clipping your nails during a job interview, a religious new hire, and more

I’m on vacation. Here are some past letters that I’m making new again, rather than leaving them to wilt in the archives.

1. My manager clipped his fingernails during a job interview

Yesterday, my manager and I were conducting interviews in his office. During the first interview, he was clearly restless, and about midway through he ruffled through his desk drawer for something. I didn’t see what he grabbed, but quickly figured it out when I heard the unmistakable sound of a fingernail clipper. He hid his hands while he was doing it, and stopped after clipping two nails, but I’m still at a loss for why he decided mid-interview was the appropriate time to do such a thing. Other than doing a double-take when I realized what was happening, I didn’t do or say anything. We’re conducting more interviews next week– should say something ahead of time to indicate this is clearly not okay? I felt horrified for the person interviewing!

It depends on what kind of relationship with you have with him. With most managers I’ve had, it would feel pretty natural to just say, “You weren’t clipping your nails during that interview, were you?” But if you didn’t say it right off the bat, it’s going to be harder to say it now — and I also suspect that if you did have that kind of dynamic that allowed for that, you would have already said it and wouldn’t be writing in to me.

Another way to look at it is that it’s good to let your manager be as much himself as possible during an interview, so that candidates get truth in advertising and are making fully informed decisions. Some people wouldn’t care at all if their interviewer did this; others would find it boorish and rude. You want people to self-select out if they’re not going to work well with your boss anyway — so if this is at all representative of his style, it could be a good thing to just let him go for it.


2. Disciplined for topless post-mastectomy photo on Facebook

In error, a friend posted a topless picture of herself on Facebook, post-mastectomy reconstruction. These types of photos are allowed on Facebook, though she had intended to post it in a private group rather than her main profile page. She took it down within a matter of 15 minutes. However, in the time that it was up, one of her coworkers saw it and took it back to their manager. My friend was disciplined for her actions.

Would you have taken the same approach?

Hell no. This wasn’t pornographic any more than website about breast cancer are pornographic. She was discussing cancer recovery.

That coworker is a busybody, but the manager who disciplined her for it was way, way out of line (and setting up a PR disaster for the company if word about this gets out). Your friend should push back, hard. What bullshit.


3. Which is more important, test or interview?

I recently had a job interview which was half interview and half task. I feel like I performed some parts much better than others. Throughout my interview I flubbed a few answers which knocked me off my game and left me feeling like I’d blown the interview. However, the I feel like I performed very well on the writing task afterwards.

When it comes to interviews, which is more important to an employer, the outcome of the one to one interview or the candidates performance on the task?

They both matter, so that’s really hard to answer. I can say that no matter how well someone does in an interview, if an actual assessment of their work skills (a test or exercise) is weak, a great interview won’t overcome that. How much “blowing the interview” matters really depends on exactly what the issues were. If you seemed nervous or gave a few rambly answers, there’s a much less big deal than not being able to cogently describe your experience or engage on substantive issues. All of which is to say, there’s no way to really answer this from the outside.


4. How to ensure a religious new hire won’t proselytize at work

I am a hiring manager with a retail chain. My company is a national brand that is very diverse and I am proud to be a part of that! I have a tricky situation that has come up. I just completed a second interview with a job candidate who is looking like a great fit. Which is awesome! However, she doesn’t have much recent job experience, so has utilized her very demanding and rigorous volunteer work with her religious organization very heavily to highlight her strengths and flexibility. While I am impressed, some of our fellow managers have reservations about whether she might either proselytize at work or be intolerant of her coworkers (i.e. we have associates who are gay, we have others who are atheists, etc). I haven’t seen evidence that that would be the case with her. Plus, people who don’t talk about religion during interviews can still turn out to be zealots, so her candor isn’t something that is a red flag to me.

I know that it is absolutely illegal and wrong to consider her religion or religious activities during hiring. That being said, if she passes the last interview with my boss and we make her an offer, is there a discussion we should have preemptively (i.e. here is your employee handbook, which by the way states that [store] is a diverse workplace and respect and dignity in the workplace for all employees is taken seriously) or would the right/legal/best thing to do be wait and see what happens? ALL of my employees deserve to have their workplace be one of respect and dignity, and that will include her if she is hired. I want her to be happy and feel welcome, and I know that singling her out for her religion is not the way to do that. Am I overthinking this?

Unless she said things in the interview process that sounded intolerant or you’ve seen other evidence of that from her (like a Twitter account that’s full of bigotry, for example), you shouldn’t assume she’ll proselytize or be intolerant at work. It doesn’t sound like she was bringing up religion inappropriately in the interview; it sounds like she appropriately referred to volunteer experience, which just happened to be for a religious organization. (You also didn’t note that the religious organization itself is known for intolerance, so I want to flag that the mere fact of it being religious in nature is not equivalent to it being one that promotes intolerance.)

So absent something specific that she has said that gave you pause, I wouldn’t bring it up with her preemptively. If you see or hear anything concerning after she starts working for you, definitely address it swiftly at that point, but I wouldn’t assume you need to preemptively fend it off.


5. Should I send a holiday card to my interviewer?

I interviewed for a position — my dream job — earlier this evening via phone. The interview went well enough, but I think I was just shy of nailing it. I was told by the hiring manager that they would be interviewing candidates the rest of this week and next, and that they would circle back after the holidays for in-person interviews.

I’m working on an email thank-you note now to send as a follow-up after our conversation. Do you think it would be okay to also send a holiday / thank-you card via mail with the holidays approaching? I thought it might be a nice touch and a way of reminding them of me. I imagined addressing it to the department as a whole, as opposed to one person.

No, don’t do that. It’s going to come across as trying to curry favor. (You wouldn’t be sending them a holiday card if you weren’t currently being considered for a job there, right?) Stick with the normal interview thank-you, and leave it at that.


{ 259 comments… read them below }

  1. PollyQ*

    #4 — If you & your colleagues are thinking of treating a new employee differently because of her religion, maybe you’re the ones who need to brush up on your diversity & equality training.

    1. Loulou*

      Well said! I’ve seen comments on AAM, including recently, baselessly speculating that a religious (used as a standin for “white Christian”) employee would proselytize or otherwise behave inappropriately or in a bigoted way at work. It’s good OP is at least aware this might not be a fair line of thinking…that puts them WAY ahead of the commenters I’m thinking of.

      1. MoreFriesPlz*

        I think the issue has come about because quite often if I know a lot about the specifics of your religion after one interview, it is at least a yellow flag. Like people who put their church affiliation (not volunteer work of any kind, just “this is where I go”) on resumes. Or who manage to drop G-d, Jesus, whomever, into a first interview conversation.

        IMO the truth is there just usually isn’t a good reason to bring it up, and people who find one are a lot more likely to proselytize. But sometimes there’s a great reason, like talking about volunteer responsibilities! But it’s stuck in peoples minds it shouldn’t be a topic.

        1. quill*

          People who make it a point to address aquaintances about their religion are the last people anyone actually wants to discuss religion with.

        2. Lucy Skywalker*

          ” Like people who put their church affiliation (not volunteer work of any kind, just “this is where I go”) on resumes.”

          But that’s not the case here.

          1. Hippo-nony-potomus*

            Exactly. Let me point something out: this woman doesn’t have a whole lot of work experience. By the sounds of it, the volunteer opportunities her church gave her are quite substantive, enough so that it enabled her to land a paid job. Sounds like both the church and she benefited a lot from the arrangement.

          2. MoreFriesPlz*

            If you read the rest of my comment I did say that. I’m responding to a comment on the trend at large.

    2. allathian*

      Yeah, sounds to me like the LW is worrying prematurely. Just because someone’s religious doesn’t mean that they’re intolerant or will start proselytizing at work. Sounds like she’s been a housewife/SAHM for a while, and is using her experience as a volunteer to highlight the skills she has that are needed in the working world. She just happens to have gained these skills while volunteering for a religious organization.

      1. Xenia*

        Especially since so many nonprofits are run at least nominally and often more so through religious organizations. Soup kitchens, disaster relief, hospice medicine, toy/clothing drives—you name it, there’s probably a religious nonprofit doing it and doing it well. If you exclude religious organizations’ branding from people’s resumes you automatically remove a lot of volunteer and charity work.

        1. NerdyKris*

          Yup. People sometimes think the only purpose of religion was control, but in reality churches are often support systems. Churches were designed to be shelters and community centers, which is why they’re so often used for such the other six days of the week. And in the middle ages, the church was where you found libraries and education, since literacy was rare and the copying of manuscripts was a long, tedious task done by monks.

        2. Lucy Skywalker*

          This is exactly why we need religion. Someone did a survey of people who volunteered to help the needy in programs through their churches, and asked them, “If you were an atheist, would you still volunteer?” Nearly all of them said no.

          1. pancakes*

            My goodness, you don’t think negativity towards and misconceptions about atheism were likely major factors in church-goers answer to that?

            1. Lucy Skywalker*

              I don’t think so. Maybe I got the exact wording wrong, but the point is that they only helped those in need because their religion preached that they had to do so in order to go to Heaven when they died. In other words, if they didn’t believe in God or Heaven, they wouldn’t volunteer. One could argue that they didn’t truly care about the needy, only about their own desire to go to Heaven. However, it also proves that without religion, a lot more people wouldn’t get the services they need.

              1. Hippo-nony-potomus*

                If you do not understand Christianity, do not opine about it. This is so wrong I don’t even know where to start.

                Christians aren’t saying that they only help others to get into heaven; we know that God knows our hearts and tithing isn’t like paying for a movie ticket. (Pay your tithe, get into heaven:
                NOT how this works.) Jesus told us that the things we do for the least of those among us are what we do for Him. We do for others because they are made in the image and likeness of God. We do for others because sometimes, God uses us as the answer to other people’s prayers. We do for others because our talents come from God and it’s our job to use those for His purposes.

