coworker buys us things we don’t want, putting vaccination on your resume, and more

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

1. Coworker wants us to reimburse her for purchases we never agreed to

A coworker showed up on a Monday with a refrigerator and a microwave. She was so proud of herself. “Look what I did!” Well, the next day she was asking the other four of us to split the bill. (Mind you, we have three microwaves and two refrigerators already—just not in the actual office we occupy). She also will show up with shirts (we are nurses) she has bought for us to wear (like twinsies!) and then ask for repayment.

How can I ask her to stop making purchases without our input? How can I do it without alienating her?

It’s possible that by just declining to chip in the next few times (“no, sorry, it’s not in my budget”), she’ll get the message. But to address the pattern itself — to proactively tell her to stop in the future too — here are a few options:

* “I’m on a budget, so please don’t assume I’ll be able to chip in for something unless I’ve okayed it first.”
*“I know you’re trying to do something nice, but I don’t like to spend my paycheck at work! Please check with me before assuming I’ll chip in for something.”
* “You’ve asked us to pay you back a few times for things we didn’t know you were buying. Please check with us first, since those might not be expenses we all want to take on.”

A reasonable person won’t find any of those responses alienating, but I don’t know whether or not she’s reasonable. Still, though, if the choice is between having her constantly reaching into your wallet without your okay versus dealing with an unreasonable person being momentarily miffed, go with miffed.

Read an update to this letter here

2. Should I add that I’m vaccinated to my resume?

I’ve seen a number of jobs ads that include a vaccine requirement at the bottom of the listing. Would it be weird to include that I’m fully vaccinated in my resume? I live in an area where vaccine rates are not great and wouldn’t want an employer to assume I’m not.

Some people are doing this, but it’s odd and I wouldn’t recommend it. You don’t typically include medical information on a resume, and an employer that has a vaccine requirement will let you know.

3. Company wants to see my car insurance for my personal commute to work

I’m starting a new job tomorrow (my second one after college) and received an email from HR listing the items I need to bring to get set up for payroll — ID, Social Security card, etc. as expected. However, I was also told to bring proof of auto insurance, explicitly including my name and the effective date of coverage. I’ve worked a half-dozen other jobs and one full-time one aside from this, but never have I been asked about my car insurance. The job doesn’t involve any driving for the company, just transit to and from. The HR rep I spoke to indicated it’s a very big deal with the company HQ (I’m working from a branch in another state) and that if I’m caught driving to work before providing this document it could lead to termination.

I understand a company protecting itself from liability if employees drive for them or in the course of their normal workday (work errands and such) but is this common when the job doesn’t involve any driving? Mostly this is an issue because my insurance is through my parents and I’m not listed as a covered driver explicitly; this is being fixed but I won’t have a paper copy with my name on it to hand in tomorrow. Public transit is a no-go, so I’m looking at having someone drive me +1.5 hours round-trip in the morning and evening until it’s settled.

What?! No, this is bizarre.

If you need to drive your personal vehicle for business purposes, it would make sense for your employer to talk about insurance with you (either increasing your policy’s coverage at their expense, or adding you on to their own policy, depending on the situation). But getting involved with your insurance coverage for your commute is extremely odd and not a thing that’s normally done.

I wonder if it’s actually a misinterpretation — like they require proof of insurance for people who do drive as part of their jobs, and someone misinterpreted that to think they’re supposed to see it for everyone and now they’re requiring it across the board when that wasn’t how it was supposed to be set up.

I’d love to tell you to push back, but as a brand new employee who’s already been told it’s a big deal to the company, it’s probably not the right battle to fight. Any chance you can get your own policy right away? It’s usually something you can set up same-day. It’s not your employer’s business, but it’s probably the path of least resistance.

(Also, for what it’s worth, car insurance typically won’t cover people who aren’t living with the policy holder. If you’re not living with your parents, I’d be concerned about whether you’re  really covered by their policy, particularly if you’re not explicitly listed. Update: apparently that varies by state. But that’s a concern for you, not your employer!)

4. My boss is upset that she didn’t know my coworker and I live together

My company doesn’t have a no-fraternization policy (unless there’s a power differential), but they do require us to disclose romantic relationships with others in the company, and especially within the smaller departments. Recently, my supervisor pulled me aside and told me that she was very concerned because she had just learned that I was in a relationship and living with one of my coworkers. She said that she’d smoothed things over with the higher-ups and the coworker and I wouldn’t be disciplined for the non-disclosure, but she was very disappointed in us for not being open and following the policy, and implied that her view of my professional integrity and judgment was affected by this.

The thing is … we aren’t in a relationship. I do live with a coworker, and we’re very close friends, but we are very explicitly not a romantic couple (we briefly discussed dating at one time before we lived together, but both had the immediate reaction of “ew, no, you’re like family”). I tried to explain that to my supervisor, but she clearly wasn’t buying it — raising her eyebrow, pursing her lips, etc. She finally said, “Even if that was true, you still should disclose a close personal friendship if you’re living together.”

At the time, I just let it go and apologized, but I’ve been thinking about it and I’m not sure if I should bring it back up. I am a woman and my coworker is a man, so I guess it’s not that surprising that people assume we’re a couple, but since we’re not, I didn’t think our shared address was relevant. But am I wrong in that thinking? Should I have assumed that my living situation required disclosure? And should I try to talk to my boss about it again and make sure she understands that 1) I’m honestly not dating my roommate/coworker and 2) I would of course have followed the policy if I’d realized it applied to roommates as well as romantic partners?

You’re not wrong, and I bet this wouldn’t be happening if you had moved in with a female coworker.

Frankly, I would appreciate knowing if two of my employees lived together because it can bring up some of the same conflict of interest stuff that romantic relationships can — but I wouldn’t have a right to be upset if they didn’t go out of their way to tell me about it. That’s just not generally a thing you’re expected to disclose in a formal way.

Since your boss implied that you committed an ethical breach, I do think you need to bring it back up. I’d say this: “I got the sense when we spoke the other day that you didn’t believe that Cecil and I aren’t involved. I’m taken aback that you think I’d lie about that. I understand why our disclosure policy is in place and my integrity is important to me. If I’d known that the company wants roommates to disclose that they’re roommates, I’d have happily done that — but my understanding was that the policy was about romantic relationships and this is not one. I’m alarmed by your implication that this reflects on my integrity. How do I set the record straight?”

However, whether or not to pursue it depends on what you know of your boss. With some managers, it would be wiser not to keep poking at it. But otherwise, I’d want to raise it.

5. Should I tell my boss she’s a difficult manager?

I have a question about giving feedback to my supervisor. I am also in a supervisory position for the last 1.5 years. She is newer to managing as well and only moved into her position about six months before me. She’s a kind, fun person but seems to struggle with the basic aspects of managing. She is emotionally volatile and, when in a bad mood, can be rude and pouty. She also will not address concerns with people she supervises and her approach is to ignore issues or start treating them badly until they quit.

Last week, she got in a heated argument with a subordinate. She was upset that day and said to me, “Would this place be better with someone more emotionally stable running it?” I was caught off guard and did not give much response. I would like to go back to her and offer honest feedback since it seemed like she was genuinely asking. What is the best way to offer this, if at all? I’ll add that I plan to move cities in the next year and would like a positive recommendation from her so not looking to burn a bridge, but I feel I owe it to the company and her to share what I see since she is asking.

I’m not convinced she was genuinely asking. That sounds very much like something someone might say when they’re looking for reassurance. And even if she did mean it, she still might not be ready for honest feedback and could respond badly to it. Managers with the traits you described — volatile, rude, not direct — are not particularly safe ones to give honest feedback to.

You definitely don’t owe it to your boss or the company to risk the relationship or your future reference just because she raised the question! In general, give honest feedback to a manager only when they have demonstrated through their actions that it’s safe to do so. That doesn’t sound like the case here.

{ 516 comments… read them below }

  1. Aphrodite*

    OP #1, the first time any co-worker bought something and assumed I’d pay for part of it I would bluntly let that person know with that simple one-word answer: No! I wouldn’t soften it but I would add something like “I wouldn’t buy it, I won’t use it, and I can’t and won’t contribute to it. I’d suggest taking it back.”

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, this. I’m afraid that I’ve pretty much reached the No F*s to give stage of life. An assumption that I’m willing to pay for something you bought without asking is going to get a firm no from me. If you can’t pay for all of it yourself, get a refund. I don’t particularly care if you’re offended by that, either.

      1. Dust Bunny*


        This coworker is bonkers.

        I’ve donated appliances to my office, sure, but they were small and either free/cheap for me (brand-new toaster oven from the church garage sale) or were things I needed to replace (I bought a new coffee maker because I knocked the carafe from the previous one off the counter and broke it). They weren’t whole refrigerators and I wasn’t going to ask anyone else to chip in.

        1. PhysicsTech*

          Agreed, office purchases should be cheap anyway unless the company is buying.

          And same as you, I just donated a leaking coffee machine to the student lounge because it leaked. A student fixed it right up and now the undergrads are highly caffeinated!

          1. EchoGirl*

            Yep, I somewhat-recently got a higher-end coffeemaker as a wedding gift and now have a couple of old but functional ones lying around (long story as to why I have multiples), and if I were in an office or school situation (I freelance), I’d probably bring one in. But it would be a case of, “hey, this was taking up space in my house, we might as well get some use out of it”, not something I’d ask to be reimbursed for.

            1. Lost in the Midwest*

              Yup. I had a small Keurig and got a bigger one. I brought my smaller one in to the office for everyone to use. I’d never buy something and expect people to pitch in unless we agreed before hand.

        2. The Rural Juror*

          A coworker donated a fridge to our warehouse space because he had purchased a new one during his small kitchen remodel. It was actually a benefit to him since it meant our company sent someone to his house to pick it up using a company truck. Otherwise, he would have had to get it to a donation center himself (no one around here does pick ups). There was a small refrigerator there, but not one with a freezer, so the warehouse employees really appreciated it! They really like that they have ice now.

          I cannot imagine a situation where it would be ok to take it upon yourself to purchase a refrigerator for work without even talking to anyone about it before. Not just for the cost, but also for the logistics! Where does it go? Do you have to move something else so that it will fit? Geez!

          1. pancakes*

            There are some really small ones that hold just a few cold drinks, and even smaller ones meant for beauty products.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        This is me, though I can’t think of a point in my life where I’d be okay with someone else spending my money (on matchings shirts!?!? are we 12?). I am happy to chip in for some things, but the presumption of buying something without my knowledge or consent and then sending me a bill (or using social pressure to try to extort the funds) would really tick me off.

        In the interest of preserving office relations, I’d probably do my best “completely befuddled by this suggestion” and use an amalgamation of Alison’s scripts. But, inside, I’d think this chick had some nerve and watch her pretty closely to see if this was just poor social skills/presumption, someone with so much money they didn’t understand the concept of not having money for things you don’t want, or someone looking to make a buck off her coworkers.

      3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        Yeah, I felt the pressure back in my early years, but I am pretty good at just saying no and letting them sulk if that’s their idea of a good time.

    2. PollyQ*

      Regardless of script, I would recommend LW1 NEVER chip in for a purchase made this way. I think that behavior will get the message across more effectively than any words used.

      1. Artemesia*

        THIS. It was a huge mistake for people to do this the first time. This is one that needed to be totally nipped in the bud. Do it once and a precedent is set.

    3. Pennyworth*

      I’d also suggest that your team needs a policy that purchases of that sort need to be agreed by everyone before anything is bought. That way you can just say ‘this wasn’t an agreed purchase’ when she asks for money.

      1. Beth*

        I don’t think this needs to be a formal policy. It’s very weird in any context–not just work– to assume that you can spend other people’s money without their consent. All OP and their coworkers need to do is say “What, no, you can spend your money on that if you want but I didn’t agree to that, I’m not contributing.” She’ll either decide it’s worth it and keep it anyways, or pout and return the purchase; either way, not OP’s problem anymore.

        1. DyneinWalking*

          Yes, this. You do not spend other people’s money without getting their permission first; it’s theirs not yours so why the hell would you ever feel entitled to spend it yourself? That borders on theft/extortion. No-one should need to be explicitly told this!

          In fact, I’m pretty sure this is one of the universal rules that applies to all cultures and ages (outside of strong power dynamics, at least). If anyone knows an exception for somewhere sometime (without power dynamics) I’m all ears, but… seriously, I doubt it.

          1. Bagpuss*

            Yes, the only situation I can think of would be where it was something where it wasn’t possible to get your permission in advance but there was a big advantage to you / a big disadvantage to not doing it, and even then, I am not sure that that fits the bill as I think there’s probably implied permission (I’m thinking of something like realising they forgot to pay for an important subscription or booking where it’s going to cost them a lot more / mean they can’t work until it’s fixed, and going ahead with it rather than waiting because it’s about to expire / double in price)

            And of course it’s perfectly possible to have blanket permission with certain people and for certain types of spending.

          2. RagingADHD*

            Theft? Extortion?

            You are either confused about what those words mean or indulging a LOT of hyperbole.

            Sandra isn’t the only one here with boundary issues. LW and their coworkers have some problems with their own boundaries, or they never would have agreed to pay for the fridge in the first place.

            Nobody is forcing LW to do anything, and nothing criminal or sneaky is going on. LW just needs to pull up their socks and say no.

            TBH, I’m surprised a bunch of nurses are this diffident unless they are all newbies. I’ve certainly never met a nurse IRL who lacked starch in their backbone.

            1. Starbuck*

              But they didn’t agree to pay for the fridge? And don’t intend to? That’s the whole point of the letter. This is a weirdly hostile response.

            2. NotAnotherManager!*

              I wouldn’t pay Spendy Wendy a dime, but I can totally see some people I work with who are very nice and place a much higher value on being liked and having a harmonious workplace deciding that the occasional hypothetical $20 for a shirt is more palatable to them than rocking the boat of someone whose judgment is already clearly not right. Presumptuous people like her also tend to spin their tale to others and try to generate peer pressure to pay, so criminal definition of extortion? No, but well within colloquial usage.

              Also, if they’re already working in a high stress environment, as I imagine nursing could be always but especially now, maybe they don’t want to pile yet another thing to deal with on the fire. I had a fairly awful day at work today and decided that it wasn’t the day to die on a particular hill that normally I’d have put up a bigger argument to. I can’t imagine working in a healthcare facility day in/day out and having the mental energy to take a stand Wendy’s latest purchase.

              It’s easy to tell someone to stiffen their spine and get over it, but that’s not the way for everyone, and LW’s coworker is further out of line than anyone who has trouble saying “no”. They’re not the ones assuming other people want their money spent on the things she thinks they need. Spendy Wendy’s creating the problem by having her hand out.

          3. Worldwalker*

            I’m also curious as to what will happen with these items if/when the purchaser leaves. Will they take, say, the microwave with them because “I bought it” even though other people paid for 80% of the price?

            There is no way this can end well.

            1. doreen*

              Don’t ask – I’ve worked places where when someone chipped in for a refrigerator and they leave, they expect their replacement to reimburse them for their share – and it doesn’t go well when the replacement isn’t interested in using the refrigerator.

              1. The Rural Juror*

                Not to mention, items that wear and tear have a depreciated value over time. It’s not cool to use something for several years and then expect someone else coming in to pay you back full price!

        2. MK*

          If this was the first time it happened, I would agree, just tell her you didn’t sign in for the purchase and won’t be chipping in. But it sounds as if the OP did chip in for past purchases, so now a big picture conversation probably needs to happen.

          1. Dr B Crusher*

            Not necessarily. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. OP can just cheerfully say no thanks and stop paying for unauthorised purchases from this point forward. Spendy Wendy will figure it out. Or not, not OP’s problem.

            1. BatManDan*

              It’s very likely that, since the OP (and apparently others) HAVE chipped in REPEATEDLY in the past, that Spendy Wendy will: 1) be surprised, 2) be offended, since permission HAS been non-verbally granted by paying for purchases in the past, 3) take a LONG time to figure out that OP will NEVER pay for anything (again, permission has been granted non-verbally), and 4) use the fact that the other co-workers are still going along with it as proof that Spendy Wendy is right. In the moment of surprise, most of us don’t realize or take into account how long it takes to retrain someone else on our true boundaries, once we have let them violate them once. Multiple times makes it immensely hard to extinguish the behavior.

              1. Daffy Duck*

                Yes, this! If it was the first time you can just say no you won’t pay. As she has paid multiple times in the past she absolutely needs to have a conversation with Spendy Wendy and tell her going forward she won’t contribute.
                Even with a conversation, I would expect Spendy Wendy to push the boundaries multiple times and OP really needs to stand firm. Break down once, and Spendy Wendy will continue to expect donations to her buying habit forevermore.

                1. Birdie*

                  It’s not a bad idea to have a conversation with the other coworkers, too. Even if LW makes clear that she won’t be contributing to future purchases made without her prior consent, if everyone else still chips in, there’s going to be extra pressure on LW to cave. I imagine there are others who aren’t thrilled about this, either, so it’d be good to see if everyone’s on the same page.

                2. Daffy Duck*

                  @ Starbuck – Yes, she brought the fridge and microwave one day and in the past has bought matching shirts and expected the others to pay. That is at least twice, but you could interpret the shirts to be more than once.

                3. Starbuck*

                  Sure, but it doesn’t actually say that the LW has paid for any of that stuff that was bought in the past, unless there was a comment update I missed.

              2. Dona Florinda*

                I agree. If OP just refuse to chip in, coworker will probably just assume she can’t afford AT THE MOMENT and will either expect to be paid at some other time or just keep buying stuff.

                1. Zephy*

                  I mean. That’s still not OP’s problem if Spendy Wendy never gets paid back money the OP doesn’t owe her in the first place.

            2. ecnaseener*

              What’s the benefit to letting her gradually figure it out, and keep bothering OP and others in the meantime? How is that easier than saying “please stop doing this without asking”?

              1. Dr B Crusher*

                The benefit is you don’t have to have a full ‘Conversation’ with Spendy Wendy and possibly get her back up and make it A Thing before it’s A Thing. You give her a chance to figure it out and dial it back so she does not feel stupid and/or defensive. You can just say no thanks, not in the budget, with a smile once or twice. If she’s quietly confused and offended by something so eminently reasonable and normal, that’s really on her, not something OP needs to expend emotional energy on. If she makes it a thing or won’t stop after 1-2 soft brush-offs THEN OP can have the further conversation with her. I do realise that being blunt and communicating is important, and honestly I’m not a conflict-avoidant person at all, but I don’t think a full conversation is necessary yet from the evidence we have in the letter and may make things worse because then it’s A Thing.

                1. socks*

                  I dont think OP needs to make this a Big Conversation, but I do think it’ll save them some grief if they make it clear they won’t be agreeing to purchases in the future. “Sorry*, I’m watching my spending and can’t chip in for purchases I didn’t budget out in advance!” would make it clear OP doesn’t plan to chip in for future purchases but doesn’t turn into a big talk about the coworker’s (horrible) manners

                  * Not that OP is doing anything wrong, but sometimes there are benefits to social lubricant apologies

                2. pancakes*

                  People who aren’t conflict-avoidant don’t tend to treat “a full conversation” as a huge imposition to be avoided unless and until repeated hinting hasn’t worked. Having a straightforward conversation about this doesn’t (or shouldn’t) take nearly as much “emotional energy” from the letter writer as some of these comments seem to expect. There’s no good reason to try to clarify this with little lies about not having budgeted for this woman’s purchases.

                3. Office Lobster DJ*

                  Yeah, I could see Spendy Wendy getting offended (“I was only trying to be niiiiiiiice!!!”) and becoming a petty jerk about past purchases (“OHHHH, so you don’t want to contribute to anything??? Okay, fine. I guess that means you won’t be using the fridge anymore, here’s your $50 back”), or snubbing LW when it comes to future purchases that they might actually be interested in, just to Make A Point.

