insensitive “Diversity Day,” how to fire someone who refuses to talk to us, and more

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

1. Is our “Diversity Day” as insensitive as I think it is?

I’m looking for a gut-check on something that’s been bothering me since it started. My company has something called a Diversity Day where our HR team supplies us with a list of holidays that people in the U.S. don’t traditionally get as a day off and our workforce votes on which one is going to be our “Diversity Day” that year and it gets added that year’s holiday calendar. Last year we got Diwali off and this year we get Yom Kippur.

It’s probably meant well, but it feels very othering and like, “Look at these ~*exotic*~ holidays! We want you to vote on which one is the most valid and gets to ascend to the status of ‘real’ holiday this year!” It’s like weird a popularity contest.

Also our workforce is mostly white, which adds to the ick for me.

Am I off-base in thinking this is problematic and they’d be better off just giving everyone a floating holiday to use as they please?

You are not off-base. This is really distasteful and othering. It’s also disrespectful — for example, Jews take Yom Kippur off for a very specific reason (fasting, attending services, and private introspection and repentance); it’s not just a day off. (And something similar is true for all/most of the other holidays on the list, I’d imagine.)

And what could the votes even be based on?

A floating holiday would be far better.

Read an update to this letter

2. How do we fire someone who refuses to talk to us?

I am a volunteer on the personnel committee for the small church I attend. We only have three staff members (two ministers and an office person). We have determined that one of the ministers needs to be terminated — I’ll spare you the details but she is colossally bad at her job and has responded angrily to feedback. So, we asked her to attend a meeting to discuss “next steps” (we were going to tell her we are ending her employment, which should not be a surprise to her at this point) and she refused to attend. She, in fact, said via email, “This meeting is non-consensual.” She came to church the next day and performed her role in front of the congregation as scheduled, pretending everything was fine.

So the question is: How do we fire a person who sneaks out the back door and refuses a meeting? It seems so cold to fire her by email and turn off her key fob (not to mention she’ll need to go into the church to collect her belongings!).

If she won’t let you call a meeting, then the next time she’s supposed to be there in person, walk into her office and do it on the spot as soon as she arrives. You don’t need the meeting to be scheduled in advance. But if there’s no practical way to do that and she’s going to keep showing up and speaking to the congregation and then sneaking out while you’re sidetracked with other things, your only option is to do it via remote methods — meaning both call and email, one right after the other. Leave a voicemail letting her know you’re terminating her and follow it up with an email, both saying that (a) you tried to do this in person but she’s made that impossible, (b) she is not authorized to do any further work for the church (you don’t want her to just show up at the pulpit next Sunday as if nothing happened!), and (c) she should call or email to arrange a time to collect her belongings. In a case like this where someone is actively trying to avoid the conversation, it also makes sense to follow up with the same message by certified mail (include a note explaining you’re doing that because she’s made it impossible to meet in person).

Based on what you’ve seen so far, is there any chance she’ll try to show up at church to perform her normal role anyway, even after this? If so, you’ll need a plan for how to handle that if it happens. In a normal workplace, I’d say you’d want security there to prevent that from happening — and frankly I’d recommend it here too, although it’s more complicated as church with a congregation this might happen in front of.

Read an update to this letter

3. Assistant keeps introducing me as tech support … I’m not

I am a senior professional with a specialized role. I would consider myself to be about average in my technological proficiency, fully able to use everything I need to do my job, but not to the level of an IT person (nor do I work in IT). However, because many of my coworkers are terrible at office technology, I have become a go-to for help with these matters. It’s really a distraction from the professional level-responsibilities, but I put up with it when it isn’t egregious.

Recently, however, our department’s executive assistant has begun referring to me as our “tech support” when talking with new hires. This really rubs me the wrong way. First of all, there are tech support workers in our IT department who would help new hires with their email, computer, etc. so it’s legitimately confusing. Second, “tech support” is not really a reflection of my professional duties and significantly lower than those duties. In my mind, it’s similar to referring to the aforementioned executive assistant as a “typist” or “meeting scheduler” in that it does not refer to most of what I do.

The executive assistant knows full well what my title is. We’ve worked in the same department for five years and have a really contentious relationship, in part because she thinks that reporting to our department head puts her on a higher level than the rest of our team. (She sees herself as equal to the person who is our department’s second-in-command, when that’s not the case.) How can I address getting my job description correct with her in a firm yet tactful way?

“Please don’t introduce me as tech support to new hires. That’s not my role, and it causes confusion when they don’t realize they need to see IT for help with their computer and email. Please introduce me as (title).”

If she continues doing it after that, correct her on the spot in front of the new hire: “No, I’m not tech support. I manage our llama campaigns. We have an IT department that will help you with any tech issues.”

4. Job searching when I can’t drive

I know you’ve addressed the question of if/when to disclose disability in job searches before, but I’m in a situation that complicates things a bit. Last year my spouse and I moved to a state with very little local work because he was offered a good job here. I was working remotely on a long-term contract at the time, as well as finishing grad school. I’ll graduate in May and my contract is coming to an end.

I’ve been interviewing for other fully remote roles in my field, which is legendarily unfriendly to disabled folks like me, as well as to technological advances like remote work. I’ve had some interviews and I’ve even made it to the final round a few times. The problem is that all of these “remote” jobs require the ability to travel and that always requires the ability to drive. I am epileptic and cannot drive. I’ll never be able to drive. Sometimes the job postings make the driving part obvious and I can opt out, sometimes I don’t find out until I’m 2+ interviews in.

Some of these jobs are great and at excellent organizations, but I think it would be dishonest if I wait to disclose that I can’t drive until I have an offer in hand. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, but at the same time, I also want to work to change the assumptions about how disabled people can work, particularly in remote jobs. I’d like to work in my industry, or in an adjacent one, but this problem is also not industry-specific. I’m not sure what to do and this problem isn’t going to just go away.

Unless driving is clearly a key piece of the job (for example, if the job were for a social worker who would have to transport clients to various appointments, or a traveling salesperson), it’s not dishonest to wait until you have an offer to raise it. If the travel is just a handful of trips a year, having you fly/take a train and then use a ride service while you’re there is a reasonable accommodation, and one that the Americans with Disabilities Act would expect them to make. As with any disability that they’re legally obligated to accommodate, you’re doing them a favor by waiting until the offer stage so that it doesn’t unconsciously bias them (and also so if they reject you before the offer stage for other reasons, they don’t need to worry you’ll think the disability was the reason).

For jobs where you thought there was no driving and then you learn about it a few interviews in, you can ask for more info on the spot: “Can you tell me more about how much driving is involved in the job and in what contexts?” And then you can assess for yourself if it’s closer to the reasonable accommodation/“handful of trips a year” end of the scale, or the “frequent and essential duty of the role” end. And if you’re not sure, you can ask outright — “I don’t drive for medical reasons; is that something we could work around?” (Or you might prefer to wait for the offer to avoid illegal/unconscious bias, but some people in this situation would rather hash it out before investing more time. It’s up to you.)

5. My coworker got an internal job I wanted that wasn’t even posted

I have worked for a local hospital for 34 years. I have been looking within the hospital for a different position for the last couple years. No position was posted or announced, but I discovered that a woman I used to work with was appointed to the position I was looking for. My qualifications would have exceeded hers. Where I have been loyal to the hospital, she has left on two occasions to work in an unrelated capacity. Is HR allowed appoint someone to a position without posting it? How can I prevent something like this recurring? Do I have any recourse?

Yes, your employer is allowed to hire people without posting the position, unless their own internal rules say they must post all positions before hiring someone. (Some employers do have that rule, but it’s up to them; it’s not a legal requirement.) It’s not terribly uncommon for an employer to move someone internally when a job opens up rather than posting it first if they feel like they have a good internal candidate.

For what it’s worth, loyalty isn’t usually a factor in hiring decisions; managers are generally looking at who they think will do the best job (and sometimes other things too, like who they’re prioritizing retaining). It could even be to your coworker’s advantage that she left twice to work somewhere else, because it could mean that she expanded her experience range and then brought those skills back!

The best thing to do is to make sure that the right people at your hospital know the kind of job you want to move into, so probably HR and the people who hire for the areas you’d like to move into. Let them know what you’re interested in and that you want to be considered when jobs open up in the future, and ask what you can do to make yourself a stronger candidate for when that happens.

{ 526 comments… read them below }

  1. many bells down*

    Re: #2 this sounds like it needs to be escalated to your denomination’s governing body. Go straight over her head; they’re who outranks the minister.

    1. Heidi*

      I would normally not recommend this, but this situation is so strange that I’m wondering if it would make sense to let it be known among the congregation that the minister is leaving. That way, they know that her showing up to perform as minister is “non-consensual” or however they want to put it.

      1. Pennyworth*

        If she is going to be terminated on the spot the next time they can find her, I’d have an email ready to send out to the congregation a nano-second later saying that she is no longer employed, with immediate effect.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I agree with this. Make sure the congregation knows you are removing her from the ministry team – but I would keep it on the polite side of brief.

          And yes, if you have an organizing body – get them involved as well. It could be after she is let go there is another area she can serve at that would be a better match for her skills.

          1. C in the Hood*

            I second letting the congregation know. Once you know that the certified letter has been received (or refused, if that happens), send an all-congregation email explaining that X is no longer employed by the church.

          1. Engineer*

            I mean, yes, but aren’t the church’s doors left unlocked during congregations? She could just waltz right in.

            1. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

              The doors to things like the sanctuary and the Sunday school classrooms would be left unlocked during meeting times, but that doesn’t mean they can’t lock the staff offices. The fact that the LW mentions a key fob makes me think they might already have a way to secure those areas, but if they don’t it would probably be a good idea to have some locks installed in the offices. It makes sense that only authorized people should have access to things like membership records and funds from the offering plate.

              1. KatEnigma*

                Either keys or fobs can be made to only open certain doors.

                As a church board member, I had a key that let me in the front door and into the office in 2 churches. It didn’t let me into the sacristy (where they store the wine and other steal-able things, like silver/gold chalices, etc) or the pastor’s office- which contained the safe that held the offering, as well as other sensitive documents. The file cabinets and desk drawers were locked and only the pastor and admin had that key- the one wore it around her neck, once we got her to actually lock her drawers.

                In my hometown church, I had a key that only let me into my Sunday school room and the Sunday School supply closet.

                These were churches with no electronic locks- just regular keys. I wish more churches could afford to do pass codes or fobs or something, as no one seems to know (at any church) who exactly has a key and everything has to be rekeyed every few years.

            2. Worldwalker*

              The main doors to the sanctuary, certainly. But there are a lot of other doors to places where she could do considerable damage — the staff offices (including hers) being the major one. Until she’s dealt with, lock everything that isn’t available to Joe on the street. In a corporate environment, Security would meet her at the HR office and walk her out, possibly with a stop to pick up personal items from her desk. This is an atypical environment, but the same line of thinking applies.

              A place I worked, very long ago (oh, do I have stories!), some time after I left a disgruntled employeee went in one evening and wiped every bit of magnetic media in the place. She reformatted hard drives. She took a bulk tape eraser to floppies. She basically destroyed the boss’s mailing list business. She had the combination to the safe where the backups were kept, and she wiped those too. This is not what you want to happen.

              Note: what’s interesting — I was following this in the newspapers from out of town where I’d moved — is that the boss pressed charges, and then dropped the charges. Knowing him, and her, I would guess she told him “If I have to testify in court about what I did, I’ll also tell them *why*.” This was decades before #metoo, but … yeah.

        2. ProcessMeister*

          Yes. But carefully worded to minimise gossip.
          Some years ago, my work’s HR sent an unexpected email to all staff saying that a certain coworker, Marvin, no longer worked for the company and their responsibilities would now be covered by Bugs, Daffy and Porky. Granted, Marvin may have wanted privacy and have requested a short-notice announcement. Still, the fact HR excluded the usual “Marvin has been a valued colleague and we thank him for his service” led to weeks of speculation about why he left.

            1. KatEnigma*

              I haven’t attended my hometown church in 22 years. The Priest left with short notice, and a message from the head of the board, SEVERANCE was mentioned and that his leaving had been negotiated. In our denomination, I’ve never heard of severance being paid, and normally the priest gives a long notice that leaves time to get a temporary replacement in, or at least coverage for the Sundays until that happens before she or he retires or moves to another church with a big Goodbye party. And that wouldn’t happen during a major church season- he left 6 weeks before Christmas, and they went without a priest coverage for most of those weeks, and didn’t get an interim until January!

              AND the only way to fire a priest is to talk the Bishop into firing him (a lonnnng almost impossible process) or you can do it immediately for financial malfeasance or sexual abuse of some kind (including consensual with a member of the congregation because of the power differential. The Episcopal church trains all board members in signs of and proper actions if you spot that) But you certainly don’t get severance then! I’m now 1500 miles away, and have, without asking, been trying to listen for a hint of what the heck he did, without asking. I know it’s none of my business, but it’s SO out of the ordinary!

              1. Chinookwind*

                Had that happen to a parish priest too. He was removed so fast that it affected a couple of weddings (the brought in a substitute priest from the city) and put a portion of my (Catholic) high school graduation up in the air (our new parish priest walked into the school on the Friday and our graduation mass the next day was his first service in the community).

                To this day, I have no idea why they removed that one priest so fast but, in a community where priests are shuffled around every year, it is the only one where we still speculate.

                1. Princess Sparklepony*

                  Removing him that fast means something really bad was going on. The best case scenario would be a terrible health problem, but that’s unlikely, unless it was a mental health problem.

                  I’m pretty sure it was bad if they whooshed him out that fast. Maybe one step ahead of the police bad…

            2. Belle of the Midwest*

              I’ve been in churches both big and small, some where I knew exactly the reasons why someone had left, and others I didn’t–and this comment is absolutely spot on. People are emotionally invested in church business and the relationships they build with ministers and staff who work there. I have seen very few departures where there wasn’t some pain and grief and hard feelings.

            3. Tupac Coachella*

              Definitely, and my guess is that it won’t be wholly new gossip anyway. Depending on the details that OP intentionally omitted, some people may even be relieved that something was finally done about the minister.

          1. metadata minion*

            Yeah, at my workplace it’s pretty much assumed that if an email just says “[name] has left [institution] effective [date]” instead of “it is with mixed emotions that I announce [name] is leaving to pursue [opportunity] and will be greatly missed by [department]”, they’ve probably been fired or asked to resign or there were otherwise some sort of Shenanigans.

            1. Nobby Nobbs*

              A pastor or longtime church employee who leaves without a big, sentimental goodbye party? The only reason not to gossip is if everybody already knows why.

          2. Observer*

            Still, the fact HR excluded the usual “Marvin has been a valued colleague and we thank him for his service” led to weeks of speculation about why he left.

            I can imagine. But if he left on bad enough term, Legal may have advised them to not say anything that could conceivably be used to bolster a law suit.

        3. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

          Yes to the email, but you may also want to hold an in person meeting. Not to trash the minister and go into detail, but to reassure people that you tried to make things work with her and you’re sad and sorry that it didn’t work out.

          1. Wintermute*

            I like the idea of an in-person meeting to try to head off drama and avoid the whisper network/telephone game problem of the event being distorted. That said I would wager that with someone acting this confrontationally and bizarrely it is fairly obvious what the issue is and that all is not well, which can help.

        4. Miette*

          Agree–as a communications person, I recommend making sure you’re in charge of the narrative here. It is going to be key.

        5. Lizzianna*

          Yes, and deactivate her email and computer access immediately so that she doesn’t have access to the all-congregation email list.

      2. Computer-Man*

        Going to the governing church body to address a conflict, is in fact part of the procedure Jesus prescribes in Matthew 18, and most church procedures take that approach.

        They’ve tried doing the loving thing, certainly the less embarrassing thing; if she’s not going to listen and she has good reason to be removed from her role, she’s only making it harder on herself by trying to act like George Costanza.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          Eh, not really on Matthew 18, though how people interpret it can sometimes be expansive. It refers to a member who “sins.” Without getting into a long discussion of the theology of sin, being “colossally crappy” at pastoring is not innately a sin. More to the point, Matthew 18 makes no mention of higher-level church bodies, these not really existing at that point.

          That being said, if there is a governing church body, and if it has decently designed procedures for this situation, use them. We don’t need to be able to quote chapter and verse for this to be a good idea.

        2. Delta Delta*

          this was the first thing I thought. And all day I’ve been singing, “believe it or not, George isn’t at home…”

    2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      It sounds like, in their church’s framework, the personnel committee has plenty of rank to fire the bad minister. The problem isn’t authority, it’s logistics.

      1. Lydia*

        The governing body should be told about what exactly happened because they approve where pastors are assigned. I think they’d be interested to know about the struggles this pastor has caused.

    3. Artemesia*

      Yes this is an urgently disastrous situation. Whatever the denomination does to handle a problem minister should be engaged. And of course there should be security given the individuals odd behavior. You can’t have her marching up to the pulpit for some sort of drama out of a hallmark movie. You don’t want a big scene.

      1. Mrs Vicarage*

        Experience tells me the next step this person will take is to try and cause as much damage as possible. Have a vague but plausible plan in place to share with the congregation to make it clear that the church tried their best to help the employee but could not because of their refusal. They are already using victim language like ‘non -consent’ and will no doubt be going about gossiping about anything possible to make themselves look better.

        1. Irish Teacher*

          I’m particularly aware of this given recent news in Ireland, where a teacher continued to turn up for work after being suspended, to the point he eventually got arrested and jailed for contempt of court, after he was ordered to stay away and continued showing up anyway. He got out of jail and returned to standing outside the school.

          I’m assuming this person is unlikely to take it that far as that is a very extreme case, but as Mrs. Vicarage said, they are already using language implying they are being treated unjustly and I think this can be a particular problem in religious contexts where people can believe that as they are called, nobody has the right to dismiss them, etc. That’s not phrased brilliantly, but I’m not quite sure how to put it.

          1. Lydia*

            I understand what you mean. “Being called” is a well-worn excuse people use to continue the behavior they prefer, or to ignore the very clear signs they’ve overstepped.

        2. quicksilver*

          YES to everything you and Irish Teacher have said. This can be a particular problem in political contexts too — anywhere people are gathered together on the basis of shared beliefs/principles — and that’s what immediately jumped to my mind upon reading that this woman referred to a work meeting as “non-consensual.” When someone starts using the language of consent and violation to talk about a situation that has nothing to do with interpersonal/sexual violence, trust it’s about to get ugly, because they are effectively trying to manipulate people’s moral reasoning to put themselves into the same bracket of “someone you should believe/defend” as an actual survivor of actual violence, and to likewise associate their opponent with the role of perpetrator. In a similar situation I recently experienced, these tactics resulted in one person bringing about the total obliteration of a community of >100 people.

