my employee gave notice and now is slacking off

A reader writes:

An employee of mine put in his two weeks’ notice a week ago. During that conversation, I outlined the tasks for his remaining time, and checked in with him again on the Monday after that conversation. However, for the past week, he has been coming in late, leaving early, and from what I can tell, not completing the tasks we discussed.

I had a conversation at the end of the week with him about my concerns (that he wasn’t completing the tasks and putting in a full 40 hours) and he responded that it was his prerogative to adjust his own hours and that he still had a week to complete the tasks. While the company is flexible with work hours, it’s still expected that people regularly come in for a full eight hours. As for the tasks, a few of them are ongoing and would easily fill his remaining two weeks. After our conversation, I’m feeling very powerless in this situation, and would prefer at this point that he simply not return to work.

While it may be too late to salvage his last week, how do I handle this now, or with future employees who put in two weeks’ notice?

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 (which means these were asked and answered pre-coronavirus!). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Is it OK to drink at lunch?
  • My employee deserves a higher performance evaluation rating than I can give him
  • Employer requires women to be escorted to their cars
  • Why should managers conduct reference calls rather than HR?

{ 138 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Deviant*

    Is there an update to the ’employer expects women to be escorted to their car’ one?

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      Yeah, that one is brain-bendingly awful. The ridiculous paranoia (and “benevolent” sexism, and wage/hour violation) aside, how does it not occur to this employer that in the very unlikely event that one of their female employees is assaulted on her way to her car, it could just as easily be by her “safety” escort as anyone else?

      1. Evan Þ.*

        At the very least, the safety escort would be easier to track down than an outside attacker. Though I would be surprised if the company thought things through anywhere near that much!

      2. Fikly*

        The paranoia isn’t ridiculous – women are far more likely to be targeted, and it’s not “very unlikely” – but if you want to take action to prevent crime, you have to do it in a legal way.

          1. Fikly*

            Well, yes, that’s why I said you have to do it in a legal way. Please read the entire comment. I said the paranoia wasn’t ridiculous, not that their actions weren’t ridiculous.

            1. Count Boochie Flagrante*

              So how would you go about treating your female employees like delicate blown glass sculptures in a legal way?

              1. Artemesia*

                Women are much more likely to be assaulted than men. If it is a nervous making part of town, having escorts to the parking lot is prudent. Of course making a woman wait 45 minutes is unacceptable.

              2. JM60*

                The only way to make this (stupid) rule mandatory is to get rid of the gendered part of it (i.e., everyone must have an escort, and the escort may be a man or woman). Even then, it may also break the law unless you pay them for the time they spend waiting for an escort.

                If going to their car is really that dangerous, they should hire security dedicated to escort people.

              3. Clorinda*

                You can offer the escort as a service, and even then, you’d still be exposing the escort to the risk of walking alone from the car back to the building alone, which could be a problem if something happens and the escort is just a co-worker who happens to be male. A lot of universities offer their students the service of calling for an escort, and the escort is a security officer, so if they have security on hand, that could be an option.
                Otherwise, we are all grown-ups here and we know where we parked.

              4. New Normal*

                (with the preface that this rule is sexist and problematic on so many levels, a few ideas on how it could work without being nearly so violating)

                1) Hire security to serve as escorts for everyone or at least those who want one. Either make it entirely optional or entirely required.
                2) Rearrange schedules so that you never have a single employee walking to the parking lot alone but always have two getting off at the same time. Obviously you can’t guarantee that they’ll walk together but, in my many years of retail experience, it’s common for coworkers to look out for each other in that matter.
                3) Always offer to send one of the working coworkers out with the walker as an escort. This has to be offered to everyone when they finish their shift and the escort position should be a voluntary one.
                4) If the area’s so unsafe, seriously look into whether it’s possible to move the business or parking to reduce risks to EVERYONE.
                5) Accept that your employees are competant human beings and capable of making their own judgement calls on this while fostering an environment where they feel comfortable asking for help from their coworkers if they want it (that’s the route my current mall employer has taken and it’s worked nicely for all of us).

                How it should NOT be solved:
                1)Single out the females and require them, upon pain of termination, to wait around for their male counterparts to be off so they can be escorted like we’re in some Handmaid’s Tale dystopia.

                Also, your name is fantastic.

                1. Mr. Shark*

                  On 3), if you have a working coworker walk out with them, who is walking back with the working coworker? Then they would need a working coworker walking back with them. So you’d have to send two working coworkers out to escort the person leaving, right?

              5. Clisby*

                No need to treat them like delicate blown glass. Have security guards who, on request, will escort any employee to a car. When I worked at night at a newspaper years ago, we had this. I don’t know whether any guys ever requested it, but I occasionally did, depending on where I had to park.

        1. Aquawoman*

          If their parking lot is legitimately that dangerous, then the answer is to create physical security around the parking lot–razor-wire fence and keypass to get in and out.

          1. Aquawoman*

            Or monitor by CCTV and post notices everywhere. There are so many ways to deal with this that don’t require women to sit around for 45 minutes before they can leave.

          2. Claire*

            I’m curious as to whether this company is in a dangerous area or if there had ever been a female employee who was assaulted on her way to her car, or if the company just decided that women should never be unescorted, ever. Are you chastised first arriving at work alone as well?

