my employee quit, but now wants to stay

A reader writes:

I have an employee who resigned by email two weeks ago. He sent his resignation by email to the head of HR, one of the VP’s, and the president of the company. Fast forward to last week, when the employee told us that he wants to stay. (Evidently he had a job lined up but it “fell through.” In this business, that usually means a failed drug test.) We’ve discussed it all week, and decided we don’t want to take him back. So, how do you terminate in this situation?

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:

  • My interviewer wants a doctor’s note before they’ll reschedule my interview
  • My manager copied and pasted someone else’s performance review into mine
  • Manager is delegating management work to one of my coworkers
  • My office is moving, and my commute will quadruple

{ 292 comments… read them below }

  1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    RE: Asking for discharge paperwork to reschedule an interview. What. The Actual. Ef. Take this as the biggest red flag of all. They will treat you horribly if they hire you and you have another medical emergency. Yuck. I would use this as a reason to withdraw candidacy unless this is the only place in town that you’ve got a chance to work, it’s not worth dealing with this kind of shenanigans.

    RE: Office moving. Ask! It will depend on the circumstances and your role in the company of course. But we’re in this same boat right now, we’ve been working with people to adjust their schedules to accommodate the change in commute as well as evaluating salaries to make sure that everything is on course because we want to not lose anyone in the move but we know deep down we very well might. We lost one person, who didn’t even give us a chance and just bounced as soon as the news was dropped. Which was a bummer but at the same time, we know the risks when moving happens, shake the boat and someone may just leap and swim for shore without waiting to see what you’re going to do to correct the vessel. Worse case, they say no, there’s no way to give you more. Which lets you have control over the situation in terms of if you want to continue to work there or if it’s time to start looking for something that’s better paying or more convenient given your transportation options.

    1. Close Bracket*

      What. The Actual. Ef.

      Yup. They aren’t your boss, you don’t have to provide doctor’s notes. Talk about an overstep.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        This isn’t high school, I don’t need to prove myself and my illnesses to you! Would you like my mom to sign my annual reviews as well!?

        Thankfully I’m also in a region that outlawed requesting a doctors note unless it’s 3 consecutive days.

        Either trust someone or don’t but don’t ask for “proof”, jeez.

      2. Summertime*

        Even many bosses won’t require a doctor’s note unless you’ll be out for an extended period of time or if it’s required by policy. Most good bosses will trust that you aren’t lying about feeling under the weather due to a cold, much less a surgical emergency!

      3. Elenna*

        Yes, this. Do you really want to work for someone that will require proof every time you’re out sick? Because that’s what this is implying.

      4. Quill*

        Honestly even from your boss it would be an overstep, even demanding to know whether you were in the hospital or just lying on your couch with the stomach flu is condescending and giving them way too much information on the state of your health.

      5. TheCommenterFormerlyKnownAsRUKiddingMe*

        Right? Unless she is starving/about to be evicted/something else similarly dire….OP needs to ruuunnnnn away from this!

      6. Massmatt*

        I can only imagine what a nightmare this company and/or manager would be like to work for if they start off the interviewing process with such an absurd and adversarial request. Put it on Glassdoor!

      7. Elizabeth Rochelle Dickson*

        This. I would laugh maliciously in their faces and tell them don’t bother to call me again, ever. Because this is not it, at ALL. They are, as the kids these days say, wildin’.

        Nope, nope, nopity nope-step outta Dodge, for real.

    2. SheLooksFamiliar*

      RE: Asking for discharge paperwork to reschedule an interview.

      Yeah, I made an involuntary noise over that one. The employer has a lot of nerve to insist on that. OP, that’s not a typical response and should not be indulged.

      I’m sorry for your loss.

      1. Indigo a la mode*

        Seriously. Talk about adding insult to injury.

        If you remove yourself from consideration, OP, you should tell them why – that you understand the inconvenience and not wanting people to make up lame excuses, but that you just went through a serious trauma (you didn’t sprain an ankle, you lost a baby!) and don’t think they would appreciate further inquest if they were in your shoes. They might think you’re withdrawing because they called your bluff and you were actually lying, but you know what, if that’s how they’re gonna think, that’s a bullet dodged anyway. I don’t know *what* they were thinking.

        I’m so sorry for your loss and hope that you’re healing. And that everyone else in your life is more compassionate.

        1. Zillah*

          I actually disagree that the OP should be at all conciliatory or understanding. It’s not really the company’s job to decide what or isn’t a good reason to need to reschedule an interview.

      2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        Also, no reputable hospital will disclose why you went there, since it violates patient confidentiality. At most, they give a certificate with a boilerplate “we certify Ms. Fake Old Converse Shoes was treated in this institution” and nothing else.

    3. Lucia Pacciola*

      Reminds me of the anecdote in Bad Blood about the disenchanted board member who wanted to fight Theranos over his entitlement to stock options after he resigned from the board. He went to his lawyer, and his lawyer told him, “you have a good case; you can probably with this case and exercise your option to buy more Theranos stock. But given what you now know about this company, do you really want to 0wn more of it?” The board member was like, “oh yeah, huh? Thanks for straightening me out!” He didn’t bother to sue, and just noped on out of the Theranos story.

      Same thing here. Knowing what they now know about that manager, does LW really want to work for them?

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        Bad Blood/Theranos is one of the most wild stories I have ever read in my life. It baffles me that it actually happened. I don’t think a fiction writer could come up with anything that fantastical.

          1. Lily in NYC*

            It’s really good, and there are a lot of really good documentaries on YouTube about it. I can’t get enough of that crazy tale. Jennifer Lawrence was such a good casting choice for the movie.

        1. ArtK*

          It happened because tech investors are actually quite stupid and easily conned. They so much want to be in on the “next big thing” that they’ll buy just about anything. It helps if there’s a quirky/charismatic person in charge. Theranos is a good example. Juicero is another one.

          I watched the dot-com boom-to-bust cycle. Investors were throwing $$$$ at concepts that were weak at best and the recipients of those $$$$ were throwing it away on fancy buildings and employee pool tables. Anecdote: A friend worked for eToys and was thrilled that they had a 90% fulfillment rate one Christmas. He didn’t understand that they had ruined the holiday for %10 of their customers, many of whom would tell their friends that eToys was terrible.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            This is the cautious tale of why financial advisors exist and why just because you can become a millionaire, doens’t mean you’ll stay a millionaire! Also there are cons in every walk of life, even the big-guys get taken advantage of because they’re conned and blinded by promises of huge returns and more piles of diamonds on the other side.

            Everyone just needs to watch American Greed and see how nobody is safe. Trust nobody.

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            I think that Theranos did not start out as a scam. It started out as an over-ambitious tech company. It’s big problem was that it adopted the “fake it till you make it ethos.” That is one thing for a software company. It is quite another for a manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment.

            The other key is that after they got George Schultz on the board, later rounds of investors came in without doing due diligence, because if Schultz was involved it must be legit. In other words, it morphed into an affinity scam aimed at rich old Republicans: a lucrative target group! This worked especially well because rich old Republicans are not noted for their respect for expertise, leading them to discount the people who actually understood the issue and were trying to explain it.

            Finally worth noting, a lot of investors looked at it and took a pass.

            1. AcademiaNut*

              I think not so much over ambitious, but criminally ignorant of the basic science behind the idea. It would be like getting money for a hoverboard company, brushing over the fact that hoverboards don’t actually exist, and saying they’ll work it out in beta.

              1. Mongrel*

                It’s a horrific Dunning-Kruger monetisation and is all over the crowd-funding sites as well.

                So many seem to be “I want to this product based on a high-school level understanding of the science involved, but since I can imagine a sleek design and starter video with all the sexy buzzwords I’ve already done the heavy lifting! Everything else is a trivial engineering problem!!”

                Then other people who are swayed by all the sexy buzzwords give them lots of money and then fall hard for the Sunk Cost Fallacy and turn into rabid Fanbois.

                Yep, Theranos but also see Solar Roadways, Skarp laser razor, the self filling water bottle and mouthpiece rebreather (whose name I can’t remember right now)

              2. Richard Hershberger*

                I think we are really saying the same thing. It is not fraud, because by definition fraud requires intent to deceive. If, as I believe, they started out intending to deliver a product, even if their intention was wildly unrealistic, then it is not fraud. That came in later, when they were pretending to have the product operational.

          3. Wintermute*

            I don’t think that they’re stupid at all, or easily conned. Anyone with two working brain cells can realize that “engagement” is not market share, and “eyeballs” are worth nothing in real terms. We’re seeing it right now with Softbank and WeWork– all the big players full well realize that just calling yourself a “tech company” rather than a real estate company doesn’t magically multiply your valuation by 20x. But for some reason Masayoshi Son feels that it’s worth plowing a few billion into them.

            The secret is not that they deserve their valuation, the secret is they think that they can keep them aloft with venture money long enough for an IPO at which point they sell the pig in the poke to someone else (or a lot of someones else) and leave them holding the bag when they realize it’s not a pig at all.

            1. ArtK*

              I’ve dealt with tech VCs. Trust me when I say that they’re stupid and easily conned. They get hung up on the latest buzzwords without understanding what that means for a product or service. They don’t do enough due diligence in most cases to ever possibly make it to an IPO.

          4. Dagny*

            Actually, the biotech investors refused to give Holmes’ company money. It was the normal venture capitalists and such, who didn’t know much about the specific area, who were conned.

            1. D'Arcy*

              Juicero was at least not a con, merely the most gratuitously overengineered simple product ever. Like, the internal works are basically an engineer going absolutely crazy designing the Most Perfect Press Ever.

    4. Bilateralrope*

      I’m reminded of a phrase I often hear on the Savage Lovecast: you told them one thing about you. In return, they told you everything you need to know about them.

    5. Clisby*

      I must be fortunate – I’m 66 and retired, and never had to supply a doctor’s note at work. Well, maybe the actual day my first child was born, because that started FMLA, but even then I don’t remember providing an actual note. It would have been documented through insurance, anyway.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Yeah between my career, my parents careers and my brothers, none of us has had to supply a note ever except for when my mom required FMLA to care for my dad and that was just because it requires them to hold the job for 12 weeks while she was busy nursing him back to health. Which I can understand in any lengthy leave of absence case!

        But just a standard sick day or medical emergency that is cleared up in a few days, GTFO with the idea of a doctors note or “proof” of any kind. If you’re that untrustworthy, I pity you and have no need to be anywhere near you.

        That’s the kind of crud they do in a call center environment. One of those places that fires you after your 3rd “unplanned absence” kind of hellholes!

    6. Tom (not THAT one)*

      This employer is showing more red flags than a Chinese flag factory.

      I would decline, stating that a prospective employer that shows they do not trust people, is not a place you would want to work. (Of course, only if you can afford to tell them to bugger off).

      Should this not be an option, you could act all surprised as in ‘i`m sorry, I did not know I was already hired, why else would you demand to see personally sensitive documentation from someone you have no real relation with’.

      Seriously though – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot indeed!

    1. TrainerGirl*

      I had a coworker who resigned triumphantly on a Monday. He hated our manager and couldn’t wait to get away from him. We had previously talked and the team told him to wait, because a re-org was about to be announced and we knew we would have new management. But no, he couldn’t wait. Two days later, the re-org was rolled out and we had a brand new manager, who the coworker met and really liked. He then wanted to stay. HR let him twist in the wind for 2 weeks before they told him they would allow him to rescind his resignation. Serves him right.