                Christians believe that their fellow man is made in the image and likeness of God, specially made by our Creator, and is of infinite worth. We believe that our moral code is from God and cannot be separated from Him; God is good and all things that are good come from Him. So if you ask us about what we would think of good and evil in a world without God, it’s either a nonsensical question or the only answer is “amoral,” because removing God from the picture takes morality out, too. You may as well be asking about the nuances of photosynthesis in a world without any light.

                (This is not to say that atheists are amoral or immoral, just that their beliefs about the basis of and origins of morality are not the same.)

                Finally, before bashing Christians for not doing things for the “right” reasons, please look at how their donations – monetary, time, and even blood – stack up against the rest of the population.

                1. Lucy Skywalker*

                  I wasn’t bashing Christians. I am a Christian myself. I am aware that there are many Christians who help the needy for the “wrong” reasons, such as the ones who answered the survey.
                  The point I was making is that without religion, there would be a lot more people in need who weren’t getting the services. That’s all.

              2. pancakes*

                A survey that relies on self-reporting, generally speaking, doesn’t prove anything at all. It’s not a scientifically lauded method of study. A self-reported survey of church-goers who attribute the entirety of their ethics to their religious beliefs certainly doesn’t prove that the respondents have a good grasp on ethics, nor that religious-based volunteering is the only or the best way to provide services to people in need.

                1. Candi*

                  Self-reporting’s considered right up there with unmonitored internet surveys -there’s just almost no/no control whatsoever.

                  Source: We went over the various types of gathering data in detail in statistics math class. It was the first time I saw someone address that where you gather data can affect your data.

          2. sagc*

            Wait, so they exclusively interviewed religious volunteers?

            Hmm, I wonder why they got the result they did.

            1. Lucy Skywalker*

              I don’t remember the details of the survey. Possibly the point of the survey was to find out what role religion plays in people’s motivation to help the needy.

              1. pancakes*

                The point of a survey does not speak to its accuracy or validity, nor whether its methodology is sound.

            2. Kaittydid*

              Lol yeah, there’s an important viewpoint missing here. Gods aren’t the only reason people give to others. I, an atheist, participate in a yearly fundraiser towards a non profit that prevents people from being drawn into cycles of poverty. The fundraiser is promoted and hosted by atheist podcasters and donates around a quarter million dollars each year.

            3. alienor*

              Yeah, I’m guessing that the thought process went something like: “Atheists are bad people, therefore if I were an atheist, I would also be a bad person and not do anything good like volunteering.” Which is clearly not true, but it’s something that a lot of people have been taught to believe.

              1. Raised as an atheist*

                Yes to what alienor said. My mom is an atheist, and I as a child I remember her once talking with someone who is very religious and the other woman asked my mom “If you don’t believe in god, then how do you know how to do the right thing and what keeps you from doing whatever you feel like and hurting people?”

                And my mom said “we do the right thing because we intrinsically care about other people and our community, not because someone we’re afraid we won’t get into heaven if we don’t. ” And as a child, I remember being very offended at the implication that you would need god to know how to do the right thing and thinking that those of us who were atheists were superior morally to those who were religious because we didn’t need god to tell us to be good people – we try hard to be good people because it’s the right thing to do.

                My perspective on that has softened a lot as I’ve matured, of course, but it goes towards alienor’s point – many religious people assume that if they were atheists, they wouldn’t care about others and being “good,” so they then think they wouldn’t volunteer anymore.

          3. Epsilon Delta*

            Perhaps they wouldn’t volunteer as atheists because they know how they and their church treat atheists.

            1. Lucy Skywalker*

              I believe they phrased it in the sense of “Would you volunteer at all” as opposed to “would you volunteer specifically at your church.”

          4. Quack Quack No*

            So they asked Christians if they would do a church-related activity if they were atheists, and they said no. That absolutely tells the truth about atheists, yep.

            Speaking of religion I prefer this rabbi’s take on atheists:

            ““Well,” asked the disciple, “why did God create atheists?”

            The rabbi paused before giving an answer, and when he spoke his voice was soft and intense. “Sometimes we who believe, believe too much. We see the cruelty, the suffering, the injustice in the world and we say: ‘This is the will of God.’ We accept what we should not accept. That is when God sends us atheists to remind us that what passes for religion is not always religion. Sometimes what we accept in the name of God is what we should be fighting against in the name of God.”

            1. Lucy Skywalker*

              Very true. I have known atheists who help those in need specifically BECAUSE they don’t believe in a God who will rescue them.
              But I’ve also known atheists who say “there’s no God, therefore, I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t get caught.”
              There are good atheists.
              There are evil atheists.
              There are good religious people.
              There are evil religious people.

            2. Lucy Skywalker*

              Very true. As a religious person myself, I absolutely agree with the last two sentences.
              I have known atheists who help those in need specifically BECAUSE they don’t believe in a God who will rescue them.
              But I’ve also known atheists who say “there’s no God, therefore, I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t get caught.”
              There are good atheists.
              There are evil atheists.
              There are good religious people.
              There are evil religious people.

              1. Anon4This*

                “ But I’ve also known atheists who say “there’s no God, therefore, I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t get caught.””

                That’s not an atheist, that’s a sociopath using atheism as an excuse.

          5. Kit*

            What this says is what we have known for quite some time: people who are raised to believe that morality is inseparable from religion cannot conceive of atheists behaving morally. If your definition of atheism involves an inherent moral failing, that will color your answer about the behavior and thought processes of atheists.

            And for what it’s worth, as a queer AFAB Jew, having charitable organizations be even more overwhelmingly religious than they already are just means they’re even less accessible.

          6. Tali*

            In addition to what others have pointed out: how does this even tell us anything valuable? “If you hypothetically had a fundamentally different worldview, how would you act?” How would anyone even know how to answer that? Would atheists volunteer if they were religious? How can anyone accurately assess themselves when they presumably have a reason for believing what they do now? What does such an answer even tell us about human nature?

          7. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            The answers to that question merely illustrate that religious people think “if I were an atheist, I’d be a bad person THEREFORE I wouldn’t help the needy”. They similarly do good in order to go to heaven, rather than because it’s the right thing to do.
            I could tell you a whole lot more about how good atheists are in general but Alison shouldn’t have to come and delete a derail while she’s on holiday.

          8. Princesss Sparklepony*

            That is sort of a bogus question and the answer is disingenuous. People who are in organized religions think atheists are bad people and therefore would not volunteer. So if they were an atheist, the would think that they wouldn’t volunteer.

            Lots of atheists are volunteers. Some even volunteer for religious charities that do good works without being preachy about it.

      2. D'Arcy*

        I would be relatively skeptical of any job applicant who claims that their volunteer work is “very demanding and rigorous” and showcases advanced work skills, but it *could* be legit if they can provide specific, concrete proof of what they were actually doing.

          1. somanyquestions*

            The letter says:
            she doesn’t have much recent job experience, so has utilized her very demanding and rigorous volunteer work with her religious organization very heavily to highlight her strengths and flexibility

            1. London Lass*

              Those are the letter-writer’s words. We don’t know how the job candidate characterised her own experience except that she obviously put it forward as being relevant. Considering they offered her the job, the panel presumably found her presentation of that experience convincing. We have no further information about the nature of her volunteering, so I don’t think it’s helpful to spectulate.

            2. mw*

              The letter had nothing to do with using volunteer work in place of work experience. The LW, and the other managers, had no problem with the volunteer work describe. The managers had reservations because it was done at a religious organization and their own preconceived notions.

        1. UKDancer*

          It depends what they’ve been doing. I’ve had people use examples from voluntary work as a magistrate or a school governor that have worked pretty well for showing skills at handling conflict and dealing with difficult people and awkward situations.

        2. Eleanor Shellstrop*

          I think this shows a bias that you assume volunteering is easy or lesser than some work. I was a volunteer for a charity and wrote an entire risk policy and implemented a risk management framework. Plenty of volunteers use work based skills in their volunteering. I have another friend who is a volunteer psychologist, her volunteer work is in prisons and is far more demanding than her day joy (also psychology, but in a less challenging setting).

          1. Antilles*

            Yeah, it really depends on your level and volunteering role – for a religious organization, it could be anything from showing up a few minutes early to set up chairs all the way to basically being the sole leader organizing/running a 30+ person study group. The former? Probably not impressive. The latter? I’ve managed engineering departments that haven’t needed *that* much coordination and pre-planning.

            1. doreen*

              I’m pretty sure that anything that could be done as a paid job could also be done on a volunteer basis , so I wouldn’t assume that volunteering is automatically easier. My church has a religious education program and the teachers are all volunteers – and although the Director of Religious Education in my church is a paid position, that isn’t always the case.

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                The only thing is that volunteers are rarely fired, you can get the impression that without the threat of losing your job, of having KPIs to live up to, volunteers won’t bother to do good work. However, most volunteers will be doing the work because they believe in it, so they’ll be even more careful to do a good job.

        3. Falling Diphthong*

          When my HS son volunteered at the free medical clinic, it was run out of the local synagogue. The food pantry runs out of our local Catholic church. I wouldn’t blink at members of the congregation who volunteer on those things to highlight that if they didn’t have much other relevant experience to point to.

        4. Rayray*

          So, I don’t know the exact situation in the is letter but as a Latter-Day Saint in Utah, I am aware that many of our young missionaries are sometimes encouraged to put their missionary work on their resumes especially if they’re still young and it’s been in just the last couple years. So I’m wondering if this is a young person who doesn’t have a ton of experience to put on their resume but they got some well-intentioned advice to talk about their service /missionary work here. It’s super common, I’d honestly just chalk it up that tris person needed something to fill their resume and maybe isn’t necessarily wanting to proselytize at work, they just wanted to show what they’ve been up to lately since they didn’t have a normal job.

