my coworker lied to me, warning someone before reporting them, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My coworker lied to me

I was hired about six months ago at a prestigious organization in my field. My coworker, Fergus, started at the same time in a similar position. We work closely and we get along well, for the most part. I consider him something of a friend — or, at least, I felt that way until recently.

Fergus and I have been working on a big report that needs to get done in the next few months. Last week, I had been working on other projects and logged back our the shared file to begin work again. We were sitting together and as I was logging in, he said (unprompted) that he had been hard at work on the report and updated and added information to a key section. I noticed that very few things had been changed, so I checked the version history and found that he had worked on it for a total of two minutes in the 24 hours before I checked.

So I asked him in the moment about what exactly he had done on the report, and this is where I caught him in the lie. He doubled down and said that he had changed four or five big things, and when I pushed and said those sections looked exactly the same, he said that he had been working on it offline. I asked him firmly to always work on the shared document and moved on in the conversation. None of the changes that he said he had made have been since that conversation.

I’m having a hard time letting the lie go. The lie was small and not very significant in the long run, and I don’t want to harm my working relationship with my closest coworker. I haven’t said anything else about it to him or anyone else at the office. But I hate being lied to, especially because he doubled down when I honestly wouldn’t have cared if he hadn’t done the work in the first place. I’ve also had issues with him in the past for being oddly obsessed with delineating the work that he did versus the work we did together, and for taking a lot of the credit in front of our bosses. I’ve started standing up for myself more and being less collaborative and more clear about assigning credit to myself.

How should I handle this? I’m paying a lot of attention to any potential future lies that he might make, but is that the best way? Or should I speak with him directly?

The most important response is what you’re already doing — being aware that Fergus is willing to lie to protect or promote himself, paying more attention to it in the future, and being more assertive about getting credit for your work and less willing to collaborate since he’s a credit hogger.

But I don’t know that there’s a lot to be gained from calling him out more directly for this lie. In a way, you already did call him out — you made it clear that his claim didn’t align with what you were seeing and you gave him firm instructions for the future. There’s a good chance that he already realizes you caught him, and it might be better for your relationship — since you have to keep working together — to let him save a small bit of face by not spelling it out explicitly. That said, if something like this ever happens again, I would not give him that same grace; at that point you’d need to have a more direct “you told me X but it was Y” conversation.

2. Should I warn someone that I’m reporting them before I do it?

I’m currently expecting my first child and my husband and I are taking prenatal classes through the hospital. The teacher is DREADFUL. Some of what she says is garden-variety eyeroll-inducing stuff (suggesting harmless but robustly disproved home remedies), some of it is absurd (when she said that you have to pull the crib an inch away from the wall because otherwise there won’t be enough air for the baby), and some of it is dangerous, like giving conflicting and misleading information on sleep safety and SIDS.

I’m a physician myself (not a pediatrician or a obstetrician), and I’m able to identify, access, read, and critically appraise which studies she’s referring to when she prefaces every ridiculous thing with “Studies show…” That’s a pretty fortunate position that most people aren’t in, and I’m angry and concerned that she’s dispensing hokum as a representative of the hospital. I want to write a letter with feedback to whoever is her supervisor.

Should I let her know about my concerns? I feel like going over someone’s head and blindsiding them with strong negative feedback is not the best practice, but at the same time, there’s no response that she could give me that would make me NOT write the letter — I just don’t trust her to take my feedback seriously and act on it.

I think either way is fine! When someone who’s supposed to be a subject matter authority is using that authority to spread serious misinformation, there’s no obligation to address it with her first. That’s doubly true when you’re a student and they’ve been tasked with teaching you, because there are power dynamics there even when everyone involved is an adult. That said, if you’d like the opportunity to discuss the issue with her first, you could — and could frame it as, “I’m concerned enough about this that I’m contacting the hospital and I wanted to share my concerns with you directly as well.” But this is bad enough that it’s fine to skip that step and go straight over her head.

Read an update to this letter here.

3. How to get a coworker to stop asking me for so much help

I have a coworker I need to draw boundaries with and I have no idea how to do it kindly. She joined my company about a year ago. We do not work on the same team, but we have some overlapping clients.

We are both lawyers with experience. She went to schools far more prestigious than mine, so I expected her to be pretty self-assured in her role. But ever since she arrived, she checks in with me about almost every step in many (all?) of her assignments, from what to do about X problem down to how to word emails to clients. I initially thought it had to do with being new to the job, so I wanted to help her out. (I’m not sure why she doesn’t ask her fellow teammates instead.) But it has never improved. I have so much of my own work to deal with and really don’t have the time or mental capacity for this.

I don’t know if this is imposter syndrome or she’s just suffering from a complete absence of self-confidence, but I feel it must be something like that, so I want to refuse further help in the nicest possible way. Any ideas?

She might be asking you instead of someone on her own team because you’ve been so helpful in the past, so she sees you as a resource that’s there for the taking and doesn’t realize she’s imposing on you (and feels comfortable doing it because you’ve been kind to her). Or it could be more machiavellian than that; she could be deliberately hiding her lack of knowledge/confidence from her own team. Either way, the next step is the same.

Say this: “Going forward, you should bring questions like this to your team. My schedule is really busy right now and I won’t be able to keep helping.”

Then if she still keeps sending you questions, just reply with: “Sorry, can’t help — I’m swamped. You should check with (her manager’s name).”

4. Is my new boss signaling she doesn’t trust me?

My boss of many years recently retired. Before he left, he promoted me to handle many of his responsibilities. I was given a raise, a direct report, and more responsibility than I’d ever had before. However, my new boss (previously my grandboss) seems determined to walk back this promotion as if she hadn’t okayed these plans in the first place.

For instance, a couple pay periods after my promotion, my former boss announced that he would be giving me an end-of-year merit-based raise of X%, but my new boss later clarified that it would be an X% increase compared to my previous salary, not my new one — which added up to a raise of just a few dollars annually (think double digits). This felt harsh, especially since another team member received a larger raise proportionately despite being in poor standing and on a PIP.

Also, after my direct report resigned, my new boss decided that his replacement will now report to her — a replacement who I hired, trained, and began to manage. She’s even decided that this replacement will take over some of my duties. I feel like I’m caught in a tug-of-war between my lovely former boss and my new one, and all of the things my former boss wanted me to have have been taken from me. My gut is telling me I should get out because my new boss doesn’t appear to trust me. My performance is great, and my old boss never did anything but sing my praises, but the signals I’m getting from New Boss seem very negative. Can you give me a reality check?

Yeah, these are not good signals. At a minimum, she’s not as sold on you to handle the new role as your old boss was … and it’s possible she’s preparing to push you out (I’m particularly concerned about her giving some of your new responsibilities to your new hire). But before you conclude anything, talk with her about it! You should be able to be pretty direct: “I wanted to talk with you about how things are going in my new role. A few things have given me the sense that you might have concerns about my work, like lowering my raise and moving Jane from reporting to me to reporting to you. If you have concerns about my work, I’d definitely want to know.”

It’s possible she just has a different vision for the role now that your old boss is gone  — especially if, for example, he had a lot more experience or a significantly closer working relationship with her than you do — but either way, it’s time for an explicit conversation about what’s going on. (It’s actually past time, but that’s on her.)

5. Can my employer make me use vacation time for jury duty?

I got called in for jury duty and was picked to be on a jury. The judge anticipates the trial to last 10 days. My work contract is vague when it comes to employee jury duty terms but it basically says we will be paid even if we are serving jury duty. I am a salaried employee. The company owner is upset that I was picked to serve on a jury and wants me to use all of my 10 days of PTO to cover my jury duty. I don’t feel this is fair, but is it legal? I’m in California.

It’s quite crappy — especially since you could end up using all your vacation time for the year, depending on the length of the trial — but it’s legal. Some states prohibit employers from making you use vacation time during jury duty, but California is not one of them (surprisingly, given that they’re normally ahead of the curve on employee protections). California requires employers to give you time off to be on a jury, but that time can be unpaid or charged to your PTO. (Here’s a complete list of state laws on this.)

{ 331 comments… read them below }

  1. Viki*

    I always let the person I’m reporting, know they’re being reported. It doesn’t change me reporting them, it’s not up for a discussion. I just believe it is unkind to let someone’s manager/boss surprise them. I don’t know how their boss communicates, but I can make sure they know I am unimpressed to the point I am reporting them.

    1. AcademiaNut*

      The important exception is when it’s some sort of legal/ethical/financial/safety issue that needs to be reported and investigated, and where warning them would give them time to destroy evidence or cover their tracks.

      1. Viki*

        Yes, I usually tell them after I’ve already emailed their manager and gotten acknowledgement. But in my line of work it tends to be internal ethics/policy rather than legal/financial but that’s important to know/consider.

      2. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Yeah – I fear that if LW2 let’s her know she’s about to get reported, the teacher will “warn” her bosses about the lady who is soooooo bothered by pregnancy hormones she will make up false reports or something.

        1. Artemesia*

          This. I would make an appointment with the boss and do this in person. Briefly lay out your concern that she is teaching old wive’s tales and unsafe practices to new parents who unlike you do not have the medical background to know better. And follow up with a formal written complaint. I would not ‘warn her’ so she can go poison the well on you.

          If this were a single ignorant point then talking to her about it would make sense. But this is someone who apparently is shoveling out a lot of misinformation in such a way that a minor correction here or there is not likely to make her more effective. It is dangerous to have someone like this teaching parents of newborns.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            In this particular case – yes, do not warn the person, they are to the point of misrepresenting medical studies. Just make an appointment with the supervisor, and if you can also bring the studies she is misrepresenting with you. This is critical safety information the hospital needs to know about.

            1. pope suburban*

              Agreed. I feel that once someone is at a point of distorting reality that they are misrepresenting measured and proven facts (and as an aside, aah! That she’s doing it in this specific context is so scary and crappy), they are at a point where they cannot be trusted generally. I worry that tipping her off will make her defensive in a way that might impact the other parents in the class (“This is right, don’t question me, do it this way or else you’re bad parents”) or that might motivate her to try to cover her butt with her employer. Hand her in and let her bosses do what they need to do. And if they don’t, then I’d say the stakes here are high enough to press it a bit more- though of course you’ve got to do what’s going to be the best for you, and if it’s going to be a giant, protracted battle, it’s fair to decide that now is not the time.

        2. Zennish*

          This. I don’t think there is an ethical duty to notify someone that their dangerous and/or irresponsible behavior may have consequences. At best, it would only give them the opportunity to do damage control in a situation that really needs to be addressed without that.

      3. Afa Skytut*

        Absolutely agree about the exceptions. We had an American anti-LGBT hate group activist come to my country to try to stop gay marriage before it was legalized. Her arguments were mostly anecdotes and junk science. She didn’t realize she was breaking the law by holding workshops around the country as well as speaking at a political rally. (Both are illegal if you are on a visitor’s visa. Even volunteering is considered illegal unless you are a resident.) I reported her to the local labor bureau, they forwarded it to the immigration bureau, and she ended getting banned from the country. It also turns out US non-profits (she was representing a non-profit that was actually a fake “children’s rights” group set up to harass LGBT parents) are forbidden from engaging in foreign political lobbying, so basically US taxpayers were subsidizing her trips abroad to spread hate and lies.

        1. Can’t think of a name*

          Bravo for reporting this nonsense. Glad to hear there were consequences.

      4. Anonym*

        This absolutely has ethical and health/safety implications. It is urgent, and there is no call for warning. She’s not someone who’s ineffective at teaching, or a bit rude. This person should not be allowed to do this job at all. Consider the possibility of parents following her unsafe advice around SIDS. Have children already been harmed?

        1. Artemesia*

          THIS. If she were making one mistake, then warn and let her know the correct info — this is someone who is not fit to be in this position who is filling the heads of sometimes naive new parents with nonsense that may be dangerous. She is also a major embarrassment to the institution as more sophisticated parents being fed this idiocy are going to heavily judge the hospital for putting this person in this position.

        2. PT*

          Yes. Do not warn her. Do put it in writing, with your full professional degrees appended to the signature, so the hospital’s made aware of the potential liability they are absorbing by continuing to keep her in their employ.

          Do include at the bottom of your email that you’d like to schedule a call or meeting to discuss this further so you can be assured it was handled.

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      In this case, that would take away the opportunity for the hospital to sit in on the course and observe it for themselves, though, if that might be something they wanted to do.

      1. GraceRN*

        In this situation, it’s unlikely to take away the opportunity even if the hospital sat in on the course. Someone who allows herself to utter something as ridiculous and cringe-inducing as the crib thing (amongst other super concerning things) usually won’t have the self-awareness to recognize they’re wrong and self-correct. At least, not that fast.
        Besides, the hospital can (and should) look closely at this instructor’s class evaluations. Chances are they will see negative comments from the class participants. Many people don’t feel comfortable challenging the instructor face to face, but they would feel comfortable to put their concerns in the evals.

        1. Amaranth*

          My main concern would be the people who are relying on this instructor for their information in good faith. You don’t want a new parent to have wrong information about SIDS or safety issues, so I hope OP goes to the course supervisor and talks to them soon.

        2. Ash*

          I have had two kids – each in a different state and hospital system. Went to the expecting parent training session for both (the second time because I wanted to see the labor and delivery rooms beforehand). I heard gross misinformation both times. The second time I knew it was misinformation and pushed back on some of it in the classroom but I don’t think it had any effect on the teachers future lesson content.

          Please report this!

        3. Decima Dewey*

          Report this. Misinformation on health and safety issues can have repercussions. People who have taken the class may be acting on the misinformation!

        4. GraceRN*

          Oh yes, and just coming back to clarify, my take on this is definitely report. Nurse-midwife here appalled by this. I made additional comments down thread.

          1. TardyTardis*

            Not to mention potential legal liability for parents who place reliance on this instructor and something bad happens.

      2. Gumby*

        Do hospitals not provide the course materials / outline / content already? Are we sure it’s the instructor choosing what to present?

        It seems weird that the course content would be different for each instructor; I would hope that there would be more consistency across multiple instructors and the way to have that is for the hospital itself to control content. If that is the case, complaining about the *instructor* won’t improve the *content*.

        1. Self Employed*

          Based on other classes I’ve had, I suspect the hospital writes the syllabus and might even provide slides… but the instructor is embellishing. I doubt the hospital has a script that instructors are required to read like in-flight safety procedures. (And unless Southwest Airlines writes jokes for the FAs, I think they do a bit of improv as well as the required information.)

          This is not a class per se, but I had a phone appointment last month or so with a clinic diabetes dietician who doesn’t seem to have retained anything from 25 years of CME classes. She gave me so much misinformation that when I contacted my own doctor, the doctor asked for the dietician’s name to go to her supervisor. Yes, the dietician was using the official CDC handout–but her interpretation was off. The information she was telling me on the phone was from the 1990s when my mom was diagnosed with T2D and apparently was NOT what I was supposed to hear.

