you will find a better job. :-)

    2. the once and future grantwriter*

      With all due respect to the letter writer and their many skills and compentencies – I think we solved the mystery of why this organization was so aggressively headhunting in the first place, y’all… turnover must be a monster in any org this wildly dysfunctional. Really strenuous recruitment is probably the only way they have stayed staffed.

  16. merp*

    Not only glad for the update but that it came so quickly. So so glad you aren’t dealing with this anymore!

  17. Sherm*

    When I read your letter, I was numb. It was so bad that I couldn’t find any reaction to it. I’m so glad you are out of there, and I wish we could all be as brave!

  18. Armchair Analyst*

    Everything is my favorite part and my favoritest is… “ended in my favor”.
    This is a modern-day equivalent of “happily ever after,” I assure you. Congratulations and best of luck elsewhere!

  19. MollyG*

    Everyone seems to think that this outcome is good, and the OP says they are happy with it. But they still lost their job because their manager was being very unreasonable. While it may have worked out in this particular situation, it is still not what I would consider a total win. Other workers in a similar situation would find this outcome quite undesirable.

      1. Cordelia Vorkosigan*

        To clarify — yes, the office should stop being so awful, and it sounds like they’re getting rid of the terrible therapy manager, but there are enough red flags still left (work is what you make it?!?!?) that I’m relieved the OP isn’t there anymore.

    1. Armchair Analyst*

      But the manager is also being punished, it sounds like, and the situation will change. So literally employees in the same situation but, yes, not able to get out or find an affordable attorney friend, WILL find this outcome desirable. So, although it is not win-win-win-win-win, I think it is win-win-win-some people don’t win as much and manager loses a little bit.

    2. hbc*

      I think that, once the reaction from the board was not universal shock and horror, getting out of there was the win. Maybe a total win would be that board member resigning in shame, but when someone in the meeting is basically saying, “Well, you’re right, but I think your manager might physically harm you when we tell him” and that doesn’t result in some sort of lightbulb moment, you want to be nowhere near this dumpster fire.

    3. Mayati*

      So what would a total win be to you? I can’t imagine anything that would be realistically possible, especially given the toxicity of the organization as a whole and the likelihood that OP got a settlement or severance package of some kind. There’s no scenario in the realm of possibility where OP keeps that job and the whole organization magically learns the error of its ways, especially not overnight or in any timeframe where it’d be reasonable to expect OP to stick it out.

      Abuse is always a no-win scenario: the best possible outcome is that the abuse target gets free, and maybe, *maybe,* there’s some kind of consequences for the abuser, but it’s not possible to have a healthy relationship with an abusive person or workplace. And it’s not possible to change an abuser who has power over you, especially when they’re backed up by their organization or by the community. That’s the trap of abuse: the idea that maybe if you just did something differently or knew the magic words, your abuser would become a fundamentally different person. It’s why people stay in abusive situations. They don’t recognize that getting out is the best it gets.

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      A job with a terrible poorly managed company…that’s a burning ship why try to fight to stay there after it’s burned out remains? I guess they could have just given her the entire place? Not every job is worth keeping is the lesson here. Take them down at their knees with the law.

    5. Observer*

      The OP is out of a toxic place, apparently with a decent settlement AND on her way to another job. AND despite the idiot Board member, some changes in the organization are also going to happen, largely because of what the OP did. So, that’s a win all around I would say.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      The OP quit. That was their choice.

      The organization did not fold. Any employee who found quitting undesirable is free to stay.

    7. MoopySwarpet*

      It may not be a total win in other situations, the fact that it was tried and won in THIS situation makes it a tiny bit easier for the next person in a similar situation to stand up for themselves. It brings shady practices to light. I would have to think it also empowers the others who are left there to make their own choices if other crazy ideas get implemented.

      In a perfect world, this would never happen in the first place, but when the OP says that she is currently living at poverty level, the other employees probably are, too. That leaves them more vulnerable than average for mistreatment of this sort. I don’t think it’s possible for there to be a total win when the situation involves a predatory employer taking advantage of the fact that their employees are predominantly part of a more vulnerable population.

