how do I write a peer review for my horrible coworker?

A reader writes:

How do I give an effective peer review of a coworker who I do not like personally and professionally?

We work in a busy medical clinic and our doctors see 30-60 patients a day. We fill a niche need (think specialized pharmacy, but not quite). There are three of us in this location: Lana (she/her), who is the trainer for the 13 other locations, Mike (he/him), and me (she/her.)

Mike got yelled at by a customer, and took it out on me because I hadn’t put notes in. When I asked him to stop shouting at me, he shouted that he was NOT shouting at me. He pouted and sulked for 14 minutes. He left work for the rest of the day without saying anything to Lana or me. Our direct supervisor is in the building maybe once every 10 days.

Mike is openly angry with me and about 20 % of patients. He has flounced off the retail floor saying, “I won’t talk to you if you’re being like that” or “No need to get an attitude with me!” to customers. He will burp audibly in public, and not say excuse me. He had explosive diarrhea in the employee bathroom and left poo all over the seat. Another employee called housekeeping to clean up his literal sh*t. He suffers from depression and gets irrationally angry for small reasons. Yes, I have read most of your posts on accommodating coworkers with mental illness. About once a week, he will refuse to work with a returning patient because of his bad experience with them. He believes in the silent treatment and noticeably pouts.

He has sleep apnea and doesn’t wear his C-Pap machine, so he is often tired when he comes in and routinely falls asleep in his chair at work. I’m talking closed eyes, light snoring. The doctor’s techs and patients apologize for waking him. At work! An actual text message he sent at 8:37 am for his 8:30 shift read: “Hey team. Just about made it to the highway before realizing my phone was sitting on my kitchen table. Too many irons in the fire to be without it today. Sowwy.” Then followed by: “Be there in 12ish.” He arrived at 9:08 am.

Our supervisor Chad did talk to Mike about his tardiness after our doctors complained. The next day, Mike called out sick. I have only worked here a year, and there has never been a week where he is on time. No, it’s not cultural. Mike’s a middle-aged white guy. Yes, Chad is ineffective, because there is no consequence for Mike’s continued tardiness.

It is tough to find a qualified person to fill our niche position, so firing Mike would put a severe work burden on Lana and me. Our location is the busiest location, doing over $1.5 million in sales for the year.

I have been asked to do peer reviews for Lana and Mike. We are asked to evaluate strengths, weaknesses, and how each employee meets the seven listed corporate values. Do I just damn with faint praise? “Mike meets expectations.” Or do I say the truth? “Mike’s mood and mental health issues burden the us and make patients feel unwelcome?

Don’t damn him with faint praise! That’ll just make it easier for Chad to go on not managing him.

Frankly, Chad’s management negligence sounds severe enough that he may not take any action no matter what you say — but this is as clear-cut an opportunity to give input on Mike as you’re likely to get, and you should take advantage of it. If you don’t, you’re basically resigning yourself to living with Mike as he is — and while that might ultimately be where things end up, there’s no point in starting there without at least trying to highlight what’s going on. Plus, managers like Chad often take the path of least resistance; make his current course of non-action more painful by laying out all the problems Mike is causing and he might be nudged into doing something.

That said, you should keep your feedback factual and leave Mike’s mental health out of it. If Mike wants to raise his mental health with Chad and ask for reasonable accommodations, he can do that (although yelling at people and sleeping around customers are unlikely to be considered reasonable accommodations). But his mental health is his to raise; you should keep your feedback focused on what you’re seeing at work, without speculating on the causes.

It’s absolutely fair game — and, I’d argue, necessary — to point out that Mike yells at customers, yells at you, sulks when asked to stop shouting, is angry with 20% of customers, leaves work in the middle of the day without saying anything, refuses to work with returning patients who he doesn’t like, gives people the silent treatment, sleeps at work and in front of customers, is routinely late, and is generally obstreperous and difficult to work with. In fact, to really illustrate what’s going on, I’d group your feedback into three categories — behavior with customers, behavior with coworkers, and reliability — and then list the relevant concerns under each area.

I wouldn’t bother with the burping because it’s not on the same scale as the rest of the issues. The same goes for the toilet incident, which although gross and unacceptable hasn’t been repeated. Including those introduces the risk that you’ll sound like you’re listing anything and everything you don’t like about Mike; you’ll be more credible if you stick to the obvious and severe work issues above. They’re plenty on their own.

I’d begin your written feedback with something like, “Mike’s behavior at work is causing significant difficulties for his colleagues and for our customers, and has made our working environment unpleasant and hard to tolerate. We are at the point where we cannot manage around these problems on our end, and we need a serious and sustained management intervention to resolve the situation.” Then go on to list your three categories and the specifics under each of them, and then end by again stressing the need for solutions.

Also, while I know you said that firing Mike would put a severe work burden on you and Lana, it’s worth considering how that compares to the severe work burden Mike is putting on you both now. There’s a good chance that not being yelled at, not having someone yell at and alienate customers, and not counting on someone who’s not going to show up would go a long way toward making up for whatever gap Mike’s absence would leave. He’s not there or reliable now much of the time anyway! If that were made that permanent and you could subtract all the yelling and attitude issues you’ve got to deal with now, you might come out ahead.

And keep in mind that there’s never any guarantee that any coworker will stay. For all we know, Lana could leave tomorrow if the Mike problems aren’t dealt with — and then you’d be down Lana and still have to deal with Mike. Of the two, it’s better to lose Mike.

Last, if the market where you are is so tight that you’d struggle to replace someone who left, that’s a great sign that you yourself might have an easy time walking away from this situation and into a better job, one with a manager who actually manages. Give that some thought.

Read an update to this letter here

{ 293 comments… read them below }

    1. Unaccountably*

      I would have raged. Ten bucks says he uses the creepy roleplay asterisks when he texts women.

        1. ThatGirl*

          I’ve never heard it termed that way, but basically, roleplay asterisks are when you use asterisks to indicate pretending to do something (e.g. *hugs* or *sticks out tongue at you* or *rolls eyes*) – so if a dude sends something like *tickles you* unsolicited, that’s creepy.

          1. LunaLena*

            I’ve seen creepy roleplay asterisks that are things like *sweating, brushes back hair awkwardly* and *ducks from incoming blow*, coming from guys asking women out for dates. The people who use them seem to think it’s cute and self-deprecating; as someone who came of age in the day of IRC chatrooms and AIM, I find them weird and unnecessary.

            Although it does also remind me of “I put on my robe and wizarding hat” :D

            1. EmmaPoet*

              EW. If I ever got hit on this way I’d be too busy gagging to respond for a moment, but that person would be summarily written off, because yuck.

          2. Selina Luna*

            I used to do this with my college boyfriend. You’re right, though. It is completely creepy when it’s unsolicited.

            1. ThatGirl*

              I mean, I’ve said *hugs* a zillion times over the internet but it was always in context of a friend or someone I was dating!

              1. No Longer Looking*

                Same. I think the term “creepy” is often either misused or overused. People tend to ascribe it to actions that they would have zero issues with in many situations with many of their friends, which shows that it is often not that the action is inherently creepy. Rather, it is the person who is acting creepy, usually by overstepping boundaries or ignoring social norms.

                1. Yorick*

                  If you’ve seen any examples of weird dudes doing this, you might agree with the word creepy.

                  Not all roleplaying asterisks are creepy, but some sure are.

                2. Jora Malli*

                  Creepiness is not a set of behaviors. It’s a lack of understanding of relationship parameters.

                  If my best friend sends me a forehead kiss gif, that feels really sweet. It’s a mark of the closeness of our relationship. If my coworker sends me the exact same gif, that’s creepy. It assumes a level of intimacy that’s not present in the relationship. It’s not the gif that’s creepy. It’s the overstepping.

                3. ThatGirl*

                  No, I was saying that when I did it, it wasn’t creepy because of the context. It IS creepy when someone who you either don’t know or don’t have that kind of relationship with does it. So yeah, it’s not the “roleplay asterisks” that are creepy, it’s the context/the person doing it.

                4. Nina*

                  creepy roleplay asterisks are creepy roleplay asterisks when they’re used to indicate behaviors that would be creepy or downright scary when done in person. If that bar isn’t met, they’re just weird and offputting roleplay asterisks.

                5. magnificat*

                  That’s what creepy often is, though – acting in a way that oversteps the degree of intimacy that actually exists. My husband kisses me on top of my head, not creepy. My friend, ehhhh, I really wish they wouldn’t. My boss? Aaaaa. And I feel more or less the same about someone writing what is effectively asterisk-based fiction about the interaction we’re having. If we’re not already close enough to goof around like that (and if we are we’ve probably been friends since the 00s), it just feels like a way to manipulate the interaction by casting me in a particular role.

                6. Elle*

                  I think the creepy version tends to be more specific than *hugs*(think more *gazes longingly*), or used excessively. An isolated *hugs* is fine, it’s just the example of this style of online communication that is most widely recognized.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        I had a coworker as bad as this but think in the office, and management wouldn’t do a thing about him. Coworker was in at least one protected category, so that may have been the reason. I wound up leaving my job to quit the coworker (and the boss who would not do a thing about the coworker).

        1. Nameless in Customer Service*

          As someone supposedly in a protected category[1] it always infuriates me to hear when management uses that as an excuse to not deal with a terrible employee. I know (from experience!) that terrible employees (and even not-terrible but unsutiable ones) can be fired for cause with a little documentation. This is sheer laziness and cowardice on management’s part.

          [1] IANAL but from what I understand we all are in protected categories — it being illegal to fire someone because of their race is as true for someone White as for someone Black, and so on.

          1. relaxy*

            It also infuriates me to hear people speculate in this way because it perpetuates racist/ableist/sexist myths about disadvantaged people (being unfireable, getting jobs because of hiring quotas, etc).

            1. Amethystmoon*

              Coworker did nearly everything incorrectly and I spent multiple hours, including having to request overtime, to clean up after him. He was retrained at least twice. Not to mention, there was some gender-based harassment on his part on me, which I actually had to go to the manager to stop.

              Again, I don’t know why manager refused to fire this guy but I wound up having to leave that job+. I do know that if I had engaged in coworker’s behavior, I would have been fired.

              1. BongoFury*

                I’ve definitely been in that situation. My manager even told me “sorry but they are XXX” so HR won’t touch them. Ugh.

