how late can I call employees at home?

A reader writes:

Is there a cut-off time that I as an employer can call an employee’s home or cell phone?

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:

  • New hire told me about punching out a neighbor
  • Company wants us to leave quarterly reviews on Glassdoor
  • Do I owe my employer a chance to try to keep me?
  • Job candidate got our company name wrong in a presentation

{ 336 comments… read them below }

  1. animaniactoo*

    Without having read anything, LW1, if you call me past 9 pm (on a normal 9-to-5 schedule), things better be on fire.

      1. merp*

        Same here. I’m lucky in that there’s honestly nothing useful I or my colleagues could do outside of office hours and everyone knows that so this is a hypothetical for me, but that is my time, not my employer’s.

      2. animaniactoo*

        I’m giving leeway for things like “Hey, tomorrow’s 2 pm meeting got moved up to 10 am” as a head’s up for not feeling ambushed with your day getting thrown out of whack as soon as you show up. Especially if you need to have prepared materials for that meeting.

        1. KHB*

          Honestly, if an employer is in the habit of pushing meetings up like that (for reasons that aren’t themselves emergencies), I’d say that’s not appropriate either.

          1. animaniactoo*

            Agreed, but to me it’s a situation where nothing is on fire and yet if it happened – I’d want to know about it before I walked in the door. I’m also not positing it as a situation where the company regularly does that but just as a situation that would justify the call after 5 but before 9. It could just be a one-off situation.

              1. Oh No She Di'int*

                I think many would agree. I can think of legitimate reasons for a text. (“Client just notified us that they can’t make 2:00 meeting. Only other alternative is 10 am.” “1st floor is flooded. Await further communication before coming in.”) But text would be sufficient.

              2. Jen S. 2.0*

                This. You can communicate this information without interrupting the employee’s whole evening.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              I agree. If a meeting got moved up at the last minute, I’d want to know, too. I wouldn’t want to walk in the next morning and see the 2 pm meeting is now at 9 am and I now have to scramble to prepare any remaining items I was planning to prepare in the morning. I don’t care what the contact method is as long as someone tells me. Obviously in this day and age, it’s most likely to be a text or email rather than a phone call, but a call would be OK, too.

          2. Glitsy Gus*

            We do have that happen in my office on occasion. We have multiple offices on both coasts and in Europe so sometimes because of this meetings can have to move a lot based on if someone from the other side of the country/world gets added on last minute. It isn’t a daily thing or anything, but three or four times a year I get a heads up call like this. More often than not I’m still int he office when the change is made, but East Coasters wouldn’t be, so they would get a call as a heads up.

        2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Or a, “Just a heads up, the clients canceled the meeting we were supposed to have at 7 am”, especially if I normally started later than that. Or, really, anything that would make my life easier. For example, I once had a boss call at 7 pm because she found out that there was going to be construction on a couple of the main approaches to our office which could impact morning commute. I appreciated that.

          1. Sparrow*

            Yeah, I think the one evening contact I remember appreciating was, “In case you didn’t see your email, the office will be closed tomorrow due to weather.”

      3. Shadowbelle*

        Same here.

        Although I am on call 24/7, I don’t expect to be called unless it’s an honest-to-God IT support issue that I need to address immediately.

        In general, I don’t like it when anyone calls me after 9:00 pm on a weeknight, or before 9:00 am any day of the week, or sends texts that will arrive between 10pm and 8am (allowing for different time zones). Because of the aforesaid being on call 24/7, I can’t put my phone on “silent”, and I do have to check all texts and phone calls, in case it’s a problem I have to deal with.

        1. WinStark*

          This is me. I have one client that will send emails after 9, and wake me up, and it’s usually nothing that couldn’t be handled the next day. ugh.

        2. nonegiven*

          I read someone commenting on online dating the other day.
          “He texted 3 times before 9 am, too needy. Next!”

      4. Annony*

        You better not call me about a fire. There is nothing I can do to help the situation. Tell me tomorrow if the building burned down.

          1. Elenna*

            Yep – I want to know tonight so I know that I can sleep in. (Or in our case, at least sleep until 9 and then work from home.)

      5. BigRedGum*

        this is exactly how i feel. and not just things, but specifically something that only i can deal with right then. otherwise wait until tomorrow, at 8 am.

      6. Librarian1*

        Yep. For my job, if you call me after 5pm, it needs to be an emergency. And honestly, my boss would be more likely to text anyway and only for something time-sensitive (e.g. time cards are due and I forgot to submit mine).

        1. Liz*

          This. my group texts. Although, during a recent move where our systems were down, i DID get a FB message from my one boss about the new office not being ready and that we should work from home one more day.

          But in his defense, he didn’t think he had my cell, as he’s a new supervisor (he did but not a big deal) nor are we friends on FB or will be. i actually knew already about the delay in the new building but i appreciated he took the time to make sure i would know.

          but other than that, unless its something that absolutely needs to be communicated or handled right then and there, don’t call me at all

      7. Blue Horizon*

        Yes, that would be my answer. If it’s not something you’d feel justified waking me up at 4am for, you probably shouldn’t be calling at all. If it’s a non-urgent heads up kind of thing (“the room for the meeting first thing tomorrow morning was changed” etc.) then e-mail or send a text.

        I used to work in support, so I’m not willing to rule out the possibility entirely. If there’s been a massive data breach that may or may not be due to fault on your organization’s part, for example, and you expect it to be all over the news the following day, your CEO will not thank you if you decide not to disturb their beauty rest.

      8. Artemesia*

        This. I have called people at 8 and they were already in bed because they rose early to deal with kids and early school schedules. Never call anyone at home unless things are on fire.

        1. Tina*

          I’d add the caveat ‘things are on fire or under water and this situation materially affects actions the person you’re contacting will have to take before their usual start time the next working day

      9. PeanutButter*

        My mom always said “Fire, flood, or blood” when saying what things we should be bothering her with when she was having a soak in the bath. I think those are appropriate guidelines for any after-hours work calls.

      10. Sarah N*

        Same. Absent some type of EXTREME emergency (like: our building blew up, which I would probably see on the news anyway), I don’t want work phone calls outside of work hours. And I don’t work in a job where that would really ever be needed.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      Calling me any time after I leave work is one thing (not great), but they’d better not expect me to actually answer the phone. I’ve got young kids to take care of and am pretty much unavailable from the time I leave the office until 10pm, and then I’m going to bed. I might look at a text and send a quick reply at some point, but that’s the best anyone’s getting out of me (and I’m salaried).

      1. The Original K.*

        I have my phone on Do Not Disturb mode from 11PM – 7AM so if you’re calling me then, I’m not going to hear it anyway. (I have a few people who are deemed emergency and can get through; they’re all family. If my mother is calling me in the wee hours, it really is an emergency.)

        1. AuroraLight37*

          Same here. There are very few people who need to get ahold of me after hours, and they’re almost all related to me.

        2. CupcakeCounter*

          That’s funny…my mother is the one I have to block. She and my dad have been traveling a lot since they retired and she regularly forgets that other people A) are in different time zones and B) still have to go to work on the regular.
          My favorite is when she called me from Kenya at 3am. Dad told her the time difference but she calculated it backward. My grandfather was sick at the time and since they were out of the country I was first call from the nursing home. Hubs and I were not happy when we realized that she was “just calling to chat”.

      2. aebhel*

        Y E P.

        My husband’s awful ex-boss used to get really mad at him because he put his phone on Do Not Disturb overnight because what if!!! there was an emergency!!!! and finally my husband was like (a) you call all the time over stuff that is really not all that urgent and (b) my wife doesn’t need to be woken up in the middle of the night by your phone calls.

    2. ItsAllFunAndGames*

      To quote Sinbad’s standup about getting a phone call at 2am “Someone better be dead or pregnant”.

        1. LQ*

          ….I mean dead can too. Dead is …an end state.

          I once said to a boss when going on a long over due vacation, “Everything short of a fire can wait until I’m back, if there’s a fire, call the fire department. I’ll deal with the wreckage when I return.”

          1. Oh No She Di'int*

            I agree. My partner always wants me to leave my phone on at night because “what if someone died?” I always say, “They’ll still be dead in the morning.” He hates when I say that.

            1. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

              My partner once got Really Bad News after I’d gone to bed, and kept it to himself so I could have one last night of decent sleep before S*#tstorm. It was a situation akin to someone having died — i.e. not a darn thing any of us could do at 3AM — and I still think it was one of the most generous things he’s ever done for me.

            2. Bilateralrope*

              And if they are somehow not dead in the morning, chance are you’ll be glad you got an uninterrupted nights sleep

          2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

            “If you’re on fire, stop, drop, and roll. If you’re not on fire, it can wait.”

            Though I’m also fine with calls as late as 11pm or so on the subject of “work is cancelled tomorrow, go ahead and sleep in” if there’s a weather event or other such thing that’s known by then. If the 8am meeting that’s the only reason I need to be on-site gets cancelled, and it will instead be a day when I can roll out of bed at 9am and work from home, that’s information worth a late night phone call for me.

    3. Mama Bear*

      I had a micromanager call my house around 11PM one night looking for something that could have waited. Insult to injury they got very angry with me – probably projecting their own anxiety. It was one of the reasons I left that job. Call me at 7PM, not great but OK. Call me at 11 to yell at me because you’re a workaholic? Nope.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        I had a micromanager call me at 11:30 pm. The day after Christmas. During a blizzard. While I was out of state visiting family. About some form that was due to HR on Jan. 10.

        He went right to voicemail.

        1. DireRaven*

          Yet, try calling the manager at 11:30 pm for something extremely vital that must be resolved then and there for something you don’t have the authority to make a decision on–guarantee there will be no answer. (so you make a decision and get reamed out for that decision the next day)

        2. Not a cat*

          UGH. Former SVP called me the day after Christmas (Saturday) AM and wanted me to jump on a plane and fly to Vancouver to save less-than-competent-colleague from imploding at a one-day event that Monday.

          He was SHOCKED when I said no.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        We had a project lead at OldJob call someone on their team asking to log in and do some work. During the holidays. While the person was out of the country vising their family.

        But it gets better, the person that the lead called was a consultant and was paid by the hour. The consultant called our boss and asked if that was the normal process. It wasn’t. That was also the first time boss had heard about it. Told the consultant not to log in, and to go back to enjoying the holidays with family.

        1. Glitsy Gus*

          I hope consultant charged the company for those 2 hours spent on the phone figuring all that out.

    4. Quill*

      And if you call at 10:30 on a saturday morning, then yell at me for not having answered my phone on me at all times on my day off? now that I have self esteem you’re going to be looking for a new employee. Never again am I going to work for someone who thought that was reasonable.

      1. animaniactoo*

        Ohhhh! 2…7? 28? year old me just became really proud of herself. I had forgotten about this incident, but I had an art director call me at 8 am in the morning while I was on vacation to tell me I had COMPLETELY screwed something up. I reamed her out for calling me about something that I couldn’t do anything about and BTW she was wrong and what I had done was correct, another direction had been given after she’d left the office for the day tyvm, now please wait for our boss to get in and go talk to him.

        1. Quill*

          I should have chewed this guy out, I got fired over this exact incident the minute I got into the office on monday morning…

        2. super anon*

          Many years ago, my boss’s boss called me at 9 am on a Sunday morning with something I had to do RIGHT NOW.

          It happened to be the first time that a new person I was seeing had spent the night. I had to wake up said person up and tell them “sorry, I think you’re great, but I actually need you to leave now so I can work.”

          If this happened to me now, I would quit on the spot. Never again!

    5. lnelson in Tysons*

      Worked at a place once where the SVP thought it perfectly acceptable to call the office manager at all hours just to yell at him. After hearing about the 6am call for something that was actually the SVP’s fault, I knew that I would/could never work for that guy or someone similar.
      Waiting for Karma to get that guy.