  2. littlelizard*

    That last one hurt me. Having to switch from a Dream Commute (I don’t bike, but a scenic 15 minute commute that’s also exercise sounds nice) to an hour each way…oof. I’d definitely ask for some kind of worthwhile tradeoff.

    1. Door Guy*

      I left a job I enjoyed that treated me very well due to them moving locations to expand into a bigger facility. My commute would have gone from 1/2 mile to 35 miles. At that time in my life, I needed the short commute (plus my shift started at 2:30am) since I got done at 1:30 and my wife had to work at 2 with her carpool picking her up at 1:45. Did the quick hi/bye kiss on the way past and then I took care of the kids/house for the afternoon/evening.

      1. Mimi Me*

        Yeah…I live minutes from my office as does my husband (different companies that happen to be in our same small town). We share a vehicle and I can literally drive him to work and back home, get my kids up and ready for school, drive them to their schools – which are on opposite sides of town from one another – and be in the office on time…all within 45 minutes time. It’s pretty awesome and I’d consider leaving the company if they moved locations and didn’t offer me more money / perks.

        1. TheCommenterFormrlyKnownAsRUKiddingMe*

          The last place I worked for someone else (not counting when I do adjunct work at the university) was like a 5 minute drive/15 minute walk. I grew up/came of age/had my first several years’ worth of rush hour commuting in the Bay Area. Even as a child I knew that if you weren’t on the 101 by 1:30 in the afternoon you weren’t getting home at a reasonable time (it’s improved since I moved away) and after years of doing that I just couldn’t anymore.

          My offices are within a two minute (literally, I’ve clocked it) walk from my house. That was deliberate. I have to go to see my rheumatologist once a year to check in. He is in Bellevue, requiring me to take the 405 (those of you in the Puget Sound area know what I’m talking about) and I need at least a week to psych myself up for that drive. There’s about 12-ish miles that ends up taking about an hour and a half to drive (no, no alternate route) no matter what time of the day I go/leave…and trust me I schedule things for the most advantageous time of the day. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          If my commute was to be quadrupled by my employer, and I get it, business needs, etc. …I can say pretty much unequivocally that that would be a nope from me. I’d have to seriously start looking for something else no matter how much I might like my job.

          1. datamuse*

            I currently commute from Seattle to Tacoma (a distance of about 35 miles) and it takes me less time than people commuting from one part of Seattle to another part of Seattle. It’s bananapants.

            1. Door Guy*

              My commute currently is 31 miles and takes about 40-45 minutes. The last 7 miles (where I get into town) is 15-20 minutes of that, and of that 7, 5 are still highway miles just a much busier highway.

          2. Gumby*

            Even as a child I knew that if you weren’t on the 101 by 1:30 in the afternoon you weren’t getting home at a reasonable time (it’s improved since I moved away) and after years of doing that I just couldn’t anymore.

            I think it improved during the tech bust but is back to being just as bad. I solve this issue by leaving work no earlier than 7:30 p.m. and 8 or later is not unusual. Last night I left at 7:40 and still was in stop-and-go traffic for several miles before my exit. And I was commuting in the, theoretically, less crowded direction.

            I lived within walking distance of my job once and TPTB were selling off part of the company. I’m pretty sure the terms of the sale included a certain subset of employees accepting jobs with the new place. My then-CEO was talking to everyone individually about whether we wanted to go (reassuring us they’d find positions to keep us if we didn’t) and said “who knows, maybe you will find you like commuting” to me. Um… no. I moved to the new company anyway because I wanted out of that particular job area and thought job hunting and quitting would be easier if I was at a company that I felt less loyal to.

          3. ZarinC*

            Ha ha….nope 101 sadly has not improved. Still “rush hour” traffic starting at 2pm in the afternoon.

    2. MegaCommuter*

      Commutes are rough, and I totally feel for the writer of the last letter. I haven’t decided what #CareerGoals I’m chasing after just yet, but I have decided that working from home full-time or at an office within walking distance is my ultimate goal in life. Right now, I spend 4 hours per day driving to/from work- I live in the ‘burbs of NYC and work in the center of the Financial District in Manhattan (54 miles each way). It’s complete and total torture, especially with NYC traffic/terrible cab drivers, but I’m paid well and I’m working for *the* best org. in my field. If my office moved and my commute lengthened, I’d probably just ask for flexible telecommuting- but I’m hoping that my office does move, because the only thing I hate more than my commute is New York City.

    3. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I feel you, OP. I would start job searching if they didn’t compensate me for the long commute.

  3. staceyizme*

    It might make sense to ask about what happened with the other offer directly and give yourself time to consider his performance, the other candidates who are available and any factors that are relevant. For example, What assurance do you have that he won’t continue to look for another job? How would rescind ing his resignation impact his timeline for a raise or other opportunities? Those are questions that I would be curious about, in your shoes.

    1. TootsNYC*

      What assurance do you have that he won’t continue to look for another job?
      This might be a reason I’d give.
      Personally, anybody who had worked for me and quit would be welcome to come back as long as I hadn’t started interviewing, and maybe even then it would be OK.
      but that’s because I manage relatively proactively, so I’ve never had an employee that *I* supervised be someone I’d be glad to lose.

      I personally wouldn’t worry whether they left again in two or three months. That’s fine; I’ll just start the hiring process later. I don’t find it onerous, because I’m low-key doing it all the time.

    1. Half-Caf Latte*

      I’m now getting ads for home hair drug tests “worried you might not pass your pre-employment drug screen?”

      And I get you may have been being flip: but if the employee didn’t raise flags before/wouldn’t have been tested if but for this event, I feel like testing them is maybe an extreme reaction? But on the other hand, now that they do have a suspicion, I wouldn’t want them, say, driving the espresso shots school bus without testing, so maybe it’s warranted.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      In some of these cases, depending on their internal policies, they may require him to be “re-hired” after his resignation date. Which would include that pre-hire drug test.

  4. Jamie*

    I wouldn’t give them medical paperwork even if it was folded in four corners.

    I can’t even imagine what a nightmare it would be to work there if they telegraph this before the interview.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      I feel the opposite, like you asked for it, well, here’s something you’ll wish you didn’t see. I would want to see them squirm and how they handle the hiring process once they have sensitive info that they shouldn’t have asked for.

      1. YuliaC*

        I don’t think it is likely they would squirm, unfortunately – if they were the type to squirm, they wouldn’t have asked for this.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Cynical skeptics do squirm when they’re faced with facts like “It was for a miscarriage.” kind of stuff. They are assuming that you’re lying, this is why they ask for “proof” and when they get the truth bomb, they go pale.

          1. KayDeeAye (formerly Kathleen_A)*

            That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking. Sure, there are people who are cruel and clueless enough that it wouldn’t bother them to find out that they’ve actually asked a woman to prove she’d had a miscarriage. But there really aren’t very many people like that. They were thinking this was just an excuse for a hangover or something and that it would be satisfying to call this applicant’s bluff.

            But if they find out the real story, they’ll almost certainly feel horrible – as they should – and while that won’t help the OP at all, it might make those idiots reconsider this tactic just a bit.

            I wouldn’t blame the OP at all if she didn’t want to get into it with these jerks, but if I were in her position, I’d be sorely tempted.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              I’ve known too many “I’ll call your bluff!” people in my life to assume they’re heartless, theyr’e just…clueless in the end. So when you drop a “It’s actually a miscarriage.” or “It’s cancer, dude.” they start backpeddling up a storm and I can see the shock and horror in their faces.

              Life isn’t a poker game, guys. We’re not all bluffing to get you to fold them on our pair of sixes.

              1. Gymmie*

                I had to park in visitor parking for a while when I had a protective order against my husband. Someone (whom I don’t particular care for) came up to me one day and said “oh, nice to be parking in the visitor spot”. I just looked at him and said, I park there because I have a restraining order against my husband so he won’t kill me. The look on his face was THE BEST. That’s right, mind your own damn business!

          2. Former Govt Contractor*

            I would also give them the paperwork, then withdraw from consideration. I would hope they would be mortified but I’m guessing no.

        2. Artemesia*

          Nah they would not hire her because she is one of those people who gets pregnant. Hire her and she will be pregnant immediately.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I wouldn’t produce the medical forms but I would snap back with the details personally and then remove myself from the running. But I don’t burn bridges, I bomb them.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          I had the same thought. That’s what I would do too. Heck, I might even throw a copy of a medical form in.

        2. Trek*

          I would also add to copy higher ups at the company on the email so that they are all aware of why you are not moving forward and that you were asked for this information.

          1. Petty Betty*

            That’s my thought too.

            “Thank you for considering me and agreeing to reschedule my interview. However, upon further consideration, your request to ‘prove’ my need for a reschedule by giving you confidential medical information you aren’t entitled to has shed a harsh light on you as a manager, and perhaps your company as a whole, so I will be withdrawing my application from the hiring pool. Thank you for your time, and the insight into your company.”

            CC the HR director, office manager, CEO, janitor, anyone else you can, and at least one outside person. Maybe even somebody’s mother.

        3. juliebulie*

          Same. I’ve never had to provide a doctor’s note for anything (other than short term disability) in my 30 year career. No way would I provide a doctor’s note to a prospective employer. But I would definitely feel obligated to tell these dumbasses what had happened to me. That way, they’d either be ashamed of themselves, or they could have a fun anecdote to share when they arrive in hell.

      3. Some Windex for my Glass Ceiling please*

        Me too!
        I’d like to be present and draw out the discomfort for as long as possible.

      4. Sam*

        I did that for a professor in Uni who wouldn’t let me reschedule a quiz (in class I had an “A” in). Upon turning in the quiz I showed him my post-op paperwork that included detailed photos of my insides, observations of said insides and details of the drugs I was placed on post-surgery. He was absolutely mortified – why didn’t I tell him I was getting “that” kind of surgery….lame.

        Oh, and I got “B” on the quiz, not bad for being high on drugs.

        1. Quill*

          I got an A on my philosophy essay finals in college while writing it with a 103 degree fever, because I was NOT coming back to campus for that class.

          Turns out the professor literally picked up my test booklet with tongs, threw it in the trash, and graded it according to my midterm essay, because he thought I was contagious. (I was not.)

        2. Autumn*

          Ya’ll had a nicer prof than mine. Even when I showed him the obituary and prayer card for the relative who’s funeral I had attended, he stuck to his ridiculous “miss a class, lose one full letter off your grade” policy.

          1. Narise*

            We had a professor that was like that as well. One day he cancelled class. Next class I raised my hand and asked him when I would receive a refund for the missed class. He was dumbfounded at first but I drew out the conversation and pointed out that by lowering my grade he was impacting me, on the other hand I was paying for x number of classes. Since he cancelled a class I was entitled to a refund. Several students went to the admissions office and their guidance counselor with the same argument. No we didn’t receive refunds but it made the professor think twice about reducing grades.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            My college chorus expected me to show up and listen to rehearsal when I had a cold — never mind that I had severe bronchitis with possible pneumonia action mixed in, so was on doctor-ordered bed rest for 48 hours. And the chorus met in a clammy, barely heated church…at night…and it was winter. I explained that I couldn’t even walk that far, gave them a doctor’s note, and they still dropped my grade. And that boys & girls is when I joined the marching band.