                  Only LW knows if Spendy Wendy is that level of obnoxious, but if she is, there is a definite argument for starting with a lighter touch to try to save LW some headaches.

                4. BatManDan*

                  It’s a thing already. It’ll become even more of a thing in Spendy Wendy’s mind if the gradual / indirect approach is used.

                5. mophie*

                  Office Lobster DJ, to be fair, if you tell Spendy Wendy you don’t want to contribute to the fridge, it’s not petty of her to say you can’t use the fridge.
                  If you tell her not to include you on future purchases, it’s not petty to then exclude you from all future purchases, even ones you might be interested in.

                6. Office Lobster DJ*

                  mophie, I think we are picturing things a little differently. I was using the fridge as an example because it sounded like a done deal that the LW had already contributed to. I may have misread. I was picturing a situation where Spendy Wendy would get so miffed at hearing “You need to ask people first” that she throws the LW’s money for previous purchases back at them and said if that’s how they felt, they should just take their money back and stop using the previous purchases, return the tee shirts, or whatever. Which may or may not be a problem for LW, but I didn’t get the sense they wanted to recoup money already given.

                  As for future purchases, I was assuming the LW might be interested in some but not all of them, and only if asked first. If they’re not interested in anything ever again, that’s a different conversation.

            3. anonymous73*

              No this is a situation where OP needs to use her words, and set boundaries, especially if she’s chipped in for things in the past.

              1. Dr B Crusher*

                Pleasantly refusing to chip in further IS using your words and setting boundaries. It’s trying a nice little hedge before putting up an ugly chain link.

                1. anonymous73*

                  Except that it’s not. In order to set boundaries, you have to use your words, not “let her figure it out.”

                2. pancakes*

                  I think you are overstating the ugliness of direct refusal to continue participating this woman’s nonsense.

                3. Rusty Shackelford*

                  @anonymous73 You don’t have to announce you’re setting a boundary. Boundaries are internal. You just decide you’re not doing it any more.

                4. marvin the paranoid android*

                  Hmm, I’d disagree with the scale of that, although not the basic idea. I’d say either pleasantly refusing to chip in further or politely addressing the larger pattern is just fine as a first conversation; it just depends on your own comfort level. The chain-link fence approach would come in after she ignores your direct request to stop and you have to take a firmer/less pleasant tone.

                5. TootsNYC*

                  In order to set boundaries, you have to use your words, not “let her figure it out.”

                  This is incorrect.
                  In order to set boundaries, you have to LIVE them.
                  You can live them without explaining them.

                  There are plenty of people who use their words, but then cave when the moment arrives. That’s not setting boundaries.

                  And there are MANY people who never explain or delineate their boundaries, and yet when they refuse to show up for some family event, and someone complains, the answer is, “That’s just how they are.” Those people have successfully set their boundaries.

                6. anonymous73*

                  @Rusty Shackleford sure if you want someone continually assuming things and driving you bananas.

                7. anonymous73*

                  @TootsNYC yes you have to LIVE them, but first you have to EXPRESS them, by UING YOUR WORDS. You can’t expect people to read your mind or assume things from your actions.

                8. Rusty Shackelford*

                  @anonymous73 Of course she needs to use her words. She needs to say “no, I’m not contributing to that.” But she doesn’t have to do it ahead of time. She doesn’t have to make a big I Am Setting A Boundary announcement. All she has to do is, next time she’s asked for money, say “no.” So maybe that’s where we’re having a disconnect? We weren’t saying she should simply ignore requests or pretend she didn’t hear them.

                9. Rusty Shackelford*

                  And you don’t actually *have* to express your boundaries. You *can* just live them. If your boundary is “I don’t go to lunch with the gang when Jane is driving,” you don’t have to make that announcement every time Jane offers to drive. You can just say “no thanks” or “I’ll drive myself” or whatever. You don’t have to pre-emptively announce “in the future, I will not be reimbursing you for any purchases I didn’t agree to.” You can just say “no” in the moment. That is living your boundaries.

          2. Beth*

            I’m not sure OP did chip in for past purchases, actually. We know the coworker has asked people to chip in several times now, but unless there was clarification in a comment that I haven’t seen yet, I don’t think OP has said whether they gave her the money she asked for.

            Either way, though, the solution is still the same. The coworker asks; OP says no; the coworker might complain, but can’t force OP to pay up; the coworker either keeps the thing and absorbs the full cost, or chooses to return the thing. This might well happen several times before it sinks in, but other than being an annoying process, it’s really not OP’s problem as long as OP can hold strong and keep saying no.

        3. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

          I agree. I don’t think this needs to be a policy because it is obvious. I would just look at her as she hands me the shirt and asks for money, “no thanks, I did not order this” and walk away. Or when she got the fridge and microwave and asked for money, I would say, “No thanks, I am fine just using the ones we have.” If she complains, I would just say, “well, next time maybe you should ask first.”

    4. Avi*

      This situation seems like the ideal place to break out the ‘that’s not how any of this works’ speech. If you expect people to chip in on a purchase, you ask them beforehand. Obviously. Thinking that it should be the other way around is just baffling. I’ve unilaterally bought things for the workplace to make my life easier, and it never even occurred to me to extort money out of my coworkers for it.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Outside of work a member of my family tried pulling something similar when they purchased an expensive and really unrequired item for my parents then told me that I owed them half the cost.

      ‘No. I never agreed to this. You’ve got no right to my money for your whims’

      1. Liz*

        I had this happen to me, in college. When myself and most of my friends were poor! there was an event on campus; outdoors, bands, etc. A friend (who was cheap and also odd about money, would split a restaurant check down to the penny!), asked if myself and a friend who was visiting wanted to “hang out” with them at the event. Before I could even reply yes or no, she then launched into how we’d owe her x amount, for the booze, snacks, etc. she had purchased for it. Um, how about you let me tell you if we’re going to or not first!

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          It’s definately one of the things that can make me very very angry – being told I suddenly owe cash for something I never agreed to. We had one of those ‘friends’ at uni too – to the extent of telling the rest of us that since she was so poor we’d have to cover her share. After the meal. Which she’d said she’d pay for.

          (We were all flat broke! we were students!)

          1. banoffee pie*

            I had uni friends who seriously suggested running out of restaurants without paying. But of course they only brought it up after we’d eaten. I said if they did that I’d have to stay and pay it all and they eventually felt guilty enough to pay their share. Some people are ridiculous.

          1. Sparkles McFadden*

            Yes, this letter brought college flashbacks of when my new roommate bought a hideous rug (after I said “No, I won’t pay for a rug”) and demanded “my half.” I said no repeatedly, and she cried to everyone on the hall, the RA, and the head of the dorm. Roomie’s daddy was a neurosurgeon. I was on scholarship and bought books one at a time. Everyone agreed with her and pressured me to give her money. “You need to learn to get along with people.” It ended up with the head of student housing being called by Roomie’s daddy. I just kept saying no. No explanations, no talking about my lack of funds, no discussions about how I vetoed the rug in the first place. Just NO.

            Just keep saying no, LW. It works. Anything else prolongs the discussion.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              That’s awful. It also makes no sense – what were you all going to do with the FugRug at the end of the year? Cut it in half?

              Back in the dark ages, we went with the one roommate brings the rug and the minifridge and the other brings the microwave and the TV. At the end of the year, you took what you brought home with you. There was no shared custody of dorm furnishings.

              1. Sparkles McFadden*

                Yep, that’s how it worked with non-crazy people. This girl was a special case.

                Oh, and the rug was a shag rug and it was ORANGE!

        2. Despachito*

          I had it happen at work. It was my first job, and in retrospection, I can see that a lot of boundaries were blurred at that time.

          A coworker, Mike, hosted a party in his house for our smallish department (4 people including himself, plus their significant others), and for some of his friends. Hubs and I agreed to make and bring some food and booze, definitely much more than we ate/drank. So far so good. BUT: after the party, Mike came to us at work saying that he had purchased a lot of booze for the party (he himself was a teetotaller), and required that we coughed up a considerable sum of money, and that he would keep the booze at home for us to drink at any future party. The sum he wanted was the equivalent of a hearty meal for two in a very good restaurant. I was baffled, first because he was asking it at all, second, that it wanted to split it just among the four of us. When asked why he did not include his non-work guests to chip in, he answered it FELT AWKWARD TO HIM to ask them that.

          Holy moly! After I gathered my lower jaw from the floor, I dug my heels in and flatly refused to pay, and did not cede to his guilt-tripping. Some people! He was so clueless that perhaps he is wondering even now why he had been so terribly wronged.

        3. NotRealAnonForThis*

          I swear we all had this “friend” in university/college. That only lasted a year, because I was WAY over splitting checks to the penny, including shared appetizers, etc. Nobody was being excessive. We weren’t OLD enough to consume alcohol so it was a non factor. She was a horribly lousy tipper too.

          Between the social shenanigans and living with her for one year, well, the rest of us hit the “no F*s stage” with her. She had to find a new set of roommates, because we were done with “I didn’t use long distance so I’m not paying any part of the $5 itemized fee for long distance access charged by the phone company” (gotta love the 1990s) and being “too busy” to write a check for her portion of utilities that weren’t in her name.

          I’d put money on her still behaving this way in the workplace.

          1. londonedit*

            Oh yeah, I had one of those friends. Once went on holiday with her and a few others, and she insisted on going through every supermarket receipt and only paying for the things she was going to eat.

            1. Midwestern Scientist*

              Same problem but in reverse: there were 4 of us and we started off buying groceries as a group. That lasted until Awful Roomie went on a date so didn’t eat dinner with the rest of us. We had made Pillsbury biscuits (the kind that come in a rolled can and cost about 1.50). When she found out, she flipped out and said we all owed her 0.50 since she didn’t eat any of the biscuits. Tip of the iceburg with this girl!

              1. The cat’s ass*

                Yikes. I guess we’ve all been roommates/friends with this person. Mine would, among other things, throw elaborate parties and charge admission. That got old really fast. No is a complete sentence.

                1. Ella*

                  A girl I had dance lessons with did exactly the same thing! She kept saying she wanted to be a club promoter and her 17th, 18th birthdays were practice(?!). She really wanted to make a profit off of them, despite her parents being able to comfortably afford them (and had paid for them!) but I don’t think anyone paid the admission. I didn’t get to see her 19th, as I ran far away once I’d moved for uni. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s still doing the same thing.

          2. Anonymous pineapple*

            I dated and lived with a guy like this in grad school. We were 27/28 years old at the time. He kept an Excel spreadsheet where he itemized all purchases of shared items for the month – rent, utilities, groceries, toilet paper, toothpaste, cat food for our shared cat – everything. At the end of the month he would add up what each of us had spent and ask me for a check (or write me one) for the difference to the penny. So romantic. He even itemized the gas he spent driving us to my birthday dinner with my parents where my dad had paid for the meal. Thankfully we broke up a month after that dinner for other, though not entirely unrelated, reasons.

        4. Princesss Sparklepony*

          At least she told you before you agreed and arrived at the concert. Telling you beforehand gave you a perfect out. Oh sorry, not in the budget this month…

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I have a relative who does that. “I bought Parent a thing for Christmas! Your share is $$$.” They know I don’t have any money and they make more than I do when I’m actually working. I mean, WTF. Ask first. Or, if you want to buy Parent an expensive present, just do it.

    6. TimesChange*

      I’ll be frank, in reality, the first time this happened, I’d probably be desperately trying to remember if I did agree to getting Thing as group. Even if accidentally — like “Boy, the hike to Other Bridge is such a rush before lunch.” I might throw money in because I decide I can’t remember if I agreed to something or not (because what normally coworker would do this). Then the next time, it would be all awkward because I didn’t shut it down the first time.

    7. anonymous73*

      Yup. I’m over being guilted to provide my money to anyone at work for any reason. And “No” is a full sentence. Although I would add here “If you expect me to chip in for something for the office, you need to ask me before you buy it” the first time it happened. “No” is perfectly reasonable anytime after that.

    8. radfordblue*

      So much this. No one gets to spend someone else’s money without even asking beforehand.

    9. TootsNYC*

      yeah, I wouldn’t be soft about this.
      I’d be saying, not meanly, “You don’t get to decide how I spend my money.”

    10. Momma Bear*

      Agreed. I would also hand her back any unwanted items, like the shirts. “I don’t want this. Please return it.” If she gets upset that she bought something no one wants to pay for that’s her own fault. I would be appalled if my coworker showed up with a fridge and wanted money. She could keep it for herself and pay for it herself.

    11. Hippo-nony-potomus*

      I worry that Alison’s language around “clearing it with me first” will lead the co-worker to pressure her in advance or will use ambiguous statements (“I’ll think about that”) as approval. Far better to just say that you do not spend your money at work like this.

      A club that I am part of definitely has a culture of “buy a t-shirt for every event” and I’ve just said “That’s not in my budget.” People spend their money in very, very different ways, and I spend mine in apparently unorthodox ways (a small number of high-quality items that I keep forever). There’s no convincing people of how you spend your money, just that it’s not gonna happen.

  2. NeutralJanet*

    5: Of course you know your boss better than I do, but judging by that wording, I wouldn’t think she was genuinely asking for real feedback–of course any company would be run better by someone who is emotionally stable, so the question she was really asking seems to be more like, “I’m not too emotional, right?” Maybe her tone and/or the rest of the conversation clearly indicated that she really wanted to have a serious discussion, but from what you’ve said here, it doesn’t sound like it.

    1. Fran Fine*

      I wouldn’t think she was genuinely asking for real feedback

      Nope – she was fishing for a compliment like, “What do you mean? You’re a great boss!”

      Yeah, no, OP – I wouldn’t tell her or the company about her behavior, even if you’re on the way out, unless you decide you don’t care about a reference. As long as you do, it doesn’t benefit you at all to be honest. She knows she sucks, especially if she causes people to quit (high turnover in a role not intended to be a launch pad to something better is an obvious issue), and she’s doing nothing to change her ways. She just wants someone else to co-sign her crazy and reassure her that she’s not problematic when she knows she really is. Don’t play that game with her, OP.

    2. tamarack and fireweed*

      Yup. I was reminded of parents at the end of their tether with a teenage kid and asking dramatically “do you think I am a bad mother/father?!” (If you’re a parent: Please don’t do that. However bratty your teen.)

      It’s a rhetorical question.

    3. Xenia*

      Given that OP already self-describes their boss as emotionally volatile and an ineffective manager, I would be really hesitant to give critical feedback directly to her because I would anticipate an outcome where she becomes angry and penalizes OP for the feedback rather than accepting and applying it. Negative feedback about your work is hard enough. Negative feedback about your personality is really painful to receive, even for a normally level-headed person.

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

      It’s interesting that she asked that, as she’s presumably self-aware enough to realise that she’s “emotionally unstable” and to know that that isn’t a good quality for management. She’s a senior manager for pete’s sake – not just a manager of people but a manager of other managers! (As she is “new to managing” I’ve got to wonder if she was over-promoted direct to senior manager level without any actual management experience?!)

      OP has more restraint than I have, as I wouldn’t have been able to resist answering with “oh yes, undoubtedly”.

      1. Petting the Bear*

        Well, maaaaybe you could get away with a very flat, open-ended question of , “How much emotional stability do *you* think is the right amount?”

    5. Beth*

      Agreed. It sounds to me like she knows she’s not doing a fantastic job, knows that her volatility is a problem, and is looking for reassurance that it’s not THAT big a deal. Which is in and of itself a problem–she shouldn’t be asking her direct reports to be her emotional support! Frankly, OP5, I’m betting your lack of response already got your point across. After all, you didn’t exactly leap to reassure her that she’s the right person to be in charge here; it sounds like she was fishing hard enough that the absence of a positive response is a clear message in and of itself.

    6. Ori*

      Yeah, don’t do it. It wasn’t over anything this glaring, but I learned far too late that when my volatile manager asked my opinion on things, she actually wanted me to co-sign her opinion.

    7. lailaaaaah*

      Yeah, she’s negging herself to prompt you to tell her nice things. Used to work for someone and was briefly engaged to someone else who did that- both relationships turned out to be extremely destructive, and any attempt at genuine feedback only made things worse.

    8. Jack Bruce*

      Agreed! She’s fishing for compliments or assurance. My previous toxic manager did this regularly, and I never gave her what she was looking for cause it wasn’t true. Once she made a joke about one of my reports not telling her something because she was marked as in a meeting on IM, saying, “I hope she’s not afraid of me!” and laughing it off like I was supposed to say of course not! But the reality everyone in that department was afraid of her, including me. I just looked at her and didn’t reassure her, but said no one wants to disturb her in a meeting.

    9. kittymommy*

      And honestly, even if she was being sincere (in that moment) if she really is “emotionally (un)stable” I still wouldn’t answer it. I wouldn’t get near this with a 100 foot pole.

    10. Above My Paygrade*

      ““Would this place be better with someone more emotionally stable running it?” is 100% a trap and you should never, ever, answer it. It’s often not just a fishing-for-compliments, its … deeper. It’s drama creation. There is no safe answer to that question.
      There’s a time and place for 360 feedback, but responding to someone who says something like that is not that time/place.

    11. Becca Rosselin-Metadi*

      I absolutely agree with you. A person like this is not asking for real feedback/advice and wouldn’t take it well a all if offered. This is why I never gave my old manager an honest review of the job she was doing-if I had, it would have come back to bite me painfully and it wasn’t worth it.

    12. Florida Fan 15*

      Here’s my take on giving this kind of feedback:

      1. The people you can safely give it to rarely need it, and the people who need it aren’t safe to give it to.
      2. Giving feedback up the chain is 100 times harder and more fraught than down the chain.

      There’s way more downsides here than potential upsides. Keep your thoughts to yourself.

  3. Sami*

    OP #2: While I generally agree with Alison’s response, I can definitely see vaccination status become a thing on résumés. Obviously it is still private health information, but I’m SO MANY companies, it’s become a straight up mandate. It would not surprise me to see people start doing this.

    1. allathian*

      It seems weird to put on a resume, but I can definitely see companies asking for vaccination status in online application systems, with the requirement to provide proof of vaccination or a certificate of medical exemption if you’re asked to interview with them.

      1. Amaranth*

        I think it would probably be in line with giving your DL or SSN card for their records; a vaccination record will become part of the package. The employers are putting it as a hard requirement like any other, and I do wonder if a few people might run off to get vaccinated only if they get the job.

        1. Jay*

          I work in healthcare so I’ve had to show proof of vaccination for every job I’ve had, including having blood tests to demonstrate immunity for rubella (which I got the old-fashioned way before there was a vaccine). It’s part of onboarding and done at the same time. I figure COVID vaccination will be folded into that.

          1. SometimesALurker*

            Agreed! I needed a negative TB test to start my job, but I didn’t put “I don’t have tuberculosis” on my resume. Either providing docmentation from a recent test or doing the test through Oc Health in the two weeks prior to my start date was part of the process, *after* I was hired.

            1. PT*

              But that’s different. You can’t put “I don’t have TB” on your resume, because you might be exposed to TB the day after you submit your resume.

              You can’t be un-vaccinated, however.

              1. SometimesALurker*

                I think my point (can’t speak for the others in the thread) is that there are already good, working systems in place for dealing with health requirement. Because of those good, working systems, I feel the drawbacks to normalizing putting vaccination on resumes far outweigh the benefits.

      2. WomEngineer*

        I see it too if the vaccination requirements hold up in court, since right now there’s a lot of folks challenging it.

        I feel like having it on your resume will be a short-term thing. If/When COVID vaccines become something you get every year, it could still be a requirement but probably won’t differentiate your resume like it will now.

        1. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

          Unless the country has entirely given up on the rule of law, I don’t see the anti-vax lawsuits going anywhere. There’s a ton of precedent for allowing vaccine mandates.