          1. PT*

            I was thinking this also. We had a few young people at my work who went to BYU and had done their mission work, and the skills they learned doing their mission year made them excellent at customer service. I have no idea what the training entails, but they excelled at making friendly chitchat and conversation and finding commonalities with strangers to build relationships out of almost nothing.

            They also always behaved appropriately regarding the role religion at work, better than the 1-2 adults 50+ we had who were deeply religious on staff. And they were good sports when the other young people would ask them slightly tactless questions about what their school was like, because most of our other young staff went to state universities with party scenes. (You can’t wear SHORTS? You’re already MARRIED you’re like 20! I’m 20 and I can’t even cook ramen!)

        5. Beth*

          When I changed careers, I had to lean heavily on my volunteer work, since my first career was of little relevance. My volunteer work involved years of managing large teams (up to 70 people), doing demanding projects with hard deadlines, with little or no budget. I have done harder work in my volunteer gigs than I ever had to do in any work environment.

          You might want to re-think your casual dismissal of volunteer work.

        6. Observer*

          Your skepticism is unwarranted. And religious organizations tend to be the most likely to use volunteers to get some serious work done.

          1. pancakes*

            Most likely compared to what? In countries where social safety nets are maintained primarily through non-religious channels, people who do this work are paid to do so. It’s far from self-evident that the quality of their work and the services provided to the recipients of it are worse as a result.

            1. Observer*

              I’m not sure of what you are asking me.

              I didn’t say anything about the likely quality of paid employment in a non-profit. I was pointing out that a relative to other organizations who use volunteers, religious organizations are somewhat more likely to use volunteers to do work that is rigorous and demanding. Not that it doesn’t happen in secular organizations! And thus the skepticism that the volunteer work done for a religious organization could be valuable valuable experience for a potential employee is unwarranted.

              Does this answer your question?

              1. pancakes*

                No. It is a pretty straightforward question. I would ask the same question as to your reply if I thought it would be helpful: other organizations where? Worldwide? You are making some very big generalizations and assumptions, and I don’t think they’re in any way necessary to address the letter.

                1. pancakes*

                  I’ll try to clarify: I asked these questions because I wanted to highlight that your views, along with the views of several others here who are clearly in favor of social services being provided by religious organizations, are very US-centric, and very biased against the idea that essential social services can be effectively provided without relying on religious volunteers and religious organizations.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  She’s not saying that. In a question about whether volunteer work can be rigorous, she’s talking about a context where it often can be. That’s it.

                  Let’s move on.

        7. Librarian of SHIELD*

          The church where I grew up used volunteers to plan almost all of their events, including things like the back to school fair that included coordinating with vaccine providers and vision and hearing professionals who offered screenings, calling stores all over the city to ask for donations of backpacks and school supplies, giving educational assessments so families could know their children’s areas of strength and weakness before they started school, and several other things. The volunteers coordinating these events were, in fact, doing rigorous and demanding work.

        8. Lenora Rose*

          Considering that the only place I’ve needed to use my non-violent Crisis Intervention training was at a volunteer position, I definitely dispute that volunteering can’t be demanding and rigorous. Sure, some of it can be much more fun/ lightweight, but it’s not a given. And you need to provide specific concrete proof what you did in any number of positions.

        9. mw*

          Reading the letter, the LW and the other managers didn’t seem to have any problem with the actual volunteer work described. It looks like the reservations the managers had were based solely on the fact that it was done at religious organization.

          1. mw*

            I went and looked through the original post’s comments. The religion in question is Jehovah’s Witness. Which is actually a rather key detail to omit. However reading through the rest of the comments, it sounds like JW’s are taught heavily about being respectful in the workplace and not proselytize during those times. So, I’d tend to believe the managers had their own preconceived notions of how they think the candidate might act.

            My personal experience with JW has been that when they aren’t out door knocking or doing mission work, is that they really don’t initiate the conversation, but will talk openly about it if brought up in casual conversation.

            1. Clisby*

              That’s exactly my experience. The most likely things to come up at work would be not wanting to be part of a birthday party, or not wanting to participate in a Christmas party, or (not sure how this would be relevant to work, but …) refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag (in the US).

              1. BenAdminGeek*

                I’m now imagining a workplace break to pledge allegiance to the flag. Everyone working from home, little flags on their desks… just cracks me up.

              2. Distracted Librarian*

                Mine too. I would never have known my co-worker was a JW except she told me when I first started, so I’d know why she didn’t attend birthday parties or holiday celebrations. No proselytizing–ever.

      3. Cat*

        True, but it does seem that LW is more looking for ways to counter coworkers than subscribing to the viewpoint themself

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I saw the letter writer coming from this position as well, with maybe a dash of wanting scripts to be prepared if the problem does present.
          They seemed like the type of proactive manager many of us talk about wanting to see, but maybe just a touch overly worried about problems they hadn’t seen yet.

    3. Charlie*

      You can’t really accuse people of what you think they might do in the future. So far all the evidence suggests she’ll be a great employee. Unless something comes to light that challenges that, you have to assume that people are going to follow the company policies and social norms about behaviour toward colleagues.

    4. learnedthehardway*

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. Good thing the rules exist to prevent discrimination on the basis of religion, because it looks like they’ve worked here to get the OP to question whether they should be discriminating on the basis of religion.

      On the flip side, if you got a sense that the candidate would need to be forewarned that you have a diverse staff, it’s entirely legitimate to point out that you hire without discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, etc. etc. etc., and to ask if the candidate would be supportive of that environment. HOWEVER, if you ask one candidate, you should ask all candidates this question – a) it’s a legitimate question to ask, and b) singling one candidate out because they are religious is discriminatory but making it a standard question for all candidates is not.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Good point. It would be legitimate to ask candidates about their experience working with diverse populations. To reserve such a question for a single candidate would be discriminatory.

      2. Distracted Librarian*

        Exactly this. You can (and probably should) also include something about your company’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of onboarding new employees–but you need to do it for all new employees, not just this one.

    5. Three Flowers*

      Agreed. Although it can get interesting depending on *how* the candidate talks about their religious work. I once had an application for a seasonal youth program counselor whose only previous relevant experience was as a VBS counselor with her Southern Baptist church. She cited things like running “Bible drill” and talked about how much she valued bringing children to Christ. Thing was, our program was one of maybe two out of a couple dozen in our area (in the US South) that was non-sectarian. Many of our participants came to us specifically because they wanted a non-sectarian program and/or one accepting of LGBT folks. Lots of them were Jewish or agnostic or pagan, or had two moms/two dads. We could not have even a shred of evangelistic behavior that this person described as her primary motivation for working with youth (when it’s harm to youth, it’s different from an irritant to coworkers). If she’d just said she’d worked with VBS, fine! She wouldn’t have been the only one. But she was thisclose to saying she saw us as a mission field.

      Thank dog she was both under-qualified compared to other applicants and clearly hadn’t done enough research to be taken seriously as a candidate.

    6. Anonymous Luddite*

      I got nothing from the letter that said they wanted to treat her differently.
      I got everything from that letter that said they were concerned she would treat them differently.
      It’s almost as if the last decade has been full of people doing very questionable things using “religious freedom” as a shield.

      1. Warlord*

        From the letter:

        “…While I am impressed, some of our fellow managers have reservations about whether she might either proselytize at work or be intolerant of her coworkers…”

        They are literally judging her based on a tedious stereotype. And that stereotype may lead them to affect whether or not she gets an offer of employment.

        Hey, let’s judge everyone in XYZ demographic based on gross and tired stereotypes, and base their employment offers on that. We’ll see how well you like it.

        1. Anonymous Luddite*

          Tedious, gross, and tired stereotypes. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
          And I -have- been on the receiving end of a lot of it… Ironically, usually from remarkably religious people, so maybe it’s hitting close to home for me too.

        2. Student*

          …except that certain religions literally preach those two things of their followers, and the actions that the fellow managers suggest taking are just to emphasize the parts of the employee handbook that may contradict certain religious beliefs.

          I’ve worked with deeply religious people who treat all their coworkers equally. I’ve also worked with deeply religious people who use their beliefs to justify terrible behavior towards groups that their religion teaches them are inferior. Telling them what the policies in the handbook are isn’t accusing them of bad behavior, it’s making clear the conduct expected in the office and putting the latter group on notice that if they follow their religion over the handbook, they may get disciplined or fired.

          I don’t assume deeply religious people are jerks. I do worry about whether people who belong to a few specific religions that teach their members that I am inferior and/or evil will treat me decently at work… based on plenty of lived experience. And yes, I think folks who we have specific reasons to believe will treat people desperately should get talked to upfront, so that they have the best possible chance to comply with a policy contrary to their beliefs and I have less chance of having to deal with them inflicting their beliefs on me in ways contrary to law, basic manners and decency, and in ways detrimental to our shared work.

          You shouldn’t assume all deeply religious people will have this kind of issue, but if you’re familiar with the major tenants of the religion and know it’s been an ongoing clash specific to their beliefs, then the company should take reasonable steps to set clear expectations ahead of time. There’s a big space between banning people from certain religions from work and letting them trample on tye people their religion hates, and it involves communication and clear expectations. Demonizing basic communication about known culture clashes is exactly the wrong way to go if you want everyone to have a fair shot in shared spaces.

          1. Observer*

            except that certain religions literally preach those two things of their followers, and the actions that the fellow managers suggest taking are just to emphasize the parts of the employee handbook that may contradict certain religious beliefs.

            Have you bothered to actually look at FACTS? At the LAW? Or even just read any of the comments here?

            The FACTS are that whatever those religions preach does NOT mean that an adherent of that religion is going to be a lot more likely to proselytize than others. Therefore “just” emphasizing anything based on a fact-free, religiously based stereotype is both gross and illegal.

            Telling them what the policies in the handbook are isn’t accusing them of bad behavior, it’s making clear the conduct expected in the office and putting the latter group on notice that if they follow their religion over the handbook, they may get disciplined or fired.