        3. E*

          When my mom passed away suddenly my second semester of college, I had a class test scheduled on the day of the funeral. I asked my professor to be able to make up the test another day due to a family member’s funeral (I didn’t give details because I didn’t want to cry in class). She asked for a note from my parent, so I wrote a simple note explaining it was my mom’s funeral…and had my dad sign it. The day of the make up test, when I’d finished, she gave me a hug on my way out the door. I completely understand the need to confirm that I truly couldn’t be there for the original test day, and this is how it should work – minimal info, just enough to confirm the absence.

          1. Workerbee*

            I’m sorry that happened to you, and for your loss (I realize it’s retroactive at this point).

            I also find it rather ridiculous of the professor to ask for a note from a parent in the first place; isn’t college where we’re supposed to be adults and all that? Ugh.

        4. vlookup*

          I pulled two all-nighters in three days, feverish and delirious with the flu, for a class where all of the assignments for the semester were due on the same day and you would automatically fail if anything was late for any reason.

          I handed in assignments, went to sleep, and woke up feeling like I couldn’t breathe — it turns out I had pneumonia. I was so sick they had to send a golf cart to bring me to the student health center!

          I got an A- in the class.

        5. vanillacookies*

          These people are the worst. I know that I have had classmates and students who have had compromised immune systems, and I try to tell my students that if they’re sick they should just not come to class and we’ll make up for it as needed. Some of them still come to class sick. Funnily enough the ones who are really just skipping have never tried to pretend to be sick.

    2. irene adler*

      Their request makes me wonder if they deal with a lot of candidates who miss their interview appointment-or ask to reschedule the appointment -giving excuses like hospital emergency, death of family member, etc. Which makes me wonder why is this the case.
      (not that this justifies their asinine request).

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        This happens to me all the time (I recruit for freelance positions), and I still wouldn’t do this. Just yesterday, I stayed an hour late to do a phone interview, and the candidate didn’t answer–and it’s the second time she missed an appointment! However, I won’t treat other people badly because a few people are thoughtless.

  5. whistle*

    For LW2, I would consider this a major red flag but if you want to move forward anyway (those bills aren’t paying themselves), you could make a copy of your discharge papers and redact the hell out of them so that they basically just show your name and date.

  6. Faith*

    The fact that it’s the hiring manager and not HR requesting the discharge paperwork would be such a huge red flag for me. I can see myself working for a company where HR is so out of touch, but I cannot see myself working for a manager who has this kind of attitude.

    1. EPLawyer*

      LW2 dodged a HUGE bullet there if they decided to not go forward with the job. They showed you EXACTLY how they treat employees who are ill. Usually you don’t find that out until you started working there. This is not a reasonable place. If you have other options, take them.

      Don’t go in there, girl, you in danger.

    2. Half-Caf Latte*

      I’d actually be tempted to flag it for HR – Alison could probably come up with really beautiful wording that says “Hi, you have a nimrod on staff who appears to be a lightning rod for trouble, and I thought you’d want to know.”

      1. Nancie*

        I think you could do that by way of sending HR notice of your withdrawal from the process. IE:

        “I don’t feel comfortable bringing in my hospital paperwork for (hiring manager) to review, so I’m withdrawing my candidacy. Best of luck to you, etc.”

      2. Jadelyn*

        If OP had the contact info for HR, they might reply to the hiring manager, CC HR, and say something like:

        “Thank you for your willingness to reschedule. However, due to your requirement that I bring my hospital discharge papers as “proof” of my medical emergency, I am no longer interested in pursuing this opportunity and am writing to let you know that I am withdrawing my candidacy. I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of a prospective employer expecting access to my medical records in such a fashion and will not be moving forward with any company for which that is accepted practice.

        Again, thank you for the opportunity, and I wish you the best as you move forward with other candidates.”

        Stays polite, but conveys “this is not cool and it’s the reason I’m dropping out” in a way that should immediately run red flags up for the HR person who’s cc’d on it.

        1. Sales Geek*

          This gets my vote, too. Having been out of work because of “icky” types of surgery my employer (last three managers) always took my word for it. In general our biggest problem was people that wanted to come right back to work after a serious medical event/surgery. My favorite was a third line manager who had back surgery and was answering emails in the recovery room right after the procedure. He was really paranoid about another manager gunning for his spot (and correctly so)…:-)

          1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

            Yeah. When I had surgery, my boss wanted a letter from my doctor before I came back, so I wouldn’t go back to work too soon. They knew what kind of surgery it was, but I’m not sure if they would have asked if my spouse hadn’t volunteered it, on the phone when explaining “the Gollux won’t be at work today, she’s in the hospital being prepared for gall bladder surgery.”

            1. Jadelyn*

              We’re similar where I work – we require a doctor’s note after extended absences not so we know you were really sick, but so we know you’re cleared for work by your doctors.

        2. rayray*

          Yes, OP, please do this!!

          I know it sucks to get to the interview stage and then miss the opportunity, but really truly, you avoided a terrible job. If you are asked to bring doctor’s notes, you will be treated like a child in all other regards. Who knows, maybe you have to ask for a hall pass to use the bathroom or ask permission to print documents.

        3. CB*

          I always find your comments on the site to be so helpful! This language is so perfectly worded, though I hope I never have use it.

        4. Wintermute*

          THIS. SO MUCH THIS.

          There’s no need to try to shame them by giving graphic details of a painful personal event, or try to be a badass. Just be polite, frank, and let the sheer inappropriateness of the situation speak for itself.

          You don’t need to add awkward here, you just need to do a “return to sender”.

    3. Jennifer Thneed*

      I’m confused, because hiring managers can be poorly informed but it’s literally HR’s job to know this stuff. So if HR were so out of touch about this topic, I wouldn’t trust them to know or follow any employment-related laws.

      1. Jadelyn*

        I mean, it sounded like it wasn’t HR who made the demand for the paperwork to me? I thought it was the manager, and you’d be amazed at the wild shit some managers will pull that horrifies HR once we hear about it, and we have to go rampaging in to shut some crap down.

          1. HappyRetiree*

            Back in the eighties the accounting manager where I worked (I was in HR) requested that the young woman applyig for an accounting clerical position visit his apartment. At night. She went to directly to her agency (with whom our HR director had a great relationship) and the stuff hit the fan. He was told to find another job and the young woman refused to go further with us.

          2. Jadelyn*

            Well, these are all recruiting-related ones since that’s been most of my direct contact with people-managers, but I think my top four are:

            The hiring manager who turned down a candidate because she disclosed she couldn’t stand for more than 5 hours at a time…for a job with a seated workstation where she wouldn’t need to be standing for more than half an hour, ever. When I got wind of that reason for refusal, I bcc’d my manager on my response to him and she went to Have A Talk with him about it.

            The hiring manager who dismissively brushed off the idea of seeing if we could transfer some people being laid off at a branch we were closing into her open positions, because the hiring manager’s branch was in a heavily Hispanic area and the branch closing was in a heavily African-American area and “We need Spanish-speakers. Those people don’t speak Spanish.” And yes, “those people” was in exactly the tone you’re imagining. This time because it was between sister divisions we had to bring in two layers of management for that one.

            The manager who was promising her staff “comp time” illegally, tracking it on her own spreadsheets outside of our timekeeping system, so that she didn’t have to record their overtime and be accountable for it. That one resulted in weeks of research to reconstruct the correct OT payments so we could retroactively make our staff whole on that – we paid out amounts ranging from $300-1500 for OT worked over the course of a year and some. The manager was suspended during the research period, and then fired at the end of it once we had all our evidence and calculations in place.

            And then my favorite one was a hiring manager who’d interviewed a Hmong woman and liked her for the position, then dropped in passing that she was extra excited because “We’ve never had one of those!” Like she was collecting Pokemon or something. I happened to be in a room with two other HR folks when she said that, and all three of us shared A Look that was half “Did I really just hear that?” and half “Oh honey no”. After we hung up, I and one other coworker both literally facepalmed, and the third coworker (senior to us) sighed and without a word left to go walk over and have A Talk in person with the manager.

            This is why I tend to advise people to talk to HR about manager-related shenanigans. HR can’t put a stop to what they don’t know about, and a lot of the time managers just…do stuff, without thinking about the ramifications.

            1. Dr Wizard, PhD*

              Those are amazing/horrifying. Thank you for sharing!

              Now I’d love to see a thread of ‘HR staff anecdotes’…

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          I had a guy actually put IN WRITING that if he scheduled a phone interview with someone and that person had a thick accent, he’d automatically reject the application. As you can imagine, I was not happy.

          1. Jadelyn*

            It always amazes me the shit they’ll put in writing. Like. You do know once it’s gone through email it’s there forever, right? At least be smart enough to keep your illegal bias off the record, if you’re going to be that kind of person.

  7. Okay*

    Our office moved resulting in us losing our bus passes and parking allowance. So basically everyone got a ~$30/month pay cut, and everyone who took the bus has to pay to commute now (paying for gas instead of a free bus pass).

    1. Bee*

      My cousin’s office moved from Manhattan to New Jersey, so suddenly everyone who lived within the 5 boroughs had a commute that was twice as long and twice as expensive. They lost half their staff over it.

      1. Alexander*

        I always wonder when companies do not factor this in their decision making.

        Losing even 1/3 of your staff should make almost any company die within a short time…or they are doing something so boring that they shouldn’t exist in the first place.

        In my company, depending who leaves, a single person can make or break whole departments…

  8. Ruth (UK)*

    In my previous job, my office moved by about 8 miles. This was a positive move for the majority of people in my office I including me (I used to need to take the train to work and could now cycle). However, one member went from being able to walk 10 minutes to needing to drive 40 minutes. There was no pay adjustment but they did allow her to condense her hours and work 4 x 10 hour days instead of 5 x 8 hour ones, with Wednesday as her day off. This office didn’t typically allow condensed working patterns otherwise. She felt more able to handle the new commute when she was there for longer hours on fewer days.

    1. Ruth (UK)*

      Ps. I feel I should clarify that the reason it would take so long to drive 8 miles was due to a mix of country roads (we live in a rural county known for its dodgy country lanes) and then having to cross a small city in rush hour

      1. Bilateralrope*

        What were her commute times like with the 10 hour workdays ?
        She would be avoiding rush hour I at least one direction.

        1. Ruth (UK)*

          Bilateralrope, her commute was better with the 10 hour workdays due to avoiding peak rush hour, as you suggest – another reason she wanted to work the condensed hour schedule. I’m not sure of the exact journey times, however. I know that driving to the her village (where we used to work) from where I live (in the city) is typically 20-25 minutes with no traffic, so probably close to that.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It works that way in most metropolises as well!

        It takes at least an hour to get from one side of the city to the next on a weekday. It’s 30 minutes on the weekends.

        1. Dasein9*

          Yep. I live 3.6 miles from work and it takes 40 minutes to an hour to commute. There’s not really a good bike route to take and driving often takes nearly the same amount of time.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Around here we still have a lot of areas that aren’t pedestrian/bike friendly! So it’s hard to navigate due to the massive interstates and draw bridges involved.

