my new employee keeps tagging us in negative social media posts after we’ve told her to stop

A reader writes:

My company hired a new employee just before the pandemic work from home shift. We were hesitant to hire her for my department to begin with — she didn’t have glowing recommendations and she’s got a patchy work history, but she has experience in the one thing we can’t train on right now, so we hired her reluctantly. It turns out she’s an oversharer on social media and a “list post” person: Every single detail of her day is listed in a giant personal social media post at least three or four times a day, and she tags everyone she comes in contact with: businesses, products, people. It’s unusual.

We had about a week in office with her before we had to switch to telework. She was very opinionated about how we did things and doesn’t really want to participate in feedback or training. She’d also go home every day and write a long, detailed post about who she interacted with, what she did all day, and her opinions about it and then tag her coworkers and our company. It was borderline negative/critical of the company that really reflected more on her as a person and less on how we do things. I’m not sure if she realizes how it looks or if she’s just an oversharer.

We’ve got a pretty straightforward social media policy — don’t tag us, don’t list us as your place of work, and don’t friend or interact with your superiors on social media (most of our managers don’t have social media anyway and we have an internal policy not to friend our subordinates on social media). That keeps management out of it pretty well. We were very clear on this policy when she was hired. I reached out to her and reminded her of the policy, and I ended up tagged in one of her long, daily, detailed posts.

HR reached out to her and reminded her of the policy and that while her social media is her space, to not tag and mention our company by name and to appropriately address needs, questions, and conflicts through the right channels. She then complained about that, with direct tags, on social media.

Other than this glaring issue, the quality of her work is okay. It’s not stellar, and it’s not bad. But her attitude is a mess.

I’m new as a manager, my team and I all get along and have great boundaries. I’m not sure if she’s a bad fit or if we need to give her more time. Her 30-day review is due next week. Would I be wrong to recommend we let her go and wish her well? Is this behavior just because of the general stress we’re all under? I don’t want to put someone out of work if we don’t have to, but I also don’t want to poison the well — we have such a great and positive team and wonderful rapport with customers that I don’t want to jeopardize.

What on earth.

She’s been reminded of your policy not to tag people three times, by both you and HR, and she’s continuing to do it? Twice she did it immediately after those reminders?

This is weird.

If you’re telling her “this violates our policy, please don’t do it” and then she goes and does it again that very same day — and with something so easy to avoid doing, something she’d have to intentionally go out of her way to do — something here is not right and you’re going to see other problems with her. How are you to have any faith that when you give her other directions, she’ll follow those?

The fact that it’s happened repeatedly with someone who’s brand new, who you already had reservations about … this was not the right hire.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that you should avoid firing people in the midst of a pandemic if you can. That means that if an employee is trying hard and just not quite cutting it, you should cut them more slack right now. If you have someone with long-running performance issues that you never bothered to address before now, suddenly deciding to do it in the middle of a global health crisis isn’t right.

But a new hire who’s repeatedly — and seemingly pointedly — ignoring clear instructions not to violate a policy, and one that can have real ramifications on your customer relationships? You’re not obligated to put up with that.

That said, given the pandemic, you might give her one very final chance, with a clear warning. As in: “We’ve talked several times about our social media policy. You’ve continued to violate it by doing XYZ. I need to be very clear with you that if you continue to do that, we will need to let you go.” (Also — ask  why she’s doing this! Both because it will be interesting to know, and because maybe there’s some bizarre misunderstanding somewhere.)

It also makes sense to include the other serious issues in this warning, like not listening to feedback or resisting being trained, so that you’re covering everything you’ve seen that’s alarming you.

If she continues after that — after you’ve put up a big sign saying “don’t walk into this hole if you want to keep your job” and she has deliberately stepped right into the hole while looking you squarely in the face and saying “watch me do it” — at that point, she’s firing herself. You’ll have done your best to keep her in the job, but she’s got to meet you halfway.

Read an update to this post here

{ 471 comments… read them below }

  1. WellRed*

    Please just let her go. People are usually on their best behavior at new jobs. If this is her best…
    Also, letting one employee get away with subpar work and blatantly flout the rules is a slap in the face to other employees, something I wish employers recognized.

    1. Rebecca*

      Thank you! I’ve seen this so many times over the years, one or two people with sub par work, never having to adhere to the standards the rest of the team has to meet, because a manager feels sorry for them, doesn’t want to cause them to be unemployed, whatever – it’s maddening. I see this every day, via management by email, sending lists of unaddressed issues every. single. day. for weeks on end, and it’s always the same 2 or 3 people with a majority of the issues. “If I were the manager” I’d be sitting down with those particular people and asking them to explain why they aren’t performing that simple task on a continuing basis, instead of sending blanket emails every day to get the problems cleared up. Sorry, rant over.

      1. Cheese_Toast*

        It also typically falls on the adequate or high performers to clean up the low performers’ messes. A very easy way to grow resentment in a team. At my first job I ended up leaving partly because I was doing my job but others weren’t and we were all treated the same; I didn’t see the point in working hard just to watch other people break policy without repercussions.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I just asked my husband this morning if, when he no longer works for her, I can send his boss a manager-to-manager explanation of why her mass emails in lieu of a direct and clear consequences sit-down with the one actual person who’s the problem are an entirely ineffective technique. Among other things.

        And I’m only half-kidding.

        1. CeeBee*

          fire her – she’s already been given plenty of chances and if she can’t be self-aware enough to be grateful for a job during this pandemic AND do a good job, she’s just poisoning the well.

      3. Pennalynn Lott*

        I had a manager who used to call spontaneous “all-hands” team meetings just so he could tell everyone not to do the thing that only one of us was doing. I complained after the 5th or 6th time because it was taking me away from my work and because his reproachments were so vague that I was never 100% sure he didn’t mean me. He said, “Don’t step in front of a bullet that’s not aimed at you.”


        Howsabout you learn to manage, instead?

          1. Deborah*

            It is always so much easier to come up with great comebacks when it’s not you, or too late. Because that’s the BEST COMEBACK EVER.

            1. Wintermute*

              There’s a french phrase for that “l’esprit du escalier”– the Spirit of the staircase, because you always think up the PERFECT thing to say as you’re walking down the stairs after leaving the stiuation where you’d want to use it

              1. Corporate Lawyer*

                I was a French major in college, and I’ve always loved that expression. I recently heard a more idiomatic English translation for it: “Staircase wit.”

    2. Diahann Carroll*

      This. She’s been corrected three times and still won’t listen – she never will. Cut her loose.

      1. A Penny for Your Idea!*

        My fear would be that she WILL go along with it until it becomes too late for the company to easily terminate her at the 30 day review. Instead, she’ll refrain from being a jerk until the day after, when it will start again with a vengeance. I’ve known too many awful people who could temporarily tone down the awfulness, giving hope that they had actually changed when they hadn’t — making it even more difficult to deal with as more time passed.

        1. selena81*

          Given her behavior so far it seems far more likely she’ll respond to that ‘quit posting or i will fire you’ message with another long social media post about her idiot manager telling her to stop tagging the company #company #manager
          Not only is she firing herself but she’s letting the whole world know about it.

          It’s so absurd that it warrants another conversation with her just to be absolutely sure there hasn’t been some crazy misunderstanding somewhere.

    3. The one who wears too much black*

      +1 – I’ll add that this sort of behavior is literally the reason probationary periods with a review exist. Time to part ways

      1. Abogado Avocado*

        +1 re: probationary periods and a review. Better to take action in the beginning than let the situation fester.

      2. Sharikacat*

        Probationary period, indeed. With most disciplinary issues when people get “talked to,” you need one that mentions “or we will fire you” before you go ahead with letting someone go. However, since the employee is on a probationary period, that sword is already dangling over your head by default. Now you can pull out the “it’s just not working out” or they’re “not a culture fit” to explain in part why you don’t think it’s in everyone’s best interests to continue with the person.

      3. AuroraLight37*

        Agreed. She’s been there less than a month and flatly refuses to follow basic rules. It’s time for her to go.

    4. Canadian Yankee*

      I strongly agree with your “best behavior” point. You expect new hires to have a ramp-up period on technologies or tools or processes. You do *not* expect a ramp-up period for basic civility or conscientiousness.

      Bonus points to you for using “flout” correctly instead of “flaunt”!

    5. Polly Hedron*

      Yes, fire her immediately, during her probation! Much as we would love to hear “why she’s doing this”, I advise you, for your own sake, NOT to warn her again, because of the danger that she might (temporarily) respond.
      I had an employee who liked to live on the edge, would comply with explicit warnings, and just made it past her probation; but was always trouble. After she became permanent, it took me nine frightening years to fire her.
      Whatever you do, please update us.

      1. Sunrise Ruby*

        It’s funny how your comment about how long it took for you to fire your annoying employee made me think of James Thurber’s brilliant short story “The Catbird Seat”. In the few years that I’ve been reading AAM, with all the workplace issues that people have written in about, that’s never happened, surprisingly. The story, at its most basic level, is about an employee who wants to get rid of a terrible, newer co-worker at his company, but there aren’t any other similarities between the work of fiction and the problem the letter writer describes. Still, I can at least put in an enthusiastic plug for James Thurber, and tell people to read, or re-read, “The Catbird Seat”, then contemplate how Ulgine Barrows would have used a platform like Facebook

      2. EddieSherbert*

        I agree. *If* she makes a change after the *fourth* warning, I would bet a lot of money it’s a temporary change that will revert right back after her probationary period ends.

      3. A Penny for Your Idea!*

        + 1000% THIS. I have seen this happen in multiple cases, both in workplace and personal relationships. Many awful people can temporarily stop being awful when they need to. I have a strong feeling this one would stop the posts until the day after the probation — then they will restart with a vengeance at a MUCH worse level and the situation will only get worse from there.

    6. Clisby*

      Boy that was my thought. If this is what she does when she should be trying to make a good impression, I would hate to see what she does when she’s in by a year or so.

      1. selena81*

        Exactly: i’ve just started a new job and i’m still on my toes. Trying to come of as a hard worker and eager to learn and receive guidance.

    7. Marthooh*

      It doesn’t sound like her work is subpar, though—it’s average, if I’m reading the letter correctly. And it’s not like she’s parking in the owner’s spot or taking whole pizzas home or doing anything other people might reasonably want to do for themselves. She’s being deliberately and weirdly annoying, in spite of clear instructions. If I were the OP, I’d want to know why!

      1. Editor*

        I wonder if she thinks that her employer is violating her freedom of speech, based on the common misunderstanding a lot of people have about the first amendment to the U.S. constitution.

        Given the nature of her posts, she also seems to have no filters and no sense of privacy, let alone a sense of owing confidentiality to her employer. That seems unlikely to change. Firing really does seem appropriate.

        1. Senor Montoya*

          Right. People think freedom of speech = freedom from consequences when you say stuff.

          1. Fikly*

            They also think freedom of speech means no one can censor them, when all it means is that the government can’t censor them. Everyone else is fair game.

            Gotta love people who scream about amendments but don’t bother to read them.

            1. JessaB*

              And even that’s not absolute, you can’t yell “fire” in a crowd, and you can’t libel or slander someone, even when speaking to the government.

        2. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

          Someone took the ‘don’t say anything behind people’s backs that you wouldn’t say to their face’ standard from the Zoom chat letter in the completely wrong direction…

    8. MusicWithRocksIn*

      No, no, no, ask her why she’s doing it, come back here and tell us about it, THEN let her go! Because man I would love to hear what on earth she is thinking. Kidding. Mostly kidding. A little kidding.

        1. selena81*

          I too want to know.
          But barring any crazy misunderstanding i’m assuming it’s some out of control ‘freedom of opinion’ nonsense. And that she is stuck in a downward spiral as people ask her to please tune it down and her reacting with even more ‘i got censored’ yammering

    9. Archaeopteryx*

      Plus it’s just stressful having to work with someone so bizarre. You play out every interaction beforehand, having no idea how it can go wrong.

    10. bluephone*

      Especially right now! There is absolutely someone–or multiple someones—out there right now, looking for work, who would excel at both competence and discretion as far as this job is concerned. I know there’s a pandemic going on but OP’s report is basically stealing a job from those people.
      Some people just canNOT be helped.

      1. selena81*

        Whatever her special skill is now is a good time to try to seek among the newly-unemployed for someone who also has that skill.
        As an employer you can be very picky right now, and it just doesn’t make sense to bog down your team with a ‘problem employee’

    11. Curmudgeon in California*

      Yes, fire her. The fact that she complains AND lacks discretion is a big problem, IMO.

      I can’t imagine actually naming my employer in a social media post, either FB or Twitter, that was at all critical, much less people *by name*. I use $Employer, $Boss, and $CoworkerN. Even when I have a ton of stuff to rant about, the company and people are still anonymous.

      Why? Because it’s not authorized company communication. It’s not official, and most sane workplaces have a policy about social media use by employees. Plus, it’s not $Employer’s social media, it’s mine.

      The closest I get is mentioning the industry.

      This is common – discuss, but obscure the specifics. Unless someone is a spokesperson for a company, their employer is seldom mentioned in their social media by name. And coworkers are also not dragged into the spotlight except maybe for kudos.

  2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    What the actual heck. No, she needs to go. That’s a whole box of bananacrackers.

        1. Clisby*

          Now I want to make banana pudding. Except that I’ve never made it – is the recipe still on the Nilla Wafers box?

        2. NightOwl*

          I just thought of Nilla Wafers but Banana Pudding Nilla Wafers – that sounds amazing!!

      1. Alli525*

        Banana chips are one of my favorite “healthy” snacks. (It doesn’t help that I often dip them in Nutella.)

