my employee caused a drunken scene at coworker’s wedding

A reader writes:

I am a team leader in a very small company. My team only has two other members. A few weeks ago, one of them, Jamie, got married. A few other colleagues and I were invited to the evening reception. The other member of the team got drunk and was abusive to many guests and even knocked small children over on the dance floo When everyone was trying to leave, he started to get naked and violently abusive in the venue’s car park. Jamie asked him to leave and he hit Jamie twice, knocking him to the floor. Guests were trying to eject him, but he was throwing punches and fighting them. He also spat blood all over the bride. His girlfriend punched the bride too. Jamie did not want to spend his wedding night with police giving statements so did not press charges.

Jamie and I have stated to our employer that we do not want to work with this person. Our employer has said that the incident was outside of work so they are powerless. Jamie has been given a week to “forgive and forget” before the other member is sent back to the team.

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Asking to take off the Friday of my first week on the job
  • I read my work out loud, and it’s annoying a coworker
  • My boss keeps asking how much I paid for things
  • How to tell a freelancer not to stop by in person

{ 323 comments… read them below }

    1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue

      This is way over the line from a “scene”. It’s criminal assault!

      1. Fortitude Jones

        And spitting blood on someone?! Jamie has excellent restraint because I think I’d be in prison for attempted murder after that – you don’t know what kind of diseases that dude has for him to be spitting blood on somebody! Spitting on someone is the height of disrespect already and then add in potentially diseased bodily fluids? Nope – I’d be doing jail time.

        1. RUKiddingMe

          Yup. I would think they could still press charges. Rather than forgiving if I were Jamie I’d be discussing how unsafe I feel working with a violent person.

          1. designbot

            yeah, I’d be pressing charges for the specific reason that it might five me better leverage on the work situation…

        2. Jennifer Juniper

          Yikes! I hope the bride was able to get on PEP and get tested for STIs and other bloodborne diseases. I’d hate to think of her dying of AIDS from having some drunken lout spit blood on her.

          *Yes, I know that is highly unlikely. I am also aware that AIDS and other fatal illnesses can be transmitted through blood.

              1. Kadi Monster

                I believe valentine is referring to the incredibly stigmatizing paranoia and misinformation about how HIV/AIDS can be spread – all sorts of things about, y’know, getting it off of subway or toilet seats, even just touching “the wrong person” being a risk, but basically boiling down to the belief that the blood of someone with AIDS was/is so toxic that it’ll be transmitted instantly. (And the idea that homeless/mentally ill/LGBTQ/all of the above people all have AIDS and you can somehow tell without any real basis in fact – the leap from “erratic behavior” to “AIDS” is part of what makes it uncomfortable to me, at least!)

                Of course, HIV (NOT AIDS) can be transmitted through blood, but it’d have to make contact with the mucous membranes/broken skin for a person to be at risk (unlikely here, and a very weird idea to jump to!). So, Jennifer Juniper’s comment, whether intentionally or not, unfortunately and thoughtlessly overlaps with a lot of rhetoric that demonizes people with HIV/AIDS.

              2. Blarn

                The sentence brings up an outdated concept of the disease. Just because someone gets HIV, doesn’t mean they’ll ever get AIDS or die of the disease. With treatment, people with HIV can live long and healthy lives and ultimately die in old age from the same problems as someone without HIV.

            1. Sraf

              It’s not a stereotype. It’s one of the first things you learn in first aid or first responder training : try to avoid touching anyone’s blood, and if you do, signal it to the paramedics when they get there, because you’ll need to go with them and get emergency testing.

              Yes, it’s true that HIV contagion is pretty unlikely, but HIV is nowhere-near the only thing you have to worry about when blood contact is concerned.

              1. CatMom

                All the same, the risk is extremely low, and the way it was stated is hurtful to people living with HIV/AIDS. There are plenty of things to be concerned about, like Hepatitis, but it wasn’t as if she was cut or had a needle stick.

                1. Gadget Hackwrench

                  She wasn’t cut but the dude spat BLOOD on her. Not just spit. Blood. If it got on her face, that’s eyes and mouth both exposed. The stigma against HIV infected people is taken out of proportion when people are afraid of hugging, sneezing, eating at a restaurant next to, etc, etc. *But you don’t screw around with BLOOD.* Any basic blood borne pathogens course advises you not to touch blood that’s not yours without proper Personal Protective Equipment. Accidental contact with someone elses’s blood in the workplace? Rinse/wash the site and report to your superiors. Now. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200$. You are on your way to employee health right now, or to the hospital if you’re not already working at one. That’s just how it is. No reason not to take similar precautions if someone spits their blood on you outside of work.

              2. New Jack Karyn

                This is usually if you’ve given mouth-to-mouth. More dangerous than being spat on.

          1. Sammie

            I second valentine – really unhelpful. Jennifer Juniper – you could have taken 5 minutes to look up a reputable website to educate yourself about how HIV (not AIDS) is spread. I hope you’ll do that now. It’s really important that people know facts, and not spread fear.

            1. Beth

              The woman echoed what the cdc says so I am not sure how she is injecting fear? She said it was rare. Rare, not impossible. The woman should definitely undergo testing for HIV. She should also press assault charges.

              In extremely rare cases, HIV has been transmitted by

              Contact between broken skin, wounds, or mucous membranes and HIV-infected blood or blood-contaminated body fluids.

            2. FairPayFullBenefits

              I third. This fear-mongering and spreading inaccurate information only increases the stigma against people living with HIV.

              1. ..Kat..

                Jennifer Juniper is correct – HIV, Hep B, Hep C, etc can be spread by spit blood. Not fear mongering, just a fact.

                1. FairPayFullBenefits

                  Reactions like Jennifer Juniper’s is exactly why HIV/AIDS is so stigmatized, as Kadi Monster explained above. PEP is also not given in cases like this, only when there’s an actual reason to think the patient could be infected.

                2. New Jack Karyn

                  How common is it, really? Unless he got her in the eyes or open mouth, it ain’t gonna happen. And even of he did, it’s *still* really unlikely.

      2. TootsNYC

        I get that Jaime didn’t want to spend the night pressing charges, but there’s a statute of limitations, and it’s not one day.

        He can absolutely press charges when he gets back, and tap all the family & friends to witness it.

        If my employer didn’t fire this guy, that’s what I’d do–I’d take myself down to the police station and insist on filing a complaint, and then I’d be lobbying the district attorney to pursue the case.

        1. LunaLena

          Considering the company’s terrible, awful, no-good response, I wonder if he’s trying to find a new job before he presses charges. I can easily see such a company blaming Jamie for making waves and not thinking of the good of the company (“but we NEED Assaulter, how are supposed to get this project done in time if he’s in jail?!?”) and making Jamie’s work life hell. I mean, they even gave him a whole WEEK to “get over it.” (/sarcasm)

        2. Wintermute

          I’d be right there with you but I find I’m rather.. strident about asserting my legal rights. For that matter since I was assaulted (!) I would definitely see about a restraining order that made it impossible for him to be assigned to my team and my employer to have to figure out a way to make it happen under penalty of law.

          1. Tiara Wearing Princess

            Ohhh restraining order is great idea. Then the asshat can’t step foot on the premises.

              1. Wintermute

                some states statutorily protect crime victims from retaliation for filing for a protective order. In others the order itself states that it must not be used “to the detriment” of the person obtaining the order. in yet others the wording is “they leave, not you” which would include such things as leases and employment if tested most likely. Anywhere, if you could prove that they were attempting to force you to drop the restraining order by coercion (which is “either you work with him or we fire you” would be) the manager could find themselves before a righteously outraged judge defending themselves against contempt of court charges or accused of being an accomplice in violating the order.

                Even if a place exists where you could be fired summarily for daring to file for a protective order without legal protection, there is always the fact that it looks as guanopsychotic as it is to fire you for getting a restraining order and you would have a lot of public support if it came out they did that, hopefully from higher up in the company as well but if not there’s always your local news channels who would love an outrage-bait story like that.

        3. Wintermute

          I’d add a restraining order to it. Don’t want workplace drama? alright but he can’t be within 150 feet of me, make it work somehow or fire him I don’t care, but I never have to see him again. And being actually assaulted, having your friends and family assaulted, and your wedding disrupted would certainly at least qualify for an initial protective order.

  1. Observer

    I’d love an update. And I hope that it’s either that the boss had a common sense implant, or that both Jamie and the OP found new jobs. Because any boss that refuses to take action after that kind of behavior is not a good boss in the least bit.

  2. VictorianCowgirl

    OP#1 – I am speechless -SPEECHLESS- that the police weren’t called and that this guy and his girlfriend aren’t in jail for multiple cases of battery. That is where they belong. A police report should and can be filed later/now. Pushing children?!?!? I’m incensed and frankly outraged that no one thought to get the cops involved. The wedding was already ruined.