        2. Marlene*

          Women are kidnapped from grocery store parking lots more than from any other location. Nobody escorts me there.

          I’m a 46 year old woman and have taken care of myself just fine. I don’t need a male presence to ensure my safety-how condescending of the company to do this.

        3. Zumo*

          In most of this country, it’s “very unlikely,” yes. Pure patriarchal paranoia is all this is.

        4. Claire*

          Women are definitely more likely to be assaulted than men are, yes, but when women are assaulted, it’s much more likely to be by someone they know rather than a “random stranger in the bushes” situation. When it comes to random violence like that, I think men and women are at about equal risk, though I’m not 100% sure about that. It’s probably safer to travel in groups than it is to travel alone, but that’s true of everyone.

          1. SarahKay*

            My understanding is that in the UK, outside the home men are about four times more likely to be assaulted than women. This is not the case inside the home. Also that 95% of women know their attacker.
            Statistically, I’m a lot safer walking to my car alone, or indeed walking home alone, than I am going on a date and letting him walk me home.
            I realise that for other countries this is entirely not the case, but surely OP is an adult and can make these assessments herself, even leaving out the illegality in this particular instance.

            1. Quill*

              Yeah, statistically, in most of the U.S, women are least safe with male romantic or sexual partners or new male aquaintances who want to pursue sex or romance. Closely followed by male household members, friends, and aquaintances overall.

              That said I *really* want to know where this policy came from. Because the last place I worked that had a “women: do not walk alone!” overall statement was a college with a long history covering up assaults that happened on campus.

        5. hbc*

          Paranoia is by definition ridiculous, or at least unfounded. You also have no idea if it is “very unlikely” in that spot without having the crime statistics in that area, though I personally would call it very unlikely in even the highest crime area I’ve seen in the US.

        6. suprisedcanuk*

          It sounds like being weirdly paranoid to me. Unless the OP has failed to mention that there have been multiple assaults in the area or before this policy was implemented. It possible management is just being sexist. This is clearly a ridiculously sexist policy that assumes women are helpless and need a man to defend them.

        7. chi type*

          Women are also adults who can make their own decisions about acceptable levels of personal risk.

      3. Kate R*

        Even if the concerns were somehow valid, like if there had been known assaults of women in the area, then the “escort” needs to free himself up when a woman ends her shift. Having her sit there for 45 minutes unpaid or risk termination because the company isn’t fulfilling their own requirement is ridiculous.

      4. nnn*

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I would hate to be *forced * to walk out alone at night with some of the male co-workers I’ve had.

        If their parking lot is truly unsafe, they should do something to make it safe.

        (Also, I wonder what happens to female employees who are taking transit or getting a ride or something)

    2. juliebulie*

      No doubt there were female employees there who were better able to defend themselves than their “escorts” were.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s such utter BS, I want an update too.

      Years ago in the restaurant industry for like 17 minutes, we had to use the buddy system. But it was EVERYONE. And it was fine to have two women or two men, but night shifts were dangerous and men got rolled frequently as well so it was just a “safety in numbers” thing. To be all “Ladies need a Gentleman to escort them across the lawn!” is so painfully archaic.

    4. Database Developer Dude*

      I’d wonder what they’d say to a woman who could prove she was a successful MMA fighter or martial artist on the side. I’m a 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo, and I am 6’2″, and 220 pounds, and I work with a couple of women smaller than me who could STILL kick my a$$ up and down the street. It ain’t about sex or gender, people.

    5. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

      Another aspect of this utterly loonytoons situation, is: are the men sent as escorts actually willing to physically defend someone from an attack? I have every respect for Henry from marketing but I would necessarily expect him to get stabbed for me.
      It’s incredibly rare that the scenario the company fears would happen, but if it’s possible for one person to get attacked, it’s also possible for two people to get attacked and I don’t think they have put any thought at all into how this could play out.
      If the neighbourhood really is dangerous, the best plan is to increase on-site security. The second-best plan is to have everyone’s shifts end at the same time and go to the parking lot as a group.
      It’s unrealistic and unfair to expect Joe from accounting to solve their security issues.

      1. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

        I meant to write I wouldn’t expect Henry to get stabbed for me.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*


        I’ve actually had a couple men who are of shorter stature speak to me about some of our accommodations while traveling. They don’t feel safe walking at night and have a history of being targeted due to their size. I’m like “By all means, take a taxi! You go by your gut!” whereas others would just walk decent enough distances you know?

        I’ve also had some guys shocked I’m not concerned…despite being twice their size, rme. I’ve never been targeted because nobody wants to wrestle me you know.

    6. CaliUKExpat*

      I worked at a place that had this requirement for a few weeks -but it was specifically because a man had been caught by police jerking off in the car park. I don’t know details but I suspect there was more to it than that, but for several weeks every woman leaving after dark was to be escorted out. It wasn’t a great employer, but even they didn’t threaten to fire us and told us there was a damned good reason when it was instituted!

  2. Sharikacat*

    The employee in #1 really seems to think he just gets two weeks’ pay for free once he gives his notice. Unless there is some valuable reason to have kept him that extra week, may as well cut bait and send him off early. Depending on some circumstances, he may end up having to be paid for the full two weeks anyway, but it would be petty on the manager’s part and probably demoralizing to the staff to force him to be a presence there when he’s clearly not engaged at all.