          So, LW2, get ahead of this now. Don’t make the mistake we did, of thinking that it was better to resolve the situation quietly and discreetly even if it took a while. All the time you take trying to spare this person public embarrassment will just be time for her to build some kind of inane case against you, and it’s highly possible she’ll come up with a narrative that makes your generous discretion look like malicious secrecy. Better to let the congregation know what is happening so that they can’t be unwittingly turned into her attack dogs. Hopefully she’s not a retaliatory abuser on the same level as the person my group was dealing with — but the warning signs are there.

          1. Wintermute*

            I think you make some excellent points. to an outsider (someone outside the situation, not outside the congregation) discretion and secrecy look a lot alike, and circumspection and subterfuge are easily confused. The impulse to try to keep this quiet and avoid “drama” is understandable but in this case it’s self-destructive.

          2. Artemesia*

            yes control of the narrative is urgent. Have story about her avoidance of meeting with the committee, attempts to remediate and reluctantly need to let her go (and bar her from the premises). And get that story out there; non consensual my ass.

    4. HBJ*

      This actually isn’t all that common. Many, probably most?, churches don’t have a denominational governing body above them like this. And while they may be associated with or a member of a certain denomination, that denomination doesn’t have any say in hiring or firing, day to day operations, budgets, or anything like that.

      1. Bayta Darrell*

        Yeah, if there is a larger denomination to kick this to, that would be nice, but it’s very possible that there isn’t. If that’s the case, I would make sure that an email was prepped, as suggested above, so that as soon as the meeting happens the congregation is told. I’d also make sure that the problem employee is copied on it as well and told about it so they will know. It could also be good to have all leadership aware, whether paid staff or volunteers. Any worship leaders, kids/youth ministry leaders, elders, deacons, small group leaders, other church committee leaders, etc. should all be sat down in advance to let them know this is coming, so that way if the congregation has questions, seems surprised by this action, or are pushing back against it, these leaders can run interference and explain that while they can’t gossip about what lead to this decision, it was one made by the staff committee after sincere deliberation (and prayer, if applicable) and that the church wishes the fired employee well. Firings from a church can feel icky in a way that is different from business firings or other non-profit firings, since the church is supposed to be a family of believers. You also hear the phrase “God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called” in certain churches, so if anyone who believes that philosophy is convinced that the fired employee was legitimately called, they may see this firing as a disagreement with God. There may also be people who are upset that you’re stopping someone from serving God.

        This is a hard spot to be in, which is why you need as many people on your side to address any concerns the congregation has. Good luck.

        1. Pugetkayak*

          I’m sure not “all.”
          Even in areas of heavy Catholic and main-line protestant there are always non-denominational churches even if they aren’t as visible as in the southeast (for example)

        2. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

          I was brought up Southern Baptist. There is a broader Southern Baptist Convention, and most states will have an office of some kind, but for the most part, churches are autonomous. You could go to your state’s convention leaders and ask them advice, but they would have absolutely no authority to terminate a church employee. That duty/responsibility lies wholly with the personnel committee.

    5. Richard Hershberger*

      This is true in some denominations, but these things vary wildly, up to and including the assumption that there is a denomination. What the LW really needs is someone who understands how church governance works in this particular instance. If the end result is the pastor being physically removed from the pulpit, it wouldn’t be the first time. But while firing by email is not great, if the person being fired is physically avoiding meetings, that changes the equation.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Also, look into getting a locksmith in to change the locks. Seriously. This is a traditional step in these things, and for good reason.

        1. Insert Clever Name Here*

          Change the locks and also change the password to any social media accounts, whether you think this pastor had them or not.

        2. Artemesia*

          Yesterday. changing fob locks is simple; keyed locks more complicated but could be done by a locksmith in an afternoon. Probably many more people than necessary have key access, so also time to rethink who needs a key to what and what areas need to be separately keyed e.g. so the choir director has ABC access but not DEF etc etc.

          And absolutely hire security for the next few gatherings at the church. This person’s behavior suggests serious threat.

    6. KatEnigma*

      In many cases, the people with the ability to remove a minister is the church board, where the personnel committee is an offshoot of, and appealing to the higher ups won’t get you anything other than MAYBE advice. Assuming there is even a higher governing board to begin with.

    7. Chirpy*

      As someone who was on a church council when we had to make the decision to get rid of a pastor (nothing nefarious, they were liked as a person, but just weren’t meeting the congregation’s needs and we also needed to go down from two pastors to one, the other was retiring, and we took the opportunity to use the denomination’s rules to start fresh), while we did have the congregational support with a vote, it was really helpful to get help from the next level. They were able to send us an interim pastor who was really great at mediation and reconciliation, which was something we didn’t realize we needed. Even in the case where most people were on board with the pastor leaving, it was still traumatic for the congregation.

      1. Chirpy*

        I saw too late it’s non-denominational with no governing body. But still, some form of group counseling might be good afterwards, this will likely be traumatic for the congregation in the best of circumstances.

      2. KatEnigma*

        I often refer to an Interim pastor as a palate cleanser.

        They also take the bulk of the “but the last pastor did it this way!” without too much at stake, since everyone knows they are just a temp.

    8. I should really pick a name*

      It sounds like the LW has the authority to fire the minister, they’re just having trouble meeting up with them in person.

      1. Lydia*

        Because in cases where the governing body can determine where, or if, you are assigned to another church, you would probably toe the line with them more than the local leadership. In this case, it appears there is no higher authority, so it doesn’t matter, but I’d be willing to bet if your livelihood depended on doing what the Big Bosses of the Church say, you would do it. (You being general here, not you specifically.)

        1. I should really pick a name*

          But I don’t see why the escalation is needed.
          Alison’s suggestion of talking without a meeting, or sending an email/phone call nips the problem in the bud.

          1. Lurker Cat*

            Church bureaucracy doesn’t care about what is needed only what must be done. Still it sounds like this is a non-denominational church so their pastors are hired directly and not assigned by the Church (or however it works for non-Catholics).

          2. Lydia*

            In a more hierarchical denomination, it wouldn’t be okay to do any of it without looping in the governing body. Much like in any other organization, you might not just up and fire someone without letting a higher up know.

      2. Chirpy*

        In my church’s case, we were able to fall back on the larger organization’s support for changing pastors. They were able to provide an interim pastor until we could hire a new one, as well as resources for the congregation to help move forward, both in choosing a new pastor with a better fit, and dealing with the changes needed in the congregation itself. (And if the pastor had been awful like the one in this letter, they could have been an extra layer of support for removal.)

    9. Momma Bear*

      Some churches are independent but if there’s a larger denomination to speak with re: HR issues, I would do so. They may need to provide paperwork to the larger body for things like compensation packages or pensions. If a new pastor needs to be hired or assigned, that’s also a reason to talk to the Bishop or whoever, too.

      I also think that blocking her email/access needs to be immediate so the church can lead the message to the congregation before she does. Presumably this is not the lead pastor and whoever is the lead pastor can make a simple statement, or the head of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee or equivalent.

      1. Artemesia*

        oh good point; she needs to not have access to the congregational email list. she may already have acquired it, but blocking her access to the church email as well as social media and physical doors is all vital and should be done yesterday — before the message that she is terminated is sent.

    10. 2 Cents*

      If this happened in my Protestant congregation (escalating to this point, that is), I could see them remote disabling everything, and then after the next church service, holding a congregational meeting (announced via email, as usual) to discuss the termination–pastor so-and-so is no longer here or working on behalf of X church, as determined by the Session. We’ve been clear with the reasons. We’ve started the search for a replacement etc. If you have any questions, please talk to these elders/deacons from the Session.

    11. many bells down*

      I wrote long reply to this that didn’t send but essentially I work for a church, we were recently in a similar situation, and after the minister in question left we discovered that the issues with them were MUCH bigger and went back much further than anyone had realized. There might be criminal charges. A bad minister can do a LOT of damage.

    12. daffodil*

      I’m seeing that this church is not part of a larger denomination, but it might be worth looking into para-church resources that might have support for situations like this, such as pro-bono lawyers or consultants. Maybe there’s an allied church in your area that could help? Agree with everyone else that you need to change the locks and passwords and announce pastor’s departure as soon as you can. It stinks to have such a tough situation as a volunteer!

    13. Nina*

      This is also super fun if you’re in a denomination that deliberately doesn’t have a governing body, and there are more of those than you seem to think.

      1. Lydia*

        Four Square comes to mind, but I’ve spent almost 30 years hearing about the Presbyterian church (my husband was raised Presbyterian) and their governing body would be interested in this.

      2. RagingADHD*

        IME, for every 1 person who seeks out a church without a governing body because they believe its doctrine is more pure, its practice is more faithful, or its community more wholesome…there are 3 people who sought it out because they refuse to follow rules, can’t get along with people, or are straight – up grifters.

        1. olevia*

          My maternal grandfather and his direct ancestors were extremely active in the Church of Christ denomination, a very conservative denomination absolutely not to be confused with the far more liberal United Church of Christ. CofC churches are fundamentalist and conservative and are decentralized by design, but I would hardly call the ministers (called evangelists) grifters. Grifters exist in hierarchial churches too. That said, I am not a fan of the decentralized model.

          1. RagingADHD*

            I didn’t say all the pastors were grifters, amd I’m not sure where you’re getting that.

            I said that there are people (parishoners, staff, volunteers, clergy, everyone) who have healthy reasons for not wanting hierarchy, bureaucracy, etc. And there are also people in every aspect of church life who just don’t want oversight or accountability.

            And IME, the latter outnumber the former, and it’s the idealists who suffer for it.

  2. Mine Own Telemachus*

    On LW1: I feel like having it be a random Diversity Day just draws attention to how not-diverse the workplace must be to get to just randomly pick a minority religion to celebrate each year.

    My workplace does 12 floating holidays (1 per month) so if we’re of a group that doesn’t get federal holidays off, we can still take the days if we need them. THAT policy feels way more inclusive than whatever your workplace is doing!

    1. Person from the Resume*

      12 floating holidays sounds like a lot! Is that in place of federal holidays or in addition to them? That still seems odd like if you wanted another day in July, would you come in the 4th of July when no one else was in the office. I find this interesting but I’m curious how it works.

      1. Mine Own Telemachus*

        It’s in addition to the federal holidays! My workplace has very good benefits and encourages a healthy work life balance. Also some religions have enough holidays that 1 per month actually works out pretty nicely (like Judaism – there’s a lot in there, like Purim and Pesach which are coming up).

        1. kali sarakosti!*

          Wow, as an observant Orthodox Christian (we have 12 major feasts + Pascha [Easter]) I would LOVE for this many floating holidays! Heck I’d even take 1-2 floating holidays over e.g. President’s Day…

        2. The Very Jewy Sparrow*

          Wait, you can only take one per month? Because if so, that’s completely useless to observant Jews, who depending on the year can need to take up to seven days off for holidays IN A SINGLE MONTH during the High Holiday season. They come as a cluster, it’s not like we can just spread them out.

          1. Jessica Ganschen*

            True, but if it comes along with a good vacation package, that’s still one less day that you have to take out of your PTO. Like, this (Gregorian calendar) year, it looks like there are six days of Yom Tov that fall on a weekday (plus Purim which I’m going to want to take off anyway), and four of those fall in separate months, so that’s only three days I’d be taking instead of seven.

          2. Mine Own Telemachus*

            They can roll over into the next month! It’s just that it’s pro-rated based on what month you start (so if you start in June, you only get six instead of the annual twelve). You can save them up and take the whole week of Sukkot off, for example.

    2. coffee*

      Yes! Being given a day off for a holiday you celebrate as a once-off just reminds you that your company could give you the day off every year but has decided not to. And also what about multi-day holidays? Like if you were doing “Easter”, would they give you Good Friday or Easter Monday?

      Alison’s point about being respectful of the actual meaning of holidays really resonated with me too.

      1. Chirpy*

        It’s like if you went “well, Christmas isn’t a holiday this year for diversity, everyone better be at work. ”

        I’m all for everyone getting all holidays off. I don’t celebrate Yom Kippur but it’s only right that people who do can celebrate, and if that means I get a free day too, even better. But not at the expense of them only getting an important holiday off basically at random for “diversity” when my holidays are considered “standard”. I would be really uncomfortable with this weird system.

        1. Imtheone*

          Just an FYI: Of course, we “observe” Yom Kippur, as it is a serious and solemn day. We celebrate many other holiday!

    3. Beth*

      Absolutely. Why do some religious holidays get to be normal holidays while some have to enter the ‘Diversity Day’ lottery? What a way to hammer home that the people in charge see some religions as standard and others as exceptions.

      1. Wintermute*

        That choice is often out of the hands of the company. Federal holidays are federal holidays, schools are closed so parents need to be home or arrange childcare for one, second federal and state offices are closed which may affect your ability to get things done, there are no postal deliveries, banks are closed too which means you won’t be getting ACH files or transaction reconcilliations among many other things.

        So, for instance, when I worked for the bank in IT, sure we COULD force people to come in and stare at screens doing nothing, but doing that just so we don’t take a Christian holiday off seems silly.

        1. Spencer Hastings*

          I agree with the point about federal holidays, but this lottery thing is still stupid. Anyone who actually celebrates those holidays can take them off anyway as a religious accommodation, right? So what’s the point of adding this “diversity day” thing on top of that?

        2. Beth*

          Yes, companies do have to work with some religious holidays like Christmas also being federal holidays. There’s systemic stuff at work here that goes broader than any single company.

          But that doesn’t mean that companies should lean into that and specifically mark non-federal-holiday religious holidays as ‘diverse’, or that they should treat them like a popularity contest! That’s weirdly othering, and really highlights and exacerbates the gap that already exists in our society. There are so many other ways to handle it–give people floating holidays, be vocal about accommodating religious needs so people know they can take time off for whatever holidays they celebrate, offer generous PTO so people can take time for whatever reasons they need it, etc.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Yes, that’s what makes it so much worse! A popularity contest where you’re competing with other “diverse” religions.

          Have they put up guardrails around the length of the chosen holiday? Selecting the entire month of Ramadan might teach them a lesson.

          1. Sofie*

            LW says people vote based on a provided list, so there’s some pre-screening, apparently. Which … is its own layer of nope altogether.

    4. Emmy Noether*

      Confused non-US-person here: can each person individually decide when to take their floating holidays? And if so, what’s the difference between a floating holiday and PTO?

      1. Corrvin*

        Each person decides when to take their floating holidays for themselves. The main difference between these and standard PTO is that floating holidays typically must be used the year that they are given, and can’t be carried over.

        They don’t have to be used in day-long chunks or for a specific holiday. Last year some of my floating holiday time was used to write my finals, and some for sad vet visits.

        1. Nikki*

          That depends on the workplace. At my company, floating holidays have to be taken in day long increments. They’re also not paid out when you leave the company the way PTO is so everyone tries to use floating holidays before using PTO.

        2. doreen*

          Confused US person here- I can understand why an employer might want to distinguish floating holidays from any other sort of time off but what I don’t understand is why employees sometimes want to. From an employee point of view, I will take whatever I am given including floating holidays* but I would have preferred being given two additional vacation days to the two floating holidays my employer gave, mostly because of of the different rules regarding carry-over etc.

          * which in my case were more literally floating holidays – we were entitled to 12 ;legal holidays but only closed for 10 of them so the other two were floating holidays.

          1. Pugetkayak*

            I think that is exactly why they do it. You don’t have to use PTO for your holiday when the business is running, but it’s accounted for differently – as a paid holiday. You just get to choose when you take it.
            We get 2 floating holidays.

          2. Emmy Noether*

            So from the outside it looks like US vacation, floating holidays and sick leave are just types of paid time off with slightly different use rules (minimum increment, carried over or not, paid out or not), that make them more or less convenient/valuable. As an employee, you’d logically always want the largest sum, and within that the most flexible type.

            Which means 12 is only impressive if there is also an adequate number of the other types.

            1. Chirpy*

              In the US, there’s no such thing as standard for time off/PTO/holidays…. there are federal holidays but for example, my retail job gets Christmas, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and New Year’s Day as paid holidays and Easter as an unpaid holiday – this is considered really good for retail as the store actually closes. The other federal holidays that some people get off are often big sales for us (why we need, for example, a President’s Day sale, I have no idea).

              1. Worldwalker*

                I have no idea either, but I’m sitting around reading AAM while I’m waiting for my new refrigerator to arrive. :)

              2. Some words*

                “(why we need, for example, a President’s Day sale, I have no idea).”

                Because lots of people are off work that day and just may be lured into doing some shopping with that free time.

                I’d actually be happy to see retail establishments close on those days and give their staff the day off.

            2. Governmint Condition*

              Basically, yes. Floating holidays are time off with different rules that vary from employer to employer. The weirdest one I’ve seen was a maintenance workers’ union that negotiated a choice for their employees – they could either take a day off on Martin Luther King Day (in January), or on Good Friday.

              1. Lydia*

                When I was in grad school in California, each year was different. Year A was MLK, Jr Day, Year B was Cesar Chavez Day, back and forth. I can’t remember if we got President’s Day off.

                1. JustaTech*

                  When I was an undergraduate our school carefully scheduled the semesters and breaks so that all federal holidays were when school was out. So the only holiday we technically got was Cezar Chavez day, which sadly was a huge PITA because we had to figure out how to make up labs without asking anyone to work on their Sabbath.

            3. Spencer Hastings*

              Pretty much. And not all companies have separate PTO “buckets” anyway. At my current company, I used to get X days of PTO, all use-it-or-lose-it, no distinction between vacation and sick, with one floating holiday. A couple of years ago, they changed it to X+1 days of PTO, since with the way our PTO worked, there was literally no difference, and it was simpler that way.

              1. Lydia*

                The current policy where I work is you can’t take any sick time until you have been out for at least three days, not even for appointments, and it makes me so mad. It’s definitely something I plan on bringing up when the next union contract is being negotiated (a while from now since we just ratified the newest contract last year). Forcing the use of PTO for health appointments is the shittiest DEI policy.

                1. Cmdrshprd*

                  @No Longer Looking Eh in the context of @lydia advocating for better/change in benefit negotiations, that other people don’t get x benefits I don’t think is or should really be a consideration.

                  Does it suck some people don’t get any sick/vacation time of course. Do I support mandatory minimum leave yes. But if people can fight/negotiate for better benefits they should absolutely do so, even if their benefits are already good/great.

            4. MigraineMonth*

              My workplace keeps adding more types of PTO, all with their own rules. We have sick leave, wellness hours, vacation days, sabbatical leave, COVID leave, holidays, floating holidays, etc.

              I had to make up a spreadsheet to figure out which I should use up first.

          3. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

            I’ve also worked where we got a floating holiday because the company observed a legal holiday and was mostly closed but because of our roles we had to be open (student/client support during a very busy time for professional development).