    1. Observer

      Jamie wasn’t worried about ruining his wedding – he was worried about spending the rest of the night at the police station.

      To be honest, your indignation is quite misplaced. Sure, I’d love to hear that someone decided to file a police report, and it would probably have been better for the police to be called. But the victim of assault is not obligated to deal with it in the way that anyone else approves, but the way that works for him.

      I’m far more incensed that the boss is acting like this is no big deal and that he expected someone to “forgive and forget” something this outrageous.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Yeah, I don’t know how anyone could reasonably be expected to get over this, especially in a week.

        1. fposte

          Kind of makes me wonder what the rest of the boss’s life is like. Are they all “who *doesn’t* have a punch-up at a wedding?”

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Maybe they’re like the Dothraki, where there have to be three deaths for it to be a success?

          2. Busy

            You have obviously never met various members of my family.

            With that said, I once worked with a guy who had just recently got arrested for attempted kidnapping of an underage girl and his face was splashed all over the news. What came out was that he was actually stalking this chick and had attacked her and her friend a couple months before – on camera. Like the dude literally walked up to her car at an intersection and pepper sprayed her and her friend and tried to kidnap her then too! This was like the third or fourth kidnapping attempt!!!! In a matter of months (why do we even have no bail provisions!!?)

            And it took daaaaaaaaaaays for management at the company I worked for to fire him. LOL. We already had numerous complaints about his “women shouldn’t work” comments and his oddball behavior at work. And the reason they ended up firing him was that they said he couldn’t do his job with a felony record (cuz he was in the process of literally getting sentenced for the first kidnapping attempt).
            Nothing surprises me anyone.

            1. Autumnheart

              That poor girl!!! WTFingF where someone has to try to kidnap someone 3-4 times before they get in trouble. And even then companies are like, “Gee, fire the guy? That seems extreme…”

            2. ginger ale for all

              I wonder if the element of innocent until proven guilty was in play there? Even though there was a trail of video evidence and previous attempts, the company may have wanted to have their legal team to look it over with a fine toothed comb before taking action.

              1. Arts Akimbo

                This is what kills me though– innocent until proven guilty is the standard in a court of law, not the workplace. People can be fired for literally anything that isn’t based on a protected characteristic. We don’t need a mound of incontrovertible proof to fire someone that multiple witnesses agree punched a coworker!

                That said, yeah, I do hope the delay is just having the legal team look it over and giving the manager the undisputed go-ahead to fire the guy. I’m not holding out *much* hope, but I hope.

                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  Totally this, and not just that, it’s the standard for criminal trials. The standard of proof for civil matters is a much lower threshold. But those standards of proof don’t matter when someone is a repeat kidnapper and is on film trying to kidnap someone!

              2. Clisby

                Good grief, in the at least a large part of the US you can fire somebody because you don’t like their shoes. Or their nail polish. Or because you got up cranky that morning. No need for a legal team.

                1. Lili

                  There may be, depending on if the guy belonged to a protected class in some capacity. If I’m firing a pregnant woman for reasons that have nothing to do with her pregnancy, I’d still probably need to talk to HR and/or legal to make sure it doesn’t look like I’m firing her because of her pregnancy.

                  But in general, I agree. That guy should have been gone.

                2. Wintermute

                  In large companies involving HR and/or legal is usually customary anyway, both because having an employee handbook can be found to create some worker protections (even if they include the laughable boilerplate that it doesn’t at the end which all of them do pretty much), and because it’s better to be safe than facing a nuisance suit you can’t have summarily dismissed under court procedure.

            3. Jennifer Juniper

              And I’m sure the poor girl was getting her reputation smeared for daring to be victimized. “Look, admit it, you were tempting this poor hardworking loyal family man by being out in public with so much skin showing and your taut young body’s curves emphasized by tight and skimpy clothing.” Yes, I have met people who were actually that bananas.

        2. Peachkins

          Yeah, that’s absolutely crazy. If that had been my wedding, I’d never want to see or speak to that coworker again.

          1. tangerineRose

            That coworker scares me. Even just reading about this makes me want to never be near that coworker at all.

            1. Terroi

              I bet this coworker has a history of this type of behavior and I bet a criminal record. Someone doesn’t simply just have too many hot toddies and decide to act like this in my experience. I agree I would be very wary to work with this guy at all even if I wasn’t directly working with him either.

              1. BerkeleyFarm

                Or has skated on the criminal record thing out of sheer luck e.g. other people just wanting to get on with their lives.

      2. TootsNYC

        The one thing I might say to Jaime is this: You can file the complaint and ask for charges to be brought by going in later. You don’t have to call the police that very night in order to pursue it.

        1. Wintermute

          I’m with you, people like this skate by on bad police (who make it seem like pressing charges is A) your choice B) some huge imposition on both of you) and people’s inherent fear of confrontation. I would bet a dime to the hole in a donut this guy walks all over everyone, or at least has been drunk and assaultive before. Someone eventually has to stand up and ensure there are consequences or he’ll do it again. As someone else said this is not the behavior of someone who just had a few too many, this is absolutely out of control violent behavior.

          I also take the long view, if no one stands up how much does it escalate, who ends up getting seriously hurt, what situation does it end with if not this one?

      3. Wintermute

        yeah but the police putting pressure on someone to bring charges is often overwraught and just wrong too, they can get plenty of other witnesses and probably don’t even need to bother them with it. The DA can charge, other witnesses can be called, a plea can be offered and they don’t need to put the onus on a victim to assert themselves in an already emotional situation or else.

        1. ..Kat..

          But if the victim won’t press charges/testify, police often won’t follow up. The police have limited resources and time. They investigate (and prosecute) the worst crimes with the best evidence first. If the victim won’t file a complaint/testify, you can be sure that the defense would use that to disparage the prosecution’s case. So, why should the police invest time and effort that the victim won’t? I realize that this doesn’t sound fair, but it is a reality of our court system.

          1. Wintermute

            It is, that’s true, but at the same time there is growing awareness that victims aren’t always thinking about their best interests and the state has greater considerations than that one person, plus a greater understanding of the mechanics of coercion both social and physical. That’s why some crimes are strict liability now, charges are automatic and no one can talk the cops out of it, but it’s also why a good prosecutor should work with the family. At the very least in my experience the cops will give you a report number and ask if you can come down sometime that week to discuss the matter rather than ask you on the scene with the witnesses and accused still present.

      1. SuperAnon

        If I had been a guest at this wedding, for sure I would’ve called the police, for fear that I might be harmed.

        1. Arts Akimbo

          As soon as that belligerent drunk dude pushed my kid over on purpose I’d have called the cops for sure.

          1. valentine

            It makes sense for a venue which doesn’t have security to avoid such negative attention. After all, they’ve nothing to say if someone asks how the venue’s going to help them not be assaulted by a guest at their booking next month.

            For those giving restraining order advice: It’s the UK.

      2. Kate R

        That would surprise me too, but it wasn’t clear to me that the cops weren’t called. It says Jamie declined to press charges, but that could mean the cops arrived, and he told them he didn’t want to press charges, so they just make sure the fighting has stopped and go on their way. I was playing in a kickball game once when a fight broke out, and that was basically how it all went down.

        1. TootsNYC

          technically, the STATE presses charges; I wish we wouldn’t use that terminology.

          and if I were Jamie, I wouldn’t assume that I couldn’t change my mind and ask that charges be pursued, and offer to give evidence.

          1. RabbitRabbit

            The cops may actually use that phrasing sometimes, but what they really mean is “are you going to cooperate when we have a trial?”

            1. Eukomos

              Yeah, I’ve definitely had cops ask me if I wanted to “press charges.” I didn’t end up being involved in the trial at all so I don’t know exactly what they meant by it, but it certainly meant something to them.

          2. Not That Kind of Lawyer

            The State decides whether a case goes to trial. Pressing charges means you are asking officers to push this issue up the ladder to the State for review. Sometimes, the victim does not have a choice – depending on the seriousness of the crime. In cases of assault and/or battery a person can sometimes choose to seek either civil or criminal relief. They may not seek to press charges criminally because they can bring a civil lawsuit.
            This may vary by state.

            1. Not So NewReader

              Additionally, Jamie cannot speak for anyone else involved. For example, the parents of the underage children or the bride. People will tend to follow the lead of the hosts but not always.

    2. HarvestKaleSlaw

      But is it actually too late to get the cops involved now? I mean, they have the guest list, so it is easy to line up several dozen witnesses. Is there a rule that if you don’t report assault right away, you can’t report it? Is there any rule that says the victim has to be the one to report it? Why can’t OP file the police report as a witness?