    1. Ama*

      I hired someone once who gave notice after nine days on the job and she was shocked that we told her she might as well make today her last day since she didn’t have enough training yet to do anything productive for those two weeks. ( I had actually come into work that day planning to have a serious talk with her about how she was actually lagging well behind what we normally saw out of new employees even in that short of a period, so her resignation made it easy). There seems to be some weird info out there about what a notice period is actually for.

      1. Just Another Manic Millie*

        “There seems to be some weird info out there about what a notice period is actually for.”

        Maybe it was her first job, and she thought that it was necessary to give two weeks notice, because that’s what all of the advice books and columnists said. When I started my first job, I found out that they expected me to work more than twice as many hours as what I had been led to believe. (I had been told that I would work Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM with one hour for lunch.) I gave notice on my second day, not two weeks notice, but I said that I would continue to work Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM until they hired a replacement for me. Two days later, they told me not to come back. Okay.

        Since Ama’s employee didn’t have enough training to do anything productive, even though she had been working there for nine days, I obviously didn’t have enough training to do anything productive after having been working for one day. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t have felt right calling the company and telling them that I was never coming back. Even though I decided against putting the company on my resume. I guess Ama’s employee felt the same way.

        1. doreen*

          There’s nothing wrong with giving two weeks notice when you quit after a day or after two weeks- but Ama’s employee shouldn’t have been shocked to have been told “might as well make today your last day”. Would you have been shocked if the company told you not to come back for day 2? I wouldn’t – why would a company want to pay me for two weeks of being non-productive after I have told them I’m quitting?

    2. Just Another Manic Millie*

      “Unless there is some valuable reason to have kept him that extra week, may as well cut bait and send him off early. Depending on some circumstances, he may end up having to be paid for the full two weeks anyway”

      I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what the guy was hoping for – being paid to sit at home and do nothing.

    3. tangerineRose*

      And if there’s a “do not rehire” box, make sure that it’s checked. He’s shown you who he is.

    1. juliebulie*

      I wonder if there was ever an update to this one. It sounds as though the employee had a grossly wrong idea about his rights/duties during the notice period.

  3. Not a Girl Boss*

    Thee drinks one is interesting. My first job out of college was at a liquor manufacturer. Downing several drinks at lunch (which we went out for every Friday) was very much the norm.

    But then I got to a different job in a more buttoned up industry, and ordered a beer at our first business lunch. Everyone went silent and stared at me until I got the clue and changed my order. Oops. Turns out they were more of an ‘iced tea’ office.

    1. Kumajiro*

      I work in the US for a company headquartered in France. I’ve learned it really pays to know your office. At the French site, a man once drank a lot at lunch, drove back to work, and crashed into the sign out front. So the decree came down that people are limited to two alcoholic beverages at lunch or half a pitcher.

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            I have a medium tolerance depending on the beverage and I’d only be comfortable with having one <5% ABV beer if I were going to have anything at all.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Unpopular opinion ahead…I know there are offices nowadays that keep beer and wine in their office fridge, but IMO drinking during the work day is never a good idea. Some people may argue that they can have one drink and not be impaired, but there’s a lot of gray area between being slightly impaired and being wasted, and I’ve witnessed many people in denial about how impaired they are when they drink. You’re at work to work, not socialize, and to me drinking is part of socializing (unless you work in an industry like a brewery, distillery, vineyard or similar). Save it for happy hour after hours.

      1. Lucy*

        I’m not sure about your final point, that drinking is part of socialising and therefore wrong. Drinking at work is frowned upon in my workplace (post-work trips to the pub are totally fine, but we’re a charity, & there is no drinking on work premises or within work hours) but socialising happens a lot – whether informally or in a more structured way (team lunches, quizzes, etc). I think the stronger point is that people misjudge what makes them ‘impaired’ and it also depends on factors that vary day to day – how much you’ve eaten, for example.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        I’m with you on this. And I do drink socially. But I don’t think it’s a good idea or a good look during work hours.

      3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        An example of this: I ‘can’ have one or two drinks at lunch and not be impaired (I probably have a higher tolerance than I ought to), but I don’t because I don’t like the effect of how I feel after when it gets to about 3pm or so. In most “group lunches” I’ve been to in various companies though, I’ve been very much the odd one out ordering something like a cola and often I was the *only* person not ordering alcohol (but I don’t feel self conscious about it at all). I totally respect if other people want to drink at lunchtime though and I’m not judging, it just isn’t for me!

        Having said that… at an old job of mine there was a restaurant/bar place right nearby our workplace, and I worked nearby (i.e. desks near each other, but we weren’t part of the same team) someone who would routinely, like a majority of days out of the week, go “across the road” to that place and get 2 or 3 pints in (and these are UK pints, which are 20% larger than the US pint!).
        He was an argumentative and deliberately obtuse guy even when sober but it was especially pronounced when he came back after 2-3 pints, and I don’t think he was aware that he came off any differently. (I mentioned it jokingly on more than one occasion as I’m a brash extrovert who isn’t afraid to say stuff but his attitude was ‘nothing to see here’!) … He was just “coasting” in that job with no real responsibilities, anyway, so.