      Unfortunately, a vulnerable population is going to lose either way. They lose their income or they lose their sanity/dignity/self esteem/whatever they are sacrificing by working in a toxic environment. This honestly doesn’t even apply to just poverty level, either. So many people are just not in a position to risk losing their job and bad employers know this and take advantage of it.

  20. Ladylike*

    OP, I could not be happier at this outcome! Best wishes on finding a healthy job where you can thrive and be happy!

  21. IrishEm*

    You absolute hero, OP!
    I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to do what you did, but I so wanted an update where someone did it.

    Good on you! Maith thú!

  22. LaDeeDa*

    WOW!! Fantastic update! I am so glad you didn’t just suck it up or just walk away. I am so proud of you for being strong enough to do something positive about it. Everything that guy was doing was unethical. When I showed it to my therapist, she said he should be investigated by his board. Hopefully, they gave you a big fat severance and that things are better for your former coworkers.

  23. weclzach*

    I’ve written in about a couple of problems or concerns & have read comments such as the thing that was bothering me “wasn’t a thing” or “wasn’t a big deal” or even “was actually a good thing”. I wish folks with differing opinions would have enough empathy to preface their comments with “this wouldn’t bother me” as opposed to “you’re bothered by nothing”.

    1. Clever Name*

      I agree. This is an advice blog and people write in for help with their problems. It’s one thing for a commenter to say, “I disagree with Alison’s advice. Let me suggest some alternate and also useful advice”, but telling someone that their issue isn’t really an issue is less than helpful.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You need to be specific, this is so vague and sounds like you may be too sensitive to seek advice in such a large public forum. That’s not meant as harsh as it may come across, I don’t ask for broad spectrum advice usually either for that exact reason.

      This is the most gentle advice column I’ve seen. That’s due to Alison’s moderation and rules…

    3. RabbitRabbit*

      I think it’s a reference to this:
      “I appreciate your comments and the support and advice and I’m going to give some back. I gotta say something here, y’all: no job is worth what I was going through mentally. Never is a job worth it. Never ever. Some of you sound like you’d have stayed. I’ve been living below the poverty level my whole life, I’ve been poor, I’m still poor. I’d scrub toilets before I’d go through that job again. You are worth more than your work.”

      Not sure if anyone said in the original thread that it wasn’t a thing/wasn’t a big deal, though.

        1. Observer*

          Except that no one said it was OK or that her concerns were not valid. While I disagreed that staying would have been a good idea, suggesting that the OP should stay till they find another job is not the same as blowing off the problem.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Our OP didn’t even complain that people had pooh-poohed her concerns. She just said, “Some of you sound like you’d have stayed.” And encouraged them to NOT stay.

        She sounds worried about them, actually!

    4. JSPA*

      People did use “I” statements. And prefaced their comments with, “if you simply can’t leave.” Or suggested how to sabotage the process. Or lead an insurrection. I’m pretty sure I read the whole thread, and nobody said, “this isn’t a big deal.” Which is perfectly consistent with this follow up; nobody said she should stay; some said they themselves could possibly stay, given [list of provisos].

      1. SavannahMiranda*

        I read that paragraph in OP’s follow up letter as a prickly, painful defensiveness at ever having been anywhere near such an atrocious and revolting situation, let alone having to deal with its invasiveness on a day to day basis. Along the lines of “walk a mile in my shoes” after having gone through trauma. I don’t think it’s too much to say this employment situation was traumatic.

        I agree commenters as a whole were not suggesting she stay! But I think a lot of us may have been cheering the idea of her going in and stickin’ it to tha man via sabotage or insurrection. Rather than the much more forceful and direct approach of walking onto the property with her attorney (yay OP!). She was well past creative sabotage or artful insurrection and may have felt our suggestions missed the point and failed to take into account the full reality of her situation.