            It’s also assuming that the former group either don’t exist or ONLY exist because you’ve put them on notice – which is provably false. And it ALSO assumes that people who are NOT part of those religions are NOT likely to use their beliefs to mis-behave.

            Which is to say that you are making gross assumptions about who needs to be “put on notice” based purely on speculation tied to religion with no factual basis for that speculation.

            And yes, I think folks who we have specific reasons to believe will treat people desperately should get talked to upfront, so that they have the best possible chance to comply with a policy contrary to their beliefs

            The problem here is that you “specific reason” is actually a figment of your imagination. Bigotry is not the province of “conservative” or “religious” people.

            Demonizing basic communication about known culture clashes is exactly the wrong way to go if you want everyone to have a fair shot in shared spaces.

            Except that this is not what’s happening, since there actually is NOT a “known culture clash” that tends to play out in offices.

            1. Three Flowers*

              Hang on a second. There definitely *are* religious traditions whose adherents are more likely to proselytize *because proselytizing is an essential component of practicing their religion*. LDS members are trained to proselytize. Evangelicals place a lot of importance on bringing people to Jesus—it’s literally in the name! Conversely, there are religious groups who proselytize very little or not at all. How many Jewish people do you know who proselytize? How many Pagans? (Rhetorical questions: these are traditions with little or no proselytizing.) I would like to say the political leanings of groups more inclined to proselytize are irrelevant, but people who think everything ought to be run according to their faith-based morality (at least in the US) are also more likely to involve their religion in their professional lives.

              Anyway, none of that is to say that a person who belongs to an Evangelical church *will* proselytize at work or should be judged accordingly in the hiring process. I think the appropriate approach is telling all candidates, “we have lots of employees and clients from diverse backgrounds and one of our employment expectations is that everyone will be treated with equity and respect.” But your comment is a little over the top.

              1. Observer*

                There definitely *are* religious traditions whose adherents are more likely to proselytize *because proselytizing is an essential component of practicing their religion*.

                That does NOT mean that they do this IN THEIR WORKPLACE. And, experience shows that they tend not to. Certainly, the people here who have had experience with JW say that AT WORK they simply do NOT proselytize. That’s the issue here, not what they do outside of work.

                1. Anon4This*

                  I’ve had real life experience interacting with JW people/the JW church, when I lived with an ex-BF who grew up in that ‘religion’ and his mom.

                  Once you see it from the inside, it becomes obvious that it’s a cult, and it’s scary AF. I wouldn’t trust one any more than I’d trust a Scientologist or Moonie.

        3. Quack Quack No*

          Hey, let’s judge everyone in XYZ demographic based on gross and tired stereotypes, and base their employment offers on that. We’ll see how well you like it.

          Here’s an example! As a child I was taught in Sunday School, in an evangelical church, that gay and lesbian people were child molesters and shouldn’t be hired as teachers.

          Which does not mean “turnabout is fair play”, of course. But I bring it up because this is not a discussion about what people *are* but what some people have *done*. Not a few people from various denominations of Christianity have indeed proselytized at their workplaces (indeed, in my aforementioned childhood I was taught that I should do as an adult), so it doesn’t help the true statement “it is wrong to discriminate in hiring based on religion” by pretending that this has never happened.

      2. Anonymous this time*

        People of all religions or lack there of do bad and questionable things. People of all religions or lack there of do good things. There’s no reason for them to make a plan for how to approach her about being a bigot or trying to convert her coworkers until they see actual behavior that suggests this might happen. I am religious. I don’t talk about it at work or try to convert anyone. I am not conservative and I work with a diverse team. I know that there are some religious people who try and convert their coworkers, but there are also atheists who try to talk people out of believing God. This is just unnecessary at this stage and is based on assumptions.

      3. Tuesday*

        Preemptively reminding her that “respect and dignity in the workplace for all employees is taken seriously,” when they don’t do that for other new people, is treating her differently. They just need to see how things play out and step in if there are problems — like they should do with everyone.

        1. Wendy*

          I believe that God provides the job he wants you *general you* to have, but I would not bring up religion in an interview.

          I would just ask God to provide the job he wants me to have when I am interviewing for a job.

          I would also ask God to help me be the best I can be at the interview.

          1. pancakes*

            Every single one of these sentences is about yourself and your beliefs. How do they pertain to the letter writer?

    7. Tirv*

      Exactly. “Plus, people who don’t talk about religion during interviews can still turn out to be zealots…” . People who don’t talk about being a racist during interviews can still turn out to be racists.

      1. Observer*

        This is true. In addition, people can wind up being evangelists for all sorts of things. Whether it’s the eco-freak or the believer in the ONE TRUE Right way to eat(TM) or whatever it is, people can let their beliefs lead off the deep end in the workplace.

        So instead of worrying about what someone MIGHT thing, listen to what they say and watch what they do as part of your hiring process. Then continue to keep an eye on things, in case you missed something. And do it for EVERYONE, because you never know who is going to be the one who needs to convert every one to the One True Way (whatever it is.)

        If anyone is skeptical, just look at the archives here.

    8. Lucy Skywalker*

      Agreed! I was just coming here to post this same sentiment and say that it’s discrimination. It’s also prejudiced to assume that a person will harass their coworkers just because they believe in a higher power that millions of people have also believed in for thousands of years, and that they belong to a community of fellow believers.

      1. pancakes*

        Just about everyone here agrees that religious discrimination is bad, and in any case it’s illegal in the US. That said, people who are part of the community you refer to don’t always have an accurate sense of what feels like harassment to people outside of the community.

      2. Anon4This*

        They are worried that the employee might evangelize because they know the employee is part of a particular sect that is well known specifically *for* evangelizing to people.

        Trying to pass this off as “just because they believe in a higher power/belong to a community of fellow believers” misses that point entirely.

        1. mw*

          Yes, that group is known for door to door evangelism. That group is not known for being overly pushy in their everyday lives. To want to change how you do orientation for that one specific person for that one specific reason is discriminatory. As it eliminating them from consideration for the job. Again, those with reservations for that candidate are doing so based on their own preconceived notions.

          Every religion has a tenet to spread the word and to encourage others to join. Some are more outspoken than others. But if you want mark it as a red-flag for one, it should be a red flag for all.

          1. Lokifan*

            No, MANY religions lack a tenet to spread the word and attempt to convert! That’s a deeply Christian-centric view.

            1. mw*

              I did not say they have a tenet to attempt to convert. I specifically said encourage others to join for a reason. However the two largest religions in the world are proselytizing religions. The third largest is not, only because they believe that it’s a way of living and, in absolute reality, not a religion, so there’s no real way to convert to it.

  2. Heidi*

    For Letter 1, I would have found it unusual to see someone clip their fingernails during a meeting, but if the person were an otherwise good manager, I like to think I’d overlook it as a harmless idiosyncrasy. Maybe he had a really bad hangnail or something and it was really bugging him. It’s not great for an interview, though, because all the interviewee knows about him now is that he clips his nails during interviews without any other mitigating context.

    1. Cat Tree*

      Yeah, since it was only two clips, I thought of a hangnail. He was clearly trying to be discreet about it too. But I’m prone to hangnails so I get it. Sometimes you just need to deal with it right away.

      1. Artemesia*

        Nothing ‘discreet’ about taking care of basic grooming in an interview. The candidate would have been rightly repulsed by his lack of self control and interest in the interview.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Yeah, I have a coworker who clips their nails in the team space, and I had to tell them to stop multiple times because our organization has clients in all the time and any personal grooming tasks (nail clipping, makeup, hair, toothbrushing, etc.) to be done in the ample and spacious restrooms. And that wasn’t even at an interview, that was just day-to-day work (and it grossed out a couple of their coworkers who are lower down the food chain and didn’t feel they could complain).

          Also, clipping hangnails generally doesn’t make the distinctive clipping sound that nails do, so I think that’s giving the clippy boss a little too much credit.

    2. Social Commentator*

      A painful hangnail was also the first thing that I thought of, and may have been the reason for the restlessness — he may have thought he was being discreet (oops) and the discomfort may have been distracting him from focusing on the interview.

    3. anonymous73*

      I would have been annoyed because it’s rude. “Oh I’m sorry, am I boring you?” An interviewer needs to be focused on the interview and take care of personal matters (unless urgent) afterwards.

      1. Loulou*

        Yeah, it’s super rude and I’d be really put off that it happened during an interview, when all parties should presumably be on their best behavior. I don’t think I’d turn down a role over it, but it would definitely be a strong mark in the minus column.

      2. Wintermute*

        exactly, it’s not about the act it’s about the social signalling behind it.

        Right or wrong in our culture nail grooming is a supremely disrespectful gesture of dismissal. A “I find what’s under my nails more interesting than what you’re saying to me” sort of thing.

        It’s sending all the wrong signals, it’s exceedingly informal in a situation where a mismatch in formality tone is jarring, it’s self-focused in a situation where the respectful thing is to focus on the other party, and it has connotations of being dismissive and uninterested.

  3. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    I’d rather hear – and even see – someone clip their nails than chew them. As long as there aren’t flying nail projectiles, it’s a pretty minor thing to me.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        I walked into my boss’s office – the door was open – and there he was, sitting on his couch, feet on the coffee table, clipping his toenails. I retreated so fast I left skidmarks.

        Thankfully he cleaned up but I could never sit at that coffee table again without thinking about it. Ick.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I’ll see you and raise the boss I had in a job wayy back who was once caught in his office trimming his toenails…

        …with his teeth.

    1. Distracted Librarian*

      Literally once saw a co-worker clip his toenails… at the reference desk.

      I wish I were making that up.

  4. cncx*

    for OP 1, In the defense of nail clipper, if I see I have a hangnail I will pick at it until I clip it and I would definitely whip out a nail clipper for one or two raggedy cuticles because it will annoy me to the point of not being able to concentrate if I don’t. I wouldn’t do an all out manicure tho

    1. Mongrel*

      I’m similar. I’m incapable of not worrying a hangnail or a chip\split, I’ve really tried hard to not do it but am unable to break that habit.
      Since I will gnaw my nails to the point of bleeding and, later, infection keeping some nail clippers handy is, unfortunately, my best solution.