                1. BongoFury*

                  Oh and to reply to myself, I’ve had it go the OTHER way too. We had an engineer that was a terrible employee but in competition to be an astronaut through NASA. The company kept him specifically because they wanted “Astronaut Mike – from Company X!” as publicity.
                  He didn’t get the astronaut gig and then we were just stuck with Mike, a dejected and rejected astronaut.

              2. LittleMarshmallow*

                We have one like that too. Absolutely awful at the job and has been for at least 5 years. Earlier management hadn’t caught up yet because she’s good at getting others to do her work for her and then take credit. As managers are catching up there’s some “well she’s a new mom and had a miscarriage almost 2 years ago so HR probably won’t let us touch her”. At least now they’re allowing documentation of behavior to happen, but it could still be a long road. I also would probably have more patience for new mom and such if… she hadn’t been terrible before that. Her lack of meeting expectations has nothing to do with that.

              3. Nameless in Customer Service*

                Again, I don’t know why manager refused to fire this guy

                Oh. I replied more sympathetically above because I thought you’d had it heard or implied that management was unwilling to deal with him due to being “in a protected class”. If you don’t know at all that’s different — then it’s just “reverse bigotry” speculation. This guy sounds like a massive asshole, absolutely unjustified in his horribleness and harassment, but it’s not as if no one has ever suffered at the hands of a massive asshole who is a White guy and thus conceptualized as “not being in any protected classes”, or seen said White guy kept on after committing many misdeeds that would get most of the rest of us fired.

    2. ChemistryChick*

      Ugh, yes. I can hear the condescension/sarcasm dripping from that word and it’s rage inducing.

      1. Presea*

        There’s a nonzero chance it was an autocorrect or something if he uses ‘sowwy’ in other contexts, such as with a close friend who enjoys or doesn’t mind talking in such cutesy and syrupy tones or if it’s just slang to him or something. I have text-based social conversations where I speak in ways I would never even remotely consider using in text-based work conversations. It can sometimes be tricky to reign my phone in from inserting the weird and cutesy into places where it absolutely doesn’t belong. This still doesn’t look great in the context of everything else, though.

        1. Double A*

          If it was an autocorrect error, and it wasn’t immediately followed by a “Darn it, autocowwect!” then I’m sowwy, it’s unacceptable.

        2. Jora Malli*

          A grown adult person typing “sowwy” so often that his phone autocorrects to it from an actual recognized word is a whole different kind of weird and uncomfortable.

            1. Tia*

              Indeed. It says that they are an adult, reasonable, intelligent human being, which is MUCH more than can be said about them.

        3. ChemistryChick*

          It’s the context that OP provided about the rest of Mike’s behaviour that makes me believe it as absolutely intentional.

        4. Dawbs*

          Not to be that person… but as someone that went through LITERAL YEARS of speech therapy and eventually the movie-levrl bad headgear work to reshape my entire jaw to solve rhotacism… people impersonating speech impedinents as shorthand for baby/cute is ableist.
          As in,its always ableist, even when done with friends.

          1. Presea*

            That’s a really good point, and not one that I was aware of – I always was under a different impression as to where that word came from, so I’m glad you spoke up. I would say then, that if this comes from a place of ableism rather than ignorance, OP should consider adding this to the reasons the peer is creating a hostile work environment. (But to tread carefully so as to not look like she’s nitpicking, as calling out ableist language can sometimes come off as.)

            (Also, to be clear, when I was talking about my own use of cutesy language, I meant like… emoticons like “OwO” – things people would consider cringey or even creepy under certain circumstances, but to my knowledge are completely inoffensive if used between friends who both know one another to enjoy the emoticons and do not have a cringe response to them. I can definitely see how my example is a bit different from what Mike is doing, with this added context and I wish I could edit my previous comment to make this distinction clearer.)

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      My stomach churned when I read that in the letter. I came down to comments and saw yours, and it turned again. I’d add that to the list in the review. “I have concerns about his professionalism.”

      1. Colette*

        I’d leave it out. Professionalism is somewhat subjective, and it doesn’t really strength the case. If Mike were otherwise awesome, the OP would let that go.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          I agree with you now that I let my annoyance pass. The rest of his actions are so obviously horrid, OP can just stick with facts, not drift into “he writes in baby talk. an another thing! He answers the phone and doesn’t say his name. And an another thing…” that will make it look personal.

        2. Elle*

          I also think there are so many clear examples of his unprofessionalism (yelling at coworkers, being moody or hostile with clients) that the case is strong enough without adding this so-so example.

    4. Popinki*

      Makes me flash back to the baby-talking manager who asked if she was in twubble when called on her behavior. Ick.

        1. Yvette*

          Found, them, (yes THEM) links are held uip in moderation, should be “arriving” shortly”

      1. Yvette*

        I sort of remember that one! I wanted to find it and would you belive ther were more than one of them!? (and no, one was not a “revisited” for INC.) For your cringe-worthy enjoyment:

        1. Two Dog Night*

          I think that last baby talk letter was completely overshadowed by the cheap-ass rolls.

    5. Observer*

      It’s the “Sowwy” that would have put me over the edge

      Yes! That’s a total “Sorry, not sorry and I’m going to rub your face into how much I disrespect everyone.”

    6. Myrin*

      Good thing you said that because I misread it as “snowy” in the letter and thought that was pretty random since OP didn’t mention any excessive snowfall.

      1. alienor*

        Maybe went back to get it and sent the text from home/the car before starting the drive back? I’m not inclined to give this dude the benefit of the doubt on anything, but that’s what I would probably do if I’d left my phone at home.

    7. Nonny Mouse*

      Agreed. It says so much in just one word– just two letters, really. “I suppose I’m inconveniencing you, but really, you’re not important enough for that to matter, and anyway, I’m just a cute little boy so how can you be mad at me?”

    8. SportyYoda*

      If it was a normal “sorry!”, sure, whatever, but “sowwy”? TO A PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUE*? What on earth.

      (*I have a friend who uses what I can best describe as “2010s LOLcat speak” a lot; I have ONLY heard these speech patterns when we’re hanging out, NEVER when we were working together. If he uses “sowwy” with friends or family or whatever, weird but not intrinsically harmful, but c’mon, have a sense of professionalism)

      1. Kit*

        > If he uses “sowwy” with friends or family or whatever, weird but not intrinsically harmful, but c’mon, have a sense of professionalism

        I will admit to having answered my phone at work with a full C Montgomery Burns “Ahoy-hoy!” once. Then I had to explain to my mother that yes, I did see her number on my caller ID and I did not in fact talk to my customers or coworkers like that…

  1. DisneyChannelThis*

    I’d be concerned about retaliation from Mike. If you only have 2 peers and get peer feedback it’s rather obvious who wrote it. Especially without a supervisor on site to escalate to if Mike’s behavior worsens.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I’m not sure retaliation from Mike could be any worse than what’s already going on.

      1. H.Regalis*

        Same. Mike’s already a big jerk. I don’t know that it could get much worse, but lying and saying he does a good job definitely isn’t going to make it any better.

      2. Salymander*

        Yeah, plus I be Mike is already going to give OP a bad review anyway. He sounds exactly like the kind of person who would be a nightmare to work with and would blame it all on his more competent coworkers.

    2. Unaccountably*

      I feel like escalation over his current behavior would, no joke, justify police intervention.

    3. Bertha*

      Yeahhhhh, honestly, that is what has always kept me from being honest on evaluations. It is very obvious who said what, and even if it’s honest, if someone is THIS terrible.. who knows what they’ll say. Especially if the feedback is shared.

      Which all feels so cowardly to say, and yet…

      1. Pants*

        In a previous job life, we were all asked to give peer reviews of one specific person, who was supposed to be the “lead admin” of the team. The reviews she received from the admins were so scathing (mine included) that she kept to herself for months after that. She went back to her horrible self eventually, but we were never asked to review her again.

      2. Aggresuko*

        I agree. Honesty is not always the best policy, especially if Mike isn’t likely to be fired anyway (and how is he not fired by now?!?!). I think I’d just give the world’s vaguest evaluation since nothing I do is going to do any good.

        1. CatPrance*

          Really? You think Mike is such an okay coworker that you can’t think of anything about his performance or his behavior that you’d want to write?

          No, he hasn’t been fired by now, and if LW writes a squashy sponge of a “well I guess he’s okay, he’s not always on time but who is, he can be a little cranky but we all get that way” then he WON’T be fired. Write an accurate review and give Chad something solid to bang his shins on.

          I had a department head who had fierce ambitions but no skill at management and was a miserable human being altogether. DH was determined to move up in the organization, and some of the people in the department were asked to do a 360 on DH as a part of the interview process. What I wrote was absolutely accurate and scorched the paper. I included the part about DH being good friends with An Employee’s ex and giving AE a really bad time, including an undeserved low performance rating and a 20-minute lecture on AE’s failures as a spouse. I included the part about DH socializing with members of the department, who then got plum projects and extremely high reviews. I included a lot of things.

          You think I should have just mumbled something? DH did NOT get the promotion. The department members were transferred. And the organization dodged a bullet.

    4. Artemesia*

      She is already living with retaliation from Mike. If he escalates, she can escalate right back.

    5. Observer*

      It’s hard to imagine that it could get much worse.

      But, in any case Alison is right – unless Chad, or Chad’s boss does something about this guy, the OP should start working on getting out of there.

    6. WA*

      I don’t even know how he could escalate his behaviour! Blast bodily functions directly at customers?

      1. paxfelis*

        I’d be concerned he’d submit a complaint about being bullied at work, perhaps with a bonus lawsuit in the crappy cereal box.

        1. pancakes*

          He won’t even wear his CPAP or crap in the toilet rather than on it. In the extremely unlikely event he gets his act together to start filing complaints, they will be meritless and easy to dismiss.

        2. SwiftSunrise*

          That’s why OP needs to keep the peer review ABSOLUTELY FACTUAL, and just about his behaviors that affect work stuff. No mentions of mental illness, or sleep apnea, or anything. No petty complaints, or BEC-level stuff. No making it personal.

          Just a calm and matter-of-fact recitation things he has done, and the impact he’s had on the workplace.

    7. Shrinking Violet*

      At this point, I’d prefer to risk retaliation from Mike. More fuel to bombard Chad with.

    8. Omnivalent*

      His “retaliation” is likely to be more pouting and silent treatment, which he does anyway, so who cares?