    6. NQ*

      I work in the kind of job where things might be on fire, and it might be my fault (not happened yet, happily). You can call me any time, day or night – SO LONG AS THINGS ARE ACTUALLY ON FIRE, and it is something to do with me.

      1. Bilateralrope*

        Nah. Calling you should only be if you are needed to help fix the problem.

        If it’s just your fault, it can wait.

    7. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      I have set up a rule on my mobile to go to “do not disturb” between 10pm and 7am. I travel often, and a client from Europe calling me at 9am could well reach me in Houston at 2am – a time I’m usually not immediately coherent. Better they leave voicemail or email and I get in touch after my morning coffee!
      For sure, it’s not the client’s fault if they wake me up – how could they know that I’m not at my home office?

    8. DarnTheMan*

      I work for a charity and that’s my exact feeling; “calling me after 6 PM or on the weekend? Something disastrous better have happened somewhere that we need to fundraise for.”

    9. Elizabeth West*

      If I’m hourly, you probably can’t call me after hours. Which is one thing I enjoy about being hourly.

    10. old curmudgeon*

      Funny you should say that. I got a call once from my boss at 4:30 in the morning telling me not to bother coming in that day because the office building had burned down.

      On the down-side of that particular incident, I also got stuck coordinating my employer’s property insurance claim, which I swear took ten years off my life. I’ve told them that if they ever want me to retire, all they have to do is burn another building – I’ll be out the door and filing for my pension in a heartbeat.

    11. RoadsLady*

      Reading all these…

      The husband once got a 2AM work phone call.

      Something was literally on fire.

    12. SubluxedMatrix*

      Yup – and if it’s on fire, I have to be the only person capable of handling said fire, and the fire has to be dealt with this very instant. If it can smoulder merrily until the morning without taking down the rest of the building I can deal with it then.

      Otherwise, my time is for sale – if you’d like to negotiate an on-call agreement, I’d be happy to do so.

    1. Jack Be Nimble*

      There are very few things I can think of, outside of power plants, hospitals, and the like, so urgent that it can’t wait until the next morning. Even if your office is currently on fire, there’s not a ton you’ll be able to do unless you alone know the location of the safe containing all of the important files.

      1. Lalaith*

        Working in tech, there are definitely things like “we’ve broken our client’s website” that probably should be handled ASAP and likely can be worked on from home. But it still better be on that level if you’re calling me at night.

        1. Tau*

          Yep, my job will be rolling out on-call duty at some point in time because if the service goes down, it needs to be fixed now instead of tomorrow morning.

          1. TiffIf*

            Ditto–I am not on the on-call list right now but I have co-workers who have gotten 3AM alerts that a server went down or our application is dead. We DO NOT want our clients to come in in the morning to a dead application, which, in come cases, can lead to us paying them fines.

        2. Nikara*

          I work in emergency management, so midnight calls when I’m duty are part of the job. But I’ve felt awful when I’ve had to do midnight calls to non-emergency managers, especially our IT folks. Once, I had to call the “on call” person at 5am, because the front page of our website broke beyond my ability to fix, and we had an actively burning wildfire and needed to share information there. I felt awful about it, but I was very, very glad they picked up the phone!

        3. Kiwiii*

          We have some of these – I’m glad to be on a client-side team rather than a backend team, because there was a round of allnighters for all the other tech people, and we just had to vet and then push updates when appropriate.

        1. London Calling*

          I work in finance and there is NOTHING about my job (payables) that warrants a call at home unless I’m off sick/on holiday and they really, really need some information. Which has never happened in 45 years. Certain parts of finance I concede will need calls – not the operational side.

          1. Mike S*

            It can happen in international finance, with IT. At my last job, I got a call at 2:00 AM that a system that I used to support was down, and Singapore was having problems. I recognized the problem, told them that it was a networking issue, and went back to bed.
            The next morning, I’m walking by the guy currently supporting the system, and see that he’s still trying to fix the issue. (He can’t. It’s a network issue, and a router needs to be rebooted.) I escalated.
            The project manager said that I sounded peeved. Well, yeah. You woke me up in the middle of the night, and then ignored my answer. That’d peeve anyone.

          2. vlookup*

            Yeah, I work in finance and operations at a nonprofit and the vast majority of potential emergencies in my job can’t actually be addressed outside of business hours. If something really bad happens you’re probably going to have to wait until the bank, payroll company, etc. opens in the morning to do anything about it.

        2. Jack Be Nimble*

          I used to work in facilities management – I’ve definitely had plenty of after-hours crisis calls! There’s a reason I moved into a much less-crisis oriented field!

        3. Ra94*

          Yeah, in law, there’s definitely a lot of plausible emergencies that could justify an after-hours call, or even a “you need to come in right now, all hands on deck” situation in the middle of the night (usually because of time zones, or an arrest, or a scandal about to break.) But good supervisors will still know to treat it with extreme gratitude and to give time of in lieu, rather than just expecting associates to drop everything and rush in.

        4. JessaB*

          People in those industries usually have an on call list though and know when they are the person expected to answer at 3am. If they’re called out of order it ought be a major emergency.

        5. LizM*

          I’ve worked in law, and honestly, I don’t think a lot of things attorneys think are emergencies are actually emergencies. A handful of things can be (like, you practice criminal law and your client just got arrested). But most things can wait until the next morning. The exception in my mind is if you’re on a deadline and you know other members of your team are up and working. But very few things came up after hours that were true, can’t wait until you check your email in the morning, emergencies.

          Now I worm for an agency and we have true emergencies. Even if something is actually, literally on fire, we have a protocol, so employees know if there’s a possibility they’ll get an emergency call after hours.

      2. animaniactoo*

        If your company does any business overseas, there’s potential that waiting until the next morning could really jeopardize/screw stuff up.

        It’s rare for me, but our production manager was overseas at a factory working with them on an item that I had designed. Being able to approve it via text message that night (~10:30 pm) was the difference of a week or better in being able to ship and meet the hard deadline for when the retailer needed it in-store.

        1. Annony*

          That’s the threshold for me. Is waiting until the morning going to really screw something up or just be inconvenient? If it is inconvenient, then wait. If it is a big deal, call but be as brief as possible and very apologetic.

        2. Mama Bear*

          But that’s still kind of “on fire” and a text is less intrusive than a call.

          Former job we had a SysAdmin in another time zone. Once or twice he had to be contacted way before his office hours because of a SNAFU. But it wasn’t something that happened often.

          1. animaniactoo*

            Right, that’s my point – it was that urgent. Text was less intrusive than phone call, but we both have iPhones and she could message me without racking up international calling rates on her phone.

          2. Bilateralrope*

            Yes, texts are eaiser to sleep through. So anything where you’re willing to risk the person being called not waking up doesn’t sound urgent enough to bother them.
            I know I’ve slept through several texts when someone decided to text me to say they needed a shift covered. Other times I’ve pretended that I’ve slept through it because I didn’t really want that shift. I’m not the one who gets in trouble, not when my employers policy is to make a phone call.

            Though calling them, then them sending a text so you have it in writing, sounds like a good idea.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        Client- and professional-services organizations tend to demand higher availability to deal with urgent client needs. They also typically get hazard pay for that level of availability.

      4. PeanutButter*

        It’s funny, I have worked in hospitals for the last 10 years and so got plenty of 0300 calls because they needed emergency coverage, but those jobs were always suuuuuper chill about people answering their phone, way more chill than any of the NON-emergency services jobs I’ve had. One charge nurse actually walked a new hire through setting the hospital numbers to always be silent so the newbie could just check messages when she woke up/felt like it.

    2. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      With me it’s more like don’t call me at all unless it’s both urgent and very important, in which case call me literally anytime. I’d expect to average one call like that every year or two.

      For example, a few years ago our mail server was re-sending a mass message I sent over and over again – I’m not IT so couldn’t solve it but that sort of thing I’d be open to hearing about at 2am.

      1. WellRed*

        If you can’t do anything about it what’s the point of being called at 2am to be told about it?

        1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

          I can put pressure on IT to solve it.

          In fact, I did – i got a message from a constituent that that was happening and looped in people to solve it.

    3. Emelle*

      My husband once had a 1:15 am call for something that easily could have waited two weeks, much less the next day. It still pisses me off and it was 18 years ago.

  2. Threeve*

    For #2: I would read this as a threat. Casually telling someone that you’ve gotten seriously violent is pretty much the same as saying “in the right circumstances, I am fine with getting seriously violent.”

    There can easily be workplace annoyances equivalent to someone taking wet clothes out the dryer. How is he going to react?

    Tell management. You shouldn’t be advising this guy, you should be avoiding him.

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I’ve known a few people who enjoyed exaggerating their angry responses for effect. Talking to someone became a yelling match; a touch on the shoulder became a shove, pounding a fist on the table turned into upending the table, and so on. They were fine with having people think they were volatile, ferocious, and physical, and that was alarming.

      Even if this person is exaggerating for effect with the OP, I think his behavior requires monitoring. There’s something wrong with people casually discussing violence as if it’s a reasonable reaction to annoying things. And if he is telling the stone-cold truth? Oh, yes, leadership needs to know, and this guy needs to be monitored.

      1. Mama Bear*

        If the company has put him through a background investigation or he needs a clearance of any sort, I’d mention it to HR or the FSO.

    2. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      I generally agree with AAM and your comment BUT if what the neighbor said was actually threatening or deeply hateful (n-word for example) I can understand a violent reaction. Not saying I recommend it, but I understand and sympathize with it.

      It doesn’t sound like that’s what happened, but in the right circumstance I get why people become violent.

        1. Jean*

          I read it as the guy explaining what happened because of how it affected work (i.e. him having to take days off to move when he got evicted). The level of detail he included was alarming though, and not necessary. “I had a personal emergency that required having to move suddenly” should have been sufficient IMO.

          1. Annony*

            That’s why his judgement is really in doubt. Why tell me how you beat someone up? Just say you had to move unexpectedly. Maybe say due to a disagreement with a neighbor if you really feel the need to include more info, but why mention violence at all?

            1. Sacred Ground*

              Not just beat someone up, beat someone unconscious. He could have killed the guy and is apparently completely blasé, maybe even proud of it. This person is dangerous.

          2. fhqwhgads*

            It’s still a bizarre thing for him to do, especially since in most places it’s virtually impossible to evict someone instantly. So the story is already suspect, which sort of makes me wonder if this is a bad but vaguely related cover story for something similar but worse. Not the kind of idea you want to float at work either way but bizarre for both the level of detail he shared and the details themselves (unless the timeline was tweaked by OP to simplify the story for our benefit).

            1. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

              Totally smells like a cover story to me. The level of detail is just too bizarre. If it is a cover story, goodness what he’s covering. Personally, I’d be tempted to look at the police log from the weekend in question, but of course I can’t recommend that. Of course, whether it’s a cover story or a “real” story, this dude has seriously bad judgment and sounds a little frightening.

        2. Hey Nonnie*

          Right… at work the sum total of that story would be “I had to move due to a racist incident.” Bragging about his violent response at work is deeply concerning.

      1. Extroverted Bean Counter*

        It’s still a very, very weird story to just casually bring up, regardless of provocation.

        “I had to take a half day Monday because I punched a Nazi this weekend, lmao. Hubby couldn’t bail me out until Monday morning” is not the kind of story I want my coworkers associating with me, even if I had the moral high ground. If a colleague told me that story I would similarly think “wow, they really wanted me to know they punched a guy I guess.”

      2. Quill*

        This is less a question of “why did this person feel the need to get violent” and more a question of “why did this person feel the need to inform LW of this?”