        2. A*

          Yuuuup! I just relocated from right outside a metropolitan city to a fairly rural area. oddly enough, my new commute is almost exactly the same mileage as my last one – 16 miles. Used to take me ~1 hour, now I’m home in just under 15 minutes.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Yep, I had an all highway commute for so long, that it took me awhile to get used to the “city” mileage!

            I went from a 30 mile commute, 35 minute drive. To a 15 mile commute of 45-90 commute.

            I have learned over the last few years the difference between a country mile and a city mile LOL

            Then my dad is from the winding hillsides, where being five miles away meant you’d see each other only if you happened to be at the store at the same time. You had to spend the night if you visited kind of thing because it’s not safe to be on those roads if it’s dusk or raining or windy or anything of that sort.

        3. Artemesia*

          I drop my granddaughter at school from our place once a week during rush hour. It takes usually about 15 minutes to drive and drop her, maybe 20 — it takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get back home as I am not in peak rush hour direction and time.

    1. Sleepless*

      I thought the same. We hear lots of stories on this site from people whose new job doesn’t work out at the last minute and they want to know if they can ask for their old job back; assuming the person failed a drug test is uncalled for.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*


      Some places over-hire and have to terminate people before they even start. Or they find out that Johnny CEO’s brother needs a job, so they slide them in and terminate people before they start.

      I was let go of a temp gig years ago before it started because they found a cheaper option [somebodies sister’s sister or whatever]. RME.

    3. Rebecca*

      I thought that, too. Why jump to that assumption? Anything could have happened, it’s not like mistakes in a background check haven’t been made. There could be a myriad of reasons.

    4. Kate R*

      Yeah, that struck me as trying to convince us (or themselves) that the reason for not wanting to keep the employee was more concrete than just he wasn’t very good. If he had been a stellar employee, they probably would have more deeply considered keeping him and likely wouldn’t have jumped to the conclusion he failed a drug test as opposed to all the other reasons a job offer might have fallen through.

    5. Half-Caf Latte*

      Interesting. I took it more as either:

      -“I always thought Joe was just an okay employee, but now looking back, there are some red flags and drug use would explain them”


      -“Joe was a good employee but if we bring him back we’ll have to drug test him again, and if he fails now I’ll look bad as his boss for not knowing he was on drugs/it will mess up things for Joe because that will be his reason for termination and impact eligibility for rehire/references”.

      1. animaniactoo*

        Well just ask Joe to bring a copy of his drug test from the other company as a requirement for considering re-instating him. See? No problem.

    6. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      It jumped out at me, too. Not to mention, I doubt that this is a correct assumption anyway. FME, by the time I’ve given notice, I have already passed the drug test and the background check.

      And I have heard stories about job openings that were pulled by the company at the last minute (in one case, the person that told me about it was the new guy’s hiring manager, who had to call the guy the night before what would’ve been his first day at the new job, to tell him that the position was no longer available and he would not be starting the next day).

      Honestly, as much as it sucks to be out of work, maybe LW1’s former employee is better off. I would not want to work for someone who immediately jumps to the worst assumptions about me with little reason to do so.

      1. Quill*

        A neighbor had a job pulled out from under him (he was in customer service, but pretty specialized) the morning of the day he was supposed to come into work.

      2. CupcakeCounter*

        My company does it bass ackwards – the drug test is on your first day and we get the results back day 4. The third time I heard that we had to terminate someone because of a failed drug test, my big mouth opened up and said “well that’s because you do it stupid…the drug test is supposed to happen after the job is accepted but BEFORE a start date and resignation from old job”. They looked at me like I had 2 heads.
        Recreational use is legal in my state but since we deal with large machinery everyone is held to the standard of the operators.

        1. Arctic*

          I worked somewhere that insisted it was illegal to do so before someone was hired. (Which is just not the case. They were basing it on some fairly complex ADA analysis, so it wasn’t baseless, but they were misapplying it.)
          I think there is that impression in some places though.

    7. BeeGee*

      Agreed. I have heard a few unfortunate stories on the news recently of workers that lose jobs from drug screens due to taking CBD, which can have varying traces of THC, which can result in a positive drug test for marijuana. So even if they did test positive for a drug screen, they may honestly been caught by surprise by it.

      1. A*

        Honestly though, it’s super easy (and inexpensive) to fake negative results nowadays that it would take a lot for me to assume that was the cause. I generally assume most people are aware of whether they will pass or not, and do what they need to do (not advocating one way or another, live and let live).

        1. LL Cool Butts*

          If they were supplementing CBD and didn’t realize it can cause a positive for THC (marijuana), there’s no reason for them to go into the test trying to force a negative result. In which case, they’d be caught by surprise as BeeGee mentioned.

    8. Mrs_helm*

      Yeah, but AAM tells us to take OP’s word, and OP said “in this industry that almost always means”. Now, I dunno what industry and I don’t want to inadvertently insult someone by speculating. But OP seems to believe it, and also didn’t come up with any “but that can’t POSSIBLY be the case with this guy” stuff. So, I’m guessing that’s plausible for this person/industry/situation. YMMV and all. They also didn’t do any “but he was SUCH a great employee stuff either.

      So, given that they don’t actually want to rehire him (which they did not say was solely on the drug test speculation), I think AAM’s answer of “we’re just going to accept that resignation” is a lot less work than the other suggestions of “you have to be rehired, which means drug test”. Less work, plus What if he passed?

      1. Mel2*

        If the guy was a very desirable employee, OP and their team would likely be more willing (or even happy) to take him back. For a potentially iffy (or even simply average) employee, I can understand their hesitancy. Especially so because they’re in a field where rescinded offers typically mean failed drug tests. If OP and their team were on the fence about whether or not to rehire, that industry norm likely would have pushed them to deciding to accept the resignation as it stands.

    9. Farrah Sahara*

      Exactly! Just because in their industry it often means a failed drug test, doesn’t mean the slam dunk reason why the offer was pulled. It could be that he lied re his education or experience, maybe his references were not very good, or maybe budget was cut and the hiring manager had to eliminate the role.

    10. Wintermute*

      and if he did, so what? does it impact his work? if not what do you care? The purpose of a company is to serve their customers, and make money, to do that you want to employ the best people possible. The purpose of a business is not to attempt to enforce Victorian morality via employment actions.

      1. No Coffee No Workee*

        Re: Wintermute’s comment – nowadays, I dont think it’s just a matter of doing business. Many consumers care about the ethics and actions a company takes. That’s why companies get boycotted. It makes sense, given that we have a capitalist economy — voting with your dollars works.

        In re: to drug use — I personally enjoy recreational use — BUT, I respect how the ethics of how a company wants to run. My current employer drug tests – I wouldnt say this is a Victorian practice.

  9. RussianInTexas*

    Office move: at my old job we had a lease ending, and the company put four proposed locations to a vote – to stay where we were, and 3 others.
    The one that won? To stay where we were, because it was the closest to where the CEO lived. Even though the company did the map analysis and figured out another location was much more central to where most of the employees lived.

    1. AnonyNurse*

      But also … everyone took the job based on that location. So it wasn’t a change like what the LW was dealing with.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        Oh, sure. But it left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, why even bother to have the “vote” if you already know the results? Most employees wouldn’t even know the lease was up if not for the vote.
        Also, the location that gathered the most votes was only 3 blocks from my then apartment, so extra insult to injury.

        1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

          This – I would be pissed too. If they knew what the CEO wanted was going to be the result, why bother asking and make everyone think they had a say in it?

    2. CupcakeCounter*

      My company actually did this well – we moved less than a mile from the old office so no one’s commute changed.

      1. Alexander*

        That depends…if my office would move a mile, the commute would be massively different – as almost all staff arrive via the Subway station that is 8 minutes walk away from our building (and the last stop on a line).
        If we moved to the business park about a mile west of us (something that was considered), we’d lose access to 50% of the Subway lines running to our office, and those that we would keep only run 1/2 as often as the ones that do – it would go down from 1 train every 15 minutes, non-stop from two big population centers to 1 train every 30 minutes, that you have to change to/from (and hope to make your connection).

        This would massively inconvenience a lot of our staff (about 75% take the train), and surely make us lose some – even though it is “only a mile”.

        Always be careful what you wish for…

        1. Indigo a la mode*

          That’s a good point, but in most American suburban areas this would be a complete wash, since there’s often not much in the way of public transit. My company (which is in a suburb of Sacramento without much in the way of buses) also moved just about a mile and if anything, it’s actually slightly more convenient because it’s closer to the highway and not far from the mouth of a major bike trail.

    3. Nope no name*

      A sister company’s lease ended… our corporate overlords decided to move them into our building because we had empty space. 40 mile move, along an interstate towards the nearest big city and crossing nasty bridges. No move allowance because it’s ‘still commute distance’ , not even for the people who had already been commuting to work from that direction. And no WFH. I’ve noticed a few empty desks already …and winter is coming.

  10. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    Miscarriage: If you decide to decline the interview, and you’re in safety-in-numbers sort of field where you’ll never see these people again, I would be very blunt with them.

    “I’ve decided to withdraw from consideration due to your request for my hospital discharge papers. This shows a real lack of respect for my medical privacy. As a matter of fact, I was hospitalized due to a miscarriage, which was exceptionally personal, painful, and stressful, and being forced to disclose my reproductive health as a condition of reviewing for a job interview has added to my stress and pain, which ultimately led me to decide your company is not the right place for me.”

    1. Anonya*

      I’m sure that would be cathartic for some, but she specifically said that she does NOT want to disclose the reason.

      1. Some Windex for my Glass Ceiling please*

        You are right.

        I think I would counter with “Do you make similar such requests of your employees when they cannot make it into work?”

        1. A*

          Idk… I’m 100% against the employer asking for the discharge paperwork, especially for a non-employee – but this response would sound to me like maybe the candidate has something specifically against the idea of being asked for a note (and that they are insinuating that would be inappropriate). Even though I’m personally not a fan of the practice, it is fairly common for employer’s to require a note for absences beyond a certain amount back-to-back.

          Granted, that only matters if OP still wants to work there. Which after this interaction I wouldn’t recommend.

    2. Close Bracket*

      I dunno, following citing a lack of respect for privacy with private details undermines that point. If I were going to be candid, I would phrase it as,

      “I’ve decided to withdraw from consideration due to your request for my hospital discharge papers. This shows a real lack of respect for my medical privacy. The details of my hospitalization are exceptionally personal, painful, and stressful, and being asked to disclose those details as a condition of rescheduling for a job interview ultimately led me to decide your company is not the right place for me.”

      1. TootsNYC*

        even that’s too personal, I think.

        I’d so from “a real lack of respect for my medical privacy” to something about “general lack of trust–I understand that crappy people might tell lies about missing an interview, but it is very insulting for you to essentially announce to me that you think I’m a liar before you’ve even met me.”

    3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Way too much information for someone you don’t even know. “Your request for my medical papers is a serious invasion of my privacy. I am no longer interested in pursuing this position.”

    4. Artemesia*

      they are going to be glad she dropped out then rather than chastened because who wants to hire a pregnant woman? This bias is very strong as it always has been.

  11. Sally*

    RE: #2 – It seems odd to me that the OP would assume anything BUT a mistake. I may be missing something because I don’t understand why a manager would send someone the wrong review on purpose. Why would they do that?

