do I have to work in-office during my notice period?

A reader writes:

What do you think about refusing to work in-office during my notice period despite an org-wide “return to office” policy that’s been in effect since September?

• I can fully do my job from home
• I don’t plan to use my bosses as references in the future
• My workspace is shared with maskless colleagues (bosses don’t make anyone wear a mask)

If the boss said no so I quit on the spot, who would be the asshole, Boss or Quitter?

Your company, for not enforcing safety precautions when the pandemic still isn’t over and employees probably have kids who still can’t be vaccinated.

But if you’re just asking about the quitting situation: Neither, really.

It’s not unreasonable for your boss to want you on-site for your final two weeks if everyone’s been back for a couple of months, particularly because there are often a lot of wrap-up or transition meetings during a notice period.

But if you don’t feel safe in your office, it’s also reasonable for you to explain that and say that while you’re happy to work out a notice period from home, you can’t be in the office around maskless colleagues. If safety concerns are part of the reason you’re quitting, that makes your case even stronger — “I’m leaving because I don’t feel safe without stronger Covid protections in the office. I can work out my remaining two weeks from home, but I’m not comfortable continuing to come in.”

If your boss says no to that, you’re on pretty solid ground in saying, “Since I don’t feel safe coming in and working from home isn’t an option, I will need today to be my last day. If there are things you end up wanting me to do from home, I’m happy to — let me know if so.”

That assumes that safety is a consideration for you. If that weren’t in play, I’d suggest working out your final two weeks simply because it’s the professional thing to do (absent some very good reason not to) and you could be at a disadvantage with future reference checkers if you don’t.

You noted you don’t plan to use this job as a reference, but you might not have a choice. Reference-checkers won’t necessarily limit themselves to the list of references you provide and may ask to talk to a boss from a specific job. You’ll also run into informal reference checks, where someone happens to know someone from your old company and asks about you, regardless of whether you listed them as a reference or not.

On the other hand, if you were only at this job for a short time and don’t even plan to include it on your resume, that all becomes moot.

{ 121 comments… read them below }

  1. The Smiling Pug*

    I agree with Alison on this. This question has one answer, but simply leads to more questions, unfortunately.

  2. Alexis Rosay*

    Your company is not being safe and I’m glad you’re leaving this job (hopefully for somewhere safer).

    With that said, I do hope you can remain on good terms with your boss and coworkers if possible during your last two weeks. People tend to remember their most recent impression of you, and I have seen people really damage their reputations as they leave a company. Like Alison said, references aren’t don’t always end up being the ones you intend to use.

    However…if your safety makes remaining on good terms impossible, then so be it.

    1. anonymous73*

      You can’t make the assumption that the company is not being safe from 1 statement in the letter. There is context missing here and I really wish people would stop saying anyone who refuses to mask up, regardless of any other factors, is not being safe.

          1. Student Affairs Sally*

            The CDC is still recommending that everyone mask up indoors, regardless of vaccination status, because of Delta and the risk of breakthrough infections/spreading to unvaccinated people. So yes, *refusal* to mask up is indeed unsafe.

            1. anonymous73*

              From their website:
              “wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”

              1. Student Affairs Sally*

                Which is literally the VAST majority of the country (link to the current CDC map will be posted once Alison moderates it).

                1. JSPA*

                  Ah, you beat me to it. Thanks.

                  The situation is much improved since a week or 10 days ago. For several weeks, there was only the tiniest smattering of rural counties not included in the “masks on” list.

                  If OP’s workplace has not been masking during that period, we actually can know (as well as we can know just about anything that involves human beings) that they were flouting CDC guidance.

              2. JSPA*

                Transmission is “high” or “substantial” in ~90% of counties (and that includes Puerto Rico, which is largely “moderate” transmission). Because high and substantial transmission counties includes most urban counties, the rule is, masks on, indoors, for far more than 90% of US citizens. I’d guesstimate 98% of the mainland US population. Will drop the CDC map link in, separately.

            2. New Yorker*

              Ok, but you realize those are guidelines not laws, right? The CDC also recommends things like “Avoid foods that contain raw or undercooked eggs, such as homemade Caesar salad dressing and eggnog.” and “Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm.” and people eat Caesar salad and runny yolks anyway.