      Anyway, the purpose of OP’s peer review is not to bring about a change of heart in Mike. It’s to create a written record of Mike’s awfulness. That may be useful to higher ups (especially if they are getting customer complaints), and may be a prod to get Mike’s useless manager to step up rather than face uncomfortable questions about his own job.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Quite frankly, getting the silent treatment from someone like Mike is probably a blessing.

    9. anonymous73*

      His behavior needs to be documented. Unless he’s displayed violent behavior (which based on the letter he hasn’t), I wouldn’t be concerned at all. He acts like a toddler – yelling, leaving and giving the silent treatment. And I would also escalate this past OP’s manager if nothing is done about his behavior.

  2. Chairman of the Bored*

    If a colleague is bad there is nothing wrong with clearly letting management know that they are bad.

    “Mike got fired and isn’t here anymore” should be a problem for Chad, not Lana and LW. It sounds like it’s worse having him around that it would be to take over some of his workload, anyway.

    Surely the bosses would do *something* if Mike won the lottery and quit tomorrow. So they can fire him, and then do that something.

  3. it's just the frame of mind*

    “I have only worked here a year, and there has never been a week where he is on time. No, it’s not cultural. Mike’s a middle-aged white guy.”
    That’s an odd comment. I’m not sure what to make of it. If he was a young black or brown woman would it be more likely to be cultural?

    1. 3Owls*

      I lived in the Middle East for a few years and the culture was 15-30 minutes late was on-time. There are places where punctuality, even in a professional setting, isn’t really seen as necessary.

      1. irene adler*

        Growing up, we had “Persian time” where no one actually arrived at any event earlier than 45 min after the event start time. Granted these were all non-work events.

    2. Popinki*

      People here do tend to want to give people the benefit of the doubt, which often takes the form of “maybe (behavior) is because they’re from a culture where people do that.” The kneeling coworker is one that comes to mind. Presumably LW is trying to prevent that kind of speculation right off the bat.

    3. Lizard the Second*

      In past letters, commenters sometimes speculate that the person being complained about is from another country or culture where that behaviour is acceptable. I’m fairly sure the LW is trying to head off that kind of speculation.

    4. Unaccountably*

      It’s to avoid derailing speculation that Mike comes from a culture where being on time is not a big deal. Pretty much any time someone reports that a man has behaved badly, anywhere on the internet, comments with “Maybe it’s a cultural thing!” “Maybe he has ADHD!” “It sounds like he’s autistic!” sprout like toxic mushrooms after the rain. Kudos to OP for heading off as many of them as she could.

      1. Clobberin' Time*

        Thank you for this.

        Sometimes this comment section reminds me of the old reader letters pages in Marvel Comics. There was a running joke about a trophy called the No Prize, awarded to the commenter who came up with the best and most elaborate explaining-away of a goof by the comic writers. The fanfic people come up with here to scold OPs and excuse jerks is like that.

    5. kina lillet*

      Be generous with OP—I think they’re likely a regular reader of the comments, and are mentioning this to curtail the normal advice column fanfic where commenters brainstorm reasons that this behavior isn’t so bad. I don’t think people were likely to do this with Mike, but I suspect the OP is just incredibly frustrated with him.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I can definitely see being so frustrated with Mike that it becomes “if one person gives him the benefit of the doubt I’m gonna lose it” and wanting to avoid that upfront.

      2. londonedit*

        Yes – I read the OP’s letter as being full of frustration, and took it as them being keen to head off any ‘But maybe he has an illness’ or ‘But maybe it’s his culture’ or ‘But maybe he’s young and he doesn’t understand’ speculation, which I’m sure can be frustrating for people who write in to read in the comments.

      3. essy*

        Sounds like it actually IS cultural in that Mike is a middle-aged white guy who is used to getting away with a lot of (literally) sh*tty behavior. Whew!

        1. All the words*

          And the group most likely to be rewarded with being elected to the highest political offices and executive jobs.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed that some groups seem to never pay the consequences for their actions – and Mike is apparently one of those people who just keeps getting away with it.

          Any chance OP that you and Lana could get the Dr’s you’re supporting to start complaining to Chad every time Mike’s behavior affects them?

    6. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Mike’s behavior probably reads as someone younger and inexperienced, if nothing else. LW probably wanted to head off any “it’s a kindness to correct this behavior” advice.

    7. GelieFish*

      There are certain cultures/parts of the world that are less time obsessed than western European. In those cases, an allowance might be necessary or at least worth considering.

      1. Cheap Ass Rolex*

        That would only hold true if the business were located in that country, though. You can’t have a coverage-dependent business and hold everyone but one dude responsible for being on time, but make an exception because it’s his culture to meander in 20 mins late. That applies to social situations, not work.

    8. Artemesia*

      Well yeah. Different culture have different time routines. I worked in the Middle East and it was really hard for my hard driving, ‘get it done’ self to navigate the norms. When I worked in Singapore, they were again entirely different. Within the US there are ethnic groups that routinely have a different sense of ‘on time’ and within particular organizations there are site specific norms.

    9. Lab Boss*

      There are definitely cultures where rules about timeliness are given a looser definition than others. When working with our Latin American office (located in Mexico) it’s taken as a given that people will trickle in over the first 5-10 minutes of a scheduled meeting, and our Italian office often handles deadlines as strong suggestions rather than hard limits. Those were both explained to me as cultural things, not just particular employees bad with time. I assume OP is using “middle aged white guy” as shorthand for “he’s not brand new to the work world and there’s no strong indication he may have strong cultural ties to a place with different time norms.”

      1. Forrest*

        I was part of a European student event as a young adult and it was so funny every morning to watch the Germans, Scandinavians and Dutch people VIBRATING with tension as the Spaniards, Greeks and Italians cheerfully wandered in at 9.15 every morning.

    10. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      It is not that. OP wanted to make clear that the reason Mike acts the way he does is because of Mike because in the comments, we float theories of WHY he does that.
      OP wants to say that he’s an ordinary guy with the same general socio-economic-geographic background as his coworkers. There’s no expectation that he not defer to women, nothing in his cultural background that businesses do not open on the dot, that his upbringing was economically limited and he doesn’t know how to act in a work setting. These are all things that have come up in other comment threads about a coworker being a giant jerk. Mike is being a giant jerk. He may have mental problems, but but that’s not a free pass to act badly.
      (and MY speculation: I’ll paraphrase the long quoted “an a-hole who is an alcoholic can stop drinking and still be an a-hole.” I think Mike with treatment may just prove to a jerk with treatment.)

      1. londonedit*

        Someone further up is already trying to excuse Mike’s ‘sowwy’ with ‘maybe it’s just autocorrect’.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          I love to speculate, so I’ll just say, yep. We love to play devil’s advocate here.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I’ll only say autocorrect will generally only change to words you are commonly using.

          And that W and R aren’t beside each other on any keyboard I’ve seen in common usage in 20 years in the workforce.

        3. Rach*

          It could be a typo if he was driving and texting (which if he was turning back he may have been). Of everything written, that’s just eye roll worthy and not a real issue. I suppose people are allowed to say and type sowwy no matter how cringe it is.

    11. Spicy Tuna*

      I am U.S. based but my career has been almost exclusively working either in the Latin American HQ of U.S. companies, or the U.S. outpost of LatAm companies… the standards for punctuality are different in other cultures.

    12. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

      I assumed the “no it’s not cultural” and “Mike’s a middle aged white guy” were related, but not in a “Mike is from a different culture” way.

      I interpreted it as something like: it’s not company culture to stroll in whenever, but middle-aged white dude Mike does it anyway.

      1. ThePear8*

        This is how I interpreted it as well – I read culture as company culture, so it is not the norm for people to be late to shifts at this company

    13. Marzipan Shepherdess*

      If “Mike” were a Black, Hispanic, Indigenous or Asian woman (or man, for that matter), and the LW is White, then yes, there would be a potential knee-jerk reaction that the LW is being spiteful towards Mike out of racism. (And it says a LOT about our current culture – none of it good! – that this would indeed be an automatic assumption. Because yes, this DOES happen!)

      LW1, Alison’s advice was spot-on, especially the part about leaving out all mention of Mike’s self-described mental health problems. You do NOT want to suggest to anyone in any position in your company that Mike’s problem behavior is due to his mental illness! First off, it’s not – being a jerk is not listed in the DSM. And you do NOT want your managerial staff to use this as an excuse not to fire Mike (“We can’t fire him or we’ll be breaking ADA regs!”) This would be spurious, of course, but would also give management a virtue-signalling reason to continue to continue to be lax and irresponsible when it comes to setting clear, specific expectations and consequences for Mike’s workplace behavior (y’know, actually MANAGING!) Finally, you don’t want to look as if you yourself are in any way prejudiced against people with mental health problems; this could come back to bite you while leaving Mike to continue his irresponsible, selfish behavior, now secure in the knowledge that he’s immune to the limits and boundaries that you and Lana must observe. Lose-lose-lose all the way around!

      Just focus on Mike’s professional failings and how that affects the customers first and the rest of the staff second. Bonus points if any of this has been documented (e.g., emails from angry customers who are now taking their business elsewhere.)

    14. Hiring Mgr*

      If he’s a middle aged white guy (i’m one also), he’s probably used to doing as he pleases with few consequences.. … so maybe it IS cultural after all,

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Thank you for writing this.
        I think not only is this is what OP was trying to not to spell out, but you doing is why. As a person with that privilege, you acknowledge it and we move on because it’s not the topic of the day.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Yup – he’s probably played the card of that can’t be wrong for me for quite a while. It can be very rough to enforce consequences for folks that aren’t used to having to pay the price for their actions.

        Not that Chad sounds all that motivated in the letter to impose anything resembling accountability on Mike.

  4. I Faught the Law*

    I almost don’t understand the impulse NOT to write an honest peer review, unless it’s out of fear of retaliation, as someone mentioned. If I had the chance to review a peer like that, it would be a joy. I would pretty much say everything the OP said in this letter, minus the part about the guy’s mental health.

    1. WellRed*

      Yeah I never understand that. OP is being asked for peer review feedback and wants to default to meets expectations?!
      OP: did Alison’s paragraph outlining what your response should be and the laundry list of problems open your eyes to how bad it would be to say he meets expectations? If nothing else, your customers deserve better. I don’t patronize stores that abuse me ( which has never happened because it’s not. normal).