    3. Birch*

      I disagree with this, because I don’t think it’s helpful. Best case scenario you get a generally good employee on a bad day, and even reasonable people are not going to be in a state to constructively accept complaints from strangers. Worst case scenario you’re going to get someone who will either make a scene or try to cover their tracks by destroying evidence or making up a story about you to discredit your report. The bad behaviour has already been done, the person can’t change that or change your mind at that point, so it becomes a “FYI I’m reporting you” as you hightail it out the door, which also feels like a slap in the face, and in any case you’re still in the charged situation, so again even a reasonable person is not going to be able to think as clearly as they will later. I would much rather hear a complaint from my boss, who has the authority and hopefully managerial skills to address the issue with me constructively, than from a customer in the middle of providing a service where I may not be able to even absorb the info properly and where it feels like… OK, what am I supposed to do about this right now? In OP’s situation, they want to complain about the content of a course someone is giving, so it’s unlikely that the teacher would be willing to change the core of their teaching material. The higher-ups would be the ones making the hiring decisions, which is what OP wants to change, so expressing dissatisfaction to the teacher about their core ideas is not going to do anything.

      The exception I would make is if something actively dangerous is happening, I would definitely call it out in the moment. Not because I thought the person would change their behaviour or take the criticism, but so other people nearby would be aware that something dangerous is happening.

      1. Stina*

        The LW says some of the things being taught are potentially deadly. Most new parents don’t know which resources to trust to do their own research and they should be able to trust a teacher supplied by their care provider (doctor, hospital) would have the best & safest facts at hand. If you weren’t a doctor or childcare expert, would you have known the danger of her info? Report the educator as soon as possible and use your professional clout if needed.

        1. Birch*

          Read my response again. I said to report but not confront the teacher, because this teacher is not going to change. To get any action, you have to get the hospital to hire someone else.

          1. Artemesia*

            And IMHO it should be done face to face — go talk to the person in charge with examples in hand and using your position as doctor. Yes do it in writing as well — but make the point face to face since we are talking about dangerous advice here not just poor teaching.

            1. Sparrow*

              I personally would be more inclined to avoid the conversation, but in this case I do think it could be advantageous. If the boss is able to directly engage with OP and see that she is thoughtful and knowledgeable about this, it will be harder for the instructor to argue that this is a know-it-all mom who is just being difficult and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    4. HannahS*

      Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel. I feel a little bad blindsiding her, even though I’m increasingly feeling like she’s not someone whose going to meaningfully take feedback.

      1. Anonym*

        Please don’t feel bad for her. Think of the children (it’s hard to say that exact phrase without sounding like a parody, but truly). Her feelings just don’t matter when she’s out there spreading misinformation that can put children in danger.

      2. FallingSlowly*

        My thinking is similar to Birch’s comment above.
        When you are in the class (assuming you still have more classes to attend), call out in the moment any misinformation you feel is dangerous, so that the other new parents get to hear that correction, and make clear that you are a physician.

        Also go make your report about her to the hospital, and don’t worry about telling her that’s coming.

        Then she has opportunity to listen and correct her teaching of the class if she is at all willing to do so, but if (more likely) she pushes back, you won’t have alerted her to the point of making it hard for the hospital to verify your complaint.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        In this case it’s an adult who should supposedly know better versus the chance for a tragedy with a mostly helpless infant. Please report this teacher – take the studies she is misusing with you and when you report her be very upfront that you are a doctor – that will make it clear you do know how to read the studies she’s mangling.

    5. CB*

      @2, Are you sure the advice is actually bad for the general public? What you make sound absurd pulling the crib away from the wall or there will “not be enough air for the baby” actually is not bad advice. A Kaiser study (and many studies) do show that additional air flow reduces SIDS. It’s not like the instructor is going to whip out the studies during a pre-natal class or talk about medical details to a general audience. I understand you’re a doctor, but the class has to be set to the lowest common denominator. It might be worth considering whether just because it’s not useful or seems ridiculous to you, that applies to the class in general.

      1. TheseOldWings*

        This is kind of where I am. The crib thing sounds pretty dumb, but it’s not actually harmful. I would be concerned if she’s giving out recommendations for crib bumpers to buy, or saying that it’s not really a problem to put stuffed animals in the crib with a newborn. But if she’s saying something like, there are studies showing that bed sharing isn’t a problem if you do it correctly, well that’s true. And if you haven’t had a baby that won’t sleep unless they are right next to you, it’s easy to see what the AAP says about bed sharing and conclude that anyone saying otherwise is obviously grossly misinformed and needs to be reported.

        I personally did not find the new parent class to be necessary because I did a lot of researching on my own and once I had my kids, it’s more about learning what works for your specific baby and their personality.

      2. GraceRN*

        Nurse-midwife here and I used to be a charge nurse in post-partum/newborn nursery, and I taught many post-partum care and newborn safety classes. Instructors teaching these classes need to make sure the teaching content is aligned with recommendations of relevant professional organizations. In the US, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) , Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are some of these organizations. There are many ways to present information that meets the health literacy level of the general public, but is still aligned with the current recommendations without sounding absurd to parents with a healthcare background. If the teaching came out sounding ridiculous to them, then the quality of teaching probably has room for improvement.

        The instructors don’t need to whip out the studies during class. Doing so wouldn’t likely to be helpful to most parents. However, these organizations already put out brochures and websites targeted towards the general public, and that’s the sources the instructors can and should use. When I taught those classes, I showed them these brochures and went over the information in them, clarified any questions, and I pointed them towards any additional resources.

        Currently, the AAP recommendations for reducing the risk of SIDS and suffocation do not include pulling the crib an inch away from the wall.

        There are also quite a few commenters on here who are not from a healthcare background (They didn’t say they are) but still found the crib advice to be absurd.

        1. OP1/HannahS*

          Thanks, Grace. I agree. I don’t care if she says things that are really simplified, or even if she’s selecting which organizations her recommendations align with to find things that align with her ideology (for example, using the WHO breastfeeding guidelines vs. our federal/provincial guidelines to recommend it for a longer period of time). But she’s straight-up misrepresenting evidence and giving advice that’s either wrong or so confusing that you can’t tell what’s a formal recommendation, what’s her opinion/preference, and what’s just made up.

        2. learnedthehardway*

          I don’t think it would hurt to pull a crib an inch or so out from a wall (for one thing, having circulating air prevents condensation and mold from forming – someone should have mentioned that to the people I rented from in university).

          However, when it’s wrong and potentially harmful advice, that’s another issue entirely. Spouse and I quit going to our pre-natal classes because the information was so ridiculous and actively harmful. Eg. the instructor was vehemently against pain control or medical interventions, and advised using crystals for “good energy”. If I’d have the presence of mind, I’ve had made a complaint to the organization that did the training, but it was the middle of SARS and there wasn’t anyone to complain to, as the hospital was basically closed down (really odd, but true).

    6. SnappinTerrapin*

      I frequently have conversations with nurses and doctors when their treatment of my son’s diabetes doesn’t align with what we were taught by several good endocrinologists (and is also, surprise, surprise, not achieving the desired results.)

      On the other hand, when I hear hospital staff discussing HIPAA protected information in front of people who don’t have the need to know, I report that directly to the hospital administration, in detail, and let them have the necessary private conversations about liability.

      In the context of this letter, I lean toward the latter approach.

      Confronting the instructor sows even more confusion in the minds of less informed patients. And that’s even more important than the possibility the instructor will try to cover for herself.

  2. EPlawyer*

    #5 Employers please do not do this. It might be legal but it tanks morale. Also our judicial system relies on citizen juries. If people have to use their vacation days to serve they will resent it. Which is not good in a juror. Please be good corporate citizens and support your employees picked for juries.

    1. Redd*

      And remember, some day you could be the one on trial. Do you really want a bunch of jurors who are more than happy to vote against you, facts notwithstanding, if it means they don’t lose any more vacation days?

      1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        I get what you’re saying, but the jury doesn’t really decide when the trial is over. They’re there until the lawyers have presented their cases, or until the judge says they’re done.

        1. Velawciraptor*

          But they will rush deliberations if they just want to be done already. I know too many judges who keep juries ’til all hours of the night to force a decision rather than just adjourning and reconvening in the morning. It’s a real concern.

          Where I am, when we’re doing jury selection, usually the judge will ask if doing jury duty will pose a financial hardship that would distract people from the trial or deliberations. But that’s not a universal practice and different judges have different standards for what they consider a hardship or a distraction. It’s far better and in the interests of justice for employers to pay their employees for jury time as a universal practice. The business benefits from operating in a community with the rule of law, and juries are part of what makes that possible. It’s a cost of doing business.

        2. Don’t Hide my straightener*

          My husband practices criminal law. In short trials, half day DWI trials, etc., he says 9 times out of 10 the verdict will come down before the end of the school day. The 10th time, it’s usually before dinner.

        3. Hi there*

          Hello, I am a criminal defense lawyer. Of course the jury “decides” when a trial is over. When they issue a verdict, the trial concludes almost immediately thereafter. I have worked on a case where the deliberations lasted for 7 months. In other cases, they might be done in an hour.

          1. A Person*

            How about: the jury doesn’t decide when deliberations begin. Does that work better?

    2. Well...*

      If our judicial system requires reasonably present and unresentful jurors, it should be codified into law that they can’t be forced to use up their PTO to do their civic duty.

      A system that relies on faith in good corporate citizens is… Not very robust.

      1. Bilateralrope*

        My experience with jury duty was that, while my employer would have let me take unpaid leave, my bank balance would not.

        Oh and to make matters worse, I work nights in a position where cover must be found. First I was scheduled to come in on a Monday. That was delayed to Thursday at the last minute. Thursday had the accused plead guilty just before jury selection.

        So I only got paid for a half day of jury duty, but had to miss a week of work for it.

        If an employer treated an employee like that, we would all be advising the employee to quit. But that’s not an option for jury duty.

        1. TardyTardis*

          We had a similar situation–yes, a co-worker was paid for jury duty, but she also had to come in later and make up work because of month end. She looked pretty tired when it was all over.

      2. Luke G*

        My employer actually moved in a positive direction on this. They’ve always given us our full normal pay while on jury duty, but used to require us to sign over our nominal jury duty compensation back to the company to offset that expense. A few years back they changed that policy and we now get to keep both checks. They said it was too much hassle and made employees feel too nickel-and-dimed for an ultimately trivial amount of money.

        1. WellRed*

          Give your tiny jury compensation to the company? How damn petty can they be? How is that even legal?

          1. Parenthesis Dude*

            The idea is that the company is willing to pay you your full day wages as if you had worked, so therefore they want your jury duty check. So, they would pay you your full day salary and you’d give them the $20 a day you get as a juror. Given that a full day salary making $15 is $120, that’s far better then say having them make you take unpaid leave if you’re a juror.

            But you can see how it’s not worth the hassle for $20.

            1. Les Cargot*

              $20? Wow! In my state, it’s (brace yourselves) five dollars ($5) per day. (A few years ago, they decided after three days we get $40/day.) The first couple of times I was on jury duty, I dutifully sent my $5 or $10 check to the company. Eventually they realized they weren’t even covering their expenses in processing the trivial checks my state hands out and let us keep the checks.

          2. Luke G*

            Parenthesis Dude has it exactly right, their logic was that Jury Pay is intended to mitigate the damage from missing work- if you don’t get paid while on Jury Duty the damage is to you, but since they were paying us 100% salary the damage was actually to the company, and therefore the Jury Pay should go to mitigate them paying us to do nothing.

            It made good logical sense but also seemed pretty petty, just in a bemusing way rather than an infuriating way. They finally realized that letting the employees keep the Jury pay was a win/win, buying a cheap morale boost AND avoiding wasting even more employee time sitting there dealing with extra paperwork.

              1. Texan In Exile*

                So it does seem petty to collect $11/day. (Which did not even cover my parking.)

                1. SpaceySteph*

                  Yeah ours was maybe $14/day and by the time I drive there (longer than my normal commute), pay to park, and buy lunch by the courthouse I was definitely out more than $14.

              2. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

                I got $6 a day and a parking validation.
                $6 doesn’t even cover lunch

              3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                I get $15 and parking or transit reimbursement (must show proof of which you used).

                Gotten two notices, was called once (and then quickly dismissed by the defense because of careers in my family) and dismissed without showing up the second time.

            1. Luke G*

              Legal? Sure. Logical? Yeah, since they were paying us in full. Angering anyone? Nah. But a little petty to add to a returning juror’s already-backlogged work pile to do extra paperwork in order to sign over an amount of money so small that it doesn’t even equal a rounding error in an average day’s orders? Maybe a bit.

              1. UKDancer*

                Yes I think definitely this would be irritating to people. The employer was absolutely in their legal rights to get the money back but it would probably be considered to be very petty if it was $11 which is £7.88. It would probably cost more in employee time to fill out the forms to allow them to have the money than they’d make in getting the money back.

                Letting them keep the money is probably a cheap morale boost.

            2. EPLawyer*

              Soooo if I get a paid day off and happen to win $30 in the lottery that day, I should pay back my company because I got that money while they were paying my salary?

              No. That is not how that works. The court is paying YOU for serving on jury duty, not your company. It’s MY money not the company’s. So no they don’t get MY money because they also happened to do the right thing and pay me my salary for being REQUIRED SUBJECT TO ARREST for showing up at the courthouse.

              1. MCMonkeyBean*

                Your logic doesn’t track because the lottery is unrelated to WHY you were out.

                It’s a petty practice, but their logic is sound.

          3. HigherEdAdminista*

            In New York, if our employers pays us during jury duty than the state keeps the money!

            1. Decima Dewey*

              In Philadelphia, civil services employees called for jury duty don’t get the jury duty stipend. The City pays us our regular pay. The court system asks if we work for the City when we arrive for the jury duty pool. At the end of jury duty, we get a certificate saying that we served, and we turn that in with our time card.

              Luckily, jury duty here is one day/one trial, although people may have to come for additional days of voir dire for some cases. I’m told that other jurisdictions can have people on call for the entire month!

              1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

                My (semi-rural) jurisdiction is one of those. We have very few trials though- I had a couple coworkers get “called” for jury duty, but they never had to actually report because there weren’t any trials on which they could serve. I grew up in a city and find the practice very strange.

                1. Rainy*

                  When I lived in a major midwestern city, jury calls in my county were cattle calls–they’d call 3-400 people every Monday morning and most of you would never even make it to the individual trial pool stage. I was excused for excessive education every time. (I was in university and then grad school, and so my questionnaire would say full time student, and most of the time that was it for me. Once I was asked what I studied and excused immediately afterward.

                  In my current city, we’re the most educated county (by level of education per capita) in the state and in the top 10 counties in the country, and that no longer works for me, but they also only call as many people as they expect to need for that week’s trials plus a few percent so it’s tighter all around. I’d be happy to sit on a jury but the time I got closest was for a violent crime and I was grateful when I was the very last person dismissed.

              2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                Last time my dad was called (also his first) he ended up being foreman on a two and a half week trial. He said he got $20 plus parking per day, which didn’t even cover the cost of gas to drive every day to the county capital.

                He said they did find against the defendant- their defense just made absolutely no sense is what my dad said.

          4. Yupthat'sright*

            The last time I was on jury duty, we were paid $16/day for our service. We were required to pay that back to our employer or have our pay docked for that $16.

          1. Luke G*

            Oof, we got compensation (based on half vs full days in court), mileage to the courthouse, AND validated parking.

            1. The Rural Juror*

              My mother, who is the court clerk in her county, will make sure the jurors are actually calculating their mileage correctly. For some reason, people regularly shortchange themselves! It’s a large county and some jurors might be driving 30 miles to get there. She’ll compare their address to the mileage they report. If she feels like they need more, she’ll ask them to double check it.