    1. Half-Caf Latte*

      I assumed that the file was LW2019review.doc or that the first page had the LW name/employee ID.

    2. BadWolf*

      I think the OP wondered if the boss didn’t really have a good grasp on what the OP did or didn’t do. Or the boss wasn’t real clear on the difference between the OP and a coworker and had mixed them up.

      In a previous job, I was called the name of a coworker so often (and we didn’t do the same day-to-day job) by a few people that it made me wonder if they honestly sort of thought we were the same person (or didn’t care enough to remember) versus just flubbing our names.

      1. Ama*

        Yeah, a few years back a couple of changes in staff (both turnover and promotions) resulted in my department being down to just me, reporting directly to the CEO. Technically she was still my department head, but other duties of her then-new position meant other department heads often made decisions for all staff with no input from my department.

        Then the CEO had to be out of town the entire week the department heads were supposed to be taking their staff to an end of year lunch. There was a miscommunication and two department heads each thought the other was including me in their lunch plans, so I ended up being the only person not invited to lunch. By the time they figured this out I was on my last day in the office before a two week vacation, and all the teams had already been to lunch. (They offered to take me in January but I was so peeved at that point, I just shrugged it off.)

        In hindsight I really do think that it was an honest mistake that the lunch thing happened, but at the time it felt like it was continued proof that no one respected my department or the work I do (which happens to be incredibly key to our org’s existence). So I could definitely understand, if OP already feels like her boss or the rest of the organization doesn’t understand/respect her work that the performance review would feel more insulting than maybe it would otherwise.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I would absolutely take this opportunity to write it for him!
      “I think Sally’s review info ended up on my form. My review would probably have my work on X project that resulted in the CEO’s praise in front of everyone at the big meeting; the 20% process improvement I created in the LMNO procedure; the new binders I organized to codify procedures on HIJK.”

      1. TootsNYC*

        Or maybe not “Sally’s” but “someone else’s,” because you don’t want to imply that you inadvertently “snooped” on someone else’s review (i.e., your noticing and deducing whose it was might imply too much attention paid)

      2. Artemesia*

        Yes — he has shown that he likes to cut and past so write the review — mention the projects and the metrics and the praise so he has to just grab it and stick in into his review.

    4. Holly*

      I was confused by this too. It seemed to specific to another employee – why wouldn’t you immediately check in with your boss? Unless it specifically said OP’s name in the review? OP totally has standing to talk to their boss about this.

      1. Gymmie*

        Right, and I actually draft out the reviews on another paper before I put them in the main template. So this could potentially happen. Someone who’s normally a great boss wouldn’t just randomly put other things together, right?

        1. SomebodyElse*

          I do the same thing (Draft appraisals then copy/paste into the system) and am terrified that I’ll screw it up some day. I also, double, triple and quadruple check when I email things like bonus letters and such.

  12. No Coffee No Workee*

    I’m curious: Do you think if the employee said “I’ve had a change of heart and decided to stay” instead of telling them “the job fell through”, it would change the optics of his situation to the higher ups?

    I feel like he made himself look like damaged goods (and thus leaving it open to drug-test speculation).

    1. annony*

      I think that anytime you resign and want to take it back the employer is going to be wary. You were unhappy enough to want to leave and nothing about your current job has changed, so most likely you will still be actively looking to leave. Why would they want to deal with your resignation again in a month or two?

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Once upon a time, I worked in an office where we were union-covered, and one of the union stipulations was that anyone who submitted a resignation could rescind it once. A dude in the office had thrown a few tantrums, a la “Well, if you won’t let me have my way, I quit” and then come back in the next day and rescinded it under the union provision. I was hired to assist him with a special project. The Friday of my first week, he hollered that he was quitting and stomped out because the manager asked him to delay a training (work-offered, but unrelated to his job) that he wanted to attend to the following week so he could finish training me.

      Monday, when he came back in to rescind his resignation, they told him no. Could’ve knocked him over with a feather. “But the union says!” Sorry, bud, the union says you can take it back ONCE. On the fourth go-round, you’re out of luck.

    3. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      I’m not sure about the drug thing, but we had an employee who put his notice in as a tactic to get more money – to clarify, we’re in the UK, in an industry where salary raises are dictated by the company, not the employee, we hadn’t had company-wide even COL raises for two years, and it’s a tactic that has *worked*.
      Unfortunately, he’d overestimated his value to the company (he was a lazy @rse who spent hours at a time just browsing the internet while the rest of his team ran around like headless chicken – until about six months before he handed his notice in, they’d been without a proper manager, so he’d gotten away with it for *ages*), so they accepted his resignation immediately at face value, and when he tried to rescind it, refused to accept that. The team’s new manager had seen through the ploy in a heartbeat and were glad to be rid of him.
      They were open with the rest of the team – I don’t know what they told the employee; I believe they kept it vague and didn’t give a specific reason just along the lines of “Thank you, but we’ve accepted your resignation with effect from …”

    4. Mike C.*

      Outside of openly using illegal drugs, why would any other action leave you open to that sort of speculation?

      1. No Coffee No Workee*

        Well, OP specifically mentions that a failed drug test is usually the reason in their industry for someone not to get a job. I wouldn’t think it would be an object of speculation otherwise in this instance.

    5. Caterpie*

      I feel like unless there was a very specific, detailed situation the employee could explain, for example needing to move away for a spouse’s job relocation which ended up not happening, it probably will be suspect for the employer. I agree with everything that annony said for this circumstance.

    6. Grumpy tjust thinking about it.*

      I know someone who put in for retirement with a 3 month lead timr. Two weeks later, their spouse had emergency surgery and all the unexpected bills that come with it. They were not allowed to take back the retirement announcement and are looking at temp jobs to pay bills.
      Pretty rude way to end the association.

  13. Blue Eagle*

    Re the hospital papers

    Is everyone commenting on this question certain that the potential employer wanted to see the reason for her hospitalization or just that she was, in fact, in the hospital? If an employer asked me for the discharge papers, I would assume that they only wanted to confirm I was in the hospital on that date and would show them only that part of the discharge paperwork saying I was in the hospital on that date and nothing about the reason.

    1. annony*

      That doesn’t really make it better though. The interviewer is basically saying that they think OP may be lying about being in the hospital. That suggests all absences will be treated with the same skepticism. Starting off on such a strong note of distrust is really not good.

      1. TootsNYC*

        right? “You’ve never met me, but you’re comfortable with essentially telling me that you think I’m a liar. What about my resumé of years of experience and achievements in our field would lead you to believe that I would lie about a hospitalization?”

        If you’re skeptical still, after you’ve met her, you call her references and ask them about her integrity.

      2. Parenthetically*

        Yep, the correct response to this scenario is, “Oh my goodness, how awful for you. We can reschedule on date A at 3:30, date B at 8:30, or date C at noon.” A posture of skepticism toward someone who isn’t even an employee does NOT bode well AT ALL for how this company treats its employees.

    2. Justme, The OG*

      But an interview wanting to check on the fact that the interviewee was actually in the hospital? Still a red flag.

    3. Jadelyn*

      Regardless, it’s a wild overreach. Even if they’d asked for a doctor’s note, it would’ve been a bit much, since they’re not OP’s actual employers, just a prospective employer. A company that’s comfortable demanding doctor’s notes from candidates is one that’s almost certainly rigid as hell about employee work-life issues, and feels that the employment relationship is a one-way street: “I give you job and expect you to be groveling in thankfulness at all times.” The fact that they asked for discharge papers is really just the icing on the WTF cake here.

    4. Close Bracket*

      Doesn’t matter, not their effing business. She doesn’t even work there. Sometimes employees need a doctor’s note for absences, but she’s not an employee. I mean, christ, interviews get rescheduled sometimes.

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      That’s fair enough.

      Most doctor’s notes actually only say “John is in my care, doctor recommends he’s out for X amount of time, can return to full duties in 2 weeks.” or whatever.

      But in reality, it’s an overstep to ask for this kind of documentation even because it’s a way to bring another party into it and you’re taking paperwork that can be forged pretty easily over the word of someone who says they need to reschedule or be absent for whatever reason. Super icky.

      1. Quill*

        Also it penalizes people who have less access to medical care, or chronic conditions that require you to get a note from a specialist… and therefore pay for an appointment or the privilege of getting them to sign a piece of paper that says “Jane Doe is my patient, she was here on friday.”

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yeah, especially if they’re in between jobs. Sure you may have a spouse who’s coverage includes you [fat chance in my experience though] or you may have gotten on state medical when you changed status from employed to unemployed but again, not always. And usually in between jobs, you don’t have a lot of spare cash to throw around.

          UC on a sliding scale is still upwards of $100! Who wants to throw away a hundred bucks for a “shot” at a job.

        2. Bee*

          Yeah, I always hated this in college, because what most often kept me out of class was back pain that made it painful to do anything but lie on the floor with my knees up. When teachers insisted on a note, it was the worst – health services couldn’t do anything for me anyway, and walking over there was just as difficult as walking to class. So if they required a note, I usually just limped over to class and didn’t absorb anything that was said.

      2. Close Bracket*

        No, it’s not fair enough bc she doesn’t work there! It is ridonkulous to impose your rules for employees on non-employees.

    6. Gymmie*

      So problematic anyway. I know its different because they ALREADY work for me, but I would never ever ask for proof of anything like this. If I didn’t trust the adults working with me, then I wouldn’t have them work with me.

    7. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      100% irrelevant. It’s an interview. If someone needed to reschedule (for whatever reason) you either do it, or say you’re unable to accommodate them. There could be a ton of reasons someone would need to reschedule. Would they ask for proof from the mechanic if your car broke down, or proof from the insurance company if you got rear ended? Them asking for that just tells me that if you ever miss an unplanned day of work that you’d need signed and notarized paperwork to avoid being disciplined.

  14. CatCat*

    Re: #1. Having a job fall through after I give notice is my nightmare. I am sure it is for most people. What a blow.

    I agree the company doesn’t have to take him back and may have good reasons for not wanting to do so. Definitely also agree on being clear on the reasons. Don’t know what the messaging needs to be to the remaining workers, but I do know that if I was one of them and did not have an inkling that there were Reasons (like Joe was always slacking, Joe’s work product was poor, new hire has already been made to replace Joe) why he couldn’t come back, I’d be hesitating to provide two weeks of notice in the off chance an offer falls through for me in the future.

  15. Boomerang Girl*

    I’m not sure that the assumption of a failed drug test is fair. Budget issues happen and open positions close. The assumption may be prejudicing them unfairly.

  16. Jennifer*

    Good lord, was it really necessary to copy HR, a VP, AND the President? It sounds like he wanted to go out in a blaze of glory but he should have made sure all his ducks were in a row first. Boy bye…

    1. Hope*

      And that approach to the resignation is probably at least partly why they were like “uh, no, we don’t want you back.” It’s not blowing up a bridge or anything, but CCing that many people, that high up, is a good way to annoy those people. It’s not going to incline them to think well of you or want you back after you were all “I need to let EVERYONE know I’m resigning!”