      1. Cheap Ass Rolex*

        Yes, OP, saying that he “meets expectations” isn’t damning with faint praise, it’s an outright lie! There doesn’t seem to be any metric by which he meet me expectations!

            1. Canadian Public Servant*

              Pirates don’t say sorry. If they ever need to apologize, they make you walk the plank instead to avoid it.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Risk of retaliation, risk of getting left in a lurch if he gets fired, risk of not being listened to and being even more demoralized, unwarranted but still culturally ingrained tendencies towards “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”…plenty of reasons for the impulse.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Risk of retaliation, risk of getting left in a lurch if he gets fired, risk of not being listened to and being even more demoralized, unwarranted but still culturally ingrained tendencies towards “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all”…plenty of reasons for the impulse.

        All that and more.

        I try to live by judge not lest ye be judged.
        You don’t know how much of this has a formal accommodation or the supervisor is aware of and fine with.
        You don’t know if he has some hidden value that trumps the poor customer and coworker service.

        Yea. The only negative peer review I’ll provide is voting with my feet in a tight labor market… which is my advice to LW.

        1. All the words*

          Do you honestly believe that Mike has an accommodation for being rude to, or refusing to serve customers based on his personal whims? Leaving his feces all over the shared toilet? Yelling at his co-workers?


          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            I was speaking on more broad terms… but after what I have seen tolerated and accommodated in the professional world, little would surprise me.

            1. WantonSeedStitch*

              If someone has a formal accommodation, the existence of which is going to affect their coworkers (such as an accommodation for hours that are different from the standard), that’s something that should be communicated. It doesn’t have to be explained, just “Mike is going to be working a 10-6 schedule from now on, instead of 9-5, so I’ll need you and Lana to handle the first hour of the day without him.” But it sounds like even that isn’t a formal accommodation, since he did apparently get a talking-to (an ineffective one) about his timeliness.

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                that’s something that should be communicated.

                I agree in theory, but my experience in practice is that they’re held in confidence between an individual and their supervisor, even when their impact is more general than localized.

                Everywhere I’ve worked, in your example, Mike would simply start showing up at 10 am and anyone who questioned the apparent tardiness would be told to stay in their own lane or to mind their own business.

                1. Kella*

                  Coming in late to work is a pretty common medical accommodation. If you complain about tardiness and get told to mind your own business, meaning, it’s not your job to manage their schedule, then you switch your focus to how their tardiness impacts you: You don’t have coverage for the hours that Mike is absent, you are having to cover all his responsibilities until he’s back and that’s getting you behind in X etc. “Why is Mike late all the time?” isn’t your business but “We need more staff between 8am and 10am in order to get x, y, and z done in time” *is* your business.

        2. Observer*

          I try to live by judge not lest ye be judged.

          I’m trying to be respectful, but I actually find this comment to be fundamentally disrespectful and out of touch with reality. What is being suggested here is not “judgement” in the least bit. You may decide that you will never make a factual report of problems, ever, no matter the impact of those problems. That’s your call. But mischaracterizing reporting in such a case as “judgement” that could rightly be turned back on someone is pretty ugly.

          You don’t know how much of this has a formal accommodation or the supervisor is aware of and fine with.

          NONE of this should be “accommodation”. Because it is never acceptable to “accommodate” people by allowing them to mistreat others. On the other hand, we actually do know that *Chad* at least *is* fine with it – Chad does have some choices here and has chosen to not do anything about the problem. That tells us all we need to know about how he feels. But that doesn’t change the *fact* of Mike’s behavior and the problems it causes.

          On the other hand, the OP should probably be looking anyway, unless upper management is willing to do something, and do something quickly.

        3. I should really pick a name*

          If someone has a formal accommodation, then the supervisor who reads the review will be aware of it and take it into account.

        4. Green great dragon*

          LW doesn’t have to know how much is a formal accommodation! If Mike is often late, and LW writes ‘Mike is often late’ and it happens that Mike’s allowed to be late as an accommodation/worth it for other reasons, what’s the problem? It might even nudge Chad into realising he needs to manage the impact on LW/customers better.

          LW isn’t being asked to judge Mike, or to decide whether he should be sacked. They’re being asked for factual feedback, and are totally entitled to give it.

          [NB I do like your username]

        5. Burger Bob*

          I don’t think getting to yell at coworkers counts as a “reasonable accommodation.”

        6. Emmy Noether*

          I’m sorry, but the implication that leaving is somehow more moral than giving accurate negative feedback is just wrong. (I’m reading your “judge not lest you be judged” as, ironically, moral judgement by you).

          Leaving is the less confrontational, and thus possibly easier, option. Do not try to pass it off as the more virtuous option, which it is definitely not.

      2. anonymous73*

        His retaliation so far has been to act like a spoiled child. I say bring it on. And I would much rather be left in the lurch than have to put up with a whiny, unreliable co-worker. People get away with behavior like this at work because colleagues and management refuse to do anything about it. His behavior needs to be documented in writing.

      3. Too many hats for this salary*

        Risk of retaliation, especially with a peer review system like this having such a small sample size of respondents, is definitely a very real concern. People retaliate over pettier things and Mike already seems quite childish in that aspect.

        Oh, the stories I could tell from my final year in university and handling student course feedback with petty academics (I was kind of forcibly nominated to be course rep by accident but that’s a WHOLE other story).

        1. KoiFeeder*

          I am so sorry you got voluntold to handle course feedback. I hope you at least got paid for it.

          (In the vein of petty academics, I had a tenured professor who would literally leave the room or duck out of a hallway if he saw me after my scathing review. It was honestly really funny, but he was just a petty and terrible person and if someone had had to tell him my feedback rather than him just reading it off of the evaluation sheet I would’ve felt terrible for the poor person who had to deal with him throwing a toddler tantrum about it.)

          1. Too many hats for this salary*

            Ahahaha, unfortunately no. The Course Rep position was considered a volunteer student role, so nothing to be gained but ‘experience’ and a piece of fancy paper they called a certificate.

            I can feel your pain on that one, though ‘luckily’ our course feedback was (meant to be) fully anonymous. Which ultimately lead to the time I had to bring our course director right up to the dean because she went after my students and tried to demand to know who had given the more critical feedback. In hindsight, that situation was kind of hilarious and I probably had too much fun with it but I was already a non-traditional student older than the rest who had already been in the workforce (including working for the university, which was amusing because she couldn’t *successfully* attempt to throw policy at me under the assumption I wouldn’t know it).

      4. pancakes*

        They’re already frequently left in a lurch because he sulks or just goes home when he’s upset! Or is late, or napping. I can definitely understand being demoralized in this situation and I would be too, but passing up an opportunity to get all this in writing in a review while feeling “not being listened to” would be silly. There’s no one else who is going to step up and write an accurate review of this guy in lieu of his coworkers, who are unambiguously being asked to review his performance.

    3. Lab Boss*

      Because if OP assumes Chad won’t do anything (a plausible conclusion), then why go through the time and trouble of properly crafting feedback when the only likely result is frustration and the risk Mike finds out and starts being terrible AT OP instead of just AROUND OP.

      I prefer Alison’s advice- but I can certainly understand OP’s impulse.

      1. pancakes*

        The review has to be completed either way. The idea that it would takes a lot longer to write something accurate vs. something full of vague euphemisms or misstatements doesn’t make much sense to me.

        1. Lab Boss*

          Hard disagree- doing a good job of cataloging the issues so that they’re not overly vague and don’t come across as personal dislike or whining is going to take time and effort. I could plop out a reasonably professional version of “he meets the minimum requirements of the job so he’s fine I guess” in about 2 minutes.

          1. pancakes*

            I’m quite sure I could plop out a reasonably professional version of the truth of what’s happening here in about 2 minutes. It’s not a complicated narrative; the guy is frequently late, leaves when he’s supposed to be working, is rude to patients and coworkers, etc.

            Either way, if time investment is the primary concern, writing this letter to Alison, waiting for a response, and thinking over whether to take the advice or not counts as well. Those were / are very reasonable steps to take, and the letter writer doesn’t seem to be so pressed for time that spending a few extra minutes communicating something closer to the truth would be a poor investment.

    4. Mockingjay*

      I think OP wanted a check on just how scathing a review to write. I like how Alison grouped the issues. These are clear, substantiated facts about Mike’s performance and the impacts on work, sales, and customers which management can’t ignore. If they do to continue ignore Mike’s issues, OP as a person in a niche industry has options. But grouping the problems into multiple categories is likely to get at least one or two of the problems solved.

    5. Generic Name*

      All of the reasons mentioned above, plus some of us were raised from birth to Be Nice. I routinely heard, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

      1. Ali + Nino*

        I mean, that’s a pretty common thing for kids to be taught, but as they grow up it should certainly be contextualized. I think of “not saying anything at all” for when it’s not helpful. This is clearly not the same case.

      2. pancakes*

        It’s wild to me when people say things like this, as if being forever trapped in childhood with all the decision-making capabilities of a child is a healthy way to move through life. Do you think adults who are more willing to adjust their thinking on this point depending on context weren’t taught that? Or are bad at retaining information?

        1. anonymath*

          This is a rather harsh reply, pancakes. I’m over 40 years old and still unpacking the way I was raised, and I did not have an exceptional childhood. I’m still learning about the ways I react out of a desire to be liked, or to be perceived as nice, even though I don’t actually want to be liked or perceived as nice when I think about it. I’m still getting out of the habits of deferring to “authorities” and men. I’m grappling now with the ways I was raised to accommodate the world as it is rather than change it to what it should be — and I’m grappling with all these things because I’m at a new stage in life and the world also changes. I’m the “authority” now, for instance, yet still a woman, and one who has been quite critical in the past of others who have been in my current position. A new set of challenges around the myth of Being Nice.

          Generic Name isn’t saying that one must continue in this path forever, just pointing out how tight the grip can be. The OP/LW sounds newer in their career and less confident in speaking up. It may be of use to the OP to point out the traps in their thinking.

          1. pancakes*

            I’m over 40 too, fwiw, and still unpacking as well. You make good points about unlearning habits and the difficulty of maybe needing to unlearn them again in new ways as one moves into new roles. The comment I was responding to isn’t doing that, though; it’s basically saying “I haven’t unpacked.”

    6. Dr. Prepper*

      Unless the peer review process is completely anonymous (SurveyMonkey etc. although with an n=2 it’s hard to be any kind of anonymous,) I have personally experienced where candid negative information was directly attributed to the responder when boss has the discussion with Mike. Such as, boss states “Jane says you do X, Y, and Z – care to comment?” or worse, BOTH of you in the meeting with the boss who says “Jane, please repeat what you said about Mike in your peer review.”