              There is no mask mandate in NYC – other than when you are public transportation. Most stores have signs that say something along the lines of you can wear a mask if you want but there is no longer a mask mandate. Furthermore, NY State has lifted all capacity limits for indoor spaces and events.

              I realize the OP is likely not in NYC, but there *are* places in the US that are getting on with life safely without mask mandates, so I don’t think it’s entirely reasonable to make blanket statements that not wearing a mask is unsafe.

              1. londonedit*

                Hello from the UK, where we currently have ridiculously high levels of Covid that the government is just ignoring because they’re bored with the whole thing and think we should just start getting on with life. We also have the ‘we’d prefer it if you’d wear a mask in our shop, but it’s now a personal choice’ situation, except on Transport for London bus/train/tube services, and the result of that (and companies starting to make everyone work in-office again) is that we currently have over 40,000 cases of Covid every day and about 200 deaths a day. Would not recommend ‘getting on with life without mask mandates’ as a sustainable solution.

                1. New Yorker*

                  That’s completely missing my point, which was that the CDC “recommends” lots of things that people don’t do.

                  The comment section here is so fixated on reading what they want to be there and not what’s actually written…

              2. Ally McBeal*

                I think we all realize that the mask mandate is no longer law. Doesn’t mean it’s not good sense (and morally good) to wear one in public indoor places.

        1. Pennilyn Lot*

          Are restrictions no longer regional in the US? Because in Canada there are certain places you need to be masked and certain places you don’t. A lot of people are able to work without masks on at this point and even though I am pretty cautious, and my partner does not work in the office for caution reasons, neither of us think that his colleagues are being unsafe by working unmasked when they’re very much allowed to do so.

          1. JSPA*

            Canada started vaccinating later and at first more slowly than the US, only to then ramp up and surpass the US. I’d assume Canada is not yet seeing the tail-off of vaccine effectiveness of the Pfizer shot, and also, that there are fewer unvaccinated people to catch a bad case (and trigger testing all around).

            We’d have every reason to expect that there’s still some silent spread, under those conditions. The hypothetical upside: we can hope that extremely mild cases (mild to the point of undetectable) still trigger enough immune response to top up the vaccine’s effectiveness.

            The definite downside: more cases = more replication = more chances for new mutations = more chances for strains that pass differently or evade vaccines. Plus, even if almost everyone’s case is so mild that breakthrough isn’t noticed (and nobody gets tested, and rates appear low), the virus will eventually cross paths with an immunocompromised individual.

            Also note, when the positivity rate is low, it can be hard to distinguish whether the rate of infection is low, or whether the people getting tested no longer correlate with the people who are exposed. (If a country ends up testing primarily people with Covid anxiety, rather than people with a likelihood of exposure, your positivity rates plummet.)

      1. Roscoe*

        Exactly. We don’t know how many people are in the office, vaccination status, how far apart people are, anything.

        I mean, OP could probably wear a mask inside.

        I feel like a lot of people get on their moral high horse with this and don’t look at situations as individual situations

        1. IL JimP*

          CDC is still recommending that all people regardless of vaccination status wear a mask indoors. So if that’s not being enforced then the company is not providing a safe environment for its employees

          pretty simple

          1. Tuckerman*

            I might not up to date, but I thought that applied to unvaccinated people in areas with high community transmission?

            1. ThatGirl*

              It’s recommended for everyone in “high community transmission areas” which is … pretty much the entire US, thanks to delta.

              1. Momma Bear*

                I’m vaccinated. I’ve been in the office this whole time. I wear a mask when I am around anyone and do as many virtual meetings as possible. If I were OP, I’d mask up, ask for workspace away from anyone else, and try to use video for as many meetings as possible. OP might also ask if there are specific activities to be done in-person (like turning in equipment) and see if they could attend in person only for those things vs all day.

              2. Just a Thought*

                Your information is not accurate. I am in NYC — we are very low transmission area. Lots of places are not high transmission where there has been significant compliance on vaccinations. Safety needs a more nuanced discussion for it to be helpful to letter writers.