            Because of that we got a floating holiday this way they didn’t pay us extra for working the holiday.

          4. Insert Clever Name Here*

            At my company you do not have to get approval from your manager to use a floating holiday — you just notify them that you are taking it and that’s that. Beneficial for people who work for a manager that thinks only certain religions’ holidays deserve time off with pay from work.

          5. There You Are*

            At my company, we can’t officially roll over PTO so “floating holiday” and “PTO” are effectively the same thing. I just have to be sure that, by the end of the year, my days off are allocated to the correct bucket on a departmental spreadsheet.

            Like, in December of last year, I knew that I still had 55 hours of non-work time left and was about to book it all as PTO, but then checked my personal spreadsheet I use to track my time and realized I had 16 hours of floating holiday time that I hadn’t claimed earlier in the year. So my timesheet (which is basically just a project-hours tracker for my department and nothing HR sees) for the month of December had 16 hours floating holiday, 39 hours PTO, and 24 hours company holiday.

        3. Smithy*

          I’ve worked at places that refer to them as either floating holidays or personal days – and their inability to be carried over or paid out is the primary difference with PTO.

          Where I am, we have three per year – and while it’s not the same as 1 per month, I think that ultimately it’s about any given workplace deciding what kind of flexibility they want to give. For someone looking to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur – one floating holiday a month would still require them to dip into their PTO. Whereas a place with fewer days in bulk could all be spent at once at that time. However, 1 per month does open the ability to take more time off across the year for religious observance. Long term, you’re looking at trade-offs when it comes to making room for religious and cultural observance, but in a good spirited way.

          However, for all employees – giving days that don’t roll over and don’t pay out is a great way to ensure that staff take at least some time off. If I worked somewhere with 1 floating holiday a month… addition to state holidays, that’s another 12 days my workplace would be far more guaranteed I’d take. If you’re in a sector where burnout is real concern, this could be a great way to address a few staff needs.

          1. bamcheeks*

            That’s how most annual leave works in the UK. Everyone is entitled to four weeks’ annual leave a year (although if you’re on a zero-hours / casual contract, this is probably wrapped up into your hourly rate), but you can’t usually roll over more than five days.

            1. Lydia*

              Because the US has such shitty retirement benefits, a lot of places will let you roll over several weeks of PTO that will then be paid out when you leave/retire. Same with sick leave. Because nothing says “stay mentally and physically healthy” more than avoiding using PTO and sick leave to get an extra $1ok when you retire!

              1. doreen*

                I don’t know about that – I don’t know anybody who can roll over several weeks of PTO to be paid out when they leave who doesn’t already have a lot of paid time off. People who only get 2-3 weeks total time off a year generally can’t roll that much over. I was able to get a lump sum payment for up to 30 workdays of vacation when I retired – but I took 3-4 weeks of vacation/personal days every year and sick time was completely separate

                1. Lydia*

                  It really depends on what you’re doing, I guess. I could normally roll over about a week of PTO when I started accrusing 3 weeks a year, and would because I had events at the beginning of the year I wanted to attend and wouldn’t have accrued enough time off if I used it all before the end of the year. I do work for a unionized shop and am local government, so YMMV, but it’s a pretty large chunk.

          2. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

            Where I work now we have Personal holidays which can be used within the year but are not able to carry over to another year. And we have floating holidays if the legal holiday falls on a weekend. This happens with Christmas and New years this year. Most people just take it on the Friday before but it is technically up to us when we use it as long as its used by 12/31.

      1. Never The Twain*


        On a similar note: “Let’s agree to differ about what God wants. You do things your way, I’ll do them His.”

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I’m surprised at the number of times there are assumed to be two races in the US: White and Black.

      2. kali sarakosti!*

        I commented on another thread, but when you’re Orthodox Christian and celebrate things on different days, you have the extra irony of being both Christian and “diverse” :P

    5. Holly Flax*

      I don’t think it’s inherently unfair that the holidays
      of some religion/culture are an official day off and the
      the holidays of another religion/culture are not.

      In the US the majority of the people are/were Christian,
      so Christmas and Easter became national days off. In for example
      India the majority is Hindu, so there Diwali is a national holiday
      instead of Christmas or Easter.

      Each country has it’s customs and peculiarities in this regard.

      1. Silver Robin*

        It is inherently unfair. Christians get their holidays off automatically while everyone else has to dip into their various PTO banks. The logic that Christians are the majority so it is fair that they get better treatment is unsound at best.

        However, as you point out, the system as it stands is not arbitrary or random, there is historical/demographic context for why it happened this way. But again, just because there are reasons why, does not mean those reasons are good or that the resultant system is fair.

      2. Laura L*

        yeah, it is though. Just because it makes sense for xmas to be a federal holiday given the number of Christians in the US, doesn’t mean it’s FAIR.

        1. Holly Flax*

          I think it’s good for a country if there are a few days where (almost) everybody is off.
          It brings the country a little bit together as a whole. Whole extended families get a chance to see each other.

          So if society values these universal days off, what would be a fair method of choosing which days?

      3. Kit*

        This attitude is exactly why the company’s Diversity Day was instituted – because there’s nothing so diverse and equitable as having (white, cishet, Christian) coworkers decide whether my religion’s observances are valid enough to deserve a day off this year.

        Minorities of all sorts have to deal with othering all the time, because the world is not set up to cater to us. “It’s okay that you’re discriminated against because there are more of us!” is not a great look, and is why we need more legal protections (and those that already exist to be enforced).

      4. MigraineMonth*

        India is a poignant example to choose, given the bloody history of partition and the current Hindu Nationalist prime minister.

      5. Leaf*

        In for example India the majority is Hindu, so there Diwali is a national holiday
        instead of Christmas or Easter.

        India is not the correct example for this because, actually — the current Indian PM notwithstanding — Diwali, Christmas, Eid, and various other religions’ major holidays are ALL government holidays in India since it’s a secular* nation.

        *In India “secular” is used to mean “all religions are treated equally” rather than non-religious.

    6. Perfectly Particular*

      Wow! That is a lot of floating holidays – do people who don’t celebrate a holiday that month just use them as extra vacation/mental health days?

      1. Sloanicota*

        Where I work, you can trade certain Federal holidays for other holidays that are more meaningful to you, so these are “floating.” There are 11 Federal holidays I think, so that would cover you pretty well.

        1. Lydia*

          I really like that idea. It means you’re not required to use special category days to get time off for the holidays important to you and you can still work on days other people take off.

      2. Fluffy Fish*

        I only have 2 floating holidays, but yes. They can be used whenever you want and we don’t have to justify/explain why we are using it. 1/month is likely just an explanation of when they are accrued, not that they take one a month. Mine are front-loaded at the beginning of the year, I just have to use them before the last pay cycle of the year closes.

        I’m an Atheist so I use them as extra vacation days.

        1. My Cabbages!*

          As an atheist who is also a filthy commie, I’d love to be able to take off International Workers’ Day, Earth Day, Indigenous People’s Day, International Women’s Day, Arbor Day…

      3. Mine Own Telemachus*

        Yup. I’m new to the job, and am taking St. Patrick’s Day off to visit family, using that personal floating holiday. We also have a generous PTO policy, but having the floating holiday as a choice if we need just the one day is pretty nice.

    7. L-squared*

      Wow! I personally have no problem with the company in letter 1, but your way sounds great. 12 floating holidays is a lot though, and I can’t see many companies agreeing to that.

      1. MsM*

        My last org did a “you get whichever four of these you want before you have to start dipping into vacation/personal time.” Not the best system for those of us who were basically locked in to one or two of the religious holidays, but certainly better than LW1’s office.

      2. Pugetkayak*

        It is a lot because really, the floaters are supposed to be used for days that are individually important to you but not one of the business days. I know of no one who NEEDS 12 days, but cool anyway for the workers!

        1. Ali + Nino*

          Ask the Orthodox Jews whose kids’ schools are closed for Federal holidays :) Floating holidays are nice in theory, but if you’re a parent, you’re going to be taking unpaid time off at some point.

          1. 1anon*

            Seriously my kids get easily 12 Days a year between all the Jewish holidays and then a few of the federal holidays

          2. Observer*

            A lot of Orthodox schools in NY do NOT close on most legal holidays, because they need to have a certain number of school days, and especially in the last few years, they want a few extra for snow days.

      3. just another queer reader*

        Agreed, this sounds great!

        And while I agree that most companies aren’t here yet, I think that 12 floating holidays would be REALLY nice for some people.

        As I think Alison noted, a lot of Jews would like to take quite a few days off around the High Holidays (early fall), plus a few other holidays – it adds up to being no different than taking the last two weeks of December off, plus a few for Easter etc, which is fully accepted in many US workplaces!

        And I can think of other groups of people who might appreciate the opportunity to take more extended time off. For example, what if people could take off a week or two during Ramadan? What if a person who’s going through a tough family situation could take off a week or two to focus on it?

        I’m not terribly optimistic about this possibility given the general attitude of US employers around time off, but I love dreaming about this world.

      4. Butterfly Counter*

        I guess it depends. For Christians, for example, the main holidays of Christmas and Easter are probably worth at least 7 days (the week of Christmas, and then Good Friday and the Monday after Easter). Which then leaves 5 for any other holidays you want to celebrate.

        1. bamcheeks*

          What would be the religious reason for wanting the Monday after Easter Sunday off?

          (Genuine question! I’m Anglican and an ex-chorister – I would expect lots of church commitments Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, but in my tradition everything stops dead after Easter Sunday. It’s when most vicars and choir people safely book their holidays!)

          1. Butterfly Counter*

            Travel? If you’ve gone out of state to celebrate with extended family, some might want/need the day to travel back home.

            I might just be used to getting that day off, though, because my high school had the “snow days” (make-up days for if we were snowed out earlier in the winter which we seldom used in Texas) on Good Friday and the Monday after Easter.

            1. Chinookwind*

              I also don’t understand Easter Monday, but maybe it was started as a recovery or travel day? My church commitments start at 7 pm Thursday night (or earlier if I am helping) and extend to either around midnight Saturday or noon on Sunday (depending on which service I attend). And then there are the family celebrations on Sunday (which can’t take place before hand as we are still fasting/not celebrating). So, I can see why it started but I am with everyone else who doesn’t understand why it keeps getting included as a Christian stat. holiday. I would much prefer one of the many other days of obligation in the Catholic calendar (maybe Ash Wednesday or All Souls Day?).

          2. AngryOctopus*

            I don’t know the actual religious reason, but I used to work PT at Boston College, which is Jesuit, and they gave everyone Good Friday through Easter Monday off. Annoying because it messed with our lab schedule :)

            1. My Cabbages!*

              I’m at a Jesuit college and we have the same. Presumably to allow students to go home for Easter Sunday.

          3. Gray Lady*

            Many people travel to see family at Easter time, and since the Sunday is the holiday itself, they don’t want to be traveling on that day.

            Monday after Easter is a very common day off around here in institutions that consider Easter a holiday that needs to be observed by time off.

          4. Emmy Noether*

            I’m not christian, so I can’t tell you why, but a lot of countries actually have Easter Monday as an official holiday (France even has Easter Monday but not Good Friday off in most regions). I thought England (Anglican) did too?

            It seems to be a thing at least in the roman catholic church (?)

            1. MsSolo (UK)*

              Yes, Church of England has Easter Monday as a significant holiday, which is enshrined as a bank holiday (like a federal holiday) in the UK.

              1. bamcheeks*

                C of E has Easter Sunday as a major religious festival, but there’s no particular observance associated with Easter Monday– it’s just a bank holiday.

            2. Wilbur*

              Anglican might not refer to England, there’s actually the “Anglican Communion”. This is includes the Church of England plus Episcopal churches in Ireland, Scotland, the US, etc.

            3. bamcheeks*

              Yeah, we do have it as a bank holiday in the UK, but it’s not a widely celebrated / secularised holiday here like Christmas is– people travel on Easter weekend, but they travel because it’s a long weekend with a bank holiday either side, rather than because they particularly want to celebrate Easter. And even if you celebrate Easter, there’s no religious observance on Easter Monday like there is on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday etc in the high Anglican / Catholic traditions I’m familar with. So I just wondered if there was something to observe in another tradition!

              1. Nina*

                there’s no religious observance on Easter Monday

                In Hertfordshire there’s an annual Easter Monday pilgrimage to St. Albans Abbey. You walk from wherever you are to there and have basically a picnic/party service in the cathedral. There’s a crowd from Biggleswade who always win the packet of Easter eggs for ‘came from furthest away’ (except the year I won on a technicality, having arrived from New Zealand the previous night and not stopped traveling until that morning).

            4. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

              Because I was interested in finding out for myself I did a quick google search:

              Easter Monday is the last day of celebrations of the holy week before the working week resumes. It is a public holiday in many countries worldwide, marking the second day of Octave in Eastern Christianity and the second day of Eastertide in Western Christianity.

              The first-known use of the term ‘Easter Monday’ began in the 15th century. The Monday after Easter that is observed on Sundays is a day of strong religious significance for Christians

              GOOD FRIDAY has more religious conotations as it is commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary.

              1. Chinookwind*

                That would be for *some* Christians. As a practicing Roman Catholic, I don’t remember ever hearing from any priest or bishop about religious obligations on that day. In fact, they are usually the ones relaxing that day because of the toll Easter Week commitments can have on them.

          5. Jayem Griffin*

            Raised Roman Catholic, specifically Polish. Where I grew up, Easter Monday was “Dyngus Day,” and its own holiday. It was a pretty big ethnic pride thing – lots of Polish food, dressing in red and white, parades, music, dancing, etc. I think it’s a pretty niche thing, though, and I wouldn’t expect to have it off as part of an Easter holiday!

      5. Observer*

        I personally have no problem with the company in letter 1,

        Why do you think this is ok?

        I’m serious- I simply cannot grasp the idea and you are the first person I noticed who seems to think it’s ok. I’d like to understand the thinking, even if I doubt I would agree with it.

    8. Sloanicota*

      I feel like there’s a universe where this is done well, like every year the company respectfully highlights a holiday that people might not know about, if it was done in a thoughtful way (like, an email or a few slides in a powerpoint at the annual retreat) and did not involve having the white people try to “celebrate” Yom Kippur or whatever. Stripping attributes from their cultural context and then using them as “fun, exotic” party decorations is a pretty well known no-no these days.

    9. Momma Bear*

      I highly agree with the floating holidays and the company can say that it’s in part to support those who celebrate holidays not already provided. Let people determine what is important to them.

    10. OtterB*

      We don’t have floating holidays by that name. There are a few federal holidays that we don’t take (President’s Day, Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day, maybe others) but those get moved organization-wide to cover the day after Thanksgiving and an extra couple of days between Christmas and New Year’s.

      But our PTO comes in two buckets: vacation, which depends on your tenure with the org, and sick/personal, which is very flexible. Usable for standard sick time for yourself, appointments, sick support for spouse and kids, but also for religious holidays, parent-teacher conferences, renewing your driver’s license, taking pets to the vet, having work done on the house (if you can’t work remotely while it’s being done, e.g. they’re turning off your power).

  3. learnedthehardway*

    OP#4 – if driving is essential to the job, then it is something that the employer should be asking about in the initial screening interview. For example, when I hired someone for a role that required a lot of local travel, I had to ask if they had a reliable vehicle and a valid driver’s license, because the travel was part of the job requirements.

    However, if they don’t ask and it doesn’t sound like driving is an obvious requirement, then I would ask them what travel is involved for the position. You can base your decision from there on whether the role will work for you, without disclosing your personal medical situation.

    If the position involves fairly frequent regional or local travel, then driving will be pretty important, but it’s up to you to decide if you can manage the travel and the cost of the travel in some other way – eg. taxi/Uber, public transportation, trains, etc. I’m not sure what accommodations an employer would be obliged to cover for this, but I’d assume they’re not going to pay for it, if being able to drive is a reasonable expectation for the role. So you’d have to factor in the cost of doing the job into your decision if the compensation made sense.

    If the travel is “come to head office 4 times a year for a meeting”, I would not rule yourself out, and I wouldn’t disclose that it is a barrier for you, either. Infrequent travel is something that you’ll probably be able to figure out, and even if you have to take a train, bus, or taxi/Uber, it probably would make financial sense, even if you had to pay for it yourself. Also, it’s more likely that reasonable accommodations would apply to infrequent travel, because it wouldn’t be an undue burden on the company to pay for it.

    1. Jackalope*

      It sounds like the new state may be unpopulated enough not to have a solid public transportation system either, but if they do, it’s not unreasonable to ask if the employer has a subsidy for that. Many employers pay for some or all of a transit subsidy, regardless of employees’ ability to drive.

      1. Snow Globe*

        This is what I think may be the issue – if the LW lives in a rural town 100 miles from the airport, there may not be any public transportation, or even Uber, to get to the airport. I’m not sure what would even be possible, other than relying on spouse or other friends to drive the LW. It’s noteworthy that the LW didn’t mention a need for accommodations (Alison mentioned that), merely that travel is prohibitive, and there was no mention of travel until fairly far into the process.

      2. LW #4*

        This is the case. We have a bus system here but it runs, at best, once an hour and only on weekdays. Also, the closest airport is in another state.

        1. Dawn*

          I’d focus then on whether they actually need you to do that travel.

          If their whole thing is “we actually want you to come into the office one day a week/month/whatever just to see your face” that’s not essential to the job and technically they have to accommodate you by not requiring it or otherwise finding a way for you to reasonably do so.

    2. Lavender*

      Yes, if the travel is infrequent then there are probably workarounds. I’ve only ever had one job that really truly required a car, and it was a job that involved going between 20 different work sites (literally) in an area with extremely subpar public transit. Otherwise, in my experience it’s usually possible to use a ride-share service or carpool with a coworker.

      1. Spearmint*

        I think that would be true in most cases, but not always. For example, what if the job requires infrequent travel to remote, rural sites? (think archaeological sites or remote mountain towns). It’s harder to see what kind of workarounds there would be in that case.

    3. VI Guy*

      I’m visually impaired and do a lot of traveling for my work. It helps that I’m expected to take taxis when I fly to another city, and sometimes I’m visiting a place with good public transit. In one situation I was asked to attend a meeting in a remote location and I made it conditional on that manager finding me a way to get there. I know that the ability to request that help is a privilege of my expertise. In that situation he found another coworker who was going too, so could pick me up and take me.

    4. Modesty Poncho*

      “I’m not sure what accommodations an employer would be obliged to cover for this, but I’d assume they’re not going to pay for it, if being able to drive is a reasonable expectation for the role.”

      I don’t know all the ins and outs of the ADA but if an employer is obliged to cover, let’s say, an ergonomic chair for someone with a back issue, or any other special equipment, I don’t see why they wouldn’t pay for an uber instead of mileage/company cars/whatever else they’d be paying if the employee drove instead.