      Because honestly, the OP can solve all of her problems today if she can land this guy and his girlfriend in jail. Which is absolutely where they deserve to be.

      1. ..Kat..

        Some places, there is an unofficial rule that if the assault (or battery) is not reported within X amount of time, the police are not going to follow up. This is because if a victim doesn’t report within X amount of time, the victim is unlikely to follow through to testifying at trial. And, if the victim won’t testify, that really weakens (if not destroys) the entire case.

        1. Kikishua

          My nephew was “glassed” in a pub (UK) – someone literally walked up to him and smashed a glass in his face. He has two scars, one above and one beside his eye (was very lucky that the eye itself wasn’t damaged, although wonderfully bruised and swollen for a few weeks). This was all captured very clearly on CCTV, and witnessed by multiple others (including his future father-in-law who owns the pub). Police wouldn’t press charges because he didn’t give a statement within 24 hours – because he was IN HOSPITAL. He appealed against the decision – but was denied. And he still has permanent scars as a result. Police aren’t always the answer to bad behaviour :(

    3. LCL

      There is a way for Jamie to get the company to do something, if he is inclined to stay instead of fleeing to somewhere with sensible management. He can file for a restraining order and let management sort out what will happen.

      1. Elizabeth

        Excellent idea! If Jaime goes back to the police and files a report, he can then use it as the basis to get a restraining order (or order of protection, as it’s called in my state).

      2. VictorianCowgirl

        Yes I like this idea. Many states require that there be two instances against you, but perhaps the number of attacks at the wedding would qualify.

    4. Tom

      I would still file a report / complaint ..
      – Ruined wedding
      – Assaulted several people
      – Sexual harassment
      – Drunk & Disorderly conduct
      – Trespassing (been told to leave, several times)
      – Threatening people
      – Causing harm to minors

      Seriously – take the time to go talk to the police – and ask as many other people impacted by this (self-censored) being to do the same. If he gets some jailtime – he`ll be absent from work without a valid reason (it`s self inflicted) and boss man might not have a choice but to replace that one with a sane person.

  3. Ruth

    Omg OP3 reminds me of a coworker who used to whisper lyrics of songs to himself in the next cube. It was the most unnerving, disturbing thing and got right through my headphones. My jaw is now clenched remembering.

    1. CoveredInBees

      Yes. On public transit, there is often someone half singing/speaking lyrics along to the music on their headphones. It is so much more districting and annoying than people having conversations, even really loud ones.

      1. Ethyl

        There’s a guy at my gym who does this at freaking 6am. I hate him with the fire of a thousand suns.

        1. MMB

          “[H]ate him with the fire of a thousand suns.” I love this and I’m going to steal it! Thank you :)

      2. Gazebo Slayer

        I have a coworker who does that while he works. Soooo obnoxious.

        Also giving the stink eye to people on public transit who play games or listen to music with the volume turned up and no headphones. If I have a headache, I will actually tell those people to turn it down. Not that they do.

        1. Rusty Shackelford

          I’ve noticed people stocking the shelves at Walmart doing this lately. Freaking bizarre.

        2. Texan In Exile

          I was sitting next to a woman on a flight and she was watching something on her device and was not using earbuds. It was noisy. I kept glaring at her, but that didn’t work. I finally asked her to use earbuds.

          “I didn’t bring them,” she said.

          I channeled my inner AAM to Use My Words and hissed – wait, asked, politely through gritted teeth, “Then would you please turn down the volume?”

          She gave a big sigh, rolled her eyes, and turned off the device. She was ticked off at me because I wanted her to stop making noise. Whatever.

          1. ..Kat..

            Good for you! Plus (in the USA) airlines offer headphones for free or a small charge to passengers.

    2. DataGirl

      This is why I don’t listen to music at work- I can’t help but sing along when my favourite songs come on.

    3. General Ginger

      I found this website years ago because I Googled “coworker whispers to himself”.

    4. a

      My coworker whispers to himself all the time. He also regularly clips his fingernails at his desk. And he breathes audibly. I never knew I was so sensitive to sound until he started sitting next to me…

  4. CatCat

    Holy crap #1. If I were Jamie, I could see just quitting on the spot. And if nothing else, my last day would be the day before the person who violently attacked me and others came back to the office. As a boss, if your company is cool with this (unbelievable!) then at least offer to give Jamie a positive reference if he has otherwise earned a positive reference. And holy crap, start job searching. Wow.

  5. The Man, Becky Lynch

    Our lawyer says that off the clock doesn’t matter, so there’s that. If something then happens that the coworker and Jaime get into an issue at the office, that’s a huge can of “You should have known better, you didn’t do anything to protect your employees” that can be unleashed. To just shrug off violence off work hours is outrageous! It will be seen by a judge as trying to bury your head in the sand and that’s not an excuse.

    Was there a police report? There should have been one, then you can escalate it even further with that paperwork in place.

    I’m also shocked by the idea that a victim is told to “shake it off in a week or there will be consequences”. What. The. Actual. Ef.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Seriously—the whole situation is mind boggling.

      Also, who punches the bride at her own wedding!?

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch

        Not just punching. Spitting blood on people. That’s a whole new level that you don’t see frequently, even when you run with a rough crowd, which I’m all too familiar with having grown up in the punk rock culture. It’s usually to add fear because blood carries so many diseases and a lot of people have fears of it.

        1. Bunny Girl

          Spitting blood at someone in some jurisdictions can actually be counted as aggravated assault. It is serious and says a lot about this person’s coworker. I cannot even imagine working with someone like this after this incident.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch

            Very true. It can also be upped if you have known transmittable diseases, they brought those around due to “revenge” HIV cases over the years.

          2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

            I’m not Jamie or his bride, and even I feel I could never work with that guy after reading this.

            It makes me so angry that Jamie was given “a week to forgive and forget”. I am positive that he’ll leave as soon as he can find another job, which he’s probably already looking for.

            1. Bunny Girl

              I’ll be honest, if I was Jamie, once I had another job, I’d be letting people know about that company’s decision as loudly and publicly as I could. That’s just a horrible way to treat that situation and your employees.

              1. tangerineRose

                Yeah, this is something that everyone should know about. The company doesn’t seem particularly worried about keeping the employees safe.

            2. The Man, Becky Lynch

              I completely agree. This would be a “Okay then I quit” situation.

              Then I would find a lawyer to see if there’s anything we could do to the company for being so “whatever, man.” over a real safety concern. It depends on the regional laws of course.

              I would also quit as his supervisor as well, tbh. But I tend to have the luxury of being able to bounce like that, many others don’t of course.

              1. Hey Karma, Over here.

                The term hostile work environment made this twisted thought pop into my head. The company has already shown that it will take the path of least resistance, so when Jamie complains that his supervisor is retaliating against him for his actions outside of work, and his coworker is publically shunning him and making him unable to do his job, who is going to get reprimanded?

                1. The Man, Becky Lynch

                  It’s not hostile work environment. That’s only sexual harassment based lawfully speaking.

                  However it is unlawful harassment and that’s a huge deal as well!

                  Also if Jaime is suddenly demoted, released or otherwise “punished” for NOT GETTING OVER IT *rage face*, that’s retaliation. Retaliation is EEOC’s most reported issue and they will bring a case for it.

                2. Not Me

                  Replying to The Man, Becky Lynch – A hostile work environment (in the US) can be created by discrimination based on a protected class, not just sexual harassment.

                  The LW sounds like they aren’t in the US though, so I can’t speak to that.

                3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  Unfortunately, this sounds like it falls under “batshit crazy” work environment, instead of a hostile work environment :(

              2. irene adler

                I’d try to work in the phrase “forgive and forget” as I give them same day notice.

            3. irene adler

              I’d also be very concerned that there are the makings of a hostile work situation, going forward.

              If I were Jamie, I would not be able to be in the same room as the guy. So, WFH or bye-bye for me.

              And then there’s the question of the attitude of the guy once he returns to work. Is he contrite? IS he interested in resigning to give Jamie some sense of peace over this incident? Or, is he proud and boastful of his actions (“all that upset I caused and I didn’t get arrested?-cool!”)?

              Management deserves to be left “high and dry” with a sudden departure of Jamie.

            4. TootsNYC

              I wonder if Jamie could claim that the company’s NOT firing this guy was essentially constructive dismissal.

              It might need a police report to stand up. I’d get one.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                It’d be hard to do, because he’d have to link it to an impermissible basis for firing.

    2. Artemesia

      I’d be inclined with this work response to file a police report now. Especially given so many witnesses and especially if there is any video (you would think there would be given that everyone at a wedding has a cell phone and is taking pictures) Escalate it.