                1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

                  As per CDC today for New York County, New York:

                  “Community Transmission: Substantial
                  Everyone in New York County, New York should wear a mask in public, indoor settings. Mask requirements might vary from place to place. Make sure you follow local laws, rules, regulations or guidance.”
                  Link to today’s data in next post

                2. Sandman*

                  This is really an overstatement of how variable covid transmission is right now (or a rehash of the tired “NYC is the world” sentiment). The current map on the CDC webpage shows that the only state/territory with moderate transmission (below the substantial-to-high transmission threshold where masks are recommended for all) is Puerto Rico. NYC looks like it’s in a moderate transmission county, and there are maybe 2 dozen counties scattered around entire country that are low transmission.

                3. JSPA*

                  Bronx county: substantial.
                  New York county: substantial.
                  Queens County: substantial.

                  this is as of Nov 2nd data, from the CDC website. The death rates have dropped (many people are vaccinated or have had it twice or some combination of those things). The hospitalizations have dropped (ditto). And the total number of infections have dropped (from a staggering high point). But the infection rates are still high, and you’re still supposed to mask, per the CDC.

              3. Texan In Exile*

                “It’s recommended for everyone in “high community transmission areas” which is … pretty much the entire US, thanks to delta.”

                It’s recommended for everyone in “high community transmission areas” which is … pretty much the entire US, thanks to THE ANTIVAXXERS.


            2. Spencer Hastings*

              “If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” (

              (On that page, “substantial or high transmission” in that quote links to a map of the US, which shows that those categories cover most of the country.)

        2. Det. Charles Boyle*

          Given the details from the OP’s letter, though, we can deduce the company is not being safe. Other situations with other people aren’t the focus of this letter. The org has a “return to work” policy, so presumably all workers are being required to go back into the office, and masks are optional. Both of these together signal an unsafe work environment.

          1. CBB*

            Right. We have to go by what the LW tells us.

            We’re never going to come to a consensus on what’s “safe” versus “unsafe”, because it’s largely a matter of individual risk-tolerance. What’s relevant in this specific case is that LW considers their workplace unsafe.

          1. Roscoe*

            I don’t want to be infected either. But the idea that just being inside is ALWAYS unsafe is a bit of a stretch. There is nuance, but any Covid discussion on this site seems to lack it. People act like if you do anything then you are being unsafe.

            By all means, take all the precuations you’d like, but don’t cast a bunch of judgement when you don’t know individual situations.

            1. quill*

              The problem is that the nuance dies when people decide that we need the exact right degree of precautions instead of the maximum reasonable number of precautions. It’s rather like arguing “you only need to wear your hard hat when you are within 50 feet of a forklift” instead of “you must wear a hard hat in the warehouse due to danger of falling items.”

              Sure, one situation is more risky than the other, but the more broadly applicable and unchanging your PPE guidelines are, the better compliance is and the less accidents there are.

              1. Carlie*

                Thank you, this exactly.
                Trying to game the system and figure out exactly when and where you can add risk is one of the big reasons why the Covid infection rates are still so stinking high everywhere.

            2. JSPA*

              There’s really solid data by now that vaccinated people, even asymptomatic vaccinated people, are effective spreaders. If you do “what’s safe for you” in the small sense of, “you won’t die,” and you don’t consider your role in spreading the virus, that’s

              a) lethally thoughtless to other people


              b) (eventually) an “own goal,” in that spreading the virus to immunocompromised people is an excellent way to encourage more replication, allowing more mutation, and the eventual rise of variants that may evade the current vaccines.

              Don’t be that person.

        3. Person from the Resume*

          Let’s be clear a mask mostly protects other people from you. Other people wearing masks protect you from them.

          Mask don’t really work great for “you do you” lifestyle.

          1. magc*

            Depends on the mask you’re wearing. I only wear KN95 or N95 masks, and I do as good a fit check as I can (not being a certified mask fitter).

            However, I’m fortunate in that no one in my household has to work outside of our house, and any in-person shopping is always done masked and when the store is as empty as possible.

            People seem to forget that Covid-19 is airborne and doesn’t require being within 6′ of someone else to be infected. I would personally not be inside unmasked if there were other people in the same office, masked or not.