        I do think it’s important to have some kind of “social” aspect within a team/group though… whether that’s going out socializing or not, drinking or not, but there is something to be said for developing a sense of ‘camaraderie’ as a team, outside of a strictly transactional relationship of “Employee X requests task Y from employee Z” etc.

        1. Third or Nothing!*

          Oh gosh I read that part about a guy going to the pub several times a week and wonder how on earth he can afford to spend that much. Or maybe drinks at the pub are a lot less expensive for y’all across the pond. Any time I go to our local brewery and have 2-3 beers, it costs me $20 minimum USD (counting the tip, which is always generous because I’ve become friends with the bartenders).

          1. MsSolo*

            Generally you don’t tip bartenders in the UK, but you can buy them a drink if you’re there for a long period or ordering a lot of alcohol. Tipping implies a different relationship to buying them a drink – you might see a tip jar in a bar (no guarantee that money goes to the staff, of course), but it’d be rude to tip in a pub.

            Depending on where they are in the country and the type of pub (well, if it’s a Sam Smiths), a pint is roughly £3 – £6. tbh, the bloke is probably spending around £15 a go, which I suppose you could rack up on lunch in a Pret a Manger without putting excessive effort in, but would rack up pretty quickly if you’re doing it most days.

        2. Not a Girl Boss*

          Yeah… after a few years at that company my tolerance was quite high, but even a few beers increased my level of Friday afternoon laziness by a ton.
          Which, was kind of the point. We’d usually put in over 50 hours by lunchtime Friday and felt we “deserved” a break. Again, not an entirely healthy environment all the way around.

    3. Jennifer Juniper*

      I would be nervous about drinking at a business lunch, especially since I’m a woman. People perceive women seen drinking as more available for sex. I learned this in sociology class in college.

      1. Not a Girl Boss*

        Yes, but NOT drinking is perceived as “not being able to hang” in companies that are more male-dominated (at least, in my experience) so… lose, lose.

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Sometimes it’s down to the department in some companies!

      We had accounts for a couple of places and some departments would refuse to pay for any alcoholic beverages even. [Just the cherry on top of why I hated working somewhere that let these accounts make their own ef’ing rules like that, they lost so much money from their dumped bar tabs and unreachable department heads to get invoices approved.]

      1. laughingrachel*

        By department for sure! I think it also depends on your job function. I work on a young team (most of us fresh out of college with college drinking habits still) where we mostly do data entry, and combine that with repetitive muscle memory and a lot of our work I could probably do blackout drunk (not that I would but that’s the level) and also our work isn’t super high stakes. We have a happy hour once a week at 4 when a lot of people’s days are over, but mine isn’t and I’ll go grab a drink and chat for a bit and then take my drink back to my desk and finish up my work there sometimes having another drink while I do so. A lot of my coworkers do the same thing. More of them have weed vape pens that I know they hit when they go outside for lunch or breaks (we live in a legal state). Not something I can do because weed spikes my anxiety if I’m trying to do something, but even if it’s not super openly talked about in the office, it’s a pretty open secret.

        Whereas on other teams who have to use more decision making or problem solving or that have to meet with higher ups or clients, there’s not really that culture there. Those teams also tend to be filled with older, more established people as well which might contribute.

    5. Quill*

      Never order first until you’ve been out to lunch with your coworkers multiple times.

      1. Jennifer Juniper*

        Yes – you don’t want to be the only one at the table getting dessert when everyone else is eating only side salads.

  4. PollyQ*

    Re #4, wouldn’t there also be an issue with LW not being paid for the time she’s being forced to wait for an escort?

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Right? Either you pay me for that time or my pepper spray and I will risk the unescorted walk to the car, thanks.

      (I have never actually needed the pepper spray, and I do in fact work in a potentially-sketchy area.)

      1. Quill*

        At least pepper spray serves double duty on coyotes! My mom keeps telling me to carry some after she was attacked by someone’s escaped guard dogs. (She was fine, it was winter in the northern midwest, they couldn’t get through the coat.)

  5. Jennifer*

    Re: Drinking at lunch

    Yes, it’s okay. It’s always okay during a pandemic. Bottoms up!

    1. TimeTravlR*

      Don’t encourage me!! LOL I am trying to be good about the eating and the alcohol but dang, it’s tough!

      1. Applesauced*

        There’s so much else going on and to be stressed over…. now is NOT the time to start some limiting diet.
        Eat normally, exercise if you can (even just a walk around the block) and a glass of wine now and then won’t hurt.

        1. Bee*

          I mean, I can’t speak for TimeTravlR, but for me “being good” IS eating normally, rather than having peanut butter crackers for every meal and starting with the wine at noon. (So far I have had a lot of peanut butter cracker lunches, but with a V8 rather than a glass of wine! Triumph!!)

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            Healthy eating is the norm for me too. I get really sick if I eat dairy, eggs, or processed sugar so that already rules out a ton of junk. The rest of it is ruled out by all the peeps clearing the shelves of the few safe junk type foods I can actually enjoy.

            1. Quill*

              I’m a part-time vegetarian but I am really, really sick of stir fry, pasta, and soup… I know how to make twelve kinds of veggie soup but I want some dang nachos!