          1. pancakes*


            Alison’s answer isn’t to avoid doing this because it doesn’t differentiate the candidate, but because it’s odd and not the right place to put the information. I think that’s on point.

      3. quill*

        yeah. I think it probably won’t be on resumes, it WILL be on the disclosure statement / series of web dropdowns that you fill out at the same time.

        Can you provide proof of citizenship?
        Can you provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination.

      4. Momma Bear*

        I would wait until asked. Some companies and agencies are requiring it and some are not. I see it as akin to someone who works with children being required to have certain tests and vaccinations for employment.

    2. Greg*

      Since her area has low rates, I think it might have more value the other way – filtering out companies that don’t take COVID seriously.

    3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I read the question as it being something you’d put on a resume for jobs that say they require vaccination in their job listing. In that case, it seems worth including in either the resume or the cover letter, since it falls under the general principle of explaining why you meet the requirements in the job posting. If a company is trying to fill a position left vacant because they just fired someone for not being vaccinated and they have a mandate, I could see “definitely won’t have to have a vaccination argument with this candidate” being a distinguishing factor, particularly in a community that has a lower vaccination rate in general.

      I’d leave it off if the company doesn’t mention it in the job posting, but include it if they did mention it, personally.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I could maaaaybe see it in the cover letter. But for whatever reason it just feels too weird for a resume. I get your point about reassuring the hiring manager early on, but if they want an attestation or proof early on then they should ask for it in the application.

        1. Autumn*

          If there is no application I would favor it being in the cover letter, more simply stated. “I noted in the job description provided that your company is requiring vaccination, I have been vaccinated and will provide proof at the appropriate point.” I wouldn’t say anything about my attitude toward vaccine mandates or anything else. Of note, in Quebec you have to provide proof of vaccination to eat at many restaurants/bars and I’m presuming to enter other crowded spaces, although not retail. (I live in far northern NYS)

          1. Lenora Rose*

            Manitoba has a QR code which you can access online or via a card they mail to you (or both) which you can only get if you’re two weeks after the second dose. I’ve had to show it for work and at one place I wanted to sit down to eat, and this has become the norm.

      2. Nancy*

        I work in healthcare, so vaccinations of some sort have always been required. I still think it is odd to see on a resume, and don’t want to see it. On a cover letter is weird too, and would not be positively received by me. Our requirements are clearly stated on our website, anything else is between the employee and occupational health.

        I also know 2 people who are exempt from the vaccine, so they cannot say they are vaccinated.

      3. Worldwalker*

        It does seem better to put it in the cover letter, as you said. “I’m the candidate you want because…”

        This will have the added advantage of filtering out companies like that private school in Florida that fired teachers and staff who got vaccinated, because who wants to work with *that* kind of people?

      4. PT*

        I have several friends interviewing right now, who have received pre-interview COVID phone screens to confirm they are vaccinated and would not have problems following the company’s COVID safety protocols (mandatory vaccination and masking) before they are allowed to go on to the actual Zoom interview.

        The company will not waste time interviewing anti-vax, anti-mask idiots.

        I think signaling that in your application materials is not as weird as it sounds.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          No one has asked about my status (I live in Missouri, where no statewide mask mandates ever happened because, well, you figure it out), but I’ve definitely used questions about COVID protocols to screen employers. I was also quick to assure an out-of-state job that I’m fully vaxxed and masking. They don’t currently have a statewide mandate, but their state has a higher vaccination rate than mine.

          If it stays around, I think it might end up being a check box in online applications.

      5. LilyP*

        It reminds me of when I’ve seen people list visa status, citizenship, or security clearance info on their resume. Not a skill, definitely not something that should be required of everyone, something that will be verified more thoroughly during onboarding regardless, but still not totally out of place. It’s basically just to indicate “hey this common technicality will not take my out of the running” with a side of “I’m sensitive to the kinds of concerns you might have about candidates”

      6. Public Sector Manager*

        Even if an employer has a requirement in their job listing, I wouldn’t reference vaccine status in a cover letter or a resume. Both the cover letter and resume are real estate to showcase how you believe you’re the best for a job. Vaccination status bears zero relationship to how well you will or won’t do the job you’re applying for. Just like proof of insurance, a driver’s license, social security card, etc., if proof of vaccination is required for the job, it will be part of the on boarding process.

        Putting that information in a cover letter or resume is odd, off putting, and I wouldn’t waste two words on discussing it because no one is going to hire you simply because you’re vaccinated.

    4. tamarack and fireweed*

      It would weird me out.

      A PS in the cover letter (“I note that your organization requires COVID-19 vaccination. This is something I welcome and subscribe to. I am already fully vaccinated and plan on following all instructions concerning future booster shots.”) would be much less odd.

      Resumes shouldn’t contain medical information. Or political attitudes. Or whatever this is.

      1. T*

        Vac info on a resume, no. Cover letter material, maybe. If you haven’t worked through the pandemic maybe phrased as “Now that I’m fully vaxxed, I’m eager to get back to work….”

      2. MrsFillmore*

        Yep, I came to the comments to suggest something very similar to this. I really wonder what Alison thinks about the cover letter idea? In normal times, no. Right now, potentially a good idea, especially for anyone living in an area with low vaccination rates.

    5. Former Employee*

      “Obviously it is still private health information…”

      Is it? When children start school, their parent has to provide proof that they have been vaccinated against all sorts of diseases.

      To me, private health information is anything that can’t end up making your coworkers ill. If you’ve had an appendectomy, that’s private. You had a tummy tuck, very private.

      I would not want to work with someone who was not vaccinated against Covid any more than I would want to share office space with Typhoid Mary.

      1. Birch*

        It’s still private if the school asks for it–the school staff who process that info can’t just post it publicly in the parent newsletter.

      2. metadata minion*

        So long as she doesn’t bring in homemade cookies or share eating utensils with you, you are at no risk from someone who’s an asymptomatic carrier for typhoid.

            1. wittyrepartee*

              Briefly. They set her up with a laundry job, which she worked for a few months. But laundry work was just all around a worse job than cooking (less prestige, physically harder, and paid less). The biggest issue with Typhoid Mary was that her specialty dish was a peach and ice cream dish (so- everything raw).

              1. Becca Rosselin-Metadi*

                I absolutely agree with you. A person like this is not asking for real feedback/advice and wouldn’t take it well a all if offered. This is why I never gave my old manager an honest review of the job she was doing-if I had, it would have come back to bite me painfully and it wasn’t worth it.

      3. Perfectly Particular*

        Definitely private health information. As in, protected by HIPAA, you get to decide who you tell. No different from your other vaccines, which could also make people ill.

        I am vaccinated, and my work is requiring it, with yesterday being the deadline to be fully vaccinated, including the 2 week wait period. I’m not concerned with my colleagues’ vaccination status, as I feel protected with my vaccine, mask, social distancing and stay at home rules if you have been sick. I work in an office – it’s easy to put these protocols in place – I totally get that other places this is just not possible. I will miss the colleagues that left because of this. They left quietly and without a fuss – no misinformation spread, just personal reasons for not being willing to get this vaccine yet.

        1. Health Insurance Nerd*

          That isn’t really how HIPAA works. Your employer can compel you to disclose your vaccination status and make it a condition of employment. Yes, you can choose not to disclose it and risk being let go (which is absolutely legal). but HIPAA does not apply to the question asked by the LW.

        2. Clisby*

          HIPAA regulates what medical information your health care providers can release. It does not regulate what employers can release (or ask for.)

          1. Perfectly Particular*

            Ooh – bad choice of words on my part. I fully understand HIPAA, since I handle patients’ medical information in my line of work. Of course your employer can request the information, but you get to decide if you tell them (and continue to work there) or keep it to yourself (and resign). But Former Employee stated that it’s not private information… of course it is? Not like, for example, the amount of property tax you paid last year, which is public information.

        3. Jam Today*

          No, that’s not what HIPAA is. HIPAA regulates disclosure of medical information by healthcare providers, covered entities, such as insurance companies, and business associates, such as healthcare IT companies. It has no bearing on what you, personally, choose to disclose and to whom, and it does not cover employers (as long as they are not managing your health insurance claims.)

        4. wittyrepartee*

          HIPAA only pertains to your healthcare providers. Other groups use their rules as best practices, but they’re not bound by HIPAA legally.

        5. Starbuck*

          I dream of the day when people will stop making confident claims about what HIPAA is or isn’t without actual knowledge to back that up. Alas, I see today is not the day that dream will be fulfilled.

          1. Clisby*

            No kidding. I see this all over the internet. Some venue is going to require proof of vaccination before you can attend a concert? BUT HIPAA! An employer is going to require vaccines? BUT HIPAA!

            Some people obviously have not bothered to read up on HIPAA, even when their health care providers have given them the information. Does anyone out there wonder why only health care providers give you HIPAA disclosures? I guess not.

    6. Xenia*

      This to me sounds like a company requirement that you be OK traveling or have your own reliable transport to and from work. I’ve answered question on employee applications to say yes, I can drive, yes, I can travel, no, I don’t have any convictions for felony fraud. I would find it weird to put any of those on my resume because it’s not really a skill. I’m not going to showcase myself by saying “I can drive” any more than I’d put “comfortable working weekends and holidays”, because those are more like goodness of fit requirements and the resume is where you showcase your skill.

      1. ophelia*

        Agreed. This is something I would think would potentially be part of application or onboarding materials, but not part of a CV.

      2. Gothic Bee*

        This is how I was thinking of it too. I’d expect it to be asked in an application/supplemental questions section, but not put it in my resume or cover letter. Plus, I think it’s worth considering that people who are medically exempt would be at a disadvantage if it became commonplace to include that info on a resume/cover letter.

        Also, I am vaccinated, but I do still feel like I’d rather avoid just throwing medical info into a PDF that might get looked at by who knows how many people. I’m happy to share that I’m vaccinated with anyone who asks, but I’d prefer to know and be able to judge the context it’s shared in. Employers who collect the info should have a policy on how they’re collecting it and who it’s shared with.

    7. Richard Hershberger*

      I would take it as virtue signaling. The phrase “virtue signaling” usually is used dismissively, when the person saying it doesn’t accept that what being signaled really is a virtue. In this instance, the signal is “Oh, and I’m not a crazy,” which is pretty darned virtuous in a particularly relevant way nowadays. At least that is how I would take it. But clearly the norms have not yet, and may never, settled on this being something to put on a resume. Probably best to leave it off, as some people might be wigged out by it.

      1. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

        I’d interpret it the same way as you, Richard. “I’m a rational adult who believes in science and trusts medical experts who have spent millions of dollars and years researching vaccines”

        1. Loulou*

          But the question is not what being vaccinated signifies, or even sharing your vaccination status. It’s specifically about if your resume, a place traditionally used to list your work and educational history, is the place to do it.

    8. Fight the COVID*

      I WISH this was commonplace. In my experience, the only people guarding vaccination status as “private medical information” are anti-vax. Normally, this would be weird because *normally* we assumed everyone knew that vaccination was a necessary part of a healthy society.

      1. anonymous73*

        Putting it on a resume is just weird. I have no issue providing proof WHEN I’M ONBOARDED, but I’m not putting my vaccination status on my resume. It’s not the place for that sort of information, whether you consider it private or not.

        1. londonedit*

          I agree. I have no problem with my employer requiring people to provide their Covid vaccination status but I wouldn’t put it on my CV, it just seems unnecessary. I might consider asking about it in a second interview – I’d want to know whether the company required people to be vaccinated in order to work in the office – but that’s a conversation for later in the process, I’m not just going to declare it up front.

        2. Loulou*

          Agreed. I don’t really find it private, it’s just not something I want taking up space in a resume. It seems like it should be part of a screening question instead.

      2. Worldwalker*

        Actually, there is a depressingly large number of people who want to keep their vaccination status private because their family/friends/employer (see: Centner Academy) are virulently antivax.

    9. anonymous73*

      I’m fine providing a company with proof of vaccination, like I would give them my SS card during orientation. But putting it on a resume seems like TMI and a weird violation of my privacy. I’m not putting it on a document that is going out to all sorts of randos. Would you put other pertinent health information on a resume?

    10. Observer*

      , but I’m SO MANY companies, it’s become a straight up mandate. It would not surprise me to see people start doing this.

      The two things have nothing to do with each other. Many jobs require that you have a driver’s license. Does that mean that people in those industries put the fact that they have a license on their resume? Of course not.

      Same thing here.

      1. Loulou*

        This is a great analogy. I have a specific work-related license that I’ve never listed on my resume. I guess it’s just sort of convention — along with a specific degree (which I do list), it’s a req for my job, but I just say I have it on the screening rather than listing it as it’s own line.

    11. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I’ve had jobs that required vaccinations before (hello, public schools!) and I’ve never included my vaccination history on my resume or application. If you’re selected for the job, they ask you for a copy of your vaccination record during onboarding, just like all your other required documents.

      1. wittyrepartee*

        I had to give blood titers to show I had and am still protected from chickenpox for a job doing clinical research. Needing to be vaccinated is pretty normal.

      2. LilyP*

        I don’t know if this will always be how it’s handled though — in the past only certain niches have had vaccination requirements (health care, education, etc). As covid vaccine mandates become mainstream in more industries and settings which haven’t had vaccination requirements in the past (i.e. most offices) I think we’re going to see new norms develop, which might not look exactly like how other industries have handled it in the past.

    12. Selina Luna*

      3 of the 4 school districts I’ve been in required either the medical card proving you’ve had the various vaccines, a card from a lab confirming you have titers for the illnesses vaccinated against or a note from a physician stating that you can’t have the vaccines for some reason. No religious or personal exemptions were allowed in one of those, and the other two only allowed religious exemptions-no personal exemptions. To get the religious exemption, you had to have a note from your religious leader stating that this was a common, valid part of their belief system. As an adult, I’ve had to retake the MMR vaccines 3 times because they just don’t “stick” with me.

      However, I wouldn’t put my vaccine information on a resume. I have my vax card available if someone in HR needs to see it for some reason, after I’m hired.

    13. Sean M.*

      It is also a very critical piece of information for jobs that require travel – many countries accept certain vaccines administered in certain places only and with specific supporting paperwork. Putting the information up front is no different than mentioning your citizenship or work visa status if relevant – probably more important in some fields than other though.

      I’ve had my vaccine status on my resume for over 6 months now (for contractor positions I should stress, not employment) and have twice had positive feedback from the counterparty that they wish others would do the same, so it is definitely being well received.

      1. Public Sector Manager*

        In the U.S., there is so much liability for having vaccination status on a resume that I’d be wary of any hiring manager or HR rep who said having vaccination status on a resume is a good thing. If the company is deliberating not considering the resume of someone who doesn’t have a vaccine status on their resume, and the applicant has a legitimate medical exemption from getting the vaccine, you’re discriminating against a medical condition. Legitimate religious exemption? Now it’s discrimination based on sincerely held religious beliefs.

        Maybe it works where you are, but this is terrible advice.

    14. Lenora Rose*

      Why not the cover letter instead? It seems like if you really feel you need the information included, that seems a better place to slip it in than in the resume.

  4. Waving not Drowning (not Drowning not Waving)*

    OP1 – wow! you are more patient than I! If something is for a team, it should be agreed to, as a team. We purchased a fridge for our office, we discussed it as a team (4 people), worked out our budget, and bought it – there was a 5th person who wasn’t there for the discussions, as they were off for a couple of months, and when she returned, we (quite rightly) didn’t expect her to contribute, as the wasn’t part of the initial discussion to buy it – but she was able to use it, as were other people who joined the team afterwards. As the benefit of the last original person standing in that Team, I got to take it home when we were no longer allowed to bring in private appliances to offices – I had offered to pay, but the other 3 had left the company by then and said not to bother – it was a few years old, and really not worth much at that point.

    No is a complete sentence.

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

      no longer allowed to bring in private appliances to offices

      That raises a good point actually – hopefully (for co-worker’s sake) they aren’t in one of these offices… in the UK we have a law (and I expect it’s the same elsewhere) that mains-connected appliances need to be tested at regular (I think it’s yearly or 2-yearly) intervals and certified safe to use, and a lot of companies would frown on someone bringing in their own appliances for all kinds of liability-related reasons.

      1. Bagpuss*


        And yes, we have a blanket policy that you can’t bring in anything that needs plugging in, without prior permission.

        1. londonedit*

          It’s the same where I work. Once a year anything electrical that’s on your desk or in the room will be tested for safety. I once left my phone charger on my desk and even that got a green sticker to say it had been tested!

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Oh the PAT testing people came round yesterday! They tested my USB fairy lights, or, at least put a sticker on them to say they had.

            (Fun was had in the department across from mine where someone had left a hairdryer on their desk and got the equivalent of a ‘what the actual…NO’ from the testing guys.)

      2. Momma Bear*

        And/or it may need to meet certain specs. Many dorms only allow fridges/microwaves rented through a specific company and not just any appliance you want to bring over. Same might be true for an office. When Keurigs were first on the scene, my coworker got one. We quickly found out that she couldn’t make a cup of coffee if my heater was running. Building management gave us a talking to after we knocked out the power for the hall twice. In our case we were able to work it out but had we not, we would have had to remove an appliance from the office.

      3. Obscure*

        Yep our insurance would throw a fit about unauthorised appliances, especially anything with heating elements.

    2. Asenath*

      We had inspections for illicit electrical devices. Of course, a fridge had be legit because of the size of even the smallest model, but when word got around that an inspection was underway, toasters and kettles vanished. Some were kept hidden unless actually in use. They were confiscated if found.

      Any purchase of an item for communal use was approved ahead of time by the people who would pay for it. I would have been so taken aback at being handed a shirt I didn’t order and a bill, it would have been obvious by my expression and I would hand the shirt back saying that I hadn’t ordered it and couldn’t pay for it. “Wasn’t going to pay for it” would be more accurate, but “couldn’t” softens the refusal slightly. LW needs to stop paying for un-ordered goods.

    3. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      Back in the days of working in office if a fridge or microwave needed replaced someone would send out an email to everyone that used that breakroom with a suggestion donation amount (based on probable prices divided by people in that area) But it was all voluntary. Some would donate more. Some not at all. We could have coffee/tea brewers per teams but they had to be in the break room so that was something we’d as teams chip in to purchase and pay a price per cup for supplies. Constant drama over If/Who was drinking coffee without paying. System was a can with a slot in the top for your quarters. After listening to the office drama queen complaining for months about people using to much creamer or sugar or who supposedly from another floor had freeloaded a cup of joe I suggested getting a new machine that was literally coin operated and making people supply their own creamer or sugar. (team would of happily cheaped in for a new machine just to not listen to the routine complaining) Supply dispenser how ever was emotionally invested in getting to complain about the situation so she didn’t want to change anything. I bought noise canceling headphones and started bringing my coffee in a big thermos.

  5. Stantheman*

    #5 sounds like a seinfeld episode

    The tradition of Festivus begins
    with the airing of grievances.
    I got a lot of problems
    with you people…
    and now you’re gonna
    hear about it.

    1. Avi*

      What they do sound like is someone with the emotional maturity of a toddler.

      Expect tantrums no matter what you do, #5.

    2. digitalnative-ish*

      This #5. Stop thinking of her that way. My old boss pulled this all the time, and there’s nothing you can do (assuming reporting her is off the table).
      Your boss sucks and isn’t going to change.

  6. raincoaster*

    #4: Can you say to the boss, “I’m uncomfortable that you are sexualizing this.”? That is what’s happening, and it might set her back on her heels just enough for her to question it herself.

    1. Just a person (wearing pants)*

      I mean, they could say that but it seems like a pretty adversarial thing to say to your boss, who already flat out told the LW she thought she was lying. I wouldn’t use Alison’s script, either. It’s way too defensive. Probably this LW should just start looking for a new job. It’s unfortunate but this particular situation doesn’t seem salvageable.