        4. Susanna*

          Moral high horse? Wanting to avoid a potentially deadly illness is not being on a “moral high horse.” It’s being safe and responsible.
          No way would I go to a massless office unless I felt sure every single person there had been fully vaccinated.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            I’m quite happy up on this tall horse if it means not attending any more Zoom funerals for people who’ve died of Covid.

            (3 so far. Healthy people in their 30s. No underlying issues. This virus terrifies me still)

          2. Archaeopteryx*

            Yeah taking minor inconveniences to avoid killing other people is a pretty low horse, all things considered.

          3. Texan In Exile*

            We went to a play last night. We had to show our vax cards and our IDs and we still had to be masked the entire time.

            I am fine with that. I am happy to show my card AND to wear a mask just to start getting back to normal.

      2. velomont*

        “You can’t make the assumption that the company is not being safe from 1 statement in the letter.” Actually you can make that assumption from OP’s statement: “My workspace is shared with maskless colleagues (bosses don’t make anyone wear a mask)”

        “There is context missing here” No there isn’t

        “anyone who refuses to mask up, regardless of any other factors,” I’m curious to hear what other factors are at play that make this ok.

        If everybody wore a mask, did proper distancing, and (unless medically impossible) got vaccinated, this would probably be over by now. As it is, the unmasked and anti-vaxxers are causing this thing to drag on indefinitely.

        1. Tiny Soprano*

          Exactly. Right now the only context we need is the OP’s word that they don’t feel safe going in. There could be myriad reasons for it (they could be immunocompromised, have vulnerable family, suspect that half their coworkers are anti-vaxxers, etc), but the takeaway is the same regardless.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        People who refuse to mask up, refuse to get vaccinated, refuse to take a virus that is deadly to people seriously?

        Are absolutely NOT being safe.

  3. Pony Puff*

    I’m not sure if I’ve missed it but I’d love for Alison to do a poll about current working conditions during covid. I work a job I could 100% do from home yet my company has everyone back in the office 4 days a week without masks since this summer. Seems odd to me when I read these posts about people not feeling safe to return to the office when my office is pretending the pandemic never happened.

    1. Reality Check*

      Seconded. A poll on this would be interesting. In office or wfh? What safety measures, if any, in place? Etc.

      1. generic_username*

        thirded. That would be fascinating to see

        Would also like to know for those going back, how many days a week. And just for framing the data, region as well (of the US or abroad)

    2. CBB*

      Same. Very few people in my workplace wear masks. Our official policy is that vaccinated people are not required to.

      It seems normal to me, but I can understand why some people would feel unsafe and choose not to work here.

      1. Ginger Baker*

        My office recently moved from must-vax + mask to must-vax, no mask required and I am definitely feeling much less safe due to that :/ especially as we are being pushed to come back in now (and I live with an immunocompromised person). I won’t quit over it but I may push back hard over going in more than once a week.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        Is it the honor system for masks or do vaxxed people have to show proof of vax to go unmasked?

        Because I don’t trust antivaxxers to tell the truth.

    3. Det. Charles Boyle*

      That would be an interesting survey. My workplace is at about 50% in-person and 50% still working from home. Masks are required in all common areas but not at your desk and it’s very strictly enforced. Vaccinations are required with employees required to show vaccine cards or request a formal exemption. So, on the whole, I feel pretty safe here.

      1. BasketcaseNZ*

        My work is about the same – everyone is on one of two WFH rotations, so you’re week-on, week-off. Masks around the office but not at your desk / when sitting to eat in the kitchen, meeting rooms have reduced capacity and a recommendation to wear masks (not mandated).
        Vaccine mandates aren’t a legal thing in my country yet for our industry, but there is definitely a push to get everyone vaccinated by the company.
        That said, there also isn’t a single known case in my city, and we’re at 85% (of eligible) fully vaccinated as a city. So life in general feels pretty safe.

    4. Mental Lentil*

      This is why I left my last job. We had multiple COVID incidents and there was never a requirement that anyone even quarantine, much less wear a mask.