        1. Mongrel*

          In trying to eat healthy I picked up Banana chips and looked at the nutrition panel…

          Yikes!! They get added to the occasional treat pile :(

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Please tell me there’s a UK equivalent because now I crave flavoured crackers! (Not cheese flavoured though. Migraine trigger)

        1. NightOwl*

          LOL – I’ve read references to the cheap ass rolls and I’m going to have to dig up that post and dive in…

  3. Jackson*

    If you ask her why she’s doing this, please send in an update! This is so bizarre and I am just so curious.

          1. Working Mom*

            Does anyone have a sample of what kind of posts she creates? I’m super curious. Is it literally a bulleted list of things she did that day? Like -Got ready for work, -went to a meeting, -sent some emails, etc.? I need these details. :)

      1. many bells down*

        Yeah the drawback is that she’ll probably post about it MORE, and now with no restrictions. Not that that means she shouldn’t be fired, but I’d bet there will be big social media blowback.

        My husband’s company had to fire someone for an egregious and VERY public violation of social media policy and the repercussions were pretty bad.

        1. Washi*

          Yes this sounds like someone who will post a 3 page essay about why Company is the worst, and probably write something on Glassdoor as well. Luckily it sounds like she’s pretty clueless on how she comes across and I think most people will realize immediately that she’s the problem, not the company.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I was kinda wondering why this woman doesn’t have any friends who will go “Um, if your HR people asked you not to tag your coworkers or your boss on social media, maybe you should … not?”

            1. leapingLemur*

              I wonder if all/most of her friends have unfollowed her. This level of detail sounds boring to read every day on Facebook.

                1. Richard Hershberger*

                  Of course no one reads this stuff. It is uninteresting, even by the usual standards of trivia of daily life on Facebook.

                2. Archaeopteryx*

                  I don’t know, medium-level overposters are boring but this sounds like it would reach a level of train-wreck fascination where I might find myself reading her posts every day!

              1. Rachel in NYC*

                Or they just go in their heads ‘well, that isn’t appropriate’ but none of them are willing to say something to or have tried but she just ignores them.

              2. Jennifer*

                It’s possible she’s found a nice of like minded people on Facebook. That’s another drawback to social media. Anyone who can challenge her world view has muted her and she’s just in an echo chamber.

              3. Quill*

                At least the great aunt who always did that was a moderately cheerful person.

                “Saw a robin while eating my cereal before going to the senior center, #blessed #godscreationisbeautiful”

                (post four blurry photos of what might be a bird, one of a bowl of cherios.)

              4. MusicWithRocksIn*

                They probably blocked her posts but still show up as friends so they don’t have to explain.

            2. Mongrel*

              My experience (from gaming communities) is that;
              1) She’s busy painting the company as the villain by happily omitting key facts
              2) Her firing will come as a complete surprise and the stated reason will be miles away from the actual reason. If she can score cheap social\political points in the process that’s a bonus.

        2. babblemouth*

          Anyone who is subjected to her posts every day will take whatever she writes with a BIG grain of salt. There are people around me with such bad judgement that I immediately take whatever they say to be the opposite of the truth…

    1. Claire*

      I’m always curious about why people choose weird and relatively unimportant hills to die on! Maybe I’m just non-confrontational, but if my job had a weird policy that wouldn’t affect my life much, I would just roll my eyes internally and do it. This being a policy that actually makes sense makes it even weirder!

      1. KayDeeAye*

        I agree – so weird. I mean, is she some sort of “Thou Shalt Not Abridge My Right of Free Speech” zealot? Does she think this is a way to get the company to change whatever policies she disagrees with? Or is she just a loudmouth? Hard to say.

        I do hope the OP asks her why she’s doing this foolish thing and also comes back and tells us the answer.

        1. AKchic*

          Oh, I absolutely think she will go off about her “freeze peach” interpretations and they will be quite… colorfully entertaining, if it weren’t the OP being subjected to the would-be monologue.

      2. Ace in the Hole*

        I’ve chosen weird hills to die on a couple of times. In both cases it was something that didn’t affect my life much, wasn’t illegal or anything, but I felt very strongly about for ethical/ideological reasons. For example I risked failing a class and made formal complaints all the way up to the dean of the college when a professor was asking students some things I felt were an invasion of privacy. Or the time I quit a job in protest because the dress code was terrible for gender non-conforming people. Didn’t affect me personally, but that wasn’t the point.

        I agree though, this is a really weird hill to die on and I do wonder why she’s doing it. Maybe she has deep-rooted principles at stake, maybe she has some compulsive behavior… or maybe she just doesn’t respect authority. Who knows!

        1. Claire*

          Oh sure, I’m not saying it’s never right to take a stand on something relatively small, I just mean like, I remember someone on an open thread saying they would quit their job if their employer stopped selling soda in the vending machines and wondering why you wouldn’t just stop drinking soda or start bringing your own.

          1. mrs__peel*

            Wow, that is… quite something.

            “I will not bring it from home, I DEMAND to buy it at a 300% mark-up!!”

          2. Rectilinear Propagation*

            Kindest interpretation: Their job was so terrible that removing the sodas would be the last straw. Like, they’d taken away all other perks and that was the last thing that made it remotely tolerable.

        2. KayDeeAye*

          I would not call those “weird hills to die on.” Choosing to take a stand on an important principle is perfectly understandable. But I just can’t see what important principle is at stake here. I at least find it difficult to consider “My Right to Tag My Employer and Coworkers for No Good Reason” an important principle, but hey, if this person does, I do hope the OP will come back and tell us all about it.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Even if she’s doing it for some misguided free speech reason, once she’s been reprimanded about it, why doesn’t she at least stop tagging the company and her coworkers, even if she does continue to post? What is so important to her about the tagging?

            1. Airy*

              I wonder if by some strange misunderstanding she thinks the tags are only an organisational tool for her benefit and don’t send a message to the tagged person that they were mentioned – so she’s thinking “Well, if they don’t want to see what I have to say about them they shouldn’t come snooping to my page!” In that misunderstanding, she would think that the employers only knew about her posts if they chose of their own volition to monitor her posting, and she hadn’t done anything to call their attention to it.
              That doesn’t really seem likely but it’s all I can think of for why she *wouldn’t* think the way she’s posting is likely to quite reasonably tick her employers and colleagues off and she should expect a negative reaction. Because if you know how those tags work it seems so glaringly obvious.

              1. selena81*

                that kinda makes sense i suppose: some people do use social media as a diary and get all upset when other people start responding to their ‘private’ thoughts

          2. Tinker*

            I think that’s true, and yet also there seems to be a fairly wide variation in what people consider a sufficiently valid “important principle” – I have certainly known people (not people whose opinions I approve of and arguably not people I like, but people who exist) who would not consider those items to be something worth commenting on, much less something worth making official complaints about.

            It would be really interesting to hear what in the world this particular person’s motivations are though. Some sort of warped understanding of how to become a social media influencer maybe?

        3. irene adler*

          OP wrote: “she has experience in the one thing we can’t train on right now”
          Maybe she thinks she has leverage because of this. And is exploiting it to the max.

          Foolish way to conduct one’s professional life, if you ask me.

        4. Wintermute*

          But those make sense. I saw an excellent talk at a hacker conference about, basically, how to avoid a culture in which violating norms is often seen as an implicit good (either in all cases or in most cases depending on how strident the person you ask is about the “hacker ethos”), from becoming unsafe or harboring abusive people. And basically it boils down to rather than reflexively seeing all social norms as evil and restraining look at what you’re about to do, identify the implicit norms and think about whether those are norms you want to be violating, if they’re useless, actively harmful or actually protecting someone. Who benefits from the norm and if violating it is “punching down” at someone that has less institutional and/or subcultural power than you or if it’s “punching up” at people with more clout, power or legal authority, etc.

          Basically, all they asked was people stop and think about the norm and why it’s there before violating it reflexively. A lot of seminars at conferences like that, especially the less-corporate more-indie ones are a lot more free-wheeling and audience-interactive than a “normal” professional seminar. That’s a norm they violate because someone standing up on stage should not be automatically deferred to, presumably they know things you don’t which is why they’re up there and you’re not but maybe they say something inaccurate on a major point that lies in your expertise strongly. Saying something is the useful to the group thing, even if it would violate hirearchical norms. Hirearchical norms, in their way of thinking, are easily converted to oppressive structures, violating hirearchical norms is a good thing. But at the same time a lot of conferences have toned back the amount of sexual humor allowed in non-sexuality-related talks. The norm of not bringing sex into nonsexual spaces protects people that don’t want to be exposed to that content from having it sprung in their face, and sexualizing the environment hurts the ability of women, queer people and non-gender-conforming people to participate. Violating that norm would not be seen as an automatically good thing, to people that use that framework.

          And I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind when you take a stand. Some stands are worth taking. Your stands were about important freedoms, people’s safety, and protecting people with less institutional and cultural power. Depending how you feel about social media and the nature of the employee-employer relationship this might be one of those stands too, or maybe they didn’t think that deeply and just reflexively defy authority.

      3. tink*

        This isn’t even that weird of a policy, imo. At my work if you’re going to identify yourself as an employee and talk about work things then you have to follow work’s social media guidelines.

        1. J!*

          Yeah, I was going to say this is an incredibly common policy and not particularly out of bounds.

          1. EddieSherbert*


            Plus, “Don’t post negative things about the company AND TAG THEM IN THE POST” is pretty darn obvious regardless.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Truth. Once in a while marketing asks us to use hashtags and “show support” for a new initiative on LinkedIn and yes there are very specific suggestions for doing so.
          I don’t even mention my employer’s initials in FB comments, not even the glowing ones on my friends-locked page.

          1. Texan In Exile*

            Yeah, the new VP of communications who eliminated my position (and me) disliked me for many reasons, but one of them was because I pushed back when she suggested we get people at work to talk about their jobs on FB. Because it would lead to better engagement. Because whatever.

            I told her that there is no way I would ever talk about my job on facebook and I would sure never mention my employer’s name or tag my employer and I kinda suggested that doing so was a very very bad idea.

            Nah, I wasn’t thinking that one through at all.


            Unemployed person and not because of covid

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Texan, I would be the person then who would make your former boss’ head spin. The closest thing I have to social media is this site (which is anonymous). I can’t tag you on a non-existent social media platform.

              (I also won’t get some other thing to have to check/maintain just because some “woo marketing” you read says social media plugging by employees is GREAT and free.)

              1. allathian*

                I’m only on WhatsApp. I use that daily. I sometimes think that I probably should be on LinkedIn, but so far I haven’t really done anything about it.
                My employer couldn’t pay me enough to wax enthusiastic about them on social media, much as I like my job.

        3. SusanIvanova*

          Our social media guidelines are “don’t”. But then the rumor mill watches us like a hawk; stock prices can rise or fall based on “an unnamed Llama Groomer said…” and if you’re that Llama Groomer, you’re fired.

        4. Claire*

          Right, this policy is pretty standard and the kind of thing I’d assume was in place even if I hadn’t explicitly been reprimanded over it, which makes it even stranger to me that she’s making a big deal out of defying it.

    2. Tyche*

      Yes please update if she says why. And tell us if she posted about being fired as well. This is one of the more bizarre things I’ve heard about and I’m so curious to find out why she thinks it’s appropriate to write her diary entries publicly and tagging her employer/managers/coworkers.

    3. Wednesday of this week*

      I’m wondering if she only took the job as part of some social media, book, or reporting project. Hence the posting being far more important to her than keeping the job.

      Is this a controversial or otherwise newsworthy industry or company? Is there any reason someone would gain more by publicizing their experience working with you than by actually being retained?

      1. JKP*

        My mind went there too! Except if she was actually trying to effectively research, why post anything until after she got all the info and was ready to publish? Why tip her hand and get fired before she’d finished her research?

        1. selena81*

          yeah, it’s an interesting angle, but a smart undercover reporter would keep their mouth shut until they had collected enough juicy details

  4. WindyLindy*

    I’m sure there’s someone out there who is unemployed, has the skill you need, and is actually capable of following really easy direct requests from their employer.

    1. EPLawyer*

      You can even hire someone not local with the clear communication that it might not last beyond the lockdown. If the job is remote right now, think wider net.

      But if her work is just okay AND she is resisting feedback, time to say Bye Bye, Buy bonds.

        1. allathian*

          I was thinking the same thing. If the only reason for keeping this snowflake is because she has a skill that’s almost impossible to find locally, cast a wider net.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      Yes! She’s fired herself by repeatedly disregarding clear company rules. And there are lots of people out of work through no fault of their own and would do a much better job than this person.

      Don’t even feel guilty about firing her. You owe it to your other employees not to bend over backwards to keep a low performer during this stressful time.

    3. Rachel in NYC*

      I do wonder if this is a time to take advantage of what is going on. Given the number of places that are firing and furloughing people- OP may be able to find a better candidate right now.

      1. Meredith*

        Exactly. There are certainly more candidates to choose from now than there were 1-2 months ago.

    4. Viette*

      For real. If it’s ever an employer’s market, it’s one now! Plus, the flexibility of everyone being on remote work now, etc — just fire her and hire someone else. Anyone else. I’ll bet you $20 you don’t look back and think, “god I really wish we’d kept on that one person who kept insubordinately tagging us in posts over and over again.”

  5. Amy*

    This is bizarre. I would enjoy an update on this, especially if the OP finds out the employee’s reasons for the excessive social media posting.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      She’s seeking attention – that’s honestly the only reason people use social media as their diary. They either want you to feel sorry for them, praise them, validate them, etc.

      1. MsSolo*

        I mean, they do, but not like this. It’s like saying all actors are get up on stage for the applause, without addressing why this specific actor insists on performing all roles in the nude. It’s a level of extra that goes beyond the social norms.