      1. Artemesia*

        I don’t think someone who can’t exercise more self control than this should be a manager or be interviewing people for jobs. People need to pick their noses when they need it; people are annoyed by their underpants riding up; sometimes shoes are uncomfortable and people prefer to sit in their stocking feet. Professionals nevertheless exercise self discipline and don’t pick their pants or their nose or clip their nails during an interview.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            Not really. If I were an interviewee, I’d be put off by someone picking their nose or wedgie or clipping their nails. Interviews are where all involved are generally on their best behavior, and, if one’s best behavior is grooming themselves while we’re talking – especially without any sort of, “I’m terrible sorry, but I need to excuse myself for just a moment,” or other explanation (like it’s NORMAL to haul out your clippers during a business meeting), it’s not going to leave me with a favorable impression of the interviewer or the organization. Maybe at a more casual organization, this is no big deal, but it is Not Done in my industry.

            1. Miss Ames*

              I agree with NotAnother Manager!…..right, interviews are best behavior scenarios….if that is the best, what happens on the job? (ugh. the sound of clipping nails…..)
              Also Artemesia put it so well – thank you, Artemesia! you were spot on in your comments, and I appreciate also that I got a nice chuckle out of your wording :-)

          2. Wintermute*

            no, it’s really not. Consider the signals it sends. It’s telling the interviewee that you’re focused on yourself not on them at all, and that you are not just distracted but not paying them any attention. In an interview the respectful thing is to put your attention on the other party, and if you find you can’t do that, excuse yourself, rectify the situation and return. you owe them that.

            Job interviews are Big Deals to many candidates. It’s easy to forget that for a candidate, especially one who might only get an interview or two a month, this is the culmination of a selection process and a lot of work, anxiety, research and even practice.

            This could be a moment that decides their future, in a very real way, to be more focused on your nails than the candidate when this is a potentially crucial moment in their life is shockingly disrespectful.

        1. Candi*

          After consideration, and especially if this is the hiring manager, I’d be wondering if this is a one-off, or if this manager has a habit of being distracted by trivial matters when trying to discuss something important, and that the manager doesn’t even hold the person he’s having the discussion with in enough basic esteem to excuse or pardon themselves for a moment.

  5. Fancy Owl*

    For #1 I was picturing him pulling out the clippers and clipping his fingernails openly in front of the interviewee but it sounds like he was discreet about it. Honestly, I wish that quickly trimming a nail or a hangnail wasn’t considered such a breach of etiquette. I get hangnails constantly and I tend to pick at them when I’m distracted or talking. I’ve walked out of meetings before having to hide my fingers because I’ve accidentally made myself bleed. I think that’s way more gross than me just clipping my hangnail real quick but I’m afraid people will notice the clip sound and I don’t bring my purse to meetings. So anyway, if that manager was interviewing me I’d be like, I’ve found my people! Lol

    1. pancakes*

      Simply not picking at it remains an option for many, if not most, people. The commenters who’ve said they can’t resist should consider excusing themselves and briefly visiting a bathroom to clip it, just the same as they would if they urgently needed to use the bathroom for more common purposes.

      1. Aquawoman*

        I’m going to vote with normalizing that people have bodies that occasionally need minor tending over requiring random marshmallow tests for no good reason.

        1. Loulou*

          Sorry, expecting interviewers to not clip a hangnail in the middle of an interview is not imposing a marshmallow test for no good reason! I realize people have bodies that need tending…but many types of tending are considered private! We can squabble over whether nail clipping SHOULD be considered a private activity, but as it stands now, doing what OP’s boss did will come off very unusually and poorly for a lot of people.

        2. RagingADHD*

          Minor tending to bodily needs is exactly why the bathroom is there.

          I don’t even know what you mean about the marshmallow test. Who ever said that was a normal part of an interview or business meeting? It isn’t, so I’m not sure why one would have a binary choice between marshmallow tests vs nail clipping.

          How about neither? Because neither of them are normal.

        3. pancakes*

          This isn’t a random marshmallow test. Tending to bodily needs this way can and generally should be done in the bathroom. Maybe some day it will become normalized to do it in places like a job interview, but it certainly isn’t right now.

        4. Smithy*

          I’m more aligned with Aquawoman and Fancy Owl on this one. Activities that are considered segregated to the bathroom or home can truly fluctuate – etiquette around sneezing/coughing have always been more in flux but that’s certainly something that’s all over the place now.

          I once bought Pepto Bismol (the pink drinkable stomach/heartburn relief medicine in the US) and drank some of it on the sidewalk after leaving the store. A stranger felt very comfortable telling me that was disgusting and should be done in private. So…..preferences do vary….

          That’s to say, in my last job I did keep nail clippers at my desk in a relatively open concept and if I had a hangnail/torn nail would aim to discretely fix it at my desk and not the bathroom. Not during a meeting, but also not in the bathroom. People’s lines on “discreet” and what does or does not meet that definition is going to hit a spectrum for sure.

          1. pancakes*

            Right, but the etiquette around nail clipping in job interviews doesn’t fluctuate nearly as widely as you seem to believe it does. I’m not sure what those of you who want to normalize this want to hear. If you want to clip your nails anywhere you have the urge to and see what sort of reactions you get, you are of course free to do so, but there are many situations where many people are going to think it’s a bit gross.

        5. Falling Diphthong*

          I think it’s odd to trim bits off your body in the middle of a meeting. Split ends, hangnails, toenails. Same if you start pulling threads off your clothes.

          I wouldn’t blink at someone attending to the hangnail or snagged fingernail at their desk in an open area. (Where a full trim of all the nails would be out, but a quick correction to a single problem that just arose is normal.) But it’s unusual to do in any sort of meeting, as it suggests you find your fingernails more interesting than anything the other person is saying.

        6. EventPlannerGal*

          Real question: why? Conducting minor personal tasks in the middle of an interview is quite rude and disrespectful towards the candidate, especially if it’s something like grooming that basically signals that the interview that the candidate has prepared and taken time out of their day for is your nail-tending time. Any sort of personal grooming that involves clippings flying around is also considered a bit gross and untidy. There are also several very simple ways to deal with this, such as excusing yourself to the bathroom at a quiet moment or waiting until after the interview to do it, or just not picking your nails. I don’t really see the benefit in normalising this when there are some pretty good reasons that it isn’t normal.

          1. Galadriel's Garden*

            Yes! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I am a chronic picker – to the extent of actual, disordered dermatillomania – and I literally cannot imagine bringing out a pair of nail clippers during an *in person interview*, omg. If a hangnail or broken nail was bothering me that much, I would excuse myself to the bathroom to go deal with it – it’s incredibly rude to the interviewee both because you are blatantly not paying attention, and because you’re now subjecting them to fingernail clippings in a situation that they are stuck in. Offices are shared spaces and there are certain things that are not okay to subject your colleagues to, especially when there are other perfectly acceptable options available – like the bathroom. Just grab the clippers and go deal with it in there for five minutes!

        7. Wintermute*

          it’s normal to have bodily needs! sure!

          But it’s also important that you ensure you can put your focus on a candidate in recognition of the fact this interview is probably a Big Deal to them. If something’s impairing that ability, you excuse yourself and fix it then resume. Even that’s less than ideal (they may lose their train of thought, get nervous, etc) but even so, being distracted and inattentive when they’re A) trying to impress you and B) there’s a massive power differential that means you can, effectively, be as rude as you like and they’ll never say anything.

      2. Librarian of SHIELD*

        Then apparently I’m not “most people,” because I have the exact same problem as Fancy Owl.

  6. FallingSlowly*

    Letter #4, best practice would surely be to make it part of your company culture that employees (existing and new) are aware “that [store] is a diverse workplace and respect and dignity in the workplace for all employees is taken seriously”. That should be your standard and all staff held to it, which makes for a good workplace for all, and also eliminates the need to discriminate.

    I went to an interview last year where part of the “who we are” introduction by the two directors was quite explicit that they are a company committed to equal opportunity for all, and expect that anyone working for them would be respectful towards all of their diverse colleagues. Something like that could be part of your interview process as well.

    1. Moi*

      Ironically the company is discriminating against her based on their preconceived notions about her religion.

      1. Student*

        That’s an assumption you’re making, though. If it’s a religion that expressly and publicly holds that, for example, women are inferior to men and shouldn’t be alone in a room together unless married, then it’s not really a preconceived notion about the religion. It’s just taking notice of that religion’s own public advertising, and realizing those publicly-stated posions are contrary to the company’s values, business needs, and legal obligations.

        We don’t know whether that’s the situation we’re dealing with or not, but it’s at least as likely to be the scenario I’m putting forward as the one you’re putting forward.

        1. mw*

          Actually, it’s less likely to be like the situation you described. The managers, (and even the LW) have reservations based simply on it being work at a religious organization. There were no red flags in the interview. If the organization has a open history of intolerance to certain people, then you could dismiss them as a potential poor fit with the office dynamics. LW said nothing to suggest that this might be the case.

        2. Lucy Skywalker*

          It’s not an assumption. They LITERALLY are considering treating her differently because of her religion.

        3. Colette*

          The public positions of the religion don’t matter because the company isn’t hiring a religous group, they are hiring an individual. The world is full of people who are members of religions but who don’t agree with every thing the religion teaches.

          1. Candi*

            (Agreeing) Some of them haven’t left such religions because of social pressure, others because they’d have to shed a part of their life-long identity, and that is very hard. It doesn’t mean the individual person agrees with outdated beliefs.

        4. Curious*

          What if those are the applicant’s religious beliefs? If you discriminate based on those — however noxious they may be– rather than their actions, you are violating Title VII.