              1. Third or Nothing!*

                I’d kill for some Simply 7 Jalapeno Lentil chips or some Hippeas Sriracha Sunrise puffs, TBH. Now that I’m not going in to the office I’m cut off from my usual Whole Foods, and all the local places that deliver don’t have those exact flavors.

                For something new, you can try some dal curry or shorbat adas. Or, my personal favorite, roasted diced sweet potatoes mixed with black beans, goat cheese, and salsa which you can serve on flour or corn tortillas or in a bowl straight up.

          2. Kiwi with laser beams*

            Same here, but TimeTravlR is describing an attempt at healthy eating/not drinking that is “tough”, so I see why Applesauced interpreted that as being overly limiting. By contrast, I’m eating healthily under guidance from a top dietitian but even he outright said (even before the pandemic) that the odd treat is not going to do terrible things to my health.

    2. My Boss is Dumber than Yours*

      I’m incredibly impressed with my wife not succumbing to temptation during the work from home. I already work from home 50%, so our guest room is also my office. But the only space we have in our town home to set up an office for her is by repurposing the dining room. Which means her desk is right next to our bar. I’m amazed she hasn’t yet had a glass or three of wine while on conference calls.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Pfft. You can clearly see the top of my bar over my shoulder when I’m using my laptop’s video camera, and the beer fridge is right next to it! I’m very close to keeping my pre-quarantine habits — I’ve only gone from no drinking 3 nights a week to two, and I often stretched it to two when I was going into the office still. But I’ve fine tuned the amounts, the frequency, and even the time of day I will let myself drink, because I’ve found that drinking too much, too early, or too many nights in a row leaves me feeling worse. With my current routine I don’t suffer at all the next day, so there’s motivation to keep to it. And I’m managing to hold my diet and exercise routine to almost exactly what I did in “the before times”, though! :D

      1. identifying remarks removed*

        Lol – I loved that video of her making a vat of cosmos yesterday. I live in an alcohol free country and we’re in lockdown so no adult beverages in sight for probably another month. :0(

        1. Third or Nothing!*

          Can you get citrus and carbonated water? One of my absolute favorite pregnancy drinks was to mix citrus juice (lime and lemon were my faves) with unflavored seltzer and agave nectar (any sweetener will do, I’m just super sensitive to a lot of them). It’s not the same, but it does break up the monotony of water, water, and more water.

          1. identifying remarks removed*

            Am not a big drinker so normally only have a drink once every month or two in the country next door that does sell alcohol – but needless to say I now want what I can’t have.

            Fizzy water is my drink of choice :0) I’ve just stocked up on club soda – have that with a splash of grapefruit juice. And I’ve been drinking tonic with slice of lemon and ice or bitter lemon – nice and refreshing.

            1. Third or Nothing!*

              That does sound refreshing! I’m with you on the sentiment that once it’s forbidden it becomes more enticing.

      2. Jennifer*

        Ina remains perfect. When I saw her pour the whole bottle of vodka in the pitcher I died.

  6. AnonED*

    For the last one, as a manager I like to do the reference calls because i can learn alot about how best to support my new colleague once they start. I learn about areas of growth potential, best methods for providing feedback and an insider’s perspective on managing this particular individual.

  7. TimeTravlR*

    Years ago I was stationed in Europe with the US military in a country with lots of pubs for lunches. It was not unusual for the majority of us, including our leadership to go to the pub and have a very wet lunch on occasion (less than once a month at most). Often we were then until the pub closed for the afternoon and just told to go home for the day fortunately!! (Occasionally someone higher up than me had to go back for a meeting though… I bet those were fun!)

  8. Shani*

    I worked for corporate at a pretty large bank and was surprised how strong the drinking culture was. The company provided booze every other week for “social time” and senior employees literally made mixed drinks at their desks to get through the afternoon. It was not uncommon to be offered champagne at 11 am.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Being offered champagne at 11am.. – I’ve just remembered something I’d forgotten for a long time!

      Many years ago, I worked in a conservative place with a strict dress code (shirt and tie when they weren’t generally standard any more for that industry, etc) and an employee handbook with rules about pretty much everything you can think of. The handbook had a section about expected conduct / examples of misconduct as they related to the disciplinary policy. In this company it was a disciplinary offence warranting a “warning” to consume alcohol during working hours, and a “gross misconduct” (that you could be fired for on the spot with no notice) to be impaired by alcohol at work, or (and this is the important part) to offer alcohol to others in the company.

      Well, I am a stickler for rules…. not in the sense of “I must follow all! the! rules! no matter what!” but more like… any time there are Rules In Place I make sure I’m aware of all the little details and nuances… to possibly find an exception, loophole or just an interesting situation down the line (usually to my own advantage, but also just to see how it pans out!) I don’t just follow rules for their own sake because they’re written down, but generally they mostly make sense in context. The ‘ENTP’ is strong here.

      … We had a “turning point event” in our company (which I won’t elaborate on as it may identify me) which could have gone either way, but the outcome turned out positive which was unexpected. There was a lot of money riding on it.

      A senior manager in our area, who had had various serious complaints (with substance but nothing quite concrete enough to be able to take action) against them, brought in several bottles of “champagne” (Bucks Fizz), poured them out and distributed them to all the people in our unit who had contributed to this organizational success…

      You can fill in the rest – the “distributing alcohol on premises” policy was hastily revised, but not before it was used as-is to get rid of this guy on a concrete technicality!