        1. JessaB*

          Exactly my thought, this is…not a thing you discuss, also as was said above, eviction doesn’t happen that fast, and the police showed up and just left? Even though there was evidence of a fight? Very strange story. The details do not track. And it’s so incredibly inappropriate to bring up at work unless you were the victim not the aggressor and even then I might not unless I was getting a restraining order, or needed medical care or EAP help or needed to be off a day to get calm. Maybe also in case I had to be in court to testify. But…very weird.

      3. hamsterpants*

        Sorry, are you saying that punching someone out is a reasonable response to hearing the n-word? Because, uh, I don’t agree on this one.

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          I’m not going to have a lot of angst if a white person calling a black person the N-word gets their clock cleaned. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

          1. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*


            I’m not recommending the punching, but it’s understandable and I have quite a bit of sympathy for it.

          2. hamsterpants*

            This is a workplace advice column, not Reddit. Responding to anything other than a direct threat to your safety with violence is not something I want in a colleague, no matter the feeling of justice it might provoke.

        2. Kate 2*

          I have to agree with you. One punch in response to the n word I understand but beating someone into unconsciousness? No.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I have experience with people who think they’re “cool sh*t” by recounting these ridiculous antics.

      They’re generally just show offs and think that they’re earning street cred.

      My word to these roughnecks is “you only need street cred…on the street, not our place of business, dude.”

      I’ve seen precious few workplace fights and know a lot of people with criminal records due to their stupid bar-fight attitude.

      That aside, I agree completely to share the story in that “FYI, this guy over here, he’s got bad judgement and perhaps a violent tendency but mostly bad judgement.”

      1. annakarina1*

        It reminds me of a guy who I know who is more of an Internet Tough Guy, like talking trash online and threatening to “beat someone to death” over having the moral high ground on an issue. He is also the type who would brag about himself winning bar fights or “owning” someone in an argument, but I would think he’d have a much bigger criminal record if he got into as many bar fights as he’d have one think.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I grew up around these kind of people, they usually only get popped by the cops when they start something with someone who didn’t do something to provoke it. So there’s just a lot of “tough guy” stories.

          “Broke my nose like 12 times, bro. I could go for another, bro!” Yawn, I know, I can see your busted face, Johnny Boy.

          1. annakarina1*

            I’ve also seen one bar fight break out, and it was two guys clasped around each other’s shoulders, trying to swing at each other while spinning around the room and just causing a dumb scene that got them kicked out. It was way less badass or impressive than “tough guys” would depict about bar fights, not some Road House fantasy.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              My favorite “fight” that was witnessed by a buddy was when it happened on frigging Halloween. So these kunckledraggers were wearing costumes. Themed. Costumes.

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        This was my reaction. This sounds more like this guy is posing than anything else. But this is a secondhand account. If the guy gives off vibes that he really is violent, this is fair warning.

        1. Hey Nonnie*

          Even if the guy is exaggerating for effect, it says nothing good about him that he wants his coworker to see him as violent.

      3. Richard Hershberger*

        In related news, I was quite surprised when I met a guy who I actually believe really was in the special forces. I grew up around military, and know the typical military type. I have also enjoyed the company of any number of posers. I haven’t had a lot of interaction with special forces types, but I have had some. There is an outside vendor who comes into my office every couple of months. We got to talking. I believe him that he was in special forces in Afghanistan. A big part is that he isn’t puffing his chest out. He is trying to work through how it messed with his head. My dad was a military chaplain. I told that to this guy, and he is effectively putting me in the chaplain role. I do what I can.

        1. Arts Akimbo*

          Yep. My stepdad was a sharpshooter in the Vietnam war and… won a medal for it or something? I don’t know, because he never, ever talks about it. People that did it and lived it never puff their chest out about it.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            This. I had a roommate who was in Vietnam and he never talked about it either. The one time he did, it became clear very quickly why he didn’t want to. :\

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I come from a family of military vets as well, I have heard zero war stories. My dad didn’t see combat but he saw people he trained with shipped off to Vietnam and he refuses to watch war movies because “I know people who lived that sh*t, ain’t nothing I want to see even on a tv!” *shivers*

          I find it pretty much the norm that people keep it to themselves unless they feel they’re in the company of others who understand on a deeper level, like your connection via your dad’s military based career. Then it’s to heal and digest their demons and not to show off for someone and act like they can take out ten grizzly bears, with one hand tied behind their back!!!

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            Speaking of Dad the chaplain, he came out of Vietnam with two Bronze Stars, each with a V. How does a chaplain end up with those? I don’t know. I didn’t know about them until after he died. I assume things went pear shaped and he did what he had to.

            1. Ellie*

              A member of my spouses family was a chaplain and he ended up with a load of medals (Australian, so different from yours). He was absolutely a chaplain before and after the war, but during the war he was also a spy, taking pictures while flying over enemy territory, etc.

            2. nonegiven*

              A chaplain is totally the type of person that could earn Bronze Star with a V. They might be the person dragging injured comrades out of the line of fire while everyone else is busy shooting back.

        3. Emily S*

          There’s a young-adult book series that deals with teenagers fighting a war, and ends…well, not happily ever after. Apparently a lot of kids were upset with the author for not wrapping things up with a neater bow, so she actually released a statement which gets at this. Excerpt:

          “Here’s what doesn’t happen in war: there are no wondrous, climactic battles that leave the good guys standing tall and the bad guys lying in the dirt. Life isn’t a World Wrestling Federation Smackdown. Even the people who win a war, who survive and come out the other side with the conviction that they have done something brave and necessary, don’t do a lot of celebrating. There’s very little chanting of ‘we’re number one’ among people who’ve personally experienced war.”

            1. Turtle Candle*

              The Animorphs series. It starts out as a exciting books about teenagers fighting against evil alien invaders, but the author doesn’t softpedal the nature of war, and by the end it is legitimately grim and the kids are scarred.

              It’s done very naturally, with impossible situations gradually taking their toll, and when compared to other “teenage heroes” stories of the time, it’s pretty shocking.

            2. Lucien Nova*

              Sounds like the Animorphs series if I’m remembering correctly.

              (There’s now to be a graphic novel of Animorphs, too!)

    4. JamieS*

      I read it as him explaining why he was out for 2 days the week prior, perhaps unprompted, and giving too much detail.

      1. Extroverted Bean Counter*

        That’s how I read it too. New Coworker really needs better judgement, even so. Why not just say “yeah, I had to go apartment hunting abruptly”? All of the detail about the cause of the altercation and his participation/thought process about it really speaks a lot about him.

      2. Observer*

        Whether it was meant as a threat, an explanation or both is not really relevant. Because best case it was an explanation that shows a tendency towards violence and major lack of understanding of office norms.

        1. JamieS*

          It is relevant though. Someone saying something intending it as a threat is different from them relaying a story where they’re behaving inappropriately but no threat towards the person hearing the story is implied.


          OP: Hey Bob I need you to get these reports done by 6 so you might have to stay late.
          Bob: So OP I KOed a guy last week for saying the wrong thing to me.


          OP: Hey Bob, saw you were out last week.
          Bob: *tells story*

          There’s a clear difference between the two scenarios where the first is clearly intended as a threat.

          1. Hey Nonnie*

            No. Having a fairly casual attitude towards engaging in physical violence is deeply concerning, whether you are presently an implied target of the violence or not. He could always change his mind about targeting you (or anyone else) later, after all. If he views violence is an acceptable tool in his tool box, then there is very little stopping him from hauling it out to use later on.

            The guy who brags about assaulting his neighbor is not a nice guy.

    5. yala*


      Reminds me of a friend’s ex who casually told a story about almost punching a girl in the face when she poked him unexpectedly. I get the feeling he was bragging about how Tough and Fast he was, but it was what immediately twigged me to him being a trash person. Which…yup, he was.

      And this dude (allegedly) hit someone so hard they were UNCONSCIOUS. That’s SERIOUS. And he doesn’t feel any kind of way about it. Back when I was in karate, I accidentally choked someone out to the point of unconsciousness during a training exercise (they panicked and didn’t tap out), and I felt TERRIBLE. Because generally, that’s how you feel when you hurt another person

        1. yala*

          Yeah, his cute story about their first date was that he locked the car, and wouldn’t let her out until she gave him a kiss.

          I’m still just…baffled how my friend ends up with guys like this.

          1. Snoop*

            oh no… Glad your friend isn’t with someone like that anymore. It always reminds me of the Maya Angelou quote, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

      1. Construction Safety*

        And the dryer dude was unconscious until the cops got there? Yeah, no on several levels.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Also like anyone is staying around if they knocked someone out. You say “cops” and you scatter, rule #1.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            Maybe I misunderstood but it seemed like the puncher called the cops, not the punch-ee. Like maybe this person not only doesn’t understand office norms but also doesn’t understand calling the police norms? Like maybe he thought the cops would arrest the punched out guy for the dryer-thievery and the whatever-he-said that made the puncher do the punching? It’s unclear. But if the puncher did the calling, that’s why they stuck around.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Yeah, rereading the story, it does seem like he may have called the cops…like he’s some kind of laundry-dryer-thief vigilante? “I got a thief punched out over here! Come on and gather him up!” when staying there and hunting the guy down is illegal AF, that’s not self defense, bro.

  3. Lena Clare*

    I would not expect a call at all outside of work hours, unless the office was closed for some reason the next day and even then if it were past 9 p.m. they’d have to text me the next morning.

    The guy who punched someone because he didn’t like what they’d said…hoo boy. What a huge lack of insight to share it, amd what a troubling instinct to use violence in the first place. I wonder what happened in the end to him?

    1. Fikly*

      Also, how stupid do you have to be to start the assault, knock someone out, and then you call the police? Unless your plan is to lie about what happened, I guess? Because that story is not going to result in the police looking at you fondly. Clearly this person still thinks the person who took their laundry out did the most wrong, which is boggling.

      1. Shadowbelle*

        OP isn’t clear about the full list of blows that were landed. I read:

        NewGuy pushed DryerGuy and some kind of altercation ensued, which *included* but was not limited to NewGuy punching DryerGuy three times in the face. What other blows or strife were included in this altercation?

          1. whingedrinking*

            Sure, but I can imagine a situation where DryerGuy reacted to the push by punching NewGuy. If it then became apparent that DryerGuy wasn’t going to stop fighting until one of them was unconscious, I can’t really blame NewGuy for deciding it wasn’t going to be him.
            It was still not a wise idea to push the guy in the first place, but it could have been DryerGuy who escalated the conflict to blows and then NewGuy found himself in a self-defense situation. And once dude was on the floor, it would be pretty naive to think that NewGuy wasn’t going to be talking to the cops one way or another. Not to mention that people can die from blows to the head – getting DryerGuy some medical attention would have been the smart thing to do unless he was keen to be charged with manslaughter.

            1. Hey Nonnie*

              You can’t construe this as self-defense when NewGuy started it. Not just the push, but the lying in wait for DryerGuy to return. Seriously?

              1. Shadowbelle*

                Not really — DryerGuy started it by stealing from NewGuy. DryerGuy stole NewGuy’s money, remember, by taking NewGuy’s clothes out of the pay dryer and putting his own in. I’d sure wait for DryerGuy to come back. DryerGuy is a thief. NewGuy was looking to identify the thief. Suppose you caught someone trying to pickpocket your wallet, and you pushed him away, and he punched you. Who started it?

                I have certainly been in a situation where I would have beome exceedingly cross with anyone who co-opted my laundry time. Those were my quarters that went into the machine, and the whole thing is a hassle, and DryerGuy’s theft might have meant that I had no clean clothes for the next day, or dry sheets for my bed.

                Laundry is serious.

                1. Kate 2*

                  Are you serious? Laundry is so serious that you would commit assault and get an arrest record, possibly doing jail time for wet clothes and a dollar or two in quarters???