        1. Annony*

          I have a facebook friend who has bizarre out there posts where everyone wonders what he is thinking. I am pretty sure that people who do things like this do it because they aren’t getting the attention desired from the normal posts. If they become more extreme then they start getting attention again.

          1. Quill*

            This is why you’re supposed to keep your ‘shitposting’ to a minimum and ideally not publically under your legal name.

            Just because YOU laughed until you choked because you drew a fish with fingers doesn’t mean it’s going to reach a wider audience.

      2. sb51*

        People are allowed to want to give and receive attention from their friends, and social media is a fine way to do it.

        Doesn’t mean what she’s doing is acceptable, but I’m perfectly happy to have friends who do this sort of diary-of-a-day, complete with work hassles etc, on social media and interact with them! That’s what weblogs (back when we called them that) were supposed to be — interactive journals. I like hearing about their days. But they also understand how to be vague when they need to be about details of their employment, or put their posts under whatever sort of “friends-only” security is relevant.

        1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

          Never said it wasn’t allowed. And there’s a big difference between someone who posts fun pics and updates on their life, and someone who uses the platform as their therapist.

  6. STONKS*

    Alison’s last paragraph really nails it.

    What weird behavior! The tagging thing takes it from weird oversharing to bizarrely confrontational.

    I’m not completely clear on if she is your direct report or not — if she is, I really hope you’ll come back and update us on your direct talk with her, because I’m dying to know what she has to say about her behavior and why she’s apparently so unwilling or unable to rein it in.

    1. QuinleyThorne*

      It’s behavior like this that makes me wonder why there’s this weird professional obligation to be connected with your coworkers on social media, it always seems to end with folks learning way too much about someone they work with. Like, if I have to share 60% of my waking hours with someone, I’d rather know as little about them as possible; the less I know about their personal business and opinions, the easier they are to work with. The first few places I worked at I was pressured into doing it, but with my current job, I’ve drawn a hard boundary.

      It also helps that I only access my fb at like…6 month intervals.

      1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        I’m like you in that I generally stay off of Facebook and don’t do social media with colleagues beyond LinkedIn, but there’s shades of grey when it comes to being connected with your coworkers on social media. That’s what Facebook limited profiles are for.

        With situations like what’s going on with OP’s new hire, it sounds like everyone involved would easily get a feel for this person’s bad boundaries and lack of discretion without social media coming into the picture at all. When you’re spending that many of your waking hours with even people whose boundaries are professional, you’ll generally get to know things about them that could influence how you interact with them, unless all you ever do is talk about the weather.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Double-yes to Alison’s last paragraph.
      This feels like a teenager just mouthed off when told not to bring chocolate ice cream into gramma’s a white-carpeted living room. You’re on edge watching for the predicted easily avoided accident and the resulting tearful “I’m so SORRRRRRY.”

  7. Barefoot Librarian*

    Yeah, it would be a kindness to give her one last, direct warning, but honestly I’m for letting her go. The red flags are a-waving here.

    Also, expect at least one nasty, public post tagging the company and as many of you as she can after she leaves.

    1. Beth*

      Yes, there will be nasty posts after firing. But there will be nasty posts even if she isn’t fired, and the nasty not-fired-yet posts will go on for much, much longer, and do terrible damage to every other member of the team. This is a perfect example of not letting yourself be held hostage by a single bad employee.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Exactly – she’s going to post complainy, nasty things regardless of what happens so might as well not have to work with her and keep having the same conversation about her noncompliance.

        This will be just the tip of the iceberg. If she’s like this when she’s new and over social media tagging, what other company policy is she going to decide doesn’t apply to her? And when she’s more entrenched in work and harder to do without.

      2. TootsNYC*

        also, nasty posts after firing will always carry a whiff of sour grapes that will hurt their credibility.

        And they’ll end.

        Having this incessant, continual negative tagging will probably be much more damaging, if only to internal morale. But probably also to clients and vendors.

  8. Reality Check*

    While this doesn’t address the big picture, in the short term maybe have the other workers disable the tag function. I’ve done that so I have the ption of reviewing anything I get tagged in and getting rid of it if necessary.

    1. Batty Twerp*

      Is that available across all social media platforms?
      If she’s posting on FB, Insta, Twit and LinkedIn, do they all have the same tag function?
      (not that this isn’t *excellent* advice, I just wonder if it will catch all the problem posts)

    2. Butter Makes Things Better*

      Yes! If possible, by yesterday — with any luck, it will take the teeth out of her obviously-coming post-firing tweetstorm.

    3. Xenobio*

      Have you figured out how to do that permanently? I have “review” turned on, but as far as I can tell, it only shows me a notification when people tag me. I still have to go to their post and manually un-tag myself.

    4. Emelle*

      I have that enabled on FB, and it is still visible to the person that tagged me’s friends. *My*friends can’t see it, but theirs can.

    5. AKchic*

      Or… they can block her so she can’t tag them at all and she can’t see their profiles without having to create a secondary social media profile to purposely look for them.

      Yes, it gives her yet another thing to whine about (“oh, they *bloooocked* me! Boo hoo hoo!”), but I don’t think many will truly find it out of line.

    6. Liz T*

      Seems like bad management to have all employees EXCEPT the problem employee modify their social media settings.

    7. Meredith*

      The issue is that if she’s tagging the company, the company will WANT to be tagged without having to review it in most circumstances, by happy clients, etc.

      1. LSC*

        I agree – it’s easier to just block her from the company’s social media profiles and suggest that the employees who want to avoid being tagged do the same.

    8. Justesq*

      That doesn’t address the problem though. She is still badmouthing the company and giving out details about her co-workers, all for the world to see. That is the real issue, tagging everyone involved seems secondary.

  9. Myrin*

    I realise that this must be extremely aggravating when you’re the one dealing with it, but to me as an outsider, this is one of the most amusing letters I’ve ever read on here.
    The weirdness! The drama! The stubbornness! The blatant violation of company policy! This woman has it all!

        1. Pilcrow*

          I believe this is the one.

          my boss excessively Photoshops herself on our company’s social media

          Update (#2 at the link)

      1. GammaGirl1908*

        And the lady who aggressively hated her coworkers’ tattoos, and rage-quit over them.

        I wonder if she thinks she is a lifestyle blogger. That would explain the detailed posts about her daily activities and tagging companies she comes in contact with.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          I forgot that one.

          Or maybe she’s a #bossbabe and posting about how her ~miracle [oil/drink/pill]~ gives her the energy to do ALL THE THINGS.

        2. AKchic*

          A potential insight. I mean, ultimately, it doesn’t matter why she does it. She either stops the tagging (and maybe semi-public attempts at badmouthing) or she stops working for the company. Those are her only viable options. Nobody is trying to teach her discretion. Nobody is trying to force her to do anything. Merely giving her the options and she gets to weigh what’s in her best interests. Whatever she chooses, the repercussions are on her.

          However, I would 100% save screenshots of all of her posts where she has tagged employees, mentioned the company, etc., to prove your case against her. She may be the type to attempt to go back later and edit her posts after being let go to try to claim something that didn’t happen, or say it was made up in the first place.

    1. BroughtThePopcorn*

      I am DYING to see a sample of these posts. I imagine something like:

      7am: Woke up. Slept okay, but @petname woke me up a few times by jumping on the bed. (You KNOW this woman has social accounts for multiple pets).
      7:30am: Today’s breakfast – coffee, a fried egg and toast. Briefly considered strawberries.
      8am: Decided to start my day early since @OfficeColleague insisted on booking a meeting right for 9am. My pet peeve!
      9am: Call with @OfficeColleague to talk about @CompanyName’s latest and greatest. Why do people feel the need to reassure their coworkers they are in fact wearing pants on Zoom calls? I mean, I spent 10 minutes reassuring everyone I had pants on but I didn’t. Ha Ha.


      1. alldogsarepuppies*

        I resent you lumping people who’s pets need their own social media with her! Some pets just really deserve the spotlight. (I mean my cat is only allowed an instagram, she’s too young for facebook. )

  10. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    I would only add/clarify to put that final warning in writing so it cannot be misunderstood at all. And it’s always good to have documentation, so screenshots of the posts with tags, with dates, would be helpful, and make sure you have a signed copy of your policy. But yeah – she’s firing herself, and you shouldn’t feel bad for that. it’s not hard to NOT tag someone on social media, and it’s really not that hard to not even post on social media, so…..not sure what her end game is here!

    1. WellRed*

      Maybe OP could post the final warning on social media and tag the employee. It seems to be her method of communication.

    2. Jdc*

      They should probably post it on social media and tag her so she truly understands.

      Sorry, had to say it.

    3. ThatGirl*

      Yeah, the only other thing I can think is put it in writing and have her sign/acknowledge it in writing, but at this point, even that is probably a lost cause. She definitely deserves to be let go over it.

      1. KRM*

        And be clear in saying “any violation of this signed document and you will be let go immediatly. If you do not sign it, you will be let go effective now. Do you understand the policy and agree to abide by it?”. And then really all the consequenes are laid out bare.
        I’d personally have fired her after the third one :)

    4. Serafina*

      This. And maybe amend their future employment agreements with strict rules on how social media is used and have all future employees sign it.

      1. Laney Boggs*

        I disagree. They already seem to have pretty strict rules – a ban on listing that you work there? I think further social media rules on someones private social is going to be an overstep.

        1. fposte*

          Agreed. And the more you write employment policies to fight the last war, the more good prospective employees are going to find you too draconian to bother with.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed – the problem isn’t with the reasonable social media policy they already have in place. The problem is one slightly off person who doesn’t want to comply with the normal and reasonable policy the company has.

      2. OrigCassandra*

        Eh, I think the policy as described is pretty reasonable to all parties. I wouldn’t amend it just because of this one bananacrackers person.

      3. Meredith*

        You’re usually required to read and abide by the employee handbook, which undoubtedly lays out their social media policy, since it’s well-developed.

    5. NN*

      Screenshots, as you said – she has the ability to edit and deny what she wrote earlier.

      Or – and this feels charitable – maybe she really doesn’t know her privacy settings and seeing actual “your social media posts isn’t private, we have screenshots” proof might make her realize that? (The other thing that springs to mind, which may be a reach depending on how tech-literate she is otherwise, may be she might not actually realize what tagging _is_ or simply thinks “that’s what you do with nouns on social media”. But even if that’s the case, she’s not apologizing, asking for clarification or help, or trying to change anything, so…)

  11. Kheldarson*

    I… have no words for the social media behavior. Who treats a public forum like their diary??

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      So many people. I especially love the vague posts that may as well say “I need attention”. I either unfriend/unfollow people like that or at least make it so I don’t see their posts at all if I don’t want to deal with any drama that may follow by me ending all contact.

        1. Sir Qwerty*

          Yeah but this letter is more like… Specificbooking.

          The complete opposite of a vaguebook, just as terrible.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I also hate vaguebooking. It’s just begging for attention when someone posts “I’m so sad” just to get people comment on their post. I will unfriend or unfollow people who vaguebook.

        But what is described sounds like the opposite of vaguebooking – a detailed diary? I have not encountered that on FB before. It is bizarre.

        1. Claire*

          I don’t know, I don’t think attention seeking behavior is inherently a bad thing—if my friends are sad and need attention, I care and want to give it to them! The issue is that Facebook friends are not always actual friends, and I don’t really feel the need to inquire about the well-being of some of the vague and distant acquaintances I’ve added over the years.

          1. Guacamole Bob*

            There’s a big difference between posting “Quarantine is wearing me down tonight. Seeking cute cat pictures to cheer me up!” and posting “This sucks” with no other context. Vaguebooking is the equivalent of going around sighing in a way designed to get attention without telling anyone what’s wrong.

            1. Claire*

              Yes, and if my friend went around sighing without saying specifically what was wrong, I would pay attention to them. If the people I care about are unhappy, I’m concerned about them.

              1. Andraste's Knicker Weasels*

                The problem is with people who do things like this:

                – person vaguebooks with something like, “don’t know what to do anymore…”

                – person gets tons of comments asking what’s wrong, are they okay, they can always talk to (commenter), we’re here for you hon

                – person either doesn’t reply to any of the comments OR just vaguebooks more in the comments (“it’s just so hard when no one wants to help….” Or whatever)

                – person posts again about something totally different and never acknowledges the concern they stirred up.

                1. Quill*

                  Yeah, the problem is that social media is such a wide net that people who do this are just… black holes for your emotions. You end up having to cut them off.

                2. Uranus Wars*

                  When I was still on FB I had a friend who would periodically post cryptic “It’s just too much to talk about right now, but please know I need your prayers for a rough time” or “I am not at liberty to say but a family member is going through something and could use prayers for strength” and would ignore all comments…and then two hours later post a picture of herself drinking on the patio with friends or with her husband talking about how blessed and lucky she was…and she’s answer all the comments about how cute she/they were. It was exhausting!

              2. Bright*

                The thing is, sighing without saying specifically what was wrong and vaguely posting on facebook that they’re upset are really immature ways to get attention. Emotionally mature people will just tell a friend that they are upset and ask to talk.

                1. Claire*

                  This is true! As someone who has struggled with severe mental illness, as well as someone who was once 15, I’m very glad that my friends stuck by me while I was being emotionally immature. I’m also glad that people reached out to me when they knew I was having a tough time, because I found it deeply frightening and exhausting to contact an individual friend and ask them to talk to me, thus running the risk of being rejected or feeling like a burden.

                  Like I initially said, I understand that not all Facebook friends are actual friends, and I’d rather not go very deeply into the emotional turmoil of my casual acquaintances, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to pay attention to my actual friends when they need it.