      Employers have a responsibility to protect their workers’ health. If they don’t, they don’t deserve to have loyal workers, full stop.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I withdrew from a job process for a company that seemed incredibly cavalier about it. If they don’t care about protecting workers who must be onsite in a pandemic from a disease that can cause long-term health problems, what else wouldn’t they care about? I told them I couldn’t afford to stay home if I got sick, leaving off the unspoken if I got sick because you are a bunch of ignorant dipshits.

        1. Mental Lentil*

          This. So many people just think it’s like a really bad flu, but we have seen that it can have long-term side effects. One of my former coworker’s husband had long-haul covid and she refused to get vaccinated because “you don’t know what’s in that stuff.”

          My new job is very safety-oriented, thank goodness. I’m so glad you bowed out. These companies don’t deserve your time.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Ye gods. We absolutely do know what’s in the vaccines! Down to the last chemical.

            But I guess some folks are happier believing virologists, immunologists etc. just throw together whatever they found in the cupboard. /sigh.

      1. calonkat*

        Our office has lost 4 employees since the mandatory “butts in the seats”. And they’ll lose more once people find jobs or figure out finances to retire (including me).

    5. Lady Catherine de Bourgh*

      My job had us back in the office *last* summer (despite us completely being able to do our jobs remotely). Fortunately, as of recently, I no longer work there!

      1. STG*

        We all have been in office since February without any remote exceptions and I work in IT. Remote work should be easily handled.

        We’ve also lost a number of employees in my department over the last year which I believe is a result of this decision.

      2. Alice*

        OldJob also had us back in office last summer, despite stellar numbers when we were working remotely in the spring. They were also extremely cavalier about safety, 3 people got Covid because a manager went in despite knowing his wife was positive, I had panic attacks, it was BAD.
        My new job is fully remote. They were going to ask us to come into the office 1 day a week but changed their mind for now due to the new variant. A poll would be interesting because employers are reacting in wildly different ways.

    6. TheseOldWings*

      My company just went from “work however you want forever” to seemingly randomly deciding that everyone within commutable distance of the office has to now come in at minimum 2 days per week and only giving people a little over a week’s notice. It was a really random about-face when nothing has really changed much with respect to Covid and 5-11 won’t be able to be fully vaccinated until December. They walked it back a bit after they must have received several complaints, but I still feel like I have to go in those 2 days.

    7. Flower necklace*

      I’m a teacher. Everyone in my department is fully vaccinated, with people now starting to get boosters, but we mask all day. Around students is a given, of course, but that includes the planning room. The only exception is eating or if you’re in a classroom alone with the door closed.

      I would definitely be unhappy if people stopped masking in the planning room just because we’re all vaccinated. I don’t want to get COVID or the flu or anything else that might get me quarantined for two weeks.

    8. allathian*

      Yeah, that really would be interesting to see.

      I go in about once a week or once every two weeks. Our mandate to WFH unless you have a good reason to work in the office was lifted in mid-October. Mask use is recommended but not mandated at the office. I work in a two-person office, and so far, my coworker and I haven’t been in on the same day. People who come and see me at my desk stay at the door, which is about 3 meters (9.5 ft) from my desk. I don’t wear a mask at my desk (I haven’t found one that won’t make my glasses fog up, and I can’t wear contacts), but I do wear it when I walk around, even if I just go to the bathroom. So far, they haven’t said anything about the number of days required in the office, but they’re asking people to come in “regularly” for community building purposes. Now it’s possible to organize meetings where attendance in person is mandatory.

      At the national level, 79 percent of the over-12 population’s fully vaxxed, and booster doses are available for vulnerable populations. Our health authorities are basing their community spread calculations on the assumption that everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated and isn’t isolating at home in lockdown-like conditions will get it sooner or later.

    9. londonedit*

      Our office is now open for anyone who wants to go in, but it’s not mandatory to go in until January now (and that will be reviewed before Christmas depending on how things go with cases etc – at the moment it is really not good here in the UK, though London is currently slightly less affected than other parts of the country). We’ll have two mandatory in-office days eventually, and the company has been split into two so half of us will do Monday/Tuesday and half Wednesday/Thursday, with hot desks available for anyone who wants to do more than two days a week (I won’t). I’m quite lucky that our CEO is very risk-averse when it comes to Covid and doesn’t want to feel responsible for people getting ill because they’re having to commute in, so we’ve been very cautious about the whole thing so far.