    3. Middle School Teacher

      I can almost guarantee that here, a teacher who acted that way off the clock would find themselves in front of our professional association for failing to uphold the dignity of the profession.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch

        It would depend on the school district over here. Some teachers have been notoriously awful in similar ways and it’s even made the newspapers but you know, they can get away with a lot depending on where they’re located at and how hard it is to fill the spot.

        1. ..Kat..

          A teacher in the Pacific NW, where you live, had a history of decades of sexual abuse of students. He was only fired when the local newspaper made it public.

          1. ..Kat..

            I should have included that there were numerous complaints made against him – all of which school authorities ignored.

  6. Dagny

    Jamie could file charges now. Surely there are an abundance of witnesses.

    I would also suggest checking the employee handbook. Some companies explicitly state that assault/battery is grounds for dismissal, and very few people think it makes sense to be forced to work with someone who hit you.

  7. C

    Dang, I wonder if LW5 ever commented as to why she couldn’t say “Sorry, but our office is just not conducive to visits, even quickies.” That seems pretty straighforward and understandable, and I don’t quite get why she felt like she couldn’t be direct.

      1. Kathleen_A

        I was wondering the same thing. The OP seems to think that hinting is the only polite thing to do, but it’s not. Just tell the poor guy that you just don’t have space for private meetings, and then figure out another way to give him what he wants, assuming what he wants is good for both of you.

        1. Artemesia

          as simple as ‘yeah, we don’t do that. we aren’t set up for meetings here, so we handle our work with free lancers by phone if we need to talk.’

    1. EPLawyer

      Yeah. This is a case of use your words. Iits not rude even. Its just a fact of the office.

      1. Middle School Teacher

        I get it, though. In university I had a summer job at a shop that manufactured big doors, like garage doors. We weren’t a showroom, but a shop about ten minutes away stocked our product. I spent a lot of time on the phone telling customers that if they wanted to see the products, they had to go to B because A didn’t stock demo product. One guy argued with me for twenty minutes. “Why don’t you want me to come? What are you hiding? Your product must not be that good. I’m coming anyway.”

    2. Turquoisecow

      Yeah, just say, “sorry, my office is a terrible place to meet. Want to grab coffee/lunch and talk down the street?” That seems to be a common thing people do when they don’t want people in the office to overhear the conversation.

    3. wb

      I’m rather skeptical that they did not specify why the freelancer is dropping by. The office doesnt sound like a workspace anyone would want to spend time in. I’m wondering if this is less an issue of LW being overly polite, or if said freelancer is actually wanting things like meaningful guidance on an assignment, or payment for past work. Both, I’d argue, reasons that might make LW feel awkward about explicitly telling the freelancer to go away.

    4. Glitsy Gus

      Agreed. There is nothing weird or rude about that sentence. Go ahead and say just that!

      Then, if the freelancer has something they really do need to discuss in person, or even if he just wants to pop by and put a face to the name he keeps emailing, you can meet up at the closest coffee shop for 15 minutes. If it’s something more sensitive, like unpaid invoices or some kind of issue with management, then you can go from there and figure out the best way to meet up or otherwise communicate the details.

  8. Artemesia

    Wow. The idea that assault on a guy’s ‘own time’ at a coworker’s wedding is not grounds for dismissal especially in the ‘at will employment’ world we live in is hilarious if sad. If the guy had just made a fool of himself then that would be appropriate but this guy assaulted people; he should be gone. And if he isn’t the rest of his team should find a better place to work and I hope they do.

    1. Observer

      He also clearly got totally drunk. That’s also something that LEGITIMATELY should concern an employer. What you do on your own time is mostly your business. And if you choose to get blackout drunk in the privacy of your own home or safely ensconced in a hotel, etc. that’s a problem, but it’s YOUR problem. But, if you do it in a venue where it’s utterly inappropriate and it leads to wildly outrageous behavior, as an employer you need to think about the real possibility that this is going to impinge on the workplace, too.

      Obviously the violence is a bigger deal, but if you’re the kind of jerk who doesn’t care about decency, practicality is is an issue I would think.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Yeah, I started reading and thought it was just going to be that the coworker got wildly drunk and maybe passed out on the floor in a heap, took a whiz in the plotted plants at the country club or started singing along to every song at the top of their lungs. Then it’s like “Don’t invite that person anywhere, he cannot hold his liquor.” story.

      Then it went violent and I was all “Wait…what, no this is a huge issue and he needs to be terminated.”

      Acts of violence is typically one of those things you’re looking for when you run a background check, for this kind of reason.

    3. Pommette!

      Yeah, I read the headline and my first thought was that eh, getting really drunk and acting like a fool at someone’s wedding is bad behaviour, but it’s not something that should lead someone to get fired (spokespeople and other public faces aside). But this is completely different and so must worse.
      The employee was violent towards a coworker. That’s scary and no one should be asked to work with someone who assaulted them.

    4. Anonymeece

      The reason that excuse never makes sense to me is if the charge were, say, murder, would they fire him? If he were publicly holding rallies saying that the company was evil, would it be excused because it was “off the clock”? Not a chance.

      This is just a matter of the manager not wanting to deal with a situation.

    5. TootsNYC

      I could possibly see that someone getting in a fight with non-work people might be something the company didn’t want to make a judgment on.

      But this guy assaulted his coworker and his coworker’s bride & family/friends.

      1. Lance

        Even then I’d say it’s a bit of a stretch, but yeah, I could see the argument there. As it is, though, it sounds like management is suggesting Jamie still work with this person, which just… how could anyone, anyone, possibly think that that could ever work out without serious issues?

    6. Jennifer Juniper

      I’m wondering if the lout is the CEO’s kid or something like that. That’s the only logical explanation for this.

    7. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

      You took the words right off of my keyboard.

      Management can use the “at will” clause – if it exists in your area – to get rid of the guy.

  9. MissDisplaced

    Holy moly! How horrible for Jamie that a coworker would do such a thing. I do not blame them ONE BIT for ever wanting see that person again, let along work with them.

    And no, the company is not powerless! They can take action, as technically this was a direct assault and the police were called. Telling Jamie to “forgive and forget” about a violent personal attack is WRONG on so many levels. I would push back on this and demand action, or maybe Jamie can still press charges, thus making this much more serious to your employer?
    [My guess here is that perhaps the employer company may believe this incident to be a minor argument or something where someone was drunk, and not an actual assault/fight? It’s possible they don’t understand the magnitude of what happened.]

    1. EPLawyer

      The thinking is oh hes drunk. He didnt mean to do it so all should be forgiven. No no it should not. The company needs to take this seriously.

      1. Oregano

        As one of my friends puts it, “Well, he wasn’t drunk when he started drinking.”

      2. tangerineRose

        My thinking is, if the coworker is like that when he gets drunk, he should give up drinking, and if he hasn’t figured it out after this last incident, he can figure it out while being unemployeed.

    2. Jennifer Thneed

      We don’t actually know that the police were called. We know that Jamie didn’t want to press charges, which might mean that the police were called and might not.

  10. Jennifer

    I hate people like the employee’s boss. This reminds me of the Mark Cuban situation. He rehired a guy who had been convicted of domestic violence for assaulting his girlfriend, saying he wanted to give him a second chance. Interesting who society thinks is more deserving of second chances.

    Forgiving and forgetting is a personal choice. This is work. No one should feel unsafe at work.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      And at the same time, if you don’t at some point, allow people to redeem themselves, to work and make a living and find a purpose, despite their previous awful behaviors, you are going to create an even more violent criminal in the end. It’s a cycle and is much more complex than all of that.

      You can’t use someone’s convictions against them in many areas, unless they will impede their ability to do the job or there’s an actual safety risk. The discomfort of what they’ve done to others prior isn’t always enough to deny them a job.

      1. Jennifer

        I agree but I think sometimes people are too quick to just forgive and let people back into their lives when the person has not done the work to change. Forgiveness is a good thing but it should be earned.

        If he assaults someone else, which is what happens in Mark Cuban’s situation, it’s on them. And they are looking a potential lawsuit.

        1. fposte

          The other thing is that forgiveness is not likely to be equally apportioned, and there’s a lot of bias involved in how it’s distributed.

        2. Justin

          Yes, they have to do the work.

          I think, depending on the situation, that would mean a mandated length of treatment and recompense with documented progress on the former (though of course a therapist couldn’t actually give private details, but you get my point).

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch

            Most courts mandate this kind of treatment while either incarcerated or as a condition upon release!

            It’s typical that if you’re convicted of DV, you’re going to get put into court ordered anger management.

            You basically get a standard doctors note in the way that it just states “has completed their program and are able to return to work”.

          2. Jennifer

            A real program. Not just one where you do your 30 court-mandated days and get to leave. One where they dig deep and really get to the root of the issue and where there’s no firm end date. Not everyone can afford a program like that.