            2. The Rural Juror*

              Right! I had a coworker who would do this all the time in real life. They would walk into our shared office, loudly sit down at their desk, then let out a big sigh. If no one spoke up to ask them what was wrong, they would let another huge sight every once in a while. And if anyone ever took the bait, they would go on and on about something negative for like 30 minutes. Anytime it started we all ended up sitting in incredibly awkward silence! There’s a big difference between baiting people for sympathy and genuinely being in the dumps. At least with social media you can keep scrolling past the vaguebooker! Or unfriend them completely…

            3. Batty Twerp*

              Exactly this.
              If you actively post “I need attention”, you’ll likely get it from me because it’s a direct request.
              Sort of hinting because you want someone to ask what’s wrong? Ugh – soooooo don’t have the energy right now!

            4. Agnodike*

              It’s super annoying when someone is schlumping around sighing and won’t directly ask for what they need. That being said, I also have a lot of sympathy for people who are scared to ask for what they need because they fear rejection. It’s not a good way to behave, but on the spectrum of maladaptive stuff people do because they’re sad and scared, seems pretty mild to me.

        2. STONKS*

          Vaguebooking usually doesn’t just mean saying “Hey all, I’m sad.” It’s more pointed than that — you’re posting about someone or something, but pointedly not mentioning them by name or giving concrete details of what you’re talking about.

          “I really wish some people would be more thoughtful toward others and take their housemates into account when they make plans,” would be a vaguebook.

          1. sb51*

            Or subtweeting, where you are deliberately leaving out the subject so they can’t search it out — often used when criticizing public figures who have the habit of (or have rabid fans with the habit of) searching for themselves and replying. Also companies that do that too; like if I post about feeling ill because I ate too many FakeSnackFoodBrand, I don’t want FakeSnackFoodBrand up in my little tiny mostly-my-friends twitter feed.

            1. Quill*

              Ah yes, every year in book review and writing adjacent twitter I have to grab some fandom newb by the arms and shake them and say NEVER REVIEW ANNA GRAIN on any platform. She will spend months attacking you for any hint of negativity. Never mention Anna Grain’s name, the name of any of her books, and definitely do not TAG her you utter loon, if she can find livejournal posts based off a single goodreads review, she can find your twitter that lists your legal name!

              1. Salsa Your Face*

                Uh oh. Should we expect Anna Grain to start lighting up the comments here at AAM soon? ;)

              2. Detective Amy Santiago*

                It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out who you were talking about.

                1. Detective Amy Santiago*

                  a writer who is well known for writing vampire novels and not taking criticism well

                2. blaise zamboni*

                  I think it’s Grain as in…basmati, jasmine, white, brown, etc. And a slight change to the first name. It took me a long time to figure it out too lol.

              3. Eirene*

                I have hated that woman with every fiber of my being since she had her lawyers go after a message board RPG I was on, well over a decade ago now. We weren’t making any money, we didn’t advertise it, we actually paid to minimize it coming up in searches — it was just for fun. I hope she was very happy with herself for adding another notch to her belt while ruining something a lot of people were enjoying. And that isn’t even the worst thing she’s done, as you alluded to her.

                God. I just hate her so much. Flames…on the side of my face.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  Love and support mate, she came after a vampire RP group I ran back in 2003. Luckily one of our members was a lawyer who specialised in copyright (okay, biological copyrights but..) and while I can’t remember the exact details it boiled down to ‘go after Bram Stoker as all our vampire characters are based on that work’
                  Never heard back.

          2. Wintermute*

            I have a ton of fun with vaguebooking by assuming that they’re deep cover spies who can’t actually talk about what’s happening, but want to vent anyway. “ugh, some people always let you down, smh” goes from being about how their girlfriend got the wrong kind of stir-fry at the store to being about Hans forgetting to bring the detonators AGAIN leaving you clingling to the side of a bridge in Budapest with nothing to work with.

      2. Dontshareonsocialmedia*

        I have a FB friend (a former supervisor) who posted about her boyfriend’s need for Viagara. She also posts in detail about her relationships and breakups on FB …. and she has 650 FB friends. I’m ashamed to admit her posts amuse me.

        How about the ones who post several selfies a week? You just know they are fishing for, “Oh, you’re so beautiful” from their followers.

        1. SweetFancyPancakes*

          Oh, man, I had a friend from high school who once posted 17 selfies in one day when she first started her instagram account. I came really close to unfollowing her for that, but she eventually calmed down. Maybe someone talked to her about it.

      3. noahwynn*

        I can’t stand this. Then when someone comments “what’s wrong” or “everything ok” they just reply with “call me” or “text me”.

    2. BirdBrainGirl*

      SO many people do. I have a friend who’s a cop, and every day, she posts about how tough her job is, how she has to deal with so many derelicts, how her department is hurting financially, how exhausted she is…the list goes on. A few weeks ago, she posted a video showing how long it takes her to suit up each day. And then she ends most of her posts with 30-40 hashtags, and always includes #blessed. It’s maddening.

    3. Claire*

      It’s kind of confusing behavior to me in general, but what’s really weird is that she cares so much about her posts that she’s refusing to stop even though she’s been warned so many times, which suggests that she really, really values doing it.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        Or she’s receiving some sort of positive reinforcement from her behavior. If she’s getting reprimanded by her boss and HR, but every time she does a posts she gets countless likes and comments, then maybe she’s addicted to the attention.

    4. londonedit*

      I know someone who does. She hates her office job and apparently has always dreamt of a career in the arts, but she has so far done absolutely nothing to make this into even a remote possibility – instead, she just posts endlessly on social media about how she would have had a career in the arts if she hadn’t ended up trapped in office hell, how much she hates her coworkers, how they’re all uneducated idiots, how soul-destroying it is to work in an office all day when your dream is to be creative, etc etc etc. I had to unfollow her on Facebook because it was just too much, every day yet more of the same ramblings about how she should have been destined for higher things but instead was having to scratch a living among the plebs. This letter totally reminded me of her!

      1. GammaGirl1908*

        Oh, ughhhh. This reminds me of Miss Manners observing a few years back that there is nothing new under the sun, and thus social media is just a new place for bores to be really boring.

      2. Casper Lives*

        I unfollow people like this if I don’t want to un friend. It’s made my FB experience more pleasant.

    5. Alternative Person*

      Seriously, livejournal still works.

      (Or if you want something non-russian owned, Dreamwidth)

    6. Chili*

      There are a lot of people like this… generally to a lesser degree or at very least less frequently, but still. I had a friend who tagged me whenever we went somewhere together. Like, even a grocery store run. She would also make really long detailed posts about working through issues with her boyfriend. Nobody would respond or comment or anything. I don’t know why she would do it. It was truly bizarre.

      1. Karia*

        I knew someone who would regularly post things like “Why won’t [boyfriend] propose?” He could see it. We (their mutuals) could see it. It was so freaking embarrassing.

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

      I used to. But I was 23, my only job so far was a short call center experience that burnt me out to my core, applying for an average of five entry level jobs a day, and really close to depression. And someone who I don’t talk to anymore called me an attention whore.

    8. Richard Hershberger*

      “Who treats a public forum like their diary?”

      These were the original blogs, back in the late ’90s. It tainted the blog format for years. An expert in her field would post interesting and insightful essays within her expertise, only to be dismissed as only a blogger, like a teenager posting her innermost thoughts and feelings.

      1. Queer Earthling*

        Listen, man, some of us had a lot of feelings in 2004, and LiveJournal was right there. ;)

    9. James*

      It makes a certain amount of sense. Blogs and the like started out as essentially online diaries, and many social media influencers use a diary/slice of life format (it’s heavily edited, of course). We as a society really haven’t figured out the etiquette for social media, so there’s a lot of weirdness still.

    10. TechWorker*

      Lol I came here to say maybe she’s somehow genuinely confused about which posts are publicly viewable…. I mean, probably not if anyone is like interacting with them, but if she’s screaming into the void because no-one on her feed reacts *maybe* it’s possible to somehow not realise like EVERYONE can read them.

      Either way it’s bizarre and I agree probably fireable but definitely worth asking what’s up with just ignoring instructions….

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        But then she’s been told to stop tagging the business and her coworkers so she HAS to know that at least they are seeing the posts.

    11. Snuck*

      I am actually thinking she might not realise it’s public?

      If the posts aren’t public, but are supposed to be friends only she might not realise that by tagging all these non-friend other people THEY can see the posts. Even more insidious could be if she has a setting that ‘friends of friends’ can see, it might mean friends of tagged can see?

      FB leaks like a sieve, and this is the sort of way it does it. In the past they used to do updates and just randomly reset people’s security settings back to practically zero. I think they’ve gotten better at that, but it’s still really risking complaining on FB about anything.

      I’m guessing she has no idea how this works. If she does, and is persisting, then get rid of her. If she doesn’t… and it’s all a ‘misunderstanding’ still consider getting rid of her – three formal warnings and she can’t Google “How to stop people I tag reading my posts on FB” … and she’s going to cause lots of messes everywhere/attention to detail/ ability to ask for help is fundamentally flawed.

      (She really should just get a LiveJournal if she wants to blog, and a MySpace if she needs to angstblog circa 2005)

  12. Mazzy*

    Nothing to add except you made me burst out laughing when you wrote “Then she complained about that.” This person is a lost case even if you can get them to go through the motions of behaving appropriately

    1. Beatrice*

      I’m just picturing this person running across this post, sharing it in her profile, and tagging her coworkers (and Allison?!) in a complaint post about it.

  13. EBStarr*

    If the OP does give her one more warning, would it make sense to tell her that she’s only getting this one last chance because of the pandemic, and in normal circumstances they’d have fired her already? Or is that too likely to be misinterpreted?

    1. STONKS*

      That’s a great question! It might help drive things home for her, as well as openly acknowledging that they aren’t ignoring the pandemic and firing her despite it, but taking it into account and considering that her behavior is still enough to justify firing.

      “We would already have let you go after your last violation of this policy, but due to the pandemic we are attempting to extend all the grace we can to our employees. Even so, we can’t ignore blatant and repeated policy violations, especially when you’re rubbing them directly in our face by tagging us in them.”

      1. EBStarr*

        Yeah that’s what I was thinking! Although of course they can expect to have the whole thing recounted in a public post later, and no guarantee it will be accurately… and I feel like some people (particularly people prone to massive errors in judgment) might just hear the “it seems mean to fire someone during a pandemic” part and use that to make themselves feel like the victim and ignore the part where the company is bending over backwards not to have to do that. So I am torn!

      2. AKchic*

        I would avoid reminding her that they only know she’s violating the policy because she keeps tagging them. Because, theoretically, she could still complain, mention the company and the people by name, but just not tag them, then play the “but you told me to stop *tagging* you! I did what you said!” and completely ignore the whole part about not disparaging the company and coworkers bit.

        1. Hydrangea McDuff*

          I agree with this—she will take any added context and use it to twist their words and rules-lawyer her posts and communications with boss and company over her termination. You can’t reason with unreasonable people…

        2. Snuck*

          Yeah. She’s an adult. Don’t tell her about the tagging. Just tell her to stop posting about the company online. She doesn’t have to name the company. If she wants to whine on her account she can just make up teapot and Wakeen aliases. Telling her about the tagging is just giving her the smarts to carry on and hide… if she’s not clever enough to work that (very simple) thing out for herself… take note of that fact too!

    2. NJ Anon*

      Personally, I would not. I also wouldn’t bother with another chance. She obviously either doesn’t get it or is looking to get fired. She won’t change.

    3. BRR*

      I wouldn’t. It feels unnecessarily cruel and unprofessional. Like “hey you’re not meeting our already lowered standards.” And I don’t think it matters. It doesn’t really add anything and it’s not likely to sink in with this person.

    4. Snuck*

      I would consider this too. It sounds like she’s very immature, and if she’s young, I’d reach her and say “Hi, We’ve firmly asked you multiple times to follow our social media policy. We understand that many people are more stressed at present, and there’s a lot of pressure due to the current pandemic, so we are trying to be more understanding of people’s situation. Please understand that we cannot allow you to continue to flout our policies, and in particular the Social Media one has been raised again. Here is a PIP, we are going down this path with no further warnings, and we need to see that this and other policies are adhered to fully for your employment to remain current. If you have any questions please come to me before acting. Thank you very much.”

      And give her a last chance. BUT… it’s a last chance. It’s acknowledging the current situation is weird, but she’s under watch. And not just for Social Media, but for everything. But that’s only if you want to give her another chance. Frankly… I’d be close to moving on, unless the on boarding of another person will be very difficult right now for some reason.

  14. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    Fire her, yesterday. And while you’re at it, unfriend/unfollow/block her on your social media accounts.

  15. un-pleased*

    I don’t think you need to waste your time asking why she’s doing this. The rules are clear, and she has chosen to break them after being corrected, multiple times, bringing these corrections into her posts.

    She’s in a probationary status, she’s a middling performer, and she’s defying reasonable rules. I frankly wouldn’t expend anymore of my emotional or psychological resources on this person. No good lies in digging up whatever is going on there.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      All of this. She should be fired because of the pandemic – with everything serious going on right now, OP’s company doesn’t have time to keep going back and forth with the employee on nonsense like this.

    2. Claire*

      I don’t think why she does this is important in that it should impact the decision—I can’t even imagine what would be a compelling reason for her to do this, and if she does have one she would presumably have offered it by now—I am just dying of curiosity!

    3. Anonapots*

      I think asking her why she does it is more about curiosity than actually trying to solve a problem. And frankly, I’m really curious about it.

    4. Snark no more!*

      But NOOOOOOO! They MUST ask Why. And then report back. The readership wants to know! It’s imperative.

      1. un-pleased*

        I don’t want to know, honestly. The kind of motivations a person could have to do this – that way be dragons. Life is full of mysteries that don’t change what we need to do.