    5. Jane Brain*

      Also not a driver. I have found managers and coworkers sometimes discount the possibility of using a taxi or similar for things like those quarterly events, to which I like to point out that if I did have a car I would have insurance, maintenance, and gas bills to pay. So it’s not as though I’m necessarily worse off financially because I’m paying for even expensive cab rides from time to time.

      1. LW #4*

        This is really helpful, thank you for this. I don’t often run into people who can’t drive, except for other epileptics, and I find that while there is an increasing understanding that not everyone can/does, there is still an expectation that everyone should.

    6. Daisy*

      I’m a remote worker living in a rural area (2+ hours from an airport) that travels cross-country several times a year for meetings at the main office. Employer pays for my travel to the airport (either shuttle service or milage and parking), flights, meals, etc. and pick up/drop off in base city. In the past decade I’ve used just about every combination available and HR has quickly reimbursed for all of it. The only thing ever not covered was milage, hotels, and extra travel day when I drove myself instead of flying – that one they reimbursed the same amount as if I flew (about half the cost). This should be common for any decent employer IMO.
      I certainly wouldn’t pull myself out of a job just because it required occasional travel.

    7. Zombeyonce*

      The driving requirement in a lot of postings might also be an artifact of old templates of requirements you add on to job listings that aren’t well-reviewed. My own (very large) company had a “must be able to lift 25 lbs” line like that in pretty much every posting across the board until I pointed out to HR that not only is that requirement pretty ableist when not actually needed, but that a lot of the jobs listings it was on were for 100% remote positions where people just worked at a computer. They have since removed it from the template.

    8. cori*

      I also don’t drive & have gotten 2 jobs that “required driving” in the description & it never came up. I hope you can find something similar! Ableism in employment is bs!

  4. Lavender*

    12 floating holidays! Wow, that’s an excellent benefit.

    It does sound like OP1’s company is operating under the assumption that no one working there actually celebrates any of the “diverse” holidays they’re trying to draw attention to. A person who actually observes Yom Kippur or Diwali or any other holiday would presumably need that day off every year, not once in a blue moon when their coworkers decide to vote for it.

    1. Pugetkayak*

      Yes and not all days are “celebrations” like Yom Kippur for example, Good Friday, etc. It’s weird to “celebrate” somber religious holidays.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        Thank you! Yom Kippur is a holy day, not a holiday. I had an astonishingly high number of coworkers wish me a happy Yom Kippur, which I find ignorant/bordering on offensive.*

        *if you are personally fine with being wished a happy Yom Kippur, great, I am not.

        1. metadata minion*

          Aaaaaaacringe. I have luckily only heard “happy Yom Kippur!” from other Jews with gleeful sarcasm turned up to 11.

          At least it’s not happy Tisha B’Av?

          1. Casey*

            I don’t get ‘happy Yom Kippur’ or ‘happy Tisha B’av’, but I get plenty of ‘How was your holiday!!!! What did you do??’ greetings the next day. I don’t find it offensive, just funny. And I’m never sure what to respond…

            1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

              “It’s a religious holiday; it wasn’t just a day off for me. I did religious things.”

        2. I have RBF*

          I think some of this comes from Xtians wishing each other “Happy Good Friday”, but I still thing it’s pretty cringeworthy. Not every holy day is happy.

          1. Nina*

            Am Xtian and have been for decades, have literally never heard ‘Happy Good Friday’ except from atheist friends who didn’t know what it was about.

        3. Dancing Otter*

          Yeah, I’ve never figured out the right word to wish someone a “good” Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, Yom Kippur, etc.
          Anyone have any ideas?

      2. BluntBunny*

        I wouldn’t say Good Friday is a particularly sad holiday it’s not really about mourning but more being thankful. You are supposed to avoid eating meat out of respect. It’s actually a bigger celebration than Xmas in the Caribbean where they cook a lot of fish.
        Most holidays that culturally tied to food is seen as a celebration.

  5. Person from the Resume*

    For LW2, I’m curious. You haven’t told she’s fired. She’s refusing to meet with your committee, but she showed up and “preached” as scheduled. Did you pull her off the schedule and replace her with the other minister so her was also there to preach?

    But if someone is refusing to meet with you because they’re dodging being fired, it’s not harsh to fire them over email or phone. This isn’t a surprise to her; that’s why she’s dodging you!

    Put the other minister on the schedule and make sure some is there to prevent the soon to be fired minister from preaching again.

    I’m using preaching as shorthand for whatever they did in front of the congregation.

    1. Bagpuss*

      Exactly – OP and their committee have tried to approach this professionally and appropriately, it’s not at all ‘cold’ to deal with it more robustly given the unprofessional and deliberately avoidant actions of the minister.

      OP#s – I think there’s a real risk given her behavior so far that she won’t take this well. In wording the letter to her I would make sure, as Alison suggests, that it explicitly states that unfortunately she has not addresses the previous concerns about the quality of her work, and that you have tried to arrange meeting(s) with her both formally and informally in order to be able to discuss the issue, hear anything she wished to say, and decide on the next steps, but that as she has refused to attend a meeting or to discuss your concerns, a decision had to be made without her input and that decision is to terminate her employment, effective immediately.

      I think by spelling it out, it leans that it is harder for her to claim she wasn’t given the chance to have her say, and if she chooses to share the letter then it will be obvious (also, I would put any personal information, such as arrangements for her final pay check, in a separate enclosure so that if she tries to make trouble, you can f need be share the letter with congregants without disclosing any of her personal information, although under normal circumstances of course it would not be appropriate to share something like this. )

      You also mention that she will need to return to the church to collect her stuff – I would suggest that you consider whether that is actually necessary here , or whether this is one of the situations where packing her stuff up (perhaps two of you doing it together, and listing what you have packed up) so a box of stuff can be delivered to her, or handed over at the door, may be appropriate.

      As it is a church, you may also want to consider and plan for how you will deal with it if she tries to return as a member of the congregation. Would she be welcome to attend services in that capacity? If not, then that needs to be made clear in the letter, and if she is welcome you may need to spell out the requirements, e.g. that she would not be permitted access to any areas which are not normally open to non-employees, and that if she seeks to disrupt services then she will be required to leave.

      I would agree with the poster above that you probably need to ensure that details are updated elsewhere – if you have a website, remove her details, if you have a mailing list of newsletter, update it to state that as of [date] she has ceased to be an employee, will no longer be preaching or undertaking any other role there as a minister.

      And make sure that whoever will be taking the service next time she would have been doing so had she not been terminated, that that person is there ahead of time and perhaps that you have extra people (do you have churchwardens or other trusted members of the congregation?) who can intercept her and ensure that she doesn’t try to just show up and take over.

      Depending on the nature of the problems an the structure of your denomination I would think it’s also likely to be appropriate for you to provide your local bishop / diocesan office / as appropriate of the facts – what’s happened and why it’s been done in the way it has, so they are aware of the situation – presumably it might be relevant if she seeks to make any complaint to them or if they are likely to have any say in, or be asked for references or the equivalent in any future post, and also so they can reach out to offer her pastoral support if necessary.

      1. Momma Bear*

        A plan if she retains membership is a good idea. I had not thought of that. This is a very good punch list of actions.

        1. Artemesia*

          She should not be allowed to remain as a member of this congregation and that should be clearly spelled out i.e. that because of this situation, she will need to seek out another spiritual home.

          1. Jackalope*

            It’s pretty standard that pastors have to leave a church for a set amount of time after resigning/retiring/being fired. I’ve usually seen 2 years but it could vary. The idea is so that the new person/people can start doing things their way and the person who’s leaving can step down for real without everyone automatically going to the prior pastor.

    2. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Just to add – checking in with a security company would not be a bad idea at this stage. A lot of them are familiar with “how to remove person A from a very public environment without causing too much of a fuss”. We had a stalking problem at our church that was solved by quietly getting a professional involved.

      I agree with Person above – she knows nothing good is going to come of this meeting. It’s time to move into preventative measures.

    3. Zombeyonce*

      Depending on why she’s so bad at her job, it could even be beneficial for the congregation to know the church is doing something about removing her if she showed up to try and work again without someone scheduled to take over that time slot. It wouldn’t be the first religious institution to lose members because of a terrible preacher.

      1. Observer*


        I remember a letter from someone who was dealing with the issue of a terrible youth Pastor, and the fact that families were leaving the congregation over it. Yet somehow no one seemed to be able to see how they could actually fire this person who was so “beloved”.

  6. Free Meerkats*

    The #3, stop doing the tech support. I know you want to be helpful, but you’re devaluing yourself.
    If the EA does that again, shut her down immediately and in front of who she just introduced you to. Whether you do it gently, with humor, or essentially slap her down is up to you; but shut it down.

    1. Jinni*

      This ^^^ I’m quite good with tech and I never help no matter how easy it would be or annoyed I am with the problem. Also no coffee or food. For women it backfires so often.

      1. I have RBF*

        Yep. As someone who is AFAB, I refuse to type, make coffee except for myself, plan lunches, etc.

        I’m very good with tech, it’s a major part of my job. But I still don’t do Windows support, or much end user support. We have a different group for that. We get escalations if front line support can’t handle it.

    2. John Smith*

      I’ve had this problem in the past where a senior manager saw me as a convenient stand-in for our manager who left. The manager’s absence caused problems as we weren’t allowed to have the position unfilled and, due to the toxicity of the senior manager, difficulty in recruiting a replacement. When we had an external audit, the senior manager introduced me: “This is John, he’s the deputy manager”. Response: “Am I? That’s the first I’ve heard of it!”. It didn’t go down well. For context, we have a rule against working at higher pay grade roles without commensurate pay. Also, there were 3 people more senior (but less competent) than myself who the senior manager knows he can’t try to bully. He soon learned he had a 4th.

    3. Artemesia*

      This. This is exactly what happens when someone informally takes on tech support. The best course here is to suddenly be too busy to provide this support and refer people to the IT support person. You could even say that, it has been brought to your attention that these tasks should be directed there.

      Because if you keep doing tech support, you ARE the office tech support person.

      1. Sparkle llama*

        As much as I would love to not be the person in my department that can show you how to do what you need to on your computer, there are so many things that I can answer that our IT staff won’t or can’t deal with. They are famous for telling people to Google it when something isn’t working (like getting monitors to work correctly) and they refuse to learn many programs used by a large amount of staff. So while I would love to say I can’t show you how to extract pages from a pdf again, IT won’t help with that either since we use a specialized pdf reader and they have no familiarity with it and no desire to become familiar with it.

        And yes, ideally your IT department actually functions, but this isn’t the first place I worked with this level of IT support so guessing I am not alone on this.

        1. DocVonMitte*

          What would happen if you just stopped helping though? Would it stop you from getting your actual job done (i.e. someone can’t do their part of a project you are responsible for, etc)?

          If their inability to tech does not impact your job directly I would not provide IT support. Those who need the additional help will either need to learn or raise it with their own boss to get the support they need.

        2. Some words*

          “And yes, ideally your IT department actually functions, but this isn’t the first place I worked with this level of IT support so guessing I am not alone on this.”

          I’m not even sure how much of our IT is still done by company staff vs having been outsourced. But I would be very shocked if they asked me to Google something!

        3. Dawn*

          Seriously, just stop helping.

          They’re coasting by letting you do their jobs for them, and that’s not part of your job description.

          They’ll either develop the desire to learn how to answer these questions or be replaced if you just send everyone back to them to do their literal only jobs.

    4. Perfectly Particular*

      It depends on what is meant by tech support I guess? Being the person that bear understands the specialized systems needed to do your (and your coworkers) jobs isn’t necessarily devaluing. Or being a pivot table or VBA expert. But if you’re spending your time asking if they’ve tried rebooting it – yeah, you should stop that and direct them to the service desk.

    5. MicroManagered*

      “Don’t fix the copier” is one of my personal maxims for my work life.

      I have been “the” one who can figure out what’s wrong with the copier, or the coffee machine, or your wireless keyboard, or your excel formula, or why your document that doesn’t look right when you converted it to a pdf, etc.

      DON’T DO IT! I’ve found that at best, you become “tech support” for the copier and at worst, it eventually morphs into doing others’ work for them…. especially the excel stuff.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Hah – not work-related, but when I was in high school, I got elected to the student council and once there, put in charge of various hand-drawn posters and other art throughout the school – sometimes it meant overseeing others as they made art, but mostly, it was me making posters. Then in college, I mentioned it and was added to a team in my dorm building that was in charge of making art and posters. By the end of college, I’d been making posters on a volunteer basis for 7 years, and was DONE with the damn posters. My first job out of college, I was asked in my first months on the job if I knew how to make art/posters and cheerily replied with “Nope!” and that was thankfully the end of me making posters.

        2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

          And for women of ALL generations it’s “Don’t make the coffee!” (Which was the first thing my supervisor of a former job told me on my first day there. Since the other 5 staff members at that branch of the agency were all men, it was very good advice!)

        3. Artemesia*

          exactly. I can figure out how to deal with medium problems of tech because I am not stupid and google; I can fix a copier because 95% of the problems can be solved by following the instructions printed with pictures on every element of the machine as you take it apart; I can do lots of things, as can we all, if I make the effort.

          If you do this, then lazy people acquire you as their AA and you don’t do your career any good being the flunky unless that is something you enjoy doing. I once made sure my job was ever secure in a volatile work situation by doing a job no one else wanted to do — but it was also something I enjoyed and commensurate with the career I was building.

          I have no doubt that the people in Sparkle llama’s office could figure it out if she were not doing it for them. They’d rather she did. If she can’t wiggle out of it, then creating a handful of cheat sheets, making those available and then saying. ‘everything I know is on the sheets — if that doesn’t work you need to google it.’

        4. I have RBF*

          I literally did this, right up until computers and word processing became valuable skills. I still claim unfamiliarity with a typewriter (“Where’s the backspace key?”) but not a computer.

          1. Relentlessly Socratic*

            I had a private conversation with my old boss after he would ask people to volunteer to take notes in the meeting at the actual meeting, then he’d wait in silence until someone (and it was always a woman) to volunteer.

            He was a complete jerk, but to his credit, he did listen to my cheery “hey, FYI, you might want to come up with a rotation for note-taking so that everyone pitches in!” Fortunately for me, I quit before it was my turn on the rota (Honestly, I take TERRIBLE notes).

          2. MigraineMonth*

            I volunteered to take notes in a meeting once, 2 years ago. I then explained that I’d be happy to do so again, after everyone else had taken a turn.

            None of our meetings have had notes for the last 2 years.

      1. Lizzianna*

        If I jam the copier, I’ll figure it out.

        But if someone comes to me about the copier, I’ll shrug. Lines that have become helpful include

        “I don’t know, did you try following the directions in the error message?”

        “Did you try googling it?”

        “I think there is a help number to call on the machine.”

        I appear polite, but none of these responses me getting out of my chair to unjam the printer.

    6. Antilles*

      Yes, yes, and yes.
      At my first job, when I moved from a cubicle to the office, my office was the closest one to our printer and set up in such a way that it was clear line-of-sight from me to the printer. The very first piece of advice someone gave me, so quickly that I hadn’t even plugged anything into the wall: Never ever fix the copier for anybody because then you become the Copier Guy.
      I thought that was an exaggeration so I helped when a couple people looked like they were stuck and it immediately became something where I’d get asked every time something broke. The only way I was able to break this habit and get people to figure out their own problems (or ask the actual IT rep whose office was maybe 200 feet away) was to full stop and completely shut it down.

      1. Trillian (the original)*

        I had to unjam the copier at one work place multiple times a day because the thing was unreliable and coworkers would leave it in that state. So I made up a data-collection form and taped it to the copier, inviting people to add a tally mark every time they had to unjam the copier. The density of tally-marks must have impressed someone, because three days later there were two guys bent over it like a surgical team, taking it apart.

    7. ArtsNerd*

      In one office, when it got a bit out of control, I started pleading total incompetence when it came to *anything* I hadn’t already shown expertise in. If I already helped a person with X, I’d usually assist someone else with X, too, so long as X was only something that cropped up on rare occasions.

      But helping them with Y? Oh goodness there be dragons. I’ll probably break something! Yeah, I’m soooooo good with computers, but it’s only when it comes to certain highly specific things. Mostly just the ones that are directly required for my job.

      I would never advise anyone else do this, but even though I’m a terrible liar, it was surprisingly effective.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        Also: I’m a woman which is particularly why this is terrible advice but my boss *hated* how hyper-competent I am, so this soothed his fragile, fragile ego at the same time.

      2. Le Sigh*

        In my experience, a visible, longstanding war with the office printer — ideally the printer with the biggest audience — goes a long way in establishing yourself to be of no help with IT. Or if someone asks you what to do about the cracked monitor, just say “Have you tried restarting? That’s what IT always tells me to do.”

        1. Le Sigh*

          It probably helps make it seem more credible if said war with the office printer is real and in fact involves all printers in the office. Don’t ask me why I know.

  7. WS*

    #5 In addition to what Alison said, if you’ve been working for the one organisation for a long time, you might be seen as indispensable in your position – which is good when they’re firing people, but not so great if you want to move into a different position. They might like you where you are and find your current job (and especially any extra things you’ve taken on and your institutional knowledge) to be one that would be hard to hire someone else to do. Is that fair? No, but it might be a reason why the other employee has worked elsewhere and then come back, and if approaching HR doesn’t have results, it might be a good idea for you to do, too.

    1. Mockingjay*

      LW5, I think you need to market yourself. Approach your supervisor or HR and ask what you need to do to advance. It’s not about longevity and loyalty, it’s about the accumulated skills and knowledge that you can offer a higher position.

      “Hey boss, I’ve been in this role for a while. I really enjoy what I do, but I’m ready for more. I’d like to be considered for Position X when the next slot opens. I’ve got a lot of skills that can be applied in this higher position.” You are an experienced employee who wants to stay with the same org, in a job market in which turnover is frequent. They’re likely going to want to keep you. It’s a conversation: find out what they are looking for and what you have to offer in return. Maybe you need to update a cert or get more hours doing Y in order to be considered – so work on that while you wait for the next opening. Perhaps you could take on a task or two that Position X usually performs to build up your presence and skills. And so on.

      Keep yourself out there so management is aware of your availability and willingness.

      1. Artemesia*

        Loyalty has zero value; it is usually translated as ‘has been around a long time; wonder why she has never moved up.’ Do people above you know you want to move into X or z roles? What strategy is in place, with their help one might hope, to make that move. Maybe it means training or working on a particular type of project; maybe it is just a matter of awareness — but ‘been there forever’ rarely works in your favor. You need a strategy.

  8. Fikly*

    LW5: The best thing to do, very likely, is to job search elsewhere. Your employer doesn’t care about loyalty, and if they feel it is in their best interest, they’ll show you the door without a thought.