        Not that I saw anyone speaking in bad faith or making fun of her. I saw commenters who were soundly horrified and scared for her. But we almost definitely did miss some nuances, since it’s impossible to know all the nuances, and commenters invariably end up filling them in based on our own personal histories and thoughts.

        She may have been reacting somewhat to the slight echo chamber effect that happened where we were trying to figure out a way for her to both Keep Her Job and Join the Resistance. An impossible balancing act that she owed to no one. To a certain extent it became more about our cacophony than her pain. That can be hard to deal with. And she may have had people in her personal life who failed to comprehend the extent of the deeply inappropriate invasivness she was trying to fend off, and who were trying to advise her how to stay. There was no staying and she may have had prickles at even the faintest whiff of it.

        Not ragging on the AAM community! By and large we’re pretty decent. And I was certainly one of the ones crying out for an organized resistance. I can accept the criticism that she may not have felt accepted or seen. Ultimately this is for her, and not for me or for us. I think she handled the results fantastically. I hope the jerk boss gets his license yanked and the snotty jerk-enabling board member gets spanked. I’m fine with giving OP all the room she needs to feel as prickly as she wants or needs to as she processes through what happened and comes out the other side. This is for her and she handled it fantastically!

  24. mrs__peel*

    Congratulations on getting the hell out of there, and I hope you get the new job!!

    I’d bet good money that an investigation of your supervisor will turn up that he was committing some kind of insurance fraud with those “therapy sessions”….

  25. Lilith*

    I don’t know why I think you’re a woman, so forgive me if I’m wrong, but Brava, OP. Well done indeed & best of luck with the new job search.

  26. OlympiasEpiriot*


    If this site allowed for gifs, I’d have a giant Snoopy Happy Dance right here along with the Meryl Streep applause, a penguin from Happy Feet and a whole flock of Minions running around in chaos.

  27. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Yeeeees, “I left that shtshow” and “took the place down legally” is my all time favorite update. Save yourself first and now the others can scurry away to freedom as well.

  28. Elizabeth West*

    Oh thank goodness! I could not stop thinking about this letter. I’m so glad you got out of that awful situation, OP!

  29. EditorExtra*

    Fantastic. I love that your lawyer (it sounds like) basically negotiated you a severance because I’m sure your org has majjjor exposure in terms of a lawsuit here.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It makes me lick my chops and pray that others saw this and lawyered up as well.

      Cripple them financially. That’s the only way to fix the place that’s gone this far off the rails.

  30. Phx Acct, now with dragons*

    Sweet baby Wakeen, thank goodness!! I was ASTOUNDED at your letter, as was everyone I showed it to. I am so, so, so happy for you, and am glad to hear this is working out for you.

  31. Interviewer*

    I pictured you walking out in a CSI meme, remarking to your lawyer, “That doctor was acting crazy. I guess he …. quacked up.” Then you put on your sunglasses and drove off into the sunset, as the boss was led away in handcuffs. Or something like that.

    1. Kuododi*

      Heeheehee!!! When I read updates like this one I typically hear the Star Wars theme. (Heralding the sweeping forces of Justice.).


      Absolutely delighted for OP.

  32. Jennifer*

    “It’s okay to be the powder keg when something isn’t right, that’s what this has taught me.” Love it!

    1. nonegiven*

      The manager that started it was the powder keg. OP was the match thrown over a shoulder on the way out.

  33. Anonymous Poster*

    Reasons this clown would have mandatory therapy sessions:

    Bad reasons.

    Glad you’re no longer there.

    1. Meyers and Briggs are not real doctors*

      But what?!? You can’t see that grp therapy in the workplace is an awesome thing? lol

  34. pleaset*

    “precipitated an internal investigation and my former boss being put on suspension. I understand his license is on the line now as well.”

    I feel such shameful joy I feel from a “good” AAM update like this.

      1. TeapotDetective*

        It really is – there are few better feelings than watching a deserving target get their just rewards.
        (also I may have the song from Avenue Q stuck in my head now, so thanks for the enjoyable earworm!)