  9. Cordoba*

    Due to the nature of my job I have some days when I’m working with tools and some days where I’m only doing office work.

    On the days I’m working with tools, I don’t touch any alcohol until the day’s work is 100% done. On the remote chance that there was an incident and somebody got hurt or expensive equipment was damaged I want to be able to truthfully tell investigators (and myself) that I was completely sober when it happened.

    On the office work days I see no problem with having a beer at lunch, and would not react favorably to a colleague or boss who tried to “tut, tut” or or hassle me over it. I’m an adult and get to make my own food and drink choices without Johnny Busybody giving their two cents, thanks.

    1. Alan*

      I’m sorry but if a boss told you not to drink alcohol at lunch they would be well within their rights. Alcohol even in small amounts does impair judgement so will effect how well you do your job.

      1. Count Boochie Flagrante*

        Yep, and it’s reasonable that an employer is not willing to trust people to know their own limits with alcohol. After all, how many tipsy or outright drunk people will insist they’re perfectly fine, really? A lot. A lot.

      2. Cordoba*

        If there’s a specific problem that is being created by my food or drink choices then my boss should discuss that with me, and we can figure out a way to solve that problem.

        However, if they wish to dictate my diet because it could *theoretically* impact my job performance or because some people make poor choices around alcohol generally then I’m not going to be very receptive to their requests.

        1. Trying a New Name*

          Some industries that’s really not gonna fly (think manufacturing/construction, healthcare, etc.). An employer is perfectly within their rights to forbid consuming un-prescribed substances while on the clock.

          Put it this way, would you feel comfortable having someone try to perform surgery (or hell, even draw blood) on you after they’ve been drinking (even one drink) right before?

          1. NJ Anon*

            My husband used to drive for UPS. Ine year during a hot day in August, one of his “regulars” on his route invited him in for a beer. My husband told him he appreciated the gesture but, erm, had to go back and drive a big brown truck for the rest of the day!

          2. Count Boochie Flagrante*

            Hell, do you want someone moving money around in your bank account while tipsy? I sure don’t.

          3. Third or Nothing!*

            My husband works in the aircraft industry and can’t even have certain (legal) substances while off the clock. They’re super strict because one teeny tiny slip up could cost lives!

        2. Claire*

          Maybe you really do hold your alcohol well and can have a drink or two without having it affecting your judgment, but it’s way easier and more efficient to make a blanket “no alcohol at work” rule than it is to evaluate each employee’s level of impairment every day. It’s also such a small ask that if I were a boss, I’d frankly be quite alarmed if there was pushback or if I were called “Johnny Busybody” over it. Why is it so important to you that you be allowed to drink on the job?

          1. Alan*

            This +100. I would be much more concerned with an employee who had a massive problem with not being able to drink in work hours than anything else.

          2. Cordoba*

            I’m fine with a specific organizational policy of “no alcohol between 8 and 5” or whatever, especially if it’s for valid application-related safety reasons.

            My objection would be a to a specific boss or colleague who would be hassling me or giving me sour looks for having a beer at lunch; absent an actual policy to the contrary.

            If they care that much about what I’m doing then they can make an actual rule about it. Otherwise, they either don’t have the authority or the interest to make this call; and I’ll have a beer in the airport with a clear conscience.

          3. Spencer Hastings*

            Yeah, and isn’t the alternative that bosses would be scrutinizing everyone to determine who can hold their liquor enough to drink at work and who can’t? That would be an invasive nightmare.

            1. James*

              Depends on the field. When doing sampling it’s common for folks to go out to eat, and it’s common to have a beer or glass of wine or two with dinner. You can judge one another’s tolerance pretty quickly from that.

              But you don’t even need that. If a worker is being affected by the alcohol it’s going to show in their work. (If it doesn’t, either they were bad at their jobs to begin with or they can handle the alcohol).

              My rule is: We’re adults. I’m not your babysitter, and I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. If your work quality isn’t up to par, you’re off the team. I don’t care why. If you maintain the necessary standards, I don’t care if you get plastered every night or sleep your way through a 300 person construction crew (I’ve seen both).

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      This is a difficult one! Because it’s easy (in the sense that there are “blood alcohol tests” or whatever) to point to a concrete level of alcohol that someone has consumed and to say ‘oh, so that must be the problem’! And I do understand where you are coming from … to need to be ‘unimpeachable’ in the event of some accident or something.

      A story from my past… I worked with someone who was kind of a chronic “fad diet” adherent. Not just your standard stuff like ‘try to cut down on junk food, exercise more, eat more vegetables and less fries’ or whatever, but more radical things like “fast for 4 days and only consume this shake with 200 calories each day” or something like that.

      Well,… this person didn’t do well on this diet (don’t know what their motivation was in starting it – weight loss? but I don’t think they looked like they were ‘overweight’ but what do I know) ….what I do know is that it resulted in them being unfit for productive work day after day after day due to feeling light-headed, dizzy, weak, ‘feel like I just need to lie down for 1000 years’, etc. All obviously due to this ‘starvation’ diet.

      This person was much more impaired than someone having a beer or two at lunch.