      Always weigh the possible repercussions to putting anything in writing unless true anonymity can be guaranteed. It sounds like here that Chad is incapable of managing Mike and unless Chad’s managers also see the reviews, it is unlikely Chad will change anything substantively.

    7. BongoFury*

      I’ve had it go bad before, like “Bongo says you’re always late, why is that?”.

      What I usually do is write the review like I would normally, then take out all the adjectives or passive language.
      Mike is rude to customers. Mike falls asleep during work hours. I arrive at work at 9 and Mike arrives at 9:15 or later.

    8. CoolHRLady*

      Agreed! I also desperately want OP to send an update for this one so we can see how it plays out!

  5. Artemesia*

    Perfect advice from Alison. In particular, drop ‘mental health’ comments and less important issues (the poop fest and burping). by organizing in the 3 categories which are VERY work specific you make the point clear and concise. And you have created a situation that makes it harder for Chad to be a terrible manager.

    1. Gerry Keay*

      Idk, I think the poop thing could easily be framed as part of a larger pattern of disrespecting coworkers and the shared working environment.

    2. Gan Ainm*

      Id be tempted to create a 4th category of “other gross behavior” and put the burping and poop fest there. I wouldn’t actually do it, but I’d be tempted. I probably *would* add a vague line about “there have also been incidences related to bodily functions and lack of cleanliness that add to the overall challenge of working with him and make for an unpleasant work environment .” I’m sure Alison’s advice to leave it be is best, I just don’t know if I could in OP’s shoes.

      1. Presea*

        I think it’s better in this case to err on the side of leaving out anything that could be related to legitimate health issues. OP wants to be coming of as unreproachably professional to reduce the chances of her non-manager sweeping her under the rug or painting her as exaggerating/bringing in issues beyond his purview.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          This. Stick to the things that have impacts on everybody – like the tardiness, the attitude with clients, the silent treatment to coworkers. The other stuff is gross or speculative- and you want to have the fact what you reported was true as your defense. Facts are easier to use as a defense against “they just don’t like me and are being mean” charges from Mike/useless manager.

        2. Lady Luck*

          Yeah, I agree. Mike might have IBS or other gastrointestinal issues or something. I think it’s better to err on the side of caution and not mention that stuff. OP already has plenty to talk to management about without it–i.e. yelling at customers and coworkers, constantly coming in late. refusing to do work, etc.

          1. pancakes*

            I think that incident should probably be left out because it happened once and there’s a well-established pattern of other problematic things to address instead, but as far as I know IBS and similar gastro issues don’t interfere with people’s ability to clean up after themselves.

          2. Liz*

            Can I just say, I have IBS and other gastrointestinal issues, and I have never once left a bathroom — anywhere — covered in poop. My mother can tell Some Stories, but they all ended after I was toilet trained.

    3. Orange You Glad*

      Agreed. Anything brought up should be free of emotion and backed up by evidence. If OP veers too far into “list of things I just don’t like about this person” then it seems more like they are complaining about someone they don’t like rather than reporting legitimate work issues.

    4. Midge*

      I’d also leave out the c-pap machine thing. It doesn’t matter why he’s falling asleep at work. Whether it’s from a health issue that he’s neglecting or because he’s staying up too late binging Netflix, it’s having the same negative impact on your work.

  6. Free Meerkats*

    You might talk with Lana prior to completing the reviews. If you are both on the same page in your reviews, it’s less likely that Chad could chalk it up to you not liking Mike.

    1. Popinki*

      Yes, Lana is probably having the same internal debate about whether to be honest. It would be better to have two reviews stating that Mike is a shouty, pouty, lazy, petulant, boorish, spiteful nightmare rather than have the OP submit that and Lana be “…he’s sort of OK, I guess…”

      1. LW4*

        Exactly what I was coming down to say! One thorough review of Mike’s many shortcomings and one “he’s fine” would likely let Chad off the hook about doing anything about Mike, because it’s just “one person’s opinion.” It will be harder for him to ignore if both reviews (AKA all of them) reflect the same reality.

        1. After 33 years ...*

          So, you both have to write reviews? (that wasn’t clear to me, apologies). If so, I’m in this camp.
          Does Mike also have to write reviews?

          1. Forrest*

            I suspect that’s LW4 from the Five Letters post and they haven’t changed their handle, rather than Mike’s-nemesis-LW.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        There is definitely something in this case to there being strength in numbers – if everybody is in agreement that Mike is a problem it’s harder for Chad to just brush it off.

    2. Beeb*

      I was surprised Alison didn’t get into Lana’s review. Assuming LW takes Alison’s advice, it’s going to be jarring at best and have a negative impact on LW at worst if Lana doesn’t take the same approach

    3. New Jack Karyn*

      I’d be cautious of this. It’s not a terrible idea on its face, but you also don’t want to get into a situation where OP and Lana could be accused of coordinating an attack on Mike.

  7. me*

    Dont know how soon your peer review is due, but if you have another job lined up, four words would do it: Mike sucks. I quit.

  8. Spicy Tuna*

    Mike’s behavior is not just impacting his direct co-workers, it’s impacting clients and the doctors. He should be removed; it doesn’t matter that he fills a niche role. Unless the location is the ONLY one that provides a service within a reasonable distance from patients, his attitude will start costing the location money. I switched vets solely because the front desk staff was repeatedly incredibly rude and unhelpful.

    Another direction the OP can take is to look for new jobs herself. At my last job, there was a VP who was very difficult to work with. His direct report got frustrated and started looking for another job. She received an offer and the new job actually emailed or faxed something to our HR department. HR became very alarmed! The outcome was that in order to get the direct report to stay, they let the VP go. If it hadn’t worked out that way, she would have had another job. Win-win.

    Good luck; Mike sounds like a nightmare.

    1. StrikingFalcon*

      Yep. I’ve left doctor’s offices over the staff being rude or incompetent. Staff are an integral part of a doctor’s services. Patients need staff who follow up correctly on requests, don’t make scheduling a headache, handle insurance filing accurately, etc. They make a huge difference in the level of service a patient receives. Also how willing patients are to reach out when they need something, versus letting it go until they absolutely have to deal with it.

      1. Spicy Tuna*

        That was precisely what happened with the vet. The actual vets at the practice were great, but contacting the office caused anxiety, stress and hassle. I am in an urban area where there are vet practices every few miles, so I don’t have to put up with that.

      2. CarolynM*

        I am changing dentists over the staff – I started going to this practice when I was 10 (30+ years!), the dentist retired and sold his practice, the new dentist kept the old staff. The difference was, the old dentist used to ride herd on the front office staff and just about every year I would get a check for overpayments on copays that the receptionist miscalculated – somewhere between $50-100. Right now, my dentist’s office owes me $573.40 – seems no one is paying attention anymore because the new dentist very proudly tells you that she “doesn’t get involved with that stuff!”

        This has been a battle for 6 months – I used to be an office manager for a dental practice so I know how to do her job … and find myself having to do it for her if I am going to get anything done! She misfiled the original claim and has made a hash of correcting it, she miscalculated how much benefit I had remaining so I sweated out December waiting for my benefit to restart in January so I could get the care I needed … only to find out I had more than enough benefit remaining for the service in December … but because she is clueless, I am already done with my 2022 benefit – I could have had something left for the rest of the year!

        30+ years with this practice and just one year with the new dentist and I am leaving. My brother, sister and mom are going, too – the old dentist was worth the trip out of the way, but if we have to start over with someone new anyway, why not someone closer who cares enough to have competent office staff? The dentist is fine enough I guess, the hygienist is AWESOME and I need to find where else she works so I can continue seeing her – but I can’t overlook the front office staff anymore. Almost 600.00 they owe me!

      3. Splendid Colors*

        I left my last doctor’s office because the doctor told me to “be patient” about getting a referral because it takes a FEW MONTHS for her office to send the referral letter to the specialist. Not that the specialist may have a waiting list: that it would take that long for me to get on the waiting list at all.

        I found a different doctor in the same health plan, and her office got me the referral in DAYS.

        About a month after that, I finally got the referral from the first doctor’s office, which hadn’t gotten the memo from my managed care that I was no longer their patient. This was 2 months from the last time I saw Doctor #1 and 3.5 months after the first time Doctor #1 said she was requesting the referral.

        They also lost half the stuff they said I had to drop off in person, during the omicron surge.

    2. Observer*

      Unless the location is the ONLY one that provides a service within a reasonable distance from patients, his attitude will start costing the location money.

      If there is anything in a reasonable distance, then I have no doubt that this behavior is ALREADY costing the practice money. What’s worse is that even if there is NOT something in reasonable distance, this is going to wind up costing them money. *AND* it’s likely to open the door for an active competitor to come in and really, really undercut them. It is SO much easier to temp customers away from a practice where someone berates people than from a practice that treats people well.

  9. Turanga Leela*

    I love Alison’s suggested format for this feedback. It’s a really nice way to organize negative feedback, and it’s helpful to begin with a framing paragraph explaining that there are serious, ongoing problems with Mike’s work.

  10. evens*

    I think this is good advice, especially the part about not including the burping and pooping incidents. I’d add that it seems OP is at BEC stage with Mike, as evidenced by the fact that she knows that Mike once got into work at 9:08 and another time sulked for 14 minutes. That’s…very precise. Just saying “got to work after 9” or “sulked for 15 minutes” would be far more effective. It will make OP look like she’s not obsessive about Mike (even if she is! I would be! But it’s not a good look).

    1. Moira Rose*

      The 14 minutes specificity really threw me off as well. Just reading it as an impartial observer it makes me wonder how much headspace LW has allocated to cataloging her colleague’s nonsense. Definitely she should not be this specific in her review.

    2. WantonSeedStitch*

      My thought exactly. I would be more general with things like times, but specific with descriptions of behavior, and clear that these are PATTERNS of behavior. “Regularly comes in late for his shift.” “Raises his voice and uses a scolding tone with clients and coworkers.” “When told his behavior is unprofessional, refuses to speak to coworkers.”