                2. Avasarala*

                  So you also would wait for the laundry thief to come back, and then… what? They say something you don’t like, and you punch them until they’re unconscious??

                  Petty theft doesn’t excuse your poor laundry planning or extreme violence.

                  And bringing it up as an excuse for absence from work shows even worse judgment!

      2. Annony*

        Yeah. The story is alarming mostly because he seems to think it is completely reasonable to beat someone up over laundry!

          1. Elenna*

            Theft of *a couple dollars*. Hitting someone until they’re unconscious can have lifelong health implications. It is very much not a reasonable response to losing out on the price of a bag of chips.

      3. Extroverted Bean Counter*

        I’m willing to actually give him credit for calling the police – knocking someone unconscious can be a fatal thing, so calling 911 is the decent thing to do.

  4. ArchivesGremilin*

    Because I currently live in an area where it’s bitterly cold (it was -21 F this morning), if you call me after 8 pm, the building better be on fire. But in the summertime, if you call me after 9, I wouldn’t be as upset.

          1. Jean*

            “Sorry, I can’t talk on the phone if it’s below freezing out” lol I was a little confused too

            1. Arts Akimbo*

              Haha, my first thought was, “I’m sorry, can’t reach my hands up out of this blanket burrito!” Which, y’know… props for a great blanket burrito.

          1. tangerineRose*

            I think this is it. When it’s still daylight at 9 pm, people are more likely to be awake later.

    1. Hlyssande*

      I feel you from a bit south but still in line with the exciting storm rolling through tomorrow and Saturday.

      I would be massively grumpy to have to drive in when it’s this bitter cold if it wasn’t a super emergency I couldn’t handle from home.

  5. rayray*


    If it’s only a job to them, don’t call once they’re off the clock and home. If they’re hourly, make sure they’re paid if they took your call.

    I guess I’m just apathetic about my current job and can’t fathom caring deeply enough to answer a work call after hours. If it is an absolute emergency, okay. I personally wouldn’t answer past 8:00 or so.

    Before I get lectured, because I did get lectured once when making a similar comment on the issue of work emails/calls after work hours- I understand it depends how tied to your job you are and what your role is. I am speaking as someone in a low level role, and who hates their job.

      1. rayray*

        That’s great! I think boundaries are important. I actually remember getting called once after I had left work on a Friday, so I got in the habit of blocking the office phone number as soon as I walked out for the weekend so it wouldn’t happen again.

        I never want a job that expects me to be “on” after work hours or on weekends. That would be miserable. I’d want on-call pay if my boss thought it was okay to bother me on my off hours.

      2. KHB*

        I don’t mind answering the occasional work email after hours – because I can do it at my own convenience and it gives me one less thing to think about the next morning – but I draw the line at work phone calls. And I love my job too.

        I thought Alison’s answer to this was great. Unless it’s either a building-on-fire emergency or part of a formal “on call” arrangement where part of the job is handling things that come up at all hours, employers really have no business bothering employees who are off the clock. Wait until the next morning.

        1. Rainy*


          In my field we like to say “there’s no such thing as a [$field] emergency”, and there really isn’t. My coworkers text me after hours all the time–to send me cute pics or chat about something–and that’s fine, because we’re friends, but if it’s work related, it can wait.

          I’ll answer a client’s email sometimes on weekends if I happen to see it and it’s time-sensitive, but in general if you just send me an email while I’m not working and you don’t indicate it’s urgent, I’m not going to look at it, and even if you do indicate it’s urgent, I’ll read it and then come to my own decision about whether it’s actually that urgent or not.

          I have colleagues who periodically get excited about how we should be texting with our clients, and my answer is always, “Will I get a work phone for this? Because there’s no way my clients are getting any number that isn’t my work number.”

          1. KHB*

            Yeah, we don’t really have emergencies either, and in the decade-plus I’ve been here, I don’t think anybody’s even tried to reach me by phone about a work question. Which is good, because if they did, I wouldn’t answer.

            On some of my projects, I coordinate with a freelancer in another time zone. For all the time-sensitive parts of the process, she’s online during our core business hours, but mostly she works on her own time, and she’ll email me with questions at all hours of the evening. It wouldn’t be the biggest deal in the world if she had to wait until I was in the office to get her answer. But if it’s something quick to deal with, I’ll answer it right away, because why not?

          2. Lifelong student*

            Absolutely! If an employer wants an employee to have a cell phone and be able to read texts- the employer should pay for the phone and the monthly charges as well! Along those lines, I was once in a job which did not include as part of the job description any out of office expectations. I used public transit to get to work. Using a car would have required me to pay a high fee for parking. Parking was not provided for someone in my position. When I was once told I was required to perform an out of office errand several miles away, I pointed out that I did not have a car that day. If a car is required for the job- the company should pay to have the car available during the day!

            1. KHB*

              Now venturing a bit off topic but: We got an announcement the other day that we’re implementing multifactor authentication to add “an extra layer of credential security” using “the smartphones we have.” It has never been a requirement of my job to have a smartphone, and I don’t have one. I’m still waiting on IT to get back to me about how they plan to handle that.

              1. fhqwhgads*

                They should either purchase one and give it to you for use or give you an analog token clicky device thing to use instead. I don’t think it’s preposterous at this point that they presume everyone has one as a default. If you’re in the US, a study a couple of years ago indicated 81% of us have smartphones. However I think it’d be entirely reasonable of you to not want to have to use a personal device for anything work-related anyway, but they also know most people have one and would rather only carry the one thing they’re already carrying. So it’s going to be their default assumption and to handle the exceptions as they come.

                1. KHB*

                  If 81% have smartphones, that means that 19% don’t. Even if that’s down to only, say, 5% by now, that still means it’s overwhelmingly likely that at least someone at a workplace of our size won’t have one. So it IS preposterous for them to assume that EVERYONE will have one, and not even be prepared to deal with someone who doesn’t.

                2. nonegiven*

                  We were sitting around the table at Thanksgiving, when the subject came up. 6 people were there and only one uses a smartphone, everyone else uses a flip phone.

            2. doreen*

              This is part of the reason I was surprised when people above said they’d prefer a text to a phone call , even to let them know the office was closed. Only some staff at my job have work phones, and most of those who don’t give the agency a landline number rather than a personal cell, so I couldn’t text them to say the office is closed tomorrow ( which I have needed to do in the past due to hurricanes, blizzards and fires) . I’d either have to call or they wouldn’t find out

        2. OtterB*

          Phone calls no, but I’ll read work emails off-hours and sometimes respond to them. I have a project with deadlines for data submission from organizations across the country, and I make a point of keeping an eye on email near the deadline because (a) if I don’t check email after I leave the office at 4:30 Eastern, and someone on the west coast had a quick question that I don’t answer until the next morning, that’s half of their work day they can’t be working on my data, and (b) some of the people who are providing the data are doing it on top of their regular work tasks, which means they may be working evenings or weekends, and I want to be responsive to that. But that is around the deadlines; other times of the year I probably still eyeball email on my phone but don’t respond off hours.

          1. OtterB*

            Also, part of the reason I’m flexible about responding to stuff out of hours is that my office is very flexible about me doing personal stuff as needed during work hours. If I had strictly enforced start/stop times I’d be less likely to work outside them.

    1. Bunny Girl*

      Also an hourly worker and I 100% agree with you. Nothing in my job is ever so much an emergency that it can’t wait until I’m back in the office and clocked in. Now when I worked in emergency services/law enforcement, I didn’t mind texts or calls when I was off work. Everyone was always super respectful of my time and I really enjoyed my coworkers and that job. Also currently in a low level role and hating my job so preach sister/brother.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        The hourly/salaried thing is not to be underestimated. But regardless of their status it is a good litmus test to ask yourself, “is this phone call worth 1 hr of pay at their hourly rate?.”

    2. writerson*

      Boundaries are so important. I love my job, but my life got infinitely better when I decided I would not work once I got home except in very rare occasions. (That is, I basically stopped answering emails after I leave the office. If I’m in the midst of a busy period, I will occasionally say, “Yep, I’ll finish this document after dinner,” but that’s maybe 3-4 times a year.)

      At the same time, I set my phone so it goes on “do not disturb” mode at 9 PM, so I can spend my last hour of awakeness not looking at a screen. (You’re only getting through if you’re husband/parents/sister.) I fall asleep so much better these days.

    3. Jedi Squirrel*

      My phone is set to go into privacy mode at 8:00 pm and doesn’t go public again until 6:00 the next morning. If you call after 8 and you’re not on the family list, I’ll never get your call.

      FWIW, my company is 8 to 5.

    4. Joe Average*

      Unless you work in the literal Emergency Services or the medical field, there is no such thing as a work emergency. A small corner of the global capitalism money-generation engine going silent for a few hours won’t bring the world to its knees.

      I’ll make an exception if a bank gets hacked and thousands of Jane Averages’ accounts are currently being drained of their life savings so someone needs to plug the hole immediately.

  6. Zombeyonce*

    Quarterly reviews?! Sounds like the company has some (likely very relevant) negative reviews they want to drown out with scores of new reviews from current employees. How do they plan to verify that people have left a new review? Anyone could claim anyone else’s review pretty easily. And does Glassdoor allow people to review the same place more than once? You’d think trying to review the same company so much and so often (and from the same IP address if everyone’s doing it from work) would raise flags.

    If they did have a way to force an employee to do this, as an employee, I’d go along with it and leave the review, then go home, create a new account, and leave a separate review saying that the company forced quarterly reviews and be very honest about what the company was really like.

    1. I Will Steal Your Pens*

      I’m not sure they allow reviews for any company more than once. I had two separate interviews with the same large firm for two separate positions, and both were utterly disastrous (before you ask why I went to the second one, other than being a glutton for punishment, I was unemployed and looking for a job that would carry my clearance). So I tried to leave reviews for both interviews, but even though they were in different locations, glassdoor will only allow one review for an interview.

      I would imagine you can only leave one review for an employer as well. It would only make sense.

      As for what I would do? I would leave a review, and at the end of the review state that I was required by the company to leave a review. not only are they anonymous, but they can never be deleted by either the reviewer or their organization.

      then I would consider leaving.

      1. Annony*

        That’s what I was wondering! Do they allow multiple reviews? Or are there employees expected to make fake email accounts or something to be able to leave additional reviews?

        1. Rayray*

          So, I actually was browsing my old company’s glassdoor reviews recently. I noticed that a new positive review and the managing partner’s rebuttal to my review were oddly similar in verbiage so I was suspicious and was browsing about if managers can write positive reviews masked as an employee. I know I saw somewhere that they only allow one review per company per account in a year. So yes, these people are being asked to create multiple accounts.

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      I like Alison’s suggestion to preface the review with “my company asked me to leave this review.” I would then go on to give a totally over-the-top effusive review about how wonderful it is in every possible way. How can management complain about this?

  7. Coco*

    For 1, is there a reason you are calling? We have a work group chat on WhatsApp. If there is something going on, we text each other at any time. They tend to be more emergency related (the office lost power so work from home , the application we support is on fire, etc) but texting may be easier for people than phone calls depending on where they are what they are doing.

    1. JokeyJules*

      my boss will only call me if it can be resolved in a very short call and wont call after 7pm. Otherwise he will text or email or it’ll wait until tomorrow.

      However, this courtesy isn’t always relayed in the morning. I always knew when my exboss would wake up (630am) because he would start texting me about work and call if i didn’t respond, even while driving. please also don’t call your employees before they come in unless it’s to tell them not to come in.

      1. cncx*

        yes, this is my pet peeve. i have staggered hours due to international coverage and my hours have been the same for ten years, yet people will call my cell phone repeatedly two hours before my start time. one repeat offender has a knack for calling me when i’m in the shower getting ready for work, thus causing me to miss my bus.