    If you’re working for a hospital, chances are your job is in demand.

    1. Well...*

      This! I feel for LW, a lot of people get pulled in by the loyalty myth. It’s convenient for your employer to make you think loyalty to them aligns with morality or will be somehow rewarded — it usually gives you a weaker bargaining position and makes you easier to take advantage of if you don’t consider leaving for other jobs.

      It could be difficult for LW to find another job, as hospitals aren’t necessarily abundant in some areas. Still, if the coworker found one, there’s some hope!

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yeah, it’s not as if employers hand out jobs based primarily on who has the most brownie points for being loyal. Your primary loyalty employer-wise should be to whichever organisation will give you a positive working environment, excellent benefits/compensation and good opportunities to develop and advance your career.

      2. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

        There’s nothing in LW’s question indicating that the hospital implied anything about, or even discussed, loyalty.

        LW considers it disloyal to leave a job to go somewhere else. While some employers would agree with LW, those that do would not have rehired this woman and certainly would not have promoted her. The hospital clearly values this person.

        LW, it’s probably not conducive to your happiness to look at this through a lens of loyalty or fairness. Employers proceed according to their own interests. If you want to move up, figure out what you need to get there. Observe those who do get promoted. What do they do that makes them promotable? Have you spoken to your management about your desire to move up? They might give you valuable information.

        1. Antilles*

          LW considers it disloyal to leave a job to go somewhere else. While some employers would agree with LW, those that do would not have rehired this woman and certainly would not have promoted her.
          You’re right that the fact they rehired her (twice!) and promoted her makes it obvious they’re focused more on skills than pure ‘loyalty’.
          I’ll also note that in my experience, the employers who see it as “disloyal” or “a personal betrayal” to take another role also tend to be awful in plenty of other ways. So the fact that the hospital appears to value skills over pure “loyalty” is a good thing, in my opinion.

          1. Jenny*

            I agree. Loyalty often involves bad managers getting promoted just because they’ve been there the longest.

        2. Kendra Hobbs*

          Something about LW5 makes the hair on my arms stand up. I feel like they’re in the terrible position of being right that the job opening was low-key hidden from them, but it’s because they actually would not be a good fit, and everyone they work with already knows it. LW5 is kind of proving their point by immediately tearing into the re-hire as being less qualified… especially because they’re only less qualified according to LW5’s arbitrary and deeply personal criteria.

          “How can I prevent something like this recurring? Do I have any recourse?” feels weirdly overreaching when the only problem is a pretty standard, “I wasn’t invited to apply even though I think I was the best person for the job.”

          1. Jenny*

            I actually had a similar reaction and it’s maybe something LW5, if you’re here, is worth considering. Is the way you’re approaching promotions and loyalty maybe coming across as out of touch? Do you have someone in your organization you can trust to give you honest feedback?

          2. Well...*

            IDK I think that’s a pretty unkind take. It could be true that LW5 was more qualified, and when that’s true, it’s absolutely relevant to point out when writing in to an advice column about it…

          3. Cakey*

            I had a similar reaction to this myself, considering they immediately jumped to “recourse”.

            I’ve worked in healthcare with similar folks who believed their longevity made them qualified for promotions, when in reality they were difficult to work with but great with patients. You won’t be fired if you’re great at patient care, but you won’t move up if you can’t work well with staff.

            1. Dawn*

              Yeah, I kind of have to agree that, for lack of better phrasing, this letter had several strong vibes that the OP felt they were entitled to this position, and if that is the case, it’s worth considering that that’s an attitude rarely valued by the people who make promotion decisions.

        3. Sloanicota*

          I think this stems from a misunderstanding that a job is like a romantic relationship, where sticking together through good times and bad is valued highly. But … that’s not how jobs are.

          1. Well...*

            Disagree, I think it stems from longstanding norms in our culture that suppress employees advocating for themselves.

        4. Dona Florinda*

          +1000 to your last paragraph. OP, it’s possible that the other employee got the job because she expressed her desires to her own boss, and so they thought of her when the position opened. Or maybe she has unique skills that you don’t know about.

          Either way, I agree with Putting the Dys in Dysfunction: make sure your boss knows that you want to move up and, if that’s not safe for some reason, observe what other people did to get there and try to follow their steps.

        5. Well...*

          And there’s nothing in my comment saying that LW’s specific employer discussed loyalty. But in our culture the myth persists, and it benefits employers more than employees. And it keeps unjust power structures in place. I feel for anyone who’s been taken in by it.

        6. Iris Eyes*

          Oh I’m sure they talk about valuing loyalty highly and allow an attitude of loyalty to flourish (likely by some sort of seniority perk that is beneficial to quality of life but not quantity of remuneration i.e. first dibs on working/not working holidays), replacing people is expensive after all and promoting an ethos of “loyalty” can go a long way in that. BUT they are showing that is not their primary value especially for promotions, which is actually a good thing.

          I think it was a letter a while back where a long term teacher was miffed that they were passed over for a lead teacher role or something like that and the point was made that while she had taught for multiple decades she had mostly taught the exact same thing for those decades, she had 1 year of experience 20 times whereas the person chosen for the position had less longevity but more breadth of work, they were actually more experienced because they had stretched themselves not just done the same thing over and over. Doing a thing over and over makes you very valuable at doing that role but it doesn’t recommend you for taking on other roles.

    2. Generic Name*

      This! If your less qualified coworker was able to find not one, but two, other jobs during your tenure, so can you!! I bet she also got nice raises each time she moved jobs (both away and back to your current employer). Companies don’t give a crap about loyalty. Do what’s best for you.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        There’s nothing to indicate that the coworker is less qualified. The only things OP mentions are OP being with the organization for a long time and the coworker leaving and returning twice. This makes me wonder more if OP5 is conflating time in job with qualified for the job. Having longer tenure does not automatically make one a good candidate for a promotion.

  9. Brain the Brian*

    Re LW2: I would argue that any “minister” who reacts angrily to feedback is probably pretty awful at their job. Like, one of the main points of ministry is supposed to be to *not get angry* when people give you bad news, no? Anyway, I digress.

    1. Artemesia*

      Yes this is an urgently disastrous situation. Whatever the denomination does to handle a problem minister should be engaged. And of course there should be security given the individuals odd behavior. You can’t have her marching up to the pulpit for some sort of drama out of a hallmark movie. You don’t want a big scene.

      1. Curious*

        I’m not sure that there is anything you can do to avoid a big scene. What will be the instructions to the poor security folks?

        If Jean formerly from accounting has to be physically escorted off the premises, it will be embarrassing and mildly traumatic. If Pastor Jean is escorted from the church in front of the congregation, I don’t see a way in which it isn’t epic. Moreover, I would be concerned about the pro-Jean faction of the congregation — there will inevitably be one. My sympathies for a horrible situation!

        1. EPLawyer*

          There will be a pro Jean faction. But there will also be a huge bunch of people who will heave a sigh of relief. If she is spectacularly bad at her job, the congregation knows. They might not be vocal about it but just suffering through it. But they know.

          Heavens how many people left because Jean is a minister there who is terrible at her job?

          OP, you need to fire her immediately. Do it via email and deactivate her key fob, or change the codes/locks, whatever. Then send an email out to the congregation letting them know that Minister Jean has been relieved of her duties effective immediately No need to get into details of why. Just say it.

          1. Brain the Brian*

            Changing the door codes will only work if the pro-Jean faction doesn’t secretly give Jean the new code!

            1. EPLawyer*

              The general congregation should not have the door codes to things like the sacristy and the ministers’ offices. So no one would be able to give her the code. And if the codes are that generally known they need to be changed anyway and then the new code only given to select people.

            2. Artemesia*

              I have dealt with that and in fact fired the admin who over express instructions to not give keys out to those not on the list, did so. This suggests very careful key strategy (and the desirability of codable doors). People should only have keys for areas they must use to do their jobs. Volunteers who need keys occasionally should check them out; keys themselves should be non copyable. Regular volunteers who do need some access should have keys only to what they need. And anyone being issued a key needs to sign paperwork about key security and not sharing keys without authorization.

              People feel that keys give them status and having a key becomes important to them as that badge even when they don’t need one.

              1. Antigone Funn*

                It’s the same way with logins. You have to make the boss an “administrator” account even if he literally never logs in. He’s the boss, do you think he’ll settle for some peon-level user account? Of course not, he needs one with all the permissions necessary to delete the whole system because “admin” is the highest level and he is the highest status user.

                …I’ve taken to quietly blocking those accounts.

        2. Richard Hershberger*

          Security folks: I doubt that there are any. That is more typical of megachurches, which this clearly is not. Once the firing is done, it is a matter of trespassing, which is a matter for the police.

          In some traditions it is not unheard of for the pastor to be physically removed from the pulpit mid-sermon. I can’t imagine that is healthy for the church as a whole.

          1. Worldwalker*

            I wonder if any congregation members are cops? Because I think what they need is a couple of off-duty cops to act as security.

            1. Wintermute*

              This is a great idea, off-duty police often moonlight as security and they’ll have the proper training and experience, plus the fact that they retain some of their law enforcement powers while off-duty could deter some of the worst potential shenanigans

            2. Brain the Brian*

              Better hope any congregation members you enlist as security are not in the pro-Jean faction, though! (And depending on the denomination, some churches — especially those with committee-led personnel processes — may have congregations strongly resistant to the presence of police — even off-duty ones — in their sanctuaries.)

          2. Texan In Exile*

            And do megachurches even have parish councils/personnel committees/authority to fire the preacher?

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              It depends on the megachurch. The word isn’t really specific to any particular form of church governance. That being said, they tend to be very personality-driven in the person of their senior pastor, so often that guy is a de facto mini-pope.

          3. Wintermute*

            I doubt they have on-staff security but that doesn’t mean they can’t have “security”– Hiring a contractor through a security company is probably overkill unless there’s a really serious threat, but you can always deputize a few congregants with experience or the proper physique (ideally experience) to mind the door.

    2. Not Australian*

      Nope, you don’t digress. At the risk of derailing, I’ve always thought ministers were supposed to model decent faith-based conduct – which this doesn’t exactly seem to be.

      1. Sales Geek*

        My father was a minister for 40 years. About six months after he retired the church had to call him back to work after it was discovered that his replacement was carrying on with at least two of his flock.

        The church leaders fired the replacement immediately but he was then given a job with the denomination’s regional administration. The pastor with the wandering eye did eventually leave the church’s employ after deciding that perhaps the ministry wasn’t the best career choice.

        1. Jenny*

          My aunt’s ex husband was a minister and he also was fired for having an affair with a member of his congregation (also lead to their divorce). There are definitely some rotten ones put there.

    3. JSPA*

      There are a lot of hot button issues at the moment that seem to have short-circuited that particular default; and even within a faith, there are people firmly convinced that their take is the only correct one, whether on the basis of scripture, or their view of what stance is humane and humanitarian and good for society. And that their faith in fact requires them to testify to and spread this Truth.

      I’m surprised that this doesn’t happen more often, TBH.

    4. Peanut Hamper*

      I remember Jesus getting angry and flipping tables, but that was with money-lenders in the temple.

      This situation seems to be the complete opposite of that.

    5. Dances with Flax*

      Well, the clergy – of ALL religions! – are only human, and not getting angry when confronted with bad news isn’t a realistic expectation. But how you behave when you DO get angry is the point – and it sounds as if this minister doesn’t react well at all.

      Being open to constructive feedback – even welcoming it – is key to becoming better at doing ANYTHING. And yes, the clergy of every faith I’ve ever heard of ARE expected to set a good example of dealing with maturity and humility with the inevitable challenges that go with holding a position of responsibility. This minister seems to be failing at this, as well as with her pastoral duties; definitely time for her to go.

  10. Jopestus*


    Okay. It is a good thing that the employer wants to reward people(as far as i understood these days off are extra, and not out from something). It is also a good thing that the employer wants to make people familiar with customs of others. The name of the event is still bad. A perfect example of well meaning people being misguided imo.

    I dont see it as people voting as what they think is “valid” at all, since i bet they wont. I find that to be just LWs look into things, unless the people in that workplace are a bit whack. It would not be unheard either though. Hard to say without knowing the people in question. I am assuming the people will vote for days they think is the best to have a free day at, so i would expect holidays set on mondays/fridays to win.

    In fact, i find even the whole idea of voting to be bad. Just giving everyone floating days that they can use whenever they personally want would be the best solution.

    1. doreen*

      I could see #1 if people were voting to close on one of the “holidays that aren’t really holidays” like the day after Thanksgiving or Monday July 3 but not for religious or similar holidays.

    2. Daisy-dog*

      I was definitely thinking that people would vote on Mondays/Fridays or days that would extend other breaks.

  11. nnn*

    What strikes me about #1 is a floating holiday would actually be better from a business perspective, because different people could take different days and you could keep the business operating every day. Better chance of everyone’s needs being met (insofar as one extra day off can meet everyone’s needs) with less business impact.

    1. Allonge*

      This totally depends on the business / sector though – there are places where it’s not that much of an issue to close for a whole day.

      Which does not make the voting system ok!

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Yeah, I was thinking that for example, as a teacher, we always vote on discretionary days off because the school is either open or it’s not; we don’t have individual days off as such (though of course, if we are sick or attending in-services or on maternity leave or stuff like getting married, that’s different, but we don’t have days we can just take off at our discretion).

        That said, this is still a really poor way of doing it. Our voting is a case of “right, the school year needs to be 166 days. We can start on such a date and take one addition day off or start a day earlier and take two additional days. What do people want to do and has anybody any suggestion for days?” Not “let’s vote on which religious holiday we should take off.”

        1. JSPA*

          Even 50 (mumble) years ago, in public schools, my teachers took their religious holidays off, and we had a substitute. If anyone’s trying to tell you that this hasn’t been a thing in the past, they’re either basing that on very local history, or they’re feeding you a line.

          1. JSPA*

            Ah, Ireland. That could well be different, as I expect there’s a state religion aspect that’s not (at least, not legally-defensibly) in play in the USA.

            1. JSPA*

              And backing off again, I guess there’s no state religion in Ireland, though in NI it’s presumably the UK state religion of, “Christianity” (apparently no longer further specified at the UK level, but at the member country level??)

              But in any case, I have to assume that there’s some system of substitute teachers, and that those teachers can be called in when someone is unavoidably absent (?).

              1. Irish Teacher*

                Yeah, I suspect teachers would be able to use personal days for religious holidays. I just meant that there aren’t floating holidays which people can take at their own discretion. I didn’t mean that people are not allowed to take time off for religious reasons, though I am actually not sure what the rules are there, just that there are jobs where giving everybody a number of discretionary days that they can take whenever they wish might not work.

                And it sounds like the OP’s situation isn’t really to give people time off for their own religious holidays, but rather to give everybody a day off for one specific holiday.

                1. JSPA*

                  Yeah, that part is just icky, and it’s any of many variations on icky. It could be the out-yourself-as-exotic-and-c0mpete-against-the-other-exotics variant: “lobby your coworkers to get your needed / religiously-required holiday off.” Or the cooptation variant: “lets all make paper dreidels to hang on the christmas tree.” Or insensitivity day: “having a barbecue and a party because (?) other people are fasting and atoning.” Or the cultural appropriation variant: “we can all get into throwing color and sparkles around for Diwali, or making noise, eat cookies and drink to excess on Purim–no need to worry about any religion behind it.” Icky all around.

      2. A Professor*

        ‘The problem is that all of these “remote” jobs require the ability to travel and that always requires the ability to drive.’

        I’m curious whose assumption it is that “ability to travel” = “ability to drive”? I realize that in a remote area these are often thought to be equivalent, but they’re certainly not. Even remote areas have taxis or Uber, or carpooling, or even Greyhound. Moreover, “travel” usually means reporting to a work site that’s NOT in town (reporting to a work site in town would be “commuting”). While employers have no obligation to pay for an employee’s commute, it is very, very standard for the employer to pay for employee travel, whatever mode of transportation that takes.

        So, returning to my question, is it the employers or the LW who is making this equivalency? If LW is being told “this job requires travel X times per year” and interpreting that as driving — as implied in the letter– I’d suggest not making that interpretation. I personally wouldn’t bring up driving at all unless it’s asked explicitly. Assume that any travel they ask you to do can be done via (reimbursed) common carrier or by carpooling with a coworker.

        1. JSPA*

          plenty of places do not, in fact, have Uber (“in more than 900 cities” in no way covers “most cities and towns.”). Nor taxis (or in any case, more than one or two taxies to serve a set of small towns). Some places will support a special needs van, but they can be hard to book even for needed medical appointments, and are broadly not usable for getting to jobsites outside of town. There are entire states with a single greyhound station, and one or two routes passing through.

          None of that will get you to most job sites–and that goes double if the job site is itself something to do with (say) agronomy, mining, drilling, most sorts of power generation, ethanol production, food processing, distribution centers, or anything else that’s almost never centrally located relative to the nearest population center.

          1. Worldwalker*

            Yeah. I live in a town of about 30,000 people and we just last year go (very spotty and sporadic) Uber service.

            1. JSPA*

              I looked up some numbers. That’s 900+ Uber cities is worldwide, out of >10,000 cities (by the atlas definition of over 100,000 I suspect) worldwide (and over 300 of those are in the USA).

              There are over 3000 incorporated areas with populations of over 10,000 people in the US, and another >16,000 incorporate areas with a population under 10K.

              Plus, plenty of people live in unincorporated areas, and there are plenty of businesses and business sites in unincorporated areas.

              The idea that there “must” be transportation services (public or private) in areas that have businesses just isn’t (at all!) a given.

        2. doreen*

          Not all remote areas have Uber or taxis that are readily available. It’s not terribly uncommon for a place to have limited taxi service that must be arranged in advance – in fact, I know of a few vacation areas where the various resorts/hotels will pick people up from the train or bus station because there are not taxis available at the bus or train station, at least not without the possibility of an hours long wait.

        3. Generic Name*

          This is a real misconception that a lot of people from densely populated areas have. Especially on the East coast. Remote areas, are by definition remote. Remote as in nobody has mail delivered to their house and you have a PO Box at the post office. Or remote as in the nearest greyhound bus stop is 100 miles away (I just looked, and Wyoming has a grand total of 11 stops in the entire state). Same with taxis or Ubers. A carpool may be you ask your neighbor for a ride and you’ll pay gas. There are no transportation district arranged car/van pools because there is no transportation district.

        4. Dona Florinda*

          That’s true in theory. I’m currently doing field work from a remote location and even though it’s possible to get here by bus and move around by taxi, in reality those things can take hours.

          Our car broke down last week and I had to wait four hours for one of the three taxis to pick me up. It’s exhausting and time consuming even for a non-disabled person.