              1. Luke G*

                We didn’t have to report, they automatically calculated from our official address to the courthouse, with a form we could fill out if for some reason we were living at a different location at the time.

        2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          California person here, I think in my area the jury people ask if you’re getting paid by your company and if you are, you don’t get jury pay (which is like $10 a day). My employer seems to split the difference, they pay regular pay up to 10 days, after that it’s PTO or unpaid. This is my understanding rather than experience; I’ve only ever sat in the jury room for a day before being excused because the case was settled or dropped.

        3. Wandering*

          Interesting. I’ve served on juries in two jurisdictions. If your employer paid your regular wages while you served, you were not eligible for compensation from the court system in either. (And in the second, they sent out your compensation every two weeks, so it was a month before you got any payment from them.) Glad to know some jurisdictions do it better.

    3. Kara*

      Also, employees who used all their PTO for the year on jury service are not going to have the best wellbeing.

    4. Amaranth*

      Also, if the handbook mentions they will get paid then I’d argue that it doesn’t say “employee will be required to take PTO in order to get paid” and push to have it honored. Then suggest they update the handbook to be more precise.

      1. Snow Globe*

        I was going to comment on that. There may be no law against charging PTO, but if the employee handbook says that the employee will be paid for the time, without mentioning PTO, then there could be a legal implication that the employer is violating their own handbook (or contract as the LW says). IANAL. I’m curious what has your employer done when other employees have had jury duty for one or two days?

        1. LC*

          That’s a good question about how the employer has handled jury duty for other employees.

          I have absolutely no idea if there are any legal implications, but it would definitely have shitty-employer implications if they decide whether or not to pay for jury duty on a case by case basis.

          Would it be different during a slow time vs. a busy time? Based on boss’s mood? Based on whether or not you’re a favorite employee? Not having a consistent policy would put be somewhere between demoralized and infuriated (possibly both).

          And what do they do if the employee doesn’t have enough PTO?

        2. SuperDiva*

          I’m not an employment lawyer, but if you’re using PTO, you *are* being paid for the time. It’s a bad policy for employee morale, but under this arrangement, you’re receiving your full wage for the time you’re on jury duty, so I’m not sure the argument that the handbook says you’ll be paid may not hold much sway. Seems similar to employers that require you to max out all your PTO before maternity leave coverage kicks in, for example.

    5. Lora*

      Yeah, agree that employers SHOULD cover jury duty as PTO for howeverlong it takes. Both times I’ve been called, it was only for a day or two, though if I’d been chosen for the murder trial that would have lasted a week. However, Neighbor State has a low population density but not a low crime rate in a couple of their cities, plus an enormous case backlog – and a weird system where once you are called for jury duty, you aren’t simply dismissed if you aren’t picked for a trial, you can be assigned to another jury pool repeatedly until you do get picked for one if the particular court needs you that badly. They also do not accept the standard excuses that other states normally accept with no problem – basically you have to be on full time military duty or a police officer yourself, that’s about it. This process can take anywhere from weeks to months, and that’s a lot of time to have to take off all of a sudden with not much warning.

      1. Luke G*

        Yup. I got empaneled for a murder trial that stretched to just over two weeks- aside from the complexity of the case itself, we had delays to switch judges mid-trial (after the first one had a family crisis), a witness agreeing to testify then changing her mind and fleeing the courthouse, a spectator turning out to be a lawyer secretly coaching her son on the stand from the gallery… trials get weird. If I’d been watching my PTO bank drain or unpaid time pile up it would have been so hard to concentrate.

    6. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I acknowledge this is tangential (and if too much so, I understand its deletion, Alison).

      If your employer only covers a finite number of jury duty days and you’re called for jury duty, discuss it with the summoning authority up front. My employer only covers 3 days, and I planned to use 2 days of PTO to complete the week, and was told by the court after my service was over that I would have been dismissed outright for my employer not providing jury duty pay because they didn’t cover the entire week/trial period.

      1. Spotted Kitty*

        Yep, I got called for Grand Jury and my company only covers 5 days of jury duty. Grand Jury was going to last four weeks. I told them I’d only get paid for five days and they dismissed me, though they said I’d probably get called again in six months. Sure enough, I just got a trial jury summons the other day. Hoping I don’t actually get called in from the waiting room this time and they consider me done for the next several years.

        1. The Rural Juror*

          I kept getting summoned, but then dismissed the day before I was supposed to go in. Then my name would go back in the hat and I’d get called up again in 4-6 months. Finally, on the 4th summons, I actually went down to the courthouse to go in and find out the defendant had accepted a plea deal about an hour earlier, but it wasn’t enough time for them to call all the jurors. I asked a clerk if they were going to call me again in 4 months and she laughed and said, “No, you won’t go back in the pool for the next one.”

          Thank goodness! I think my boss was starting to think I was lying about jury duty. Although, up until the 4th time, I had never actually taken off any time for it. *shrug*

    7. Lacey*

      It’s so weird to me that any employers are doing this! I and several friends have been on juries in the last few years and every single one of our employers paid us for a full day of work as long as we brought in the little voucher we got when we went.

    8. notenoughhorses*

      At my last employer, my boss gave me a bunch of “tips” to not get selected and then acted like it was somehow my fault that I did (I did get selected 2 years in a row while I worked there, and actually did follow the tips to the extent that I could, like volunteering to be foreman the first time since boss thought I’d be sure not to get selected a second time. Did not make a difference.).
      So frustrating, especially because I believe pretty strongly that it’s part of our role as citizens to serve on juries (I’m a naturalized citizen, so maybe I feel more grateful for being allowed to be a citizen here).

      1. quill*

        The only time I’ve gotten called for jury duty was at Pig Lab From Hell and… I also got weird advice from my then-boss. With only a thin gloss of “dodge the jury draft for science”

      2. It's Growing!*

        The one time I actually made it to a jury pool, a whole bunch of people got off. They always ask each person (as far as I know) if they can be an impartial juror. These people declared that they couldn’t. Off they went. Easy peasy, guys! As long as you don’t mind be a lying weasel, under oath no less, it works like a charm.

        There were also people in that pool who answered that question in the negative who actually meant it, but they were easy to separate from the “I don’t want to”s. The case involved a guy who broke into a cop’s house and stole his gun, and there were several potential jurors who’d had bad experiences with cops and carried too much baggage to be a juror. I always wondered if the thief knew that the house he was breaking into was a cop’s house, or it was just bad luck. I was #74 in that pool and they went through 72 potential jurors before they had a full jury.

    9. crchtqn2*

      But you can’t really blame people if they don’t want to use PTO or go unpaid because of jury duty. I receive only 14 days of PTO in the year to use as both vacation and sick leave. I can’t do jury duty if it requires me to use even half of that PTO.

      I used to work at a job that gave us 19 days of paid jury duty days (even though their other benefits sucked) and even then, when my second day of jury duty was cut in half, they told me that i had to use PTO for the half day. Employers don’t make it easy to serve jury duty more than a day.

    10. AnonInCanada*

      Agreed 100% on that one. Here in Ontario, those who must serve on a jury are paid a pittance. This from the province’s website:
      Employers are required by law to give employees time off for jury duty and for people selected to serve as a juror. The law does not require employers to pay an employee’s salary during this time.

      “Jurors receive the following payment for serving on a jury:

      From day one to ten: No fee.
      From day 11 to 49: $40 per day.
      From day 50 to the last day of trial: $100 per day. Trials of this length are rare.
      If you’re serving as a juror and the trial lasts longer than 10 days, the court where the trial is taking place will arrange payment.

      There is no allowance for childcare expenses or parking.”

      $40 a day wouldn’t cover the cost of parking in downtown Toronto, and this only kicks in after 10 days of getting nothing. So, employers, please don’t make an employee’s civic duty to serve on a jury a financial burden on them!

      1. Forty Years in the Hole*

        Retired federal public servant here: Public Service Canada grants no paid jury leave, and – as AnonInCanada notes – adequate jury stipend is…lacking in most provinces/territories. And it really skews against poor/racialized communities who can’t afford to not get paid their living wage. Each province and territory has their own regs, ranging from a paltry $15/day to over $100, with variations in between depending on number of days served. Most indicate employers aren’t required to pay wages. Some cover certain expenses (child care, parking, tpt/mileage, meals & accn); others – bupkis.

  3. GraceRN*

    LW2: Nurse-midwife here. I’m absolutely appalled by this. I think you have great instinct about not trusting this person to act on your concerns. IME someone like this would instead argue with you, and label you as the “doctor who thinks they know it all.”
    Because this particular situation concerns patient safety, her feelings are not priority here. It’s much more important that she stops spreading misinformation as soon as possible.
    For her, she’s going to hear someone is concerned about her work anyway, it doesn’t matter if she hears it from you first or she hears it from her boss.
    If I were you, I would report it to her boss, and if there’s a Patient Experience department, I would also tell them too.

    1. Tuckerman*

      Agreed. I think most of these classes are taught by L&D nurses. At the childbirth prep class I attended, the nurse warned us about the flu vaccine! From my understanding, nursing education (at the pre-licensure level) doesn’t provide that much instruction on interpreting research. But nursing is one of the most trusted professions, so people are likely to believe the wrong/misinterpreted information. There’s also the power dynamic that the nurse teaching a class may be the nurse who helps you while you’re in labor, so students may hesitate to report someone teaching wrong information out of fear they’ll be retaliated against during a vulnerable time.

      1. HalloweenCat*

        My aunt was an L&D nurse for many years and based on how freely she shares her (wrong, misguided, and outdated) opinions on everything under the sun but especially child birth, I shudder at the things she has said to patients.

        1. Vienna Waits for You….*

          I was so grateful after I started hearing the nonsense my mom spouted at me while I was pregnant (she went on a very, very severe information diet after that) that she was never able to get the nursing job of her dreams – in either an L&D ward or in an OB practice. The lack of understanding or sympathy for any experience that was different from hers was just really depressing.

          1. Ally McBeal*

            My mom was an RN and LPC, and usually found jobs in psych wards, but openly talked about how she halved or quartered her own Rx meds “because she didn’t want to get addicted.” As if people frequently become addicted to/abuse meds that treat chemical imbalances or other mental health issues. As if there isn’t a big difference between mental health meds and, like, opiates.

            Why are so many nurses like this?

    2. Dust Bunny*

      Agreed, and I would not warn her first. Not warning her first doesn’t prevent her bosses from sitting in on the class to observe what she’s doing, but it might give her the opportunity to shape up momentarily and hide how badly she’s misinforming people. Report and let them deal with it.

    3. HannahS*

      I’m inclined to agree with you. Since I wrote the question, I made one comment (when voluntold to say something) that I wasn’t convinced by the studies that I’d read on that subject because they didn’t control sufficiently for confounding variables, and her reaction was to talk at length about how, actually, they do, and she’s read THOUSANDS of studies on it that prove her point, oh except you know how research goes, for every study that says it, you can find one that says the opposite!

      So…that means there isn’t conclusive evidence then, since the findings aren’t REPRODUCABLE. And then she made a side comment later in the class about “Yeah, since we’re reading studies with OP…” And I haven’t mentioned my job at all.

      1. Blackcat*

        Yikes! I would definitely complain without telling her.

        Unfortunately, childbirth education is filled with folks with very strong beliefs who aren’t interested in evidence that could challenge their ideas. I have some medical conditions that mean unmedicated birth/minimally medicated is the safest option for me, so I took a “natural child birth” class. And holy crap, the nonsense spewed! I am not a doctor, but I am a scientist! It was rough. I was able to take the information helpful *to me* and use it, but someone who was in the involuntarily unmedicated birth camp, it was rough.

        1. Susie Q*

          “Unfortunately, childbirth education is filled with folks with very strong beliefs who aren’t interested in evidence that could challenge their ideas”

          This 1000000000%. I tried to find a doula for my second birth but they all spouted off so much nonsense that had absolutely no foundation in scientific evidence. One even tried to convince me that I could have a home birth despite having a high-risk pregnancy and almost dying in my first LD.

          1. PizzaRat*

            Everything you say is absolutely true. But then on the other side, you have people who are every bit as unscientific, but who believe, heart and soul, that selfish hippy broads don’t care if they murder their baby, so long as they get their woo-woo crystal experience. And darn it, they had their kid flat on their back, strapped down, forceps and episiotomy, on scopolamine, and if you do any different you’re a baby murderer. It’s all about performative self-flagellation – “oh, I never once thought of myself! my uterus caught fire and the doctor accidentally stabbed my ovaries with a scalpel through my anus, so now I can’t defecate normally and I’m in agony every day of my life, but it’s all worth it for a healthy baby! I just don’t get women who do x or y.”

            There is no way to win. Everyone has these deep, psychological and cultural complexes about motherhood and maternity, and they all claim that “science” is on their side. It is really, really, really hard to sort out what are the actual evidence-based best practices, even for an uncomplicated, full-term birth. And you definitely can’t find them on the internet.

            1. Meep*

              Yeah, I had plenty of those in my life. There is very solid scientific evidence (and believe me, I did my research and actually read the studies) that every unnecessary intervention during labor will increase the risk of an avoidable C-section (with all the concomitant risks to the baby and mother). And yet, if you push back even slightly on this, you’re a selfish hippy broad who wants her birth to go exactly according to plan – silly you for even thinking of a birth plan, you silly brainless female!

          2. Blackcat*

            “I tried to find a doula for my second birth but they all spouted off so much nonsense that had absolutely no foundation in scientific evidence”

            I was really lucky to find a doula who was on board with my “If the drugs were safe for me, I’d like the drugs. But they are not. And your job will be to make sure everyone who walks in the room knows what drugs I cannot have (because no one reads charts!) and support me through not having drugs.”

            I got so frustrated at being offered drugs that were listed as allergies or contra-indicated in my chart. It was constant. While my doula kept it at bay in labor, the number of people who pushed opioids on me despite the “Patient is allergic to X, Y, and Z opioids” note in my chart. If I’m allergic to morphine, I’d rather not test if I’m allergic go Oxy!

            1. Meep*

              I hired my doula – a former L&D nurse who really knew her stuff – specifically in order for her to say “Please do not perform this intervention if it is not medically necessary” and “Please do not give this patient painkillers; she does not want any”, over and over and over again. She did a great job and I got the natural birth I wanted and got my birth plan respected. But I had to pay $2000 for the doula in order to get it.

            2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              AMEN to lots of not reading charts. The anesthesiologist at my first delivery and I nearly came to blows because he wanted to smear iodine all over my back – despite the fact my chart was the bright red of allergies (the actual folder was red instead of tan) and listed that I was allergic to both iodine and cillins……

              I was late getting to the OR (planned section for breach baby) because of his stupidity.

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                And no – I do not advocate violence towards anyone, but he wasn’t listening to me and I had no plans on dying on the table (my husband had been kicked out of the prep room by that same anesthesiologist to “calm me down so I’d listen to only him”). Later heard there had been several complaints about him…..why am I not surprised?

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Yeah – my first childbirth class teacher was big into natural childbirth and pushed it all through the class. She actually tried to deny me the forms to consent to an epidural for my delivery, because a “real woman” doesn’t need that. Didn’t even give it to me when I said I was going to need a C-section because of things none of her business. Had to take extra time off to go to the hospital and get the forms to sign (boss gave it to me and pretended she didn’t know about it – she was pretty pissed about why I needed it). Hospital staff were “not surprised” by my comments…….which, why is that person still teaching then!!!!!