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Yeah, unless this company is super small and everyone’s all up in each other’s business, a resignation letter only needed to be provided to the manager with HR either copied in or the message could have been forwarded to them via the manager.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      At an OldJob many years ago, we had a guy, who was a mid-level programmer like myself, and had been with the company for a year, like myself (at a company where most people were on their 15-20 years of service), email his resignation to everyone in our division, via the mailing list. That’s several thousand people, including the CEO and whatnot. Don’t know what the email said, because it was apparently pulled from the server and I was on PTO that day. By the time I came back in the office, it was long gone. So was the guy who sent it. They escorted him out on the same day. (cautionary tale) (he was a pretty awful person, an average, at best, worker, and was missed by no one)

    3. No Coffee No Workee*

      Ha, right? At my current employer, they drug test after you accept the offer, but specifically ask you to wait in giving notice to your old company until they know the results.

      They are very conscientious.

  17. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    RE: Resigning and then deciding to stay.

    This is always in the employers court. I have done this before, left for another job and then ran back for cover when that job was a nightmare. It worked out because of our setup. As Alison notes, it depends on if you were happy to see them leave or if you have already replaced them, etc. In my case, my employer didn’t want me to leave and hadn’t replaced me, given some huge circumstances involved. So my job was wide open and I just slid right back in.

    However I’ve taken over jobs for people who have decided to go back to school. They had hired me on and had me fully trained, when they have called back awhile later asking if there’s any way they come back because their life plans had changed. The answer was a strong “I’m sorry, we’re not removing a person from the position so that you can have it back.” Whereas there are people who come back after being gone awhile and get the “call to duty” when the position opens back up for various reasons. So it’s very much a circumstances thing.

    There are plenty of places that if you resign, you’re done and there’s no take-backs. It’s all about the details and the person involved. We’d jump at some people coming back or removing their resignation. One guy just gave notice awhile back because things weren’t working out personally for him, we were able to figure out that he didn’t actually want to leave necessarily, just life stuff. We were able to help him get on his feet and he’s stayed with us. It was so much easier than trying to find someone who’s as reliable and he was already fully trained, etc.

    1. annony*

      I think a major part of it is understanding why they resigned in the first place and if things are actually different now. If they were leaving to go back to school or some other thing in their personal life and then circumstances change, it makes a lot of sense to take them back. If they left because they were unhappy but figure working there is better than being unemployed, it doesn’t make as much sense for the employer because they will still want to leave.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Even if they left because they’re unhappy but decided to stay because of the “devil you know vs the devil you don’t”, it’s usually not enough to not re-hire them.

        Everyone is a “flight” risk given the right bait dangled in front of them. Even Nancy who’s been here 25 years next March.

        I have had people who were otherwise happy but were given that call from the right recruiter, at the right place and they jumped on it. Our response is simply “We’re going to start looking to fill the spot of course but if things fall through before anything is solid on either side, we want you to stay!”

        Denying the departure can give you control in the end. Then you know that you need to cross train and be ready for the leave. Instead of just getting that sudden 2 weeks to start scrambling when you never knew that person would ever leave you because you know, it’s Nancy, she’s been here for 25 years next March!

    2. Close Bracket*

      Funny that this is the same day as a question about eligibility for rehire. Lots of places would take an employee back, even rescinding their resignation, depending on how much they liked the employee and why they left in the first place.

    3. 1234*

      Would this be different than:

      Jane quits Company A because Jane was moving to another state (no WFH, remote workers, etc. at Company A)
      Jane gets other experience at competitor Company B in new state and is in that role for ~2 years
      Jane returns to Company A because Jane has moved back to where Company A is. I’m not sure if there was a role open or Jane reached out to Company A.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        Completely different. I know lots of people who did that to change directions in an industry (eg: admin to analyst) and then came back to the first employer with a new skillset.

        Leaving for a reason unrelated to the company (like Jane having to move, or Jane not wanting to move if the company does) is really different from leaving to start a new job and then changing your mind before the new job has even started.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        That happens pretty frequently in some industries!

        I’ve had sales reps from certain materials vendors that bounce from one place to the next and back again. So I’m assuming there’s plenty of leeway in there. It’s really just a decision left up to management in the end.

        If Jane left for a competitor and then came back, it’s all good. But if Jane left for a competitor, took her client list, took a bunch of clients and then wanted to come back later? Nope, once bitten, twice shy.

        I don’t care if someone leaves, just don’t be shady about it and also you have to be a person I want to rehire. If they were good at their job and left for Whatever Reason, it’s cool to change your mind. Just don’t you know, get caught in sabotage or something unethical on the way out or after you’re gone, you know?

        I knew this weasel that left one place for another, would then go to each of his old clients and try to get them to go to whatever place he was with before. Then was mad that he was blackballed in the industry in the end because everyone found out not long after he left about his behavior. Once the snake is known to be a snake, you cut off it’s head.

        1. 1234*

          “Jane” is my old supervisor and I know for a fact she is a good employee/not shady. I’m not surprised that she is working at Company A again. They do exactly what she wants to be doing with her career while the company we worked at together only did it partially. She was moving back to the city Company A is located in and she spoke highly of Company A when she was telling me her background.

          While the guy you know is thought of as a weasel, in some industries, that is quite common! I know people (clients) who follow their hairdresser around, if Hairdresser changes salons. I’ve even heard of some hairdressers telling their clients “I’ll be moving to Salon Across Town starting Date.”

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Ah see hairdressers are different. This happens with tattoo artists too. They know you, they know your hair, your likes and all that. It’s a big risk to change them because you don’t know their work until they’ve messed up your hair or given you a bad tattoo.

            This weasel is actually just a sales rep, selling the same basic-stuff. It would be like following a cashier from one grocery store to the next for some reason more than following a service provider.

            I have a few bosses out there that if I move back to town, they’ll hire me back without even blinking. So I assume that’s probably how Jane is. It’s a very good “breakup” and therefore, you’re still friends and rekindling the relationship again when the time is right, is totally in the cards!

      3. Jadelyn*

        Very different, yes. What you describe is so common at my org that we have a term for it: boomerang employees. It’s a great org, wonderful place to work…but what we do is pretty specialized and how we do it is unusual, so often it makes sense for people to go to another org to experience other ways of doing things for a few years, then come back more seasoned and bringing back more knowledge and skills. As long as they left on good terms, we’ll welcome people back with open arms.

    4. Jadelyn*

      Seconding all of this. We’ve had someone who left our nonprofit to go to a for-profit company providing similar services because for-profits pay better. Two months later, she asked if she could come back because she had discovered she hated the emphasis on sales over service and missed our client-centered approach. We hadn’t filled her position and we had been sorry to lose her, so we welcomed her back.

      But we also had someone who resigned for more money, took back his resignation the next day if we would give him a promotion and a small raise, we wanted to keep him so we gave him the promotion and raise, and then a few months later he left again for more money and a bigger promotion, then applied to a higher-level position with us a few months after that. We did not bring him back after that second departure. And he even applied just recently to *another* new, higher position (the previous stuff was a couple years ago) and we immediately binned his resume. That kind of aggressive ladder-climbing doesn’t work for us.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Bless his heart.

        Yeah, we don’t play the aggressive ladder climbing game either.

        We just had someone who was a boomerang employee quit again. After this time, the floor manager me straight out that he’s glad he’s gone since he’s been miserable for awhile. And that he would not be hiring him back given his deteriorating attitude this last run. Which stinks but we’re very much a “We want you to want to be here, we understand if you need to leave for your reasons but don’t ever make us miserable because you’re miserable.” kind of group.

        Years ago at another job, we had one guy who would rage quit every couple of years. Disappear for six to twelve months. Then suddenly show up and ask where his timecard was so he could punch in. He was finally unceremoniously let go with the bosses kid took over the operations management and took that off my exhausted plate. I hadn’t asked to fire him because I just didn’t care at that point, lol.

  18. Jennifer*

    Re: Commute

    I made my commute on public transit a bit more enjoyable by downloading audiobooks and interesting podcasts. I find myself looking forward to that decompression time before and after work. Doesn’t beat biking around a lake every day but there’s always a silver lining.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This is how I survived a 45-90 minute each way commute for years. I decompress and also get pumped up for the day in the car.

      On the flip side, I would explode all over the place, like Slimer style, if I was on public transport for any length of time though.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Me too. I end up exhausted by an hour and a half to two hours on transit. I get to work already stressed and irritable. By the time I get home, I just wanted to go to bed, which causes issues with my home life.

        My job moved us to a place that made my commute half again as far on a nastier route – my commute is now over an hour at non-peak hours (up to two hours if I worked 8 to 5). Needless to say, I’m looking.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I’m stressed the second I’m waiting for transit until the second I reach my destination.

          I’m on high alert. I cannot relax, I’m surrounded by strangers. Some that are giving me awful anxiety because they have such bad vibes, including the ones that you can tell are on something. Sure the majority are going somewhere, they’re just hard working people doing life the best they can. But there are a lot of sketchy people mixed in there.

          I was over it as soon as my friend who picked me up from the airport, got us on the train and made it clear that I had to basically create a fortress around myself or I’d be ripe for the picking for the vagrants who frequent the trains between the airport and our final destination. Nope. I don’t do well on high alert for more than a very rare occasion!

    2. Bow Ties Are Cool*

      Bus time = reading time. I loves me some reading time. My commute is often the best part of my day, as long as no one is playing their music without headphones and I don’t end up sitting next to Elbows McFlailpants.

    3. Joielle*

      Yeah – the commute time increase is a huge bummer for the OP, but I also have a long-ish bus commute (about a 15 minute walk and half hour on the bus) and it’s honestly not bad. I listen to a lot of podcasts and it’s kind of nice. The thing that sucks the most is having to catch a bus at a specific time, but you get used to it.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yeah, it’s not so bad. I think it’s the OP’s best option depending on where they are. For me, biking in the summer heat for an hour means being a sweaty mess by the time I get to work.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I know crafters who have made incredible things during their long train rides. From Icelandic knit sweaters to historic hand-sewed dresses.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        …but an hour on public transit still ducks if you used to have a 15 minute bike ride.

    5. ssnc*

      It definitely depends on the form of transportation. When I lived in Chicago, I was on the train for about an hour each way. Going downtown, I lived far enough north that I always got a seat, and could read, respond to email on my phone (time that I could get paid for on my time sheet), or sometimes knit. Coming home, it was usually packed enough that I couldn’t get a seat for the first half of the trip home. In the tunnels, it was usually too noisy to listen to music or podcasts clearly.

      On times when I’ve had to take the bus to commute, I rarely get a seat because they’re much more crowded. Listening to things is a little easier than on the train, but it’s generally more uncomfortable and stressful (some bus drivers are not as smooth as others, so I have to hold on tight), so it’s not as easy to decompress at night or have a relaxing morning.

      You could see if there is an opportunity for your employer to use your pre-tax money on a transit card. You are still paying money to this, but you aren’t being taxed on this portion of your income. In Chicago, one employer offered this benefit and I paid $100 for unlimited rides on all buses and trains each month. I wasn’t taxed on this money and saved maybe $20-25 on taxes every month.

  19. Falling Diphthong*

    #3, Alison’s advice is sound.
    Give it a chance to be a mistake.

    That assumption is a great starting point if he did, in fact, use Wakeen’s file when he meant to grab yours, because he did Wakeen’s review just before yours. In that case, it will be really weird and make you look odd if he does later notice he credited you for a project you didn’t do, and you didn’t even point it out.