    3. fhqwhgads*

      On the other hand, it sounds like it might just be a thing in this office to be that precise given Mike said he’d be there in 12 minutes…and then was there in 28. Plus when stuff’s electronically recorded it’s easy to go back and check timestamps when writing a letter and trying to be specific. It doesn’t necessarily meaning you’re timing him in the moment. But like, I can see feeling like “is he as late as I think or am I just annoyed?” leading to timestamp checking.

  11. Smithy*

    OP – I just want to say that you’re in a strong place of acknowledging that you don’t like him personally. And because of this, it may make it easier to focus on the issues that are more repetitively and significantly problematic.

    If Mike is never on time – how often is he 15 or more minutes late? Calling out that Mike is late by 15-40 minutes once or twice every week, as well as frequently arriving late by 5-15 minutes highlights the significant disruptions while also noting the larger pattern (and skipping personally irritating notes like his use of “sowwy” which would drive me batty….but so be it).

    Recently, I had a friend start a new job and she was talking about maybe needing to quit. At first, a lot of stuff she called out are issues across our industry that aren’t ideal but you can try to manage and set boundaries. But then she said that they expected her core hours to be 4pm to midnight, and we’re in an industry where your core hours are first shift unless explicitly stated otherwise. After that, everything else she said I saw through the lens of the worst and cruelest way this would play out – vs average industry disappointing.

    Hopefully writing to AAM will help tease out the parts that other people will pause and flag as really problematic vs irritating or personally disappointing. Leaving poop on a toilet seat at work is icky. But having an accident at work can also rank as someone’s personal nightmare and trigger assorted fight/flight responses such as fleeing the scene. So while this wouldn’t make me like someone and complaining to friends, I’m sure gets a lot of big responses – but look for those things like “it’s a first shift job but they expect me to work 4pm-midnight.” May not be the most colorful story, but professionally is quick to the punch of how wrong things are.

    1. Observer*

      (and skipping personally irritating notes like his use of “sowwy” which would drive me batty….but so be it).

      I’m not sure that this is just “personally irritating. It’s SUCH a disrespectful way of putting it that it shows that he is totally not apologetic. Worse, that he wants people to know that he thinks that it’s FINE that he’s late, and anyone who disagrees is just being childish. That’s not a small thing.

      Also, as you note, the context is important. This both helps set the context, and also comes in the context of his other behavior. Things like sulking and yelling at people.

      1. Yorick*

        I agree with you, but it’s not a good thing to include in feedback. It just doesn’t seem that serious on its face, and Chad might focus on it to say this is just an interpersonal issue.

        Focus on the work impacts and the effect on customers and that stuff, and not how much of a jerk Mike is.

      2. Smithy*

        I do agree that there features of style and tone that can be both personally irritating and professionally problematic. And the use of “sowwy” is part of that.

        However, given that this just writing a peer review, I don’t think that providing an exhaustive list of all concerning incidents is helpful and taking on issues of tone in interpersonal written communication don’t strike me as Mike’s most egregious features. This is a job that requires staffing customers and being front facing – therefore regularly being late and examples of poor customer service, I think are easier areas to flag because there’s less room for interpretation. If at some point Chad wanted a longer discussion, I do think that there’s room for sharing more incidents – but until Chad takes this seriously, I wouldn’t include any issues that provide him the opportunity to dismiss it for personal interpretation. Particularly because Mike arrives late so often, it just seems easier to note that he’s regularly late and provide a rough count of how frequently his lateness is significant (based on the standards of the office).

      3. tamarack and fireweed*

        All of this is true. But the feedback is meant as a performance management tool, and it’s a good idea to consider the reader and the effect the LW aims to create. The reader will have an incentive to look for excuses – after all, if Mike is such a bad employee why hasn’t he already been dealt with, managed more closely, etc. ? This is why IMHO it pays in cases like this to a) remain supremely detached and professional in tone of writing and b) focus on repeated, consistent behavior that violates professional norms and/or creates extra work for his co-workers.

        In contrast, anything that a reader who is sympathetic to Mike could chalk up to personal style (“sowwy”) or a one-off failing (burping, bathroom issue) should fall way down. Not because it’s inherently less problematic, necessarily (though it may be – if someone is otherwise great I will readily forgive “sowwy” or even personal body issues!), but because it’s less effective in communicating what the LW needs to communicate.

  12. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Is there some way OP can phrase her review that puts the onus for the problem on Chad?
    “When Mike is going to be late, he texts us directly instead of texting Chad so he can reassign responsibilities for the time.”

    1. EJane*

      nah, that’ll make it sound like she’s moving past objective facts into conjecture which could reflect poorly on her.

    2. ecnaseener*

      Alison’s script about needing a management intervention puts the onus on Chad. I’d actually be worried that your suggestion would let Chad off the hook too easily – it implies that if Chad institutes some small new rules like “text me directly if you’re late” that’ll fix the larger Mike problem, which it won’t.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Oh wow. That’s so much worse! OP does need to stick to the Mike-specific facts. I am getting new annoyance at non-managing Chad saying exactly that, “Mike will contact me now.” and finishing with the question, that is really statement, “are we good?”

  13. MustardPillow*

    Mike sounds absolutely dreadful with the exception of telling customers no need to get an attitude. That’s a legit statement to use within reason although with the rest of his description, I’m thinking that might be his go to phrase.

    Write the appropriate review. Leave out the me talk health and the toilet trouble.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed – just because Mike is a jerk doesn’t mean that all the customers are sunshine and roses.

      However, a customer service agent who is a jerk is more likely to cause customer interactions to go south and need diffusing.

    2. All the words*

      Want to guarantee someone’s going to escalate their attitude (or to get one if they didn’t have one before)? Tell them there’s no need to get an attitude. Works like a charm.

    3. Nameless in Customer Service*

      Mike sounds absolutely dreadful with the exception of telling customers no need to get an attitude.

      Unfortunately, that’s one of the things One Does Not Say when working in Customer Service. I view much of my job as being paid to not say it, no matter how true it is.

      (Also, caveat: some demographic groups are viewed as ‘having an attitude’ more readily by The Average Observer than others are. Accusing someone who really is not being entitled of being entitled because they actually want decent service can also be a pattern of employee misbehavior.)

    4. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

      Eh, “an attitude” is undefined and thus useless. Telling customers not to raise their voices, or swear, or use bigoted language, or touch the staff: all specific, clear, actionable, necessary. Saying “no need to get an attitude” isn’t any of those things, it’s just a (usually futile) attempt to control the tone and power dynamic of a situation.

  14. Call Me Petty (Many Have)*

    Just want to say that Mike sounds like a real charmer. Sorry that OP and especially the customers have to put up with him.

  15. ME*

    I hate it when people use Mental health as a reason. My daughter has struggled with it since she was in Jr high (she is 21 now) and one thing we have always said is it is ok to struggle, it is not ok to take it out on other people.

    1. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

      To paraphrase a friend of mine, “(your mental health issue) is a REASON that (whatever) is harder for you. It’s not an EXCUSE to (not do whatever, act like that, etc)”

    2. EJane*

      I work in mental health as a care provider. This. Exactly.
      I also have severe and persistent mental illness and in all my past experience of my own and other’s behavior in the workplace, “mental health” works as a reason, though not an excuse, for struggling with objective tasks or dropping balls. (I have ADHD and short-term memory loss, and the only way that shows up in my workplace is that I had very strict rules in my last non-mental-health position about how people made requests of me so I could track it. I was still responsible for doing the damn thing.)
      Mental health is never an excuse for unkind interpersonal behavior.

    3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      Very much so.

      Yes I’m having a rough time with my various mental illnesses, but if I ever took it out on my staff/clients I’d expect a disciplinary hearing. My current accommodations are working from home as much as possible (I..need time before I can do social interaction again) and a little earlier start/earlier finish because my afternoon meds be strong.

      Nowhere in this is ‘only show up to work when you feel like it, shout at people, refuse to work’. That’s not reasonable.

    4. Em*

      Came here to say exactly this. I have severe mental health issues myself. Despite the best efforts of myself and various professionals, sometimes they impact my work. The impact they have includes things like completing tasks more slowly, crying in the office, needing to shut my office door and work in private, or needing to work from home from time to time (all of which can be worked with in the context of my job, and I’m pretty open about my mental health struggles so my colleagues know what’s going on). Sometimes it means I’m less sociable than usual. Not rude, just not interested in chit-chat.

      It never means that I yell at people or insult them. On a few occasions I felt that I was a bit short with someone, and immediately apologized upon realizing it – these apologies were met with confusion, because apparently I didn’t actually do anything wrong. That’s it though. My mental health is not really under control at the moment – still working to figure out the right combination of meds and working through trauma with my therapist – but I can at least behave like a respectful human being.

      Also I have never shat all over the toilet seat and left it for someone else to clean up. *shudders*

    5. tinybutfierce*

      Yup. I have (among other things) an anxiety disorder that’s mostly well-managed thanks to meds and therapy, but of course have times now and then where it will still spike; unfortunately, my anxiety most commonly presents as irritability like WHOA. I can generally tell when it’s happening, since it’s normally out of character for non-important stuff to really get under my skin, and as soon as I do, I try to limit how much I talk to other people until it’s passed, because I know I’m pretty likely to snap at someone for no reason. No one needs to deal with my crap but me and knowing how to handle that is my responsibility.

    6. anonymous73*

      This. Being accommodating with a co-worker/employee does not include managing their mental health. It’s up to the person to figure out what works best for them to manage their own mental health because one blanket solution will not work for everyone.

  16. LifeBeforeCorona*

    Paraphrasing Homer Simpson who said, “Everyone says that they work twice as hard whenever I’m around.” Mike is your Homer, you may miss him but the energy and time used in dealing with him can be better spent on being able to do your job. If you do manage to get rid of him, can you hire someone to do the basic work of the job while you and your c0worker concentrate on the more complex parts?

  17. irene adler*

    If nothing else, find a way for customers to provide meaningful feedback on their experience- especially with Mike.
    This: “openly angry with me and about 20 % of patients” and this: “He has flounced off the retail floor saying, “I won’t talk to you if you’re being like that” or “No need to get an attitude with me!” to customers.” should have garnered some significant blowback from customers who have endured such treatment. I damn sure would be asking to speak to whomever is in charge if exposed to this treatment.

    1. Certaintroublemaker*

      I’d say check Google Reviews, Yelp, Healthgrades… there are probably comments describing the awful experience out there already. Send a link to those to Chad and to Grandboss.

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I’ve been known to slide a customer comment form to someone in those cases.