      2. WantonSeedStitch*

        This is a little off-topic, but if you haven’t been there yet, I’m a huge fan of the website Evidence-Based Birth. It deals with all kinds of birth and pregnancy-related subjects, going through studies and pointing out what the studies actually say, where they are flawed (like when you talked about controlling for variables), etc. I found it incredibly helpful in making choices about what I wanted in my birth plan–though of course most of them whooshed out the window when I needed an emergency c-section. I’ve since found that “evidence-based” is pretty much the key phrase I look for in any parenting advice groups online, because they tend to cut through the woo and the old wives’ tales and stick with science.

      3. AnonyNurse*

        Please, please say something. I worked in a state’s newborn screening program and noticed a weird spike in parent refusals out of one hospital (like 5 families in a couple months vs 1-2 over the prior several years). I asked them about it and they looked into it and discovered all the families had taken birthing classes with the same person. They asked her (an RN who did the classes on a contract basis) what she was saying about newborn screening. She refused to tell them. She was fired on the spot. Fortunately, to my knowledge, none of the babies were harmed in this case.

        Birthing families are scared and vulnerable and extremely susceptible to misinformation that can cause them to make choices that will harm themselves or their baby when they think they are following guidance from a trusted professional.

      4. Vienna Waits for You….*

        Given those comments HannaS – please please report her. It’s not just nonsense being taught as gospel, it’s also being condescending to people who dare to question her. That’s a really bad combination in a teacher – particularly when patient safety is at risk.

      5. GraceRN*

        When I read your original letter, I had a sense this would have been her approach to addressing class participant comments about the availability and levels of evidence. I am not surprised to read that she is cherry-picking studies to make her opinions sound more solidly supported than they really are. It is extra disingenuous for her to say she read thousands of studies on any individual topics related to childbirth practices since there simply aren’t thousands of empirical studies available in the relevant bodies of literature.

        While there are many comments (including mine) to say you should report her without speaking to her first, I do believe you’re the best judge of how to move forward with this particular situation.

      6. learnedthehardway*

        Definitely report her. She needs to be re-educated, at a minimum. That’s part of the progressive discipline process for nurses where I live. It’s important for patient care quality.

        And there’s no reason to pre-warn her. I wouldn’t.

    4. Mental Lentil*

      Because this particular situation concerns patient safety, her feelings are not priority here.


    5. PizzaRat*

      I wonder how common this sort of thing is. My hospital pushed this breastfeeding support group for new moms. It was moderated by a lactation consultant who was also a nurse. She was helpful – she’d help you with your latch, talk about sleep, all that good stuff. But she would bring in guest speakers. In my second session, she brought in a chiropractor who explained, at length, with terrible PowerPoint slides, how the government is poisoning us all with fluoridated water. The guy was like General Ripper in loafers and a cardigan.

      1. Artemesia*

        LOL. My favorite film gets a reference. I grew up in Seattle during the heyday of the anti fluoride movement which was headquartered there. The result is teeth that have cost me tens of thousands of dollars to try to save — we refer to teeth as luxury bones in our family. A little fluoride back in the day would have saved me so much money and misery.

    6. Random Internet Stranger*

      This question jumped out at me because I’m also currently pregnant and the prenatal nurse has been giving me the weirdest nutrition advice (like that I should never eat white rice because it’s pure sugar). I ended up telling her my background is in dietetics (it is!) to put an end to the madness.

      1. Artemesia*

        The body uses white rice like pure sugar which is why it is recommended that diabetics not eat it. If someone is at risk of gestational diabetes probably decent advice.

        1. Random Internet Stranger*

          There is no reason to believe I am at risk of gestational diabetes.

      2. cosmicgorilla*

        If your background is in dietetics, then you should know how the body handles processed carbs and how things like rice and bread and pasta (even “whole wheat”) affect blood sugar. I’m impressed by the prenatal nurse because too many medical professionals are still on a carb kick and don’t recognize the deleterious effects on insulin and blood sugar.

        1. AnonyNurse*

          “Never eat white rice” is not appropriate advice, even to a diabetic. If you are allergic to rice, sure. But “never” is … rarely … a helpful recommendation. “Never snort cocaine while pregnant ” is pretty good advice, but only to a person without a substance use disorder (harm reduction strategies are much better at behavior change).

        2. Random Internet Stranger*

          Not only is “never eat white rice” bad nutritional advice generally (all foods fit into a balanced diet), but it’s not helpful to demonize foods especially when dealing with patients with a history of disordered eating (me), plus it’s very ethnocentric – as someone who grew up eating largely Japanese food, white rice is here to stay.

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            Carbohydrates are carbohydrates. It takes an extra step to break starch down to sugar, but it becomes sugar going into the bloodstream to nourish the body. Of course, we need insulin for the body to use the sugar as fuel for our cells (every single one of them, throughout our body.)

            I had a frustrating experience this week trying to explain to a nurse how she was misunderstanding the doctor’s instructions on the “sliding scale for insulin, while my son is fighting off a very serious infection.

            Before each meal, she was testing his blood sugar (unsurprisingly, it was very high – fighting the infection, and misunderstanding how to administer the insulin.) She would then calculate how much insulin was needed to bring his blood sugar down to a normal range. He would then be fed a meal with nice healthy vegetables, like carrots (btw, carrots have more sugar than starch), and would not bolus for the meal. Instead, she would wait until just before the next meal to repeat the cycle.

            It took awhile, but I think she now grasps the concept that it takes time for medium acting insulin to take effect, so it’s safer to give the insulin to cover the carbs just before the meal, in addition to whatever might ne needed to cover an already high level.

            Even medical professionals can’t be experts on EVERY CONDITION. It’s important for health care teams to communicate (two-way) with patients to learn what the patient knows and to apply the combined knowledge and experience of the patient and the professionals to develop a plan that works.

            I miss the days when we had good enough insurance for him to have an insulin pump, so he could really fine-tune his diabetes care.

            But I’m also deeply appreciative of the care he is receiving for his current serious infectious disease. When he gets past this bacterial infection, I’ll also feel a lot better if he will overcome his fear of the covid vaccines. But he is an adult, and my role is to persuade, support and encourage, not to command.

  4. phira*

    LW2: Normally, I would say to bring up your concerns with the teacher first, or to let her know you’ll be reporting her, but in this case, I would just directly tell the hospital. You don’t mention in your letter who she is, besides referring to her as a representative of the hospital, but all of the prenatal classes I took through area hospitals were taught by nurses and midwives who ALL should know better than to suggest things like leaving an inch of space between the wall and the crib to leave enough air for the baby (?!!!?!?!). That is, even if the teacher did nothing besides teach prenatal classes, this would be a problem, but if she’s actively working in the medical field, this is a HUGE problem. Enough of a problem that there’s really nothing to be gained by warning her in advance, I don’t think.

    I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with this. Depending on where you live, I would suggest looking for classes at a different hospital. You are not limited to the hospital where you’re taking classes (or at least, I wasn’t–we had to take infant CPR at another hospital because ours didn’t have space until after our due date).

  5. Lamaze Teacher*

    Please, please, before you report her, take the time check that you are right. You said that you have ACCESS to research, not that you have confirmed/disproved by actually looking.
    In my career, I have had physicians in my classes tell me I’m wrong – but I was not. (One challenged me belligerently in class, one to my boss. The two incidents were about 12 years apart.) These students in my class (and yes, you’re a student when you’re there!) were not current on the research, as it had been a decade since their short rotations through OB and the thinking/approach had changed. This happened with the “need” for episiotomies and with the timing on cord clamping. The thinking on both has changed dramatically since I started teaching, and my teaching changed with the shift in how the local OBs practice. In both cases, I was able to back up what I taught with evidence based research.
    So please, take the time to use that access and skills to find out if she actually is wrong before you make her life difficult. Don’t assume that you know better just by virtue of having an MD.
    (And let me say that most MDs who come to my class were pleasant and not like this. Often they will stay to ask questions that are more obscure than the rest of the class wants to get into. Among other specialties, I’ve had OBs, anesthesiologists, and CNMs take my classes and other than those two, I’ve had no issues.)

    1. Cambridge Comma*

      The example with the air is pretty damning, though, and regarding SIDS and safe sleep I think we can assume that OP has checked tge current guidelines.

      1. Jackalope*

        Yeah, I don’t even get the whole idea behind the air rule. I mean, cribs are generally open air anyway, and having one side against a wall isn’t causing any real limitations on how much air the baby can get.

        1. Yvette*

          The only thing I can think of (and this is a stretch) is that if the crib is against the wall, and the baby manages to position themselves in such a way that their face is pushed against the wall between the bars blocking their airway and suffocating. It has been decades since I had to concern myself with SIDS but the last time I read anything, one of the theories was that in some infants the area of the brain which arouses people enough to reposition themselves if their airway becomes blocked while sleeping is not yet fully developed. So I guess the same reason you are not supposed to have soft toys or pillows in the crib. However I do recognize that this is a stretch.

          1. Redd*

            It seems as though the bars themselves would be a bigger danger than the wall, in that case.

    2. Stitching Away*

      If this teacher is citing conflicting information as accurate, without saying one thing is right and one thing is wrong, or pointing out that there’s anything unclear as to what guidance to follow, then inherently, there’s a problem. And it sounds like this is very much the case.

      And one doesn’t have to look at research studies to know that placing a crib one inch from a wall isn’t needed for air circulation. A crib has four sides, and all that space above that, and that simply isn’t how physics works.

      And even those “harmless” remedies that do nothing can be dangerous, if someone tries those instead of something that actually might be helpful.

      Besides, the LW already did read the studies, which they said. This sounds a lot like you’re responding based on your experience, not the LW’s experience. Don’t assume you know what’s happening just because you’ve had issues with a few physicians who took your classes.

    3. Kara*

      Might you be taking this personally? OP said they access, read and critically appraise the study.

      Misleading SIDS advice could lead to someone losing a child.

    4. Myrin*

      I think it’s implied that has actually read the studies and confirmed her hunch. Sure, she says “I’m able to” not “I did” but the fact that she then goes on to list what exactly she’s able to do and how she’s in a privileged position compared to others to do so suggests to me that she did just that.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes — given the examples given and the site rule about taking LWs at their word, I think we can assume the facts are as reported. I’m going to close this thread.

    5. Down under blunder*

      Just like with other letters, can we please take the letter writer at their word. Your assumption that she only THINKS she knows what is accurate is not borne out by reading the rest of the letter and says more about your opinion of doctors than the LWs attitude to nurses or midwives

  6. July*

    It’s most likely a personal thing but when I find out that coworkers lie to me, I just adjust my expectations from them and work around those expectations. People will lie and will continue to do so even after calling them out and I’d rather anticipate the lie and save myself from disappointment. Forgive but never forget, as they say.

    …or heck don’t forgive and definitely never forget.

      1. CheezeWhizzard*

        This. Twice in the past I’ve had coworkers who lied a lot, knew I knew they lied, and then decided the safest course of action for them was to push me out.

    1. Red 5*

      Same. I have a lot of coworkers who will tell these sorts of lies, including one that’s a very glaring and persistent problem right now.

      In the end, I stepped back and realized that they are doing this because they have a very difficult micromanaging boss who is probably the classic “your boss sucks and isn’t going to change” kind of story. They also have worked in several other places where things were so tense and so abnormal that you almost had to come up with this kind of stuff to not get in trouble and get screamed at regularly.

      It doesn’t condone or forgive that behavior, but once I sort of realized that a lot of people who do this are coming from very negative experiences that imprinted an instinct to lie on them, I stopped taking it personally and can just move on. I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it, and I wish they’d stop, but trying to change them isn’t going to work. So I just remember that the person is a liar and that I have to change my expectations and my workflow to work with that problem rather than beat my head against it.

      1. Smithy*

        This is where I am. Not to discredit the potential for malicious lying at work – but in my experience, the vast majority of lying/untruths/lies by omissions/etc come from a self-preservation place. Be it due to a current situation they’re in or a previous one that left a heavy imprint.

        It helps me adjust my working style – but also takes some of the personal betrayal, anger and other emotions out of it. Again, not that it’s ok, but it’s just a lot of emotion I’m not looking to carry around with my colleagues. Most people I work with want to come off well, so developing effective work around and face-saving measures just allows for not being caught unawares but not calling coworkers out as liars. Because if it is a situation where it’s truly malicious or vindictive lying at work, that’s a sign of a need to plan reporting that or just looking for a new job.

    2. Alexis Rosay*

      Yeah. I had a direct report lie to me about something—she ended up walking it back when I asked for more details so I didn’t feel the need to berate her for it but it did impact how much I trust her.

  7. Yvette*

    With regards to #3
    “She might be asking you instead of someone on her own team because you’ve been so helpful in the past.” I don’t think so. I think she is asking you instead of someone on her own team because she does not want her team to know she isn’t doing this on her own and does not want to look bad. I have worked with people like that. This guy contacted me repeatedly via email and cell about an issue he needed help with while I was having a root canal!!! (He knew where I was.) He also knew our boss would have known the answer as well as I did, he just did not want to contact him because he didn’t want to look bad.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It could be that too! By “because you’ve been so helpful in the past,” I mean the OP has inadvertently led her to think it’s fine for her to keep doing this — the OP keeps helping, so the coworker keeps asking. I’ve expanded on that point in the answer so it’s clearer.

    2. Kara*

      Or it might be both. Either way, I’d say it is easier to change what YOU do than to wait for someone else to change, and it’s time to withdraw your support.

      1. No Name Today*

        Agree. OP is asking how to kindly tell coworker to stop. What “kindly” means is, “what can I say to make her stop AND be happy about it?”
        The answer is: nothing.
        OP, you can’t stop doing her work and her be cool with it.
        But that’s OK.
        It’s not OK that you are doing her job, whatever her reasons are.
        It will be awkward.
        You can get through it.

      2. Artemesia*

        People get in the habit of leaning on helpful people if they remain helpful — it is easier than mastering the material yourself for some people. Weaning the from this really is as simple as Alison suggests. Suddenly you say things like ‘did you take notes last time, it is the same process.’ And ‘I am on deadline and can’t take time right now, maybe (your manager can help).’ You dont have to be ugly just suddenly unavailable. And if it is a process that she keeps leaning on you to do, sometimes suggesting she do what it is while you watch will work. You doing her work makes it easier than her learning it.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I would turn my answers to a what resources have you checked, did you look at the guide for doing this on the share drive, what do the notes from training say about X, etc. Basically just firmly but kindly direct her back to her own team and her own resources. Become the sources of more work instead of instant answers.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      Also, the range of explanations go beyond imposter syndrome and lack of self-confidence. she might simply be a terrible lawyer. From a high-ranked school, you cry? Excuse me until I can stop giggling. Unfortunately, the LW doesn’t tell us if her work product was any good. This matters because if it is fine, some encouragement to trust herself could do the trick. If she is functionally illiterate and cannot write an acceptable email, then there is no hope and the best thing is to get her out of your life as quickly as possible.

      1. EPLawyer*

        I giggled at prestigious school too. Even T10 law schools turn out crappy lawyers. That is why after awhile WHERE you went to law school doesn’t matter, its what you produce. So OP doesn’t presume she just needs a little self-confidence.