      2. leapingLemur*

        I really, really want to know, to the point where I’m thinking about brainstorming possible reasons why she would do this.

        Is this her way of trying to become a media sensation with “blogging”?
        Does she not fully realize that people at work can see the posts, even though they’ve told her they can?
        Does she think that she can’t lose her job over this because of free speech?
        Does she just like irritating people?

        1. MAC*

          I mean, Heather Armstrong (aka Dooce) made a whole career out of blogging about getting fired for … blogging about her company. I’m probably giving this gal too much credit, but as long as we’re brainstorming, maybe that’s her end game?

    5. hbc*

      I think if they’re offering her one last chance to behave, it makes sense to ask why she’s doing it, if only to explicitly say, “That’s not a good enough reason.”

      Or she might give a reason that’s so bad that OP changes her mind and ends things there. I had one of those conversations once–it was along the lines of giving someone one last chance to put the teapot spouts on properly and them saying they were putting them on wrong because they thought tea drinkers deserved to be scalded.

    6. AuroraLight37*

      Yes, of course I wonder a little why she’s doing this, but it doesn’t matter. Keeping her on will inevitably lower morale among other employees, who will see this and be annoyed that she’s allowed to repeatedly break the rules despite being corrected three times in less than a month.

    7. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Given the pandemic a lot of people are now working online remotely, therefore I’d personally expect that more people would be more aware of their online presentation!

      Sadly, not true though. I’m still in touch with a former manager of mine (now back at home after a month in ICU and doing well! I am v happy) who complained yesterday that a coworker had posted on a social media site some highly nasty comments about people who end up in hospital.

      We’re both geeks so we’re swapping relevant sci-fi related quotes to deal with this. I’ve learnt I really need to watch ‘Aliens’ to follow his reaction!

      (Seriously, he’s doing very well. His kids are glad to have dad home. He’s working remotely at vastly reduced hours)

  16. LifeBeforeCorona*

    Three strikes and you are out. This is amusing and fraught at the same time. But at least she isn’t breaking laptops and punching holes in the drywall. Yet. You have to let her go. Considering the number of people out of work, replacing her should be easy.

    1. Jennifer*




      1. Aunt Piddy*

        I LITERALLY worked with a man who used to pull out his phone and pretend to be talking to the White House whenever someone did something that angered him. He was let go after he threw a trash can at me (and I still have no idea why)

        1. Quill*

          … I hope you mean “I don’t know why he yeeted a trash can at me” instead of “I don’t know why they finally let him go then.”

  17. STL-HOU*

    I wonder if she is doing it on purpose to get let go to collect unemployment instead. With the changed unemployment rules during this time, i believe she would be eligible.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      If she’s been there less than a month and is fired for cause, the covid rules shouldn’t come into play.

      1. STL-HOU*

        If they fire for cause, she wouldn’t qualify. But because of the pandemic, they may just choose to “lay her off” just to be nicer. She may be counting on that.

    2. Jennifer*

      Good point. They may lay her off to be nice. But she’ll be like many people waiting over a month to get paid when she could have had regular paychecks coming in. Doesn’t sound like a good deal. Us unemployed folks aren’t taking bubble baths and eating bon bons all day.

      1. STL-HOU*

        It is very possible that she is not thinking this through. She probably imagines unemployment as eating bon bons and taking bubble baths. Some people just don’t care and don’t think details like getting through to actually file.
        Outside of doing this on purpose i cannot see any reason why a person would continue to do this after being told multiple times and especially a new employee. As someone pointed in another comment, people who want to keep their jobs are usually on their best behavior at the beginning of a job.

    3. Molly*

      This is exactly what I was thinking! She wouldn’t be eligible if fired for cause, but maybe she’s confused because of the lure of that extra $600 per week.

    4. Meredith*

      The $600 is currently only valid through 7/31, so she’s not really a forward thinker if that’s her plan.

  18. Felicia FancyBottom*

    It almost sounds to me that she wants to get fired. I can’t come up with any other explanation.

    1. Sabine the Very Mean*

      I think she gets a kick out of knowing her boss is going in each night to read the thing unless there’s some auto-alert that OP has.

  19. Heidi*

    If the policy, infractions, and warnings from HR are documented (heck, they’re even documented in her own posts), you’re well justified in letting her go. This employee for whatever reason feels like she needs to keep posting, and it doesn’t sound like she has any intention of stopping. If you keep her, it will only become harder to fire her later because then you might have to explain why you put up with her behavior for so long when it was so problematic. Plus, it’s not like this is the only issue you have with an otherwise stellar employee. She’s doing you a favor by showing you what you have to look forward to if you keep her around.

  20. kms1025*

    I am normally very in favor of one last chance…except in this case. These times are stressful enough without needing to deal with someone who flagrantly disregards the simplest of instructions. Let her go. The only kindness you can do for her now is to tell her exactly why she is being let go, in the nicest words you can muster to explain her failure to perform as required.

  21. t*

    She should have been fired when she blatantly disregarded HRs direction not to tag the company in social media. She does not deserve another chance. Let her go.

  22. Jam Today*

    Fire her. Like, yesterday. This is so clear-cut I’m amazed its gotten this far.

    If she thinks she’s going to get more money from UA than she does from her job (if that’s a strategy she’s employing) she will be unpleasantly surprised to discover that being fired for cause disqualifies you from collecting UA. Too bad, so sad.

    1. Liane*

      While I agree she needs to go–in the US “being fired for cause” doesn’t mean that you can’t get unemployment benefits. The bar for denial is way higher than “Repeatedly Violated Random Policy,” “Resistant to Feedback,”or even “Made a Serious Error That Cost $$$$.” (Where exactly that bar is varies by state)

      1. Jam Today*

        It may be state by state, but repeated insubordination is sufficient cause and publicly damaging a company’s reputation would also clear that bar.

  23. irene adler*

    ” doesn’t really want to participate in feedback or training”

    Lady, do you just not want the job you’ve been hired for? Cuz that what this says to me.

    Geez, I can’t get hired anywhere but this dame -with this attitude- does? Sheesh.

    1. Jennifer*

      That’s frustrating to me too. Millions out of work and this lady was lucky enough to get hired when others who have a better work ethic are not. All because she has some magical skill.

  24. JekyllandJavert*

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that their employees are not allowed to list this company as their place of work?

    Other than that, yeah, blatantly flouting authority isn’t cool. Either she needs to be given a very clear final warning, or she needs to be fired last week.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I don’t think it’s all that weird. It makes sense that companies don’t want to be even tangentially connected to whatever their employees might post on social media.

      1. Nea*

        This. I know someone who got fired specifically because she listed her workplace on her social media, which media she then filled with a lot of things that the company didn’t want to be associated with. She was exactly the kind of person who would insist that it was her First Amendment Right to say whatever she wanted, which is true – but it’s equally true that the company could cut connections with her over dragging them into it.

    2. Diahann Carroll*

      I don’t. A lot of people are online posting nonsense (e.g., racist/sexist/other -ist memes and jokes, political opinions, etc.), and this company doesn’t want to get dragged into any potential negative PR fallout due to one employee’s bad judgment.

    3. kt*

      I think there’s a difference between LinkedIn and Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/etc. On LinkedIn, it would be weird if you couldn’t list place of work unless you’re in security or something. But on Twitter, Facebook, and other primarily social platforms, I think it’s pretty reasonable not to list the employer. There’s no need to search for (company) on Facebook and have people’s pet pics, party photos, discussions about cooking and mental health and movies and STDs and drug use and glitter makeup and politics, all of that come up. There’s just no need for that, on either side! Sure, someone can do the legwork to attach someone’s unrelated social media to their workplace (see previous letter about person posting anti-immigrant material while working with immigrants) but it is nice to, in usual circumstances, preserve a polite wall between work and personal life.

      I do know folks who use social media *for* work — they’re creators (academics or artists, for instance) and they rely on a personal body of work that they take from place to place. But they’re not usually advertising their institution, they’re showing their own work.

    4. Youth*

      It’s unusual but not unheard of. Plenty of brands have rules about employees can interact with them on social media. Sometimes, those rules are “don’t be publicly linked to us.” That heads off any issues that come from being associated with wacko.

      It can also work in the favor of the employee. If they say something horrible on social media and their employer isn’t listed, they’re less likely to be outed to said employer.

      1. Chili*

        It’s definitely more aggressive than most social media policies I’ve seen, but I do think for the way most people use social media, it makes sense to try and keep personal and professional pretty separate. Obviously there are some exceptions for certain individuals and industries, but for most employees, there really doesn’t need to be a reason people can see both where they work and what memes they’re liking.

    5. Brett*

      It depends a lot on what the company considers social media. Facebook and twitter and similar apps only? That makes a bit more sense.
      But if they also include meetup, linkedin, angellist,, gust, etc then it starts to look like they are trying to limit their employees’ professional networking to limit their ability to leave. (And there are employers out there with policies just like that.)

    6. Mama Bear*

      My guess is that this company may also be one of those that has other reasons not to identify workers (perhaps a federal contractor or other sensitive project type). If that is the case, all the more reason to let her go now.

    7. I'm just here for the cats*

      I thought that was a bit odd too. I can understand not taking the company or other employees in posts but not saying where you work? Sometimes people use social meida for networking. Would this apply to Linkin too?

      I looked at it like if your at a party and someone asks where you work. Would they not be able to say then.

    8. Observer*

      It actually makes a lot of sense. Smart companies don’t wan to be policing what their staff say on line. The harder it is for people to link people to the employer, the less they have to worry about what their staff say. Sometimes they still have to care, but if the person just says stupid or weird stuff, they can just stay out of it.

      1. Chili*

        Right, especially because a lot of social media use is in a gray area where it’s not something a company should intervene with, but it’s also not the greatest for a company to be easily connectable to someone posting, like, Dr. Fauci erotica or whatever is the online zeitgeist is.

      2. Chili*

        I was also thinking about dating apps. A lot of them let you include where you work in your profile, which is usually innocuous, but if an employee is sending sexually suggestive or offensive messages to people with “Works in finance at Company X” on his profile, that needlessly involves the company in unsavory stuff (or even harassment). I know there have been letters on here before where the LW received offensive messages on a dating app and asked if she should reach out to the dude’s employer. If I were running a company, I would definitely try keep the company as far out of employees’ dating/personal/online lives as possible.

    9. 3DogNight*

      It’s not weird. Larger companies, particularly, have rules around this. It’s a legal issue. If you post, even peripherally, with a company referenced, it can be taken as you speaking “for” the company. At that point, you put the company at risk with any claims you make.

      1. Brett*

        Interesting, the large company I work for has a different policy on that. Employees are required to identify themselves as an employee of the company any time they comment on something directly related to the company. e.g. if we comment on a company post on facebook, we must identify ourselves as an employee in every comment we make. Similar, if we comment on a news article or something similarly public, we have to identify ourselves as employees.
        (I think this has an effect of people being a lot more thoughtful about what they post in those situations.)
        I’ll add that my employer has come up on this site before, and I purposely do not comment on those threads (because we don’t really identify ourselves here in most cases).

        1. Observer*

          Well, that’s because of transparency issues, which are more important for some companies than others.

          For a company with this issue, I would think they would want to come up with a policy that covers both bases.

    10. noahwynn*

      I work for an airline and we’re told once we mention the company we work for on social media we need to be super careful about everything else we post because as an employee it now reflects on the company. Their suggestion is to keep it sepearte and not mention the company by name at all.

      1. An Actual Fennec Fox*

        I follow someone who works for an airline and has a blog/YouTube channel and every post and video has “John Doe. All opinions here are mine and don’t reflect the opinions of Fake Airlines Inc”. I suppose that might have been a request/directive by the airline?

        My company actually asks us to put the company on ours, but I only have it on LinkedIn. My Facebook and Twitter are pretty bland, but I want to be able to post whatever I want without wondering whether or not someone will go ‘Oh, she works for Not A Real Company!” and go whine to my boss (or try to connect with me to get service through Facebook, it’s happened before).

    11. Nora*

      It can be a safety issue. I come from the wonderful world of social work and have had former clients try to track me down. Sometimes it’s because they feel a positive connection and want it to continue outside of work. Sometimes it’s because they’re angry and unstable. Either way, keeping work details off Facebook and refusing to use LinkedIn have gone a long way toward keeping me and my family safe and private.

      1. Very Much Anon for This.*

        My husband’s line of work also Very, Very strongly suggests that you either don’t have social media, or have it so private only your immediate family can see it.

        A very unhappy and violent person tried to track down one of his coworkers at current job. Coworker found multiple Major violations- and this wasn’t his first batch of violations either. It ended up putting violent person out of business – hence the trying to track them down (at that point it became every person who had cited him for violations – not just the person who wrote the final violation citation). It was unnerving.

    12. boo bot*

      I didn’t think it was that odd for the reasons others listed, but I did wonder if restricting workers from mentioning where they worked on social media could run into trouble with labor laws, depending on what someone was posting. Workers have the right to discuss pay and working conditions, so can they be restricted from discussing those things publicly?

      I’m assuming that the woman in this post wasn’t complaining about anything serious, but if her complaints had been more along the lines of, “I don’t think we’re taking proper safety precautions with the tigers,” or even, “I don’t think I’m being paid fairly,” I’m guessing that could cause a problem if the company then fires her for mentioning them on social media.

    13. EA in CA*

      My friend works for a domestic violence shelter as a Social Worker. For their employees and clients’ safety, none of the staff are allowed to post on social media that they work for the organization. I think it could really depend on what the company/organization does that dictates why they have certain social media policies in place. I only list my employer on LinkedIn, everything else is personal. I like to keep the boundaries clear.