  8. Mary*

    #2: I would want to know a LITTLE more about what “he said something I didn’t like so I pushed him” means. Like, there’s a big difference between pushing someone because they insulted your taste in tshirts and responding aggressively to someone who called you the n-word or the f-word whilst you were doing your laundry.

    1. Fikly*

      Violence is never the appropriate response to words. Sometimes it is a triggered response, like with PTSD, but it’s never the ok response, and the fact that this employee thought that is was is a massive red flag.

      Not to mention this person waited in order to force a confrontation, so my suspicion is that they were looking to start a fight.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        Yep even if you have a phobia of birds injuring someone else isn’t an ok thing.

        Now, there are certain environments where the rule is be a little violent when provoked so that you don’t receive greater sustained violence later. If this is a person who came from such an environment a discussion that this is a different place where that reduces how much respect people will give you rather than sparking respect would be in order.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      Does it even matter? Even if the person called them all the derogatory names in the book, surely punching them until they were knocked out didn’t help the situation and speaks to how he might handle stress in the workplace, too (read: not well).

    3. WellRed*

      Punched, not pushed. Punched 3x in the face and knocked him out cold. I’m not sure why he wasn’t charged with assault. And even pushing someone who says some you don’t like is pretty toddler like. Use your words or walk away.

      1. merp*

        Right?? Like, I’ve never punched a person but I assume it takes quite a lot to *knock someone out*. I can’t believe nothing happened.

      2. SusanIvanova*

        That’s a direct quote – it started with a push, as most fights between untrained people tend to do.

      3. Shadowbelle*

        I don’t think we’ve got the full story. I’m not sure the OP received the full story. The story as related doesn’t make sense. More details would probably help.

        1. Observer*

          I don’t see why details would help. He started the physical fight over an insult. And he clearly doesn’t see this as an issue. That’s all management really needs to know. (Unlike the police, who need to decide whether to make an arrest- and the standards there are very different.)

          1. fposte*

            Yes, it’s also usual that this is the version that puts the *best* face on his behavior, and getting more info is only going to make him worse.

            1. Observer*

              Like I said, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he started a physical fight and the he thinks it’s just fine. I can’t think of any details that would change this.

              1. Shadowbelle*

                It does matter, because the employee was trying to deal with a thief. And we don’t know what else the thief did.

                And you don’t know that “he thinks it’s just fine”.

            2. hamsterpants*

              LW2 is a colleague, not a judge in a court of law. Dude has clearly communicated that he thinks starting a fight over laundry, and then sharing this fact at work, is a normal thing. If dude was defending himself against a hate crime, don’t you think that fact would have made it into the letter?

              1. Mary*

                Or he’s feeling shocked and humiliated by what started as a stupid argument about laundry that escalated dramatically, is terrified that he’s in trouble with the police, and is attempting to be upfront with his employer so they don’t find out via the media or something at a later stage.

                This is a really neutrally-told story: I don’t know whether the neutrality is OP’s or his employee’s, but the detail would be very important to me in figuring out what my responsibilities as his manager were.

                1. Observer*

                  If I found out that a manager heard this story and did nothing about it, I would seriously question their judgement – to the point that if it were my supervisor, I’d be searching. Because this is someone who doesn’t take violence and safety seriously or is just clueless about it. Someone who is trying to get ahead of a problem like this either goes to HR or explains that “I wanted to let you know in case the police calls.” Which is not what happened here.

                2. Mary*

                  I haven’t suggested doing nothing! I would want more details before deciding what to do.

                  Dude is unrepentant and told this story as a brag? I don’t want him working anywhere near me. Dude is freaked out and seeking anger management therapy? Maybe there’s a lesser sanction that makes it clear this is a serious issue but recognises that he knows that an den is making an effort to change.

      4. JamieS*

        Might have been considered mutual combat. The way OP tells it the employee didn’t just sucker punch the guy. Sounds to me like what happened is words were exchanged, employee shoved the guy, fight ensued which the other guy was likely an active participant in, and the other guy lost.

        Obviously not good behavior or something to share at work but definitely a scenario I see as something that would be considered mutual combat rather than assault.

  9. TooTiredToThink*

    #5 – is there anyway that the applicant thought that was the right name – or that the two companies were related? I have had so many issues with knowing the name of the company I was going to be working with in the past (namely because of recruiters actually giving me the wrong name)* that unless I had a very good reason to know the person should know better (and ideally a higher level candidate should); I’d be tempted to weigh it less than other considerations.

    *(No really, last job – recruiter told me I’d be applying for Lama Field Services, which is a real organization that I googled and found, then I was told I would be actually working for Teapot Analytics, then I was told it was Lama Services Field Experts (also a real organization but completely different than LFS); then the first time I talked to my supervisor (after I was hired) they were like “Welcome to Sheep Herders, Inc”. I was like – what? Eventually I figured out that the last 3 were all technically correct – basically subsidiaries of Lama Services Field Experts – but the first name the recruiter gave me had absolutely nothing to do with the organization at all.)

    1. SusanIvanova*

      My previous company’s founder said that one thing she regretted was naming the company HRpufinstuf instead of HRPufinstuf – even employees tended to forget the ‘p’ was lowercase.

    2. Annony*

      I was wondering how wrong the name was and if they also included the wrong logo. Wrong logo would be pretty bad since then they obviously looked up the wrong company, but being off on the name by a little is completely understandable (ex: Tea Pots, Inc vs Teapots, Inc).

    3. stefanielaine*

      Based on “using instead the similar name of another company” I think it’s fair to assume that’s not the case here. I think a more likely comparison would be Equifax vs. Equinox or another unrelated but similar pair of company names.

    4. Just Another Manic Millie*

      I once applied to a company in New York City that I confused with another company. I was called in response to my resume which I had faxed and given the name of the company. (The name of the company was not in the ad.) The company had three words in its name, and the first word was “The.” I did not ask how to spell the other two words. I then googled the company and found nothing.

      When I showed up for my interview, I saw on the sign above the door that I had misspelled one of the other two words in the company’s name, but no matter. When I got home, I googled the correct spelling and found the company’s website. The website said that the company was in North Carolina. There was no mention of a branch office in New York City. But the website said that the company’s business was the same business as the company that I had interviewed with, so I concluded that the website hadn’t been updated for a while.

      I was hired. On my first day, I asked the owner if the company was affiliated with the company in North Carolina. She said no and then immediately insisted that there wasn’t any such company in North Carolina. Since I didn’t agree with her that I was wrong and there was no such company, she asked me to email her a link to the company in North Carolina, which I did. She didn’t say anything afterwards.

      I thought that it was strange that she didn’t know about the existence of the other company. Our company didn’t have a website. The owner said that it was because she wanted us to contact only those potential clients that she wanted us to contact. She didn’t want strangers finding us online and contacting us. Maybe that’s why the company went out of business less than one year after I started there.

    5. Artemesia*

      Years ago I was on a committee to select the top finance officer or our newly merged organization. One applicant consistently misspelled the name of the organization. It wasn’t a typo because he consistently did it throughout his materials. I argued that we should not invite him in because 1. finance — you do want someone who pays attention to detail and 2. motivation — he did not appear to have done his homework about the organization or he wouldn’t have made the mistake and 3. flake. They flew him in at great cost and he was an interview disaster. Some Shadenfreude on my part because he really did come across as careless, odd and flakey. I feel like this type error is a giant flag.

    6. Kiwiii*

      I’m a little bit in this boat as well, the job I applied for was with SafetyTeapots, but then the phonecall I got was from National Coffee Commissioners, which is the company rather than the product, but during the hiring process they mentioned other company we work closely with All Coffee Services, and before I was hired National Coffee Commissioners changed to Service Beverage Producers, without like. Warning or notifying me or anything.

      Names are hard, esp when they’re jargony or part of a base of industry knowledge. Unless he’s showing lack of judgement or attention to detail other places, I’d give him a pass on this one.

  10. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    I agree with 9 pm, with a caveat if you work service sector with nonstandard hours, or it’s something that’s important to know for the following morning. Then, just call at whatever time mitigates the most risk. I know, for example, I’d rather get an inconvenient phone call at 11 pm when I still have time to adjust my schedule for the following morning, than to get a panicked phone call at 7:30 am when there’s not enough time left for me to do anything about it.

  11. blackcatlady*

    Calling after hours – I work in a research lab. Why do freezers ALWAYS wait to fail until 2 in the morning? Yes, that’s an emergency and I have had my share of traveling into work to deal with it. But, that’s a special situation. Standard offices should not call unless it’s really extreme.

    1. Quill*

      Actually have an answer for this I think: Electricity demand timing! Weekday lowest demand is sometime between midnight and 6 AM, and some power plants adjust their overnight production accordingly. I’m not sure exactly what that would do tho the freezers, but a previous supervisor in a lab swore the two things must be connected.

      1. Utility Worker*

        I work for an electric utility – it’s true that electric demand tends to be lowest between midnight and 6AM. Power plants do adjust their production to meet electric demand – but that change in production happens all the time – like, literally every 3 seconds, 24/7. That’s because electricity is a commodity that can’t be stored efficiently on a large scale – batteries are still quite expensive and inefficient at “utility scale” – so supply (power plant production) and demand (customer use of electricity) have to be matched nearly exactly at all times.

        I realize we’re off topic – so to cut to the chase – freezers dying at 2AM have nothing to do with your electric service. Personally, I chalk it up to the same reason my smoke alarm batteries always start chirping after I’ve put the kiddos down to bed.

        1. TiffIf*

          Personally, I chalk it up to the same reason my smoke alarm batteries always start chirping after I’ve put the kiddos down to bed.

          Yup, mischievous elves/fairies/gnomes.


    2. Dahlia*

      This has happened at the grocery store my mom works at. Freezers or meat cooler dying can = thousands of dollars lost in a couple hours. Also a big deal.

      The other time she’s gotten a call (that I took, and passed the message on) was “The current manager has been fired due to mishandling of sexual abuse allegations and we had to change the store code so he couldn’t get back in, and you need to know the code to get into the store because you’re the first person in the store at night”.

  12. Amber Rose*

    If you call me after I leave for the day I’m probably sending you to voicemail. And if you call me after 8pm regardless, I almost guarantee I’m in bed with my phone off, unless it’s the weekend.

    I don’t hate my job but I have no particular urge to care about work once the official work day is over.

    1. London Calling*

      Yup. It pays the bills and I like doing it – most of the time. It is, however, just a job, not a vocation.

  13. hbc*

    OP1: I feel like calling after 9:00 is fine–because you’re only calling due to there being something that really, truly can’t wait, right? Like, we’re in panic mode and I will be dealing with this for the next three hours because it’s just that important, yes? Our CEO just died and we have to figure some stuff out fast, our equipment exploded at a customer site, or you just realized the headcount at our daycare center was off and I need to go check that we didn’t leave a baby behind.

    If it’s not that, then text, at most. There should be a really high threshold for calling someone who’s not already expected to kind of be on-call. And if this is coming up often enough that you need to establish a general rule, I think it’s basic courtesy to find out what each individual’s preference is and letting them know the kinds of things you’d be calling about.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      you just realized the headcount at our daycare center was off and I need to go check that we didn’t leave a baby behind.

      There are a non-zero number of occurrences of this type on record. In the most recent I heard of, a 3yo went to the bathroom and by the time she came out the staff had locked up and gone home, each assuming someone else had seen her get picked up. Several emergency calls that evening, I bet, at increasing levels of urgency…

        1. Cog in the Machine*

          calls to the police and possible window breaking.

          Sorry for the double post. My phone can be glitchy.