    10. Profe*

      Same. I’ve been teaching in person since August 2020 and this year no longer requires masks. I’m still sympathetic with those who are on the cautious side (I still kind of consider myself to be, but my threshold has been ground lower and lower over time), but it’s always a little jarring to be reminded how thoroughly in a different reality some people have been. (In both directions! The past year and a half, and the many modes which people have lived through them, are very surreal to think about!)

  4. Bernice Clifton*

    Leaving it off your resume doesn’t always work, either. Some job applications still want you to provide all work history going back X number of years.

    1. Mike Engle*

      Plus some jobs (like in the US federal government) want you to list ALL jobs, and then sign under the penalty of perjury that everything is complete and correct. I definitely have jobs on my resume that I wouldn’t have mentioned for “just a private business,” but if I have to swear to it, yeah I’ll remember that job. Is it worth it to lose your job because you failed to mention the toxic workplace you left in two weeks for a very good reason? For me, no.

      1. Susanna*

        But I would have no problem saying I left because the employer refused to take basic precautions for a safe working environment.

    2. Tiffany Aching's imaginary friend*

      But – absent issues of govt job requirements like Mike Engle mentions – how are they going to know that you left something off the list?

  5. anonymous73*

    Yes to everything Alison said. If you just don’t want to, sure you can use safety an an excuse, and nobody could really prove that you’re full of it, but you did question whether one or both of you is a glass bowl. Even if you don’t plan on using this place as a reference, there’s always a possibility it could come back and bite you in the butt. The chance of that happening may be slim, but that would always be in the back of my mind, and it’s always best to leave on good terms (unless the place is highly toxic then forget what I said).

  6. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    IMHO, this boils down quick.

    If your boss wants you in the office and you’re not complying, how are you convincing yourself that you’re working your last two weeks?

    As far as AITA, unfortunately I think there’s a good case that you both are. Your boss is the A for dragging you into the office unnecessarily. You’re the A for not following instructions and goading said boss into firing you instead of just quitting on her.

    1. Rainy*

      OP did quit, though. They’re not asking about refusing to come back, they’re asking about WFH during their notice period, so they’ve already quit.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Sorry for any confusion; when I said “quit,” I really should have said “quit with no notice.”

        1. Susanna*

          But this is not the same as quitting with no notice – storming out dramatically or something. This is saying, I’m here for my notice period, but I don’t feel safe in the office. Sorry, health and life come first, definitely before sucking up to a reckless and soon-to-be-former employer.

    2. Daffodilly*

      Wow, you *really* misread what the OP wrote. Or intentionally twisted it to fit your own narrative. Not sure which. Either way, you’re wrong.

    3. Chickaletta*

      I agree with Sola actually. There is nothing in OPs letter indicating they’re willing to have a discussion or compromise. It’s just a brief description of two people digging their heels in and refusing to listen to anyone else.

      I’m not suggesting that someone should be forced to work in an office near other people without masks. But I am getting a little tired of each side of the argument retreating further into their corners and there is some room for more leeway than there was 18 months ago when we didn’t know anything about COVID. And I work with hospital executives so I know a little about infection control and safety measures. We think the whole world has lost its collective minds.

  7. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

    Can OP just refuse to work in the office and force the company to fire them over it?

    1. Lobsterman*

      Yes, but that’s different on the ol’ reference check from, “She had higher safety standards than we do, so she made a principled decision to move on.”

      1. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

        Yeah, I’m sure that’s how her reference check is going to go as it is.

  8. Malarkey01*

    I think this is similar to Alison’s response to the guy working two jobs- 6 months ago I would think someone not serving out their notice (unless the employer is abusive) is a grave sin and one of the worst things you can do for your reputation. Now, I’m just sort of ehh if you give your employer a reasonable compromise and they say no that’s on them. In the same way it’s never been safe to give two weeks notice because you might be asked to leave immediately I feel like the leverage is tilting just a bit towards the employee and saying I’ll give two weeks but want to work from home/be done by 4 pm/need next Wednesday off/whatever is perfectly acceptable. I would say if unwilling to work out notice you should still have everything nicely packaged to hand over for a transition and not leave them wondering where the llama file is or which vendor you were working with, etc.