    And if he did copy paste carelessly, figuring you and Wakeen are sort of interchangeable in this crazy week, it paves an off-ramp for him to claim the first happened, and he definitely can tell you and Wakeen apart.

    1. Ann Nonymous*

      I can see that maybe the manager pasted someone else’s review as a head start/template and meant to go back and edit it to fit you.

  20. remizidae*

    Re: commute

    I would move closer to work rather than take on a two-hour commute. I’ve done that by bike before, and it made it difficult to do anything else on work days. On the plus side, you can skip the gym that day!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Sometimes moving isn’t possible though. It would depend on what their living situation is right now. Including if they’d have to break a lease or if they have a partner/kids involved. I’m not trading my [hypothetical] kids school for a low paying job just to uproot and move closer to wherever they’re going. Unless perhaps it’s a lower cost of living area and actually closer to the school in the end or what have you. And if they have a partner, you have to take into consideration how far away they’ll be from their job.

      But yes, as a single income home, without kids or a spouse and no binding lease, I’d move.

      I’m not moving and just eating the extra commute because I hate the area the new place is in in terms of “would I want to live here.” and it would mean that I’d be leaving my 7 minute distance away from my partner…to 37 minutes. Nope! I’ll just take the extra commute time.

      I’d really just opt to find a new job first if I didn’t have a car like the awful car loving person I am.

      1. 1234*

        Even with a binding lease, there’s usually an “out” clause, or you find someone else to take over the remainder of your lease.

        I live in a transient city. We have Facebook groups specific to roommate finding. Some of the ads posted say things like “I need to move to be closer to my job. As a result, a room in our 2BR apt is open and costs $X a month. Lease is until Month, Year with option to renew.”

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Here it’s usually in your lease that you CANNOT sublease your apartment. That’s cause for termination of the entire lease, which comes with fees associated with breaking the lease.

          The cost to break a lease is 2 months rent. I come from a state that has a law saying the breakage fees can’t be more than 1.5 months.

          My other friends have mentioned that their only out is to sublease. There’s a huge personal liability for subleasing. If you let someone sublease your apartment and they are a bad-person who does bad-things, they can demolish the place and you’re on the hook. Being a landlord is a nightmare enough but subleasing is hella risky and I wouldn’t ever suggest it unless it’s your only option. Sure you can go through the court system at some point if they’re a disaster but you’re on the hook for a lot of out of pocket costs to whomever holds your original lease.

          1. 1234*

            Sorry, I should have been more specific! The person taking over the lease would actually be vetted by the apartment complex/landlord and be added to the existing lease. Some apartment complexes in this area have a “lease change fee” which is usually a few hundred dollars.

            Not to say that some people don’t sublease illegally. I know of people who specifically wanted subleases because of whatever reason(s) – usually credit score/not qualified to be on a lease.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Oh okay, this makes more sense! We don’t do that here, they will still charge you the 2 months rent despite you finding someone to take over immediately.

              We have better landlord/tenant laws across the board though, so I’m not complaining about that clause at least. I don’t have really any issues with any lease I’ve signed. And I will pack up and move when I get those pesky “BTW rent next year will go up 27%!” and I nope right the heck outta there.

    2. Curmudgeon in California*

      I own my home, in an overpriced market. There is literally no place I could move that wouldn’t cost me more, and you can be sure that the pay doesn’t increase. I don’t uproot my family and move just because my employer jerks me around on where I have to work.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I always find this advice to be a bit strange, mostly because it’s really only do-able in certain circumstances: you’re renting a room rather than a whole place/owning your home, you live in a city where that makes sense, you only have yourself to uproot. Also, who’s to say you’ll stay in that job long enough to justify the hassle and expense of moving?

      I would have been able to do that in the very, very early stages of my career (and I did, in fact, choose places to live based on commute times), but now? Even though I’m renting, I have a lease with a no-sublet clause, a partner, a dog, and… stuff.

  21. Art3mis*

    #1 – I wonder if the employee didn’t really have another job, but was hoping to get a counter offer to get him to stay and end up with more money. I had a coworker who tried that. Backfired because she was a low performer and they were happy to see her leave. She begged to stay but they had already backfilled her job.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      But if this was the case, I don’t think the employee would have waited until the two weeks was almost up to ask for his job back. I think he did indeed to leave, but the new job just didn’t work out for whatever reason.

  22. Trisha*

    Re the Medical note.

    Unfortunately, I’m all too familiar with this. For our internal hiring processes, this is “normal” (Cdn Govt). It’s sad really.

    From a recent email inviting candidates to an interview:

    Please note that we will only reschedule in exceptional circumstances, such as:
    • Illness (a medical certificate will be required; disability report will not be accepted);
    • Emergency Circumstances (verifiable);
    • Operational Requirements (must be verified in writing by your director); and
    • Pre-Approved Annual Leave (must be verified in writing by your supervisor).

    If you are unable to attend, please send us an e-mail and include your reason. You will be required to provide appropriate supporting documentation (i.e. medical certificate to certify illness, etc.). We will let you know if there is a possibility of rescheduling.

    1. CatCat*

      Ugh, that’s so off-putting that I’d be hesitating to interview. Like, if you’re this overbearing and rigid when you’re trying to lure folks to work for you, how much worse is it once you’re there?

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m only slightly more comfortable with this arrangement because you’re being very up front about it.

      If I received this notification along with the interview request, I’d accept it as is. And I’d also know that if I couldn’t make it for some reason, I’d either have to opt to “Verify” my reason of rescheduling or I’d remove my candidacy without the awkward back and forth of “I had a medical emergency, can I reschedule?” “Sure…if you give us your discharge paperwork!”

      Granted, I won’t lie. If I can’t make a job interview for any reason, including a medical one or what have you. I take it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to work at that place and just cancel, without asking to reschedule. I should also say that I’m rarely ever invested in any given job at any given time that I’m going to take the hit of having to reschedule and having that be used against me throughout the process. It’s not worth it.

      I once had to drive through an ice storm to get to an interview when I was relocating. So I’m willing to do some stupid things though, so I’m a total outlier here. If it’s a situation that I cannot make work, then I take it as a sign from God that it’s just not the right place for me at that time for whatever reason that may be. I don’t force fate.

    3. ElizabethJane*

      Wait. On those last two am I supposed to ask my boss to write me a note excusing my absence from an interview? Because how tf does that work?

      1. Shad*

        It sounds like this is internal—like, applying for an internal transfer or promotion. My understanding was that for internal applications, you’d generally tell your boss.

      2. DaisyGrrl*

        Those would be for internal jobs, and the culture in the Canadian federal government is generally cool with this (we also have a specific leave code for when we go to interviews).

    4. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      If I received something like that, I would cancel my interview. That tells me that if I have any unexpected days off, I can’t be trusted at my word and have to supply proof as to why I was out.

  23. Lily in NYC*

    It’s really good, and there are a lot of really good documentaries on YouTube about it. I can’t get enough of that crazy tale. Jennifer Lawrence was such a good casting choice for the movie.

  24. thatoneoverthere*

    This is a large red flag for me for this company. This is probably the type of place that requires a doctor’s note for every call off. Sometimes I have a really bad cold, that doesn’t warrant a doctor’s visit but that I can’t make through a day of work for. I also there are occasions when menstrual cramps are so bad I call off. That also doesn’t warrant a doctor’s visit. It’s cramps.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Right? I’m not going to Urgent Care, paying them $40 to look at me and say “You know you just need to be sleeping and drinking liquids…I’m sorry you are forced to get off your sick bed to come down and get this stupid note.”

      Since you cannot get into your primary care provider around here any quicker than 2 weeks. So it’s UC or the ER. And we wonder why everyone is broke and the medical system is overwhelmed.

    2. Half-Caf Latte*

      I had this argument with my large-academic-medical-center-employer recently.

      Terrible GI bug. Think Emily Blunt in the Devil Wears Prada. Took 4 days to get over it. Technically at day 3 they want a note. My Primary’s office is at work, so i’d have to go to work to get the note. And then you’d lose money paying the insurance cost of the visit, plus the lost opportunity cost of seeing a “real” paying patient in that slot, plus my germs all over the shared waiting room full of our very sick immunocompromised patients, also you pay me to make healthcare decisions for other people so maybe trust my ability to self-manage this one?

    3. Quill*

      Yeah, I have chronic tendonitis, literally nothing a doctor can do about that which isn’t already being done… I can work from home if I have enough notice but I cannot always physically drive in.

    4. vanillacookies*

      imo if they want a doctors note they should cover the full cost of transport and doctor fees, especially in the US.
      but obviously that opinion isn’t popular with the people who I’m asking to pay the bill.

  25. Spek*

    #1 I wonder how this will affect possible Unemployment Benefits. He did quit, but if the job really did fall through?

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      He wouldn’t be eligible for unemployment benefits in most situations here. Since he gave resignation for any reason, it doesn’t matter that it fell through or wasn’t a real job or whatever happened here. He still quit. So you just say “we already accepted your resignation” and then go from there.

      Years ago someone quit and was saying they were starting their own business. They also had something else lined up. Okay cool, bye. And then they tried to take back their resignation, we didnt’ want them, we were happy they were supposedly going quietly away, on their own terms originally. So we just told them that we had already accepted their resignation and we wish them the best, yadda yadda.

      They tried filing unemployment and they were denied because we had their original resignation letter stating they were leaving and clearly not being fired.

      The risk you take leaving a job, is that you have to actually start that new job and be on their books. Then you have to hold onto it until they decide to terminate you under my fault of your own to be eligible for UI to kick in. It’s pretty hard to get unemployment benefits unless you are laid off or your terminated for not being able to do the job duties.

    2. CatCat*

      Probably varies by state. In my state, you can get UI benefits if you had good cause to quit the prior job and this kind of scenario could be good cause. There are a number of elements that would have to be satisfied, but it would be possible.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I wonder if this is the reason behind job offer letters being a bigger and bigger thing. That way you have it in writing and if it falls through, you’re protected when going to the employment securities department for UI.

        But it would make it difficult to know how this would rate against a company, most states don’t like giving out benefits if they cannot ding an employer for it in the end, since that’s how they get the money to pay out benefits in the end.

  26. worr*

    I’ve absolutely copied and pasted the wrong review before when during review time. No idea how LW’s company does it, but one of my employers used an unfortunate web form for submitting reviews. I’d usually write them in a separate doc, where I could save my work, or mull over it for a few days, and paste it in at submission time. One time though, I absolutely pasted the wrong one in. They contacted me about it though, and well, the advantage of putting them in a doc is that I was able to send them the correct version no problem.

    1. Sarah N.*

      Same thing with our annual review system. It’s very frustrating online software with a lot of little boxes, and if you click in the wrong place you’d lose everything you’ve typed in. So everyone writes/saves the text in Word documents and then copies and pastes into the online form once it is all done. It’s easy to see how a manager could accidentally copy-and-paste the wrong text.

  27. Door Guy*

    #4 – At my current job, I’m taking over for the current manager when he retires at the end of the year. We got through the training and he’s been steadily handing more and more of the location off to me to oversee (he manages 2 locations). About 2 months ago he did a big hand off and declared me ready, and he comes around for support (and to assist with training a front end worker).