      1. TechWorker*

        I don’t know why people so often jump to ‘just look for a new job’? There’s no indication at all that this situation is ‘unsalvageable’

        1. Bamcheeks*

          I don’t think it’s unsalvageable, but “X thing makes me doubt your integrity” is a horrible thing to respond to. There’s almost no possible way of responding that doesn’t come across as defensive because there’s a burden to prove your innocence, but no obvious route to do so. Some people can shrug that off and ignore it, but for others that’s a real strike at their identity that is incredibly hard to work under.

          1. AcademiaNut*

            It’s not a nice situation. The boss basically called the LW a liar, and how do you prove that you’re *not* having sex with someone?

            I do think it’s worth pushing back on. Right now, the LW is on record with the employer as being in a romantic/sexual relationship with a coworker, that they didn’t disclose, against company policy. That’s a black mark on their record – they didn’t get fired, but their employee now has, from their point of view, legitimate reason to not trust the LW’s integrity and honesty, which is a real problem.

            1. banoffee pie*

              Yeah I wonder if it basically written down in her records now that OP lied and apologised (some people take an apology as an admission of guilt). It would be good to get that taken off the record. If they wanted you to disclose roommates as well as romantic partners they should have said so. I don’t like the sound of this manager, she sounds like a disapproving teacher type.

              1. Catweasel*

                I think this manager totally jumped the gun by “smoothing things over”. She should have asked the OP about it first. OP should definitely be pushing back on this, so she’s not on record for lying about her supposed relationship with her coworker.

                1. EngineerMom*

                  This, exactly.

                  I wonder if the manager’s reaction (pursed lips, raised eyebrow) had more to do with “oh, crap, I misrepresented this to higher-ups, and now I look like an idiot.”

              2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                I think I would try going to HR (because generally they are the keeper of policies) and explain the situation and ask them if I’d run afoul of the policy or not. It may help with the removal of black marks on the record as well if you are upfront about the whole thing.

            2. Cait*

              I would be tempted to say, “Would you be convinced I was in a romantic relationship if I was living with a female coworker? No? Why is that? That seems very presumptuous on many levels. I’m NOT in a romantic relationship with Cecil and I find it very unsettling that you’re not only questioning my word but making assumptions about my sexual orientation.” Obviously you shouldn’t say you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community if you’re not but I think the implication that your manager is being narrow-minded might be enough to scare her straight. No company wants to be called-out for discrimination and it sounds like the OP’s boss is a major liability if she’s making false accusations and assumptions about her employees.

              1. raincoaster*

                I think this is the best response. It’s weird and indirect, but it IS sexual harassment of a sort.

            3. quill*

              Boss ultimately thinks that 1) OP’s sex life is their concern and 2) men and women can’t live together without banging.

              Red flags on boss’ judgement, but not a reason to flee IMMEDIATELY. A good reason to loop HR in and say “hey I think someone got confused: cecil is really just my roommate. Based on company policy we need to disclose dating, not roommates.”

              You have gotta take this clarification of your integrity out of your boss’ hands.

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                Agreed – but I would be open to learning that I had misunderstood the policy just to be safe (some places, just like this manager, can be very weird). Honestly I can’t understand a place that would want all relationships outside of work disclosed – but romantic partnerships being disclosed makes complete sense.

          2. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

            This. It’s not about being overly sensitive – a manager who pulls that kind of line about integrity typically doesn’t want you to come back from that and will more than likely hold it against you if you dare try.

          3. Betteauroan*

            I would take the statement that my boss doubted my integrity that I was on the radar to be fired. I would start looking for another job because of that. It’s unfortunate because it is unfair and untrue that OP lied or tried to hide her domestic situation. Her boss, essentially, told her she doesn’t trust her. It’s her personal opinion and it’s wrong, but, regardless, she’s going to start looking for reasons to can her. I wouldn’t want to have the threat every day of wondering if today is the day I’m going to be written up for something stupid and put on a PIP.

        2. Just a person (wearing pants)*

          When your boss comes to you and expresses concern about your lack of integrity, then says things like “even if that were true” when you try to set the record straight, yeah, I do think it’s a situation where you should look for another job. Especially when that boss thinks they did you a favor by “smoothing things over” with management (before ever discussing this in the first place).

          1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

            The ““smoothing things over” with management is a red flag to me. I’d be sure management knew from me personally that 1) I was not in a romantic relationship with coworker/roomate and 2) there by never reported it as it didn’t seem to apply to just platonic roomates an 3) was very offended/concerned that direct boss basically accused me of lying and wanted to make sure I set the record straight. All things that can be verified by Roomate. I will admit I was raised by people that Honesty was a Very Important Personality Trait so being basically accused of lying would be a hot button for me and I don’t see direct boss being able to salvage a work relationship with me after that accusation. I’d be eyeballing the help wanted section asap.

      2. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I don’t know that I’d jump straight to finding a new job without at least one more conversation, but I don’t think that conversation necessarily has to be with the boss. If there’s an HR department or if the boss has an obvious direct supervisor, I might try a conversation with them first. Something like “I had a very odd conversation with Lucinda where she insisted that Cecil and I must be in a romantic relationship because we have the same address, and it doesn’t feel like she believed me when I explained that Cecil is my roommate. It feels like she’s lost her trust in my integrity and I don’t know how to proceed from here.”

        1. Sea Anemone*

          Yes, I would do exactly that, and I would have a copy of the policy with me to show that it doesn’t cover roommate situations.

      3. SnappinTerrapin*

        It’s already adversarial when the boss falsely accuses you of lying.

        Silent acquiescence won’t make it better.

    2. allathian*

      Yeah, this. That said, I do think that even if they’re just roommates rather than in a relationship, close friendships should also be disclosed for the same reason as romantic relationships, there’s a potential conflict of interest. That said, I’m absolutely certain that if the roommate had been another woman, the LW wouldn’t have faced this sort of crap. I’m also wondering if the male roommate/close friend had any pushback on this.

      1. bamcheeks*

        I’d be interested if someone in HR could weigh in on this, but I don’t think the point of “disclose romantic/sexual relationships” is to spot conflicts of interest, I think it’s to manage liability in the event of an accusation of sexual harassment.

        The company might like to know that Jane and Wakeen are super good friends outside of work and that it’s going to be awkward for everyone else in their team because they’re so chummy and constantly having lunch together and talking about what a brilliant time they had at the weekend, but in my experience that falls under “this isn’t great management practice” and is handled like any other poor management rather than something which is covered by a specific policy like “we must mandate disclosure”. I think policies required disclosure of romantic relationships are more about managing liability in the event that Wakeen alleges he was coerced into a sexual relationship by Jane.

          1. bamcheeks*

            I think there’s a big difference in the amount of energy and formality a company will bring to the problem, “this will expose us to legal liability” vs “this is an example of bad management practice”. If you want to avoid any conflict of interest– which could apply to any friendship, romantic relationship or family relationship– you’d need a policy much, much broader in both scope and detail than one which is designed to alert the company to any potential legal liability resulting from a sexual relationship between two people with a power differential.

      2. Doing the best we can*

        If being roommates should be disclosed then the written policy should include that.

      3. RagingADHD*

        Dollars to doughnuts, nobody said a word to the roommate and there’s nothing in his file.

        1. LKW*

          +1. I would recommend both of you going to HR and straightening out this mess. You live together platonically, you’re being accused of having a romantic relationship. This is going to cause unnecessary drama, especially if either of you are actively dating. People are going to make other assumptions, also false, that you need to unwind.

          All your boss had to do was say “Hmmm, let me talk to OP and see what I can find out.” and then, you know, actually talk to you.

          1. Mockingjay*

            Concur. Both reputations are at stake. I’m sorry this has to happen, but OP 4 and Roommate need to get their facts on the record.

          2. Detective Amy Santiago*

            This is the right suggestion.

            I was going to say that OP needs to clear this up at the HR level and not trust her supervisor to properly communicate the situation.

            And obviously the roommate/coworker needs to be involved since it’s about both of them.

          3. Cold Fish*

            Agree. Get it cleared up in HR. I think Roommate should also talk to his manager if hasn’t already too.

            I’d be very concerned about my relationship with manager if I was LW. I do not take slurs against my integrity lightly. The facts that manager 1. made assumptions about the relationship and then proceeded to spread those assumptions as fact to higher ups without first speaking with LW, and 2. did not appear to believe LW when finally a discussion was had, does not bode well with any kind of future discussions between LW and manager. But I do agree that LW needs to try. If I were LW, I might also bring up to HR that I was going to talk with manager but am concerned about possible retaliation given the behavior of manager in this situation.

        2. Just Another Zebra*

          I was coming here to say this. OP, did anyone bring this up to your roommate? Because to only bring this up and penalize the female partner in a relationship – regardless of the nature of that relationship! – is pretty clear sexual discrimination.

        3. quill*

          Either because his boss is sane, or because misogyny. Only way to know is to go to HR jointly and see if OP’s boss is the only one who thinks men and women can’t be friends.

        4. e271828*

          I won’t take that bet, but I was about to post the same question:

          OP#4, what did they say to your roommate?

        5. Starbuck*

          Word. Does he even know about all this? I assume OP has told him by now, but if she hadn’t, would he? Ugh.

          I wonder if having these ‘set the record straight’ conversations would be more convincing if they did it together. It should be coming from both of them, it’s not on OP herself to solve!

      4. Betteauroan*

        So true. It is maddening that there is such a sexist overtone to the whole accusation and it is disturbing to me that OP’s roommate doesn’t seem to be suffering any consequences or she would have mentioned it.

      5. LW #4*

        You’re right, no one has mentioned this to Cecil, although we report to different supervisors and his is much more hands-off than mine is. Also, Cecil isn’t physically in the office as often as I am and has been working mostly off-site (not from home, but in the field) for the past month, so it’s possible that his boss might be waiting until they see him in person to discuss it. My guess is that they won’t bring it up, but he’s going to talk to his boss about it either way, both for disclosure and to see if anything was put on his record about it without him being notified.

        1. Starbuck*

          Regardless of all that, management responding to you both differently when you’ve been accused of the same thing is crappy, and they should have that pointed out because it’s a really serious misstep on their part. If your integrity is being questioned but his isn’t, that’s super not OK!

      6. The Wandering Scout*

        I highly doubt it, and if I were the OP I’d be asking Cecil if he was also spoken to and if not I would talk to HR – with Cecil – because this feels hella gendered that your boss only spoke to you about this.

      7. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I honestly wonder that as well – is the woman the only one getting this dumped on her? or is the male roommate also dealing with issues at work because of this manager and her “ideas.”

    3. too many too soon*

      Excellent! And/or go right to HR or whomever the boss claims to have smoothed things over with.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Yeah, I shudder to think what the boss might’ve said that she thinks was “smoothing things over”. Things might need re-smoothed over, but this time from the reality perspective.

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I think I would probably approach HR, tell them the situation, and ask if strictly platonic roommates violates the disclosure policy – and honestly approach it as I want to learn, want to make sure I fully understand. It is quite possible that handling it this way may also help repair any issues elsewhere – because you could approach those others from the point of “this is a roommate.”

      I do think the boss though is a bit of a lost cause – it is normal and possible for people of both genders to be platonic friends, despite their opinion.

  7. Tina*

    I put the vaccination on my resume, I work in healthcare and it seemed important for them to know, I put it along with professional certifications.

  8. MissB*

    #3 – Not really convinced of your last paragraph about car insurance, Allison, but I totally agree that the employer is asking for something odd!

    I own three cars. One of the cars is housed out of state with my youngest adult son. He is not explicitly listed on my car insurance but he’s covered by my policy while driving my vehicle, even though the vehicle and the son live 12 hours away. There isn’t anything exotic or unusual about my car insurance policy. The company that provides it is one of the big ones. They are fully aware of where the car and driver live.

    Also, my other son, who lives across the country, is covered under my policy when using one of my vehicles when he is back home. He is not explicitly named on the policy.

    Insuring two sons on separate policies while they are under 25 is insanely expensive. As long as I own the cars, it doesn’t matter who drives them. I welcome the day when they start covering their own car insurance costs, but I’m fine with the current setup.

    1. LavaLamp(she/her)*

      Yeah, no that’s not generally true about car insurance. I own a car, it’s insured under my dad’s name and I’m a listed driver. I don’t think they’ve ever cared where I actually live, they just want me to pay the bill.

    2. Xenia*

      I’m insured under my parents policy—I pay them and it’s cheaper for all involved than me getting my own separate policy—and I’m officially covered, with the title to the car in my name rather than my parents’.

    3. Cmdrshpard*

      I drove a car that was registered/owned by my parents at their home address, while I lived in another state. The insurance agent knew and told us we were fine. I even got in an accident in the other state, and everything was covered without any issues.

      1. Clisby*

        Same with our daughter (minus the accident, knock wood.) She’s a college student, so I don’t know whether that has anything to do with it.

      2. Mannequin*

        My parents car insurance was so cheap they felt like it was their duty to help my brother & I out in the exact same way (and as poor as I was at the time, I was incredibly grateful!)

    4. Snoopydoop*

      You are correct, it’s actually generally the opposite of what Alison described. Most car insurance policies cover people not living in the household, but would exclude other household members if they are not listed on the policy. This is because someone not living in the household would generally only drive the vehicle on occasion as opposed to someone in the household more likely to drive the car most frequently. It’s a higher risk for the insurance company if there are people living in your household using your car. Some insurance require you to provide names of other individuals with drivers licenses living in the household and they are excluded from the policy if you don’t list them.

      1. Colette*

        Yeah, that’s my understanding as well. If someone lives in your house, they are assumed to drive the vehicle more often and have to be on the insurance if they ever drive it. (Having said that, I would think someone who doesn’t live with you but has your vehicle with them elsewhere would also have to be listed.)

      2. DataGirl*

        This may vary by state- our insurance agent told us that anyone in our household was covered while driving our vehicles. So I can drive husband’s car, he can drive mine, and either of our kids in the home are covered driving either of our cars, without explicitly listing them as drivers. If I were to add our teens names to the insurance it would double or triple the cost, but as long as they live with us I don’t have to.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          My agent (in CA) said anyone with my permission to drive the car is covered. This includes valet parking attendants, mechanics doing test drive, a friend sharing driving on a long trip, etc. They want anyone who drives it regularly and often to be listed so they can set rates to those persons’ records. But incidental, once in a while, non-listed drivers are covered.

          1. Mannequin*

            I’m also in CA and even the cheapo insurance policies I’ve had covered people who you’ve given permission to drive your car.

        2. Peachkins*

          Honestly, as a claims adjuster, you might be in trouble if your kids are in an accident while driving your vehicle. Any members of your household that can drive are supposed to be listed on your policy. That doesn’t vary as far as I know. Your company may still provide coverage for an accident, but depending on your state they could also void your policy citing that information was withheld when your policy was written.

          1. DataGirl*

            Thank you. I’m definitely questioning what I was told now that I’ve read so many responses to the contrary. Do you think it still applies that they have to be listed when they are still learning to drive? They both just have learner’s permits at this point, not full driver’s licenses.

      3. Zephy*

        I was required to add my husband to my auto insurance policy when we got married even though he had his own car and insurance, because we were now part of the same household. (It turned out that adding him and his car to my insurance policy was cheaper than each of us paying for separate policies, so like, it worked out.) Prior to that I was never prompted by my insurance company to provide information for any other licensed drivers that happened to physically reside in the same domicile. Probably somewhere in the legalese was something to the effect of “don’t let your roommates drive your car, they won’t be covered,” but at no point did Progressive ask me to tell them whom I lived with until one of those people became my spouse.

        1. doreen*

          I suppose it might differ by state – but when my son bought his first car, the insurance company told him he had to add me, my husband and his sister to his policy as household members (since he lived with us). Thing is, he hadn’t mentioned any of us when applying for the policy (since none of us would be regularly driving his car ) so they must have searched for people with drivers licenses/learner’s permits with our address. I definitely added him when he got a license- but since we didn’t have a third car, he wasn’t listed as the primary driver on any car so the insurance didn’t go up much.

          The problem with the “kid who lives elsewhere drives the car that the parents own and insure ” is when the car is kept at a different place than the address on the policy , the insurance company doesn’t know about it and insurance is cheaper at the address on the policy. It’s not a problem when the kid who lives in Brooklyn visits his parents in upstate NY and drives their car or they drive down to visit him and he borrows their car – it’s a problem when the insurance company finds out the car they have been insuring at upstate NY prices is actually being kept in Brooklyn most of the time.. How often the insurance companies find that out, I don’t know – but I’m certain they only even look into it when they are faced with paying a claim.

          1. Zephy*

            It must differ either state-to-state or insurer-to-insurer. Progressive knows what other vehicles are registered to my address and asked me to tell them which one I wanted to buy a policy for, but never asked for driver information for them until I told them I was married, at which point they demanded my spouse’s information.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              It’s amazing the differences between states when it comes to Auto Insurance. And I speak from the experience of having had the same company for 18 years across four different states. I would say when in doubt, call your local agent and ask them questions. They frequently can also fax proof of coverage documents when needed as well (or at least mine have been willing and able to all two times in 18 years that I have bought a car).

          2. Katt*

            When I was in university and for a few months after I was driving a car owned and insured by my parents. The insurance company knew that I lived 3 hours away and that the car did too. Once that car broke down I sprung for my own vehicle and then they removed me from their policy as I had my own.

    5. Not A Manager*

      In my experience, people who live in the same household (including college students who live on campus but are home for the summer and holidays) must be explicitly listed as insured on the policy in order to be covered, and there is an addition fee for them. People who do NOT live in the same household are covered if they occasionally use the car, without having to be explicitly listed and at no additional charge.

      The reasoning is clear – your personal premiums are sufficient to cover the occasional houseguest or friend who’s driving for whatever reason, but if someone drives your car regularly then they pose an additional risk of liability such that you need to pay extra for them. “Living in the same household” is a rough test that mostly captures the difference between “regularly uses the car” and “random occasional extra driver.”

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I’ve run into that. I was explicitly prohibited from driving my roommate’s car, ever, otherwise I would need to be on the insurance. Other friends, who didn’t live with us, would be covered for the occasional casual use.

      2. Cmdrshpard*

        I think it might just be policy/carrier specific. I lived with my partner unmarried at the time, they had a car and insurance in their name. I was covered under their policy. We specifically asked if I would be covered since I lived in the same house, but was not a listed driver and we were told yes by our agent. Even after we got married we asked again of our status made any difference, and again we got the same response, that I was covered even if I was not a listed driver.

        The only difference we were told is in the case of an accident with my partner as the only driver any and all claim would count against her insurance record (not driving record). If we were both listed accidents would go under the respective person’s insurance record.

        1. NotRealAnonForThis*

          Absolutely mileage varies depending on insurance company and state. Almost identical situation here some years ago, and we had to add both of us as listed drivers on each others’ policies so that we were both covered on our individual vehicles. Shared address didn’t matter. We couldn’t get a combined policy as we weren’t married at the time.

          1. Kal*

            Yup, this is definitely a “contact your specific insurance company” thing. I had a similar situation, living with my partner while I had insurance on my car but my partner had no car. I was the only listed driver, and for my insurance, that meant my partner couldn’t drive it or it wouldn’t count as insured. Once we got married and we got a second car, we added the new car and partner’s name to the insurance and then we could both drive either car.

        2. Allison*

          Could be carrier specific. When I got my first auto policy, they required – or at least convinced me it was required – me to provide my roommate’s license and add him to my policy, I told them he had his own car, but the agent was like “yeah but maybe he’ll need to drive yours in an emergency,” and I relented, and it was expensive because he’d recently had an accident. But when I sold that car and switched insurance providers, I was in the same city and same living situation, just a different car and provider, and they did not ask for my roommate’s license. Another big difference is that the former policy was set up over the phone, the latter was set up online.