      1. Hats Are Great*

        Does your friend live in a big city? When I lived in a midsized city, literally everyone knew who worked for the DV shelter because literally everyone knew everyone else’s business; it was too small a community for everyone to NOT know where you worked.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          But Facebook is global. Very different from “everyone in town knows each other”.

    14. Hats Are Great*

      This is my question as well, I have literally never heard of such a thing! And I’ve worked some places with pretty strict social media policies.

      Like, if someone runs an influencer account or a side business, then I can see an employer taking issue with their business being listed on another business’s page, but if someone just has on their Facebook profile where they work? Are they allowed to list the company on LinkedIn? This is so strange!

      1. Dougal*

        In some industries, you have to be careful even on LinkedIn. If you work on ‘secret until it’s released’ projects like movies or video games, people can infer a lot about what’s going on based on changing job titles. A couple projects have been leaked before the company was ready to announce them because a well-known producer or designer updated their LinkedIn with a little too many details.

    15. Anon for this*

      It’s quite common in the defense world. Saying you work for Well Known DOD Company on social media can very well make you a target for Foreign Baddies. I worked at several such companies that also had policies against wearing your ID badge when you walked down the street to get lunch.

    16. Pennalynn Lott*

      I don’t think it’s weird. Here’s why:

      A real-life friend of mine posted a picture of himself on FB wearing a shirt that said “F*ck [politician]”. He had been eating brunch at a restaurant and the manager had asked him to leave, citing the curse word on his shirt (it was the full word, no asterisk) and the small children at other tables. He was incensed and took to social media to express his outrage. He changed his privacy settings to “public” so he could share his perceived indignity with E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E.

      He had his employer listed on his profile.

      His employer (a mom-n-pop retail store) started receiving death threats from rabid supporters of the politician. People open-carrying automatic rifles showed up to protest outside the store. The store’s phone rang off the hook for MONTHS.

      My friend was fired. He has been unable to get a job since because every employer that has interviewed him eventually Googles him and — bam — there he is in all his outraged glory, responding to every death threat comment with more vitriol because he has his Rights (TM).

      The mom-n-pop store lost tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in business during the six months it took for everything to calm down. All of which could have been avoided if my friend had left his employer’s name off his profile.

  25. Dumpster Fire*

    You didn’t want to hire her in the first place. Let her go now, or at the next offense – you’ve told her to stop and she hasn’t, so be done with it. And advertise the position again immediately….who knows, someone else who HAS the skillset you need may have been let go recently and would be thrilled to have an opportunity right now.

  26. The Other Dawn*

    Do you really need this person? Is there no one else out there at all who can do this job? I think it’s OK to offer one more chance with a very firm, “You will be fired if you don’t stop this immediately,” but I don’t think you really need to. I’d just fire her and be done with it. She’s proven she can’t take direction and she blatantly ignores people telling her to stop violating company policy. She’s going to be a huge problem and a very high maintenance employee if you keep her on. It would be easier to be short-handed that to have to manage someone like this.

    1. Rachel in NYC*

      My concern with the one last warning is- the worker has been told multiple times this behavior isn’t okay and they know they are in a probationary period.

      Is it worth it to give her an add’l warning to see if she stops it until when? the end of her probationary period? Congrats she can behave appropriately for 2 weeks? After which OP will have to go through a move involved process to fire her.

      And this isn’t the only issue- the fact that there are other issues seems to be getting swept aside by OP’s (and the company’s need for her skill set)- and if I was a co-worker, I would get annoyed by the double standard.

      1. AuroraLight37*

        Yes, in this situation the worst case scenario is that she stops till she’s off probation and then starts this nonsense up again once she’s permanent. In which case you’d have to jump through a lot more hoops to fire her. It will save a lot of time and trouble to cut her loose now.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Right. I personally wouldn’t give her another chance, but OP might be at a company that requires more documentation, discussions, warnings, etc. This employee sounds exhausting.

  27. Megumin*

    Re: that skill that you hired her for – can you reevaluate the ability to train someone in it? Is there an adjacent skill set that could work as as substitute? Obviously I don’t know your industry/job, so it could be something that requires a specific license, etc. But my point is – don’t let the desire to lose the experience in that one area she has (or the work required to train someone in it) be a deterrent to implementing consequences for her actions.

  28. Jennifer*

    I agree with Alison’s suggestion of one very serious final warning. Let her know she will lose her job if she does this again in no uncertain terms.

    I get not wanting to fire anyone in a pandemic. She may have trouble getting unemployment too if they find out the termination was her fault. But look at it this way, keeping her in could put the company in jeopardy. A client could see her posts and decide to cut back on business. This could affect the jobs of other workers who have done nothing wrong. Is that fair to them?

    This is the weirdest thing I’ve read here in a while. I’m also curious about why she’s doing it.

    1. irene adler*

      I’m curious too. My guess: there’s a “I have a right to free speech” argument in her head. So she thinks the employer has no basis to tell her to cease this social media activity.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        Just because we have free speech doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for it. Free speech only means you can’t be (generally) jailed for it. But there are exceptions to that also.

      2. leapingLemur*

        It’s odd though. If an employer told me not to wear blue shirts to work for no reason, I’d do what the employer said even though I’d find it annoying and unreasonable. I’d also consider looking for other employment.

        1. Jennifer*

          Yes, I have followed rules at work that I thought were dumb and pointless because they technically weren’t discriminatory or abusive in any way.

  29. AndersonDarling*

    As a new manager, this is kind of the best case scenario if you have to fire someone. This isn’t a long term employee that is trying their best and just can’t pick up a new technology and they have terrible things going on in their personal life and is actually very kind and a great teamplayer and everyone loves working with them…
    This is a mediocre, at best, employee who is DARING you to fire her. Fire her and grow from the experience.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      “Fire her and grow from the experience” made me chuckle. What a management mantra.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        Meh. I think it’s a fine thing to say. We discuss bad hiring processes here on the regular, how it hurts the business, hurts the existing co-workers, and hurts the hiree. Getting better at finding candidates who are a good fit and weeding out the bad ones is a form of growth that will benefit everyone – management AND employees – going forward.

  30. Coffee Cup*

    While this employee’s behaviour is outrageous, I do hope LinkedIn is an exception to your “don’t mention that you work for us on social media” rule.

    1. JustaTech*

      Yeah, there’s no point to LinkedIn if you can’t say where you work.

      I know my company has some rules about making sure we don’t post as though we are speaking for the company when we post on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. And some people put things like “I don’t speak for my employer, my posts are my own” in their Twitter profiles.

      I think it might also depend on your industry. There are some industries folks are way more tight-lipped about where exactly they work than other places.

  31. agnes*

    I got this advice from a CEO of a large company,

    “knowing what you know now, if you would not rehire the person tomorrow, fire them today.”

    1. staceyizme*

      On the face of it, this is cold. As a systems view of things, it’s surprisingly relevant as a benchmark.

    2. Renata Ricotta*

      This thought exercise works extremely well for romantic partners too. It reminds one not to continue relationships based on sunk costs.

      1. AuroraLight37*

        Yes, I know far too many people who stay in relationships because “we’ve been dating X years, how can I break up with them now?” Changing the question to, “Knowing what you know, would you begin dating this person tomorrow?” is a good barometer of whether things might be salvageable.

      2. Beth Jacobs*

        Oh god, it works for absolutely everything :D employees, employers, partners, gym memberships… did you just solve life?

  32. Delta Delta*

    Yeah, let her go. She’s been warned and isn’t going to change. Although, she’s probably going to keep tagging the company and employees after she’s been let go, so it may be worth people and the company adjusting their privacy settings so she can’t do that.

    Also, I find it a smidge odd that the company’s policy is “don’t say you work here.” Maybe if you work for the CIA or Black Cube (although maybe you don’t know you work for Black Cube), maybe you don’t publicize that. But if you work at Waldo’s Widgets, it doesn’t seem hurtful.

    1. Observer*

      No, it’s actually a very sensible policy. It means that the company doesn’t have to care (much) about what people are posting on social media.

    2. Jennifer*

      It seems to be an overly stringent policy to me too. Most companies just want you to be on your best behavior if you list your employer. But perhaps they’ve been burned before.

  33. A*

    Oy vay. This definitely speaks to greater issues, and unfortunately not ones that the employer is likely to be able to address given her pattern of blatantly disregarding requests for her to change her behavior. Even in the other examples AAM has had recently, I’ve been of the belief that holding off on firing right now is the ethical thing to do (if possible). However, this is an exception in my mind. It truly is inexcusable, and frankly disturbing as it comes across as her being unstable.

    I wonder if anyone else she is connected to on social media has ever said anything, or pushed back. I feel like in my FB circles this would not fly without ample commentary / poking fun at. Or at the very least and relative pulling her aside and telling her to knock it off. Yeesh.

  34. somanyquestions*

    I bet she’s like this all the time and the remote work is softening her assholery. In person she’s the Hawaiian roll woman, defiant and angry at everyone.

    1. Not All*

      Oh pleeeeeeeease let this turn out to actually be Hawaiian roll woman! That would be the best tie-in ever!

      OP, does her old division do potlucks often?

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          I seriously smile every time I pass Hawaiian rolls in the grocery store, but if anyone ever asked me why, I’d have to be like, “…um, it’s a long story.”

  35. Observer*

    Not only WILL you see problems – you are already seeing problems. This line “She was very opinionated about how we did things and doesn’t really want to participate in feedback or training.” is a glaring red flag right there. You don’t get to push your opinions when you are new. And you DEFINITELY do not get to balk at doing training.

    Let her go. Yes, Alison has a point about giving her ONE LAST AND FINAL warning. Do it now, and phrase it this way. Tell her in person then follow up with an email.

    1. Observer*

      And, by the way, please note that NOT letting her go is likely to cause a morale hit to your staff.

      Also, there MUST be people who have the skill set you need, and who are absolutely looking for a job.

    2. Mill Miker*

      Yeah, it sounds like “she’s doing her job okay” because what she wants to do is coincidentally close enough to what you need her to do, but good luck if those needs ever change (or if she changes her mind on how to do it).

  36. Jackie Lope*

    Yikes! No, she’s out of line and I can’t imagine why. I’d like to know the reason, but that’s not relevant. She needs to stop.

    I once had a boss flat-out tell me, “You’re never going to get promoted, start looking for another job.” It was an eye-opener. I was doing well, but there had been some incidents that were enough of a black mark against me that I had risen to the level of my incompetence.

    I would consider a final warning–using that exact phrase–to the person and suggest she start looking because one more violation and she’s out. Maybe she can take herself out.

  37. Choggy*

    OP, have you actually spoken directly with her as opposed to just emails from you and HR? I would not leave this conversation to email alone but actually talk to her directly (phone or video) and ask her why she keeps doing what she was explicitly told not to do, even if only to understand why before you let her go. Her behavior is probably why her recommendations were less than stellar and she’s had a patchy work history. An employee, especially a new one!, should not be running roughshod over company policy. Cut your losses and focus on training someone for the skill set you need.

    1. ExcelJedi*

      From the post: “I reached out to her and reminded her of the policy, and I ended up tagged in one of her long, daily, detailed posts.”

      OP has done MORE than their due diligence.

    2. Observer*

      Why? Why does the OP have any obligation for further conversations here? I suppose it’s possible that there is some legitimate reason for what the employee is doing, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to ask about it. But really, it was on Employee to bring that up earlier on.

      And, I see no reason why emails are insufficient for the purpose.

  38. Not So Super-visor*

    Would I be alone in saying that I’ve seen some oddly defiant behavior from employees since moving to remote? Things like hourly employees refusing to send in their time with an excuse of I can run a report do that instead. I CAN run a report, but since I’m required to enter time daily into our timekeeping site, it takes much longer if I have to run a report for each of 40 employees rather than them following the process that we put in place before launching into remote. Also, employees going out of their way to sabotage a reporting structure by changing status on other employees’ closed tickets from several days ago, and in order to do that, they’re wasting several hours worth of time to try to sink someone else. I’m addressing things as they come up, but I feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole with overly defiant moles.

    1. Juneybug*

      You poor thing! That sounds terrible.
      I am going to throw some ideas out there (hopefully something in my rambling will help you :) ) –
      Could you establish a procedure or policy of how time should be entered so there is less push-back?
      Could you send the reporting structure to each person (I know 40 employees is a lot!) so they don’t have access to change other employee’s closed ticket status? Or establish a policy that if you are caught changing the ticket status without your prior approval, they can be immediately fired for fraud?
      How much of this can you lock down so only each employee has access to their info (and not anyone else)?
      Can you mention these items at a team meeting? Don’t mention the employee’s name but mention the situation and explain why this is a fire-able offense the first time it happens and you don’t have to give warning or put them on a PIP?
      Have you reached out to your supv and HR to let them know what is going on? Cause you will need to cover your a$$ as well if your employees are behaving in this manner.
      It’s a shame you can’t really hit them like a whack a mole. :)

      1. leapingLemur*

        “wasting several hours worth of time to try to sink someone else. ” Yeah, you don’t want that type of person working for you.

    2. cubone*

      I’d agree. I do think in many cases people are exhausted, stressed and being asked to do more with less – I’m not surprised by an increase in frustrations and unfortunate behaviour as a result. Heck, I feel like I’m testier with colleagues than I’d normally be.

      …..But “oddly defiant” is another thing entirely and I am definitely seeing it. I have a direct report right now who let everyone on the team know (without talking to me, HR or anyone) that she would only be working 1 hour a day because of childcare needs. I’m trying to be flexible and sympathetic, but informing everyone you’re working for 60 min a day (7 hours a week) while still collecting your full time salary is…. challenging. In addition to that, she’s regularly emailing other teams in the company saying she’ll no longer be working on specific projects with them because of “a lack of capacity”. I’ve been so up front about flexibility and understanding it’s not a normal time and have prioritized/removed MANY things from people’s plates, but I need you to talk to me before informing the VP of another team you “don’t have time for their project”! Meanwhile, she responds and posts constantly on our team’s Slack channel with pictures of playing with her kids outside, going for walks, reading on her balcony. It’s having a hugely negative emotional impact on the people who are trying really hard to keep things afloat or have picked up responsibilities to help other teammates.