        3. The Man, Becky Lynch

          I agree in that aspect. Like the OP’s boss with the nerve to try to tell someone they have ONE WEEK! a WEEK! to “forgive and forget” about it. Nonsensical. Also it’s different to tell someone who was the victim of an attack or crime in general that they need to be the one who shoulders the issue.

          This is also why if you separate a harasser from a victim, you have to do so by moving the harasser and not the victim per the EEOC.

          Though there are different layers involved here. The consequences don’t run as deep when the victim is far removed from you. A lot of people live in this world of “He’s never hurt /me/, so therefore whatever.” which is another human trait of it’s own.

      2. Observer

        Sure. But in a case like this, it’s wildly unreasonable to expect his victim to ever work with him again, their boss should prioritize the victim over the perpetrator.

        Also, the perpetrator needs to show that they are not likely to present the same problem again. Too often, with certain types or crimes or perpetrators, that doesn’t happen.

    2. mark132

      I’m struggling to understand what you want. Are you saying this guy should never be hired again or anyone who has been convicted of violent crime? And who is more deserving second chances that aren’t getting them?

      In this particular case, I think it makes sense this guy be fired, but if he(and for that matter his violent girlfriend) get help and make efforts to get their anger issues (or whatever it is) under control should they get a second chance somewhere to prove themselves?

      1. Jennifer

        Read my second comment. He rehired the guy and he went on to assault someone else, another coworker. No one warned her about his past. He hadn’t changed. He didn’t put him in anger management or do anything to help rehabilitate him. And most horrible of all, he did nothing to help his victims at the time. Some men seem to care more about helping the men that commit these crimes than they do about helping victims.

        I’m all for forgiveness but EARN it.

          1. Jennifer

            I know. From what I understand they need long-term intensive psychotherapy. 30 days and a doctor’s note doesn’t do the trick.

          2. VictorianCowgirl

            I wish more people knew this. Recidivism is almost 100%. Therapy does nothing.

        1. Maya Elena

          That reasoning bothers me. In general “Decision that could have led to go or bad outcomes has bad outcome so it was BAD” is faulty – hind-sight is 20/20. If the second chance had led to redemption, it would have been considered a “GOOD”. An Official Certificate of Redemption doesn’t exist; anything you create can be gamed; so you either blacklist anyone with DV convictions in the last X years – or ever, since “there’s almost no rehabilitating abusers”, as TootsNYC says below – or take the plunge and give out the second chance without gilt-edged proof. There’s really no in-between.

          1. Jennifer

            Regardless of the outcome, rehiring someone after they commit a violent act when they’ve gotten no therapy or anger management is bad. It made the other women at the office feel unsafe and like reporting the many other abuses taking place in the office wouldn’t matter.

            If he wanted to support him, he could have supported him without rehiring him. He’s a billionaire. And once again, the victims get lost in the conversation. What about support for them?

        2. Liane

          I looked up a few articles about Mark Cuban & one of them mentions not just a second chance but a THIRD chance.

  11. Casey

    #4 That’s a pet-peeve of mine, even in social relationships! I don’t mind so much when a friend asks what something costs or they’re trying to get a ballpark for, say, what rent is, or what a haircut costs in my city. But I hate the commentary of “Oh, that’s so expensive”, “You’re crazy to pay that much”, or “I could never afford that”. It feels judgmental and like a criticism of my budgeting or decision-making (plus it’s just awkward). The decisions that people make about what to do with their money are pretty personal, and you just never know the tradeoffs they’re making or the things they value. Maybe that person who is buying $15 salads every day also walks to work so they’re saving money there. I recently had a friend mention her super-expensive unlimited work-out class membership and my first instinct was to say “wow, that’s expensive!” but instead I bit my tongue and realized that commenting on her decision for how to spend her money isn’t super helpful and instead said “That sounds like a cool membership, how do you like it?” I agree with Alison that your boss is being obnoxious here and disengaging with the conversation is probably your best bet.

    1. Wren

      pet peeve of mine, too. when I was growing up, it was a habit of my brother and father to ask this, so I had to learned to deal with it. Sometimes I’ll disclose, but have learned to better manage my feelings to their reaction, and sometimes I’ll squirrel out of answering. But I’m done with feeling judged by however the asker responds, or feeling like I have to answer just because someone asked.

    2. Sled dog mama

      The commentary is really the problematic part here because it conveys judgement (judgement or not that’s how it comes across).
      It’s interesting to me that many people don’t seem to grasp that if you spend more on a quality item it will initially cost more but over a lifetime of use it will cost less so it might sound crazy to spend $4x on something when you can get a similar item for $x but 10 years later you’re still using the item and the person who bought the cheaper option has had to replace it five times.
      And many people don’t seem to grasp that different people have different priorities on how to spend their money. I used to fly a lot for work, this has made me value my comfort on an airplane and made me very willing to pay for extra leg room. I know that some people will think I’m crazy for paying to fly my 5 year old in a seat with extra leg room but it’s something I care about (getting us from point A to point B in the least grumpy mood possible).

      1. Jaydee

        My husband will buy the cheap version of Thing because he wants it but doesn’t want to spend “too much.” Then, a year later, he’s sad that it doesn’t have Feature, which the pricier version has. So he ends up replacing Thing with Thing+. Meaning he spent more money than he would have if he just bought Thing+ in the first place. I end up playing the odd role of telling my husband to spend MORE money on things in order to avoid this issue. He’s gotten better, but still.

        1. SusanIvanova

          Terry Pratchett has the best summary of that:

          “A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

          This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

          1. ..Kat..

            This certainly contributes to the cycle of poverty. A person who is not scraping by can take advantage of a “buy two, get one free” deal. While a poor person can not afford to buy two at once.

      2. PlainJane

        Agree 100%, and I would add that how someone spends their money is their own business and no one else’s. You can privately think they’re ridiculous or ostentatious, but it’s their money and their business.

      3. Liz

        I have a friend who does this; she thinks the cheapest version of ANY “thing” is fine. Sometimes it is, something it isn’t. I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for, so for certain things, I’ll buy the best I can afford at the time. So I don’t have to keep upgrading or replacing it.

      4. Former Admin turned Project Manager

        You are exactly right about priorities being different. I had a coworkers who would always make snarky remarks about how it must be nice to be able to afford a vacation ever year. The thing was, we probably made close to the same amount of money, but I rarely went out to dinner (which she did a few times a week) or spent money on higher end personal care (she did regular mani-pedis and eyebrow waxes), and my jewelry and clothing were lower budget than hers. Our lifestyles were different, neither one better or worse than the other, but she turned it into a judgement.

    3. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

      I agree, the commenting is really bad. People have different priorities — someone who is thrifty in one area of expenses may decide they really want to splurge in others because it’s important to them. If the OP could get away with it, I’d suggest a light-hearted but consistently ridiculous number for what things cost like, “Oh, this car, about $1.00; these shoes, about $1.00; my rent, about $1.00” said with a friendly tone. Just be totally a broken record.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

        That was my first thought – I’d look the person in the eye and say “oh, about three-fiddy” TO EVERY DAMN QUESTION.

        1. Not So NewReader

          Ha!

          My thought was, “Why don’t we just skip ahead to the part where you tell me I paid too much?”

          OP, start saying you found it at a tag sale for a few bucks. It’s amazing what people sell. I picked up a $140 paper shredder for $3. Works great. So it is plausible that you could pick up spendy items for a song.

    4. Joielle

      Yes! One of my husband’s friends is competitive about money and it is SO irritating. Once, after a lot of badgering, my husband gave up and told the friend what his salary was in a new job and the friend was mad (because it’s quite a bit more than the friend was making). And then we bought a house and the friend kept doing the “must be nice” thing about the house itself, new furniture, art, renovations, vacations… and it’s just like, look, we have a tiny house, one car, and no kids, which are decisions we’ve made on purpose so we can do other things with our money. We’re not traveling abroad or redoing our bathroom AT anyone. There’s a reason we don’t see that guy much anymore.

      1. TootsNYC

        I sometimes think we should say to people, “Look, I’m not going to hang out with you anymore–I’m really tired of you making little digs about how we spend our money. Don’t call me. I’m outta here.”

        I sometimes wonder if people might actually need the feedback that says, “I don’t want to be around you because you act like X.”

        1. Michaela Westen

          I’m normally a fan of giving feedback instead of dropping someone with no explanation.
          However, I recently backed out of a friendship with a woman who behaved like a child and made me feel like a babysitter. She was so needy, whatever I did for/with her wasn’t enough, she always wanted more.
          I didn’t say anything because it would have confused and upset her and she wouldn’t understand. Like a child. So I backed out quietly.