      1. Kiwiii*

        As someone who used to work in a state position related to regulating daycares … it happens way, way too often. And when it happens, make sure it’s something that gets reported to your state licensing people or Department of Children and Families or whatever in some way, because 80%+ of the time it means they’re lacking oversight or organization in other ways that are dangerous to children.

  14. Anonymous at a University*

    Yeah, 2 is a SERIOUS red flag. I would make management aware of it just so that they can decide how they’d like to handle this, because both the violence- which sounds premeditated if he waited to force a confrontation- and the casual way of talking about indicate that this is a problem that could happen in the future.

    (And in certain contexts, this is the kind of thing that doesn’t leave you a choice. I had to report a student worker I supervised to the Title IX coordinator because she told me that she beat up her boyfriend, and we have to report intimate partner violence- even if we think it’s a rumor or exaggerated for effect. That student then of course claimed she was exaggerating and had actually just had a shoving match with her boyfriend, but it got investigated. You just don’t go around bragging about shit like that).

  15. Antilles*

    The #3 Glassdoor thing is always interesting to me, because if the reader takes even a few seconds to skim the site, it usually becomes blatantly obvious when companies are forcing employees to write fake reviews.
    Here’s a fairly balanced three-star review, a generally positive four-star review, a two-star saying don’t work here, another mid-tier three-star…and then wait a string of 11 straight five-star reviews with glowing language which all appeared in a week? Yeah, no.

    1. Earthwalker*

      I always wonder just what the story is behind the ones where the poster doesn’t have anything to say, uses the fewest words possible, and quits some sentences in the middle. “Pros: It’s okay I guess. Cons: It’s like they want … Advice: None.” It’s like grandma said, “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all” but they have to make an entry anyway.

  16. Anon for this.*

    Conversely: what is the deal with companies calling me before 9 am? I’ve had four different entities (windshield repair service, insurance company, service department at the car dealer, primary care physician’s office) call me at 7:45/8:00 am. I work AT HOME. I am not COMMUTING or in the CUBE FARM. I am ASLEEP.

    I will forgive you if you call at 9:00, but I reserve my own business calls to 9:30-11:30 and 1:30-4:00. If I can’t get you then, I don’t expect to be able to get you at other times.

    1. Shadowbelle*

      OMG so much this! I work in a cube farm, but in that time period, I am either getting ready for work or on my way to work. Unless you are the HVAC guy calling to tell me you are on your way for our scheduled appointment, or the car guy calling to tell me that yes, my car is ready and I can pick it up, no, it’s not a good time to call.

      1. Cog in the Machine*

        Or worse, the scheduled maintenance person calling to say that they’re a half hour early at 7:30.

    2. merp*

      Yes, this. At my job I return voicemails from time to time – I never start before 9, and even then I feel bad. Once I got someone in a different time zone and it must have been about 7am for them. ><

      1. Cog in the Machine*

        I’ve been on the opposite end of that phone call. I had someone call to schedule a job interview. Since I didn’t recognize the number, and my sleep fogged brain couldn’t figure out why someone from the other side of the country was calling, I let it go to voicemail. Then I didn’t get around to listening to it until lunch, and was in a bit of a panic.

        1. Kiwiii*

          This! My company’s main office is located in CST (where I am), but the majority of their internal operations/HR people are in the California office. I couldn’t figure why I was always getting phonecalls at like 7 from them — but it’s because they were trying to get me just after work and hadn’t adjusted for the time difference.

    3. Millennial Lizard Person*

      Car dealerships/mechanics and doctor’s offices are often open early so you can eg get your tires rotated before work, or get a check-up and drop off a prescription before a 9am work. I can also see insurance agencies being open so you can actually call them, if you’re at a place where you can’t make personal calls. I actually really appreciate when companies are open that early.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        Being open for business is a far cry from making telephone calls to customers.

        I have been known to answer the phone with “It’s 7:30 am” because WTF?? Sometimes I learn that people just don’t think about time zones, but maybe they will after they finish our call.

    4. CRM*

      Actually, I really appreciate when companies do this. I hate taking personal calls during the workday. I know that sometimes it’s unavoidable, but it’s easier to focus on doing my job if I don’t have to worry about missing an important call from my insurance company or finding a good time to call my dentist.

    5. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      A friend works graveshift – this is definitely a problem. Not so much the phone, as she leaves it in the living room, but door-to-door. She has a sign on the door and they just ignore it.
      So rude.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        It’s baffling – if someone has a sign on their door, they’re not going to buy your insurance/vacuum cleaner/religion, so you already know you’d be wasting your time knocking.

        So why knock?!

    6. Donkey Hotey*

      I’m just amused because if my boss called me at home at 9am, he would start with “why are you two hours late?”
      But yes, call me two hours before my start time, I’m asleep.

    7. Doc in a Box*

      For your PCP’s office, that’s probably the only time the doctor has to call you before they start clinic for the day. My first patient is at 8am and I work through lunch till the last patient at 4:30pm (usually done seeing them around 5:15) and then I have to get home or to the evening class I teach.

      So my best bet is to get to work at 7:30am and spend my first half-hour returning patient phone calls. If it’s something straightforward I can authorize my triage nurse to return a call (e.g. normal labwork, standard med titration or taper), and I can respond to patient portal messages quickly between face-to-face appointments, but if you need to talk to me, your doctor, it’s going to be early.

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        I think there’s a distinction to be made here between calls from an actual human returning my call with detailed advice and my usual experience with doctor’s offices, which is that a robot that mispronounces my name would like to remind me that I have an appointment tomorrow, and wants me to hit buttons to confirm that I plan to actually be there. (Yes, I know I have an appointment tomorrow. I’ve been to over 10 appointments with you in the past year and have never missed an appointment, because I write them in my calendar and check my calendar on a regular basis when planning my weeks and days. Note that my appointments are always scheduled as late in the afternoon as possible, when I will be awake, unlike this robocall to “Severed Hobarts” instead of “Seven Hobbits” that seems to think I am both forgetful and a morning person. (They offered no options for fixing the pronunciation of my name in their system either.))

        1. Doc in a Box*

          Great that you are so aware of your appointments! Many patients are not. I am a neurologist, so most of my patients don’t have the capacity to plan in advance, either because of dementia, their other underlying neurological disorder, their other medical conditions (accidentally get themselves double-booked for different appointments) or because they live in precarity. My waitlist is 2-3 months; some of my colleagues who have been here longer are booking out 8 or 10 months. No-shows push that out further than it needs to be. So we send reminders.

          My practice does use an email reminder for people who have signed up for that; there are robocalls as well for anyone who hasn’t signed up for email, but I don’t know when they go out. If you don’t confirm by email or robocall, you’ll get my staff assistant calling you the day before. We implemented this tiered system about 2 months ago, and my no-show rate has been cut in half, which means I no longer get pressure from administration to double-book — a solid win.

          If the robocalls at your doctor’s office are going out early, see if you can talk with the practice manager — the administrator on-site who manages those sorts of things — and make the case for them to be sent at noon instead. Dollars to donuts there’s a setting they can access to adjust that. But as someone whose name is frequently mispronounced, by robocalls and humans alike, I definitely sympathize on that front!

      2. Anon for this.*

        Not call from the doc, or a robocall, a call from his receptionist/appt scheduler. At 8:00.

        I get that doctors have busy schedules (I see four regularly!) and I would never expect to actually discuss medical issues on the phone with one–their nurse, at best. In fact, the only time a doc has ever called me was after 6:00pm to tell me that my labs from earlier that day had a shocking result and I needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately, that I should not drive myself, but if no one was around who could take me, I needed to call for an ambulance, and that the ER/admitting was expecting me. Funny story: the only reason I answered was because she and I both hailed from a specific, different part of the country, and when I saw the area code of her cell pop up on my phone I was so ill and confused I thought it was my mom calling.

  17. Jenn*

    If you call me after 6 p.m, you better have a really good reason. My old boss did this to me because he deemed him leaving his jacket at an event an emergency that I needed to handle the next day. I stopped answering calls after that.

  18. 4Sina*

    Barring a major emergency, you can call after close of business/my shift has ended/I’m over my hours, but I won’t answer. Don’t expect a reply. But if you are just wanting to give me a piece of information that I may not see because I’m also not checking my work email, a voicemail or a text is fine.

  19. BigRedGum*

    I am salaried, but I work 8-5. I would be so freaking mad if my boss called me outside of those hours. I can’t think of a single thing that couldn’t wait until 8 am.

    I wouldn’t answer though, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

  20. I Need That Pen*

    I will accept texts up to 8pm, that’s about as late as I can promise to be awake most days…

  21. Faith*

    My phone is on DND starting at 7pm, and that’s for friends and family, who I actually like talking to. But my work is also just not something that would ever need me after I leave for the day. Thank god.

  22. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

    Without reading Alison’s reply – don’t call me at all. You can message me* but if it’s not time sensitive, I may not answer. I’m more likely to respond if we have a good relationship, I can help you without having to open my laptop, and if it’s not the middle of family time. After 9pm, it better be an emergency.

    * The culture at most companies I’ve worked for is to message first. People seldom just call, even during office hours, unless they’ve first sent a message to see if you are free to chat. It’s the nature of our workplace (open plan) and work (intense focus with intermittent collaboration) which is best not interrupted too often.

  23. Goya de la Mancha*

    I grew up in an on-call home so phone calls were regularly made outside of “normal” hours. However, those phone calls were emergency in nature and any other phone calls not indicating birth/death/fire were not appropriate before 9am or after 9pm.

  24. Mop Head*

    #2 – violence is never the answer, but someone took his property out of the dryers and put their belongings into the dryers using his money to dry their stuff, then said something horrible to him when confronted. I have a lot of empathy for this guy. He is probably not violent at all, but that neighbor pushed all his buttons. I’m sure after it all happened, he was grateful he didn’t kill his former neighbor.

    1. annakarina1*

      I don’t know if you’re trolling, but whatever went down between them, is not worth knocking someone out over wet laundry.

    2. Observer*

      Obviously he does NOT feel the way you claim. Because if he did, he would never have told the story.

    3. noahwynn*

      I totally understand why he would want to punch the guy too. I’d probably get unreasonably angry about this too because I have to make special trips to the bank to get quarters for laundry. It is annoying enough using shared laundry and having to work around everyone else’s schedule. When they steal it would be even worse because I might not have more quarters for another dryer cycle.

      1. Mop Head*

        Exactly. Plus you don’t know if the neighbor tossed the clean laundry on the floor or what, then whatever he said to the victim, it was just too much. I think a lot of the people responding on here have never had their clean laundry taken out of the dryer before it is dry and had no quarters left.

        1. JKP*

          I have had clean wet laundry taken out of the dryer so they could dry their clothes on my $. My response was not to stakeout the dryer waiting for the theif’s return and then beat them unconscious. Instead, I simply put their dry clothes back in the washer, dumped detergent on them, and left them to rewash and redry their clothes on their own money.

          1. nonegiven*

            I’ve read tales of dryer time thieves, that if they ever found their clothes, they were splashed with bleach and thrown off the roof.

        2. Avasarala*

          I have. You either get more quarters or you hang your laundry in your room.

          I don’t know why we have people defending the idea that it’s OK to knock someone out over a couple of laundry quarters!

          1. nonegiven*

            Of course not, but if I find my wet clothes on a dirty floor and have to dry again or rewash and then dry, I’m sticking around to guard them this time. If someone does take a swing at me, I’m not letting them do it undefended.

        3. Beth*

          Nah, been there (and still there occasionally, unfortunately) and this is still a massive overreaction. It’s LAUNDRY. It’s frustrating, it’s obnoxious, it’s enough to make you want to yell at the perpetrator for sure–but physical violence? That’s a whole different level. I don’t care what the details of the situation are; if you’re ever getting mad enough about laundry that you genuinely think punching someone unconscious is a reasonable outcome, it’s time to rethink your current emotion management strategy.