      I’m reading into it that she’s very stressed by the situation and frankly needs the time off entirely to take care of herself, which we could work with if she would ASK or TALK to us about it, instead of unilaterally deciding and telling people she’s informally “off” for all intents and purposes. I feel like my company is handling the pandemic really, really well overall – flexibility, support, time off, communication, etc. She’s absolutely firebombed her reputation.

      1. Not So Super-visor*

        This is what I’m assuming it is too: people being exhausted and stressed and just not having the mental capacity to deal with some routine things and lashing out. I normally have a good group of employees who are fairly self-sufficient, so it’s just been frustrating to see some of these things flare-up — like someone taking extra time to try to sabotage someone else’s work? WHY?

      2. leapingLemur*

        This seems like someone who takes advantage when she can. Are there other cases where she’s done this? I had a co-worker once who once he was going to be leaving his job seemed to “drop the mask” and basically did what he could to dump his work on co-workers and sometimes putting a co-worker in an almost impossible position. He had in the past done some stuff that could be construed as taking credit for others’ work and didn’t really seem to understand why doing 1 tiny thing (a tiny thing that anyone could do) in a multi-step process didn’t give him the right to take credit for the entire process.

        1. cubone*

          “Dropping the mask” is a great way of putting it and yes, definitely. Her normal acting out is relatively small and not as huge of an impact, but there have been other instances of unilateral decision making or “I don’t have time” when her workload and output is much, much smaller than the rest of the team. She’s fairly fresh in her career and I’ve been treating it like a ‘professional norms’/time management issue… but this experience is definitely making it seem more like an attitude/behaviour problem.

      3. Quill*

        I have been on the verge of yelling “I just don’t know” many times since this started but fortunately I’m not on calls a lot, so… the walls can deal with my frustration I guess.

      4. allathian*

        Sounds like she should be furloughed until childcare opens again. I’d hate to think how this is affecting the morale of the rest of her team. As her manager, surely you can tell her that her behavior is unacceptable and that since she can’t work even nearly normal hours (say at least 25 hours instead of the normal 40 if she’s salaried) she needs to be furloughed. You’ve seen how she’s been so far. Refusing work from another team without running it by you is a huge red flag. (I can’t refuse work, but my coworker and I have a generous outsourcing budget for stuff we can’t handle and a lot of discretion on when to outsource. But you can be sure that our boss would have things to say if we just decided to outsource everything and collect our paychecks while just spending our working hours slacking off!) How did the VP of the other team react, did they get in touch with you and complain, or how did you find out about it? I get it that wrangling kids and WFH can be stressful in a situation like this, but it just sounds like she’s taking advantage of the generosity of her employer, and that needs to stop. I just hope that this isn’t going to sabotage any future WFH policies at your company, just because of one bad apple. But maybe not, if they’ve been understanding and generous so far.
        At the very least, I think you’d be justified in telling her in no uncertain terms to stop posting her staycation pix (that’s really what she’s doing) on the team Slack channel. It’s demoralizing to her coworkers to say the least.

    3. Koala dreams*

      You could also use the advice given to the letter writer and start whatever disciplinary process is used in your company for firing people, especially for the bullies who sabotage for their co-workers. For refusing to do tasks, you should ask people why they refuse to do work tasks first, and then proceed based on their answers. In some cases it might be possible to solve things, in other cases it’ll be better to fire them.

  39. staceyizme*

    You made a REALLY bad bet that the value that this employee had in the one skill that you couldn’t train on right now might miraculously outweigh the evidence of her patchy work history, subpar references and generally unpleasant nature. You should definitely cut your losses. As to the whole “you can’t post stuff about us and tag us on your social media” thing- sure, you can say that. How likely are you to be able to enforce it? This is a losing proposition. It’s much less about the fact that she posts, what she posts, who she tags or the tone of her posts and much more about the unwillingness to consider other perspectives, to attend training (for the love of little green apples!) and show herself as a responsible and emotionally functional member of the team. Just tell her that the “fit” isn’t right, your company culture is more collaborative and the foot dragging on training has eroded whatever goodwill she might have had as a newcomer. Fire her.

  40. Casper Lives*

    This is a clear-cut firing. It shouldn’t have been a hiring, but that’s over and done with. Right now she’s annoying her coworkers (if someone kept tagging me on FB I’d be really annoyed!), refuses to do training (are others doing her work?), and is insubordinate by ignoring clear and easy directions from her boss and HR. What are you waiting for? It will be harder to fire her the longer you keep her on staff.

  41. ExcelJedi*

    I’m just imagining a world where she also reads this blog, and in her next post she links this page and tags her manager.

    I hope for your sake that it doesn’t happen, OP, but it would be a beautifully bizarre cherry on top of all of this.

  42. Coder von Frankenstein*

    If it were just the social media stuff, that would be one thing, but her resistance to training and feedback–in a new job!–coupled with the social media stuff, refusal to obey a direct instruction given repeatedly, mediocre work product… red flag city.

    I suppose, given the pandemic and the snowballing economic crash, it would be compassionate to give her a chance to save her job in the short term. Otherwise, I don’t think there would be any point to the final warning. Everything about this person fairly screams “You are going to have to fire me eventually,” and if you’re going to have to do it eventually, it’s only prolonging the pain to wait.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah. I’d fire her now while she’s on her probationary period. It’s just not worth it.

  43. Not So Negative Nelly*

    I think the extra final warning is being overly gracious. She has shown you who she is repeatedly. You’ve got a good team, keep it.

  44. Amethystmoon*

    Yeah, it’s never a good idea to vent about work using your real name, much less tagging your coworkers while doing it. And boss?? I mean, if you are going to do that, at least make a serious effort to be anonymous. I only vent about work in my offline paper journal. Maybe she needs to learn that lesson the hard way.

  45. cubone*

    It’s baffling behaviour, but I’m more baffled by the fact that your company seemingly doesn’t seem to be acting like this is the MASSIVE business and reputational risk that it is???? Flouting policy so egregiously and after repeated warnings is totally unacceptable, but TAGGING employees/the company in COMPLAINT posts?? I’ve seen people fired for complaining posts on social media about their workplace when they didn’t mention its name at all, because even with these rules/policies, it’s very easy to make those connections over the internet.

    This is like, the online equivalent of writing the CEO a hate letter, signing your name and leaving it on their desk.

    I’m less baffled/curious by the employee’s behaviour (many people treat social media as an online diary/catalogue of personal complaints, regardless of whether its appropriate) than I am by your company’s reaction. This seems so cut and dry. What is their argument for waffling on this?!

  46. SomebodyElse*

    I’m curious if her SM had the same type of posts from her previous employment? I’d say this is a good reason if you are able to as a hiring manager to do at least a cursory search for candidates.

    I’m actually surprised that she hasn’t already been fired. My company has great HR individuals (not all but for the most part they are good), and I’m pretty sure as a manager I’d be having an uncomfortable conversation with my HR rep if they had explicitly warned someone about something and it was totally disregarded. I’m truly not sure I’d have a choice in the matter. That isn’t to say that under normal circumstances I don’t have discretion in how to deal with employee issues. But in this case, I’m pretty sure that decision would be made for me and I’d have to have a very compelling argument against termination (which it doesn’t sound like this would be the case with this employee).

    I’m adding to the chorus for more information and updates from the LW… this is truly a spectacular fail that has the prospect for much more entertaining stories.

  47. QuinleyThorne*

    Aside from everything that’s already been said by Allison and the other commenters: I wonder what her behavior would look like if we weren’t in such a desparate situation right now. COVID-19 has a lot of employers “quick to hire, but reluctant to fire” for reasons Allison’s already covered. Given this employee’s brazen disregard for a policy she’s already been warned three times about breaking, I can’t help but think that she’s well aware of the tricky position employers are in, and is taking advantage of it.

    Which, if that is indeed the case, is a whole ‘nother level of shitty behavior–especially considering how many qualified job-seekers are out there that desparately need a paycheck.

  48. Batgirl*

    I’d honestly question her ability to stop; she appears to have social media vomiting disease or social media hiccups. She’s getting really clear guidelines fed to her and just regurgitating them back up. I think her only chance to stop the hiccups is the shock of a firing. Though with a ‘patchy work history’, I imagine this has already been tried. Do ask her what her thought process is (because it’s simply fascinating if nothing else) but I don’t have a great deal of hope for her continued employment with you.

  49. Emma*

    So this is someone who has been with you 30 days and is unable to follow directions, to a degree that is frankly disrespectful. Fire them now. You don’t need this nonsense dragging your team down.

  50. noahwynn*

    Fire her, today. Don’t even ask why or open the door for her to try and justify why she has repeatedly violated a simple social media policy after multiple warnings. When you factor in her unwillingness to participate in feedback or training, along with the red flags during hiring, it means she won’t be a good long term fit even if you solve the social media issue with one more warning.

    If her coworkers are bothered by being tagged in her posts now or after she is fired, they can block her. The company page can also block her. It won’t stop her from posting using the company name, but it won’t show up on the company’s page or be directly linked to the company page at all.

  51. Bella*

    I REALLY want the follow up on how that conversation goes lol because this is truly odd.

    It’s also just unsettling – if I were you it would really stress me out to know that every convo I have with said employee is going to end up as a public post!

    It just really speaks to poor judgment to continue doing it and using tags as a passive-aggressive way of airing your grievance.

  52. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

    Homegirl has burned through her last chance. Let her go. She has no sense of boundaries and an appalling lack of listening comprehension. If this is what’s coming out now, yeah, the flying spaghetti monster only knows what lurks beneath the surface.

  53. Holey Moley*

    I think when you do let her go you can enjoy multiple tagged posts with her bad mouthing everyone and the company. Prepare to block her on all platforms.

  54. LGC*

    HR reached out to her and reminded her of the policy and that while her social media is her space, to not tag and mention our company by name and to appropriately address needs, questions, and conflicts through the right channels. She then complained about that, with direct tags, on social media.

    Apparently, WTF Wednesday has now become Social Media Wednesday! (I mean, between LW2 in the short answers and this lady I’m still WTFing. But yeah.)

    Also, LW, I am literally laughing at your employee’s sheer ineptitude right now. Like, this is dramatically not reading the room, to the point of comedy. This is one of the things where I just want to stop and make sure that HR was explicit with this. But…man, probably don’t fire her right now although her social skills are awful, but definitely go into damage control mode.

    (And also…okay, yeah, I want to make sure that HR did say this clearly. It sounds like they said that her social media is her space and not to tag the company on social media (and, y’know, not to complain about the company on social media), but she only heard the first part. I’ve dealt with people like this. It is frustrating, but you basically have to make your orders as simple as possible with them. That is, if you guys haven’t just said, “You need to stop posting about us on social media” and left it at that, you need to.)

  55. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Spotty job history, not stellar references, gee I wonder why that is! Yikesssssss.

    Save yourself this headache and struggle, let her go. She’s had her warnings. She’s trying to call your bluff, don’t let that happen, show her this is serious. At least now letting her go while you’re remote will give you a lot more distance, this kind of person firing in person is regularly emotionally explosive.

  56. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP — Actually, you have three issues with this employee: 1) she doesn’t like to accept feedback; 2) she doesn’t want to participate in training; 3) she violates your company’s clearly-stated social media policy, even after repeated warnings.

    And her work is just OK.

    Issues 1 and 2 should be enough for you not to retain her past the 30-day probation period, even without the defiance on the social media policy. Please don’t be tempted to cut her any slack because of the current pandemic. This situation will pass, and you’ll be left trying to manage a stubborn, willfully defiant employee whose work is mediocre. Don’t do that to yourself.

    So start whatever process your firm has in place for letting somebody go at the end of probation. I have a funny feeling that your HR people will be happy to help you.

    1. allathian*

      Don’t cut her any slack because of the pandemic or for a difficult to find skill. I would imagine that even your C-suite would be happy to see her go by this point. Getting fired for trash-talking your employer on social media is frequent enough these days that for employees getting away with this sort of behavior could affect your company’s reputation in a negative way. She would need to go even if she could sh*t gold and was willing to give it to the company for free.

  57. Dancing Otter*

    Isn’t refusal to obey clear and direct orders pretty much a classic definition of insubordination? As long as the orders aren’t illegal, immoral, or unethical (which these aren’t), she has no defense argument.
    THAT is why you fire her.

    1. Batgirl*

      Tagging your boss to criticise them publicly is the most insubordinate thing I’ve ever heard. I’m sure she has plenty of followers because it sounds really gruesomely entertaining. Generally I like to unfriend ranters, but this? I don’t think I could look away from the slow moving car crash culminating with predictable satisfaction in “OMG, everyone can you believe I’ve been fired for FREE SPEECH on my private page with only 2000 followers. Like this post if you think they should reconsider! This is lastjob all over again! #bossessuck.”

  58. LSP*

    Is she a cat, staring you in the eye while pushing a glass of water off the table? Because that is literally all I could picture in my head while reading this letter.

  59. Mockingjay*

    “I also don’t want to poison the well .”

    OP, that sums up your employee. Don’t second guess your instincts; they are correct. You mention that you are a new manager. You don’t need to be a manager of 20 years’ experience to see the red flags on Social Suzy. Social Suzy needs to go.

  60. Meredith*

    She will continue to post ABOUT the company and her coworkers. Whether or not everyone is tagged, she’s already let the cat out of the bag about where she works and who she works with, so it’s no secret. If you can live with that, sure, but I don’t see this working out long-term.