        But WHY she is coming to you doesn’t matter. YOu need her to stop doing it. The only solution is you are always swamped with work and can’t help her. You’re a lawyer, you ARE always swamped and pushed up against deadlines. You have an excuse baked right into your job.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          Can the LW bill her time spent reviewing the coworker’s work to coworker’s case? I doubt it. And if not, this is a huge imposition.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          Not to mention that (in my experience), the more “prestigious” the law school, the more ivory tower the education. One thing that many law schools do not do well is actually teach lawyers how to practice. There is some movement on that especially in the bottom half of the top-tier, but the things that it sounds like the coworker is looking for help with are things that aren’t specifically taught in law school. My former firm had an extensive professional development program for first and second years to address the practical deficits of new lawyers. Most of the paralegal team was more useful than a first year associate in the actual practice of law.

          Really, the whole third year should teach things like business development, project management, basic people management, etc. with options that better prepare lawyers for various career paths in the law, not just the theoretical side. If I had a dollar for every associate who could not figure out PACER or an e-filing system, I’d be retired. Doesn’t matter if you can write a brilliant brief if you can’t submit it to the court to read.

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            The usual critique is that law schools teach how to write appellate briefs, which play only a small role in the actual practice of law. But this person is asking for help writing emails to clients. This suggests something more than not having learned how to efile.

            True story: I have a friend who does criminal defense, mostly small stuff like DUIs and minor drug charges. In other words, the kind of stuff that prestige-law considers beneath their notice. So she gets a call from a guy arrested for DUI. This is exactly in her wheelhouse, the first task being to get him out of jail. But as she is beginning the process, a local white-shoe firm butts in. The guy’s family had money, and decided they needed to hire a real lawyer. White-shoe guy knows nothing about getting a guy arrested for a DUI out of jail, but isn’t going to take advice from my friend. Instead he adopts a mediocre-white-guy bullying strategy, up to and including name dropping a judge who belonged to the same country club as him. He pisses off everyone concerned. My friend, who knows the relevant people and has good relations with them, would have had the client out in a few hours. As it was, he was in for a week. It’s like hiring a architect to fix your sink, but worse. An architect is more likely to understand that he isn’t a plumber.

            1. No Name Today*

              mediocre-white-guy bullying strategy
              the tactic that worked so well in the McDonald’s coffee spill case.

              1. Richard Hershberger*

                It didn’t work with the jury, but it worked great as a rallying cry: hence the “True Stella Awards.”

        3. Artemesia*

          And prestigious law schools often are least likely to produce grads who know much of the nitty gritty of practicing law. They should catch on fast because as a rule they are smart, but you learn practice on the job — like how to file, where and when to file, what records need to be kept etc etc.

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            On the other hand, law schools affiliated with the flagship university of their State, or a major private law school in State, probably will have a higher first-time pass rate on the bar exam than an Ivy League school.

            A LOT of law is specific to the jurisdiction.

      2. Yvette*

        Kind of reminds me of the old joke “What do you call the person who graduated last in the class in med school? Doctor!”

      3. t-vex*

        I’m waiting for the plot twist where she didn’t go to the prestigious school at all, she just lied on her resume and and is trying to fake it til you make it

    4. Van Wilder*

      It could be poor work product but could also be lack of confidence. In addition to Alison’s suggestions, I would try letting her know that she has the tools to do this on her own. For example, wording of client emails? That’s not something she should bring to her boss, in most cases. She’s been there for a year and now she’s got to try to fly on her own wings.

    5. Velawciraptor*

      She could also be asking you rather than her team because of the office’s billing policies (i.e. two attorneys on a team can’t bill for the same task on the same case, etc. When I worked in insurance defense, you had to be careful with how you billed everything because insurance companies want a legal defense, but don’t generally want to pay for it.)

      Which brings me to another solution. If Alison’s suggestions don’t work, I’d consider going to the partner you work with/your manager and ask “Sue keeps coming to me with questions about XYZ. While I’m happy to be a team player, I would appreciate some guidance as to how I should be billing the time I’m spending with her on that.” A little passive-aggressive? Yes. But it helps you protect yourself while also bringing the issue to the attention of the people who should know it’s going on in a far less tattle-tale way.

  8. voyager1*

    LW1: I am not sure this is a lie 100%. He said he worked on it offline. I mean this is probably a lie, but it isn’t a slam dunk unless you have proof. Has he actually lied about something else? To really prove this one incident is a lie, you are going to need something else to happen/not happen to have a pattern.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      She doesn’t need it to be a slam dunk; she’s not putting him on trial or trying to prove it to anyone. But the lie seems pretty likely, since the offline work he claimed he did never did make its way into the document after that. It’s reasonable for her thinking to be informed by that, especially in the context of the other problems she’s found with this guy.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Maybe he worked offline and failed to upload the changes. LW generously gave him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

        Either way, the work doesn’t count if it doesn’t hit the shared version, so Fergus needs to change his behaviour and LW is right to keep this event in mind in future.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          Working on something offline and then never inputting the changes into the actual document is functionally no different from never having done anything at all. But also if you worked on something offline and then someone specifically mentioned they hadn’t seen any updates, wouldn’t that prompt you to go upload the work you had done?

          I think it’s pretty clear this guy is lying because if he weren’t then he would have gotten it caught up by now.

          What’s more troubling to me is that he’s lying about something that is so easily disproven. How on earth did he think OP would just not notice that he never made any changes to their shared document? If he would lie about something that is so plainly untrue then I’d really feel like I could never trust anything he said again.

      2. Boof*

        I have to admit, i’d be worried there was a weird technical issue that was causing changes not to propagate; that’s the only reason i would pursue it to the bitter end “the things you’ve done haven’t updated; show me your document and let’s figure this out!” Etc

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          I’ve lost days of work at a time to failed commits, hardware (drive) failures, forced rollbacks, etc, so that’d stop me from getting judgmental or nasty. I know those attitudes wouldn’t have helped in dealing with me when that has happened.

          My advice is also to focus on the failure to deliver and to not fixate on whether or not the work was done before the failure to deliver.

          1. Boof*

            I mean, that is focusing on the failure to deliver; coworker says done, lw doesn’t see it, next logical thing to me is to dig further not assume coworker is lying

        2. Joielle*

          Yeah, before a lie even occurred to me I probably would have been like “Oh, it’s not showing up! Can you just email me your version right now so we both have the changes?” I’d want to get to the bottom of it if there were apparently major changes hanging out in some version somewhere. Definitely do this before assuming he’s lying.

          Even now, the LW could go back to him and say “I just remembered you said you made some major changes but I don’t see them in the shared document. Would you email me what you have? Just want to make sure we both have the same version.”

          1. EPLawyer*

            The beauty of this is, if he is lying well he got busted. If he isn’t lying, you can incorporate the changes and move forward. it’s a win-win.

          2. foolofgrace*

            Apart from the potential lie, is this guy an idiot, making changes offline to a shared document? So if they make changes offline, they just have to do it all over again, or someone else does. This in itself is enough to bring to light, with the guy and possibly over his head depending on how he takes it.

          3. Susie Q*

            This 10000%. My team has had issues with updating shared documents, etc. I would never assume that someone lied in this situation.

      3. voyager1*

        Except if the LW confronts the guy and accuses him of being a liar and is wrong. Then things get bad, that is why I think the LW needs to have proof and be 100%. But yeah I think he lied to her too.

        The other things are annoying for sure and need to be addressed, but really are separate from an accusation.

      4. LW #1*

        I’m LW #1, and Allison is correct – I’m really not trying to put him on trial, just trying to protect myself too. I’ve asked about this offline work since and he just evaded the question, so I’m very convinced at this point that the work never happened. He also told our boss that he had been working over the weekend (unnecessary, as we have plenty of time for the project) in order to get recognition for his hard work, but I checked the version history and he logged in for a total of 5 minutes and made like 1 superficial change. We are not working remotely for the most part but do have our shared document in the cloud, if that changes anything.

        1. Boof*

          Ah ok. If you asked and he didn’t get concerned / offer up the actual document then yes, agree they are lying. I think you may need to tell your boss if it’s a recurring thing.

        2. learnedthehardway*

          In that case, I would make sure your manager is crystal clear on who is actually doing the work, just to protect yourself and make sure you are getting the recognition you deserve to have. You don’t have to say the coworker is lying or make any guesses as to why the work isn’t done, but just make sure you aren’t left holding the bag for things that aren’t your fault / responsibility.

          Might be a good idea to cc your manager on work that you HAVE done on the shared project, too.

    2. Myrin*

      Except OP doesn’t talk about “proving” anything to anyone – basically the only thing she’s asking is whether she should confront Fergus about this directly or not.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I think there is a snowballing effect here because of previous things that have happened. To me, the lie is the straw that broke the camel’s back. OP, if he is willing to step over you to get credit for himself, that’s a heads up to watch for other odd stuff occurring, also. (Not everyone and not all the time, but when you see this it’s good to keep your eyes wide open for what else might be going on.)

      I do think that it could be a surprise because you originally identified the problem as he would put the spotlight on himself given the opportunity. Now you are seeing there is more to the problem.

      Alison is right, you called him out on it and you made your point. I know this does not feel satisfying but this is what winning can look like with some people. He may not pull this particular stunt again. There have been a couple people over my years where all we did is go from one stupid stunt to another. Yeah, call them out on it but realize that you still need to be vigilant.

      In one instance I had a boss gaslight me to the point that people in a remote office could clearly see what was going on. The thing that she did was so blatant and so obvious that the remote person said, “Watch your back!”
      I simply told the boss, “So I said to the Remote Person that we do not have problems like this and we will NOT be working in this manner.” I did not actually say that to the Remote Person, but it was a good way to get the point across to the boss. If your problems with this cohort continue on, draw that hard line: “NO. We are not going to work this way. We are going to do things in a proper manner where our words match our actions [or whatever the current issue is with him.]”

      We have to tell people to “stop it”. Often times it’s easy to hesitate to do this because, in part, we don’t believe they will stop just because we said so. But I am here to confirm, this does work a surprising amount of times. The story here is one of many with this boss where I had to draw a line. In the end, when I quit the job she just HAD to ask, “Is it because of ME?” I knew not to fill her cup by telling her a full out “yes”.

    4. Amethystmoon*

      I would like to know if they are working remotely. When I work from home, my company’s group drive is extremely slow. I work on things in my desktop, then copy/paste them over. Maybe Fergus needs a deadline, like “I need to see the changes by 2 PM.” Take a screenshot at 2:01 and that will be the proof.

    5. Mockingjay*

      I work with people like this everyday. They claim to have worked on it for days, yet when I get the document back nothing has been added. (Document compare and Version history are useful tools.) They too claim they have trouble uploading the document to SharePoint, etc. (Except we work in tech and comms, and they have no problems updating the complex software in the new equipment. I’ve got SharePoint configured so all they have to do is drag and drop the stupid file. Easy peasy.)

      They didn’t do the work, are trying to cover up, and yes, will take sole credit for any shared effort.

  9. Kara*

    #1 I’ve worked with a few people who are dishonest about what work they’re getting done, and the reasons generally turn out to be one or more of the following.

    Sometimes people are just lazy, and entitled, think you won’t notice, or don’t care if you do.

    Sometimes they don’t understand the work, don’t know it’s better to ask than flounder, and are digging themselves into a hole.

    Sometimes they’re struggling with personal or mental health issues – I’m not saying anyone should speculate on this, just it has sometimes turned out to be the reason.

    If he wasn’t taking credit for your work as well as BSing about what he’s done, I’d suggest talking to him (but not framing it as ‘about how he lied’). In that scenario I’d be pleasant but direct – I’d ask him what’s going on, if he understands the work, processes etc or needs any help.

    But this person is also obsessed with taking credit in front of your bosses, while also not doing enough work. I would be looking to minimise opportunities for him to do that.

    I would also stop thinking of this as ‘the lie’ and as a thing you can’t mention to avoid damaging relations. He acted like it was a normal thing to do. You don’t need to dance around it. Just ask him matter of factly if he’s put his changes in yet.

    I’d also consider talking to your manager if this continues, in the context of ‘how would you like me to handle this’.

    1. Yvette*

      “But this person is also obsessed with taking credit in front of your bosses…” Come to think of it, I think that was part of the reason for my root canal interrupting co-worker. He wanted the bosses to think he was doing this on his own. (He frequently tried to do the portions of a project that I would be responsible for, and, when they did not work, would blame it on the portion of the project I was responsible for. The problem was almost always with his work.)

      1. Kara*

        Thing is, it’s on you that they were able to interrupt your root canal. That’s not a time to have your phone on!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I read that metaphorically. I’ve heard people described as being “as pleasant as a root canal”. Meaning 100% UNpleasant.

          1. Myrin*

            It’s meant literally. Yvette says in another comment above that “This guy contacted me repeatedly via email and cell about an issue he needed help with while I was having a root canal!!! (He knew where I was.)”.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            That’s what I assume. I’ve had a root canal. It’s not really an experience you can take calls & texts during.

        2. Harper the Other One*

          Most likely Yvette saw a dozen notifications once the procedure was done, but some people use their phones to watch videos/listen to music or podcasts during procedures. Either way, I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s “on her” that the coworker repeatedly called/emailed during a time he knew she was indisposed.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Just out of curiosity, how does one even use their phone during dental surgery? I’m really having a hard time picturing this. Or was it just listening to music/podcasts, which I can totally see. Sorry to derail.

              I’ve also had lying co-workers. You need to watch them to make sure their mistakes don’t somehow end up being considered your fault.

        3. Colette*

          That’s ridiculous. The OP shouldn’t have to turn off her phone to avoid getting numerous queries from a coworker who knows she is not working. The coworker is out of line, regardless of the status of Yvette’s phone.

          1. Yvette*

            Thank you. Again, these were all questions that our boss, who was in the office and was a 100% approachable guy, could have answered. He just didn’t want boss to know that he didn’t know.

            1. tangerineRose*

              The last time I went to the dentist, I forgot to turn my cell phone off. I meant to. It’s easy to forget.

    2. Nicotene*

      I just think he initially exaggerated how much he had done – he had been in the document, but felt/made it sound like he’d done more than he had. Then he doubled-down when OP called him out, but I think OP is a bit over-focused on this, honestly. If I found out a coworker had opened version history or checked all the time stamps to prove I’d spent Y amount of time instead of X amount of time, I think I’d find that a bit odd. If you came to me as a supervisor with this story I’d feel like it was a bit over the top. Sure, don’t think of this guy as your BFF but probably just focus on what works needs to be done and finishing the project, I’d say.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        I mean that’s a big part of what version history is for. If you tell your coworker that you spent hours and hours working in the document and then they don’t think it looks like there have been any changes, checking the work history is probably one of the first things I would do as well. If it did indeed show you’d been in there for hours I would be worried about changes not having saved correctly so I’d reach out to let you know about the issue. But what OP found instead was that the work history showed that the guy was full of BS.

        The work history is a super useful tool that can tell you all kinds of stuff. I just used it last week because a software I’m the team admin for showed that a coworker had something I needed checked out. I looked at the history and it showed that he checked it out a month ago and hadn’t made any changes since so I was able to learn he was not *currently* working in it and was able to kick him out and get my own work done.

        Looking at the history of a shared document is not snooping or odd, it’s just using a standard tool.

  10. A.N. O'Nyme*

    LW3, it’s possible she is really good at memorising stuff (required to get the degree) and working in an internship or academic context but is not great when it comes to actual practice. I had a roommate who studied physiotherapy and he had a classmate like that – absolutely brilliant scores on theoretical exams, but when it came to practical classes the brilliant test-taker had to ask the others really basic stuff (like where the triceps was located).