    5. Turquoisecow

      I hate people like that, too. I’m not explaining my financial situation to you or my budgeting decisions and I’m not defending to you my choice to eat at x restaurant or drink y beverage. I sometimes reply with something like “a reasonable amount” or “less than you might think!” or something similarly vague. No one has insisted yet, but if these hints were ignored I might go with another tactic or claiming not to remember the precise amount.

    6. Alianora

      Yeah, I’m usually fine with telling people how much I spent on something or even how much money I make. But I would be really uncomfortable with this person because a) she’s the boss so I’d rather not give her that info about my personal finances and b) like you said, her commentary and judgment is super rude.

    7. Alexis Rose

      I find it equally annoying and obnoxious when people go the other way on money. For example, I have a coworker who will say “I got a new shirt, can you believe it was only FOUR DOLLARS!” or “I NEVER pay full price for ANYTHING!”. Money in general is taboo, it leads to a lot of resentment or judgement and just other unsavory social things that should be left out of office relationships.

      1. Anoncorporate

        In my personal experience, it’s actually rich/middle class kids who do this the most. It’s because they don’t learn to budget until their early to mid twenties, and it’s like a big deal for them. I noticed this behavior a lot after moving the northeast US area. A lot of my roommates and coworkers went to private liberal arts schools and did not have any part-time jobs while they studied. (In my public university, it was very common to work service jobs on the side, even if you were middle class.). Budgeting was normal to me by the time I graduated. It made it 10x more annoying when a judgmental roommate or coworker would make snide comments about how much I spent on groceries or rent or something. Or called me “privileged” for having a higher paying job than them, even though they got their parents to foot their private school tuition for 4 years.

        1. Jennifer Juniper

          Ugh! The only privilege I check is my own, thank you very much! Checking other people’s privileges for having a higher-paying job than them is unpardonably rude. Jobs are (usually) earned, not given out as favors to people.

      2. pentamom

        Something that’s slightly less annoying because the person is trying to be nice, but still gets tiresome, is the constant downplay. They mention something they bought or did, not in a bragging kind of a way but in a “normal course of conversation,” but then immediately explain that they got a deal on it, or it’s not as expensive as it looks, or someone gave it to them or something, because they’re so defensive about not wanting to come off a bragging. You know what? I know your household income is higher than mine. Great. Enjoy it. You spent the money and have some nice things I can’t afford all the same, there’s no benefit to either of us in your trying to downplay it, and it just adds noise and emotional tension to the conversation.

    8. Anoncorporate

      I’ve had people think my wardrobe was more expensive than it is because it would have a Ralph Lauren tag on it or something…but most of my clothes are secondhand – either bought from thrift stores or hand-me-downs.

    9. Not One of the Bronte Sisters

      No one should ask questions like that, not even a close friend. Although in my opinion, there is a difference between a close friend asking, “How much did you pay for that?” and a close friend saying, “I like that, but I probably couldn’t afford it. I wonder how much it would cost?” But from your boss? No. Just no.

    10. Liz

      I hate this more than anything. My cousin, who makes way more than I do even though she I retired, is nosy like that. Wanting to know how much I paid for this or that. None of your beeswax! I will admit I am a bargain hunter and we like many of the same things, so I have volunteered info on the cost of stuff if it was great deal; like a brand new high end bag say on ebay for ¼ of the retail cost! But she’s also asked me how much money I make and so on. I deflect those questions.

      I also hate when people comment on something I have or have bought or done, just knowing it was pricy, and how THEY would never spend that much on something. Well fine, but you spend your money in other ways and on other things, so there.

  12. Dust Bunny

    Reader: OMG, please, get this under control. My mother does it under the justification that “she’s not talking to you”, but it means that she basically narrates her entire life out loud. She literally will narrate opening the mail: “Hmm, I wonder how I got on this mailing list? They seem to be sending these ads a lot more. I haven’t heard from her in a long time. Nice postcard; I think she went there a few years ago, too . . . ” etc. So being around her means listening to a constant stream of nondirectional chatter.

    1. sofar

      I have a family member who absentmindedly reads signs (billboards, store signs, street signs) aloud whenever she’s in the passenger seat of the car. It’s super annoying. We’ll be driving along, and she’ll be like, “Kenneth’s Donuts …. Maple Street… Got in an accident? Call Lloyd and Johnson attys at law.” If the print on the sign is kinda small, she’ll still read it all: “Wedding cakes … baby shower … hmmm what does that say? Gr… grooo ….Grooms Cakes! Ah! Wedding cakes, baby shower cakes, grooms cakes!”

      And if you ask her why the hell she is doing this she just says, “Oh I’m just thinking aloud!!”

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

        Good for her on these innocent and wholesome thoughts. You can’t pay *me* to think aloud! Whatever I think can be used against me!

        My mom used to do this too, when she would list everything she saw out the window while riding in a passenger seat. I think she stopped now (one of her rides must’ve said something). It was SO distracting and was making it nearly impossible to drive her anywhere.

        Honestly, I think this habit of hers goes back to when she and dad first came to the US and couldn’t drive, and were getting rides from friends and family, and during that period, someone told them that it is a polite thing to do to keep your driver entertained by small talk. Maybe that person really meant small talk and not a “oh, a stop sign… a red car… a green car… a cow” type of monologue.

      2. LCL

        If left to my own devices, I would do the same thing as your mother. I have mostly suppressed it, but once in a while it still comes out. I don’t even use the excuse of thinking aloud, I say I am just reading aloud. There is something about being locked in a completely silent car that is just slightly unsettling. I prefer to have the radio on low, but I will supply the dialogue if no one else will.

      3. VonSchmidt

        Ugh! My husband is this person…and that, your honor, is why I killed him! Just kidding!

      4. Mr. Shark

        Lol! There was a movie called, “Forget Paris” in which the father-in-law of Billy Crystal would do that, and drive him crazy. It was pretty funny since it wasn’t happening to me.

      5. Lobsterman

        When I do that, it’s a sign (heh) my anxiety disorder is getting the best of me, and I take that sign seriously.

      6. Jennifer Juniper

        Someone get this woman a smart phone to play with so she’ll stop doing that!

    2. Jennifer Thneed

      I think that the Reader needs to drop the word “bad” from the phrase “bad habit”. What they say is this: “I have the bad habit of reading my work out loud/whispering to myself”

      I’m a writer, and I absolutely need to hear what I’m writing out loud. It helps me catch missing words, awkward constructions, and flat-out mistakes. I can do it at a mutter but I really need to do it. And I explain it to people just like I did here: it’s a necessary part of my editing process, and I’m happy to book a conference room when necessary. (The whispering, though. That needs to go. Whispering is way more attention-grabbing and honestly can be piercing.)

  13. House Tyrell

    OP1- Jamie can and should absolutely file a police report now, there are enough witnesses. I am SHOCKED that your employer is handling this so terribly. They definitely have grounds to fire the employee who ASSAULTED another employee, on the clock or not. Especially if you have at-will employment. They are being lazy and cowardly by not doing anything. When, not if, a conflict arises at work, they will be in even more trouble.

    1. Malty

      Just to clarify these are old letters so it’s very unlikely the OP is seeing this now/can do anything but I agree the company handled this terribly

  14. mark132

    Why wasn’t he arrested? While I can understand the desire to not turn the evening into an extended police report, it is just easier long term to do it right. This coworker almost certainly would have gone to jail for the evening, and could be facing charges now. (Even potentially still being in jail waiting for bail). And it might be possible to get a restraining order, that would possibly prevent the coworker from coming back to work.

    1. mark132

      And I should add guys like this are one of the best arguments for cash bars at weddings(events in general), with a professional bartender.

        1. league.

          I think mark132 means that some people get carried away at an open bar since there isn’t the slowing-down effect of paying for your own drinks. And perhaps that professional bartenders may be more comfortable cutting someone off.

          1. Jennifer

            I agree. When there’s an open bar there’s an element of “FREE STUFF” that takes over people’s brains. Similar to how some act when they see an all you can eat buffet. Or when there’s free food at work.

          2. ValkyrAmy

            My open bar still had a professional bartender. It wasn’t just a DIY keg and a bunch of wine coolers in an ice bucket! :)

        2. mark132

          Sometimes the problem is the allure of free booze, if it costs them $10/drink they are going to probably go a little easier on the booze. Also a professional bartender is usually trained to recognize signs of over intoxication and cut the person off, hopefully before they get overly drunk. It’s not perfect of course, but I think it would help a lot.

        3. Jadelyn

          Yeah, I’m not sure I’m seeing how a cash bar would’ve stopped this. People can still get drunk if you have a cash bar, they just have to pay for the privilege – and the sort of person who’s going to be trying to get drunk, probably will be willing to do so.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch

        Um no. People get grossly drunk even when they’re buying their own drinks.