      2. thathat*

        Honestly, it’s less about Schadenfreude for me and more about simple relief. Someone this out of touch with appropriate therapy behavior has NO BUSINESS being a counselor or having access to vulnerable people seeking help.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Maybe they will order him to therapy twice a day until he figures out why he made others have therapy twice a day.

      Well, I can dream at any rate.

      1. Meyers and Briggs are not real doctors*

        I’m sure he’ll find grp therapy somewhere among other mental health clients , you know among his PEERS, more fulfilling than with his subordinates. /s

  35. Not Australian*

    Just adding my voice to the chorus of appreciation, OP; it’s great so see such a sh*thole of a situation resolved so quickly and efficiently. You’re a legend!

  36. Emily S.*

    OP – Wow! I am so, so happy for you. Incredibly pleased that you’ve come out the other side of this.

    Thanks so much for giving us an update! And good luck with whatever you do next!

  37. AFPM*

    Amazing update! Thank you so much! I love the board member saying “work is what you make it” – suggesting you’re in the wrong for not wanting to deal with utter madness. And HR using their concern for retaliation as a reason NOT to do something (which is how I interpreted it) is just… I hope you find an awesome job somewhere else!

    1. CommanderBanana*

      So the board member would be cool with going to work in the spice mines of Kessel? I mean, if work is what you make it, he should be fine with it.

    2. thathat*

      tbh it reminds me of the very bad meeting I had with an HR person regarding a coworker’s bullying etc where he said, “You want a hostile work environment? I used to work in the Army. Now that was an aggressive work environment.”

      …I was pretty much just floored. Like…we’re a university?

  38. Erin Withans*

    I cheered out loud reading this. I’m so glad for you, OP! Good for you for lighting that keg and helping all your coworkers. I hope some of that stuff you can’t talk about is a GIANT PILE OF MONEY because you deserve every cent.

  39. animaniactoo*

    OP, so well done, all around. I know this is good for you, but I heard about it on my birthday so I’m going to take it as a birthday present you just gave me. ;)

    Good luck, I hope you find something great soon!

  40. It’s All Good*

    Your letter was insane and so was your company’s response! Bravo to you! I hope they gave you a shitload of severance so you can have peace of mind until you find a better job. Better yet, I hope that interview turns into the dream job and you get to take a fab vacation before hand. You deserve it!

  41. Bookslinger*

    I’m so happy things worked out for you OP! I advocated leaving, so I’m glad that’s on the horizon. That workplace sounds toxic. You did a good thing for yourself and your co-workers. You said it well: “You are worth more than your work.”

  42. iglwif*

    OP, you’re a hero and I’m so happy you are out of there and the manager is facing some kind of consequences!!

  43. GingerMPH*

    I am standing up right now and applauding you so hard (figuratively). I love this update, OP. Good for you!

  44. Psyche*

    I’m glad it worked out in your favor over all. The mandatory twice daily group therapy was horrifying to read about.

  45. the once and future grantwriter*

    Is anyone else surprised how quickly this escalated, based on the details shared in the first article? I mean, obviously demanding that all employees (regardless of what time their normal working hours are) participate in emotionally-intensive group therapy for hours a day is wildly, patently inappropriate for any workplace setting, but still within the realm of ‘well-intentioned but terrible things a boss might do in the name of bonding/morale’… but HR saying outright in front of counsel that LW’s safety might be in danger from someone in the organization that they represent IN FRONT OF MEMBERS OF THE BOARD? Excuse me? I can’t even comprehend that. That seems like this situation went from a 5.5 on the Richter Scale of office craziness to a Chicxulub impact event in a matter of days.

    Letter writer, I’m glad you got out, got interviews, and lawyered up! More power to you.

    1. Observer*

      but still within the realm of ‘well-intentioned but terrible things a boss might do in the name of bonding/morale’…

      Well, actually, it’s not. Certainly not when the boss is a licensed mental health professional.