    2. Janeric*

      I have seen it as an interview question — “how have you worked to promote diversity/encourage justice /prevent discrimination in previous jobs”.

      Either way of adres has the added benefit of potentially being a plus for candidates from diverse backgrounds — or at least providing them with an opening to discuss any questions that they have about the workplace.

    3. Recycle Bin*

      The diversity and equality thing is lip service. Was talking to a guy who was having zero interviews, even for a job as a dishwasher. He was white, high school graduate, and a non-violent felon. Where is his equal opportunity?

  7. Yet Another Office Manager*

    #4 – I work at a religious organization that focuses on accessibility to religious education for children in all sects of our religion, as well as training religious leaders, teachers and parents on how to facilitate accessibility and inclusion. Our fully accredited staff members also train teenagers in being aides and partners to disabled people aged 3-18 at our standalone religious school. I would be incredibly disappointed in any workplace that denigrated our volunteers for learning this important set of skills (and who are now advocates and therapists and teachers) in a religious setting.

  8. SandrineSmiles - At work (France)*

    1) Clipping nails at an interview? Oh my goodness. As the potential employee, I’d probably run unless I was desperate T_T .

    2) It’s terrifying how much busybodies will report things that are none of their business. I keep reading story after story with this kind of stuff happening. People won’t report dangerous things because they’re not tattetales or they don’t want issues, and then this… yikes.

    4) I’d be wary too, I’ll be honest. However, as religion is a part of a lot of people’s lives, a simple mention of it, even in this context, wouldn’t bother me. Just watch the person’s behavior if you’re that worried. But let’s all remember that religion exists and just because you don’t have one or don’t participate doesn’t mean others do it the same way :P … let’s not jump to conclusions too quickly ^^

    5) Just… no. Don’t. It would be weird to send it to HR if you’re an actual employee (although I have done it, in my time, while on vacation, to my current boss to playfully nag him about being on a nice beach when he was not – we had a relationship that made this possible). This won’t make you look better to a company.

  9. Papillon Celeste*

    #4 Wouldn’t a very broad and general approach be a good idea for all new hires?
    So along the line: welcome to [company]. I’m very glad you’re part of the team now! We take our employees wellbeing very seriously and hope to create a tolerant and diverse culture, so please, if there’s ever anything making you unsure or uncomfortable don’t be shy to talk to me just like all your colleagues do!
    It would signal to the new employee that she’s welcome but also give a little heads up that people can complain if they feel proselyted.
    Only if it’s true of course.

    1. Cat*

      The principle is good, might work on it a little though as ‘just like all your colleagues do’, without more context, kind of sounds like colleagues complain a lot?

    2. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      I think sending the employee handbook together with the offer should be standard practice. It gives the applicant important information about what they are signing up for (hours, benefits, HR procedures and their level of bureaucracy/flexibility, etc.), and therefore makes a successful hire more likely.
      In many (non-US) countries, a lot of this is part of employment contracts and/or collective bargaining agreements, i.e. the employer will not be able to unilaterally change the conditions of employment; the US is the outlier there.

      1. UKDancer*

        Certainly in most of the companies I’ve worked for in the UK a part of the staff handbook has covered the policy on diversity, values and also around things like raising a grievance and dealing with bullying and harassment and new employees are automatically sent it.

        Then on arrival there’s usually some mandatory training you have to do and this usually covers diversity and inclusion as well as things like handling sensitive information and cyber security. I think this should be part of standard onboarding so everyone knows what the company’s values and rules and procedures are. That way nobody can say they weren’t aware.

        1. pancakes*

          Both of these (handbook and mandatory training) have been standard at just about every job I’ve had in the US too, with the exceptions being two very small companies I worked for in the 1990s.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      Daughter did diversity training in her university’s orientation week (“You’re going to be meeting people from a wider array of backgrounds than you probably experienced before…”), and it was placed there specifically to head things off before they became problems. Treating it that way could make sense.

      I just wouldn’t single her out. “It wasn’t until we hired a… Unitarian…. that we realized we should warn people about forcing their religious views on others.” Some religious folk have figured out that being happy and centered and engaged in helping the community is the best possible proselytizing for their faith. (Also applies to diet and exercise programs, and anything else people get zealoty about.)

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        I currently work for a company that has mandatory training on various subjects, DE&I included. That session covered appropriate responses to inappropriate behaviors and comments, and also what is *not* inappropriate. Sometimes, people really don’t know what is or isn’t appropriate, and how their reactions might be (part of) the problem.

        For example, ‘I’m helping out with a bake sale at my church this weekend,’ or ‘We’re going on a church family retreat next month’ isn’t considered inflammatory or proselytizing. There would be no defensible reason to report the employee to HR, and bringing the hammer down on someone just sharing their weekend or vacation plans would be a problem.

        Leaving religious pamphlets on desks, demanding a group prayer before a meeting, or witnessing to unwilling teammates – or even willing ones, but in the presence of unwilling teammates – is another story. That’s not appropriate workplace behavior, and could/should be reported.

      2. Lalala*

        I don’t disagree with the substance of this, but is it really “proselytizing” to be engaged with your community while being part of a religious group? (I get what youre saying, but would just quibble with that wording. Being a religious person who is engaged in one’s community is a far cry from actively trying to convert your coworkers.)

        1. Lucy Skywalker*

          According to some religious people, yes, helping people in need is an indirect way of proselytizing. It lets the people in need know that their religious organization is one that cares about their neighbors, and increases the chance that they will join the religion. I don’t know how often people actually join a religion that helped them when they were need, but yes, there are people who say that.

    4. NerdyKris*

      I’d say you’d get a better result if the company just made sure complaints were taken seriously. All he diversity statements in the world don’t work if concerns are ignored. If someone is going to discriminate, then ideally the culture of the workplace would encourage people to speak up and report their concerns to HR.

  10. Workerbee*

    #1, I am iffy on, because the last boss I had would clip his fingernails into a little garbage can beneath his desk while we were on Zoom meetings. As in, even if you didn’t hear the SH- CLIP at irregular intervals, and somehow miss the copious times he’d look down to ensure the clipper was lined up properly, you’d probably at least see him drag the can over during the meeting and then returning it to its usual place after he was done, still during the meeting.

    As said boss also wasn’t invested in getting anything done, ever, and in fact would actively prevent progress, this became another part of an already useless experience that was indeed mentioned among us in private, and not to his benefit.

    But I realize this is a rather specific set of personality traits and that an isolated clippering would have been taken as a distracting if mostly benign quirk had he not been the person he was.

    1. ecnaseener*

      I think for some people it’s not just distracting but also gross — even if you don’t see the clippings, for some people the mere knowledge that fingernails are being separated from their fingers seems to gross them out. That’s why it’s seen as rude and not just a quirk — you don’t needlessly gross people out.

  11. Falling Diphthong*

    Re #1, someone here described a friend’s interview at a tech start-up where she was offered a beanbag chair (and no other seat), a beer (and no other beverage), and the large office dog would come by and lick her occasionally. Which was an accurate depiction of what it would be like to work there, so commenters concluded that while off-putting, it was off-putting in an informative way.

    1. Rayray*

      I bet this place also advertises that they’re looking for rockstars and ninjas to o join their super dynamic team and they have a ping pong table and snacks!

  12. Falling Diphthong*

    #2, your friend made a minor mistake which she quickly corrected. Her coworker made a major mistake and the manager an insanely cruel follow-through.

    If she has the energy this is something worth going to the mat on, pushing back until the company apologizes and re-examines their actions. BUT it is also okay to be too tired and to want to move on. If she doesn’t have the emotional reserves to fight this, then be in her corner assuring her both that the company is terrible and that it’s okay to just focus on recovering, and things that make her feel stronger.

    1. EPLawyer*

      I just love Alison’s answer. Apparently short and to the point is not a recent phenomenon since this letter is from 2015. It is bullshit. Coworker needs to mind her own damn business.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I actually think the longer answers with more nuance are a newer phenomenon. Early responses are short-medium on average.

      2. IndustriousLabRat*

        And what sort of human sees that photo, and between the options of thinking, “Wow, this person is brave; good for her taking control of her own recovery story!” instead thinks, “Oooo! Ooo00OOOoo! Gossip fodder, better run to tell the Boss!!!” I would have a hard time looking that soulless sack of soup stirring snakes in the eye ever again.

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          The co-worker is spending a lot of time trolling FB if she was able to spot a photo in the 15-minute window time frame that it was up and still has enough time to report it to the manager. She did your friend a favour by showing how untrustworthy she is.

        2. tessa*

          “soulless sack of soup stirring snakes”

          So Shakespearean. Nice alliteration, too.

          Also, I agree with you. Cannot stand people like the co-worker.

        3. quill*

          Great description: watched the grinch (original cartoon one) a few days ago and now random lines from “you’re a mean one Mr. Grinch” are coming up in my brain.

          Let’s see…

          You’re a Sneaker, Mr. Grinch.
          Your soul’s a sack of snakes,
          You’re a nosy lurking cook who just has to stir the pot Mr. GRiiiiiiiINCH!
          I wouldn’t trust you with a 15 minute photo.

          *Steps back* It doesn’t quite scan, though…

    2. learnedthehardway*

      Yes – this is a good situation in which to involve HR and make the point that the manager and coworker were being discriminatory on the basis of a medical condition. Because a) they were doing exactly that, and b) they were unfair and cruel, and deserve to be called on the carpet for it.

  13. Rayray*

    I don’t know what it is about nail clipping but it grosses me out so much. I think it’s possibly a misophonia response to the sound. I cringe with each clip noise.

    I can kinda understand if you need to clip a hangnail or something really quickly but I’ve never understood the thought process behind packing the clippers with you to fully clip your nails while at work, church, grocery store line, whatever. Just do it at home.