  61. Nicki Name*

    I wonder if she thinks she’s done some kind of social media magic so that the company can’t see the tags? And she doesn’t realize it hasn’t worked, and no one’s secretly informing her, the company and the manager are just getting direct notifications?

    Maybe if that was spelled out to her it might change her behavior? Or not, I can see how giving her any more chances is probably not on the menu at this point.

    1. NN*

      I was thinking something similar – screenshots might be handy to show “your social media is directly and publicly accessible by other company employees”. It may even be she doesn’t entirely understand tagging but thinks that it’s just what you do on social media.

      But yeah, she hasn’t apologized or seemed embarrassed, asked for any clarification or help, and her critical and reluctant attitude to training alongside other job issues kind of overrides any ignorance at this point.

  62. Nanani*

    Your policy needs consequences, not just warnings. Otherwise you don’t have a policy, you just have a very boring meme.

    Maybe there’s a consequence short of firing you can impose, but if there isn’t, firing it is.
    This person is putting their own job on the line on purpose.

  63. TootsNYC*

    . She was very opinionated about how we did things and doesn’t really want to participate in feedback or training.

    And you are surprised that she is ignoring these “don’t tag us, don’t name us specifically” warnings?

    This is all of a piece. And how much trouble is she, compared with what level of actual help she is?
    Find someone in the company who is eager to learn and picks things up quickly; see if they can pick up the most important parts of it.
    Or, reach out to the people who used to hold that job, and ask them if they can suggest someone who can pick up all or some of this work on a freelance basis.
    there ARE other solutions.

    Give her a clear ultimatum. Say, “If you do this again, we will fire you. That’s how important it is.” And start making those calls to replace her before you even have the convo, because you will be ready if/when you need to fire her. And the effort will probably not be in vain.

  64. Morning reader*

    I have to admit I don’t understand tagging, or hashtags. Are they the same thing? Why would anyone bother? Sometimes FB will prompt me to tag someone. I just say no; why would I do that to anyone? What is the point of it?

    1. Meredith*

      You can do things like tag a friend in a photo so they and their followers will see it too.

    2. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      You tag if you want to make sure that a particular person/s will see the post. My friends & I do it all the time, its usually not a big deal – unless you get someone mass tagging on every.single.thing.

      1. Morning reader*

        Still seems rude to me. If I want someone to see something I send it to them, not to the world with a “btw, I sent your picture to the world.” Oh well, it’s not necessary that it get it.

        1. Liz T*

          Sounds like it’s not the tagging you don’t understand, but publicly posting things in the first place.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I think what’s going on is actually “snitch tagging”, where you link someone’s page or account to a rant specifically so that everyone will know who Wronged you (and possibly, sometimes preferably, pile on to criticise them or worse).

      It’s attention-seeking and bad form.

    4. NightOwl*

      I like getting tagged if I’m with friends or in a group and one of us takes a picture; we will tag so others can save or share it instead of messaging it to people. And a note that these are pictures of group outings or events where we want to make a social post; for more private meetups or gatherings, a private message is fine.

    5. scribblingTiresias*

      I have an instagram dedicated to my one-of-a-kind art dolls– I take old barbies or Monster High dolls, repaint their faces, and make them new clothes. When I use hashtags on insta, it’s so that other people who like that doll can see what I’ve done and get ideas.
      (So like, if I repaint a Kissing Barbie, I might tag my post #barbie #kissingbarbie #vintagebarbie and so on.)

  65. Business Catto*

    I am FASCINATED by this letter and we definitely need an update. I want to read the entirety of her social media diaries.

  66. AKchic*

    If you choose to give her a final warning, extend her probationary period. She’s already not really working out, so extending her probationary period is a no-brainer.

    Outline exactly what she needs to do improve in *all* areas. Make it very clear: One more post that violates the social media rule and she will be terminated. Period. Probationary period or no. Outside of the pandemic, she would have already been terminated and this is merely a courtesy due to the pandemic. If she tries to argue it at all, terminate immediately. She’s already insubordinate and you don’t *have* to keep her.

    Make sure you have screenshots of all of the posts prior to the meeting. She may go back and alter them to try to argue after the fact that you didn’t see what you think you saw. In fact, do go back and check anyway. If she alters them, get screenshots and make notes of that for the file. There is no more mercy on this. She could hurt the reputation of the company, which in turn could hurt the business prospects and could lose money for everyone. She isn’t worth it. If you can, have someone else check her posts, in case she tries to hide anything from you or the coworkers specifically.

    After she is separated from the company (because I am anticipating this), it might be prudent to consider a cease and desist letter from the corporate attorney, depending on how far/long she takes her complaining after the fact.

  67. CyaneaCapillata*

    At the newspaper where I worked, or really, almost anywhere, I’d be lucky to get a first and final warning after tagging a coworker in a negative post. Even when writing negative ish posts on my friends-only wall when work pushes me over the edge, which I admittedly should not be doing, those incidents get translated into vaguebooking about my “church.” I’m a Millenial, for reference.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Also Millennial.

      If I ever post about work – and it’s rare, because much of what I do is confidential – it tends to be “argh Excel isn’t doing what I want it to” or “I would like a medal for not telling $GovernmentWebsite to get stuffed”, in other words very generic and more about the experience of working than my actual job. You wouldn’t be able to recognise any case or client even if you knew them.

      The idea of naming let alone tagging the person or organisation you’re complaining about is absolutely mind-blowing, and not in a good way.

  68. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

    OP, I’m curious about the lukewarm references that she got. Did any of them mention social media specifically, or did they imply attitude issues? The stuff you mentioned about her training time spent in-office hints at major issues that would be at play regardless of whether she’s raking you guys over the coals online.

  69. James*

    “She was very opinionated about how we did things and doesn’t really want to participate in feedback or training.”

    The social media thing is bad, but this is the real problem, in my mind. Feedback and training are job requirements for any job. I’ve worked as a cashier, a fry cook, an environmental sampler, a paleontologist, a lab tech, and a farm hand, and every job required 1) a training period, and 2) responding to formal and informal feedback. Things change. Even something as minor as time sheets can change. And those require training.

    It sounds an awful lot like this employee is used to being considered indispensable, and uses her expertise to obtain job security. That attitude can be poisonous to a team, and will necessarily prevent this employee from functioning well within your organization.

    1. JMB*

      This is my BIGGEST gripe ever. I supervise a team and I do a lot of the training. I don’t interview or make hiring decisions. I can tell very quickly when someone will not work out. A far too common reason is when the person is new, but is too opinionated about how things are done.

      I feel like this is either really common, or my director sucks at hiring – because I have come across this level of entitlement way more times than I can count. Feedback is great and opinions are welcome, don’t get me wrong – but not when you are unwilling to observe and learn. I would much rather someone ask why something is done, instead of say, no, it should be done this way or that way.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah. It’s one thing to ask questions when you’re new and don’t understand the processes properly. If the response is “because we’ve always done it this way”, there may be room for the newcomer to push back just a little bit, as long as they’re willing to accept that while doing something in another way might make their own job easier, it would make things much harder for someone else in the company. Sometimes overall optimization means that things are sub-optimal somewhere in the chain.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Yes, all of this. She refuses to learn – it doesn’t matter how good her good features are, if her bad features can never improve.

  70. aepyornis*

    Evidently there’s already plenty enough reasons to let her go, but here is one more, which is a reversal of sorts of the “do not let people go during a pandemic if possible at all” rule: with the current unemployment levels, there certainly are plenty of qualified candidates who would do the job well, be very happy to have the position, and would manage to comply to reasonable policies.

  71. Lizzo*

    She needs to go. Now.
    You and your team have limited energy to expend on things that are not absolutely essential. Everyone is in survival mode, and is therefore much more sensitive, and I don’t think you or your team will be able to withstand this drama without it crushing everyone’s spirits and performance.
    There are people who deserve some extra grace right now, and she is not one of them. You’ve done your due diligence with giving her chances. Don’t waste your empathy on her for one minute longer. Fire her and move on.

  72. Laura H.*

    I’m super walk on eggshells about what I post (company related or not)- this is absolutely banana crackers!

    How on earth?

    OP, reevaluate, and fire if necessary. (It’s not my place to tell you to fire someone outright. I would, but that’s me…)

  73. Jedi Squirrel*

    Well, at least she hasn’t complained about anyone bringing cheap-ass rolls to work.

  74. JMB*

    What this person is doing is really dangerous. Years ago, I made an inappropriate joke on a Facebook post. It wasn’t the worst comment in the world, more cringey thinking back on it.

    A few days later, I was sitting at my desk when suddenly I receive an email with the title “please be aware,” by one of the managers without anything in the body of the email. I scrolled down and to my absolute horror, I saw that all of the upper managers, sales managers, etc were emailed in regards to my comment

    At the bottom of the email trail, was a man who wrote a direct message my company Facebook page, saying that I am a threat to my company’s image and that I am “slandering local clients.” From what I saw, he did not actually say what my comment was, but he did say where I posted it.

    Yeah – my comment was cringey and really not a good joke at all, but I didn’t slander anyone. This person was obviously offended by my comment, but he took things further and said that I am slandering local clients. I was absolutely shocked that someone would actually say that I did this.

    Thankfully, I was never in trouble for it. But I addressed it with my manager the next opportunity I could, which was first thing the next morning.

    I re-evaluated my social media behavior, but he made sure to take my last name off of Facebook and I NEVER put my work info on my profile again.

    What this person is doing is really dangerous because not only is she over-sharing, but she is involving other people at the company – as well as the company name itself – against their will. What if she says something really offensive in, say, a local Facebook group, or comments on a local news page, someone disagrees with her and decides to dig through her profile, and sees who she is tagging? those people could become a target now

  75. Dramanethis*

    Good grief! There’d be no question. She wouldn’t last another day on my team. She’s on probation so you don’t need a “reason”.

  76. General von Klinkerhoffen*


    Three formal warnings in her first four weeks?! Responding to those warnings about social media use by doubling down and posting about the meetings on social media?

    You do realise you don’t have to wait for the review to show her the door, right? It was a kindness to give her multiple opportunities to change her ways, but she took none of them.

  77. Quizzigal*

    Hackers use people’s employment info on social media to target companies – that’s one reason for the social media policy. She’s a security risk and needs to go, especially since it’s clear she has no intention of changing her behavior.

    1. Wintermute*

      This is a good point, especially if she’s spilling the beans on anything that could be used to compromise her, her boss or anyone else in the course of her ranting. You’d be amazed how such little details like when someone starts working, or when they’re in meetings, could be used to aid in an attack (for instance, webmail credentials are golden to a hacker, knowing someone isn’t going to be at work or will be in a meeting means you’re much safer if you use their webmail account to do a little internal spearfishing or deploy a stealth trojan using a priviledged internal email account to evade “do not load images from external sources” protections).

      In addition to linking them to your company, which is a minor risk in and of itself– if her name if First Middle Lastname I bet that FLastname@company, FMLastname@company, first.lastname@company, firstlastname@company or FLastnam@company (last name truncated to 8 characters) are a valid internal email and her webmail and potentially SSO credentials are that plus one of the top 100 common passwords.

  78. HR in the city*

    Repeated violation of a very clear cut policy and all within her first 30 days. She needs to go and spell it out very clearly why she is being let go. She probably won’t understand that the policy has a reason and whether she agrees with it or not isn’t the point the point is as an employee you have to follow the policy. This sort of reminds me of the secretary at my kids school. She has worked there for three years now and I’ve seen the school literally hire three people to do the job that one secretary used to do before the current employee was hired. If this person doesn’t think a part of her job is important she just doesn’t do it and instead of her boss telling her this is part of your job do it they just hire another person. Now as a taxpayer the wastefulness makes me mad. And as an HR person it makes me mad that someone doesn’t tell her to do her job. It also doesn’t help that my daughter told me the secretary spends her time online shopping all day but I digress.

  79. Fitrah*

    This is in no way implying your employer has any fault here, but I was curious about the “don’t list us as your employer on social media” part of your policy, independent of this issue you’re having. What is the reason for that? Just wondering. Do a lot of companies do this?

    1. Eliza*

      It makes sense if you work in an industry where clients care a lot about the kind of people you have working for you. One company I’ve worked with has received bomb threats because someone didn’t like the opinions that an employee expressed on social media, and unfortunately while that’s an extreme example there are plenty of lesser incidents that reflect the same mindset; it’s fairly routine in my industry for people to dig up stalker-ish levels of information about people working for a company and try to smear the company’s name based on what someone associated with them said or did did.

    2. Detached Elemental*

      My company does this because only certain staff are authorised to publicly comment on the company’s behalf. If staff don’t list their employer, it reduces or eliminates the risk that our comments are seen as the company’s official position.

      I work for a very large, very well known company.

  80. Wintermute*

    My only suggestion is to loop in legal sooner than later, this is the kind of employee that may be a problem.

    I don’t have enough evidence to know why she’s doing what she is. If it’s because she’s an ardent if somewhat misguided free speech advocate, there’s a risk you face a lawsuit over this and should be prepared to prove the content of the posts does not constitute a protected labor activity. You CAN fire someone for critical comments especially if they are tagging you in them to raise their profile, but there is also a fine line between unprotected general complaining, and protected attempts to engage with co-workers to protest working conditions. However the NLRA does not protect her ability to communicate with non-coworkers except in very narrow circumstances (such as in collaboration with at least one other employee in an attempt to publicize dangerous working conditions or labor law violations).

    Your legal team can help prepare a selection of those posts NOW (before she makes them private on advice of a lawyer) and save copies in such a way that they would meet the standards of evidence, which will help you show that her complaining was not within the bounds of her protected labor rights.

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