  9. Nauseous with Anxiety*

    I’m currently in my notice period after resigning on Monday and my boss has made me miserable ever since to the point I have considered just walking out now anyway. I haven’t yet but I know it’s tempting. However I’d still advise just working out the notice period like I am to keep in good standing with your HR file. The job I’m leaving for did an intense background check and called every former employer I’ve ever had to confirm dates, title, and how I left.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah. Well, I guess I’m philosophical enough to think that unless it’s truly dangerous to you either physically or mentally, you only have a week to go (assuming you’re in the US).

      1. allathian*

        I’m really sorry your boss is being a jerk, but at least this way, you know you really made the right decision when you resigned, right?

  10. LG*

    Yikes. No one in my company wears masks. We have guests fly in monthly from all over the US for training. I am definitely uncomfortable with it. The CEO just removed requiring that guests wear masks. When I voiced my concern to my boss all she said is that I can wear a mask if more comfortable. lol

    Part of my job requires me to be in the room where the guests are – I will not be doing that.

    I would prefer to work from home but some aspects of my job require me to be here.

    I joke that my company goes back and forth between ‘C*VID is really scary and we are all going to die’ and ‘its not bad, we are all vaccinated right?’ Just silly.

    1. OP*

      I’m sorry, that sucks.

      When you say “I will not be doing that” — do you mean you won’t be wearing a mask or something else?

      1. Tiffany Aching's imaginary friend*

        It looks like they won’t be in the room where the out-of-town guests are.

  11. Byte*

    If the quitter says “I can’t work in the office because I don’t feel safe” and the company says “You’re fired immediately”, does that make the quitter eligible for unemployment? Maybe for the time from being let go to the notice?

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Unemployment is determined on a case by case basis. It depends on what mandates, policies, and practices are in place, etc etc.

  12. Essentially Cheesy*

    I think OP wants to quit on the spot, and still have everything work out like it would have if two weeks notice in the office had been stuck out. I would rather not risk my last paycheck or any possible goodwill that you might possibly (unknowingly) need in the future.

    1. Susanna*

      It’s interesting that few here are thinking of the damage to the employer’s reputation, not protecting employees. This idea that we all have to bow to the “job creators” and worry about what they’ll do to our reputations is outdated and offensive. Glassdoor and other sites are there for a reason.
      If the former employer says OP was awful for not filling out the notice period, but OP tells prospective employers the early departure was due to unsafe working conditions… well, that’s a pretty good way of finding out whether OP wants to work for prospective employer.

      1. jarofbluefire*

        I also find it rather mundanely horrifying that we’ve been trained to have ourselves held hostage by ‘possible goodwill’. It’s not goodwill, it’s being honest about someone’s tenure as employee, and I’m about fed up with the idea that we should risk our safety/suffer any indignity to ransom these references. References that everyone knows are *always* entirely dependent upon the person giving the reference in the moment, and their ability to be objective and fair. Outdated and offensive is the right phrase for this.

  13. OP*

    Hey, I’m the OP, thanks for your responses. I probably will serve out my notice period (in quiet contempt and an N95). I wrote this email to Alison on a day when I was in an especially sour mood and have been worried ever since that people will chew me out over my entitlement or whatever. So I’m glad you’re all being nice!

    I agree with the people who’d love to see a poll on workplace covid safety protocols.

    From where I sit, my workplace is an outlier. All my peers with similar jobs are still working from home. On interviews, managers tell me they’re in no rush to get back to the office. When I’m with my friends outside of work, we stay outside, we know what “airborne” means, we know vaccinated people can get long covid, etc. etc. So it’s very grating to go into work and hear “I don’t need to wear a mask because we’re 6 feet apart.”

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      You are entitled to your personal safety. That’s not the kind of entitlement people were mad about in say yesterday’s letter. You’re right to be angry.

    2. Loulou*

      In my experience, quiet contempt is rarely as quiet as the contemptuous person thinks! Is there a reason you don’t want to take Alison’s advice to explain your concern and say you’d rather either WFH or have your last day start sooner?