    1. RagingADHD*

      Having an aversion to other people’s nail clipping is so common, I don’t think it even needs to be classified a misophonia. It is generally regarded as rude because it is unpleasant on several levels.

    2. the cat's ass*

      Personal grooming is just that-personal. I can’t stand hangnails either, and I snip them fast; I also have a nail file because rough edges on my nails drive me batty. But I don’t deploy them when I’m with others and certainly not in an interview setting. That’s just gross and clueless and if someone did that when i was interviewing, I’d be thoroughly repulsed.

  14. anonymous73*

    #1 Unless there’s no other private area to have an interview, you shouldn’t be conducting interviews in your own office anyway. You should be in a neutral location with no distractions. And other than the nail clipping being gross, it’s rude. It tells the interviewee that the nail clipping takes priority over the business at hand. I once had an interview in someone’s office, and he proceeded to take a phone call and check email while I was talking. I still regret not speaking up for myself and walking out of the room right then and there (I did tell the recruiter that I wasn’t sure how he could make a decision about my abilities since he wasn’t even paying attention to what I was saying). In this case, it’s not about the nail clipping. It’s about the message it’s sending to the interviewee.

    1. PT*

      Most of the interviews I’ve had have been in my hiring manager’s office. With the exception of a few bosses who didn’t have offices/had offices too small to fit guests and just did an interview in a conference room or quiet corner of the space.

  15. RagingADHD*

    The irony of LW4 (or their fellow managers, it looks like) being so concerned about diversity, respect, and tolerance that they’ve gone right through to the other side.

    Making assumptions about what kind of employee someone would be because they belong to Protected Group X is straight up prejudice.

    Refusing to hire someone, treating a new hire differently, or giving them special speeches or inventing new “trainings” because of your prejudiced assumptions is discrimination. It isn’t wrong just because it’s illegal. It’s wrong because it is wrong.

    And no, as some commenters suggest, it doesn’t make it better if they institute a new policy to give the same speech to every new hire going forward. I’m sure it would be good policy in general to have such an orientation. Sounds like a lot of the managers should have exactly such an orientation on a weekly basis. But if they invented it just because of their own prejudice against this particular person?

    Crappy. Super crappy and biased.

    They’d get away with it. But it’s still just a CYA to cover up their own prejudice.

    1. tessa*

      “Refusing to hire someone…because of your prejudiced assumptions is discrimination.”

      If someone walks in to an interview with a shirt bellowing a message supportive of the KKK, into the “nope” file s/he goes. Things aren’t as clear-cut as you make them out to be, although I agree that the OP is being unfairly presumptuous.

      1. Observer*

        That’s a perfect example of the bigotry you claim to decry. Spare me the crocodile tears.

        No one proclaimed Nazi beliefs here. And the candidate didn’t express ANY prejudice. The bigotry was totally on the part of the staff who decided they know what’s in her head.

        1. Anononon*

          What are you even talking about? Tessa was responding to one specific line of RagingADHD’s comment, that RagingADHD’s hard and fast rule isn’t so clear-cut/black and white. Tessa is literally agreeing that the OP was being unfair in this case.

          1. Lenora Rose*

            I don’t think so. Nothing in Tessa’s reply actually implies she DOESN’T think that was a valid comparison.

            1. Anononon*

              She quoted a specific line of the original comment to call out that specific part, and she literally said, “although I agree that the OP is being unfairly presumptuous.”

              1. Observer*

                Please. The fact that she makes a disclaimer that the OP’s coworkers are presumptuous is not the point. What IS the point is that she’s claiming that reacting to a Nazi t-shirt is the same as acting on “prejudiced assumptions”. And there simply is no comparison.

        1. Anononon*

          That’s the whole point of Tessa’s comment, that THOUGH THIS TIME WAS NOT ONE OF THEM, there are some times where making assumptions and acting on them are valid.

          1. Loulou*

            I don’t think drawing conclusions about someone who openly belongs to or supports the KKK is “making an assumption,” though.

          2. Observer*

            No. making ASSUMPTIONS is absolutely NOT valid. When someone walks in with a t-shirt with a logo, you don’t have to “make assumptions” about what they think – they are TELLING YOU what they think.

            Equating “assumptions” with explicit communications is, at the very least, dangerous and stupid.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        There are miles of difference between “This is a blond person. I bet they advocate the principles of the KKK” and “This is a person in a KKK T-shirt. I bet they advocate the principles of the KKK.”

        The situation in the letter is the former.

      3. Warlord*

        Religion is a protected class.
        Being a Nazi or a member of the KKK is not.

        It is grossly offensive of you to equate the two.

        1. Liz*

          Since when does “your hard-and-fast rule does not always fit and here’s one example why” translate to “equating”? Hold off on the knee-jerk reactions and actually read what was written.

          1. Warlord*

            I did read what was written. Either it is extremely poorly written, or the poster is equating religion with membership to a hate group.

          2. feral fairy*

            The comment was a combination of a straw man and a red herring though. Religions are a protected class. Hate groups are not. Why would you bring up someone wearing a KKK shirt to an interview in the context of discussing religion based discrimination? I understand the point that tessa was attempting to make, but I don’t see how it’s related to the topic of religious discrimination.

      4. Anonymous for this*

        If someone comes into an interview with a KKK message on a shirt, you aren’t refusing to hire them because of a prejudice assumption that they might support the KKK; you are refusing to hire them because they outright told you (via the shirt) that they support the KKK. This isn’t the same thing at all.

      5. Burger Bob*

        How is that even remotely similar to somebody just citing work experience from religious-affiliated volunteer work?

      6. RagingADHD*

        For heavens’ sake. It’s one thing to parse words. It’s another thing to ignore the definitions of words altogether. The word “assumption” means the interviewer is jumping to a conclusion without evidence. Which is what is happening in this letter (or rather, their colleagues are doing so).

        If someone displays/broadcasts hateful or destructive beliefs, that isn’t an assumption.
        They are actually behaving badly, right out in the open. Nothing to assume about it, you would just be correctly seeing the reality of what they are doing.

    2. Anononon*

      I don’t get the push back on a new training/policy about diversity. So, if they’ve now realized that this training would be beneficial to everyone and would support their mission, it would be crappy of them to institute solely because they realized there was a gap? Would you say that to every remedial action? “Oh, you’re only implementing a new safety policy because you realized that it wasn’t clear when a new employee discussed unsafe actions at an prior workplace.”

      1. UKDancer*

        Personally I think every company / organisation should have a D&I policy. If this company doesn’t then the best thing to do is to roll one out for everyone and run training for everyone regardless of how long they’ve been in the company.

      2. RagingADHD*

        The candidate didn’t discuss “unsafe actions.” The candidate didn’t express any kind of bias or harmful actions themselves. They discussed being a member of a protected class. And the information was discussed in a completely appropriate context — volunteer experience relevant to job skills.

        Please substitute any other protected class, and re-ask the question as to whether it would be crappy to invent an entire policy training to make sure that person doesn’t behave in inappropriate ways someone might ascribe to that group. Not appropriate for a gay person to come to work dressed in the most outrageous Pride parade float costume imaginable? Not appropriate for a person of color to — I dunno, pick your negative stereotype and insert here. The whole construct is steeped in bias.

        I think it would be great if they instituted anti-bias trainings in general – as long as they start with management first, rather than starting with the new hire they are biased against. If they wind up hiring them at all instead of passing over a great candidate (as described by LW) because of that bias.

    3. Behind the curtain*

      Everyone discriminates against other people every single day. Our biases are, in some cases, hard-wired into our brains. Don’t think that your notions of diversity and equality and inclusivity stretch across nations, because they don’t. White people will one day vanish from the planet, along with white guilt, so don’t think for a moment that these ‘sacred beliefs’ will survive beyond that time.

      Be kind to people. Be fair to people. But don’t think this other stuff will last. And, unfortunately, that sucks.

  16. awesome3*

    #2 even if your coworker didn’t have the spoons to go after the employer, I hope you all unfriended the office busybody from Facebook.

  17. tessa*

    So much analysis about nail clipping. It’s not like the guy went on and on, or was doing anything else in addition to (like answering phone calls and e-mails). He hid his hand and was done with it after two clips.

    Not the ideal, but context matters. If I’m unemployed with a family to feed and no other job prospects, and there aren’t any serious red flags, I’ll be looking the other way on the clipped-two-nails-discretely-during-the-interview hiccup, thanks.

    1. Loulou*

      What’s your point? Of course people in a desperate or urgent situation may need to overlook things like this. OP didn’t ask “will anyone take this job?” They asked if they should say something to the boss about this being rude.

    2. anonymous73*

      As I stated above, it’s not about the nail clipping. It’s about the message it sends the person interviewing that the interviewer has to pause to take care of some minor grooming because that’s more important than paying attention to the conversation. It’s about optics here, not the specific act of clipping a fingernail. And nobody is saying to not accept a job because of it.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      Pretty reliably, very small things that seem minor will blow up into lengthy comment threads.
      • Someone moved my candy dish.
      • Can I trim my split ends while sitting at my desk.
      • Anything in the microwave.

    4. turquoisecow*

      It’s possible the candidate didn’t even notice, especially if they were speaking at the time, or thinking about how to answer a question that had just been posed. The manager did it discreetly under the table and it’s not a huge noise.

      Lots of people here are squicked out by fingernail clipping but it’s possible the candidate is not. I’m not.

  18. Jean*

    I put nail clipping in the same category as flossing teeth, possibly worse because it makes a loud, irritating (to some) noise. If it’s truly an emergency, excuse yourself for a moment and step into the bathroom to take care of it. Doing it in an interview is rude and gross, and I would question the judgment and self awareness of anyone who did it.

    1. lilsheba*

      I don’t see the problem, it’s not like they were doing a full on manicure or something. I see no issue with this. It’s petty to be worried about.