          1. Wintermute*

            reminds me of a friend who had a car breakdown driving through the deep south. She wasn’t all that far from her destination, on a major highway, and was still basically stuck in town until the car was fixed. This was common enough the mechanic had fliers for the local motel in his desk drawer. There were literally no possible routes out if you weren’t driving yourself.

        5. Lyudie*

          Heck, I live in a fairly large metro area and the taxis here are notoriously unreliable. After college I lived in a busy, easy to get to, definitely-not-seen-as-“dangerous” etc part of a city with almost a half a million people, and the handful of times I need a taxi, they were either an hour late after the scheduled time or just….never came at all.

          1. Relentlessly Socratic*

            I, in my absolute ignorance, used to try to hail a cab in the greater Boston suburbs. That…just doesn’t work here.

            1. Lyudie*

              Ha! It is the same here as well (Raleigh area). I saw a guy trying to flag down a cab on a busy street (basically a highway with traffic lights) and…yeah he was ignored.

  12. Adam*

    For LW5, I think it’s valuable to check if you’ve had an explicit conversation about what your career goals are with the people who matter (your manager, at the very least), and do that if you haven’t. In many cases, people feel like it should be obvious that they wanted a role, but they never actually said it in so many words, and so the role goes to someone who did.

    1. SarahKay*

      Seconding this.
      I used to see co-workers get offered short-term ‘bubble’ assignments which are a great way to expend your skill-set, learn more about other parts of the org, and increase visibility, and I was definitely feeling ‘why do I never get a chance at these things?’.
      So in my next one-to-one with my manager I specifically said that this was something I’d be interested in – and lo and behold, I started getting offered these opportunities too.

    2. FashionablyEvil*

      Yes, was planning to make the same suggestion. Also, if you’ve been there 34 years, they could have reasonably come to the opposite conclusion: that you’re going to retire soon and are happy to coast to the end.

      Either way, definitely worth speaking up!

  13. OneAngryAvocado*

    I want to start using ‘this meeting is nonconsensual’ whenever my manager calls a meeting to give me work I don’t want to do. I can imagine that will go down wonderfully…

    (Sorry #2 – I’m sure this is a very stressful situation!)

    1. hbc*

      Maybe I’m weird, but I usually find the people who are more slippery about non-performance are harder to deal with. For example, if she had agreed to the meeting and then had a last minute “emergency.” The people who are openly defiant bring out my inner Vulcan. “Attending meetings is a required element of continued employment. Unless you are resigning, we need to have this meeting.”

      Though it’s so outrageous that I get why no one knew how to respond in the moment.

      1. Generic Name*

        Yep. And if they still say they won’t attend, then you get to say, “I consider this your notice of resignation, effective immediately. HR will be in touch regarding your last paycheck and to collect your belongings”.

      2. Another Librarian*

        “Maybe I’m weird, but I usually find the people who are more slippery about non-performance are harder to deal with.”

        This perfectly elucidates some behaviors at my workplace that I am struggling with. Thank you for putting it into words.

    2. Phony Genius*

      I am expecting a similar response to her firing, along the lines of showing up for services anyway and saying “the termination was non-consensual.”

      1. ferrina*

        “We have withdrawn consent for this employment. Thank you for respecting our boundaries and not ever showing up here again.”

  14. Squamous & Rugose LLP*

    #2’s employee is so far into the “nuh-uh” approach to dodging the inevitable that they’ve transformed into a sovereign citizen.

    I think when my next non-consensual meeting comes along I’ll just tell the organiser that my fictional all-caps strawman legal identity will be attending while the flesh-and-blood human employee stays at my desk with a nice cup of tea. Foolproof.

    1. Sunshine's Eschatology*

      You have no idea how much this comment delighted me. Don’t forget to attend IN CAPITAL LETTERS and make note of any gold fringes on the flag. ADMIRALTY LAW!!

      Sov cit merriment aside, this sounds like an extremely frustrating situation… I’ve been in churches having minister drama, and as crazy as things got, I at all times had the feeling that everyone was acting in good faith. This is another layer of hair-tearing frustration.

      1. Squamous & Rugose LLP*

        I accept for value and return for value your delight as a fellow Article IV free inhabitant of this comments section.

  15. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    Wow the insensitivity is shocking in OP1’s company. Like diversity is interesting, because it’s exotic.
    OP, I would like to suggest a change in policy so that when people are hired, they are allowed to choose whether they’ll systematically want a particular holiday off every year. Jewish people can opt for Yom Kippur and Hindus for Diwali, and managers will be told not to mess with those requests any more than they might ask someone to come in on Christmas Day when they’re a Christian.
    Those who are not interested in a religious holiday might want to choose their birthday or any other date that is significant to them.
    Of course people should be able to change the date (whether because of a sudden conversion, or because they got married or had a kid and would rather have their anniversary or kid’s birthday off than whatever date they previously chose) and there should be no questions asked as to why because it’s not like it’s anyone’s business.

    I’ve always thought that I would want to implement a scheme like that if ever I were to have employees (which will probably never happen now).

    1. JSPA*

      Can one lock people into days off, when there’s a faith component / when it’s explicitly linked to a faith observance (which would be necessary for any day that moves about, relative to the western calendar)?

      And what if someone tells you that they take [really obscure to the web] holiday, but “as observed in [country whose script you can’t search or parse”, and expects you to track that for them?

      Seems better to say, “Please inform us 6 months in advance of any days off needed for religious observances, or inform us on Jan 1 for any days in the calendar year.”

      1. Emmy Noether*

        I think making people declare what faith/cultural observance is behind their floating holiday(s) would just be pointlessly asking for trouble and complications. Better to just have employees ask for specific dates.

        1. noncommittal pseudonym*

          Admittedly, this is University, not employment, but I recently met with our DEI person on how to deal with a student who was requesting every Tuesday evening off for a religious observance. (It’s an evening class.) The DEI rep was very clear that, yes, you can ask what exactly the observance is and how much time the student needs off. They also drew a bright line between religious observance and religious activity. It was an interesting conversation.

          End result, no the faculty member is not required to record every tuesday evening lecture so that the student can attend Bible study class every week. She has the PowerPoint slides and can get notes, and that’s sufficient.

      2. Pugetkayak*

        You just note it like you would scheduled PTO on online calendar system or whatever your company uses.

      3. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I don’t know about locking in days off, but if I’d had the option when I was first hired to specify a specific religious holiday I planned to take regularly in addition to regular holidays I would have been delighted even if I did have to track the calendar myself.

    2. ferrina*

      Yeah, when a company has a Diversity Day, it makes me wonder what they’re like the other 364 days.

  16. Caterpillar hunter*

    LW4 if you’re encountering this with every job, my suspicion is that driving is a regular part of the job, and working around that might be challenging.

    I think as a first step you need more information about how driving typically comes into play.

    It’s then worth thinking through what could be reasonable accommodations that you could propose. And also think what you might be willing to do yourself to get around this. You also need to think how much of this is because of choosing remote over in person (my old employer has buses between sites). You don’t have to have the answers, but if you can’t even think of possible workarounds that could indicate that it is more integral to the job than you first thought.

    I drive for my job, the alternative is a much longer bout of public transport. I have colleagues that cannot drive – sometimes they stay at a hotel to minimise travel, or to make early starts. I could do this job without driving even though I drive often.

    In old job I also drove – and while it was infrequent (few times over the year I was there) it wasn’t something you could get around (it would literally require hiring a full time driver to shadow you just in case…)

    1. WS*

      It may be integral to the job, but also in areas where driving is the accepted mode of transport (I live in a rural area with no public transport) people are generally unaware that there *are* other options until they personally have to think about it. I had a friend who was epileptic and when people learned her address in our small town, they wouldn’t even consider her for jobs in a nearby big town because they assumed she’d be unreliable. In fact, there were a large number of people who did the same drive, including me, and we were already organising carpools and it would have been easy enough to include her. But people from the big town didn’t travel in numbers to a smaller town so it was invisible to them.

      1. Avery*

        This, and it doesn’t just apply to hyper-rural remote areas where driving is required, too–it came up for me for a paralegal position located in the suburbs, and while the position did require travel elsewhere in the state, it was only a couple times a year and nothing that couldn’t be accommodated with Uber. But they still required a driver’s license, at least on paper.
        My driving issues aren’t as clearly disability-related, and I’m not sure if that’s why I didn’t get that job or if it was because I froze up at one point in the interview… but just because a job says they need you to be able to drive definitely doesn’t mean it’s actually strictly required for the job.

      2. Caterpillar hunter*

        I’m not familiar with the commute to/from work being included in work driving requirements.

        I assumed that it was driving as part of the job (eg to other sites, to visit clients etc).

        How frustrating that people would ignore a potentially great employee because they assume they can’t attend work! Id assume if you were applying you could get there. Plenty of people car pool, or do the double drop off with a single family car etc.

    2. JSPA*

      Depending on how specialized the LW’s job is, and how often they have to drive, to do it, it may be no big deal for the company to pull someone off some other lower-paid job (for example, if parts have not come in, or the xeroxing can wait a day) and have them drive. Or hire a college student very PT to drive. Or schedule OP’s rounds around other people’s scheduled rounds.

      For example, if the company can hire someone who’d normally get paid $90/hour in a bigger market for the $50/hour they can afford to pay in a small town, by paying someone else $70 once a week to drive them to and from job sites for 8 hours…that’s an excellent deal.

      A company wanting to do right by its employees and give them what they need to thrive isn’t the default…but it’s not unheard of, either. Remember the lovely company / manager who offered to cover the cost of an assistance dog?

    3. hbc*

      If I think of my old stodgy industries, “must drive” is basically lazy-speak for “must reliably get to work on time.”* We kept putting it in our job postings for 100% on-site work, and the woman that got dropped off by her roommate every day was fine, as was the guy who biked through all kinds of weather.

      *It’s not like we checked. We still hired people who were late their first week and said “I can drive, but I don’t have a car” or “I can drive, but my license is suspended, why is that a problem?”

      1. Jackalope*

        Yes, this. Many people who always drive don’t think about the fact that there can be other options for getting to work; that can be as simple as carpooling (or having a spouse drop you off), or potentially more complex. If driving isn’t needed throughout the day (ie, driving to different work sites), then you don’t actually need to be able to drive, you just need to be able to get to work.

        1. I have RBF*

          When I was having seizures due to an AVM, my spouse drove me to and from work. This went on for two years, until I had the AVM out, ended up with hemiparesis from it blowing out on the table, but was eventually determined to be “seizure free” and allowed to drive again.

          Yes, I could have taken transit, if I had wanted the half hour drive each way to become an hour and a half to two hours each way. Having my spouse drive me meant we got to spend that time together.

      2. CommanderBanana*

        “Must drive for this job” makes it seem like driving is a required part of the job duties, and that opens up a whole other list of questions, like mileage reimbursement, tax credit for your car being a business expense, does the company pay for repairs, are they liable for accidents if you are driving for the company, etc. etc.

        If being on time for work on-site is essential to the job, just say that.

        1. doreen*

          It might open up those questions – or it might not. I’ve had jobs where I was required to have a driver’s license but not a car. I needed the license to drive an employer provided car in circumstances where alternatives to driving were not practical.

        2. LW #4*

          This is part of the problem. I can be on time for work, I can do what’s needed. But a LOT of hiring managers substitute “must have a license and a reliable vehicle” for must be able to attend meetings, fulfill duties of the job and attend 2-4 offsite meetings a year. It’s lazy and makes applying for jobs time consuming if I’m only going to find out that what is supposed to be an office job is working for an organization that might want me to randomly drive to a conference just because.

    4. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      I don’t know I’ve seen job ads where they require a drivers license and there is nothing about driving in the job description. Its just a way to weed out people who may not drive .

  17. Caroline*

    OP3/ spouse had a similar issue – he *had once been* tech support, but had long since moved into a very different area of IT, nothing to do with office tech support, and his title had long reflected that. HR kept laughingly introducing him as ”tech support for any issues!” and he asked a couple of times that the person concerned not do this, that they blithely ”forgot”, until the day he had the opportunity to introduce the person as the office receptionist, ”someone to ask if you need a meeting room booked or for stationery or whatnot”.

    Never happened again.

    1. ProcessMeister*

      “until the day he had the opportunity to introduce the person as the office receptionist”
      That is a rare and significant achievement, and the crowning highlight of the career of anyone who gets such an opportunity.

  18. And I'm the alchemist of the hinterlands*

    I really want to use the line “this meeting was non-consensual” for a regular meeting someday. Obviously that person needs to go, but that line is also brilliant.

    1. JSPA*

      If there’s risk of an actual schism, and/or your governing board decides that it is, after all, in best interests to add daylight / that you need to air the dirty laundry to prevent it all from mouldering…

      Decide now who you could talk to at your local newspaper or interfaith group, and put out feelers about there being a “situation.” Having people go rogue on NextDoor will otherwise happen (if it’s not happening already), and rumor will always outrun the chasing truth (which often will come across as damage control at best).

      1. Artemesia*

        That is why it is a good idea to announce all this from the pulpit next Sunday and have a church meeting after services to respond to any questions. It ain’t going quietly — so get ahead of the narrative.

    2. Not your typical admin*

      I’m in a SBC church, so similar structure with no official governing board over the local church. Your lead pastor and personnel team need to communicate to her that leaving is not optional. If she refuses to meet, then send an email so you have a paper trail. Let her know she’s being relieved of her duties, effective immediately. Since you’re on step 3 of the process outlined in Matthew 18 I would also publicly let the congregation know what’s going on to keep down on gossip. I’m so sorry you guys are going through this.

      1. JSPA*

        Google found me this, on “when Matthew 18 does not apply” (i.e. a procedural guide when it’s not merely a member-member issue, but a “teacher or guide or pastor” problem.

        To be clear, I have never been Christian. (And if I had been, and had been faced with the attitude that adultery by someone in a teaching role is a public sin, rather than a private issue, I’d probably have left the church by the age of 15. Though I’m glad that the “actual abuse” process does include “call the police.”)

        Nevertheless, I’m assuming some of the scriptural prompts might come in handy. so I’m obliging by posting (while hoping that I’m not, say, helping someone fire their pastor for being LGBT and inadequately closeted, as well as for being overtly prickly).

    3. GenX and loving it*

      You should have overseers that can offer your lead pastor support. Like not a typical admin said, keep following Math 18. I would also encourage getting intercessors ( true mature prayer partners who can be confidential praying). She should not have so much anger and denial, especially if she is a leader in the church. That’s spiritual warfare.

    4. Richard Hershberger*

      For more clarification, surely this decision is higher up the internal chain than the personnel committee. You must have some sort of governing board, whether you call it elders or trustees or whatever. (My tradition goes with the mundane “council.”) I suspect that the board made the decision then delegated the dirty work to the personnel committee. It may be time to kick it back upstairs.

    5. Madeleine Matilda*

      OP – I have been through some awful personnel matters at my church where we had to let go staff. In addition to calling or email the pastor to inform her of her firing, please follow up with a certified letter. You may also want to consult an employment lawyer to ensure you do this correctly (I speak from experience of having to pay out vacation time to a fired staff person because of how we worded a letter). Also when she comes to collect her property have someone there as a witness and make sure you cut off any access to your computer files.

      1. Madeleine Matilda*

        I would also recommend that you have a thoughtful communication ready to send to the congregation about the firing. It should be a stand alone email, not part of any regular email communication you send out. Be ready to send it as soon as you have let the pastor go. Don’t go into details as it is a personnel matter. Rather let everyone know she was let go, but for reasons of confidentiality you will not be sharing the details. Be prepared for those who may like her to be upset or angry, and perhaps even leave the church. You want to be ahead with the communications otherwise the pastor and her allies in the church will control the narrative to the detriment of the congregation.

  19. JSPA*

    as well as the tip of the iceberg, there’s the rest of the problem (“really contentious relationship / She sees herself as equal to the person who is our department’s second-in-command, when that’s not the case.”)

    1. are you sure the main problem is a misunderstanding of the org chart, rather than a legitimate grasp of the fact that (for example) she controls the meeting calendar of the CEO, has fairly unlimited access to the CEO, has fly-on-the-wall status that she can use to good effect, and perhaps has the CEO’s ear, when the CEO wants to know how “people” feel about someone in the org? People’s actual power can be quite different from the power invested in their job description.

    2. How do other people deal with her confusion (or soft power, or whatever it is)?

    If the conflict and frustration are broad and general, and especially if that extends to the #2, there may well be a channel to see if the #2 can aproach the CEO. Something like, “Esmeralda has been implying that she’s your stand-in, in your absence, and has directed stated that because she and I both report directly to you, we have equivalent power in the organization. If there are times when she is serving as your eyes, ears, sand agent, it would be helpful to have confirmation of this fact. But for people to be asked to treat her in that role, based solely on her say-so and the reporting structure, is naturally awkward, and has led to some stand-offs with our specialists, who, quite rightfully, in my opinion, do not value her participation and opinions as they would, your own.”

    In contrast, if most people laugh it off, and it’s clear to everyone that she has delusions of grandeur, an attitude shift (and a lot of internal eye-rolling) may serve you better.

    3. If it’s specific to you, or if you really can live with everything except the “being informal tech help” part of the problem:

    Transitioning out of doing tech help is as easy (in a tech-ignorant office) as claiming that an upgrade or update or new equipment has rendered you unable to help anymore.
    “Oh, I just don’t have that at my fingertips anymore, now that I’ve upgraded to something more specific to my unusual specific needs. Better ask IT before I make things more complex and difficult for you than they need to be.” or, “oh, with these new [software or hardware] it’s really diverged from what I use. I’m just another end user, and I would not want to steer you wrong. Better ask IT; we pay them to keep up with the new stuff as it comes out.”

    “I fear I am no longer a good person for this / so sorry, can no longer reliably help, wouldn’t want to waste your time” is an essentially conflict-free path.

    P.S. don’t assume she does not have enough power to make life miserable for you, regardless of her job description, and proceed accordingly, absent very clear evidence to the contrary.

  20. Morning reader*

    I’d be tempted to respond to “this meeting is non-consensual” with “as is your employment.”

    1. Mister_L*

      English isn’t my first language, but wouldn’t that statement imply the first person is at best an indentured servant? I think “as is the end of your employment” would be a more fitting response.
      Also, while this would be a good answer in a sitcom, I’d suggest not using it in real life.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Yes, “your employment is non-consensual” would most likely imply that the employee does not consent (because they are the ones with less power in the relationship). But in this case, the employer is the one who does not consent, because they want to fire the employee.

        In any case, I agree that this is not a good answer for OP2 to use in real life.

        1. ferrina*

          Better language might be “we have withdrawn consent around your employment”, i.e., we no longer agree to employ you.

          But yeah, this is clearly a satirical response and never to be used in real life.

      2. JSPA*

        The original statement is already odd; “X is non-consensual” is not equivalent to, “I do not consent to being involved in X.” Any extrapolation and reuse will suffer from the same problem.