  18. Sparkles McFadden*

    Give a straightforward review. Focus on Mike’s treatment of clients and how this has caused problems with customers, and how his constant lateness and unreliability has hindered your own work. Skip stuff about bodily functions. Be prepared to have nothing change because these peer reviews don’t do anything if your manager doesn’t want to deal with it. At least you know you are not giving Chad an excuse to do nothing (which, I am convinced is why peer reviews were invented).

    As for retaliation, I am not sure what else Mike could do. He’s already yelling at you just because he wants to. If he does confront you about something you wrote in your review (and Chad might show it to him because bad managers do stupid stuff like that), you get to say “Dude, you do all of those things all of the time.”

  19. JustMyImagination*

    Mike often comes in late, sulks away from customers, sleeps and leaves early without any heads up. How much work is he actually doing and would your burden really increase that much with him gone?

    1. Aggresuko*

      Yeah, I wonder on this one as well. Is he literally better than nothing? Is he that rare of a commodity?

      That said, we are constantly short staffed at my job and that situation lasts for years/never ends, so Mike as a shitty warm body may still be better than nothing, perhaps.

    2. Hannah Lee*

      This reminds me of a job I had once where my director pushed me to fill open positions quickly. “Bad breath is better than no breath” he’d say.

      I listened to him on that only once, a single solitary time and never again. Because no, no it isn’t.

    3. Autumnheart*

      Quite honestly, I like Alison’s final piece of advice. Never mind how much OP’s workload would increase with Mike gone. It’s time to investigate whether Chad wants to find out how much work gets done with OP gone. Chad likes Mike so much, great! Have fun counting on him for everything while OP and/or Lana find positions elsewhere. If the market’s that tight, it’s time to send out some feelers.

  20. nonee*

    OP, if it helps you feel less hesitant, imagine what Mike is going to say about you in his peer feedback! Dollars to doughnuts he won’t think twice about sharing any issues he has with you to management.

    1. Aggresuko*

      Hahahaha, good point, but also, white male privilege probably has something to do with that….

  21. sb51*

    I know OPs supervisor is rarely there, but this seems like a perfect opportunity for a quick conversation with Chad—perhaps frame it as “I’m need some help phrasing this feedback in a constructive way”. Because if Chad is making a case for a PIP or firing then he might value your unvarnished feedback; if Mike isn’t going anywhere, something with less risk of reprisal but that still is truthful (focused on one or two top problems) is warranted, and talking to Chad might be the best way forward.

    Send him your feedback for Lana first, too, so he sees you giving reasonable feedback on a reasonable employee for comparison, too.

    1. Aggresuko*

      Hmmm, good idea. Ask Chad (vaguely) what he’s looking for for feedback. Or at least try to feel out how honest you can be.

  22. AnonInCanada*

    And keep in mind that there’s never any guarantee that any coworker will stay. For all we know, Lana could leave tomorrow if the Mike problems aren’t dealt with — and then you’d be down Lana and still have to deal with Mike. Of the two, it’s better to lose Mike.

    I couldn’t have said this better myself. No doubt your day is also interrupted by these customers who are cheesed off with Mike’s behaviour as well and putting even more burden on you and Lana. Time for Chad to know exactly what’s going on, unless Chad would like to lose both you and Lana and have to work with Mike all day. I betcha then he’ll learn how to manage! :-P

  23. Person from the Resume*

    Yes, Chad is ineffective, because there is no consequence for Mike’s continued tardiness.

    If you call Mike’s work adequate in peer review, you’re provide useless and inauccurate info. Why wouldn’t you be completely honest. It’s not as bad as Chad because his job is to manage, but it’s harmful to supporting the firing of Mike which is what needs to happen.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Honestly, it feels like this is a case of: Chad is the actual problem, Mike is just the visible manifestation of the Chad Problem.

      The problem being that Chad is ineffective not thot present a lot, the result being Mike acts like he can get away with everything (because Chad let’s him do so).

      1. Don*

        A broken step is an indictment of both the step and the poor maintenance that hasn’t repaired it. Nobody needs to be left off the hook.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          True – but fixing the Chad problem will probably also fix the Mike problem.

  24. SJ (they/them)*

    Ohhh this sucks a lot.

    OP something you can think about in your decision to detail the feedback or not is: when you think about the possible repercussions of sending candid feedback like what Alison suggests, do you feel *uncomfortable* or do you feel *fearful* ?

    If you feel uncomfortable, that makes sense, it’s uncomfortable to stir the pot, things might not even get better, there are all sorts of reasons to hesitate. But also, everything Alison said is true! They asked you for feedback, so, you can give feedback. Keep it factual and focus on the work impacts. You are well within your rights to escalate these issues.

    If you feel fearful though, that’s something different, in my opinion – if your gut tells you that retaliation from Mike around this is both possible/likely and could be dangerous for you, that’s also perfectly valid information to use in making a decision. In that case your efforts might be better focused on getting the heck out of this job, forget the review. To be clear, your management has spectacularly failed you here. It sucks but it’s not your fault.

    Hope this helps, and good luck with whatever you decide.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      Good insight.

      I wonder if it’s the latter if there’s some way LW can submit *that* feedback to Chad, cc’ing whatever counts as HR for this practice group.

      I’m not sure how you’d word it, maybe something along the lines of explaining that a peer review of n=2 doesn’t allow truly anonymous feedback (it’s either LW or one other person) and asking for details of how this information will be used and communicated to Mike. Will it be incorporated into 360 feedback including from customers, other staff? Is it part of a more robust performance review process where LW’s response is just one input and the output to Mike is a amalgamation of multiple sources?

      The response to those questions may give LW important info on how to proceed (aside from launching a job search)

  25. Storm in a teacup*

    Hi OP. I spent many years managing a service identical to what you describe (niche pharmacy for a busy medical clinics across multiple sites). Please tell Chad! Use the excellent language Alison has given you. Also flag how this behaviour is at odds with specific professional standards (in the UK we have specific ones laid out by our regulatory body).
    As for being niche – I understand the challenge of dealing with a front line role where you need a specific number of bodies on the floor to provide a service for specifically agreed hours. I have found in my experience, it is better to have a gap and a pleasant and productive work environment than what you are describing is the current situation. Also, the clinic will have had gaps before in staffing and may already have contingencies agreed you may be unaware of. For example, utilising staff from other clinics to cover for a short time, the supervisor covering or a temporary cut back of non urgent services to focus on core patient facing activity.
    I’ve also found it can be better to get in a Locum for a short period to train up to support some of the less specialist work than put up with a disruptive, difficult, non performing staff member.

  26. Jennifer Strange*

    It is tough to find a qualified person to fill our niche position, so firing Mike would put a severe work burden on Lana and me.

    OP, based on his chronic tardiness and his inability to work with 20% of your patients I think you and Lana are already carrying that burden, you just don’t realize it.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      That’s an equation I’ve had to figure out before in my managerial career – this person is darn near useless, offensive, stresses out every other member of staff but if we fire them their work will fall on others. Which one has the worst impact?

      And it’s always come down to ‘people are a lot happier when a toxic person is removed from the workplace ‘. Even if the workload temporarily goes up while the firm looks for a replacement.

      1. WindmillArms*

        Absolutely this! If it were Chad writing in, I think most of the advice would be to get Mike out of there. I’d rather be a little busier than deal with a very alarming coworker.

  27. SomehowIManage*

    I once made the mistake of thinking that one person working at half capacity was better than zero people. I was wrong. I left someone partially effective in a role because I knew I would not be able to fill the position (the headcount would be repurposed outside of my team). The person who was half-effective not only didn’t do a full person’s job, but he also hurt the morale of the people who were working hard. I have learned my lesson. Better to have a smaller team working on all cylinders, than a larger team with an anchor. (Sorry for mixed metaphors.)

  28. Serenity Now; Firefly Class*

    I’m the LW.

    Here’s a quick update and to fill in some details:
    After Mike shouted at me on Friday morning and I asked him to stop shouting at me, he slammed drawers at his desk, signed very loudly, texted on his phone. An elderly woman in a wheelchair came in and he shouted, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” I was with a patient, but we all heard it. Then Mike just left. Didn’t tell anybody he was going; not Chad, not Lana, not me. Lana told me, “I”m going to lunch now.” I asked, “Can you wait until Mike gets back?” Lana said, “His coat is gone. He left.” I emailed AAM on my lunch break.

    Later that afternoon, Chad called me at work, and asked, “What happened between you and Mike?” I told Chad that a patient yelled at Mike, and since I had the last interaction with the patient, Mike thinks it’s my fault she’s angry. After apologizing to him, I asked Mike’s advice on what I should do differently next time and he told me. I agreed to do it differently, and Mike was still sighing loudly, banging the phone down, and crossing his arms and pointedly turning his chair away from both me and the customers. I tried again. I asked Mike what words he needed to hear so we could move past this. I had already apologized and agreed to what he wanted. He exploded, and shouted at me. I asked him to stop shouting at me. That really set Mike off.

    Chad then said, “I feel like Mike’s just a trigger waiting to happen.” YIKES! We had a workplace shooting a year ago, and an employee was killed at work. So maybe Chad does get it, and just can’t share any PIPs with us?

    Monday (yesterday!), Mike had the 7:30 am shift. I show up at 8 am to find one of the doctor’s techs – Susie – filling in for Mike. I asked, “Where’s Mike?” Susie said that Mike texted her at 7:30 am, and said he just woke up, and could Susie cover for him until he could make it in to work. Mike did not text me or Lana or Chad. Lana arrived at 8:30 and also asked where Mike was. I told her what Susie told me. Lana and I were steady-busy that morning. Then Chad visits our clinic at 9:30 am. He asked, “Where’s Mike?’ Lana told him.

    Lana starts to worry about Mike all morning. Is Mike in an accident? Did Mike unalive himself? At 12:22 pm, Chad says he finally heard back from Mike and Mike is okay, and will be in tomorrow. I have dental work today, so I am off work, and a sub is working my shift. Will update if anything happens Wednesday.

    Yes, I’m a frequent reader here, but wish I had found Alison years ago. I don’t comment, but subscribe. And I stressed about finding a user name as funny and interesting as the ones on here. Every time I see Hawaiian rolls in the grocery store, I giggle.