    4. Gazebo Slayer*

      …seriously? You think it’s reasonable/understandable to *beat someone unconscious* over laundry?

    5. Sacred Ground*

      If he is even capable of knocking someone else unconscious because they insulted him, then no, you can’t say he’s “probably not violent at all.”

      Seriously, wtf?

  25. Janis Mayhem*

    Maybe I’m more forgiving, but I’ve a handful of after hours calls and was not irritated. Some have been quick “where did you put that file” type so my boss could continue working on it that night, but the two that stick out the most where another boss calling because he had messed up a mass mailing and asked me to walk him through adding certified mail return receipt requested postage for the mail machine and my grand boss calling to make sure I got home okay after we went to meet a client and I was going home from the opposite direction than usual and there was an accident tying up the commute. I’ve never been annoyed by any of those calls.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      The key here is “handful.” If my boss calls me when I’m not in the office, it is for a good reason, and he is apologetic. But he also is a mensch. I gather that not all bosses are.

  26. DCGirl*

    A couple of jobs ago, my boss called the house (we had a land line) at 12:00 after my husband and I had gone to bed for something that was definitely not an emergency. At the time, my father-in-law had just suffered a series of strokes and would enter hospice care shortly thereafter. When you’ve got an elderly parent who is that sick and the phone rings after midnight, your immediate thought is that he must have died. My husband jumped out of bed, lunged for the phone, and tripped, seriously hurting himself to the point of need physical therapy for his back. When I told my boss the next day that I would appreciate not being called that late again, I was written up for not being a team player and dinged on my next evaluation. It was one of the many, many, many reasons I left that dysfunctional workplace.

  27. Observer*

    #1 – I’m concerned that your default is that you can call staff after hours, with the only question being how late.

    The first question you actually need to be asking is whether you should call staff after hours at all. Now, there are many situations where it makes sense to call staff after hours. But there are many more situations where calling people after hours is NOT an acceptable practice as a general rule.

    Please think about your expectations of staff.

    1. Bananatiel*

      Yes! It’s very easy for boundaries to get blurred and I have lived in the blurred boundaries at an old job, it wasn’t pleasant. That boss wasn’t a fan of phone calls, she’d send texts. They were just as disruptive as a phone call would have been so I’m wary to recommend texts instead of calls like others have. Texts feel less disruptive to the sender and are more rife for abuse in my experience.

    2. Beth*

      This is my thought as well. In general (unless the position comes with an expectation of being on call), I would think time has nothing to do with it; either it’s a big enough deal that you’ll call even if it’s the middle of the night, or it’s not that big a deal and it can either be an email or wait until morning. There are occasional exceptions–no one’s going to complain about a call telling them “We’re closing tomorrow due to the incoming snowstorm, please enjoy an extra paid day off”–but for the most part, interrupting people’s private-life time with your non-emergency isn’t more okay than interrupting their sleep.

  28. 3DogNight*

    OP1 I’d suggest a text, instead of a call. Most people have cell phones now, and are more likely to respond to a text. I can text and watch a movie at the same time (or bathe a kid or read a book), but a phone call is nearly impossible. And if it’s something to make my life easier (The 7AM call was cancelled!) then you might get breakfast taco’s out of i!

  29. Rob aka Mediancat*

    — f I would say during or slightly after a normal workday; the further you get past the end of the working day, the more important the call has to be, and past about 11 at night would require a major disaster — either one has happened, or the person called is the only one who can prevent one.

  30. Apparently very nit-picky*

    Re: #5 – if I’m hiring for a senior level position that will be presenting externally, getting the company name wrong is an immediate deal breaker. I realize mistakes happen, but wrong company name in an interview is, to me, a mistake that has consequences. I usually agree with Alison, but I don’t agree on this. I also don’t understand how a hiring team could let that go without pointing it out. The response would tell you everything you need to know about the candidate.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      With someone who’s otherwise a complete rock star, truly stellar, head and shoulders above the other candidates, great experience, great references? People are human. It would make no sense to reject someone like that for one mistake, just like you wouldn’t fire a good employee over it either. If you’re already on the fence, then absolutely I’d agree, but not with someone who otherwise blew you away (although I’d definitely make a point of checking for attention to detail with references, etc.).

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        I think it’s the kind of thing that depends on the position being hired for. I would imagine that if you were applying to be Burger King’s new head of marketing and you managed to refer to them as Burgerville throughout your presentation, that would be a good reason to hire someone else. However, if you were applying to be someone working in IT at Non Consumer Marketed Businessing Firm, but your materials instead mentioned a similarly-named firm often confused by people outside your market niche, that seems less egregious if you have solid references and qualifications. It seems like it matters both whether it’s a company you “should have” heard of (at least by their own internal ego’s standards) and by how much your role would involve being highly aware of the company’s name and brand from the get-go.

      2. been there, interviewing people who don't know our name*

        I would agree in that if they otherwise had a stellar performance, it wouldn’t be an automatic deal breaker for me, although I’d admit it would taint the interview from my perspective. In my experience though, usually someone who messes up the name of the organization also hasn’t done their homework and/or does not understand the organization/programs. We had a round where we had rebranded and so we gave candidates a heads up at the beginning of the interview talking about the recent change. One continued to use the old name the whole time even after that, and another actually knew about the name change, but demonstrated a poor understanding of the organization. Neither got the job. All this is to say I think it’s important to get the name right, but one of many factors.

  31. What's with Today, today?*

    #5) Just as a note, one of the big reasons Nike lost Steph Curry to Under Armor was because one of the slides in the Nike pitch to Curry still had Lebron James’ name on it.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I just hope the guy who got fired was the guy who actually screwed up, and not an innocent scapegoat.

    1. Important Moi*

      Yes, I do remember that story.

      I tend towards the (too) easygoing. There’s was a lot $$$ at stake. They should have checked that 1,000 times.

  32. Burned Out Supervisor*

    Eh, I suppose if the building burned completely down to the ground, I wouldn’t mind a call telling me not to come in tomorrow. We have a calling tree for that reason (people have long commutes and I’d probably be pissed if I drove 30 miles to work, just to have to turn around).

  33. AuroraLight37*

    My feeling is, unless there is a dire emergency, you shouldn’t be be calling your employees after hours (leaving out people on call and such.) I did have a coworker’s wife call me at home twice at oh-godawful-hundred: one time when he’d been rushed to the hospital with heart issues, and the second when he had a massive stroke, which he sadly did not survive. They were also dear friends of mine, so I was fine with her calling me and asking me to inform our boss. And the one time I ever called a boss after hours was when I had been taken to the hospital on a Sunday afternoon and knew I wasn’t going to make it in on Monday.
    Short of that, or “The lab lost power to the freezers and we’re going to lose our experiments if we don’t get them out/Our client’s server crashed and we’ve got to get it up ASAP because it’s tax season and people are trying to file electronically,” kind of situations, I would vote against calling.

  34. littlelizard*

    Unless it’s an explicit part of my job, I don’t think I would pick up work calls after hours. I would listen to any message and if it’s not urgent, I would definitely think less of my boss/workplace.

  35. Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves*

    I worked for a guy who liked to call and “chat” after hours because his hours were different than mine. By chat I mean interrogate and micromanage me. Even though we were in a client centered and on call kind of field, the calls were almost entirely unnecessary and intrusive. Sometimes he would call while I was on call to say that he couldn’t help me if I got jammed up. What’s the point?

    Overall it had better be an actual emergency to contact any employee after hours about work matters. I make exceptions for things like needing the employee to bring in ID for new hire paperwork or to let them know about a last minute meeting at the beginning of the next day, but that can be handled over brief text or email.

  36. J*

    I worked at a place that would routinely send messages after 8 PM. And for the next hour, my phone would repeatedly beep as twenty other employees all responded with “Got it” or “Roger” or started sharing memes – because apparently nobody realizes how ‘Reply All’ works. Which means that my sleeping wife and infant child ALSO had to listen to an hour of pointless beeping.

    The solution, of course, was to shut off my phone at 8 PM… Which meant that I wasn’t available when there WAS a genuine emergency.

    1. Bananatiel*

      In a previous job where I had similar issues I started doing the same thing– any ping/ringtone/whatever is sufficient distraction/disruption to me. That ended in an awkward conversation with my boss where she tried to justify why I needed to have my phone on my person, volume up to receive alerts, past 9pm. That was the beginning of the end for me in that role because I work in an industry where I’ve never had a genuine emergency situation in over ten years.

  37. That guy*

    Everyone who knows me understands that if you call me after 8:00, not only will I not answer, I’ll call you back at 4:00 AM when I wake up in the morning.

  38. Half April Ludgate, Half Leslie Knope*

    When I was an intern, a fellow intern came in to work one morning with a black eye and kept saying “I’m not allowed to talk about it.” My boss pressed the issue and he told her that he was out of town that weekend, in another state, and he’d gotten drunk, got into a fight and STABBED SOMEONE.

    Thankfully the person was okay (well, in the hospital, but still alive). My fellow intern was immediately fired – we worked at a non-profit serving high-risk teenagers, and that wasn’t really the reputation we wanted to share with them.

  39. CRM*

    My office has a rather flexible schedule, so a lot of people do work in the evenings. I’m one of the people who likes to adhere to a strict 8-5 schedule, and everyone knows that about me and respects it. Nobody would call me after 5pm, but I do get the occasional after-hours Slack or email (I have both set up on my phone, so it’s not like I’m logging in after hours). This works out only because there is no expectation that I will respond right away, so I can wait until after dinner or until a time that is convenient for me (even if that time isn’t until the morning). I think a call would have more urgency to it.

  40. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

    Time to call – I think this massively depends on the job. My uncle, for example, routinely takes calls at all hours; his role is very senior and involves multinational shipping, so he can get a call regarding a ship in port halfway around the world. On New Year’s Eve, he had his phone at his side constantly, as he was receiving updates on a ship that was being loaded; they were calling him every hour or so to update him as the time ticked down to year-end.

    On the other hand, I just email our clients mostly about routine matters. It would be very odd for me to get a call late at night.

    Violent story – Mannnnn, I would be extremely averse to working with this person, and I’d probably take it to the boss. I do not trust people who are so casual about violent tendencies, period.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Ah I had forgotten my life in perishables [yesssssssssss finally], we did have someone on standby at all hours for those trucks because we were dealing with stuff that you know, had a life span that was pretty limited! But it was the senior folks who were on standby, not anyone who was hourly to say the least.

  41. Accounting IsFun*

    Just for giggles too – please don’t text or e-mail me asking to chat on a holiday like New Year’s Day or July 4th. Also – please do not send e-mails needing immediate responses on July 4th…. or call me at 5 pm on July 3 or the other days before a holiday to make sure I’m still working. It really isn’t a good look for a supervisor to do that. I get that as a supervisor you work when you can, but please don’t expect others to work a similar schedule when it isn’t a business need. (yup! I work in an area where there is NOTHING urgent that needs to be dealt with over the holidays, but, since most of my colleagues are on a contract where they do not work during holiday weeks and I only get the actual holiday days off, my boss calls/texts/e-mails on this kind of schedule. I get that is when they are working, but please allow me a holiday, tyvm).

  42. Leela*

    OP #3 – I once worked somewhere where I was forced to leave a positive Glassdoor review within a week of being hired and barely knew anything about the company. Looking through the reviews it was an obvious attempt to drown out the onslaught of negative reviews left by former employees. I found it very morally objectionable but unfortunately the CEOs (all three) sat there and watched us do it and made sure we did, then left really fake “oh, thank you for your kind words! We’re so glad you appreciate everything we do” comments on the posts they made us make. I doubt anyone was fooled; all of the positive reviews were left by employees marked current and all the bad ones were left by employees marked former, and also all of the bad ones mentioned that they routinely require people to leave positive reviews. Your discomfort here is extremely justified; I really hope there’s some way you don’t have to engage with this nonsense! I found that I was able to leave a fairly bland, “I’m still new here so we’ll see what the future brings!” type of responses but that might not be relevant in your case. Good luck!