  21. Single Parent Barbie*

    I did not think it was possible to have a Diversity Day worse than the one on “The Office” but truth can be stranger than fiction. You can’t vote on diversity. Its not homecoming queen

    I work for a relatively new company (We joke we are in the pre-k level of a start up.) One thing this company does is 2 Personal Holidays so you can use them whenever on top of our standard 8. This allows employees to use them for their own religious holidays or cultural holidays. My SO’s company has a similar set up and they work for a major healthcare provider.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      You can’t vote on diversity. Its not homecoming queen

      YES!!! This is why this and similar methods are not how you respect diversity.

    2. Rob aka Mediancat*

      We had a training with a horrible name — it was called The Diversafari — but the content was fairly good. I suspect we lucked out.

  22. TacoBelljobfair*

    Question #4

    As somebody who doesn’t drive employers in my area are sneaky about. Asking questions like “Where did you park?” And “How was your drive over here?”. Some even ask for a license and driving records in the application for non driving jobs.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Interesting. Do you think they’re being intentionally sneaky or just not considering it? Driving is ubiquitous in so many places.

      1. JSPA*

        Right! That’s usually small talk.

        Or to find out, “do you need a token for the garage.” Or “how far do you have to walk afterwards to get to your car, in bad weather, and should we offer to drop you at your car.” Or at worst, “did you plan well or are you paying $20/hour because you were running late.”

        “There’s a direct bus, and it’s faster than driving” is a fine answer.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Yeah, if you were asked this where I work, it’s because you get your parking validated but different garages have different systems (the one for my building is owned by a different organization than most of the others). But we’re in a big city so it’s also very likely you came on the bus and don’t need a validation card.

        Also, if this is an industry where driving for work is common, the LW might be chasing a bit of a unicorn trying to find a job in the industry, in his/her area, that doesn’t require it, and that’s not necessarily the fault of “sneaky” employers.

    2. BalanceofThemis*

      Asking for driving records can be used as an end run around laws that prevent credit checks for non-finance related jobs. The logic is if you have a bunch of unpaid tickets, you probably have money problems.

  23. L-squared*

    #1. I’m guessing you are white as well. Have you spoken to any of the POC at your company to see how they feel? I’ll be honest, I’m a POC myself at a fairly diverse company, and I wouldn’t mind this at all. There are only so many federal holidays in the US, and since some of them are culture specific, I think bringing attention to them is good. And I’m always up for anything that will get me another day off lol. The only thing I think I may see a bit of an issue with, is I’d wager people will be voting based on convenience rather than other things. So if one holiday is a Wednesday and another is a Friday, I’d assume many people would pick the Friday one.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I’ll be honest, I’m a POC myself at a fairly diverse company, and I wouldn’t mind this at all.

      The problem is, that there are a lot of POC who would mind this, but probably wouldn’t speak up if all the white people around them in the room and nodding their heads.

      This is a terrible example of how to handle diversity.

      1. L-squared*

        If the options are voting like this or doing nothing, and making people have to take PTO for their holidays, this is a better option. My company also gives 0 floating holidays. I think the fact that they are trying something is better than many people. As the saying goes, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

        1. Jackalope*

          Is it really, though? Is it actually “good” to have a Survivor-style vote on which group gets to have their holiday off? Is it going to work out well for someone who never gets their holiday picked because of painful reasons like they aren’t as popular as their coworkers (or people at their job dislike their particular faith/ethnic group), or because their holiday happens to fall on a Wednesday in November and everyone votes for the “exotic” holiday that falls on a Friday in July instead? Because I could see this going REALLY poorly if there are multiple groups that will be affected by this. And it would be so EASY to give everyone a floating holiday day (or a couple of them), and then leave it at that.

        2. Happy meal with extra happy*

          As a Jewish person who is already othered enough, I’d rather my place of employment not do that as well. Yeah, I’m gonna be petty and would prefer that no one get an extra day rather than have important, significant religious days be treated like a category for a school spirit week.

          Also, I’m not sure that this is a white versus POC issue so I’m not sure why you’re making it such?

          1. Ali + Nino*

            I’m not sure that this is a white versus POC issue so I’m not sure why you’re making it such?

            THANK YOU. This has become shorthand for all diversity-related issues. See: Jews Don’t Count.

          2. L-squared*

            How, because OP said “our workforce is mostly white, which adds to the ick for me”. So they brought it up first.

            1. Happy meal with extra happy*

              Just because they brought it up doesn’t make it relevant to religious holidays. If anything, I read it as an indication that their workplace is generally not diverse or knowledgeable about diversity all around. But, it still doesn’t explain why you seem to think that white Jews can’t express concerns about this policy, as you’re discounting all of our thoughts and comments in this section.

        3. Rebel*

          “I think the fact that they are trying something is better than many people.”

          Yes. Better late than never.

          1. Happy meal with extra happy*

            Do you think the Diversity Day episode on The Office was fine because at least Michael was trying?

        4. Observer*

          If the options are voting like this or doing nothing, and making people have to take PTO for their holidays, this is a better option.

          No it’s not. Because people still are almost certainly not getting what they need (ie days – plural – that pertain to their religion and culture) while the company gets to pat itself on its back.

          I think the fact that they are trying something is better than many people.

          Disagree. I’d rather give up the one day every few years purchased at the price of being a zoo creature.

          Maybe I’m a bit more sensitive because I’ve experienced Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods being treated as though they are Colonial Williamsburg or the like, rather than PEOPLE’S HOMES, businesses and places of worship.

    2. ceiswyn*

      How is your colour relevant to a *religious* issue?
      As a white non-Christian, I think that entering every non-Christian religion into some kind of holiday personality contest is horrific.

      I also have some questions about the practicality of this. There are a LOT of religious holidays out there; how are they deciding which ones to pick for the competition? Are they risking giving everyone in the company a day off for a religion that nobody celebrates, at the expense of members of ‘minor’ religions who will never get a cultural day off? Or are they basing this on the religions of their employees, in which case they’re risking speculation about who’s a member of the Congregation of the Holy Teapot.

      This is just a bad idea.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Okay I am starting the Congregation of the Holy Teapot. Work stops for worship at 11 and 4 p.m. every day.

      2. Sharpie*

        I’m a white Christian and think entering every other religion into a draw is horrific. It comes across as suggesting that every religion that doesn’t ‘win’ (get its own holy day/s off) is less valid than the religion that does win. So if the Muslims get to celebrate Eid and their Jewish coworkers don’t get to use a day to observe Yom Kippur, that somehow insinuates that Judaism is less valid than Islam this year, at least in the eyes of all the non-observers of either religion.

        And I speak as someone who was scheduled to work on Easter, despite asking for it off, (I worked at a service station that had to be open 24/7 every day of the year) whose Sikh colleague swapped shifts so I could have my day off, knowing I would have done the same for him had he been scheduled to work on one of the Sikh feast days.

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      There is a difference between ‘culturally specific holidays’ and ‘days of religious observance’. There may be a lot of overlap there, but they’re still not the same thing. Additionally, while I’d be up for another day off, if they’re being chosen based on cultural or religious practices I’d prefer to take the day that’s meaningful to me and for my coworkers to take the day that’s meaningful to them and not all get stuck with ‘diversity’ time off on what is essentially a random Friday.

  24. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    I think we could do a collection of diversity attempts gone wrong …except it would be infuriating to read.

    I really wish people truly understood diversity, and how having a diverse team where they all have a voice actually increases productivity and profits. People need to be on board because it’s good business even if it wasn’t the decent human thing to do.

    1. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

      I’ve got an excellent story for such a collection, but I agree, it would be a really difficult thread to read.

    2. ferrina*

      Amber Ruffin (comedian) did put together a collection of stories on racism in the workplace! Check out “You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey” by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar. It’s a collection of stories of modern racism, and Amber and Lacey’s writing style brings biting wit, sarcasm and sensitivity (plus the authors are sisters, and they’ve got some amazing sibling back-and-forth). I was alternating between laughing, gasping and raging, and so glad they wrote that book!

        1. ferrina*

          And she has her own show on Peacock :) She’s interviewed Wanda Sikes, Sisqo, John Oliver… I love it so much.

  25. Peanut Hamper*

    I’m so confused about the “This meeting is non-consensual.” part. I’ve only heard “non-consensual” in respect to sexual assault. Is this the connection that this person is trying to make? Or am I missing something?

    1. bamcheeks*

      Consent is more widely applicable than just sexual consent. But your manager does not typically need your specific consent to schedule a meeting with you– by taking a job, you’re pretty much assumed to have consented to normal management and employment stuff like “people having meetings with you”.

      1. Wintermute*

        There are a lot of places where yes it technically applies– game design comes to mind as well as a few others– but you can’t deny there’s a VERY STRONG connotation there. When someone sees the NC tag on a work of fiction they’re not expecting meetings or non-opt-in player-versus-player combat.

    2. SJ (they/them)*

      IMHO this reflects a current trend in far right-wing politics to overuse and misuse these words to the point they become meaningless – “grooming” is another current example. The goal is to make it impossible to have coherent conversations about consent, harm, etc, by making it so the words involved don’t mean anything. (I don’t imagine this person is doing this on purpose specifically around the word “non-consensual”, but the overall process is rampant in right-wing news, online circles, and so on so she probably picked it up there.)

      1. Jackalope*

        I may be jaded here, but I’m not even inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt on not doing it on purpose.

      2. Valancy Trinit*

        The person in question is a woman pastor, so if she’s far-right I’ll eat my hat.

        I agree with your assessment of the overall trend, but I’ve seen various people with narcissist tendencies adopt the same approach to social justice language for self-serving purposes, including those on the left and those with no interest in politics.

        1. Phony Genius*

          You may need some ketchup. I know several deeply religious women who are much further right than any man I know.

          1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            Yeah, but they are not typically *pastors*.

            This is pretty much irrelevant to the question at hand though.

        2. Richard Hershberger*

          While women pastors often signals a liberal church, this is not always true. Modern American Evangelical Protestantism is a coalition of Fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches. While the Fundamentalist side abhors the idea of female pastors and have memorized the usual clobber verses (typically 1 Timothy 2:12). Some on the Pentecostal side agree with them, but there also is a strand of women in pastoral roles. Aimee Semple McPherson is a prominent historical example.

      3. Sparkles McFadden*

        Well, a bunch of folks don’t actually know what such words mean. They throw them out there like they’re casting magic spells. It’s as if they think “This is a phrase that gets people in trouble so I’ll use it” or “This word scares people so I’ll use it.”

        We put a direct report on a PIP and he told HR that being on the PIP was creating a hostile work environment because we were threatening his job and scaring him. He just kept repeating “You’re creating a hostile work environment for me and that’s illegal” at every check in and he was shocked when he got let go. It turns out saying “hostile work environment” to his previous two managers got them to take him off his previous PIPs eventhough that’s not what “hostile work environment” means. Sadly, this stupid crap works sometimes.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          My former head of HR could be scared with legalese into letting people get away with murder – do not miss them at all, it was impossible to manage when there were no consequences.

          The head of HR could write a book on this sort of thing, and I’ve seen them clearly articulate why a PIP is not actually hostile to the employee, in the legal sense of the term. They’ve also had more than one person tell them they didn’t consent to being fired (most people don’t, but that doesn’t change the decision?). I love watching them work, they’re a dream. Fair and want people to succeed but also not up for taking a bunch of BS.

        2. Wintermute*

          a psychologist whose youtube channel I follow has a great saying “the organism does what has made the organism successful” anything, including people, will repeat behaviors that have worked to get them what they need (either physically or emotionally/psychologically) in the past. sometimes that leads people to maladaptive behaviors when they figure out something that oftentimes scares people out of enforcing consequences, they go back to it again and again because they’ve learned, subconsciously, that it lets them avoid consequences.

      4. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

        It’s not necessarily a conservative political phenomenon.

        There’s been a lot of discourse in fandom lately about people who feel the need to justify anything they don’t like as being morally bad or wrong. You’re a lot less likely to see a statement like “this romantic pairing doesn’t quite sit right with me, so I’m not going to read it” and more likely to see something like “this relationship paring is abusive/grooming/non consensual, and people who read it are condoning those bad things.”

        I think, generally, the online-ness of a lot of our social interactions has brought people to a place where they can’t just say they don’t like something or don’t want something to happen, they have to come up with a reason that it shouldn’t happen that can’t possibly be questioned by anyone else without making the questioner look like they support people being treated badly. (I don’t know if I’m explaining this well, Sarah Z on YouTube has a great video on the topic if anybody’s interested)

        So by saying “this meeting where I think you’re going to discipline or fire me is non-consensual,” she’s setting up a line of defense that she thinks will be harder for people to disagree with than a standard “I disagree with your reasons for firing me and I don’t think it’s fair.”

      5. ferrina*

        This isn’t just a far-right phenomenon. Folks of all political persuasions corrupt and misuse words to suit their purposes. I’ve heard folks in the far-left also use words like “non-consensual” to effectively say “I don’t consent to anything that doesn’t directly benefit me, and I can retroactively withdraw consent and blame you if the situation doesn’t turn out the way I want”

        Jerks can be found in all parts of the political spectrum.

        1. Worldwalker*

          The word “consent” has always had a much wider meaning than sexual encounters. Just as an example, next time you get one of those little pop-up notices on a website, there’s a good chance that it will say “By continuing to use this website, you consent to our T&C.”

      6. Parakeet*

        Unfortunately, leftists and progressives (I am a leftist) also do a version of this. Because people know that in contexts where these concepts are taken seriously, they can win the argument by using the magic words that make them a survivor who everyone has to believe and support, and the other parties the perpetrators. Ask me how I know (please don’t actually ask me). That part of letter made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and made me think “write your statement about what happened, with documentation, NOW, so that it’s ready to go when this woman publicly denounces you all as abusive, or ideally before then because a lot of people will just support whoever uses the right words first”

        Because of the things I’ve seen and the experiences I’ve had, I immediately had the opposite assumption from you, and assumed this was the kind of progressive church that shows up to big liberal coalition rallies and has a bookshelf of social justice resources.

    3. The Person from the Resume*

      “Non-consensual” has had meaning long before people became aware of consent/non-consent being such an important part of sexual acts.

      OTOH “This meeting is non-consensual” is odd wording. The soon-to-be-former minister knows that she’s about to be told something (that she’s being fired or disciplined) that she doesn’t want to hear so she’s refusing to attend the meeting. It’s like a toddler putting their hands over their ears and refusing to listen to their parents.

      1. ferrina*

        Exactly. I suspect the church’s congregation talks about consent in other contexts, so she’s co-opting that language to avoid being told something she doesn’t want to hear.

      2. Danish*

        I think the “non-consensual” is the phrasing specifically that’s making people feel that the pastor has to be Sovereign Citizen (the farthest of the far right) – they very much feel they are not beholden to anything they haven’t literally, explicitly agreed to – like paying taxes – and phrase it as a consent issue.

  26. DJ Abbott*

    #1, I don’t think an extra day off does very much for diversity. I think the company should give people floating holidays as has been mentioned.
    If they’re really interested in diversity, maybe have some kind of social/cultural educational event for the holidays of other religions and cultures. They could have a foods that are appropriate to the holiday and give information about it. For example, I know almost nothing about Diwali and Eid, and would be interested in learning more.
    It would be voluntary, of course, maybe what they used to call lunch and learn at my old employer. And they would have to make sure they did the research and work themselves, not drafting someone from the culture to do it.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m just going to point out that that can be done really, REALLY badly. And personally as a Jew, I really don’t want my employer to try to educate people about my religion/culture — it’s far too likely to be messed up and/or result in inappropriate comments from probably well-meaning coworkers. We don’t need our workplaces to play that role. (And why would we trust them to do it right anyway?) We just need them to give people reasonable religious accommodations when requested.

      1. EmmaPoet*

        THIS. I do not trust a company to try to teach religion or culture properly, or without trying to push any employees in that category into de facto teachers. I have coworkers who practice Buddhism, Santería, and Sunni Islam, among others. I don’t want to think what kind of hash a company would make out of those.

      2. I have RBF*

        Yeah, I certainly don’t want my employer trying to teach people about my branch of Paganism, because they’d probably get it wrong.

        Also, it’s religion, and IMO companies should not be “educating” about religion, they just need to accommodate people who practice it without screwing over anyone else.

    2. HannahS*

      It does NOT feel inclusive to be “taught about” like you’re an exotic specimen at work. I’m not there as a curiosity. If you want to learn more about other peoples and cultures, that’s great, and you can do that on your own time. A lot of community organizations have “Get to know us!” events, and also Google is your friend as long as you think critically about the source of information.

    3. Spencer Hastings*

      In this day and age, there are myriad things you can do outside of work if you’re curious about other religions or cultures. You can search your local library, Amazon, or other databases for introductory books on comparative religion. There are probably podcasts and YouTube series on these topics for those who are so inclined.

      Cultural literacy is great and all — I’d just expect to cultivate it on my own time rather than at the expense of the actual people I work with.

    4. DJ Abbott*

      Yes, it would have to be done properly and yes, many companies wouldn’t do it right.
      I just feel if they’re going to mention a holiday, it would be nice to include a little general info. Maybe a printout from a good internet source.
      Maybe that’s just a dream.

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        That’s the level that I was thinking about when I commented. Especially if it came from a reliable source within the community which celebrates the holiday.

        Just the way I don’t expect lawyers to appreciate Pi Day, when celebrated with Pie.

        1. UKDancer*

          I think there’s a difference between “the company tries to teach about a holiday” and “someone from community x chooses to talk about a particular event of religious significance.” The former usually doesn’t work whereas the latter can be helpful and informative.

          Quite often people write articles for my company’s newsletter about their religious celebrations / events whether it’s a particular festival, a personal event like a pilgrimage or a stage of life event. These are usually well received and promote understanding between colleagues. They’re also a choice rather than something the company makes people do.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            Yes, that’s excellent. We’ve seen so many mentions here of people being voluntold, or pushed into doing something they don’t want to do, that companies would have to tread very carefully to make sure people are truly volunteering.

          2. NL*

            But why should that be the workplace’s place to do in the first place?

            And what about when the speaker is from one sect of the religion but there are a dozen other and the info they “educate” with doesn’t apply to members of the other sects and now everyone has the wrong understanding about the employees from the other sects?

            It’s a bad idea all around. It’s not an employer’s place to evaluate (maybe wrongly) and then distribute info on religion. We don’t need them to and they should not.

    5. Observer*

      If they’re really interested in diversity, maybe have some kind of social/cultural educational event for the holidays of other religions and cultures. They could have a foods that are appropriate to the holiday and give information about it.