      3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        And my husband and I actually got a discount on our car insurance by expressly excluding anyone but the two of us (as the only listed drivers on our policy) from driving our cars because we don’t let friends or houseguests do so. We don’t ever even drive each other’s cars, though that’s personal preference rather than insurance company expectations.

      4. londonedit*

        In the UK, generally, the main policyholder has to be the registered owner of the car. There was a hoo-ha a few years ago because insurance companies were cracking down on people taking out car insurance in their own name and listing their 19-year-old son as a named driver, when said 19-year-old was actually the registered owner of the car. Car insurance for young drivers can be hugely expensive, but it’s technically insurance fraud to do it that way. You can absolutely be the owner of a car and the policyholder and have named drivers on the policy who are fully covered to drive the car – I’ve got my dad as a named driver because it made it slightly cheaper – but the person who usually drives the car and who keeps it at their address should be the policyholder (because the address can also have an impact on the price of the insurance, as can where you keep it overnight – on the road, on a driveway, in a car park etc).

        1. Bagpuss*

          It’s not that they need to be the registered keeper, it’s about whether they are the main *driver* or not.
          It’s common for the main policy holder to also be registered keeper but it’s not a problem if they aren’t, and the ‘fronting’ fraud is only where the vehicle is not being routinely kept or driven by the location and person set out in the policy.

          The issue with fronting is that people would take out a policy without disclosing that the car wasn’t going to be kept at the parents nice suburban home and driven mainly by them, but was going to be taken to a student house in a large city and primarily driven by their son or daughter, where had those facts ben disclosed, the premiums would have been very different.

          IF you have a car owned by mum or dad and insured by them, but on the basis that it was going to be kept at their child’s university home and primarily driven by child, the policy would be perfectly valid (and no doubt much more expensive)

          In OP3’s case it does seem an odd request if they will only be driving to commute. However, I wonder if the situation is that while the job doesn’t normally include traveling for work, there are rare occasions when it might be needed , so they prefer to check that everyone has insurance in case they need to send them to a different office, or ask them to run out and pick up an order or give a coworker a lift something like that.

          (In the UK, there are different classes of insurance cover and if you are only insured for social, domestic and commuting, you are covered driving to work but wouldn’t be covered if you then drive for work , even of it was just to drop off a package at the post office on your way home, drive between two offices or give a co-worker a lift, so if you may do any work related driving at all, you should include Class one business use (which doesn’t normally cost more) to your policy)

          I don’t know whether there is anything similar in the US?

          It’s also not usual here for insurance to cover other people driving your car , or for you to drive other vehicles than those on you policy – My insurance covers me if I drive someone else’s car with their permission, but it is not standard, I always get it as an add on as it costs next to nothing and means I know I could (say) drive my parents car if I needed to in an emergency.

          When I first learned to drive I was a named driver on my parents policy.

          1. Deejay*

            I once had a job where one of our tasks was rotating backup tapes between the main office and an offsite location. Although the distance was short, we had to drive for security reasons. And yes, we absolutely had to present proof that we’d added “drive for work” to our insurance and not just so we could claim it as an expense.

            1. PT*

              I (US) had a boss who was from England, and apparently “drive for work” in England means something very different than it does in the US. We occasionally had to drive between sites for meetings and it was considered commuting in the US but it was commercial driving in England.

          2. londonedit*

            Ah, that makes sense – I knew it had something to do with people pretending that they were the main user of the car when in fact it was their teenager who’d just passed their test.

            My policy is social/domestic use only and specifically states it doesn’t cover business use, so I can imagine that if the job did involve using a car, the employer would want to check that the employee either had or could get insurance to cover that.

          3. UKDancer*

            Yes my father has insurance which covers him whatever he’s driving so he can drive my car when he comes down to London. My insurance only covers me driving my own car so I can’t drive anything else. I can’t drive my father’s car but given it’s a pretty expensive, large car I really don’t want to.

            I don’t have class 1 as I don’t use my car for work (given I work in London and commute by train and tube).

            I think the key thing is to check your policy small print as they can vary a lot and shop around. I moved insurance company when my insurance came up for renewal and made a good saving.

      5. Alex*

        Yes this is my experience too, and I just had reason to call my car insurance company and ask so this is fresh in my mind. OP, if you live with your parents, it is likely that you aren’t actually covered by their insurance unless you are explicitly listed. Of course different companies may have different rules but I think it is more common to be the case that you aren’t covered if you live with someone who doesn’t list you on the insurance.

      6. Gray Lady*

        This is why we have our son on our policy, even though he’s in his late 20s and otherwise fully independent. He’s in the Navy, and if he ever needed to leave his car with us, we wouldn’t want it sitting there with us unable to drive it at all. It simplifies things things that his address of record is our home and the car is jointly registered with my husband. He sends us a check for his portion every half year when the bill comes due.

    6. MK*

      I wonder if there is a misunderstanding about what “covered by insurance” means. In my country car insurance towards third parties covers the vehicle, not specific drivers; so, if you allow someone to drive your car, or even if a family member takes your car keys without your knowledge, the insurance does compensate other people’s damages in case of accidents. However, if there is a clause in your contract that only listed drivers are covered the insurance company can come after you for whatever they paid up. The same goes for people who drive while drunk, texting, without a valid license, etc: the damages to third caused by the car is covered by insurance, but the driver isn’t covered.

      1. Bagpuss*

        In the UK, it’s similar. If a car is stolen, or driven by a drunk, then the company which insures the car may pay any victims.

        We also have the MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau) which covers claims where the driver responsible was not insured and where the company which insured the vehicle won’t pay – (I am not sure what criteria there are for whether or not they pay!)
        It’s funded via insurance companies so effectively everyone who pays for insurance contributes

        I believe that both the MIB and the insurance company can seek recover any losses from the person at fault, (if they have any assets.)

        So if my car were to be stolen, my insurance company would cover me for that loss, but would also potentially pay out to anyone injured if the thief caused an accident, and if they didn’t, the injured party could make a claim to the MIB for ant physical injuries.

        My insurance company and the MIB could then both sue the thief to try to get their money back. I personally would not be responsible for any of it.

        I’m not sure what happens with drink driving – I think that if you cause an accident then although you have technically voided your insurance by driving drunk, they would pay out on any claims by third parties, but not to cover you for any loss or injury, and could recover the pay out from you if you have any assets to claw back. I am not sure what would happen if I gave someone permission to drive my car and they did so while drunk, I suspect it might depend on the circumstances and whether I could reasonably have known.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        With us, basically we couldn’t say “We own three cars, of which I am the primary driver of two and my husband the other one. The teenager living with us isn’t driving any of them except as occasional one-off errands, so he’s covered as the one-off.” We have only ever owned two cars, but the kids were listed on the insurance by name when they got licenses. We kept Older on so she could legally drive the vehicles when she was home–there was a method where you could adjust the insurance rates up to twice a year (so pay for her in December and July-August, when a college student might be living at home) but if we had done that she couldn’t have driven the vehicles over Thanksgiving or on a March weekend.

        The insurance goes with the car if I let my brother-in-law drive it that one time, for example.

    7. Amy*

      To me, it sounds like LW is driving an insured car as a permitted uninsured driver. And while there are a few risks, it’ll probably be okay. But do they really have insurance if they aren’t named? I wouldn’t say so. The car does and they are a permitted driver of the car, but they don’t.

      1. Gray Lady*

        I think what may be going on is similar to the situation we have. Two of our kids are still listed on our insurance, but the insurance ID card for each vehicle does not specifically list all insured drivers in our household. I think it might only list me, as I’m the “primary insured.” It seems like that could easily be solved by presenting a policy document that lists everyone covered on the policy, though, if that’s the issue.

        1. Amy*

          My company requires proof of insurance and I just recently uploaded mine. There are often two forms – the card you present at a traffic stop and the longer form document that lists out the details of the policy. My company requires the longer form one.

          For me, this includes our babysitter’s name on the doc too. (Though this is only in reference to driving this one car) From the way the LW wrote this, I don’t think her name was anywhere. I wouldn’t consider her to be insured if her name is not listed. Just that she’s driving an insured car with permission.

    8. Skye*

      I actually had to show proof of my own car insurance to get taken off as a driver on my parents’ insurance.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Same – but for me it was easy since I switched to a policy of my own with the same company with the same local office.

    9. LKW*

      Don’t assume. I am listed as an insured person on my mom’s car insurance so that when I visit, I’m covered.

      Check with your insurance company.

    10. GigglyPuff*

      I think it might vary on what states are resident & where the car is living. When I moved out of state I was still on my mom’s insurance and it was fine for grad school, it became complicated when I needed to register the car in the other state after I got a job and moved there permanently. I can’t remember if our policies are even connected anymore because they had to bill it separately for it work.

      You can give people permission to drive your car, who don’t live with you, and they are covered. I assume this is short term use. My mom double checked when I was driving for spring break in college and we took turns.

      1. GigglyPuff*

        *sigh* reading comprehension. For some reason I thought OP had mentioned they were living out of state, not that main headquarters was out of state. This is going to be a long week.

    11. Bibliothecarial*

      You might want to check to make sure your car insurance is explicitly ok with that. My siblings and I were covered under my parents’ but lived in different states. One of us got in a fender bender and the company covered it but said the rest of us needed to get our own insurance ASAP. Probably because it’s a regional company.

      1. Peachkins*

        Might be because you’re all in different states. Each state has vastly different rules regarding auto insurance, and a policy only has one state attached to it (presumably the one in which you reside).

        1. Casper Lives*

          Yep. I’ve worked in insurance. And it happened to me in my early 20s when my parents let me have a car under their insurance in another city because I couldn’t afford it. Car accident. We were told they covered this one but all policies would be voided if we didn’t fix the insurance.

    12. Falling Diphthong*

      Because car insurance for those under 25 is insanely expensive, my policy (with a big company, in the US) explicitly named the children and put them on the policy when they got drivers licenses. Otherwise they were not covered driving cars owned by their dad and I.

      Like Alison, I wondered if OP’s car insurance is quite as clear-but-not-in-writing-anywhere as she assumes.

    13. Peachkins*

      I work as a claims adjuster for a large auto insurance company in the US. If it was found out while investigating an accident that your insured vehicle was being kept at another address and being driven regularly by someone not listed on your policy, that would be looked into. In many cases we would just send a report to underwriting to have the policy reviewed. In those cases an accident would still be covered.

      In some states we can investigate for material misrepresentation. If it is found that we were not provided with accurate information when the policy was written, the policy can be voided, and there would be no coverage. Just a heads up.

      1. Blomma*

        Yup, I’m a property & casualty agent. ALL of our carriers would object to many of the scenarios being described by people in the comments. We’d be seeing nonrenewals issued by carriers.

        1. Casper Lives*

          Yeah it’s expensive so people don’t want to hear it. I’m thankful the insurance company covered my accident in my early 20s when it was against the policy. I was using a car registered to my parents under their policy but I wasn’t listed. The insurance covered it but made clear that A) they didn’t have to and B) fix this ASAP with accurate policies.

    14. Casper Lives*

      I’m going to push back on your car insurance statement. Plenty of people do it the way you’re doing because of how expensive it is. It’s expensive because people under 25 are more likely to be in car accidents and haven’t driven as long. Most policies explicitly exclude drivers in the position of your sons.

      I encourage everyone to actually read their policy!! Many require teen drivers to be added to be covered. Expensive? Very much so. But do you want to cover the bill when your teen is sued for property damage and/or personal injury?

      It happened to me btw. I was in my 20s. My parent’s car insurance covered my accident but told my mother they didn’t have to and I needed my own insurance ASAP because all of our policies would be voided if it happened again. Any yes, that was in the contract.

    15. BlueKazoo*

      My car insurance was part of my mom’s policy back in college. I lived in a different state and owned my own car. It was cheaper that way because I was under 25. And I know it worked because I did have to use it a couple times. I also sent her my part of the premium the months I could afford it (waited tables so income was variable).

      This was before you could keep children on health insurance after 18. Or we would have done that too. Instead I just went without. Part of why I will always support PP, that’s how I was able to have reliable birth control and I’m forever grateful.

    16. Harvey 6 3.5*

      MissB is right. Car insurance mostly goes with the cars. So long as the car is covered and the driver is authorized, anyone can drive the car and be insured. Now if it is a member of the household who regularly drives the car, you may need to let the car insurance company know you have an 18 year old male driver with two tickets, but if you lend your car to the neighbor kid, he will be covered. But if you are renting a car and relying on your car insurance instead of the rental agencies insurance, I think you do need to be named on the policy.

      I think what MissB means for her out of state son is that the car is on the policy and he is listed as the driver, but maybe I’m wrong. For my company, we need to list the primary drivers for all the cars, so my son who lives at home is a primary driver on a car.

      1. LavaLamp(she/her)*

        I am a legal registered only owner of my car, but the Geico agent put the policy in my dad’s name to not penalize me for being a permitted driver instead of having a full license. Even now (I haven’t gotten a full license due to medical issues) the policy is the same and it covered both me and my dad when we had separate accidents in my car.

        My parents original insurance company wanted to charge over 1000$ a month for my being an inexperienced driver. Eventually the old agent told us to put all our cars on Geico because it was still good coverage but so much cheaper.

    17. Avril Ludgateau*

      When I was under 25 and lived with my parents, it was the same scenario. I looked into getting my own insurance through several different providers, but it was prohibitively expensive, plus since I did live with them, they’d be in a position where they were required to list me on their policy anyway. So I just paid my parents half the cost of the policy to stay on theirs. In my case, I was explicitly covered by the policy, but the insurance cards only had room for two names, which were my parents’. In a scenario like OP#3’s, I might still have been unable to provide adequate proof from HR’s perspective because my name was not on the insurance card (but if e.g. a police officer ran the info, my name would come up as an insured driver).

      I do think HR is overstepping, here, regardless.

  9. Expiring Cat Memes*

    #3 is exactly the kind of bizarre non-negotiable company policy I could imagine was put in place after Something Happened and Drama Ensued. Please report back after you start and tell us how it came about, LW!

    1. John Smith*

      I was going to speculate (sorry, Alison) that there might have been an incident where the company was subject to some bizarre legal action and they’re asking for this now to cover their backsides? Some organisations in the UK specify that their location requires thought as to your commute, but never if you’re insured.

    2. Tiger Snake*

      To be honest, the very first thing my brain jumped to with #3 is “Oh right, work place compensation doesn’t cover travel to work, just travel as a part of work“.

      But also, the reason why that is the first thing that jumps into my brain is because compensation if I’m injured while traveling to work is a part of my union – they have additional insurance on top of the normal 3rd party insurance you need to have a car rego in Australia.

      You’re right in that “Something happened involving the 3rd party insurance” is the most obvious explanation, (and lets be honest, it probably involved a minor crash in the business parking lot), but now I’m paranoid on the union-or-compensation angle.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Generally, at least in the US, the employer is not responsible for accidents by employees driving to and from work. This would include the parking lot, unless there was some extra negligence about the lot itself. Perhaps an accident involving black ice in the lot? My guess is that someone got into an accident while running an errand for the company?

        1. Betteauroan*

          I am just wracking my brain trying to figure out why this company has such a fixation on proof of insurance for an employee who doesn’t drive for them. It is just so odd. I wonder what other weird rules, policies, or procedures they have.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            They sent someone to Staples once midday and the person got into a wreck. That’s my guess. It’s a “no driving for work” job until the once or twice a year they ask you to go pick up something. It’s still a very odd question but it does scream “something happened once and was a mess even though the situation was rare”. Otherwise either they make no sense, or it involves a lot more driving for work than they indicated during the hiring process.

            1. beezus*

              That’s usually covered under their general liability umbrella policies though, as you were driving on behalf of a business. They commonly have a $1M coverage as part of a standard package of business insurance policies.

              1. SnappinTerrapin*

                That’s right. When you get down to it, the company needs to show proof of insurance before asking an employee to run an errand in their own vehicle.

        2. Missy*

          That’s my guess also. Something that isn’t obviously part of their employment (like a service person making a repair call) but like grabbing coffee for a team meeting or dropping something off at a post office.

      2. Expiring Cat Memes*

        The parking lot was where my mind went too. I know of an incident where someone accidentally bumped the security gate while trying to get in close to tap their pass. They damaged it badly enough that none of the other office building tenants could get in or out for a day, and the gate couldn’t be fully repaired (and therefore secure) for another week.

      3. Annika Hansen*

        Yes, I was thinking an employee hit another employee’s car in the parking lot. They weren’t insured and couldn’t come up with the money immediately.

        1. Betteauroan*

          That could be it. They do seem to be awfulky obsessive about it, though. If an employee doesn’t have insurance and gets in an accident in their company lot, it is still on the uninsured driver, not the company. It still doesn’t make sense to me.

          1. Nicotena*

            Maybe it’s a particularly difficult parking lot (I used to park in one that had these tiny back-in angled spaces with support pillars everywhere) and the employees got together to push for this after one too many incidents … since we’re speculating! :D

    3. Xenia*

      I’d put money on an employee going to lunch or something in their personal vehicle, getting into an accident, not having insurance (or sufficient insurance) and the company getting stuck with the bill through arcane twists in the legal code. There are some very odd bits in the legal section of who is at fault when you have an employee in the middle of the workday who isn’t working.

      1. Cmdrshpard*

        I wonder if it was an employee who volunteered to pick up lunch for everyone,
        or the boss asked them to pick up their lunch since they were out already and it was found to be a business errand at the time of the accident.

        1. Amaranth*

          It could even be someone higher up or in HR heard about that happening at another company on the other side of the country and determined it was a risk for the company. I was actually required to give proof of insurance about 20 years ago when I went to work for a nonprofit and they didn’t even have company cars so it did seem odd to me.

      2. Loredena Frisealach*

        I agree. Years ago I was in a car accident going to a doctor’s appt on my lunch hour, and my car insurance tried very hard to get me to say I was driving for work, so I suspect that it’s something on those lines!

    4. DataGirl*

      I work in medical education, and a few years ago the hospital started requiring proof of insurance for people who drive for work. Med students whose schedule had them working at multiple hospitals were included in the group of those who needed to provide documentation. Those of us in admin questioned it because they weren’t driving FOR work, just commuting to different locations. We in admin also traveled to different hospitals for meetings and so on but weren’t required to provide the proof. A year later Legal weighed in and reversed their decision saying the med students no longer needed to provide documentation for commuting. So for LW3, I’m wondering if this is a similar situation, where really the main company just cares about insurance for people who are driving FOR work, but your local is misinterpreting to think it’s needed for everyone.

    5. Sara without an H*

      Yes, this. Any time an organization makes an iron-clad rule like this, there is going to be a Legend behind it. OP#3, see if you can chat up some of the longer-term employees and find out what happened.

      And I’d really recommend getting your own car insurance. Depending on the state you live in, your parents policy may not cover you any more.

    6. Hippo-nony-potomus*

      You have to show proof of insurance to enter some military bases (Hanscom AFB comes to mind). Others do not require proof (some parts of Wright-Patterson), but may require it of employees. That may even be true if the employees are, e.g., working for the Museum and not the military. I could see some state agencies requiring it, which might be related to either state law surrounding claims or the requirements of the parking lot/parking garage.

      1. pancakes*

        Are these in states where you don’t have to have insurance to pass registration? It seems a lot easier and less invasive to just look for a current registration sticker.

        1. Hippo-nony-potomus*

          No. Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Ohio all require insurance; however, Hanscom and Fort Knox have different rules than WPAFB. The larger problem with your proposal is that people from other states drive onto the base, and it’s easier to check everyone’s insurance than to have the guards know which states have which rules.