      1. pancakes*

        I don’t think those of us who see it as rude are worried about it; it’s just something a lot of people don’t want to see done in public. The only reasons people have offered for not excusing themselves to take care of it privately have been impatience and intrusive thoughts. Obviously the latter is much more of a problem, but people who are merely inpatient to clip their nails can wait until they’re alone or excuse themselves to use a bathroom.

      2. turquoisecow*

        I feel like it’s no more rude than the interviewer looking at his phone for a minute. Does it show that he’s distracted, sure, but only for a moment.

        1. pancakes*

          Do you feel like most people agree with you on that, though? The letter writer was in the room when this happened and was indeed a bit squicked out by it. As someone who rode the subway to and from work for decades before my industry shifted to working from home, I can tell you that public reactions to people looking at their phones on the train (absolutely standard) and clipping their nails on the train (invariably provokes dirty looks) are quite different.

  19. Raezor*

    I realize this is an old column but it seems pretty typical to have a question about how candidates have worked with and supported diverse coworkers/a diverse public. I’d say they should incorporate that.

  20. Lenora Rose*

    Considering that the group I march with in the pride parade IS MY CHURCH, assuming that religious volunteer hours means bigotry absent any other evidence rankles a bit. I know why the assumption happens, but it’s unfair.

    You should, as other have said, highlight your commitment to diversity regardless.

    1. Anon4This*

      It is if someone comes in and says “I’m a I think people are overlooking the fact that the candidate was overtly associated with a cult sect of Christianity that is well known for its over the top proselytizing. I’d be concerned too!

      1. Simply the best*

        And if that concern affected whether or not you hired this person or treated them differently than anyone else, you’d be acting illegally.

  21. Burger Bob*

    Lots of religious people manage to work with diverse coworkers and clients without proselytizing them just fine, even some of the ones who truly are prejudiced. There’s no reason to just assume that this lady will be pushing her religious beliefs on others just based on the mere fact that she’s religious. Address it if it happens. Don’t worry about it until then.

    1. Candi*


      I figure there’s enough Christianity stuff in the world that if someone really wants to know about it, they’ll seek out someone to ask. I’ll just be over here being a professional person.

      Meanwhile, I’m always happy to discuss it from a historical or cultural point if anyone’s interested in those topics. There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t make much sense if you don’t know about Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, and yep, Romans and Egyptians.

  22. OD*

    Lw #4 – Many people separate work from their personal life. They’re just there to make money, not friends. I have certain beliefs that I just know would not be liked by my coworkers, they may call me “judgmental”. Some of them rant to me about their personal business when in the lounge. To be honest, I morally disagree with their life choices. But I just keep my mouth shut and nod my head. I make sure to treat them equal despite knowing this information I dislike. I don’t talk about my own personal business nor do I give opinions to thing irrelevant to the work assignments. This is being professional.

    I find it quite bad you are already having a biased perception of this person based on their religious affiliation. If no conflict has occurred in the workplace or in interview with this person, there is no problem. Don’t invent ones based on their identity.

    1. mw*

      The LW said they were impressed with the candidate and saw nothing that would be a red flag, and they say that they want this potential new employee to be happy and feel welcomed. And in the next breath wants to how to discriminate against them. Going out of your way to bring up the discrimination policies to a new hire just because they did work with a religious group seems to fit making the work space an unwelcoming space. LW is talking about changing the onboarding and orientation process in an attempt to prevent something that even the LW said saw no red flags of happening.

  23. green eggs and yam*

    As long as the only context was “I was in this group that I volunteered for” and it happened to be religious, that’s fine! The only real issue is if the person starts talking about religion at work in any context — there’s literally no reason to. I am in the process of converting to another religion and I feel deeply passionate about the religion — no one at my job knows anything about it, but all my friends do, in great detail.

    I am even delaying conversion b/c one of the classes wouldn’t work with my job, but I did not tell my bosses about that.

    I personally feel that a policy of “never discuss religion at work” would be a good one.

    1. Colette*

      I’m not a fan of never discussing religion at work. Of course no one should try to convert others at work, but mentioning that they need to step away to pray or they have bible study tonight or they are preparing for their child’s religious ceremony on the weekend are all religious comments that would be appropriate at work.

    2. Lenora Rose*

      How far does that go? Don’t mention your choir practice this evening? Don’t mention your reason to request time off is to go to a nephew’s Bar Mitzvah? Don’t explain why you don’t want a ham sandwich or don’t drink? Don’t ever ever dare admit you have a religion?

      A friendly coworker once invited me to a Bible study group he was in, about a decade before I decided to go back to church. I smiled and said no thanks. It struck me as no worse than being invited to the bar when one doesn’t drink or to a book club that isn’t one’s genre.

      1. LC*

        I can’t speak to how green eggs and yam intended it, but how I read it (possibly because it’s how I think) was not saying you can’t mention things or acknowledge your relgion, but when it becomes actual discussion, that’s too far.

        “I’m headed to choir practice after work.”
        “My nephew Timmy has his Bar Mitzvah next weekend, I’m excited to go see him!”
        “I’m spending Saturday morning cleaning up that pond with some other volunteers from my church.”

        Those are all (to me, at least) totally, 100% fine. Because those aren’t *discussing* religion.

        That being said, personally I wouldn’t love for a coworker to ask me to join their bible study. But unless they were particularly descriptive about why they think I needed to go or they refused to accept my “No thanks,” I’d let it go. I don’t think that being invited to book club of a genre you don’t like is a fair comparison though (unless the genre were, I dunno, like “erotic stories about workplace sexcapades” or something).

      2. Anon4This*

        Yeah, no, people inviting me to church/Bible study at work is 100% sneak proselytizing…and that’s EXACTLY why OP is so wary about hiring someone from a cult sect of Christianity well known for its proselytizing. (And abuse! Lots of misogyny and abuse in that church.)

        1. Lenora Rose*

          The person in question literally never once mentioned it again; before they did, I had literally not known they were a Christian (Whereas the person who trained me wore a small cross on a chain, and if she used the word Christ in my presence at all, it was only in the form of the things you say when the computer crashes.) They definitely did no proselytizing. I would have reacted more firmly to that.

    3. Curious*

      I would find a workplace that prohibits discussion of one’s sexual orientation horrible. But if they permit discussion of one’s sexual orientation, but prohibit discussion of one’s own religious beliefs, that sounds like a meritorious case of discrimination based on religion.

  24. Tirv*

    #2 First, on what grounds did the manager discipline your friend? What’s this got to do with her work? Second had it been me, I’d call a meeting with both the busybody and manager and tell them in no uncertain terms that their involvement in my personal facebook choices are none of their business. If there is an HR dept, they’d be my next step to complain.

  25. Gresham*

    The religious person wouldn’t even make it past the resume scan with me; no desire to harbor a potential evangelist in my workplace. The volunteer work listed on their resume would have been enough to disqualify them. Obviously I would find another ostensible reason, but there you have it.

    1. Thursdaysgeek*

      And if you’re in the US (or many other countries), you’re admitting that you flagrantly violate the law. But you cover it up.

      1. Observer*

        Why would you think otherwise? (serious question)

        Don’t you know that anyone who wears Hijab must be a potential terrorist? /sarc

      2. Anon4This*

        Not at all. It’s *Christians* that preach, proselytize, and stick their nose into everyone else’s personal business, not Muslims.

        I was raised secular, and my view of Christians was formed ENTIRELY from my own personal experiences with people who overtly identify as Christian, something I can safely view as a red flag for a toxic personality.
        I’ve met hundreds of Christians over five decades of life, and I can count the ones who actually exemplify Christ’s values on one hand.

        I’ve never had a single negative experience with anyone who identifies as Muslim.

        1. mw*

          I’ve met Muslims that also preach and proselytize. And just about every other religion out there. Just because you personally haven’t witnessed it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

          Also that question was asked in response to someone saying that they automatically disqualify someone if there’s any mention to a religious group. The question was being asked to verify if they truly meant any religious person, or if they meant a certain specific religion. All you did is state that you would discriminate against one specific religion.

    2. Quack Quack No*

      This is illegal, though, and for good reason. Above I argued that the worry about proselytization is based on actual actions by actual people, but the flip side of that is that judging Person B by the actions of Person A is discriminatory, even though they belong to the same group. Even if it’s a self-chosen group as some religions are.

      1. Quack Quack No*

        Self, where did the phrase “in the US” go? it was supposed to go after the word “illegal”

    3. Observer*

      The religious person wouldn’t even make it past the resume scan with me; no desire to harbor a potential evangelist in my workplace.

      I hope you work for yourself. Then at least your illegal and frankly stupid and ignorant behavior would not put an employer at risk.

    4. Candi*

      You know there’s a regulation that you have to hang onto applications and resumes for at least a year? And that the EEOC can request to go through them at any time to make sure you’re not being discriminatory in hiring?

      And they’re very likely to make that request if they get a report that people with religious stuff on their resumes aren’t even getting interviews. People. Talk. The grapevines run old and deep.

      If you’ve tossed all resumes, you’re in violation. If you’ve only tossed resumes with religious stuff, you’re in another kind of violation.

      You’re screwing yourself in at least six different ways. Just follow the flipping law already.

  26. Thursdaysgeek*

    And if you’re in the US (or many other countries), you’re admitting that you flagrantly violate the law. But you cover it up.

  27. meerkat*

    Funny I have had proselytizing from Atheists at a work place years ago, and I’m agnostic. AS for the religious people, they were brutal, sneering and making fun of them all day. But what could they do, it was the Boss doing it!

  28. Ms. Ann Thropy*

    Anyone clipping nails in an interview would be a dealbreaker for me. Disgusting. Rude. Unnecessary.

  29. LaLeona1906*

    An update about the brave cancer survivor and any consequences meted out by the universe to her despicable coworker & manager would satisfy the need in my soul that has already led to a long trek through fingernail clippings and giving Jehovah Witnesses the benefit of the doubt re: proselytizing on my quest for more information this morning. Please?

Comments are closed.