  11. TechWorker*

    With all the benefit of doubt in the world, I could imagine saying to move the crib away from the wall cos in older houses/certain climates furniture against the wall can cause mould which you wouldn’t want right next to your sleeping baby… that would put it into the region of ‘badly explained not necessarily relevant advice’ rather than ‘completely absurd’, but sounds like you have plenty of other examples anyway!

    1. Underfound*

      I took my baby safety classes at well respected children’s hospital, and I just checked their website and they also recommend pulling the crib away from the wall. Their logic is that decorative items hung on walls could fall in and pose a risk.

      If the OP thinks bad information is being shared she should report it, but in my experience a lot of information surrounding baby safety isn’t as clear cut or well studied as we’d like it to be – hence Emily Oster’s books.

      1. Birch*

        This kind of thing drives me bananas. People need to know WHY recommendations are what they are! Otherwise everyone just makes assumptions that turn into a giant game of guessing telephone and distort the original advice.

      2. Mongrel*

        “Their logic is that decorative items hung on walls could fall in and pose a risk.”

        See, that’s a sensible reason that parents may not have thought about and I’m sure OP #2 wouldn’t have any problems with. There’s a lot of hard won information that a new parent may not have thought about that may only obvious in hindsight.

        But to say “Do this sensible thing for a bullshit reason” can undermines the authority of the profession or the hospital. If the tutor is willing to use their authority to propagate false information what else are they doing wrong? Are they skipping important information because they’ve found a crappy study on an Alt-Med website that may leave the Hospital\practice open to legal issues?

      3. Susie Q*

        Eh, Emily is an ECONOMIST not a medical professional. She often “interprets” data to fit her opinions and ideas. In the United States, pregnancy advice should come from ACOG and the CDC, safe infant sleep and care should come from the AAP, CDC, FDA. Not a random economist.

      4. GraceRN*

        Just curious: did they also include a recommendation to avoid hanging items on the walls next to the crib? My understanding is if items hung on walls fell, they don’t always fall neatly into the created gap.

        1. A Person*

          This is extra funny to me because I have always lived in California, and I just would *not* hang anything over a bed. Even light stuff. So now I have realized that this is not true for everyone.

    2. Amy*

      We were told to pull the crib away due to cords (strangulation risk) and pictures (if they fell down or the baby pulled them down)

      1. EPLawyer*

        Ummm why not just make sure that there are no cords near the crib or decorative items on the wall? Because an inch away is not going to keep the cords from getting into the crib. And pictures don’t always fall straight down. This is silly advice that could so eaaaaaasily be fixed by just …. giving other advice that actually matches the concern.

        1. Artemesia*

          This. A cord within reach of the crib is an enormous safety risk that pulling it out an inch will not touch.

        2. Myrin*

          Exactly. I don’t have kids and probably won’t ever have any so this is not something I had ever thought about (although I can imagine it would’ve occurred to me if I had an actual baby in its crib right below some actual wall decoration but who knows) and it would be helpful to remind me of it.
          But OP says clearly that this instructor named a reason for the “put crib away from wall” rule and that that reason was “not enough air”.

    3. James*

      My mind also went to lead paint. In the past it was common, and it’s said to taste sweet (lead compounds were used to flavor wine, for example). If the crib was too close to the wall and the wall wasn’t properly maintained the kid could eat the chips, resulting in lead poisoning, brain damage, and other issues.

      The fact that lead paint has been banned for something like a generation makes this an outdated justification, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone away necessarily.

      1. twocents*

        Even then, I know there are some older neighborhoods near me that they’re still finding a lot of lead paint in.

        1. James*

          So, funny story: I work in environmental remediation, and have a field office on my jobsite. An old building no one else was using, so the client decided to put us there. One day we came in and the doorway was tented off, with guys coming out in Tyvek and full-face respirators with HEPA cartridges. Obviously an abatement action of some sort. Turned out, the entire exterior of our building is lead paint. They cleaned up the doors and places where people touch, but after that we were told not to touch the paint.

          The bigger issue with residential homes, as far as I’ve seen anyway, is that the lead paint was painted over with more modern paint rather than removed. Lead abatement is expensive, and the rules for disposal are insanely complex, so most people just don’t bother. They paint over it and call it good enough. So like you say, it’s not uncommon to find a lot of lead paint in older homes. It’s usually not too bad as long as the paint is maintained, or the walls are otherwise protected. But it can make things like renovation a nightmare.

          One good thing about the pandemic is that we all have N95 masks lying around, which block at least some of the paint particles during renovation. Doesn’t help keep kids away from the paint, though.

          1. Sandman*

            I live in one of these older homes, and encapsulation is still the rule that I’ve found in most guidance. I think it’s terrible advice, because you’re just kicking the can down the road and not actually solving the problem, so I remove as much as possible but it’s a real hassle. And in lifetime-of-a-home terms, it doesn’t take long for that old paint to start coming through again.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, but then the educator should say that.

      Telling people that putting the crib against the wall could prevent the baby from getting air when you actually mean that you don’t want the baby breathing mold/dust or there is a risk that the baby’s face could press against the wall or pictures could fall on the baby or whatever is a ridiculously vague and unhelpful way to phrase something and at the very least calls into serious question this woman’ ability to convey information and educate people, no matter how good the information she has may be.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, we can speculate about what she could actually possibly maybe have meant all we want, if she presented it the way OP says she did, she did get her point across very poorly.

    5. HannahS*

      Haha I found that if I sort of squinted I could see where her ideas were coming from…and then she’d skate juuuust past good sense. We did talk about making sure there were no strangulating cords or objects that could fall in the crib (plus back-to-sleep, no other objects in the crib, etc), but she definitely explicitly said that having the crib against the wall would cause there not to be enough air in the crib. And then went on to talk about how the bassinets that go on strollers are great for sleep, except that they aren’t safe for sleep because there isn’t enough air. It was…strange and confusing.

    6. turquoisecow*

      I think the sound advice actually is to leave the crib a distance from the wall on all sides, but it has nothing to do with airflow. Signed, a relatively new mom who got all the advice.

    7. OP1/HannahS*

      Yeah, sometimes if you squint you can sort of see that somewhere in there, there was something that made sense but then she skates past it into wild fiction. Like, we talked about all the normal safe sleep guidelines, and then she very literally explicitly said that if you don’t pull the crib an inch off the wall there will not be enough air in the crib for the baby. That’s just…not true.

    8. Firecat*

      I thought that was an odd choice to be an “absurd’ example. Having air able to move across the Crib in all directions improves airflow no?

      We employ a similar technique with all our gaming equipment. Leaving at least 2 inches between it and any hard surfaces makes a huge difference in temperature.

  12. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP2 – letting someone know you’re reporting them first, in my opinion,is for relatively small matters, or things you can reasonably resolve yourself.

    This is a serious matter. Someone in a position of authority giving dangerous information is not something you can – or should – deal with yourself.

    Also you are a client, not a co-worker.

    Escalate it.

    If you want to give them a heads up, uou can… but honestly, I wouldn’t.

    This is gross misconduct.

  13. 653-CXK*

    #4: I think it is a huge power-play dynamic between Retired Boss and New Boss, and New Boss was/is jealous of your successful working relationship with your former boss, and is lashing out at him in absentia by punishing you in a passive-aggressive manner – taking away your raise and your direct report for starters, then followed by a petty PIP and an out-of-the-blue termination later.

    It may be that she doesn’t want the conversation and wants to be rid of you. If that’s the case, get that resume polished up and begin to look for a new job now.

    1. LW #4*

      Thank you, that’s extremely helpful. My old boss and new boss knew each other for many years and I know their relationship had ups and downs. It makes total sense to me that my new boss might be resentful of a lot of things my old boss did, including retiring, and could be taking it out on me.

    2. Bostonian*

      I had the opposite interpretation: OP isn’t as good as Old Boss thought, and New Boss now walking things back. Although, I have to say the fact that someone on a PIP got a raise is raising my eyebrows towards management.

      In any case, yes, Old Boss and New Boss did not see eye to eye. This is why it’s important for OP to have that discussion.

      1. katertot*

        Yeah- I’m wondering this too. We had a leader who on his way out promised one of his direct reports a promotion and raise that were not warranted and out of line and we had to walk them back after he left and it was SUPER challenging. Not that this is that case but there may be more to the story…

      2. The New Wanderer*

        I had been a top performer who got lost in the shuffle when the outgoing senior manager (who had indicated I was on a path to promotion) was replaced by the new senior manager. My performance ratings stayed relatively high but my path to promotion disappeared and I was eventually laid off. I didn’t see the writing on the wall in time but it had nothing to do with my actual abilities and everything to do with New senior manager looking at a few of my (*cough* male *cough*) colleagues as the more promote-able types.

        I’m back to being a top performer under different management and it’s so much better. I only wish I had been more proactive back in the day and I’d advise anyone facing this kind of freeze-out to find something better.

    3. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

      I would also try to frame the discussion and avoid referencing OldBoss. More of a “I’d like to know what your vision is for my position and this team going forward” than a “OldBoss trusted me with Task X, why’d you take it?”

      The signs are currently not good but it’s possible NewBoss is assuming you are automatically against her since OldBoss thought highly of you.

  14. Ella*

    LW5, my girlfriend and I have a similar set up. If we both have calls, one of us will go to a room where we’re slightly less comfortable, so we aren’t distracting one another or the other people on the call. I think it’s a pretty harsh attitude to be so dismissive of the people who are taking your training, when they’re just trying to listen to you. Take a call in the kitchen or in a bedroom. It might not be as ‘professional’ looking a set up, but when you’re doing training, people hearing you is the Number 1 priority.

    1. WhatFloatsYourGoats*

      LW5 is about jury duty. I think you’re talking about the previous post.

  15. Skippy*

    LW4: If I were you I would definitely start looking for something new. I was in a similar situation in my last job, when I gained a new boss who really didn’t like me. He spent several months trying to push me out, and it was one of the most miserable experiences in my working life. I started looking, but I wasn’t able to get a new job quickly enough for him and he ultimately just eliminated my position. Bosses have tremendous potential to make your life miserable, and I would recommend avoiding that situation if you possibly can.

    1. LW #4*

      Thank you for sharing that story and I’m so sorry that happened to you! It’s such a weird position to be in when your work quality hasn’t changed but a new person with authority brings their perspective into the situation and can change everything.

  16. blackcat lady*

    LW#3: In your next meeting with your boss I would bring this up. Not as a huge issue, but just say Jane from SectionX has been asking me lots of questions. I was happy to help at first, but her questions have continued and I found it was using a lot of my time. I’ve now asked her to take her questions directly to people in her department. That alerts your boss to your time usage and boundaries. And your boss might have a conversation with Jane’s boss to put them on alert.

    1. Mockingjay*

      I’d start by redirecting Jane’s inquiries. If that works, no need to bring it up to boss.

  17. Eman*

    LW4 makes me curious about her new direct report (that she hired and trained herself) resigning seemingly quickly, that quick turnover might make the new boss skeptical of her judgement?

      1. LW #4*

        Really interesting point and I can see where you’re getting that. Without getting into identifying details, my boss and I both know well that the resignation was because of a personal issue, but it is certainly possible that she thinks I could have handled it better, if nothing else.

  18. rudster*

    I feel for jury duty LW! While I had a typical “corporate” job with generous jury duty benefits (2 weeks paid, no need to use PTO), I was *never* called in over 13 years, even though my wife – who was even not a US citizen at the time! – was called. And then as I soon as I went freelance – bam! I was called right away, and missed out on a least a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of projects I had to turn down because I was picked.
    The cynic in me thinks that the jury commission purposely calls more self-employed and marginally employed people, than people working for large companies with generous benefits, so as not to antagonize the local corporate tax base.

    1. twocents*

      Ha! Maybe that explains why my friend has been called to jury duty 3 times! but even though I’m in a company that gives paid time off for jury duty, I’ve never even been sent the letter for consideration. (I just think it’d be interesting to experience once.)

    2. EPLawyer*

      Sadly they aren’t that organized. Most jury pools are pooled from the driver’s license lists. Which is just names and addresses. They have no clue where you work. Or lawyers would NEVER get called because we so rarely get picked for juries.

      It’s just the terrible random number generators they use. Which is why some people get called more often than others. Some of the random generators are TRULY terrible. In the 90s in one county, the random number generator didn’t reset to the WHOLE pool each time. It would just choose a random number like 87. So every 87th person would be called instead of taking #87 then resetting. It was only noticed when people started recognizing each other in the jury lounge.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      Jury selection, service, and exemption varies by state. My state has an exemption for any citizen whose business would be unable to continue without that person there, so the self-employed or small business workers can typically get out of service much more easily than someone who works for a large organization. The state immediately to the north does not allow exemption for this – I had a mission-critical employee who ended up on a nearly month-long trial once, and it was tough to manage.

      Also, be glad you’re not in DC – because of the relatively small population of the District versus the number of state and federal court cases, most people are called about once every two years and serving only exempts you for a year (I’m in a bordering state, and being called exempts you for three). DC also does not exclude lawyers from juries because it would wipe out too much of the potential pool – a BigLaw partner I worked with for years served as the foreperson on a murder trial in DC Superior.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Lawyers aren’t automatically exempted, but they’re generally not selected for trials in their area of specialty. (A close relative works as a paralegal & has told me this applies to other law firm employees, too.)

        Different states have different rules, & I’ve successfully delayed jury duty when a colleague had a conference & I was the only backup. (It helped that I gave a ton of alternative dates.)

        I’d like to serve on a jury, but I wish we had better laws to make it less burdensome to people.

      2. Anon for this one*

        I worked for a US based company (I’m not in the US), not sure what state it was based in but I want to say New England somewhere. Their official written policy on jury duty was that anyone being summoned needs to make it known to their manager and HR, and apply to be let off due to the business’s need. It was a huge company with several thousand employees — the policy was already like that when I started so I don’t know how or why it came to be like that.

        My current company and others I’ve worked for, does require reimbursing the company if you were paid an amount by the court (the company pays full salary). To me this makes sense, because the employer is seeing to it that you don’t miss out on income, whilst not receiving any productive work in return. Why should the employee get to benefit additionally from extra money.

        1. quill*

          Depending on how much you’re paid it may not make business sense to recoup the money from the jury stipend though. Especially when jury duty is incurring extra costs (like parking!) to even attend.

    4. Artemesia*

      In both states where I have been called for jury duty small business people whose work was badly affected were dismissed when they requested it.

      1. Wandering*

        Just don’t plan on that. I served on a grand jury where the pool included sole practitioners (attorneys, physicians, realtors, etc) who were empaneled. They empaneled the guy scheduled for back surgery in 3 days; gave him a form letter to send to his surgeon for rescheduling. The self employed were told that they’d be paid for their time ($12/day, parking took half). People who expressed concern about the financial hit were told by the administrator that they should have married partners with enough income to cover them. This in a “blue” state.

    5. brightbetween*

      And public service employees, since we are paid for jury duty no matter how long the trial is (at least in my area). I feel like what happens is you end up with jury pools being comprised largely of retired people, people who can afford not to work/get paid, and public service employees (and employees of companies who pay, but that is definitely a minority in my area). So, is that really a jury of your peers?