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      If a company requires employees to leave positive Glassdoor reviews, and there are numerous negative reviews that say so, Glassdoor should remove *all* positive reviews of that company as fraudulent, I think. Like giving the student who cheats on the test a 0.

  43. Richard Hershberger*

    LW2: I am genuinely mystified by the OP’s advice to this guy to consult a lawyer. For what? The police weren’t pursuing the matter. It is possible that the other guy might file charges. At that point it becomes a really good idea to get a lawyer. But before then? What is the lawyer going to say, other than to call him if anything develops?

    1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I suppose it’s about already having someone who handles such cases lined up so you have their number on hand if you get arrested after the police have time to sort through everything? As someone who leads a non-punching-people-based lifestyle, I don’t have a lawyer with expertise in that area already picked out but I’d start researching that in a hurry if I started punching people, I suppose. I know that many people who get deliberately arrested as part of protests make a point of getting a suitable lawyer lined up first, but that’s a pretty different scenario.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        The thing is, there are lots of criminal defense lawyers who can handle second degree assault cases. The civil disobedience scenario is a different, as the defendant’s aims are different. The other thing about criminal defense lawyers who handle assault cases is they don’t need a lot of advance notice. A phone call from jail at three in the morning? That’s what they do. Talking to someone ahead of time might involve paying them, even if nothing comes of it. Given the fact set, I might make a note of who I would call, should the need arise, but that is about it.

        I have a good friend who does this work. I recently told her that I would totally call her at three in the morning from jail. She said that was sweet of me.

  44. tink*

    I’d basically always rather get a text than a call, but if an off hours building emergency happens and we need to report to another location the next, I’ll be understanding of calling me before 11pm or after 7am. If it happens between 11 and 7 just text me, because I’m literally the next to last person on the seniority chain and can’t help with anything that is that level of emergency, tbh.

  45. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I find very few things acceptable to contact an employee for after they’re done for the day. Even if the building is on fire, emergency alarms should be handled to management who signed up for that extra-hour stuff. I know that’s how we roll. The management team is set up to receive alerts and sometimes you have to come in if something goes absolutely sideways but that’s again, built into their pay structure and their ability to flex their time later a lot easier than anyone who works standard office hours.

    The only time I reach out when someone isn’t in is if there’s something going on with payroll because I have a strict deadline and it’s a matter of their pay, which 99% of people care about and nobody else can be trusted to tell me your hours in most situations. And I never work on payroll outside of my office hours, so it’s mostly me reaching out to someone either on vacation or who has a shift that wont’ start until after payroll is to be submitted. And I make every effort to avoid that, you know, by checking timecards regularly to see if there’s anything missing but every so often something happened on Friday and it’s a payroll Monday.

  46. Pobody’s Nerfect*

    #2 – if I were the coworker of this employee who punched someone out unconscious, had the cops called on them & it was bad enough to get immediately evicted…and if I found out that employee told our boss all that info and the boss did virtually nothing other than say “get a lawyer…” – and then the employee just carried on at work with no repercussions…well, I’d be extremely upset. The boss would be potentially putting all the rest of us in danger from this seemingly volatile person. So the dryer guy said something the employee didn’t like…is that really cause for extreme physical violence? Severe red flags and if the boss didn’t report it to HR and bigger bosses, I would. I’d also be sure of all quick exit routes around me in case this employee decides to get violent in the workplace.

  47. Donkey Hotey*

    This may get lost in the sea of commentary but I have to tangent off of the “boss calling after hours” bit.
    At Old Job, I had been saving up for an EPIC vacation – two week, coast to coast, solo motorcycle trip. Along the way, I was going to stop off at Old Job’s plants in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois and meet co-workers that I’d only ever dealt with over email. Day 6, I arrived at the (work from home) office of a co-worker (who knew I was coming) to be greeted with a printout of an email that had been forwarded to her from my boss saying, “Ask him about this when he gets there.” I was pissed. Bonus: Two days later, about an hour after I visited the Chicago office, I received a text from a co-worker saying, in essence, “The company’s been sold, we’re all getting laid off in two weeks.” Anyone want to guess if that email got resolved?

  48. Fiona*

    Ha I remember reading how the head of Patagonia (who is a quirky guy) goes fly fishing in nature over the summer and is basically unreachable for three months. His take was that he hires people he trusts to handle problems — and if the building is on fire, he can’t do anything about it anyway so he’ll find out when he gets back.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      An old boss/owner went on similar long expeditions to Alaska years ago and had zero contact with us for a few weeks. The only reason I needed him present at any given moment was to sign checks and he had someone that could come in for that!

      He would check in every so often but mostly so we knew he wasn’t eaten by a bear and to say hi, we rarely talked about business stuff at that time. But he gave us all the power we needed and we knew how he wanted things done.

  49. Grand Mouse*

    I had a weird experience with being contacted by my boss’s boss outside of work hours. His questions led me to believe it was related to an investigation of another employee, and presumably called me outside of work both because he isn’t on site and for discretion

    I work outside of normal business hours, and might have to communicate things to my boss at any point, especially if something comes up like injury. I use texting though. I know he supervises people all over at different hours. I’ve wondered the etiquette there- he might be dealing with messages from other employees at 8am then still getting my messages at 7pm.

    Related, what about contacting people outside of normal hours in the case of something like going to the ER or sudden illness? Should you let people know ASAP so they can arrange coverage or let them know at normal business hours, even if you are taken to the ER at 11pm?

    1. Grand Mouse*

      For clarification about the situation with the grandboss, he called me in the morning and I work a late shift. He acknowledged he was probably waking me so I assume he had a good reason for doing it that early but the situation was… mystifying.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      In your case, with this being your boss you’re contacting, you should be able to reach them outside of business hours. That’s part of management of a team that’s outside your usual hours or in different time zones, etc.

      You should be mindful of their time and the time of day it is when you’re contacting them, but when it’s management you’re usually doing something because you are asking for something outside of your general scope or authority, right? You cannot just make the decision yourself or it’s frowned upon unless it’s a very specific case by case kind of basis. Then you have your hands tied and need to reach management.

      Case and point our production manager chooses to work early shift and only overlaps with night shift by a couple hours usually. He could change his hours to overlap more, he finds it most of what he’s needed hands on for is early shift stuff. But if something happens on night shift, he’s contacted by the crew for instructions. A machine dies and general troubleshooting that’s been taught to the lead isn’t working. Or work dries up and they need someone to authorize an early release. They contact him. That’s his job. It doens’t matter that it’s 10pm, the shop is running and that’s his department. He’s on perma-call but can of course leave and has backup [his boss] if he’s on vacation or is out of town, whatever.

      Tis the life of management. There’s a chain that’s involved, you go to your manager, they go theirs if it’s above their abilities or they’re out of the area, etc. That’s why they get paid a lot more than that person who is going to clock out and don’t bother them like ever unless it’s something that direct effects them [the place is demolished, the shift is changing, their payroll is due and they need to confirm hours, etc]. Their job duties don’t include “be available for my whimsical calls and questions at 10pm because I’m working while you’ve been home for 5 hours or so.

      If you’re not making it in, you should always let someone know as soon as possible. I’ve texted from the ER before at 11pm! But again, that’s to my boss. Perhaps to a friend in the office that I’m close to as well but chiefly another thing where you’re texting your boss.

      When my boss is out of the office though, he emails us to our company email. If it were an emergency ER situation, then he may actually reach out at the time but only if we had an unusual thing planned like an interview or client meeting first thing in the morning that he’d have to miss and I’d need to know sooner rather than later, you know?

      1. Grand Mouse*

        Thank you! I do also contact him a lot for CYA kind of stuff where like “I can’t complete X because of [lack of acces, illness, method not working etc]” and don’t expect an immediate response. Sometimes he can advise me on how to complete X anyway, but also telling him lets our clients know that I tried, and could possibly come up with a solution for later. Also documentation things like “here is photos of that ongoing security problem ” or requests for supplies or advice, which I try to do early as I’m starting my day. Generally, routine stuff like restock requests or HR questions come in early, and late stuff is for “the floor is flooded” or “im throwing up and need to go home early”. And some, at any hour, is just documentation

  50. MissDisplaced*

    A lot of this also depends on your job. It *may* be fine to call after 9pm if the person knows or is expecting the call. Occasionally, something needs to finish, but it’s not an emergency either.

  51. Beatrice*

    I used to get work calls as late as midnight and as early as 4 am, six days a week. I used to think I heard my phone ringing in the middle of the night when it wasn’t, and I had manufacturing production line employees who thought I got paid “the big bucks” to take their calls about problems that could wait until work hours (I barely made more than them, but I was salaried.) One of them called me at 4:30 am and made me listen to the first verse of Hammer Time before he would tell me what he wanted, and it turned out to be something I’d already taken care of. I still hate that guy.

    Currently I get the occasional text until maybe 8 pm, and it’s usually quick questions or heads up for the next day, and I don’t mind. No one would be upset if I didn’t respond. If someone texts me in the morning before I get in, it’s usually someone calling in sick. I am the person texting folks to tell them the office is opening late due to snow.

  52. LaLaLaCuCu*

    I have a good example on this. I have a new manager, and I think he handles these things pretty well. I have a work phone, but he does not expect me to reply to e-mails outside of work hours.
    An exception was last week, when I left work at 17:00 and he called at 18:30. We were supposed to have a short business trip the next day and had planned to start driving at 5.45. The trip was abruptly cancelled at around 18:30 by upper management, and my boss of course wanted me to know immediately, before I would set my alarm well before dawn.
    I think this is a good exception, and I appreciated it a lot. Anything that qualifies as an emergency or is a big disruption of your work day is worth a call, the rest can wait or can be conveyed as a text/e-mail.

  53. Tan*

    Quarterly glassdoor reviews… I’m really intrigued as to what is going on as it’s sounds like there’s an issue. Personally if I was made to give a review at work I’d HBK Hogan it, i.e. oversell everything so much it just becomes funny. Alternatively talk about thing irrelevant to most applicants e.g. “you wouldn’t believe how tasteful the choice of flooring is in this company’s building” etc etc

  54. manders13*

    Always jealous of people who can turn off work calls. I am an Emergency Manager (literally paid to manage emergencies when they happen) So I am on call 24/7 365 unless not in the country. Enjoy your ability to disconnect!

  55. Delphine*

    One of my friends gets calls from her employers as late as midnight. It’s absolutely ridiculous because nothing they discuss needs to be discussed at midnight. It’s all standard work stuff that they should have brought up during work hours.

  56. 2cents*

    Wait. Did #2 punch a guy unconscious and then call the police HIMSELF to explain that the guy deserved it because of stealing dryer time?!
    (…..Something about mediocre white guys failing up)

  57. Elm*

    When I worked in a coffee shop many moons ago, I got chewed out for not answering the phone. At 3:45 AM. On a day I was not scheduled. “We needed someone to cover the shift! You should ALWAYS answer when my number pops up!!!” Again, 3:45 in the morning. I was definitely not awake. And guess what. Exactly zero people died as a result of me not answering! I think my assistant manager, the annoyed one above, went in and took care of it herself. I would bet 9/10 work issues are like that–there is a simple solution that doesn’t cut into employees’ home time.

    So, before calling an employee and, especially, before getting mad about them not answering, ask yourself: what is plan B if this person doesn’t answer?

    (Note, had I been awake, I probably would have taken the shift. Retail and food service are a real pain mentally and financially.)

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