      Where can we draw the line at policing food and drink choices?

      I am genuinely asking, as I would have thought this person’s manager could have asked them to stop that diet, but apparently not!

      1. Quill*

        I think the fact that there are legal restrictions on alcohol gives the managers much more standing to deal with it than they do with diets.

      2. Alan*

        I think the line is if it impairs (or realistically will impair) their work productivity. Alcohol would definitely fall into that bracket as would narcotics.
        If a diet impedes an employee’s performance to the extent you describe I think it is a manager’s business and they would have every right to have a conversation with the employee about it.

        1. Avasarala*

          Yes. If it impairs work productivity, or is unsafe to workers or the environment. EHS makes these judgments all the time.

      3. A*

        I don’t think there should be any policing. In the example you gave, it is a performance issue not a diet issue. Just as alcohol potentially being a conflict of interest in the workplace (based on the nature of the work, not just in principle) is not an issue of the substance, but the impact on the work.

  10. bmj*

    this happened to me. i started managing a person last spring (the position was transferred to my team) and it was clear he didn’t want to be there. Work still got done but not up to the level it could have been, and he was disengaged to the point that our senior VP commented because he spent a meeting with a vendor looking at his phone and fiddling with his stuff and not paying attention to the presentation at all. we were coming up to performance review time and i was basically days away from putting him on a PIP when he turned in his notice. then he spent the next few days coming in super late, leaving early, taking long ‘lunches’ at the gym, etc. the senior VP noticed this too and commented to my boss and HR (not to me directly). i had noticed myself and was talking about how to handle it with my boss, but the VP’s attention meant HR decided we should be more definitive. i had to send them a note crated by HR to the effect of, “we have noticed the following behavior. you need to be on time and act professionally for the remainder of your notice period.” about 30 minutes after i sent it, he came in to tell me that he’d spoken to HR and that the following day would be his last. when he left, he just peaced out of the building without a word to anyone. i think HR wanted that. boos and i had talked about whether it was worth dismissing him sooner ourselves, but i think they wanted him to just leave early on his own so they brought it to a head with that email.

      1. bmj*

        i think that if i had gone through with the PIP he would have resigned even without a new job. he was that kind of person. he thought really highly of himself and felt like certain things were “beneath” him; but dragging those things out and doing a ho-hum job was not going to get him the respect and better assignments he thought he deserved. the attitude was really what did him in. He wouldn’t have even been on the VP’s radar otherwise.

    1. Karma*

      We had an employee who gave her notice but before she would be eligible for her accrued PTO to be paid out. Then she started scheduling appointments for her son and stating they were not optional. She was rude to the person she was to train and just taking her time off when she felt like it even though I told her she could not have PTO. They wouldn’t let me deny her PTO so she received it and barely was here her last two weeks. A few years later she wanted to come back in a different role and I said no, wouldn’t even interview her. She was so unprofessional and rude it cost her even the chance of working for our company again.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Yeah, I don’t mind if a site has a few ads, like under 10. But on some sites, adblocker reports dozens of sites. I don’t mind helping people earn a living, but some ads are so ridiculously huge you can’t even find the content.

      (Right now, adblocker is showing 425 ads for this page alone. And it keeps climbing.)

      1. Candi*

        I’ve closed some of the Google ads on AAM with the little x on the corner -and many times something else loads in its place. Wouldn’t be surprised if new(ish -some are different ads for the same thing) are part of what blocker’s picking up.

  11. Trying a New Name*

    Some industries that’s really not gonna fly (think manufacturing/construction, healthcare, etc.). An employer is perfectly within their rights to forbid consuming un-prescribed substances while on the clock.

    Put it this way, would you feel comfortable having someone try to perform surgery (or hell, even draw blood) on you after they’ve been drinking (even one drink) right before?

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Which is why Alison said “But it’s also about knowing your office.” Because no, medical personnel should not be drinking on the job. Or truck drivers.

    2. RC Rascal*

      I interviewed at a manufacturer where Friday afternoon drinking was part of the culture even for production staff. They insisted it was an important part of their culture.

      I was appalled. As a senior manager experienced in manufacturing this is not OK.

  12. Checkert*

    The organization I work for has a VERY vague performance management output that is based on two 5 point scales that produce a scatterplot. The way it’s supposed to be used is 3 denotes ‘completes the work’. Unfortunately, due to humans, anything less than 4 is considered basically a negative, but my manager didn’t know that. So here I was, mid year, getting a performance review for low performance when all the feedback I was given was I was doing a good job. TALK TO THEM ABOUT THE RATING. I was very upset that my career was in jeopardy but I had nothing to build from because I was basically lied to. My manager wound up apologizing and worked with me in the second half of the year to bump my rating up, but without that convo that frustration would’ve remained and likely bubbled over with the other stress of the job.

  13. Tori B*

    For the escort to the car I would have no problem if they required everybody walk with someone when leaving or coming in. I have worked for places that before 8am and after 8pm they didn’t want ANYBODY walking to their car alone for safety reasons. But it wasn’t just women and it was never an imposition because someone always got off at the same time as you so you didn’t have to wait around for an “escort”.