  19. James*

    LW #2: I would do both. If possible, I would raise the issues in the class, especially if there are non-physicians in the class. Most people simply don’t know enough about medicine or infant care to know what’s good advice and what isn’t, and most have received conflicting advice since the prospective mother said “We’re trying to get pregnant”. Especially with the SIDS thing there’s a real risk that improper information will kill an infant. Bringing it up in class will at least cause some of the class members to question what’s being said, and may save a life.

    As for reporting, I think it’s an obligation, honestly. It’s an application of the Hippocratic Oath. I have a lot of family in emergency response, and the EMTs are not allowed to drive by an accident or injured person without offering aid–at least in some states (I can’t speak to all) make it illegal for them to do so. This falls under the same heading. The harmless-but-useless stuff is one thing–sometimes just doing SOMETHING, even if it’s useless, is necessary for parental mental health!–but the stuff about sleeping is actively harmful.

    All that said, you have my deepest sympathies being in this situation. It sucks that the hospital put you in this position.

    1. Susie Q*

      I would also directly reference a guideline. Like the AAP states on their website “ABCXYZ”.

  20. RC Rascal*

    LW4–Step back and take a look at new manager’s role. Is she experiencing any changes , or might she be soon ? When I have seen promotions walked back in the way you describe it is because the boss is experiencing change to their position. Boss starts taking your duties/reports so she can justify remaining the boss.

  21. LW #4*

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this advice. I’ve started my job search and in a strange way I’m relieved to hear from an expert as well as several commenters that I have real reason to be concerned. As I suggested in my letter, my old boss was wonderful – direct, forthcoming with feedback (it just always happened to be positive), and generous with his time when I needed help. I’ve never worked with someone who seemed cagey about stating their concerns the way my new boss seems to be. This proposed script will really help me start a conversation with her.

      1. LW #4*

        I was being a little hyperbolic with the word “always,” sorry for any confusion! He was usually complimentary, but had constructive suggestions at times. My point was just that he was generally happy with my work.

  22. Mannheim Steamroller*


    The very next time she asks about anything, use Alison’s script verbatim.

    Every time after that, turn Alison’s script into a question (e.g. “What did your team say to do?” or “What was your boss’ opinion?”). If her requests are by email, say that in your reply with copies to her entire team. The key is that you’re forcing her to admit not asking her team or her boss. Maybe even offer to make yourself available to HER boss for consultation.

    1. foolofgrace*

      I wouldn’t put her team members on copy from the get-go; let’s give her the benefit of the doubt, and to save face, at least initially. Then if she comes back from the question “What did [your team members] say” with an admission that she didn’t consult them, you can point her in that direction and if she still pesters you, it might be time to suggest she ask her team and put them on copy, or put her boss on copy.

  23. Azumi*

    I think #1 is interesting. I feel like in this site Allison has been strongly anti-falsehood, emphasizing it so much as a sign of character an future dealings here and in other posts that I’ve been a little taken aback. While at its face, no one is willing to say, “Lying is fine!” and certainly it isn’t. Honesty is a big deal. But also, small white lies do occur- to save face, out of awkward or personal issues (as another commentator noted). I don’t consider it to be an indicator of moral failing in quite the same way—-but maybe I’m just an outlier.

    1. Julia*

      Agree – my moral compass on white lies is also calibrated differently from Alison’s. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it is something I’ve noticed over the years.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      I don’t necessarily disagree, but in the letter I think an important aspect is he didn’t need to have worked on the shared doc at all in the interim. It would’ve been fine if he’d been doing other things and barely touched it. So, while this particular lie isn’t necessarily indicative of moral failing, this behavior does say something about the potential shadiness of this person. Why offer up “oh gee, I’ve been working so hard on this thing” when you haven’t AND didn’t need to and weren’t expected to. He could’ve said nothing and done nothing more and this would’ve been a non-situation, but he drew attention to his lack of work by boasting about doing things he didn’t, then when it was pointed out insisted otherwise. At minimum, it tells you his internal logic is weird. He wants to be seen as an overachiever without actually overachieving, but isn’t smart enough to pick boasts that aren’t demonstrably false and easily revealed as such in seconds.

      1. Azumi*

        I think it’s weird but not egregious.

        If there’s something that life— and work— should teach us, it’s that things change all the time. Reasons emerge, jobs change, a new work enemy appears (I’m joking but…). I think Allison’s approach here is right: let it go but be mindful, call it out next time, and it sounds like LW 1 is doing things they should have been doing all along like taking credit actively! That is good! But it’s just a thread I’ve picked up on before, and apparently am not alone in doing so.

        I *personally* probably wouldn’t take this so seriously in characterizing somebody, so long as their overall performance was good. It doesn’t really change a good overall approach of focusing on individual goals and advocating for yourself.

        1. cubone*

          I agree and was glad to see it said by someone here. It doesn’t mean it’s “okay” but I think so, so many workplace lies come from a place of stress and insecurity, or are borne out of cultural expectations of productivity. Like I really don’t care much to defend this guy, but nothing about his behavior surprises me – I have had colleagues who do the same and while it annoys the heck out of me, it’s always been very clear that their personal or manager’s expectations of their team create these conditions where it’s easier (and even preferred) to lie and say you did something, than to admit you’re struggling or didn’t get to it.

    3. Colette*

      There’s a difference between a small lie that affects no one (e.g. you say you’re going to the dentist but you’re actually going to a different medical professional) and a lie that affects people (e.g. saying you’ve made major changes to a document you haven’t touched). One is not a big deal, the other means you’re not someone who can be trusted.

    4. generic_username*

      I think I’d feel differently on this one if it weren’t for OP also saying her coworker takes an over-sized credit for shared work. I’ve told a white lie like that one (“I was working on x all day” when really I spent a lot of the day online shopping or something), but I wouldn’t say I was working on a shared project and I wouldn’t claim more credit than I was due on a project.

      1. Azumi*

        Right, I agree that the showboating is annoying.

        I just think it’s an interesting divide in overall perspective. Even this comment differs in ‘lie acceptability’ from say, the one above by Colette.

      2. Colette*

        If you’re talking to your non-work friend, I’d say that was fine. If you’re talking to the person who needs the output of x, it’s not. It’s really about whether you are truthful when you tell people information they are depending on.

      3. Tali*

        Agree exactly. I would by a little bothered by lies about working on a project, especially if it was crucial for my own work, but I wouldn’t need to get advice about someone’s character about it. But the shared credit part is more concerning.

    5. Toucan*

      I’m finding it interesting that the LW feels so offended by it. Lie or not, I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal. It’s a couple of updates on a document.

      1. Another health care worker*

        When someone lies to me, fairly or not I take it as an insult to my intelligence. More obviously, lying is just not operating in good faith. Especially while shirking work and potentially taking credit for mine? Nope nope nope. I imagine the LW’s feelings may be along these lines.

    6. MCMonkeyBean*

      It seems though like he made the comments about how much work he had done in the shared document totally unprompted. It wasn’t covering anything up, he could have just not said anything.

      I actually think these are one of the *worst* types of lies because it was 1) completely unnecessary and 2) so extremely easy to disprove. It was a shared document so OP would obviously see very quickly that it wasn’t true. These are the types of lies that make me feel like I can never really trust someone again. If he’s lying about something so obviously untrue then what other things has he lied about that you never noticed? And if he would lie about something so inconsequential then what bigger lies has he been telling to cover his tracks?

      Coupled with the comments about taking credit, I would put this guy firmly in the Do Not Trust category.

  24. Julia*

    LW 3, if you’re looking for a softer way to decline to help, try this: [after you have helped her with something] “You know, I’ve been so swamped lately, I was wondering if I could ask you – would you mind asking Belinda or someone else on your team when you have questions about XYZ from now on? I would love to help you but I’m trying really hard to eliminate work distractions so it would probably be better if you went to someone else. Is that OK?”

    And then the next time she asks: “Ooh, I’m totally wrapped up in X right now – did you get a chance to ask Belinda?”

    Alison has a really sweet voice and a confident affect and I sometimes think she can get away with saying things that some of the rest of us would sound too curt saying. I don’t think I would be comfortable saying “Going forward, you should bring questions like this to your team.” right off the bat with nothing additional. If that’s also you, try this and see how it goes.

  25. Red 5*

    Generally, I don’t know how often I would advocate for informing someone before you report them because I just think it’s such an individual case by case thing. Most of the time, it wouldn’t really accomplish all that much in the long run.

    But in the case of someone giving childcare and birthing advice to people who are in a vulnerable place, and who is giving advice that is not medically sound and could cause potential harm, who is positioned in a role of authority that her students would implicitly trust her, I think that you shouldn’t pause to talk to her about it. Go directly and immediately to whatever authority you need to prompt them to start investigating this problem, because the stakes are just so high and I don’t think you need to spend any time or energy on her feelings or how she’ll manage what happens after.

    1. JustaTech*

      I gave some similar advice to my mother-in-law about reporting a technician who had given some dangerous medical advice (well outside the scope of the tech’s license). My MIL was concerned that she was “going to get the tech fired” (the tech had told her to stop the medication she was taking for a sudden and potentially serious condition and eat beets instead).
      I told my MIL that 1) she wasn’t going to “get the tech fired”, that would be the doctor’s decision and it was the tech’s own words that would get her fired (or reprimanded) and 2) the tech might say the same thing to someone who wouldn’t know it was dangerously dumb advice (beets?!) and could get hurt.

      But I agree that there wouldn’t be any value in telling the person that you’re going to report them – at best they’ll just argue.

      1. BetsCounts*

        I agree. If a colleague or client said/did something is serious enough that you feel the need to bring it up with their supervisor, I can’t imagine any upside to telling them ahead of time. It would be polite to tell them after the fact so they aren’t blindsided by their manager, but doing it beforehand is just an invitation to either an argument, guilt trip or an attempt to ‘poison the well’ with their supervisor, as someone suggested above.

        Also, I love to read mystery novels and the first rule of whistle-blowing is to not warn the perpetrator- otherwise it’s an invitation to get your head bashed in!

  26. LadyByTheLake*

    #3 — As someone who moved from a micromanaging BigLaw group to in-house, it took me a while to feel confident operating with the kind of independence that is expected in-house. Maybe that’s what’s going on. At BigLaw we weren’t allowed to do ANYTHING without checking with someone (my department was hugely dysfunctional). Maybe just saying “you’ve got this, no need to check in all the time” might get her to stop.

    1. EPLawyer*

      But she’s going OUTSIDE her team to check and get help. So if that is the case, the person requesting help all the time should be annoying her team, not OP.

    2. Glomarization, Esq.*

      I was wondering something along the same lines. After years of solo practice, I’m currently at a firm where my supervising lawyers are all younger than me, but I’m working in areas of law that I’m unfamiliar with, and in a new jurisdiction, to boot. I’m not used to having supervisors, and I’m also getting used to the house communication styles as well as this jurisdiction’s court rules and terminology. Lots of stupid questions, and I bet much of it is repetitive because I’m older than your average hire who’s new to this jurisdiction.

      I bet LW’s colleague would welcome some assurance that she’s on the right track and doesn’t need to check in so frequently.

  27. Jinni*

    LW#5 – my experience with jury duty in California (LA County) was that if you tell Judge/Jury coordinator that you have to use vacation days and it’s a hardship, they’ll let you go. It’s usually one of the first questions asked. Which basically eliminates parents (though there’s an exemption for that), self-employed creatives, and those with no paid time off or those having to use vacation days. Functionally, they fill juries with government/corporate employees for whom it will be the least hardship.

    If it’s not too late, I’d plead my case.

    Also fmr lawyer…and while I believe in the idea/necessity of jury trials, $15/day or whatever it is now doesn’t make it feasible for most.

    1. sleephard_partynever*

      Same in Alameda county–although the one time I had to report they didn’t ask until we were a few rounds in. My boss actually put the “no paid days off for jury duty” policy in place precisely so that we wouldn’t be called to serve on jury duty since we were such a small org and couldn’t afford to suddenly lose people for weeks at a time.

      Also worth noting that the clerk actually called my boss to check, so maybe make sure that you’re square on the truth before you go this route.

      1. Filosofickle*

        Last time I was called in (Alameda County) I had to work hard to get that exemption. I was potentially going to lose a 30K project because it required travel during the trial period, which was about asbestos and was expected to last at least 2-3 weeks. (They told us we were in luck because that’s super fast for asbestos.) I had to write it my story, wait in a room for hours, and have my appeal personally reviewed by a judge. They did finally clear me.

        I have served once, and actually enjoyed the process but it was 4 days (!) for a DUI and, as a freelancer, I lost a fair bit of income. Everyone else on my jury was getting paid or didn’t work. Being a good citizen is important to me but damn it’s not easy. There has to be a better way.

    2. Blackcat*

      Wow, they don’t seem to care about it AT ALL in Massachusetts. My husband tried to figure out how to plead hardship given he was called for a 6 week (!!) trial given that length of time without the pay of our primary breadwinner would have been very hard on us financially. But other folks at his company told him that he’d be asked about his savings, and as long as he had substantial savings (including in retirement funds), he’d be told he had to serve. Apparently in our jurisdiction, juries end up being almost entirely retired or unemployed people.

      (He ended up not having to serve since it was a medical malpractice case against a hospital where an acquaintance of ours was recently given a drug they were severely allergic to. Allergy was well documented and mentioned and our acquaintance was given it anyways. Malpractice case was about something entirely different, but my husband counted as sufficiently biased.)

    3. Erik*

      This was true for me in San Mateo county as well – not being paid for your time was a valid hardship that would get you out of long trials. I’m not sure that it would get you out of a normal jury duty summons, but I was in a pool for a capital trial that was expected to be multi-week, and the judge was sensitive to those claims. (I passed that, but was bounced for capital punishment beliefs.)

  28. Hiring Mgr*

    Saying this somewhat tongue in cheek, but after the baby comes, does anyone remember ANYTHING taught in those classes :)

    1. James*

      The infant first aid was important. Saved my son’s life, in fact. But yeah, once the sleep deprivation hits a lot of things get forgotten, including all the “Here’s how to not ruin your child’s life” things.

    2. OP1/HannahS*

      Hah! Very likely not. If I had designed it myself, I would have focused less on “Well if you don’t do XYZ your baby will have MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS” (fearmongering unsupported by evidence? super-glad I paid $200 for this!) and a little more on “Here are the safe sleeping guidelines, here’s how to troubleshoot around breastfeeding, here’s how to take care of your healing body, here’s when to take yourself/your baby to the emergency room.”

      1. No Name*

        This. Put this in your recommendation for the class. I didn’t use ANYTHING from the class I took. First, it didn’t discuss C-sections and I had to have an emergency one. Then, I had trouble breastfeeding and felt like a failure. I was a new mom and new to babies in general! I need more of the basics of how to take care of us once we got home! What’s normal vs. seek help!

  29. Hurricane Wakeen*

    LW#2 — I get the sense that I’m in the minority here, but I’m not sure I see the issues you’re describing as worthy of a report. I would focus only on issues that are definitely, unquestionably a safety hazard (the safe sleep stuff might fall here, depending on what they’re saying). My experience is that hospitals aren’t super great at validating concerns of new parents, so if you want to get something done I’d narrow in on the biggest problems.