        You should always have a professional bartender that has an eye out for over serving though. This is usually required by venues because their ability to serve liquor depends on that.

      2. I GOTS TO KNOW!

        Totally off topic but cash bars are tacky as hell. There is no argument for them.

        Also, people get drunk all the time while paying so there is no indication a cash bar would have prevented this guy from being the a-hole he was/is.

        1. EmKay

          Hard disagree on cash bars being tacky, is this a Miss Manners thing or just your opinion?

          1. Liane

            Miss Manners (both generations), and other etiquette experts, condemn cash bars at wedding receptions and similar events. So do many more general advice columnists. It’s a more specific case of very old rules of hospitality: Hosts pay ALL the bills for the event they’re hosting–whether it’s alcohol for wedding guests or the soda/cake/pizza at kids’ birthday parties.

          2. Not One of the Bronte Sisters

            I think they’re extremely tacky. Ugh. People are already spending money to go to your wedding. Only open the bar for a fixed amount of time if you are worried about the expense. And all bartenders should be professional. I don’t understand that side of the argument at all. Did you want amateur bartenders, i.e., people who don’t know how to mix drinks properly and fail to cut people off if they have had too many?

        2. M&Ms Fix lots of Problems

          I agree that cash bars can be tacky. The exception I have seen is open bar except for shots. That seems more than fair to me – you can have a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail on the host but you have to pay for your own shots.

        3. mark132

          Meh, I disagree on the tacky part. I know it is controversial. I just see no problem if it is well communicated.

      3. Choux

        Nah, if they know it’s a cash bar, people can just get buzzed at home first and then have one or two drinks at the wedding and be just as drunk.

      4. iglwif

        I don’t think a cash bar makes any difference when someone’s determined to drink … but obviously yes, one should always have SmartServe (or whatever the local equivalent is) trained people behind the bar. Where I live that’s actually a legal requirement — if your event has alcohol (and isn’t at your home), someone with SmartServe certification has to be serving it.

    2. That Girl From Quinn's House

      I wonder if they were leaving for their honeymoon and thus had flights they were worried about missing the next day.

      1. mark132

        It could be. It really is an awful situation. There aren’t really any good options, (ie low pain ways to deal with the situtation).

  15. Fiddlesticks

    Oh hell no. I wouldn’t work with that guy again under any circumstances, and I wouldn’t work for a company that tolerated that kind of behavior – on or off the office clock.

    Criminal charges absolutely SHOULD be filed!

  16. goducks

    Did the incident in LW1 happen in the US? I see the term “car park” which implies it might be the UK. I know the UK uses employment contracts, unlike our at-will system in the states. Anybody familiar with UK employment law able to weigh in on whether the employer’s hands are actually tied, or are they just being clueless and burying their head in the sand?

    1. emmelemm

      Yeah, I immediately thought from “car park” that this is a UK situation, so the majority of commenters don’t really have a frame of reference for the relevant laws, etc.

      1. WellRed

        Having no frame of reference never stops commenters from commenting on relevant or irrelevant laws.

    2. Observer

      Well, I’m pretty sure that even in the UK, some types of “off the clock” behavior can lead to termination.

      According to the UK Government web site, it looks like this would be perfectly legitimate.

      It says:

      “If you’re dismissed, your employer must show they’ve:

      a valid reason that they can justify
      acted reasonably in the circumstances

      They must also:

      be consistent – eg not dismiss you for doing something that they let other employees do
      have investigated the situation fully before dismissing you – eg if a complaint was made about you”

      and

      Summary dismissal

      You can be dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’ without your employer going through the normal disciplinary procedures. This can happen if, for example, you’re violent towards a colleague, customer or property.

      Link to follow

    3. Lobsterp0t

      They could absolutely dismiss him for gross misconduct if they completed a fair and proper investigation of a grievance – which anyone present who worked there could lodge.

      1. Bubba

        I work in the UK. This happened at an office Christmas party a few years back (which I didn’t attend, but heard all about the next day). It was after hours and off site and voluntary to attend. A young male employee (Fergus) insulted another male employee’s girlfriend. When asked to apologise by the boyfriend, Fergus punched him in the face instead. Fergus was immediately fired and never came back in to work. So yes, an employee can be fired for assaulting another employee outside of the office in the UK.

        1. tangerineRose

          And this company did the right thing. I hope the punched employee filed charges for assault.

  17. Jennifer

    What kind of a person sees their spouse punched and spit on at their own wedding and doesn’t press charges because they don’t want to deal with the hassle? You have been hassled already. Get these people off the streets. Maybe someone else should report it. In these times I’d wager it’s on video. And there are plenty of witnesses.

    1. MissBliss

      Okay, the bride could’ve pressed charges too if she’d wanted to. They we’re both probably having a pretty bad day at that point!

      1. Jennifer

        Yes, she could have. But I’m still pretty horrified that the groom said that. The bride was the one that was punched and spit on so maybe she wasn’t in the best state of mind to make a decision.

        1. Alianora

          Weren’t they both punched? The coworker hit Jamie and his girlfriend hit the bride. I can understand the couple not wanting to spend their wedding night at the police station.

          1. Jennifer

            You’re right. I missed that. He was hit twice.

            Still, somebody needs to report this guy and his girlfriend. There’s still time. That would get him out of the office. The OP could do it. They were a witness.

          2. Jennifer Juniper

            Or maybe they were scared of further retaliation from the coworker, the girlfriend, and possibly other psychopathic friends/relatives of the coworker and the girlfriend.

            And also, see problem of possible missed flights for honeymoon.

    2. MegPie

      I don’t think any of us can predict how we would respond in this situation. It sounds like it was pretty traumatic, and the victim is allowed to react in whatever way is best for him. I’m sure his wife is perfectly capable of taking care of herself.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch

      This kind of scuffle will rarely end up in anyone being “taken off the streets”, you have to cause a lot of harm to really get held accountable for assault. It’s the truth about most situation where violence is involved unless it’s an obscene amount of violence involved.

      If everyone was thrown in jail and put away for a long time over a bar brawl, our over crowding issues would be even worse.

      1. Jennifer

        “Taken off the streets” as in arrested.

        People who get drunk and punch people at bars or at weddings should go to jail.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch

          They don’t though. That’s the thing.If they are found to be in the act of committing violence, they’re “locked up” for maybe a night before they make bail. Then there is not enough to really make any charges stick and the DA is like “we’re not going any further with this, we have other higher priorities than a case that may get some community service.” There usually has to be egregious injuries involved to get the judicial system interested and even then, it depends on their case load.

          I’ve seen people come into someone’s home, drunk, then get into a fight with the occupant and leave either on their own or because they were physically removed. The officer that finally showed up, about five hours later was enraged that they were called out in the first place because it was “over” and “we can’t do anything, he’s gone.”

          That’s just the reality of the justice system. It doesn’t work very well, it’s pretty junky and understaffed, underfunded and in general just not here for weeding out this kind of crime.

          1. Jennifer

            I don’t see that happening here with multiple witnesses, at a wedding, multiple victims. I’ve seen people hauled away to jail for less and doing significant time. Assault is actually a serious crime. It seems you’re implying that “bar brawls” are just a thing that happens and are relatively minor, similar to someone being caught with a small amount of weed, and I wholeheartedly disagree. Different life experiences and perspectives I guess.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood

            3am insomnia pedantry minutia … “locked up for the night” is exactly what “jail” is. Formal sentencing sends people to “prison” for a set term.
            I only learned the distinction recently and I remember a lot of “huh, wow, didn’t know that, don’t use it that way” where it came up so no way of knowing how Jennifer meant it.

    4. Parenthetically

      because they don’t want to deal with the hassle

      I don’t think that’s a fair reading of the situation. It reads to me like “I can’t mentally or emotionally deal with the idea of staying up all night giving statements to police when we have a cab booked to take us to the airport at 7 for a 9:30 flight.” I can absolutely see someone looking at the logistics and deciding it’s more overwhelming to contemplate the police/statements/photos/charges route than just leaving it all behind and going to St. Lucia.

  18. Why isn't it Friday?

    I think Jamie should get a restraining order. That way the drunk coworker will not physically be allowed near him at work. Management will have to deal with that.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      As far as I’m aware, that’s not how restraining orders work. You can get a restraining order but it doesn’t work in the way that they are then mandated to 1500 ft or something like you imagine when thinking of an order of protection. They’re still allowed “lawful” contact.

      Just like an order of protection is usually put on certain places, like a victims home, their work place and other designated areas they’re obligated to be in for extended periods. However it’s not illegal for you to be at a store at the same time, it’s smart to remove yourself from the situation if someone has an order in place but most of the time, you have to prove stalking and that’s pretty difficult to do

  19. redcybra

    If none of the guests at Jamie’s wedding took video of the rampage of the drunken fool and his girlfriend, I’d be REAL surprised. He should consider asking around & filing charges now.