  10. Cmdrshpard*

    I don’t know that the boss is specifically sexualizing it.
    The boss is wrongly assuming a romantic relationship, but the boss is not wrong that there is an intimate albeit platonic relationship. I use intimate in the “closely acquainted; familiar, close” defenition. I think a roommate situation in this particular instance it seems to be an intimate relationship.

    I say that not because all roommate relationships are intimate, I have lived with roommates that i was not close with at all and hardly saw, I would not say we were intimate. But because when you are coworkers with someone in a small department and then you live together you are spending a majority of your time together and OP admits they are close friends.

    While OP may not have violated the letter of the law I think they violated the spirit of the law, because the company does not have a no fraternization but does want close relationships disclosed.
    I can see it now an update to the policy, “romantic relationships and close friendships when where/when you live with a coworker need to be disclosed.”

    The point is for the company to be aware of any potential issues/conflicts between employees. If they needed to fire the roommate and wanted OP have OP take over their duties the company could be concerned that OP would be resentful, or if they gave OP a heads up they would let the roommate know because roommate being let go would impact rent for OP.

    Even with OP “hiding this relationship” it does not seem like the company is opposed to it they just want to know.

    1. Green great dragon*

      ‘Close friends’ is such a slippery slope though. If they were close friends not living together it would never have come up. If the company wants to know about roommates, or people you regularly see outside work, or whatever, they need to be explicit.

      1. Amaranth*

        Its a bit weird to me that living together is the tipping point on reporting BFFs, but I suppose if they don’t have a line drawn somewhere you’d have employees reporting even casual friendships, or if they socialize when their kids play on the same soccer team. However, its silly to think that people can’t be incredibly close without living in the same home. I find it odd that OPs manager thinks they were being shady as opposed to the policy not being clear. If they want to know when employees are romantically involved AND/or roommates, that should be clarified in the handbook.

    2. Bamcheeks*

      Hm, I’d consider this an overhead of the policy. There’s no reason why a close friendship between roommates creates liability for the company than a close friendship between non-roommates,

      The history for romantic/sexual relationships being disclosed is because of the perception that those relationships come with a higher risk of power differentials and coercive behaviour which can create a liability for the company, not because of the general awkwardness of “what if we need to fire one of them”.

      There’s a big difference between “we would appreciate knowing X because it might make certain things easier to manage” and “we have a policy that you must disclose X because it can create a legal liability for the company”, and that’s what LW’s manager is confusing.

      1. STG*

        Yea, I’ve never heard of having to disclose close friendships/roommates to an employer. I’d consider it overstepping personally.

      2. CmdrShepard*

        I think a roommate situation can lead to similar power differential/coercive behavior. If coworker A can easily afford the living space on their own and coworker B can’t or A is on the lease and B is subleasing from them it can lead to A being able to use the housing power to coerce B into doing their work in the office. Another situation A finds out about a firing level mistake B made, but decides not to disclose it because B getting fired would impact their ability to pay rent and in turn impact A. ​

        I don’t think companies only set policies because it creates legal liability often polices are created because it makes things easier to manage.

        I agree OP did not violate the policy, and the company should be clearer on the policy of who is required to disclose what kind of relationships.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I agree all those are possible scenarios, but I’ve never come across an employer who has discussed them or created a policy to mitigate/avoid them!

    3. RagingADHD*

      Disclosing romantic attachments is common snd normal. Expecting official disclosure of roommates and bffs is bizarre and a huge overstep.

      If the boss isn’t “sexualizing” this, the situation is far worse than if they were, because it means the company’s policies are outlandishly invasive and inappropriate.

    4. anonymous73*

      OP wasn’t hiding the relationship. And it wasn’t even hiding by omission. Company policy does not address roommates so she wasn’t obligated to mention it. Her boss and the company are overstepping here. There are so many “what ifs” in this scenario that would make this a moot point. They are just assuming that there’s no way a man and a woman can live together and just be friends.

    5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Nooooo. Never in the history of ever has a non-fraternization policy included close friends. If OP’s workplace wants to be the trailblazer and update theirs to include close friendships, that’s fine. But it is not something that should be assumed by default when it’s not there.

      1. CmdrShepard*

        But in this situation it is more than just close friends, it is close friends and roommates.

        I do think living with a coworker even without a romantic relationship or even if it is not a close friendship or even friendly relationship and just roommates of convenience can lead to potential conflict of interest.
        It can be as small as coworker A not wanting to help coworker B because they have not washed dishes in two days, or as big as A being mad B has not paid rent for two months.

        I do agree the company should clarify the policy going forward to make it clear.

        1. pancakes*

          You could say the same of any coworker friendship that doesn’t involve living together. Coworker A doesn’t want to help coworker B because B rejected their choice of movie to see together, etc.. It would be wildly invasive for employers to ask employees to declare who they are and aren’t friends with outside of work.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            And then you’d have to report when you are no longer friends, too! “I am now no longer in danger of inappropriate work dynamics occurring between me and Tangerina, because we had a falling out and are not spending time together as friends anymore” Lovely.

            Seriously though, I’m hearing some corporations pushing for “company towns”. What do you want to bet this will be their next great idea. “Since you all live on the same street now, there are chances of your personal relationships affecting your work, so we’ll need to know how everyone gets along with everyone else.” (As someone who did live in communal work-provided housing for a couple of years after college, the idea of a company town gives me the hives.)

    6. mophie*

      I don’t think they want to know about close friends. I think they want to know if people are cohabitating, which is a different thing.
      I think it makes a ton of sense too. Instead of having people deciding whether a close friendship merits disclosures, you instead have a bright line: Do you live together?
      I mean what’s a “relationship” anyway? What if coworkers had sex once? What if you had sex with your roommate 4 years ago, but aren’t now? What if you don’t have sex, but still consider your roommate your partner? Focusing on things that are objective (and not intimate) is probably better anyways.

      That being said, it sounds like this wasn’t the policy and they need to make it clear what they want before calling out people for unethical behavior.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I imagine there would be a lot of “coworkers that are also roommates” situations in large, high-COL cities, where one has to have several roommates just to be afford to live in the area. But, if a company wants these situations disclosed, it is of course free to do so. Sounds invasive to me, but whatever they think works for them.

        However, in OP’s situation, it does sound like the management is all convinced that OP and her friend/roommate are in a romantic relationship, and refuse to believe her when she says otherwise. Which is gross. Honestly, for them, adopting a policy making coworkers disclose whether they are rooming together would be a big step forward from the 19th century that they are living in now.

        1. CmdrShepard*

          I don’t know how true that there are a lot of coworker/roommate situations. Yes in high-COL areas people might have to live with multiple roommates, but out of work friends/internet strangers are still a thing.

          I know my feeling/thoughts are not universal, but after spending so much time with coworkers the last thing I would want is to go home and spend more time with coworker(s). Sometimes you want to go home and vent to your roommate about coworker A that you really like but they did something to annoy you, if your roommate is coworker A you can’t really do that.

          I don’t think asking for disclosure if coworker roommates is invasive. If they asked for all the people you lived with I would agree.

    7. Sacred Ground*

      I’m side-eyeing this company HARD because upthread, OP said her male roommate hasn’t heard a thing about it from his supervisor, even though she has had her job threatened, a black mark on her record and her integrity doubted over it. Her grandbosses were apparently ready to discipline her for this but her male roommate doesn’t even get a talking-to? That’s messed up.

      1. yala*

        I am completely unsurprised by this. Everything about the vibe was very “punish the loose woman.”

        I dealt with similar a few times in the decade+ that I lived with my (male) best friend, including having a boss ask if we were friends with benefits. Usually it was just people (including coworkers) just sort of refusing to accept that we’re very platonic.

        Oddly enough, when we did work at the same branch of the library, it never really caused any sort of a stir. Over there we got mistaken for siblings more than a couple, which was a nice change.

    8. Nanani*

      The policy is about romantic relationships though, not the logistics of roomates.

      “Men and Women are never really FRIENDS” is a toxic mindset overall, and in this case specifically is punishing LW for a rule-break she didn’t actually commit. It’s not ok.

    9. SnappinTerrapin*

      If the policy required disclosure of “close friendships,” that would be plausible.

      But the policy is directed toward disclosure of “romantic relationships.”

      It’s pretty creepy to assume an employee is violating a policy requiring disclosure of romantic involvement just because they have a room mate.

      Very few companies are proactive enough to have a general disclosure policy involving the potential conflicts of interest arising from friendships, in part because it is pretty difficult to write, much less administer, a rational policy on the topic.

      There isn’t a clear demarcation line for the company to define when business colleagues evolve into friends, as there is for employees initiating a voluntary romantic relationship.

      This policy is clearly designed to protect the company against sexual harassment claims by requiring employees to disclose voluntary relationships.

      Falsely accusing an employee of violating this policy, on such thin evidence, is pretty despicable
      behavior. It meets the colloquial definition of hostility, and is a couple of steps down the road toward the definition in Title VII litigation.

    10. Mannequin*

      I’ve worked with roommates on more than one occasion and it has never been an issue.

      One was a lifelong friend who I had such a close relationship with that people who just met us often assumed that we were either sisters (we looked nothing alike) or a couple, and one of the places we worked skewed heavily in favor of LGBTQIA employees, so no automatic assumptions that same-sex roommates are platonic. Still no problem.

      Another became my roommate *after* I started working there. She was an open lesbian in an area with a very vocal/active LGBTQIA population & by sheer chance, most of my coworkers there were lesbians. Still no problems or assumptions made.

      Reading this letter felt like getting slingshotted straight back to the 70s, when Three’s Company was considered titillating for having a man & 2 women living together because of the cultural assumptions that hanky panky MUST have been going on.

  11. Former Employee*

    Based on my understanding, OP #3 should not have to provide evidence of insurance as long as they never drive for work .

    However, here is the problem: One day someone discovers they are out of X and needs someone to run to Office Supply Store to pick some up. A person not in the middle of the project for which this is needed volunteers . In the course of running this errand, they get in an accident. They were driving on behalf of the company even though they otherwise never do. If they are uninsured the company is 100% liable. If they are insured, their insurance should cover it.

    The company is probably requiring employees to provide proof of personal auto insurance to comply with a requirement set by the company’s auto insurer.

    1. The Other Evil HR Lady*

      Mmmm… not exactly re: accidents. If they’re driving for the company’s benefit, no matter the vehicle they’re using, the accident would fall back to the company’s insurance (at least in Florida, where I live). We had someone who used to drive for work get a DUI, and was summarily kicked off our company’s vehicle insurance. Then, we were told (by the insurance, the broker, and our legal counsel) that they are not allowed to drive for the benefit of the company at all, ever, no matter which vehicle they drive. They can commute to and from work, in their own vehicle, with their own insurance, but that’s it.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Could this vary by state? My agent told me that driving to a different worksite (i.e., for a meeting, which would be for the company’s benefit) would be covered under my insurance, not my employer’s.

        1. Mockingjay*

          Probably. I just changed states and the bureaucracy is mind blowing. The insurance was relatively straightforward (we have USAA and they are accustomed to client moves as people transfer to new posts), but getting the new license and car registration has been a tedious, drawn-out process.

          (I’ve spent my career as a tech writer in federal contracting. You’d think I’d be able to handle the paperwork with ease. NOT.)

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            Most insurance companies would at least consider whether to demand that the company’s policy take precedence.

  12. John Smith*

    #5. I’d have been tempted to answer her honestly. It sounds to me from her comment that this supervisor might have had a moment of self reflection and was seeking pity or reassurance.

    My current manager had the gall to suggest that there is a common denominator with all the ills of our office – me. I responded back that there was a different common denominator at play – terribly abysmal managers past and present and if he required any further proof, to go and ask colleagues what they think. He never did (he even admitted the past two managers were terrible) and thankfully has hardly spoken to me or my colleagues since (a number of them have thanked me).

    A complete aside, but I’ve been advised that the term “subordinate” as a description of someone is seen as derogatory.

  13. The Prettiest Curse*

    #5 – this person is a crappy manager and she knows it, even if only on a subconscious level. She was not looking for honest feedback, she was looking for ego stroking. Do not, under any circumstances, give her honest feedback, unless you want to be one of the people who is treated terribly until they quit. In this case, honesty is the worst policy.

    1. LKW*

      I don’t think it’s subconscious. She clearly knows she’s overemotional at work. But, to your point, she probably does not recognize all her “managerial deficits”.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yeah, even if she does realise that she’s not a good manager, she may not fully comprehend how bad she is at managing. Enlightening her will only lead to trouble.

    2. Betteauroan*

      I would not want to work under this lady. She was quite clearly feeling a moment of insecurity knowing deep down that she is an ineffective manager and has problems getting along with her underlings. She was very obviously fishing for a compliment and/or reassurance that she isn’t as bad as she thinks she is, but she is bad. OP should have handled it the way they did, not saying much of anything. Based on OP’s description of her and her MO, I am 100% sure any honest feedback would not be appreciated and would serve no positive purpose.

  14. CBB*

    #4 Company policies requiring coworkers to report romantic relationships are problematic for a number of reasons, one being defining what qualifies as a romantic relationship.

    It’s less ambiguous if the policy requires you to report cohabitation regardless of romantic relationship. That’s an objective yes/no question.

    Granted, that would leave the company unaware of all sorts of casual relationships, FWBs, one night stands, Broke Back Mountain-type situations, etc. But I don’t have a problem with that.

    (And of course if one of the people is a supervisor, that a completely different thing.)

    1. Bamcheeks*

      It kind of defeats the object of such policies, though, which is to make sure the company is aware of any relationships which might create a legal liability if one of the parties alleged coercion or sexual harassment, though.

      1. CBB*

        Good point. If a policy prevents sexual harassment, I won’t object to it.

        But I remain confused about what kind of relationships actually needs to be reported.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          You’re both right though – the stated goal or justification might be preventing sexual harassment (good!) but the implementation can still be problematic. And this is definitely an example of the latter.

          1. bamcheeks*

            hm– call me cynical, but I would distinguish between actually reducing the incidence of sexual harassment and simply reducing the company’s liability for it. I think these these policies are probably motivated by the latter and whether or not they actually do the former is still an open question.

    2. tg*

      What if you are friends with someone, but then drift apart, should you report the change in circumstances?

      1. Redd*

        “In accordance with our policy of relationship disclosure, I want to let you know that my former close friendship with Jan from Accounting has been indefinitely suspended since she brought cheap-ass rolls to my Superbowl potluck.”

        1. LW #4*

          This made me laugh quite a lot! Thanks for the support, everyone. It’s been a bizarre few days.

      2. KateM*

        They probably would want to know that instead of working at the same team with your sweetheart, you are now working at the same team with your ex.

        1. banoffee pie*

          ‘I downgraded Tim from friend to acquaintance because every time I saw him, he moaned about his ex too much.’ It would be funny to bore them with pointless info and say I thought they ‘needed to know’ to avoid ‘conflicts of interest’.

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            If they wrote a policy that actually requested information on “friendship” relationships.

    3. anonymous73*

      The only time I can see an issue is in an employee/supervisor situation. But in that case, something would need to change, similar to a relative supervising another relative. Even if 2 people are on the same team and start dating, I don’t think disclosure should be mandatory. If they split and start creating drama, then their behavior needs to be handled. It would be no different if 2 people became friends and then had a falling out and brought their drama to the office. Where does it stop?

    4. Betteauroan*

      Can you imagine how this company would react to a poly living situation with a bunch of co-workers? Hah!

      1. ceiswyn*

        I was just thinking that I once lived in a house share with two of my co-workers (and two other mutual friends). That would have blown their minds..

  15. Lana*

    OP3 – can you get a policy online, submit it for work and then get a refund/cancel the policy? Not sure if that’s a thing where you live?
    OP2 – I can see this going in the section where you address the mandatory criteria. IE, for some jobs a short statement like “I can confirm I hold a current unrestricted drivers licence, responsible service of school certificate and have received my COVID vaccinations.”

    1. Me*

      You generally cannot get an insurance policy unless you own the vehicle, which it sounds like OP does not. At least in the US.

      If you live in the household, you generally DO have to be listed on the policy as a driver. If you live outside the household you may not, but that also depends on your policies idea of guest driver. I had to add my brother in law as a driver for a time, despite him no living in my household, because of the frequency he drove the vehicle.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        I recall that when I was under the age of 26 I was able to be insured under my parents’ policy. I didn’t live with them at the time…in fact, I had just moved out-of-state and had a license plate on the vehicle for the neighboring state! I believe the only reason we had my dad co-sign on the loan was so he would technically “own” it and I could be insured with them. It saved me a lot of money until I aged out of that arrangement.

      2. Starbuck*

        I don’t think that’s right – when my car died and I wasn’t able to get a new one for a few months, I tried to cancel my car insurance to save money while I wasn’t driving. They actually recommended I get a driver-but-not-car-owner policy to cover me “just in case”, but also because canceling my insurance would make it more expensive when I wanted to re-start it in the future. Super frustrating of course since I still didn’t want to spend the money even with the very reduced premiums… but you can absolutely have insurance without owning a car.

    2. Mockingjay*

      You don’t want to mess around with insurance policies.

      Depts. of Motor Vehicles require proof of insurance for a license. If you cancel a policy and start a new one, insurers are required to automatically notify the DMV (usually via an online database) that you no longer have X insurance (parents) with them as of Date/Time. New Y insurance (yours) has to log in and tell DMV that you now have a policy with them, effective NewDate/Time.

      If the new insurer’s notification is delayed or the system doesn’t update (don’t ask how I know this), you can be fined, have license suspended, etc., for driving uninsured. And New Insurer can hike your rate up because of the gap (even if it’s not your fault).

      It’s a lousy, unnecessary requirement of the OP’s new company, but it’s better to show proof of current insurance, regardless of who the primary policyholder is, then try to change policies in a hurry.

  16. Green great dragon*

    If you do want to feed back to a manager, ‘be more emotionally stable or resign’ is not the way to go. Pick something small and correctable.

  17. Green great dragon*

    If you do want to feed back to a manager, ‘be more emotionally stable or resign’ is not the way to go. Pick something small and correctable.

  18. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

    My work wanted to see our driving licences before we were allowed to park in the car park. We got that one kicked into touch.

  19. Paul Pearson*

    LW#5 honestly, they’ve clearly identified the problem themselves. It strikes me they’re looking for reassurance – and if anything the best response to that is to not give it. Duck out of the question with polite nothings. Someone who is vaguely sensitive to nuance and has some self-awareness (which, judging by their own self-questioning, they are) is going to hear the message there.

  20. pcake*

    LW3 – My son’s insurance specifically won’t cover anyone living in his home, whether a GF/BF, roommate or relative. It would only cover those not living in his home or those who are added to his policy. The new job is weird for asking that.

    LW5 – All the employees would certainly be better off with someone else managing them. But whether you talked to her about it at the time or later, she sounds too emotionally on-edge to take it the way you would mean it.

  21. LGC*

    LW5, to summarize your boss’s question: yes it would be, but I don’t think you can say that.

    But…I’m wondering how close your relationship actually is. Alison’s right in that she was definitely (and inappropriately) upset, and not receptive to dialogue. (Plus, I’ll be honest: most people would react poorly to being told that yes, they are too “emotionally unstable” – her words, not mine.) But you also speak well of her in some parts – you lead off by saying that she’s a “kind, fun” person.

    The high-risk and potentially high-reward approach is to be honest – separate from this incident, because it really does seem like an ongoing pattern. But this is really high risk because of the reasons Alison noted. (But it’s high reward because if she does listen…you’ve made her a better manager going forward.) But if you do, I’d frame it more like being visibly emotional rather than just being emotional – she can feel however she wants inside (like, I’ve genuinely been mad at employees and coworkers when they make mistakes because I’m not perfect), but she can’t then take it out on people. Some people are just clueless.

    All that said: agreed with Alison that she sounds very dramatic, this probably will risk your standing, and it’s usually not worth the headache.