    To be honest, though, the other issues you mention sound pretty par for the course in my experience. It’s kind of shocking how widely the advice new parents get will vary, and a lot of it sounds utterly bonkers. But, if my kids have taught me anything, it’s that I know a lot less than I think I do, and I’ve ended up using more of those bonkers ideas than I’d like to admit. A lot of parenting of babies is really a personal risk calculation (seconding the recommendation for Emily Oster’s books for a look at said risks and how people can approach them differently).

    1. Hex Code*

      Just because poor and conflicting advice is common, doesn’t mean it should be normal. Even if she weren’t an MD, LW has the right to give strong feedback on a class that they (presumably) paid money to take!

    2. Susie Q*

      Again Emily Oster is an economist not a medical professional. In the United States, the AAP should be the go to source for safe infant sleep and care.

    3. J.B.*

      I disagree in this case because this person is employed by the hospital. I mean with the second kid the pediatrician told us you do what you have to to survive (re sleeping methods) but it’s not ok for a hospital employee to contradict medical advice.

    4. Jules of the River*

      Thirding the recommendation for Oster’s books! She looks directly at studies and will compare and contrast how US-based agencies’ recommendations differ from those in other countries – no reason to just assume the country we happen to live in also happens to be the one giving the best advice (especially since our birth outcomes aren’t particularly impressive compared to many other places).

    5. Meep*

      Emily Oster is dangerous, seriously. She’s not a medical professional, she has no clue what she’s talking about, and I was frankly appalled by her Expecting Better book.

  30. Wolfmama*

    #3 – Checking all. the. time. is normal when you’re coming from BigLaw or other similar environments. You’d be doing her a favor to call it out as needless agonizing. Bringing it up with a manager or feeling like she’s making you do her work for her… Well, maybe at your employer. I’d think it’s a bizarre sort of side swiping behavior to look at her interactions as more than an awkward attempt at being colleagues. IMHO the real issue is that she’s fussing over stuff instead of just taking it to her team or letting it go, so the point that needs to be made is that you have nothing to add. I’d give a cheery “Hmm, got nothin. What does your team think?” and move on, until she’s retrained to relate in some other way.

  31. Mockingjay*

    I’m not sure employers should have to cover jury duty as PTO or other. It’s not the role of corporations to subsidize the court system. My company offers 3 days of paid jury leave per year, but as a small company, that’s about all they can manage in the budget.

    In a perfect world, the municipality, state, or federal entity conducting the trial should pay jurists a living wage for each day served, whether all day or part. (Tax exempt, in my opinion.) Then employers could let you save your PTO or vacation. My county offered $13. That barely buys lunch at the Golden Arches these days (assuming you’re allowed to leave the courthouse for lunch).

    1. CatPerson*

      What? It is the role of *all citizens* to ensure that a jury is available to hear cases.

      1. Snark No More!*

        I’m with CatPerson. That goes for corporate citizens too. Many counties are already on shoe-string budgets. Paying a living wage to jurors (which I don’t think was contemplated by the Constitution) would bankrupt them, or they would raise your local or property taxes to cover it. No one cares about the jury until it’s their life or property on the line.

      2. Mockingjay*

        Yes, it is a citizen’s duty. However, jury service is not convenient and takes little stock of life circumstances. For instance, a retiree is more available when called. If you’re the family’s main breadwinner or are single and working barely above minimum wage and get called for a jury stint, that can have a significant impact on your finances. Grand juries can be empaneled for six months. I’ve been called for duty and watched teachers ask for deferments until summer break and single parents ask to be excused due to child care. People are willing to serve, just not always able.

        There isn’t an easy or cost-free solution, but better compensation combined with employer policies that don’t exhaust PTO would widen the selection pool.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I am very confused as this comments seems like a pretty good argument *against* your previous comment…

    2. SnappinTerrapin*

      The fees Alabama pays to jurors haven’t been updated in decades, but the employee has the legal right toturn over to his employer the check he received from the court clerk, in return for the wages or salary he was scheduled to earn during the period of service.

      The one time I was called, it was on my scheduled days off, and the full docket settled, so I got to pocket my small fee.

      An overlooked factor in the justice system is that, once the jurors are ready to hear the cases on the docket, it’s gut-check time for all litigants and their counsel. For every case tried before a jury, scores are settled because the litigants take a more realistic view of the relative strengths of their positions.

  32. Frenchie Too*

    Jury duty. Please let the judge on the case know (ask the bailiff to let you speak with the judge or to inform him of your problem) that you are being penalized by your employer.
    There is a good chance (provide boss’ contact information) that the judge will call your boss and at least chew him out.
    “You’re Honor, although I’m willing to fulfill my jury service, I’m having problems at work. My boss is angry that I’m here and is docking my annual leave. Which leaves me with no extra days for personal emergencies.”
    Even if nothing happens, at least your boss will be exposed as a jerk.
    I have personally seen something similar happen. The employer was threatening to fire the juror. The judge personally called the employer and chewed him out. Of course, this would have been an illegal firing. But if it’s not illegal in your state to take your vacation days, at least it will be embarrassing.
    Good luck!

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      Under that scenario, I’ve known a few judges who would have issued a bench warrant and sent the sheriff to fetch the employer, so he could have a hearing about interfering with the court’s business.

  33. Boba Feta*

    I read question #2 and immediately skipped the rest to come down here and type out this reply:

    OP2 – please consider speaking up in the moment, if you can, in front of the other soon-to-be parents as an alternative (or in addition to) any individual conversation you were thinking of having with this “teacher.” I’m not a medical doctor of any kind, but rather an extremely analytical person with a near compulsion to do a lot of my own research about any topic of importance, and this tendency went into overdrive when I was pregnant. My additional tendency toward self-doubt was doubly exacerbated when I just “felt” or “knew” that some of the things being advised during prenatal classes sounded off, but had no real way of feel sure that I could find or check the sources. Pregnancy, especially for first-time parents, is such a perfect storm of nerves, worry and concern that the human need for reassurance makes folks willing to believe anything an “expert” tells them even to their own (ignorant) detriment. I remember hearing the ‘teacher’ say some things that made me do some significant double-takes, but was so overwhelmed I couldn’t even articulate what was wrong about it, so we ended up just dismissing those pieces of advice ourselves in private and did our own research to back up our decisions.

    I recognize this has ended up sounding quite dramatic, and I truly don’t mean it to be – but you have the expertise to potentially correct the more egregious or potentially dangerous pieces of misinformation, and I would urge you to consider using that power for good when the other parents can hear it.

    Of course, DO submit your feedback to the hospital, with all the gory details, regardless of whether you decide to speak with the instructor or not, privately or not. They absolutely should know what their staff (or their contractors) are saying in these sessions to parents, especially those who may be especially nervous or anxious and thus primed to accept literally everything they hear in such sessions as unbreakable directives.

    1. Hex Code*

      Yes, I definitely dig into the research behind any advice given about pregnancy or birth, as so many of them are outdated or based on such limited sample size. Yet they are given to expecting parents as absolutes. The assumption that patients will/should just accept and follow without any justification is horrifying.

  34. ElleKay*

    If you were reporting someone you work with (and needed to continue to work with) I probably wouldn’t warn them but, in this situation, I don’t think either way is better or worse. She’s not going to be able to tank your career or make your daily life miserable as a retaliation so it’s really up to you

  35. Lucious*

    LW#4: I agree that a direct conversation is in order. That said, it may be wise to seek another position internally or outside the firm before having that conversation.

    I say this as there’s a nonzero possibility your dialogue with the former grandboss may not just end with them stating you won’t be promoted – they may have concluded you need to leave the organization. If that’s the final word, you’ll be prepared to discuss amicable separation arrangements right away.

  36. Just Another HR Pro*

    #4 – is it at all possible your new boss is just a micromanager or a control freak? I don’t disagree with Alison at all, but i have been in this situation and it turned out my new boss was just a power-hungry micormanager. Who, BTW didn’t know how to do her job but since she had been in roles like mine previously, she knew how to do mine. So I left.

  37. LW #1*

    I’m the LW #1. Thanks so much to Alison for answering this question and to the commentators for offering their advice and opinions on the situation.

    Since sending in this letter, my coworker Fergus approached me about how he thinks we’ve been having ‘issues’ working together and mentioned that he would like to ask our grandboss if he can work with other people on the team once we wrap up our project, which felt like a bit of a slap in the face in the context of the conversation. In the same conversation, Fergus mentioned that he hoped that one of us would get promoted soon but then said immediately in a somewhat sarcastic tone that it couldn’t be me (the OP) because I have a different contract to him – which absolutely doesn’t matter at all and seems to be him projecting his competitiveness on me. I am in no way a competitive person and really don’t want to be competing with him for acknowledgement and work status, but it appears that I have to.

    I’ll definitely be compiling that CYA file in case of any other lies about our work process, and will be redoubling my efforts to acknowledge my own competence and work when speaking with my boss. I’ll also reflect on my own role in this mini-conflict that Fergus and I are having, as I’m sure I have at least a portion of the blame! I really didn’t want to get to this point as I’ve actually always liked Fergus, but here we are and I suppose I need to protect myself. Thanks again so much for all your help!

    1. Nanani*

      Definitely protect yourself, and maybe polish your resume in addition to compiling the CYA – if this goes south because of Fergus or if for some ~mysterious~ reasons all the higher ups just seem to like him better than you somehow gee I wonder why a guy like that would get the benefit of the doubt

      It sounds very much like he’s trying to climb over your back and might kick you in the teeth while he does it. Best of luck.

    2. photon*

      (1) While reflection is good, don’t automatically assume that the blame goes both ways. Sometimes it really is just one person.

      (2) I’d strongly suggest trying not to work with Fergus if you can swing it. If you both typically work on A and B together, maybe try to find a way for you to take all of A and him to take all of B. That way, your work becomes clear without you needing to draw a line in the sand every time Fergus lies. If he already wants to move that way, it may be a blessing in disguise.

      (If you’re a woman, the above may even be more important – unfortunately, there are subtle biases against women who stand up for themselves.)

      I wonder if you can talk to your manager about the concern that Fergus may be undermining your work. It may not be worth it, and it may draw more attention to a problem that can be dealt with in other ways, but just a thought.

    3. J.B.*

      This really sounds like a Fergus problem. Uggh I hope for the sake of anyone he would be managing that he doesn’t get promoted!

  38. Aphrodite*

    Re: jury duty.

    I work for a community college. If we get called, we will get paid our regular salary for as long as it takes. However, I was called for a trial that involved the state, an oil company, and the county as there had been an oil spill three years earlier. This was in California. I could feel myself deflate as the judge spent a good amount of time explaining the process and added that the trial would take a minimum of four months and possibly six. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. (And I did wonder if the college would willingly pay for that unbearable length of time; I wasn’t chosen, thank god, after spending a couple of hours filling out a 35-page questionnaire and waiting a week to hear back. I didn’t want to be chosen.)

  39. Eloise*

    LW3: I imagine that the issues could come from the way that law firms are structured (I can’t tell if you are at a firm or in house). Often, people at firms–especially open-market firms–work on a lot of teams but with no clear manager/boss. Law firms are weird: they are both more hierarchical and have a much more opaque management structure than most companies because people assign you work but none of them are directly responsible for your career development, etc. And sometimes, there might be a gulf of experience on a small team–say a midlevel associate and then a partner, which makes the associate hesitant to ask the partner questions.

    So if this associate finds that you are helpful, even if you are around the same level of experience, and she also has anxiety about work product, she may just keep asking you to double-check her work out of anxiety. Tell her you are too busy and can’t keep doing non-billable work, though. She should understand!

    1. Dancing Otter*

      Or ask for the billing code. Because OF COURSE any work that you do on her project should be billed to her client.
      If you’re not supposed to be working on that project, seeing your time on there is bound to get someone’s attention.

  40. Snark No More!*

    I’m with CatPerson. That goes for corporate citizens too. Many counties are already on shoe-string budgets. Paying a living wage to jurors (which I don’t think was contemplated by the Constitution) would bankrupt them, or they would raise your local or property taxes to cover it. No one cares about the jury until it’s their life or property on the line.

  41. J.B.*

    Jury Duty – when I went through my employer’s handbook with a fine toothed comb (there were some issues with a new corporate entity they just set up) – I pointed out it was kind of cruddy to both mandate no overtime whatsoever (for exempt) and to require employees to take leave for jury duty. Now they’re saying “sike” on leave and proposing changing the start of the year for leave calculations, and retroactively zero everyone’s leave out. Fun times!

  42. DJ Abbott*

    #2, I have encountered this type of person before, mainly in my efforts to get alternative medical care and in a position where I called on alternative practitioners as a sales consultant.
    In their work they pick and choose what they want to believe from the various studies and articles that are out there and no one can tell them otherwise. They’re so sure they’re right about everything, nothing can shake that. All the studies and all the reasoned arguments in the world won’t make any impression.
    If you warn a person like this, one of two things will happen.
    1. They won’t do anything, because their faith they’re right and that other other people can see they’re right is unshakable.
    2. As mentioned above, they’ll start trying to cover themselves.
    My inclination is to not warn her because I don’t think she deserves it. She’s a flaky arrogant practitioner who needs to be brought down, and I have no sympathy for her.

  43. A Person*

    > I don’t know if this is imposter syndrome or she’s just suffering from a complete absence of self-confidence

    Is there a difference? I’m not trying to be snarky here, but that’s how I would have defined “imposter syndrome”?

  44. MCMonkeyBean*

    For #1 I had a situation kind of like that with a coworker where she told a small lie to cover her butt. But she didn’t think about the fact that if what she had said were true there would be a huge problem. Basically there was a number missing in a report we filed and when the boss asked about it she was like “oh, so weird, I put the number in the source file how crazy that the software didn’t pull it in.”

    This is a software that people on my team complain about a lot so I’m sure she was just thinking everyone would be like “oh yeah, that crazy software.” But the thing is that while it gives us some trouble in other areas it always pulls in the data we enter exactly as we entered it and if it were true that it was possible for it to miss a number like that it would mean we could basically never trust that our reports were correct again and we’d have to add in a ton more manual checks which would be a lot more work!

    Luckily I had recently reinstated a process that the team had dropped for a while of saving down copies of the source files in an Archive folder after the reports were published. Because of that I could see clearly that she went in and updated the number in her source file *after* the mistake was caught because it was indeed missing in the original archived file. So I know that she lied.

    I didn’t call her out directly for lying, but I did send an email to her and the boss saying that I checked the archive file and it looks like the number was missing so we’d just have to double check that in the future without trying to lay blame or name names. I just really really wanted to make sure the boss didn’t think there was a problem with the software and add a million manual checks.

  45. no phone calls, please*

    #4 Lots of great comments already, but I have this nagging feeling about something. What if OldBoss wasn’t as enamored of OP as they (were led to?) believe? It would be more likely that OP would have lingering halo effect with GrandBoss/NewBoss if OldBoss frequently sung their praises in (not just formal, but informal) communications with GrandBoss over the years, rather than OP becoming a presumed target of performance concerns so quickly?

    Also, any chance GrandBoss had someone in mind for the role and wasn’t able to block OP from the promotion?

  46. Raida*

    #3 If you want to be friends with her then I’d suggest going for a coffee, letting her know it’s more questions than you’d expect, ask if she’s okay, how’s her team to work with, etc.
    And to make it clear you’re free, let’s say once a week for fifteen minutes if she’d like to chat or has a specific work situation she’d like your opinion on. But her team is for day to day process and review questions, not you – your manager expects you to be working on your tasks and not running support for another team

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