    1. Observer

      Remember, this happened 5 years ago. So while I wouldn’t be surprised at there being a video, I also wouldn’t be surprised if there were not.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        Video goes back before cell phones to the dark ages of the 80s&90s when it required a separate video camera. And tape.

        1. Frank Doyle

          Sure, but they weren’t as ubiquitous. People didn’t have them in their pockets at all times, and most of the excitement seemed to happen after the actual wedding, when the videographer (if there had been one) would be gone already.

  20. redcybra

    If none of the guests at Jamie’s wedding took video of the rampage of the drunken fool and his girlfriend, I’d be REAL surprised. He should consider asking around & filing charges now.

  21. Anon for this one

    I used to work at a plant where there was conflict between Puerto Rican and Central American employees. One day, several women from each group went to a nearby store parking lot to fight, thinking they wouldn’t get in trouble at work because they were off the premises. Our security camera captured the whole incident, and everyone involved was fired via phone call that night.

      1. Me

        Sociologically speaking, sometimes national pride, nationalism, can be a source of conflict. There are various reasons some historical some just because they’ve never like “those” people. It’s kinda comparable to racism, but instead of color based it’s nationality based.

      2. DreamingInPurple

        They’re not. This could just as easily have been “two similar but distinct ethnic groups” and “several people”; the point would have been the same, but Anon here would have missed the chance to take a swing at Hispanic women over the stereotype of them being spicy/scrappy :|

        Anon, if that wasn’t what you were trying to do, please examine how what you said comes off.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss

      Or, you know, invite people who you know can control themselves under the influence of alcohol.

  22. TeapotNinja

    OP1: Ask your employer what’s the policy of employing felons? Then file a police report.

  23. Tessa Ryan

    When I got to “he started to get naked and violently abusive” my jaw was literally dropped. I’ve read some crazy stuff on this site before, but this is just…. What did I just read?

    The fact the employer told you both to “forgive and forget” is almost as insane as what the guy and his girlfriend did at the wedding!!! Update, please.

  24. Hiring Mgr

    On #2, I would certainly ask for the day off if this is a pre-planned vacation. I would just say something like “I should have mentioned this during the interview process, but I meant to ask if it’s ok to take Friday off, I’m going out of town, etc..” Obviously use whatever language makes sense, but I don’t see why this is that big of a deal at least on the surface…

    1. Jennifer Thneed

      It’s the whole “springing it on you at the last minute” issue, especially when nobody knows you and will wonder if you’re always going to ask for Friday off less than a week ahead of time.

  25. Czhorat

    For the boss who asks what everything costs, I’d just put on my best Dr. Evil voice and say “One…MILLION ..dollars” for everything.

    A cup of coffee? One million dollars.
    A new necktie? One million dollars.
    A second-hand unicycle? One million dollars.

    Repeat until they get bored enough of the joke to stop asking.

    1. Jennifer Thneed

      I’d just get very very forgetful. “How much did these shoes cost? Gosh, I just can’t remember.” Rinse, repeat.

      1. Frank Doyle

        I agree. You don’t even have to make it all that convincing, just keep doing it until she realizes she’s never going to get a straight answer out of you.

    2. MJ

      Other person: How much were your shoes?
      You: Yes they are, aren’t they? I love the glitter on the heels.

      Other person: How much was your salad?
      You: Yes it is, isn’t it? I love the extra croutons.

      Other person: How much was your dress?
      You: Yes, it is, isn’t it? And it goes straight in the wash.

      And if there are any “how much” follow-up questions, look quizzically, taken back, head cocked to the side: What are you talking about? I don’t get why you’re asking.

  26. staceyizme

    It’s not too late to press charges and your direct report should do it. It satisfies “keeping it out of work” and provides redress. Also, as the manager, you have standing to say that you can’t unsee what havoc the disrobing, destructive jackass caused and that it will, of necessity, inform your views going forward. You can encourage the miscreant to look for a “fresh start” elsewhere, and take other evasive countermeasures that limit exposure and the likelihood of a recurrence. In your shoes, though, I’d be job hunting because this is nuts!

  27. Database Developer Dude

    I would just like to shake Jamie’s hand and his wife’s hand for not beating the offenders to death right there. I want to be them when I grow up.

  28. Anna

    It seems to be a common misconception with managers that they cannot have consequences for their employees for things that happen outside of work. I have heard that all too often. I even had a friend who thought he couldn’t fire his employee who showed up for work drunk because he was drinking off the clock on his lunch break?????!!!!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      That’s absolute nonsense and your friend shouldn’t be managing others if he’s that disconnected, if he’s running his own show, he needs to get someone to teach him some more about employment law. This could be a danger to him, personally as a manager of people, he’s held to a higher standard and the law expects him to know things like what a danger it is to allow drunken employees to be in the office.

      He wouldn’t have been fired because he was his off-time-clock drinking, he should be fired for showing up intoxicated. That’s written out clearly in even the most rickety handbooks I’ve seen. It’s why we can drug test employees and use the test results against them!

  29. Anoncorporate

    WHAT. You can’t blame alcohol for coworkers behavior in #1. He’s just terrible, and so is the boss!

  30. Maya Elena

    For #5, you can say directly that “we are not allowed visitors” – “sorry that’s policy”.
    If he’s attractive, you can go out for coffee with him, but make it clear it’s in a personal capacity. :p

    1. Close Bracket

      LW can go out for coffee in a professional capacity regardless of whether the freelancer is attractive. I see the tongue in cheek, but I think this particular joke is a bit uncalled for. Leveraging freelancers for one’s personal life is unprofessional, and hitting on people at their workplace is inappropriate.

  31. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)

    Anyone else having difficulties with Inc’s website? It starts loading and then I get a blank page

    1. tangerineRose

      I think Jamie should get all the photos he can of the coworker behaving badly and put them up somewhere that the coworker has to look at it – shame the coworker.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch

        People who act like the coworker did have no shame. It may however provoke them to do even more awful things.

  32. Noah

    I disagree 1000% on talking to yourself. Just like co-worker prefers not to hear somebody talk to themselves, I work better if I can talk to myself. When I didn’t have an office, I always told anyone who complained (it only happened a couple of times, and both times by obnoxiously loud people who were regularly asked by others to quiet down at work) that it helped me do my job well and that I would be as quiet as possible (then I was as quiet as possible). For the most part, this seemed to work for everybody.

    Unless it’s a quiet office, expecting self-talkers to stop is unreasonable.

    1. Close Bracket

      Oh, I disagree with that. Self-talking of this sort is a behavior that can be modified so it doesn’t bother others. I just went from working at home to working in an office. At home, saying things out loud is form of organizing my thoughts and swearing out loud is a way of letting off steam. I’m switching to writing things to organize my thoughts and muttering my profanity (and toning it down) instead of shouting it (you hear a lot of muttered and sometimes not muttered profanity around here, so I’m fitting in with the norm). If I were the type to read out loud, I would mouth the words without actually verbalizing them. There are lots of ways to change, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all.

  33. Noah

    Re #4: just tell her how much your condo cost. It’s soooo easy to look that info up now, and it is a far more interesting conversation than your salad, so it should forestall a lot of other $$$ conversations.

  34. Tiara Wearing Princess

    It’s not too late to press charges and OP should strongly suggest it. There is ample evidence, numerous witnesses and DNA on the dress!

    I cannot imagine how the bride and groom felt about this asshat ruining their wedding. And the dress! The wedding dress! Omg.

    This jackass needs to be fired and OP should revisit this with his superiors. People are getting fired, losing college admissions over Facebook posts. This guy assaulted a coworker. The fact that it was not on the premises is irrelevant.

    The bosses are making a huge mistake. The groom has every right to be afraid of this jerk. I hope he presses charges.

  35. Tiara Wearing Princess

    Someone stated this was an old post from 2015. Was there ever an update?

  36. Quake Johnson

    Oh…I am just so sad for Jamie and his wife. This was supposed to be the best day of their lives, and he ruined it. They’ll always look back on it with these terrible memories.

    The boss’s answer to this is absolutely unacceptable. Maybe having one employee press criminal charges against the other would wake him up.

    On that note, what would happen if Jamie filed a restraining order against Drunken Boor? I know nothing about how they work, just wondering if that’s at all a feasible solution.

  37. CountryLass

    I’d be pressing charges now. If your spineless bosses wont take action to show this idiot the consequences of his actions, then inform the police of the assault by the colleague and his girlfriend.

    OP, please pass on my wishes to Jamie and his new wife for their future together, and my hopes that the trouble at the start of their marriage will be balanced by some good fortune during it! Even if that is a new job with a higher salary/better balance!

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