    1. Betteauroan*

      Honest feedback to someone like this OP’s co-worker would end up blowing up in their face and they might as well put a bull’s eye on their forehead to be her next victim.

  22. Hello, I’d like to report my boss*

    LW#1, if she doesn’t stop harassing you for money, you should absolutely take this to your manager.

    “Sandra has been purchasing team shirts and llama repellent for the team, unasked, and is insisting I contribute money for these. I’ve told her to stop as I have no need for these things and she didn’t ask me first. However she’s still asking me several times a day/week/month for money. Please can you ask Sandra to stop, as it’s disruptive?”

    Also WTF is up with Sandra. Does she buy things at random, regret it, then try and recoup money by taking them into work? Is she a compulsive “helper”? V strange.

    1. RagingADHD*

      The first steps, long before this, would be to actually say no to Sandra, and then ask her to stop.

      Sounds like LW hasn’t tried either of those yet.

      Getting the manager involved is a massive escalation, particularly since there is no indication that there’s any “harassing” involved, or that it happens frequently or is disruptive.

      Making up misleading complaints to avoid one or two slightly awkward conversations is how people tank their own credibility with a manager.

    2. anonymous73*

      If OP hasn’t tried to talk to her co-worker at all, then she needs to start with that. If it continues THEN she can go to their manager. Unless coworker is known to be abusive, this is the type of stuff you try and handle yourself first.

    3. Observer*

      if she doesn’t stop harassing you for money, you should absolutely take this to your manager.

      Sure. *IF* she won’t stop and *IF* she’s really that disruptive. Right now she’s being obnoxious because she’s making spending decisions for people and she should know better. But To jump from there to “OMG! She’s going to harass us and badger us multiple times a day no matter what we say!” is really premature, to say the least.

  23. UKgreen*

    Ugh. The heteronormality of the attitudes to people being close friends is so frustrating. I’m a woman and worked VERY closely with a male colleague for nearly two years – we were close friends inside and outside of work, but are both very happily in relationships with other people and our relationship is really, really NOT romantic (ick!) We were CONSTANTLY harassed by other people in our team about our ‘affair’, and yet I know for certain fact that none of the people who were saying these things would have said that if Colleague and I were the same sex.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Have had that problem too sadly. Friends with another woman at work? Oh that’s fine. Friends with a bloke? Cue the ‘affair’ rumours.

      Most of my friends are men. I’ve never humped any of them.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        My boss was convinced I was having an affair with a colleague who was just a couple of years older than my son. He had just arrived in Paris and knew nobody and couldn’t speak French. We discovered that we shared an interest in Indian music and food, became good friends, saw each other outside work. He came for dinner at my home, with my partner present. I simultaneously developed a friendship with the other Indian colleague, who happened to be a woman, and also young enough to be my daughter, and nobody ever suspected anything sexual between us.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        UUGH rumors flying that I was cheating on my college boyfriend with a male friend of mine.

        Male friend is a great guy and objectively better looking than boyfriend but we had so much in common that we pretty much considered ourselves cousins, which is a big old turn-off.

        1. not a doctor*

          Reminds me of the college roommate who was convinced I was secretly dating my best friend at the time, who was a man, and ‘discreetly’ leaving the room whenever we were hanging out.

          1. quill*

            And the college dude who I thought people had assumed was dating me because heteronormativity, when it was really a case of “dude thought we’d start dating any day now, said nothing, had actually previously been informed of my lack of interest in the entire procedure of dating at all.”

        2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Another coworker, who frankly was a nosy git, took to telling me that the ‘optics’ of a married woman having lunch with a married with kids man were ‘very bad’ and ‘what if someone took a photo and sent it to his wife?’

          ‘She’d….know he eats lunch with a friend?’ was my reply.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            Yeah, I have no time for this. People who do this have way, way, too much time on their hands.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              I often laugh at wondering how’d she’d react if she’d ever found out I’m pansexual. Probably have demanded I never be alone with *anybody*! ;p

    2. Alice*

      Oh yeah. My industry is mostly male dominated and I get that constantly. I’m not even straight.

      Meanwhile two (female) friends of mine who have been together for 10+ years are “roommates”.

      1. Elle*

        My aunt was fired from a Catholic school for having a female roommate – it was fine for a decade, but I guess once they both hit 50 and were still single, the school board became convinced they must be in same-sex relationship instead of reality, which was that they weren’t interested in romance with anyone and couldn’t afford to live alone given the absolute poverty wages Catholic schools were paying. It took her two years to find another teaching job in the area, again at another Catholic school. It was illegal in my state, but the lawyers told her she’d never win her case because they technically just let her annual contract expire — that they’d renewed for almost 30 years.

        1. TiffIf*

          Well that seems particularly ironic…I wonder what they would think of a bunch of never-married women living in a congregate setting.

          AKA nuns.

          *face palm*

    3. Expiring Cat Memes*

      I’ve had it both ways – no pun intended. But when it was suggested that I (cishet) was more than friends with my female coworker, those comments only came from men. Either way, it’s still just grossly inappropriate speculation by grossly inappropriate coworkers.

    4. mophie*

      That being said, once you get to a certain age, I think of you’re living with someone of the same sex, you’ll still get those same rumors.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        It’s sad, but true a lot of the time. My roommate and I (both cis, straight women in our mid-30s) lived together for almost 10 years, 7 of those in one house in a quiet neighborhood on the edge of our city. We got in in 2012 at a time when the rent was cheap, and then stayed there for a long time because our landlord didn’t increase our rent much. It was considerably less expensive for us to stay there in that arrangement as cost of living/rent went up all over the city.

        One day I was checking the mail at the community box and one of my neighbors asked me if I had heard something outside overnight. I said no, but I would ask my roommate because she had the bedroom on the front of the house closer to the street. His reaction was, “Whoa! You guys in a fight or something? You don’t share a bedroom?” I just stared at him blankly for a tic…then said, “No. We’re not a couple.” He got beet red and I had to keep myself from laughing as I walked away. That was amusing!

    5. EvilQueenRegina*

      My ex-boss once saw me chatting in the kitchen with a guy who I went to school with who works in a different department, and started asking me “Ooh, who’s that you’re flirting with then?” We’re just friends, that was not a flirty conversation, and I was relieved that he’d walked away and didn’t hear her because I didn’t want him thinking he couldn’t chat to me at work without others getting the wrong idea. Even though I really wasn’t happy about it I felt I had to laugh it off because of the nature of this boss (she’s a post all to herself, nickname was Professor Umbridge because she was very strict and always biting people’s heads off about nothing among other issues, and that was the most civil she’d been all day.)

    6. Starbuck*

      Worse yet, the sexism – LW confirmed in a comment that the male roommate has not been confronted about this at all, only she has!!

  24. FashionablyEvil*

    #5 She is emotionally volatile and, when in a bad mood, can be rude and pouty. She also will not address concerns with people she supervises and her approach is to ignore issues or start treating them badly until they quit.
    So, in two years she’s had multiple staff members quit because of her poor treatment of them? I probably wouldn’t say anything to her, but have you considered raising it with her boss?

  25. Rebecca*

    I work at a school and one year one of my colleagues spent the summer turning our staff room into some version of a pinterest living room. Fairy lights, magazine none of us had time to read, kitschy chairs none of us had time to sit on, art on the walls none of us had time to look at. She spent hundreds. When we arrived back at school in September, we were told we were all on the hook for it. The staff room before was fine! It had a table, a coffee machine, microwave and fridge, and the printer, and it wasn’t dirty. I quietly did not chip in.

    Then she became the staff room police. Every time a paper was left by the printer she carried it around and asked every staff member if it was theirs. She left rude notes by the sink telling us that if we didn’t wash our cups we must be bad teachers. She literally shouted me down in hearing distance of students and my boss one day because I wouldn’t agree to help her chase down adults to remind them to use the cover in the microwave, and yelled that she must have found the person not cleaning the microwave.

    It’s never JUST about the money with these things. Even if I had had the cash to contribute to her makeover, I had no desire to buy into her vision and ownership of the room. Eventually I stopped using it at all, except for the photocopier when I needed it, and ate my lunch in my classroom. I was not the only one.

    1. Lacey*

      I worked with a VERY similar person. The redecoration was paid for by the company, but the intense ownership of the space, was exactly the same. She also would constantly remind people that she was not their mother – while clearly enjoying acting like their mother in a circumstance that didn’t remotely require it.

  26. Pixies' Dust*

    OP#4, you need to push back on this ASAP. She’s smoothing things over for you on your behalf, when you don’t need it to happen. She’s turned it into an integrity issue when instead it’s her issue. I suggest you do this by very publicly “clarifying” with HR “so no one else is surprised like I was about the roommate issue.”

    1. Bagpuss*

      Yes, my conern reading this one was that HR / higher ups are still undr the mistaken impression that you didn’t flollow policy.

      I would be clarifying it directly with HR.

      “Boss spoke to me and was under the impression that [room-mate] and I are in a relationship, and as such should have notified you and our respective supervisors in accordance with section 123)b) of the staff handbook. I have confirmed to her that we are not, and have never been, in a relationship. We are housemates, however having read the policy I cannot see anything requiring staff to disclose their living arrangements or to notify HR where they are in a shared housing situation with other members of staff.

      As Supervisor commented to me that she had ‘smoothed things over’ I am concerned that the incorrect assumption that we were in a romantic relationship may not have been corrected and that the mistaken belief that we had failed to follow policy may remain. Can you confirm that this is not the case?”

      1. Betteauroan*

        Good one! I didn’t even think about going to HR to make sure this really has been “smoothed over.” I said earlier that I would be looking for another job because of her boss’s comment about her integrity and my belief that the boss is probably looking for reasons to fire her. Going to HR and making sure they understand her position that she didn’t know about the policy would save her job and restore her boss’s faith in her. It is essential that the boss is satisfied that nothing untoward is or was going on against company policy.
        Even with all that, I personally believe this company is overreaching and invasive. They need to clarify a policy on what exactly they expect employees to disclose to the company and under what circumstances so there are no more misunderstandings.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          And honestly it sounds like OP knew about the policy – but thought this is my roommate not a person I am in a romantic relationship with. Under the policy as I understood it there was nothing to disclose.

      2. Sacred Ground*

        Great indeed! And at some point, maybe after they respond to this, one might mention the apparent disparate treatment between the woman in the situation, whose integrity was questioned and job threatened, and the man, who heard nothing about it from them.

      3. LW #4*

        I like this script! That helps a lot. Cecil is going to talk to his boss (who hasn’t mentioned it to him, although as I mentioned above it’s possible that they’re waiting until he’s physically in the office to have The Talk) and we’re going to go talk to HR together to clarify everything, and this is a great script to use.

      4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        That was my thought on reading this – go directly to HR and talk to them (because the one place I worked with thins sort of policy has HR be the department you disclosed all information to).

    2. anonymous73*

      That was my first thought. I would meet with HR since everyone else has met to discuss this situation except for OP. And I would also mention the way she was treated by her boss.

        1. Rich*

          The gossip chain becomes an issue, and the perpetrators are the ones claiming they’re trying to make a positive environment.

    3. Rich*

      Honestly, I think the push back on this matter needs to be very firm. It’s one thing to make a wrong assumption by mistake, but to then act like the clarification is a lie is a huge red flag for me. I’d wager this manager can and will use this whole incident–their mistake, really–as a way of negatively impacting OP’s performance review under some sort of ethical breach.

      From experience, I can say that it is important to OP’s image at the job to make sure the higher ups are not going on the misunderstanding of one manager, especially because if someone else messes up, it will end up creating an environment where it may or may not become an elephant in the room.

  27. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    OP2: I understand the appeal of putting it on your CV/resume and yeah, it would be a bonus to many companies.

    However, it’s like putting ‘am in excellent health with no sick days’ on your CV (which I have seen…) – it’s just not the appropriate forum for that information.

    (Not saying vaccination is based on luck, which health generally is. Just that it’s info that might impress employers on one hand but also put them off about you sharing it this way in another)

      1. Colette*

        It’s still outside the norm, though, which generally shouldn’t be what you’re aiming for with your resume. I understand the impulse – I don’t want to work with or for anyone who isn’t vaccinated – but it’s just not the way to communicate that.

      2. anonymous73*

        No, it’s really not. It’s something you would provide once onboarded when hired, not on a document that is sent to a bunch of random people when filling out applications.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        No, it isn’t. I’m probably the most pro-vaxx person you’ll ever meet but it doesn’t belong on your CV.

        Asking a question of the hiring company if they mandate vaccines, mentioning in passing that you’re vaccinated are fine though. I’m not saying ‘don’t mention it’, heck I’m overjoyed when people announce they’ve got a Covid vaccine and I really dislike antivaxx people but I’m just saying there is still a time and a place.

    1. Expiring Cat Memes*

      I see it in the same category as ‘have current xyz certification’ or ‘be a citizen/permanent resident’. Like it doesn’t belong on your resume, but I expect it to come up and be verified in the screening process somewhere.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Oh that approach yes! 100%. We’ve changed our hiring to ask people if they’re vaccinated/about to be vaccinated. (Note: people with medical exemptions to vaccines, and I have one such person on staff, really do need to tell us because we need to be more vigilant at protecting them at work since they can’t get the jab.)

  28. Canadian Valkyrie.*

    #3 you might want to change the insurance regardless of your employers bizarre request… depending on where you live, not being listed on a car you own could be a legal issue. Where I live, let’s say you have 3 licensed cars and 3 licensed drivers, 1 of whom is your child. You have to have your child as the primary driver of one of those cars on insurance unless it’s 2 family cars and a business car (or agricultural vehicle which is its own thing to). It’s so that parents can’t just skirt around higher insurance costs for a child while not having proper liability for their child (or something to that affect!). Bear in mind that I do not live in the US and this was something my family dealt with 10+ years ago so I can’t speak to how rule. If this doesn’t apply though, then no worries but might be worth looking into.

  29. Kaboom*

    #3- something happened to me like that. The day after my birthday this year (my license expired on my birthday) I got a call from HR telling me I couldn’t commute to work until I renewed my license. Somehow they had access to the driving database and it flagged for them. It was very annoying and I felt like my privacy was severely violated.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      We get that if we’re using a state-owned vehicle. But they don’t pay attention to whether you’re driving your own car with an expired license. (Most states give you a grace period anyway.)

      1. doreen*

        We get it for any employees who are required to have a driver’s license whether they regularly drive a state vehicle or not. I’m required to have a driver’s license – I haven’t driven a state vehicle in over 20 years, but that has just been due to 1) Luck (when there is a carpool, there’s always someone else who likes to drive and 2) I’m willing to forgo reimbursement because I prefer to drive my own vehicle

    2. Paris Geller*

      This was par for the course in my last job. Every year your license was checked on your birthday. I worked for a municipality as a librarian, but the policy was blanket wide and mostly in place to check on employees whose entire jobs were driving (street work, garbage pick-up, etc.) The difference was they told us explicitly ahead of being hired that it was a condition of employment. I’d find it invasive if I was not informed before hand.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Eesh, what would they say to those using public transit – you can’t ride the train without a license?

      (I suspect many of the people on the trains I ride don’t have licenses – it’s why they are riding the train.)

  30. Lacey*

    OP#3 My employer required it just in case I would ever end up driving for the company. I was a bit annoyed since my job definitely doesn’t require travel. At other jobs I’ve had to do a little driving, maybe a couple times a year, outside of my commute and they didn’t require proof of insurance.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I don’t drive and I would be super annoyed if this came up and driving wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the job description.

    2. Sharon*

      Ask them what they would do if you didn’t have a license or a car at all. How you get yourself to work is none of their business. You can walk, take the bus, have your chaffeur drive you, take a cab, or even borrow a neighbor’s car for which you are not listed on the policy. Maybe you could submit a statement saying, “I agree not to drive for company business prior to providing proof of insurance.”

  31. Tigger*

    For OP #1, something I haven’t seen anyone talk about is what it means to share a big purchase like a fridge. Fridges can be pretty expensive, and as the company doesn’t own the fridge, if I give someone $200 for a portion of a fridge and they decide to take it home with them, I don’t think there is anything you can do about it, and now you’ve just helped her pay for her own fridge. I would recommend absolutely stop paying for anything that’s “shared” by employees, and possibly try to get your portion of the money back if you did give them money for it. Something like “I’m no longer interested in sharing this fridge, I would like to get my portion of the money back.” And for sure you need to put your foot down about them spending your money without asking you first.

      1. anonymous73*

        Still poses a problem when people leave. Not only do you need to agree to pay for something like that beforehand, you need to figure out how to handle it if someone leaves. I bought a small fridge for my office a few jobs ago because I was tired of people stealing my food out of the community fridge. It was only $50 and I did let a few friends use it for some things, but it was mine and I took it with me when I left. Same with my coffee maker. People are petty when it comes to shared expenses like that.

  32. TG*

    Yeah on Question #1 I’d be a form No and please don’t buy anything and expect me to contribute in the future either. That’s just so over the line to expect people to pay towards things you never asked for or wanted or needed in the first place!

  33. KK*

    OP #1. What I would like to know is if she is purchasing fixed assets like a microwave and fridge and has her hand out for your split contributions, WHO owns these items if any of the contributors quit? Do you get bought out? Refunded? Take the loss? If the last man standing leaves, do they leave it behind for the non-contributors or take it with them even though others chipped in? It might sound petty but the cost of two small appliances split amongst 5 is more than just a $20 bill per person.
    Another reason to not contribute, IMO.

    1. Betteauroan*

      All things that should have been worked out BEFORE any purchases were made. Everybody involved in this contributed to the way things are now. Spendy Wendy is indiscriminately spending money on all kinds of things and people are just paying up? This needs to stop. SW needs to be told, by everyone involved, not to do this anymore. Maybe the best way to do it would be through an email if OP doesn’t want to do it face to face.

  34. lost academic*

    Alison, the difference in costs in the US between an individual policy and someone being covered under their parents policy is astronomical. I assume the LW is young enough that it is relevant or that she is living with these parents, but the suggestion that she just get her own policy is a little unrealistic given longstanding costs for auto insurance not to mention the financial challenges of today. Also, if the same person is covered over multiple policies even temporarily, it’s going to set up a lot of back and forth between the companies with respect to coverage and rates – plus when you cancel an auto policy, even if you’re covered under another (like when I combined policies with my spouse) the cancelled insurer sends out the information about the cancellation everywhere, especially the DMV, and that’s a headache.

    1. Gothic Bee*

      I agree. I was a little taken aback by the suggestion to just get an insurance policy. I was 28 when I moved out and got my own car insurance policy and even then the difference was more than $500 per year. (And at 28 I wasn’t exactly a young driver anymore and I had never had any tickets or accidents.) I’m kind of annoyed the company is even able to just step in and say “no, you’re not insured” when it sounds like LW is. LW says they won’t have a paper copy of documentation, but is there a digital copy or an email or something else they could submit instead? Or even just print out? If they’re fixing the issue, it sounds like LW should be listed somewhere even if they haven’t sent the official paper card.

      1. Casper Lives*

        LW probably isn’t insured since they’re not listed on the policy and don’t reside with their parents. They’re probably an uninsured permitted driver. They should consider getting a policy to protect themself.

        The company demanding it doesn’t make sense to me. But it’s up to LW to decide if they want to comply to work there.

    2. Casper Lives*

      It’s astronomical due to the much higher risk of accidents by younger drivers. The insurance company can refuse coverage by a person lying (omitting the frequent driver) from the coverage. You’re driving uninsured. It’s risky.

      Yes, I did it when I had no money. Not sure it was worth it. The insurance almost kicked all of us off by not renewing policy and refusing to insure us ever again if we didn’t get separate policies. It was made very clear that the insurance could have refused to cover my accident.

      If you’re going to say it’s unfair to poor people, I agree. But a lot of things are too expensive.