  14. hbc*

    Agh, the protection of the poor wittle women thing drives me up the wall. I’ve probably raged about this before, but I’ve had that coworker who would express concern for me staying alone or going somewhere solo and maybe he should do it because…I guess Y chromosomes protect you? Nevermind that he would get winded crossing a room and I was an active athlete with a black belt in kung fu.

    Yes, I was more likely to be the victim of a rape attempt than he was. Offer me (and every man and woman) the escort if you want, put some security in place if you’ve got a parking lot where it’s likely people will pop up and attack you, and make a rule that there can be no one alone in the building. It’s not a sure-fire prevention of a lawsuit, but it’s a heck of a lot less likely than treating female employees like children.

  15. MissDisplaced*

    RE: Two weeks notice employee
    Some of this depends on the nature of the job, but what exactly did the manager expect? Generally, a two week notice is to tie-up or turnover work to designated people and have meetings to do so. If that’s the case, I’m not sure what kind of work productivity the manager expected as you really wouldn’t want to start any new or large projects (and a lot of managers still seem to pretend a notice wasn’t given and try to do that).
    If the job doesn’t have that need of turning over work, then it would be business as usual I suppose, in which case I think the response if fine. Honestly, most people’s heads are not in it anymore during a last week, and letting go early might be for the best for both parties.

  16. pcake*

    LW#4 – aside from the sexism, it seem to me that if your employer wants women to be escorted to their cars so much, they can send the escort when each female employee gets off rather than make them wait.

  17. Nee Attitude*

    For many employees, me included, the annual bonus is tied to the performance rating. If I learned that my manager gave me a lower than otherwise rating, I would definitely appreciate a conversation about it.

    I had this exact thing happen. My current manager is somewhat new with less than a couple years’ experience, and had to rely on prior, more senior, manager’s assessment of me to complete the eval. Well, the prior manager was not kind to me at all, to the point of actively sabotaging a prior promotion. My work ethic and output were stellar throughout (as confirmed by many sources), but my current manager could not justify giving the highest score when considering the prior manager’s feedback and with having such limited experience managing me. I was told that next year, with the full ability to assess my performance, I will definitely increase, but this years’ eval will be much lower than my performance deserves. I understood the dilemma, but losing that top-tier bonus still stings.

  18. cncx*

    Re OP2, i had a coworker years ago who was a high functioning alcoholic and tried hard to peer pressure us to drink at lunch so he wouldn’t feel bad about day drinking. It was tiring. He could not make it through any kind of restaurant meal without a minimum of three drinks. even at lunch. Once on a business trip i saw him drinking beer at 1030. his reasoning was, we were on the train (wth)?

  19. cncx*

    Re OP1, I’m lucky to live in a jurisdiction where you get paid your notice regardless of whether you work it or not AND you’re not held to your eight hours if you’re still job searching (e.g. you have to be given time to go to interviews etc). it makes these things a lot easier to navigate and when quitting, the financials aren’t as much as an issue, it really is an issue of how much you wanna blow your reference. i left exactly one job where i didn’t care about the reference, everywhere else i tried to ramp up and clean up and make things good for my successor.

  20. Essess*

    Check your company policies/handbook about drinking at work. I’ve worked at several jobs that said specifically in the policies that you could not work while under the influence of alcohol, which meant you were NOT allowed to go back to the office and work if you had alcoholic drinks at lunch.

    1. Essess*

      Just want to add, this was even for an administrative job, not a job that would be obviously dangerous to drink and work.

  21. Workfromhome*

    #1 We really need more information and context. Way too many people jumping on the departing employee calling them slacker, let them go early for being ungrateful or worst of all they have “blown their reference”.

    The employer needs to look at their side too. Why is the employee leaving? Who knows this could be a toxic environment where they have been mistreated for years. Were the expectations before they gave notice reasonable? If they were being required to work 70 hours a week it might be expected that they would cut way back on their effort in the last week.
    Most of all how was their work prior? If they had been an excellent employee for years going above and beyond why would one or two weeks of lesser effort outweigh all those years and ruin their reference. A reference should be given based on the entirety of their work. I mean if they were a slacker for 5 years and then worked hard on their 2 weeks notice would they get a “good reference” if not why should 2 weeks of poor performance outweigh 5 years of good.
    What were the tasks assigned to him in the last two weeks? Was it putting together reference documents for the replacement or was it to complete a big project that should take months but is being jammed into the last two weeks before they leave.

    There are two sides to every story

  22. boop the first*

    I have to admit I laughed about the escort one. To think I used to be annoyed at my retail job, because after the store closed, us cashiers were literally locked in the building and were only released when a manager just happened to be in the mood to come let us out. 15, 20 minutes after clocking out, we would be free.

    The thing that bothers me the most about the escort situation, is how do they decide who the “safe” male coworker is? I’ve worked midnight shifts in which, after people leave and it’s down to me and male coworker, he suddenly puts his creepshow on as soon as we’re alone. If I had to be escorted into a dark parking lot with them, it would have been a huge system failure.

    In fact, there WAS a time (after an attack) that us women coworkers weren’t “allowed” to leave without an escort, but it’s pretty unenforceable. I literally walked four blocks home. Before that, I had to wait at a bus stop for almost an hour and then walk 8 blocks through a rough part of town at 1am. A lot of us didn’t have cars at all. Where do you draw a line?

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