    We had a bit of an issue because the poor communicator on our team unilaterally decided that since I could do certain work that was under his purview now, that I was doing ALL of that work and he was now focusing solely on another aspect of his job. He also told our techs that was how it was now, and when they heard differently from me (because I didn’t know he was telling them that) they got confused and asked the VP when he was on site one day, so I got an uncomfortable meeting with one of the VP along the lines of “Everyone needs to pitch in and there’s no ‘my job/not my job’ and the work needs to be done because our customers are valuable” and while he did admit that the techs misunderstood, I was completely caught off guard and my defense wasn’t as thought out as I’d have liked.

    I asked the manager (who is also a VP) I was replacing if the other team member really had had his job description adjusted (I wasn’t present on the meetings they’d had recently and don’t have access to his employee file), and he said he’d never said anything to him and that I was to be overflow when he had a really big/hard project. When I tried to address it with the member in question, he got all huffy and left after saying “We’ll have to talk with (manager) then”. Whole team got a meeting that afternoon and things were laid straight about that and a few other items.

    It’s improved by quite a bit, not where it needs to be but a whole lot closer at least.

  28. MistOrMister*

    I wonder what happened with the biker who’s commute was quadrupling. My commute is 20-30 minutes and I’m at the point where that’s about all I can stand. I would immediately start looking for another job if my commute became longer than that. That being said, I did used to take the bus to the same office and the commute came in at about an hour. I was ok with that since I wasn’t driving and could use the time to read, write, do needlework or just text people if I was so inclined. But after driving for a year and a half after taking the bus for 2 years….I don’t really want to go back to the bus although I would like to be able to bike in.

  29. OG OP*

    Re: office move impacts commute – Allison actually answered a similar question of mine a few years ago! (

    TL:DR: My employer agreed to change my hours so that I would be able to come in a 1/2 hour later than my previous schedule, and I would take a 1/2 hour for lunch rather than an hour which I’d done before. Ultimately I still felt shortchanged because I was working the same amount but spending double the time on my commute. I left the job a few months after this letter was posted. In hindsight I wish I’d tried for some other sort of trade off or compensation… which, realistically, may not have happened even if I’d tried.

    I’ve since moved out of state and away from crazy city commutes. :-D

  30. ElizabethJane*

    Re: Hospital Discharge

    There’s a really sick part of me that would be tempted to bring the discharge papers, with all relevant details about pregnancy and miscarriages, and just hand it over cool as a cucumber. It would be really fun to watch them squirm, and to back them into a corner about their potential discrimination.

    Of course I say all this as I plan it out in my mind but of course it’s like when you have a snappy comeback 45 minutes later. It’s both way too late and way cooler in your head.

    1. 1234*

      But that’s only if they’ll allow you to give it to them in person. What if they ask you to email it to them before they are even willing to reschedule?

  31. Ann Nonymous*

    OP #4: Can you ask if your manager instead of Lucy do the meetings with you in the future? She (manager) can have Lucy meet with someone else in your place.

    1. DrRat*

      It’s an old letter, but for anyone in a similar situation, I would not suggest this. I think the employee would risk coming off as a prima donna. It’s clear that the manager is delegating responsibilities to a trusted employee because she is low on time and has too much on her hands as it is. Saying, “Well, it’s okay for everyone else to meet once a month with you and once a month with Lucy, but you HAVE to make time to meet with me twice a month, because I’m special” is a bad idea, especially as the LW was a new hire at the time.

  32. Dragon_Dreamer*

    Re: the manager delegating. That sounds a LOT like what some of my more two faced managers did. They’d give me responsibilities, like telling me to train new hires. Then they’d tell the new hires that I was just bossy and that they didn’t have to listen to me! Then they’d turn around and yell at me for not training the new hires properly. When confronted, they claimed that *I* was lying! Even when I had their instructions in their own handwriting!

    So glad to be out of that toxic environment. They’ve gone through 5 replacements in my position, and corporate is eliminating the department altogether. Despite having multi-year contracts with customers… oy.

  33. PeanutButterPrincess*

    Nurse here! My hospital has a standard form work/School excuse letter that I fill in the blanks and print/sign whenever a patient requests one. Almost every major hospital system has the same thing. The only thing that the letter contains is a verification that the patient was treated at our facility from date x to date y and the date that the physician recommend the patient be allowed to go back to work and if they will require light duty for any period of time. To disclose anything else such as the nature of the illness, injury or what treatment was received would be a big ol’ HIPAA violation (enough to make any American healthcare worker clutch their pearls). Do not take this like I am defending the company that requires a doctor’s note -I’m not and I think the LW needs to drop that company like a hot potato. I’m simply clarifying that a doctor’s note by federal law must not contain any information about what actually happened to you. At least this is the case in the USA. I am not sure what the privacy law situation is in other countries.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yeah when I hear “doctors note” I know exactly how those are laid out, like you’ve explained! I’ve had people bring them in, even though we don’t ask for them as an employer.

      I’m mostly put off that the employer didn’t just ask for a doctors note, which would make my mind go to the form you’re talking about. They asked for actual discharge papers, which tend to have details on them because you know…they’re patient records. Mine have always had post-discharge follow up documentation involved. So it very much is a privacy violation to request that kind of paperwork. Perhaps if we’re giving this place the benefit of the doubt, they stink at the language they used.

      1. PeanutButterPrincess*

        Oh holy crap. I’d missed that. DISCHARGE PAPERS?!?!? For those that don’t get admitted to hospitals frequently, discharge papers are chock full of the most personal of personal medical information: dates and times of follow up appointments, a full medication regimen with any changes and education on any new medications you might be taking, which pharmacy you use even your insurance information, home care companies, etc. This information is so personal that when nurses go over discharge instructions with patients we have to ask them if any family members in the room need to leave first. Are we sure the interviewers are not attempting to steal this woman’s identity?!

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Yes, Alison’s title changed it to “doctor’s note” but when you read the letter, it says:
          but the manager is requesting that I bring the hospital discharge papers for the new interview.

          Okay, I’m not crazy. I swore that discharged paperwork had all those details involved but it’s been a couple of years since I’ve had a real ER visit. The last was just a massive panic attack that had me out of there within a couple hours [great timing for an ER though, not complaining!]

    2. Shad*

      Many times patients don’t think to get this formal work/school note. If they don’t, the only options are to go back, call for one, or hand over a copy of the discharge summary that they received for their own use. Those discharge summaries almost always contain way more information than is strictly necessary to hand over, since they’re for the patient’s benefit.

    3. doreen*

      I’m not going to say that this isn’t your hospital’s policy – but I don’t think it’s a HIPAA violation for you to fill out a form or write me a note with whatever information about me I asked you to include and hand that note/form to me. You aren’t directly disclosing it to my employer, you’re disclosing it to me. According to HHS , ( ) you can disclose it directly to my employer with my authorization.

  34. Dust Bunny*

    Gotta admit I’m a bit mystified by the idea that you should get a raise for having a longer commute. I work in a big metropolitan area where you can’t afford to live near work unless you’re paid pretty well, so pretty much all of us who can least afford it have the longest commutes. I wish mine were only two hours a day. (No, it’s not more expensive than rent/utilities, either. I’ve done the math.)

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s because when someone takes a job, they don’t expect it to move, they accepted the job and salary based on the details they have. In my reality, moving is pretty rare for businesses, however being a factory facility, you don’t move unless you have to, like ever because it’s so expensive to move equipment.

      Lots of people take the job and accept the salary because it fits where they’re at at that point. So when they make the business decision to move, it leaves their staff in that position to regulate their choices. In order to retain already trained staff that you will have a hard time replacing in your new location, it’s easier to give them a raise for the “relocation” factor that they’ve now been tossed.

      But it can go either direction. Lots of people also have your POV as well. So they’d be like “Hah…yeah no sorry no change in salaries due to the move.” and then the employee knows that it’s “accept that things are going to be like that.” or “find another job that fits your location better.”

      It’s another retention thing.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      When you accept a job, it’s based on many factors, one of which is the commute time/cost. If she took the job knowing she had a short commute, it probably balanced out with her low pay. Quadrupling the commute comes at an additional expense and time suck. Your situation is completely different. I have a long commute too, but I have the flexibility to WFH twice a week and additionally as needed, and I’m compensated well. If that weren’t the case, I’d look for a job with a closer commute, and be willing to accept less compensation if it was the right fit.

  35. nora*

    This actually happened to me once! I worked in a very small office and we moved clear across town. My commute time was essentially the same but I had to pay tolls when I didn’t have to before. It was I think 95 cents each way – not a lot, but I was hourly and part-time so every penny counted. My annual review came up a month or two after the move. I got the standard COLA increase, X% in merit pay from my direct supervisor, and another small bump of Y% from the CEO. I did the math and realized Y% = my weekly tolls.

    This was 10 years ago and I work in a completely different field now, where that would never happen. It was nice the one time though.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This is the same concept of changing someone’s salary if they are transferred to another facility/office. Since even if you are only a couple miles away, it can do things like now make you have to take toll bridges or pay for parking, when you used to have free parking.

      So you reevaluate how much that position is worth if you have to re-fill it. Will someone in that area take the pay you’re offering now, is it a role you can easily enough fill? Is the person in the position now one that you wouldn’t mind losing? You have to constantly evaluate your wage bands anyways for many reasons, relocation is a huge one.

  36. Jenny*

    I totally understand copying and pasting performance reviews. We have templates because the higher ups want these very specific things. I usually deliver more personalized comments verbally.

    My experience is doing end of the year reviews is grueling, so I would cut the boss some slack. If there was really personal information, that’s bad, but it doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  37. MOAS*

    RE #4 — Lucy being groomed for managerial role is the first thought that came to my mind. Before I was officially promoted to supervisor, I was given higher level responsibilities like monitoring and organizing and delegating work. For the most part it was OK, except for one girl who screeched that who am I to assign her anything and how dare I. That got shut down fast.

  38. K. Tate*

    #1 It’s been my experience that if they’re interviewing plus accepting jobs they’re already out the door mentally. Let the resignation stand. Otherwise a month down the line it’s the resignation email all over again.

  39. Gort*

    I’m not saying that you should take the person back, but don’t assume a drug test failure. I once had a verbal job offer that was serious enough that they were asking me to attend a new employee orientation before my notice period only to have it rescinded when the project I was being hired for was canceled. Fortunately, I was waiting for the written offer to give notice despite being pushed by the prospective employer to give it immediately.

  40. TeapotNinja*

    Re: doctor’s note

    Knowing how incredibly painful miscarriages are emotionally, I’d be inclined to go nuclear, and I would under no circumstance accept a job offer. This company needs to know how incredibly out of line that is.

  41. Mizzle*

    For the performance review: I can imagine a scenario where the manager copy/pasted someone else’s review to use as a starting point (e.g. as a reminder to provide feedback on both hard and soft skills), *made the changes* and then neglected to save them. Ideally, the tooling would have some safeguard against that, but this tooling is often far from ideal…

    Regardless of the explanation, you effectively didn’t get a review yet (the feedback is not applicable and the amount of the raise may or may not be correct), so I’d definitely bring it up. You could even point out that you want to be sure to get his input on what he sees as your improvement areas, if that is the case and you think it would go down well.

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