      1. OP*

        My bosses already know that a lot of us have safety concerns. They don’t care. In general, they see their job as enforcing whatever their bosses want and they just stamp out dissent.

        That’s why I framed the question as an AITA — I think a conflict would be an inevitable.

    3. Rainy*

      I think your plan is probably the best one in terms of covering all your bases, but I am glad you are leaving. This place sounds like a trash fire.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I agree with Rainy. OP, I hope you have a better job lined up with a great company that wants its employees to be safe, or if not, that you find one soon.

    4. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I’m at the point where I’ve got no time and no respect for anyone who thinks the pandemic is over/the virus has gone/there’s no need for everyone to get vaccinated/it’s not really that dangerous/masks are pointless/why should the healthy people worry any longer etc.

      So, your anger level? Totally familiar territory.

  14. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

    OP: I am WFH with 1 trip each month to in office while doing paper work that actually has to be paper. So 2-3 hours in office, once a month. Policy in the office is Masks on in common areas or within 6 feet of someone else. Does not matter if you are vaccinated or not as per policy masks are mandatory. When I go in I end up wearing my mask the entire time due to my temp desk being within 3 feet of another coworkers and also next to a main hallway. I see people not wearing masks in the office all the time. (In the common areas, standing around each others desks) Know from talking to several people in office that there has been multiple complaints about non masking coworkers.) There have been several quarantine notices for in building teams and certain areas have been deep cleaned multiple times due to positive caes. I’ve flat out told my boss there is no way I’d ever be in the office for longer than the 2-3 hours due to the lack of mask enforcement. I live in 1 county, home office is in other. I track the cases of both. I had just got used to shopping without a mask (mask mandates in both counties were dropped) when Delta hit our area. I ended up getting just a normal old nasty respiratory infection (luckily not Covid) and promptly put my mask right back on.

  15. JBI*

    I don’t think it is reasonable to ask someone to risk their health.
    I’d have no problem telling them to shove it.
    Full disclosure, my psychiatrist (just for my ADD), says he doesn’t think I have much problem saying no….
    I considered and said “Ye-e-es…”
    He laughed.

  16. rr*

    I’m so glad to see some of these comments. It makes me feel better. I am the only one who masks in my office, which is just cubes in a tiny space with no windows that open. The ventilation is lousy. Yes, everyone who works in the office is vaccinated, though other people (who aren’t necessarily) vaccinated come in and out. I get treated like I’m crazy (and have actually been yelled at that I am) and unreasonable because I mask and because I vocalize my concerns about the (lack of safety). Whenever I say ANYTHING at all it turns into a huge fight. You’d think these people were scientists and doctors (they aren’t). But it is so much and constant that I have started to actually wonder if I am the crazy one.

    1. Tiny Soprano*

      Same. I’m not in an office, but I’m the only one who doesn’t take off, fiddle with, whinge about or tug around their mask all day. Old blokes will come in and be like, oh it must be frustrating wearing that all day. Uh, no. Like, I have healthcare worker friends who work 12 hour days pretty much wrapped in plastic with tight uncomfortable masks that leave sores on their noses because the public can’t be bothered to mask up. THEY are allowed to be frustrated. A soft cotton mask is hardly an imposition and I really wish people who don’t have legit sensory/breathing issues would stop acting like its THE WORST THING THEY HAVE EVER HAD TO ENDURE!!! (Oh the humanity!)
      You’re not the crazy one here.

  17. Goldenrod*

    I was in this exact situation. I gave notice and the 2 weeks’ notice period happened to be the first 2 weeks we were all expected to return (from working remotely).

    My office was following safety protocols, so that was not a concern for me. However, my office was massively toxic with a very mean boss, which is why I was leaving.

    I ended up just going in and working onsite for the 2 weeks. It was fine.

    While I did love the idea of never seeing my terrible boss in person ever again, in the end, it worked out well for me. I got to take time saying goodbye to all the people I DID like there, and packing up my office. I recommend going in (if safety isn’t a concern), because that way, it’s just more “clean” on your end. I felt good about the way that I left.

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