      A number of people pointed out in the comments on the original that this boss could very well be the tip of the iceberg or craziness. It turns out to have been the case, I would say.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      If the boss is actually a licensed therapist of some sort, though, this is well out of the realm of ‘well-intentioned but terrible things’, because the boss should know how wildly unethical and inappropriate this is (and possibly illegal) – being ignorant and well meaning is not an excuse here. And the potential consequences are not a strict talking to or even a firing – the boss is in danger of losing their professional credentials, which will have a much larger impact.

      1. LadyofLasers*

        Yeah, I have friends in the mental health field, and this is definitely in the ‘lose your license’ territory

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I am hoping it’s like others suggested that HR was dropping clues and hoping the right people would pick up on those clues.

    4. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

      I think the situation was very extreme to begin with, so it didn’t strike me that the response was out of whack.

  46. Red Sky*

    I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster at AAM today! The ‘women-must-have-a-chaperone’ letter from earlier today had me wanting to Hulk-smash everything in sight and nut-punch a few clowns, and now there’s this happy dance, fist pumping, gem of an update! Seriously, OP, thank you, you are my hero!

    1. SavannahMiranda*

      Wait whhhhhhat!? Oh god this is what happens when I get behind on my AAM reading. I miss women needing chaperones! I can’t…I don’t know if I can handle how mad I can already tell that is going to make me, hahaha.

  47. Seespotbitejane*

    Brava! It’s great to hear a story about someone standing up for themselves and their coworkers and having it work out.

    1. MattKnifeNinja*

      It made my whole day.

      Highest of fives to you OP!

      Love that boundary crossing, insane boss is made to answer for his foolishness.

  48. Undine*

    “In today’s therapy session, I would like to talk about a time I felt traumatized when my boundaries were egregiously violated, and how I found lawyering up to be very empowering.”

  49. Urdnot Bakara*

    A wild story from beginning to end! Glad to hear your boss was suspended. Best of luck to you, OP!

  50. thathat*

    Oh THANK YOU for giving us an update. And well done you, you handled this amazingly. So glad you’re out of that creepy, toxic place, and that your old boss is On Notice.

  51. Ruthless Bunny*

    You are the stone that ripples across the lake!

    Good for you! So glad it worked out in your favor and had put an end to the madness!

  52. Harper the Other One*

    I am incredibly glad to hear how this worked out! And congratulations, OP, for having the courage to take that first, much needed step.

  53. Lumen*

    Omg I was dying for an update to this one and I am SO HAPPY with how this turned out. Particularly glad to hear that this guy’s license is now at risk. It absolutely should be.


  54. Bulbasaur*

    After reading the original I think I was coming down on the side of a flat “No, but I’ll continue to do the job you pay me for, and if you fire me then good luck explaining why.” But ‘Bring Your Lawyer To Work Day’ is even better. Congrats on a well-judged and productive escalation!

  55. Indie*

    My favourite bit is how the lawyer was not directly approached by OP, nor is she a direct friend – just someone within her six degrees of separation.
    Nevertheless her wolfy law ears perked up enough to accompany OP to the office for an epic smackdown free of charge.
    It sounds like the pilot of a crimefighting daredevil-esque lawyer show and OP ends up becoming the practice’s fearless office manager who ends up exposing all the dodgy businesspeople in town.

    1. Elmer Litzinger, spy*

      The lawyer probably can’t wait for their next conference so they can tell this to all their colleagues.

    2. wittyrepartee*

      I feel like- when you’re a lawyer, it probably feels pretty good to help out a friend of a friend like this. “THEY DID WHAT?! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. LET ME GET MY COAT!”

  56. jcarnall*

    Powder-keg achievement: UNLOCKED.

    Oh, I’m so glad – both that you’re on your way out of there, and that toxic git of a manager is suspended and his licence under investigation.

    You’re right: NO job is worth it.

  57. Bowserkitty*

    Thank you for the update!!! It is so good to hear that it is okay to speak up like this. I am happy you did and can move on to something better.

  58. Milo*

    Depending on your state you may still be able to apply and fight for unemployment. I quit my job over discrimination and won unemployment. It was hard but worth it. Taking that they were doing some illegal things you might be able to get it.