    I wasn’t tracking Mike’s continual lateness because Alison says that’s petty. And she’s right. Plus I would spend more time tracking him than doing my job. I note the times because we have fixed break times, lunch times, and we measure how quickly we can respond to patients. I’m from a culture that is casual about Western time, and when I married a white man, I was often in trouble for being so casual about time. Don’t worry, we’re divorced now, and it’s a relief. Our work does require us to punch in and out, and they give us a 4 minute window to accommodate cultural norms. I can punch in as early as 7:58 or as late as 8:02 for an 8 am start time.

    I hate the way Mike talks. “Howdy team. 15 minutes behind here. (crying face emoji) Cya soonz.” So yes, I am totally BEC about hygiene, baby talk, and his general rudeness.

    Off to get my crown! (Dental, not jeweled.)

    1. Nameless in Customer Service*

      All good luck with all of this, including the dentistry! I am glad to see that Chad may have a bit more awareness than previously thought (and the workplace shooting background is terrifying, meep).

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      This is…a lot. I do want to let you know, you did not owe Mike an apology at all, nor did you need to coddle him by asking what specific words he needed to hear. A client yelling at him is not your fault. I don’t say this to shame you by any means! I get that in such an intense situation it can be difficult to push back (especially with someone as frightening as Mike sounds), but I wanted to make sure you knew you didn’t do anything wrong.

      1. Observer*

        Yes. I understand why the OP would have done that. But it just underscores how badly he is behaving. It also underscores just how impossible it is for anyone “work around” his attitude – he needs to change or be let go.

      2. Aggretsuko*

        I’m sure OP knows she doesn’t owe him one. Sometimes you just apologize to keep the peace, or try to GET any peace, or shut the screamer UP.

    3. Observer*

      Mike sounds like he’s just atrocious to work with. And it’s time for Chad to do something, and do it quickly. I’m glad that you told Chad what actually happened.

    4. Velocipastor*

      I would actually say that Chad’s cavalier attitude toward managing Mike PLUS making an off the cuff remark about being a trigger waiting to happen after a work place shooting has already occurred there says Chad does not get it at all.

      1. Paris Geller*

        Right? I would hope that any workplace would take Mike’s behavior seriously, but you would think a place that has *had* workplace violence would be more inclined to actually do something. Mike sounds horrible, but I don’t think this is just a Mike problem, it’s also a Chad problem since he doesn’t seem to be managing Mike (I know neither we nor the OP know the whole story and there might be disciplinary action going on behind the scenes. . . but c’mon!!)

        1. Ayla*

          “Sometimes I think your lives are all in danger, teehee! Anyway, I’ll drop by again in a week or two…”

          Come on, Chad. Yikes.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Agreed – so Chad knows that Mike is an accident waiting to happen. That’s not enough, not even close to enough. Chad needs to have and and actually follow through with a plan to manage Mike.
        In this case, without action the knowledge is utterly and completely useless.

    5. Veryanon*

      Mike sounds seriously gross. If there is no improvement soon in that area, I would very much recommend considering looking elsewhere for employment.

    6. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      And I stressed about finding a user name as funny and interesting as the ones on here.

      Mission accomplished, at least as far as I’m concerned; I think it’s a fantastic user name.

    7. Aggretsuko*

      I’m sure OP knows she doesn’t owe him one. Sometimes you just apologize to keep the peace, or try to GET any peace, or shut the screamer UP.

      HOW IS THIS GUY STILL EMPLOYED?!?! What does he have to do to get fired around here?! Kill someone?

    8. Too many hats for this salary*

      Mike, to put it quite frankly, sounds like he has lived at least a fair chunk of his life as a coddled mama’s boy. Because as many words as can be and have been used by the commenters here already, the descriptor of his behavior that immediately comes to my mind is just…spoilt. He is a grown man acting like a brat (perhaps send Chad a few videos of Jo Frost?).

    9. WindmillArms*

      >Chad then said, “I feel like Mike’s just a trigger waiting to happen.” YIKES! We had a workplace shooting a year ago, and an employee was killed at work.


      Mike’s lack of emotional regulation is disturbing, and this fact ^ means Chad should know how seriously to take it! WTF!

    10. I should really pick a name*

      Short term suggestion: If Mike is late, inform Chad. This should start becoming his problem.

    11. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Love your username :)

      Also, yiiiiikes. A few comments up, nonee had a fantastic point: “if it helps you feel less hesitant, imagine what Mike is going to say about you in his peer feedback! Dollars to doughnuts he won’t think twice about sharing any issues he has with you to management.” And especially after this additional information, I would be *very specific* about feedback — Chris has said Mike is a trigger waiting to happen, so give him information that he cannot ignore in order to deal with the situation!

    12. CCC*

      Being shouted at twice in one day would have me going above Chad’s head to his boss and/or to HR.

    13. The Prettiest Curse*

      Shouting at colleagues is bad enough, but he shouted at a patient? That’s completely unacceptable. Follow Alison’s advice for the review, document it whenever he shouts (with Lana’s back-up, if possible), discreetly encourage any additional patients he shouts at to make a complaint and start job hunting now.

    14. Goldenrod*

      “I hate the way Mike talks. “Howdy team. 15 minutes behind here. (crying face emoji) Cya soonz.””

      This is probably just autocorrect.

      KIDDING, kidding!! :D

    15. Burger Bob*

      The frequent tardiness (by hours, no less) should be enough to fire him. I don’t know what on earth Chad is waiting for.

      1. CatPrance*

        Absolutely. That’s crazy! “He’s late all the time but you know, whatever . . . ”
        Even the worst managers I’ve had always insisted that people be on time for their shifts.

      2. pancakes*

        It’s not 100% clear that he has an accurate sense of how often it happens. The letter says he’s “in the building maybe once every 10 days.” Clearly some of the more dramatic conflicts are getting back to him since he’s calling in to ask what happened. He’s also soliciting peer reviews. Those will be a good way for him to get handle on what’s happening on a day to day basis, but it’s only going to work if the reviews are accurate.

  29. Meow*

    Am I the only one who thinks have to do peer reviews in an office of <5 is a totally unfair ask? Honestly, I'm not sure I like the idea of peer reviews at all, though I can think of pros and cons for doing so – but if there are only two people writing his review, it's only natural he's going to make guesses as to who said what. If OP is honest, then she gets to listen to Mike scream at her about how she's trying to get him fired, and if she isn't, then management gets to brush all his behavior under the rug for good, saying "you wrote in your review that he was doing fine". Honestly makes me wonder if they're trying to pressure people not to make waves.

    1. Anne Wentworth*

      Peer reviews in such a small setting can definitely strain working relationships. If you only talk to coworker A about B and you get feedback about doing B a different way, you know who it was. But it seems like whether its ultimately helpful or destructive is based on the larger picture in the workplace. At a workplace with functional management and good communication, it could be good to take some time to consider your coworker’s strengths and how they support/contribute to your work. Then you can keep track of the positive and neutral feedback/stories to use in future job interviews and requests for promotion. But a workplace like LW described in the initial letter, with ineffectual management, lacking communication, a toxic coworker? Peer reviews are likely too little too late, or could cause resentment about why these problems weren’t raised sooner.

  30. Veryanon*

    I have to disagree, I would need to bring the burping and the toilet incident into the discussion as an additional example of how Mike has no regard for professional norms.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      I think the overall point is it’s not helpful to discuss Mike’s having no regard for professional norms. That angle would be way underplaying it. The big issue is Mike is bad at his job and unreliable. You cannot be good at your job if you scream at people and sulk. Including customers. It’s a bigger, clearer picture to not get into the bathroom thing and focus on the major recurring problems.

      1. CatPrance*

        I’d have to bring it up, at the end. Not at the beginning of the review, but I’d have to bring it up. That is just too gross to overlook.

        “Besides his chronic unreliability, his screaming, his mistreatment of customers, his sleeping on the job, and his childish behaviors like pouting and ignoring people, he’s also unpleasant to be around due to situations like the time he had explosive diarrhea and simply walked away from the mess.”

        The cherry on top of the crap sundae, so to speak.

  31. Rainbow*

    With apologies to OP – I thought I had problems with my coworker, but wow at least he has never left diarrhoea all over a toilet seat. [That I know of – we use different gender bathrooms…]

  32. Meridian*

    OP, are you sure Chad is even fully aware of the issue? If Chad works offsite 90% of the time he likely won’t know unless someone tells him directly. I know you mentioned the doctors complained to Chad about his attendance issues, but not necessarily any other the other stuff.

    If it’s difficult to staff your department, I’m not surprised that Chad is overlooking Mike’s attendance issues if he thinks the rest of his work is solid. I wouldn’t write Chad off as negligent if he’s not looped in (unless I’m misreading).

    Also Alison has written before that feedback shouldn’t be heard for the first time in a performance review. I’m not sure how that gets tailored to a peer review, but if I were Chad and hearing about this about Mike for the first time I’d be kind of surprised no one told me sooner.

    If you have told Chad though, nevermind.

  33. Heffalump*

    As a customer I’ve complained to management about employees who were less rude than Mike.

  34. Goldenrod*

    “He had explosive diarrhea in the employee bathroom and left poo all over the seat. Another employee called housekeeping to clean up his literal sh*t.”

    Wow. My mind froze when I read this sentence and I am having trouble getting past it. That’s just…..beyond.

  35. Clisby*

    Saying that he “meets expectations” is not damning with faint praise, unless your outfit has a really crazy way of interpreting comments. Where I’ve worked, “meets expectations” is a solidly favorable comment. It’s not saying the employee is stellar, but it’s certainly not negative.

  36. Jessica Fletcher*

    I hope you’ll write an honest review. Perhaps one of the doctors or someone else above Chad is trying to create documentation of a problem to spur a change.

    Please walk away the next time he yells at you or a customer, too. Go to Chad or his boss. Make it his problem. “Mike screamed at this customer, who now wants a refund. What should I do?”

  37. JessicaTate*

    As someone wisely said to me: “It’s addition by subtraction.” The workload might increase, and it’ll be rough; but all of the other stressors and difficulty of managing around Mike will also go away, and you can just focus on getting the work done, which – on balance – might actually be easier.

  38. Well Here's The Thing, Janet*

    Ugh please, no more FLOUNCING, it was bad enough with that terrible Customer Service Horror Stories site, where every moderator, editor, and story submitter used it in every single sentence.

  39. Happy Squid*

    +1 for obstreperous! It’s been a while since I’ve learned a new word.

    Also I agree with Allison’s advice.

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