      1. Mannequin*

        How this works may vary by state but my parents were always based in CA, where it was FAR less expensive for them to list us on their as younger drivers than it was for us to get our own separate policies.

        They bought us both (very cheap older used) cars that they kept in their names to purposely keep the rates low, and they did it all with the blessing of their long time agent at Respected Big Name Not Just Auto Insurance Company, who they consulted any time there was a change in our situation (moving in or out of their home) to make SURE that however it was done, both they and we were properly/legally covered. They were not trying to pull a fast one or get away with anything, just making the most economical choices they could.

    3. fhqwhgads*

      OK but I took that part of Alison’s response to be more of a “btw what you’re doing might not actually be kosher”. Not a cavalier, “btw get your own”. The point is the LW might really genuinely need to get her own and to double-check on that. If they’re fudging it by being on the parents’ policy (which we don’t know if they are, but the point was to check) then even if it’s astronomically more expensive, they need their own.

  35. Tasha*

    In the United States, personal car insurance GENERALLY (there are exceptions) covers the car, and therefore anyone who drives it with permission. My auto insurance covers my son’s car who does not live with us (the agent/company know he lives elsewhere).

    But I agree that this work requirement is bizarre.

    1. Dwight Schrute*

      Same. I was on my parents policy while living several states away and the insurance company said it was totally fine since the car was technically in my name and my dads

      1. Tasha*

        No not really (Mass. may be different). This is my area of expertise. The car owner buys coverage, other drivers who have permission are covered.

        1. Casper Lives*

          No It’s dependent on the insurance contract. Most have firm requirements about listing all teenagers living the in the house with licenses (because parents lie to save money), requiring frequent drivers to be listed on the policy (like your son), etc. I work in insurance so you could say it’s my area of expertise, I suppose!

    2. Casper Lives*

      Covers the car, yes. Can be not covered because the person driving wasn’t listed as an approved driver and isn’t in the contract, despite contract specifying the person and address must be listed? Also yes.

  36. Andy*

    #LW5 She also will not address concerns with people she supervises and her approach is to ignore issues or start treating them badly until they quit.

    If you address it with her, she will start to treat you badly until you quit. It will be seen as disrespect and bad behavior on your side. We have our share of managers like that (why is management attracting insecure people so much?) and the feedback from down never fixed anything.

    It needs to be done by someone with actual power and someone the manager respects. And even then, it takes awful lot effort to fix personal behavioral issues like that. Unfortunately, the way managers treat those under them is the least accountable aspect of work.

  37. Eldritch Office Worker*

    #2 Would a cover letter be more appropriate for this? Either a line about “I see in your job listing that you want all employees to be vaccinated and I want to assure you…” or even narratively like “I’ve been working from home since early 2020 but since getting vaccinated I’ve been eager to return to an office environment”. Just to address somewhere that you saw it? The paranoid part of me wonders if the people screening the materials would read not mentioning it as avoiding the point.

    1. Me*

      It’s weird to bring up.
      No one is going to read it not being there as avoiding the issue or hiding that they aren’t vaxxed.

      It will be treated like any other job requirement that needs verification. Offer will be made and employee will provide proof of whatever they need to.

    2. anonymous73*

      I would say no. I equate to something you would provide during onboarding if you got the job.

    3. fhqwhgads*

      It’s unnecessary. I doubt it would hurt, but they put the requirement in the ad to weed out applicants who aren’t/can’t be fully vaxxed by the time they’d start work. So you don’t need to provide the proof until you’re hired. Just like you don’t need to give them ID until you’re hired. Listing it in the resume or putting it in the CL is superfluous when they’ve made clear they’re only considering people for whom that’s true.

  38. Pocket Mouse*

    LW #4 – Your supervisor is insisting you’re in a romantic relationship with a coworker when you aren’t, and you find it unwelcome. There’s a script above for restoring truth to any records with HR, but if there are ill effects—HR/supervisors going easier on your roommate than on you, your supervisor continuing to insist, treating you differently or withholding opportunities due to distrust, or spreading an untrue story to colleagues—then you can also contact HR to discuss as a brewing sexual harassment issue.

  39. Quickbeam*

    OP #3 re: car insurance verification. My company does this and the explanation is that in their business continuation plan (emergencies) they may ask an employee to drive to another office and want to make sure all potential business travel is covered.

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      My insurance company would demand that the company meet its own liability obligations, while defending ME.

  40. RagingADHD*

    LW1, the way you get people to stop asking for money is to not give them money. “No, thanks. I wish you asked me first, because I’m not interested in buying that. I hope you have the receipt.”

    You can’t control what other people do. You can only control what you do, and you can make this stop being your problem simply by declining to participate. It doesn’t really matter if she buys stuff or asks for money. As long as you don’t accept the stuff or hand over money, it’s not your problem.

    If you want to be extra nice, you could give her a heads up that, “hey, you know how you sometimes pick up things for us and then ask us to pay you back? Just to let you know, I’m making some changes with my money so I won’t be chipping in anymore. If you want to get something for me, I need you to ask me first.”

    Then if she does it again, you can just say “Remember? We talked about this. No thanks.”

    She probably has a serious problem with impulse buying. Maybe if she has to ask for input, she might wind up better off, too.

    1. anonymous73*

      Yes but with less words.
      If she’s contributed in the past, she needs to create boundaries.
      “Please don’t make any more purchases you expect me to contribute to without asking me first.”

      If she’s always said no.
      “Please stop asking me to contribute to purchases I didn’t agree to.”

      And then anytime after that.

    2. Betteauroan*

      That’s good. She should say something like that. No matter what, no matter how scared she is of offending her, something has to be said or nothing will change.

  41. Brett*

    I currently work for a company that had this policy, but it specifically applied to parking in the parking lot.
    The company HQ is an extensive secured campus, covering several hundred acres with its own interstate exits. Every employee car that enters campus must have a parking sticker, and in order to get that sticker you have to show your license and proof of insurance for the vehicle (not the driver) that the sticker is for. Visitors are issued a pass they use to park in place of the sticker to show they are not an employee owned car. (Employees with new/rental cars have 3 days to get their sticker.)

    As an extension of this, and because people regularly drive to HQ, everyone at nearby satellite sites (approximately two states out) must also get a sticker but not ones farther out than that.

    This is apparently related to the size of the campus: employees end up driving a couple of miles a day just on campus in order to get to and from their workplace as well as get to meetings in other buildings. The sticker policy has been completely suspended while we all have been working from home and the HQ campus has been shut down. You cannot currently get a sticker, much less show proof of insurance, even if you are working at a satellite site that is open. For those rare times someone has to go on campus (e.g. to pick up equipment) they are treated like visitors and stickers are not verified.

    1. Dream Jobbed*

      I was wondering if this was a possibility, or two employees having a fender bender, one turns out not to be insured, and somehow the company was forced to get involved/cover costs.

      1. PollyQ*

        Except it’s hard to imagine that the company would have any liability unless they were negligent in some way, and if that were the case, they’d still be on the hook even if both drivers were insured. Perhaps it would make sense as a way to cut down on possible employee conflicts if one party was uninsured, but even there, it still feels like an intrusive overstep by the employer.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          This does make a *little* sense, if that is the correct context.

          It could cut down on management time dealing with private disputes between employees.

  42. middle name danger*

    OP2: I think a cover letter or email is a better place to mention you’re vaccinated, not the resume, but I disagree with “it’s odd and I wouldn’t recommend it.” Maybe it’s because I’m in an industry where even customers have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to get into events, but I’ve been including it when I reach out for gigs as a freelancer since the day things picked back up, and it helps. I feel like I’m writing a dog adoption ad (fully vaccinated and ready to run around YOUR venue) but people need to know if they’re hiring and that’s one less question they have to ask later.

    1. Colette*

      I think it fits better in a cover letter than a resume, but even then I think it depends on the job. I work from home (and so does almost everyone else at my company). Vaccination status doesn’t affect anyone else (although we do have a vaccination policy, so it will come up eventually.) If you’d be working closely with others, it’s more relevant.

    2. pancakes*

      There are all sorts of questions that get asked later on in the hiring process that don’t need to go in a cover letter, though, like having ID that meets the requirements of an I-9. Having proof of vaccination fits right in with those. It’s not a skill.

  43. twocents*

    Re #4: You might want to make sure it’s actually a requirement to disclose “romantic” relationships explicitly (as you thought) vs. “close personal relationships” (the language your manager used).

    If it’s the latter, then your manager could very well be correct that you and your roommate have a requirement to disclose that you live together. I know my company’s policy is the latter, and that’s because you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to risk being perceived as having a conflict of interest. Perceived being a key word here; you don’t actually have to be up to anything for the perception to be bad. I think of how an aunt and a niece were on the front-line team and the quality check team, and all you need is one person to feel targeted by the QC person and gripe that the aunt is checking her niece’s work and why doesn’t niece get as many findings? Even if it’s all on the up-and-up, it looks bad and businesses are generally correct to want to avoid that headache entirely.

    1. LW #4*

      This is a good point. I checked the policy and the wording is “Employees must disclose any family connections, including romantic partnerships, with other employees of Company.” After reading Allison’s answer and the comments, I definitely see where they’re coming from with including roommate friendships in the “spirit of the law” here, but I’m going to suggest that they clarify it in the handbook because I honestly didn’t think it applied to Cecil and me.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        That makes sense. I think it is not unreasonable to “officially” disclose your situation since even if you aren’t romantically involved, they should know that it would probably not be a good idea to have either of you in the other’s chain of command at any point as it seems the relationship is close enough where that may be a conflict of interest.

        But at the same time, even though disclosing may be a good idea, I think it’s certainly reasonable that you didn’t know it needed to be and really should not be seen as a mark against your integrity or anything like that! I don’t think you guys did anything wrong and your manager is making this more dramatic than it should be! I’d think I’d just say something like “I’m happy to fill out whatever documentation is needed, but I just want to be clear that I truly was not trying to hide anything as I just thought that process was only for romantic couples. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding on my part.”

  44. Dust Bunny*

    OP5: OMG, no, do not answer that honestly!

    I mean, the truth is that, yes, this place would be better with someone more emotionally stable running it.

    But I agree with everyone who says that this isn’t a request for feedback, it’s a veiled demand for reassurance. It’s a trap. You already know she’s childish and volatile, so you should be able to extrapolate how she’ll respond if you give her an honest answer.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I am so worried that in the same situation I’d accidentally make a “well….” face before I caught myself

  45. SlimeKnight*

    LW#5: You answered your own question when you wrote: “She is emotionally volatile and, when in a bad mood, can be rude and pouty. She also will not address concerns with people she supervises and her approach is to ignore issues or start treating them badly until they quit.” Even great leaders sometimes respond poorly to critical feedback*. Your boss is not a great leader. This will end poorly for you. Your boss was just fishing for compliments.

    *I do know someone who is just super chill about everything. You could probably tell him, “Alex, you are a terrible person and you smell bed,” and he would say, “Wow, I really appreciate your viewpoint. I’m going to reflect on this and see what I can do to improve,” and he would be 100% sincere!

  46. The Other Evil HR Lady*

    #3 – I’m with Alison. I used to work at a construction company where foremen and up had to provide their own insurance for their own vehicles to be used for work, and they were then compensated for the use of both vehicle and insurance. And, yes, giving HR a copy of your insurance prior to your start date would make sense in THAT very limited circumstance. I think someone told an HR assistant (or the person who’s handling HR and doesn’t have a lot of experience in HR itself) to ask for proof of insurance, but didn’t specify that it was only for certain job titles (or did specify, but was lost in translation – which happens stupidly often). I would have pushed back, because commutes are not part of work time, therefore if you have an accident during your commute, it’s no-never-mind to your company. It’s totally on you and your insurance knows this. That is, unless you specifically drive for the company in a different capacity, then commute time gets a little more complicated.

  47. Texas*

    For #4, didn’t LW and her coworker technically disclose that they’re living together by giving their employer their address and anyone looking could see that the address are the same? Since it’s not a romantic relationship, they didn’t need to do the formal disclosure process, and it’s super inappropriate of the manager to push sexual implications onto the LW even after she said no.

    Ultimately I think this is way overreaching of the company. Like, do people really need to report if they’ve become good friends with a coworker? Employers already have their hands shoved in so many jam jars of an employee’s life that I’m frustrated by the idea that it’s acceptable for them to monitor my personal life.

    1. Meep*

      If I had to guess it is for gossip “reasons” that this spread. I have a coworker who kept insisting one of my other coworkers and a contractor were dating because they happened to be very good friends and of the opposite sex. Funny enough, my coworker and I flirt more (both women). She also went into our payroll services just to find my address when I bought a house. There is no reason for it. She didn’t need it for any other reason other than to be invasive and gossip about how ugly it is (it is – it s a fixer-upper lol).

      1. TiffIf*

        There’s also a difference in connotation between “I live with Bob” and “I’m roommates with Bob.”

  48. Minerva*

    LW 3 – ask why before you object.

    I work for an auto maker, and a clear full driver’s licence is a requirement (barring explicit exception for disability etc) and driving without insurance is a potential firing offense. I don’t really drive for work but when your car is in the lot experimental vehicles might drive through…they want no chance of uninsured driver.

    1. Clisby*

      So a person who simply doesn’t drive (i.e., does not have a driver’s license) can’t work there? That seems odd, unless the job itself requires driving.

  49. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    #1, the one and only time I brought a microwave into an office (no money involved, the microwave was a hand-me-down that my family was given when we first arrived in the country; then we moved to an apartment that already came with a microwave, and did not need the original one. Meanwhile my workplace had offices on two floors and the only microwave on the 2nd floor. This was inconvenient for us on the 1st, so I brought my old one in), it quickly turned out that I was assumed to be on the hook for cleaning it. I used to either bring sandwiches, or go out to eat, and only used it to heat up water for my tea (that was before water coolers with hot water…) came back from lunch one day, and as soon as I walked in the door, a coworker went off on me, “Hey (name)! Clean the microwave. It’s dirty.” So I’m now sitting here like “Wow, OP and their coworkers are a LOT nicer than mine were!”

    Maybe try it with your coworker, OP. Being told “your fridge is dirty again” or “someone’s dish exploded all over your microwave again, you need to clean it now because it smells” will certainly be a good motivator for her to stop bringing new “communal” items into the office without being asked. (don’t really do it.)

  50. Ray Gillette*

    For some reason, letter 3 reminded me of the time I was in undergrad and didn’t get a part-time job because I didn’t own a car, even though the place was a five minute walk from my apartment and this particular college town was known for having good public transit and it was common for students to not own cars.

    1. Sacred Ground*

      You’d think they’d just put “must own car” in the job posting just to save themselves the time.

  51. A Pinch of Salt*

    LW #5: oh God. Don’t do it. It’s a trap! My former emotionally unstable boss explicitly asked us for feedback…and then proceeded to berate us about why that feedback was wrong. I fortunately was already on my way out, but others were stuck with her a few more months until they all left…at the same time (it was glorrrrioussssss to watch from afar).

  52. Tib*

    Letter #3 I just had a similar experience at my job, they wanted a copy of my license and the auto declaration sheet, the proof of insurance would not do. I looked at my auto declaration sheet and it had information on all declared drivers on my policy. I told them that the declaration had private information and I would not be sharing it with them. I sent in a copy of my license and proof of insurance and never heard another word about it. (I’ve never had to drive for work reasons.)

  53. Khatul Madame*

    “LW1, here’s a shirt I bought you – twinsies! (UGH) That’ll be $20”
    This is the stage LW should have stopped this with “Thanks, but I am all set for work shirts”.
    Now, given that the team works closely together and LW does not want to upset Spendy Wendy, I think her only option is needing to save up for a large expense. Kid’s college, pet surgery, travel to Lithuania for a cousin’s wedding, a cruise… the possibilities are endless.
    Actually, a new large appliance for LW’s own home would be great. Bonus points if it’s a fridge.

  54. Purple Cat*

    AAM to rescue in my personal life!
    Her script for LW1 is exactly what I needed to send to my kids school that volun-told us for an activity I don’t agree with.

  55. Meep*

    LW #4 – We had a contractor who worked for us over the summer but decided he never wanted to work for us again (who can blame him. It was a turbulent time). His best friend (a woman) ended up getting a job with us. My Toxic Coworker (TM) would constantly try to still pursue him before stopping and saying something to the effect of “Oh, we cannot have Bob and Betty at the same time. They are dating!” She heavily implied to Betty that if Bob had accepted the job offer then she would be out of a job. Betty at several points put her foot down and said that she was not dating Bob. They had been friends for four years. Nevertheless, TC continued to spread this rumor to anyone who would listen.

    For the record, Bob and Betty have since started dating and have been going strong for a year, but TC doesn’t get to know that, on account of her being toxic and a gossip.

  56. Gerry Keay*

    I really hope vaccination records on resumes doesn’t become a thing; feels like it would really disadvantage people who have a legitimate medical reason for not getting the vaccine. I’m support every vaccine mandate — those have avenues for people with medical restriction. This just feels like adding even more potential bias into the mix.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      But if a job requires vaccination, it really doesn’t matter *why* someone isn’t vaccinated, does it? They still can’t do that job.

      1. Gerry Keay*

        Federal law requires medical exemptions for people allergic to components of the vaccine, so yes, it does matter.

  57. Menley*

    The car insurance question – I do agree this is bizarre, but it is very common practice in public accounting firms (Deloitte, PwC, etc).

  58. TiredMama*

    I would be so mad if my boss and the higher ups discussed my relationship status as if they knew it for a fact and did not even ask me first and also assume that I would lie.

    Same with the person making assumptions that I would just want to pay for things like tshirts and a fridge! If I wanted a fridge and microwave I would ask work to buy it.

  59. Lizy*

    #4 it’s the “smoothed things over” that gets me. like… smooth WHAT over??? I agree that it might be time for HR, if nothing else, to document for both of you.

  60. IDK*

    #3 is probably due to some ignorant bureaucratic corporate policy. We now require a drivers license, even for jobs that have zero driving required and the role has decades of predecessors not driving (so no surprise trips anywhere). It is stated on all job descriptions. I have argued how this limits our candidate pool and can be classist, but our HR person requires it.

    But as mentioned, I hope you provide an update, because I’m curious too and GL in the new role!

  61. L in TX*

    #4 – this reminds me of the saying “know the difference between truth and facts” which clearly the OP’s manager doesn’t.

  62. raida7*

    #5 “her approach is to ignore issues or start treating them badly until they quit.”
    Well yeah, you should tell her.
    In fact, you should have already told her manager and HR the first time that happened.
    That’s bullying, creating a toxic work environment, etc.

    The business is open to any ex or current employee that decides they aren’t going to take her sh*t making complaints or suing.

  63. SnappinTerrapin*

    Employer wants proof I have insurance on MY car?

    A little bizarre, even if driving their car is part of my job. But in that event, I can see a rational basis. It might expedite coverage through their insurance if they can show that.

    But they also need to show me proof that I am covered under their fleet insurance before I accept the key to their vehicle.

    That’s just good business.

    1. Former Employee*

      A business would have a Commercial Auto Policy. If someone in authority handed an employee the keys to a company vehicle, that employee would be covered under the company’s auto policy automatically as what is known as a permissive user.

  64. Despachito*

    The whole concept of a company wanting me to disclose whom I share my bed with seems to me extremely nosy, and I have no idea why I would have any obligation to tell them this.

    Do they also count one-night stands (not that I’d be doing that), and after what time I’d be required to disclose that I am, erm, sleeping with Wakeen from the accounting? After our first night? Or only after we established that it is worth continuing?

    I imagine that it could be quite fun if I happened to be promiscuous (of course I am not), and came to HR on Monday to disclose I am with Wakeen, and on Friday again to tell them to delete Wakeen from the accounting and replace him with Joaquin the janitor?

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