  59. Database Developer Dude*

    I’d have already been fired, because when informed of the requirement, I would have laughed in my boss’ face. This is so far beyond the pale…..

  60. Jennifer Juniper*

    Thank you for the update, OP. I am so glad you had the courage to walk and it ended well for you!

  61. Fergus*

    I also hope your boss loses his license. What he was requiring was so out of line. When I read the post it was so outlandish it could have said starting today and everyday to bond as a group for 2 hours we are going to club a baby seal. And in the afternoon for 2 hours we club his sibling. Glad OP got a lawyer.

  62. AnonAnon*

    Happy for OP.

    But I can’t help noticing that no one had a problem until the employees started quitting and bringing in lawyers. THEN they investigate. Typical.

    1. dumblewald*

      Ugh this is too common unfortunately. Employers don’t care about their employees – they just care about being sued/not sued.

  63. Pomona Sprout*

    This is an awesome update! I’d be even happier to hear that boss had lost his job AND his license, but this is still pretty darned great.

  64. No real name here*

    Thank you for the fast update! I was really hoping we weren’t going to have to wait until December for an update on this doozy. I’m so glad everything turned out well for you, and I hope your former boss gets his license at least suspended.

  65. Old Admin*

    I’ve read the comments and already applauded the OP – now a new thought hit me:

    Is there a requirement in the US (as I suppose where the OP is) for licensed therapists to accumulate certain hours per year/in all? Perhaps to get a certification or maintain their license? A mandated job goal to set up internal mental care? Some sort of insurance payout?

    I’m just wondering about Boss’s motivation for suddenly setting up so many sessions – it sure looks like harvesting in some form!

    1. No real name here*

      I have a license that can be used for being a therapist, and I’m not aware of such a mandate. Typically once you have your license, you have it as long as you keep renewing and complete required CE’s. Maybe there’s some sort of specialized certification, but doing hours with one’s staff members would definitely not count.

  66. Jules the 3rd*

    “my former boss being put on suspension. I understand his license is on the line now as well.”

    YES! Thank you so much for taking the risk that made that happen. GREAT update.

  67. Tom*

    Uhm.. what did i just read? (original post).
    Were they trying to get extra patients or what?
    Seriously – with all the crazy boss stories so far, this one has to rank in the top 10 of all time – maybe top 3….
    As to the update – OP – I am relieved (glad i`m alone in my office, no one could hear my sigh) about your update.

    Way to go, and hope you can leave this horrible place behind you!

  68. MCMonkeyBean*

    Wow, what a fast an excellent update! I’m glad this worked out well for you and I imagine many of your former coworkers are extremely grateful for you taking this stand.

  69. Argye*

    “Work is what you make of it.” Board members like that are why I will never work at a small nonprofit again. At that (massively dysfunctional) place, all of the employees who complained would be fired, because contacting *anyone* besides their immediate supervisor was “insubordination” and a fireable offense. When people brought up that this was odd, of course, the comparison was to the military. What the military had to do with a 50-person academically-oriented non-profit I will never understand. Of course, the HR person would also scream epithets about certain people being in protected classes, i.e., “You are a stupid old b***! I HATE old b****es! You are too stupid to breathe!” Publicly.

  70. AnonyMouse*

    Wow, 2019 already has so many potential “Worst Boss of the Year” candidates and it’s only February.

  71. Big Biscuit*

    I guess I didn’t realize that “bat shit crazy” was a virus, sounds more people than just your old boss were infected at that place. Kudos for bringing in a lawyer and then getting the hell out of there.

  72. Cathy Gale*

    I missed seeing this when it posted, but this is wonderful! You, your friend, and your lawyer have struck a blow for all of your coworkers, whether they know it or not.

    Hoping that bozo loses his license tout suite.

  73. Hugues*

    Your boss is not your employer. Why is this even a problem? Say you won’t participate and let the chips fall where they may.

Comments are closed.