      I won’t repeat what the others have already said so well. But also, the idea of centering this stuff around food is REALLY problematic, to say the least. Because in Judaism, it would be almost impossible to do so accurately and authentically. There are almost no foods in Judaism that have *religious* significance. The main exception is Matzah – but only the Passover kind. Kosher laws are not about specific dishes as much as some fairly broad rules about classes of foods and certain types of food preparation.

      Complicating that is the fact that there are often traditional holiday foods – but they are not universally Jewish foods, but the tradition of various Jewish communities. So, to take a well known and simple example, Donuts on Chanukah. That’s far from universal. Yes, most Jewish communities have traditions of fried foods. But donuts are not the only fired food and there are a wide variety of fried foods (and even of donuts) that are made for the holiday.

      So if you want to look at “traditional” rather than explicitly religious foods to talk about religions, that’s a bit off. But also, how are you going to choose? Are you going to choose the traditions of Eastern Europe? The Sepharadim Jews of Spanish ancestry? Northern African? Turkey? I can’t speak to other religions, but I suspect that this problem may exist for other religions that have a very wide geographic footprint, even if the numbers are not extremely high.

  27. Unite!*

    Re: the hospital job and no posting of it. I’m guessing you’re not unionized?

    The hospitals here are. I also work for a unionized environment and seniority is king and all permanent positions are posted and many temp ones too (but less than six months, it’s not obligatory).

    Maybe it’s time to start an organizing drive!

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      Not everyone wants to work in an environment where seniority is king. The last place I worked where that was the case, it was run by the people who had been there forever because they did just enough not to get fired and not because they were the best person for the job. It pretty much ran off anyone who was high-performing and didn’t want to wait in line until everyone with an earlier hire date retired.

      I am very pro-organizing, but, if someone told me they were organizing so those with the longest tenure had all the advantages, I could not support that sort of system. In my two decades of work experience, seniority is not a great indicator of performance level or often even skills after the low-to-intermediate level.

    2. Nancy*

      LW5: Does your department know you are interested in moving to a new position? If not, you need to start talking to people about your career and what you hoped to achieve. I’ve had jobs specifically created for me because I spoke to my supervisor about my career development. This may have been the case with your coworker, or someone mentioned the position to her because she had been asking around, or someone knew she had been working on gaining skills in X and they needed someone with that.

      And if there is no place for you to move into at all, there is nothing wrong with looking elsewhere, as your coworker did.

  28. Zarniwoop*

    “It seems so cold to fire her by email and turn off her key fob”
    Maybe so but that’s what she’s chosen.

    1. Mister_L*

      LW should ask 2 questions:
      1. What’s the worst thing the minister could do if they don’t turn off the key fob.
      2. Could you deal with it?

      I think that generally “people finding out they’ve been let go when they can’t enter the premises” is a terrible idea, but this sounds like a situation where it’s warranted.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Back in ye olden dayes, a truly spectacular church rift would feature a court order, a sheriff’s deputy, and a locksmith.

        1. KatEnigma*

          And half the congregation leaving, to follow the fired minister who will lead services in someone’s family room.

    2. CommanderBanana*

      It’s colder not to protect your congregation from someone you’ve decided isn’t fit to be a pastor, FFS!

      1. RagingADHD*

        The LW said they were bad at their job, not that they were dangerous or predatory toward the congregation. Wording like “performed their role in front of the congregation” makes me think this is a music minister, which wouldn’t involve direct pastoral care (but would be very obvious if they are bad at it.) Music ministers / worship leaders are considered “called” ministry positions in some churches.

        And, nothing against musicians, but the 2 most heated and irrational meltdowns I’ve ever seen from a church worker rage-quitting or freaking out over a dismissal were both music directors. So that is probably coloring my interpretation as well.

  29. The beatings will continue until morale improves*

    #5 – I wish companies would stop doing this. Mine did this about 5 years ago for several high-level roles where we have historically low turn-over. Morale has been in the toilet ever since. People were told “we considered you but chose to go with X” but those people were also never given a chance to apply or were otherwise notified that a vacancy was coming up, etc. The best way to kill productivity and morale is to do this.

    That being said, there are some positions where it makes sense – Director is leaving and Deputy Director has bee in the role for several years and naturally positioned to take it on; or where there is a written succession plan; etc.

    1. ferrina*

      I agree that it should be default to post and interview, unless it’s a case of formalizing what someone has already been doing.

      At OldJob, my Director left and tapped someone to take her place. The Director was actively horrible and was leaving for a direct competitor, and the person that she had tapped was drastically underqualified. I proactively said I was interested in the position and forced the VP to do interviews (they never posted the opening), and it turns out the VP had no idea what I did- Old Director had been hiding my accomplishments, and he was pretty oblivious anyways. They still went with Drastically Underqualified Person, and then the VP was shocked when she didn’t do well at the job (I had flagged that she had half the experience usually expected for the job, so they just deleted that paragraph from the job posting. Because just deleting what you didn’t want to hear always works /s).
      NewJob took the opposite approach. They had a role that they had already been eyeing me for, so they posted it internally and my boss directly told me to apply. I interviewed, and they learned that I had even more qualifications than they originally thought, and I got the role.

    2. Abigail*

      See, I am the flip side of this where I feel if they knew exactly who they wanted, interviewing other people is patronizing and a massive waste of everybody’s time.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I’ve lost out multiple times because they already had someone else in the office in mind. They are required to interview at least 2 candidates, after all. I’d rather know so I don’t even bother and also then feel embarrassed because I was the only one who didn’t know that job was created for Teresa.

    3. Wilbur*

      I’ve got mixed feelings on this-it can be incredibly demoralizing to miss a job you want (or want to convert to permanent staff) and hear that jobs have been taken. On the other hand, if it’s managed well I think it can be great. My current division has managers talking regularly about employee development and career progression, so they’re able to chain together moves. Bilbo gets promoted to new product lead? Dwalin takes his role at field support, Balin replaces Dwalin at legacy supply chain planning, and the component design role gets posted externally. A handful of existing workers are able to further develop their career while still adding a new hire.
      That being said, they’ve been a bit flaky in the past on the manager/employee career discussion so it really requires you to take ownership over career discussions with your manager. Doesn’t work if you have a bad relationship with your manager either.

  30. KatEnigma*

    LW2: You aren’t going to be able to avoid a scandal, but she is counting on your trying to as a way to avoid or put off her firing. As you email her to tell her she’s fired, email the entire congregation informing them that she’s no longer authorized to be in the building. And then change the locks and arrange with the sheriff to be there for her to collect her things/as Sunday or Wednesday service security.

  31. It is what it is*

    LW #2:
    Can you not make a consultation call with a lawyer to see if there are additional steps and or documentation you should take in addition to Allison’s advice?

    Also, I would make certain you keep a paper trail of documentation about everything you’ve done to this point and everything you do going forward in case this Preacher decides to go to court.

    Also, it’s time to start writing procedures for termination into employee handbook or as contract addendum. “Refusal to meet with church governing body is an immediate fireable offense as discussed in section xxxx of the employment manual (or addendum # of the employment contract).

  32. Colette*

    #2 – My thoughts are:
    – disable the key fob
    – call her and fire her
    – if she doesn’t answer, follow up via email
    – send a registered letter

    All of this should be done within an hour or so; don’t drag it out. And once that is all done, email the members of the church and let them know – something like “Minister X is moving on. We wish her well in her future endeavours.”

    And then announce it again at the start of the next service.

    I think it’s important that you own the messaging.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Yes, the fact that this can all be done in quick succession means that this is the way to go. Don’t drag it out; just rip off the band-aid in one quick motion and be done with it.

    2. Lizzo*

      “if she doesn’t answer, follow up via email”

      I think an email needs to happen right away so that there is timestamped evidence that she was notified. The certified letter is great, but that can take days, and what if she refuses to sign for it?

      1. Colette*

        Who would they need to prove it to?

        I don’t see a problem with following up via email either way, but the important thing is that she is notified, not a paper trail.

  33. John Smith*

    Not holidays, but my employer (public sector) publishes articles on our intranet on various religious days. For non-Christian days (well, Eid, Diwali, Hannukka and Ramadam are apparently the only ones that exist outside of Christendom), it’s usually a couple of lines (Today is X, meaning Y happened. People will do A, B and C to celebrate). For Christian events, there’s a description followed by a speech from someone on what the day/event means to them. This is in an organisation that supposedly celebrates diversity. Always gets on my wick. Either equal prominence is given to all religions or non at all IMHO.

    1. just another queer reader*

      It’s strange that they’re giving *more* attention/ legitimacy to Christian holidays than others (via the speech from someone).

      Also, I’m not a Jew but I have learned that Hanukkah is a minor holiday; it’s strange that they chose to recognize that one over Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

      1. Bagpuss*

        I’m assuming it’s the whole ‘Hanukkah is the Jewish Christmas’ thing .(AKA – this is the bit that looks most similar to what we see as a important day/festival)

        1. Avery*

          That and just the timing of it–people assume that December holiday = important because it’s the case with Christmas, even aside from any actual trappings of the holiday.

    2. Imtheone*

      My spouse’s university lists the days they think are likely to be ones students will observe, so will need excused absences for. It works pretty well, but the people who draw it up often don’t know the nuances.

      For example, people can work, go to class, and take tests on Purim, but have a religious obligation to attend one service during the 24 hour period of the holiday. There is no way to guarantee that they won’t have a school requirement that conflicts with the one or two times that service is being held.

  34. LB33*

    I could see the argument that by having to vote on the holidays, everyone might do some research on them, and become more familiar with the history and traditions, as well as which ones come on a Friday or Monday

    1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      But a floating holiday is much MORE respectful of diversity by allowing everyone to take a day that has meaning to THEM.

  35. Crooked Bird*

    For a minute there in #1 I thought the idea was to CELEBRATE the “diverse” holiday of the year, and I cringed SO HARD. I don’t know what a bunch of non-Jews would come up with to turn Yom Kippur into an office party, but it would probably be something analogous to a bunch of non-Christians serving up a cross-shaped cake for Good Friday, and so horribly inappropriate.

    I still think they should quit what they’re doing, but I’m also kinda relieved…

  36. yala*

    #1 The way my eyebrows hit my hairline. Just…who even thought that would be a good idea?

    #2 Honestly, y’all probably should turn off her key fob. She’ll need to get in to collect her belongings, but I think you’d want someone there when she does, because this does not seem like a reasonable person.

    1. EPLawyer*

      Yes. You do not want this person wandering around unsupervised. She can make arrangements to get her belongings. Then someone watches the entire time to make sure she does not sabotage anything or walk off with anything that is not hers.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Or someone can pack up her stuff so she doesn’t need to come into any non-public areas of the building.

  37. Peanut Hamper*

    Maybe it’s just semantics, but could we please stop “celebrating” diversity and start “respecting” diversity.

    I’m giving “celebrations” a big side-eye right now. Diversity is not just holidays and food.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Definitely not just semantics. There’s probably a time and a place for both – but for instance a lot of Jewish holidays are not celebrations. Having a diverse staff is not a celebration. I think we couch difficult conversations in ‘celebration’ to make them easier to swallow. But it’s not always that.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        To the contrary, this is precisely about semantics: the study of what words mean. It is a cultural curiosity that this often is taken as pedantic nitpicking. I personally all in for pedantic nitpicking. This is what gives my life meaning. But that is something different from semantics, which in this instance is taking care to choose the word that means what you want to say.

          1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

            I think Feb. 27 should become Pedantic Nitpicking Day so we nitpickers can take it as a floating holiday.

              1. Avery*

                Me too! I like to joke that I’m a good paralegal precisely because it gives me an outlet for my rampant urge to nitpick rules and details!

  38. HonorBox*

    LW2 – You’re planning to terminate the working relationship. Whether you do it in person or via email, it will be cold. She has forced your hand by not accepting the meeting at which you were going to terminate her. Turn off her key fob, call and email her, arrange for someone to pack up her belongings (I wouldn’t even let her into the building to get her stuff if you’re doing it over the phone or via email). And I second the suggestion that you need to send something out to the congregation immediately. You get to control the start of the narrative. People are going to talk and speculate, but you need to take the first step in that. And I would guess that if she’s bad enough at her job that you’re going to fire her, people already see what’s up. So you’re probably OK with any sort of minimal backlash that will inevitably come.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah. There’s not a version of this where anyone walks away feeling good. I think, OP, you’re trying to approach this *respectfully* – but she shut that door. At this point, do what you need to.

  39. Inkognyto*

    I think I need a new career, Travel agent for all of the Llama related workers.

    “Vacation location looking hairy?
    I will help you get the wool out for your vacation.”

  40. anonymousllamadesigner*

    I have a related question to LW3 and would love to hear anyone’s advice/script.

    I have a very specialized role (literally my boss said I want you to come work for me, we’ll make up a role based on you’re skills/experience) and I support projects across all different organizations in our company, often playing a different role depending on the specific needs of that project.

    Some people have only experienced me in certain capacities and then when a new project starts, they often introduce me with an incorrect title/role. It’s not that I feel belittled by this (though that has occurred) because it’s often in the context of “OP is our amazing senior llama groomer and does innovative llama fur designs.” In reality, my role would be something more akin to “senior llama appearance strategist who provides guidance to teams of llama groomers, llama hoof pedicurists, and llama trainers, and yes, when required (because I began my career as a llama groomer), I can and do roll up my sleeves and groom particularly rambunctious llamas.”

    My title on paper is a word salad that can be interpreted many different ways (or not understood at all) so it’s not as simple as saying “well, my title is actually X.” And sometimes on a particular project, I may very well be “just” the llama groomer. But I don’t love grooming llamas and I don’t want to become known solely for that. Any thoughts on how to address this in the moment so that I don’t come off combative but also set proper expectations about my role?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      When someone introduces you with “OP is our amazing senior llama groomer and does innovative llama fur designs,” I think you can add “in addition to fur designs, I work with llama hoof pedicurists and llama trainers, so I’m a good resource for all of the above.”

      You can change up the “I’m a good resource” wording for whatever makes sense for your role/the role of the new person (will they need to ask you questions about XYZ? will you work on ABC projects with them? will you be managing projects that they will work on, and it’s good for them to know you have llama hoof background knowledge in addition to llama fur design experience? etc.).

    2. FashionablyEvil*

      “Oh, llama grooming is just one of my many hats here! I work on so much cool stuff related to llama appearance design strategy. [insert a couple of relevant examples here.]”

      Basically, no need to get into everything you do, just make it clear that you do a lot of things.

  41. Dust Bunny*

    It seems so cold to fire her by email and turn off her key fob

    . . . and yet some people leave you no choice.

    I agree that you (plural; everyone involved) should head to her office as soon as she arrives, although you know she’ll accuse you of ambushing her and forcing a meeting on her. But at some point you just have to work with what you have no matter how “rudely” it forces you to be. You don’t have to wait for her to play along with the polite version.

  42. Dust Bunny*

    The problem is that all of these “remote” jobs require the ability to travel and that always requires the ability to drive.

    I don’t have any advice on how to handle this but I want to point out that the fact that they’re remote doesn’t mean that they’re stationery, and that they’re not stationery doesn’t mean that they’re not remote. If they’re not asking you to spend your time at a centralized workspace, they are remote.

    I sort of get the feeling that you feel lied-to by these job postings but it sounds like travel, though not necessarily to a regular, specific office, is a pretty normal part of the industry.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah I think we need to standardize language around this a bit, for everyone’s sanity. “100% work from home” and “remote” are not the same thing. “Remote work options” doesn’t necessarily mean 100% remote. It’s an evolving landscape, but especially for people with disabilities who are excited about this new flexibility, clarity is super important.

      1. I have RBF*

        Ummm, what? If I’m remote, that means I do not regularly go in to the office. It does not mean “hybrid”, or “come in once a week even though you live 100 miles away”. If people are trying to make it mean that, they need to stop, because it’s deceptive.

        Yes, I realize that a lot of remote jobs will have quarterly “travel to the home office” requirements, but the employer covers that travel, since it isn’t an every day thing. If the person doesn’t drive, this means cab fare, flights, trains, or whatever.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          This letter goes into driving and travel, that doesn’t mean the same thing as having to come into the office. There can be many reasons an employee would have to travel in a remote job.

          1. UKDancer*

            Yes. One of my team (Linnet) is remote. That means her workplace is the home. She doesn’t come into the office regularly. Linnet does travel on business to conferences and trade fairs because it’s a part of her job and she’s quite happy with that. Remote, in my company, means your main workplace is at home, it doesn’t mean you never have to travel on business.

        2. Bear in the Sky*

          I have a remote job that mostly entails going to clients’ homes. The office, such as it is, is mainly a pick up and drop off place for supplies. It’s remote because we don’t work out of the office and almost all of the communication with coworkers, supervisors, etc. is on Slack, but it’s not a work from home job.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      Actually, now that I think about it, one of my siblings is a very good example. Sibling is an archaeologist and spends quite a bit of time away from the office, on errands to other stations, scouting research locations, etc. So a lot of the work is [sometimes very] remote, but since artifacts don’t leave the institution, almost none of it is work from home. And there is a lot of driving.

  43. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    LW#2: If you don’t have a security plan for the church, it may be time to make that happen. Quite aside from this situation, houses of worship are unfortunately targets for unstable people. My own church has a hired security officer on hand at every service, an expense we can ill afford but which is sadly necessary in a downtown area with many people struggling with various social ills. At the very least, the greeters for the next few services after the firing should probably come from the ranks of the larger and more intimidating members of the congregation, and should have cell phones and prearranged scripts for keeping this person out.

    1. Imtheone*

      Sorry to say that our synagogue has security at services and a door keeper. The door is locked; the door keeper opens it to let people in.

    2. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      (I should note that we welcome almost everyone at services, no matter what they’re struggling with, but do not welcome people whose chemical intake or mental health situation makes them likely to be disruptive.)

  44. Observer*

    #2 – Need to fire someone.

    You say that “ It seems so cold to fire her by email and turn off her key fob (not to mention she’ll need to go into the church to collect her belongings!“. Well, it’s better to be cold than to do something that really disrupts the congregation and possibly even causes harm. Obviously this is not ideal, but keep in mind that she is EXPLICITLY playing on your desire to be nice. Why else would she say something like “This meeting is non-consensual”? That only makes sense in the context of a two way relationship (or when an employer is trying to force someone who wants to quit to stay employed). Otherwise? You’re the Bosses, and you get to call meetings when you decide they are needed.

    And, no she will NOT need her key-fob to get back into the building to get her stuff. You should NOT allow her back into the building alone again. Also, you should turn off all of her access to email and any systems you use (internal or external). Either meet with her and accompany her to get her stuff, or send it to her via UPS or the like.

    1. EmmaPoet*

      Agreed. You tried to handle this politely and with kindness, but she’s making it clear she’s going to dodge the issue as long as she can. Time to cut her loose. Remove her access and send her belongings to her. Definitely don’t let her in the building unaccompanied, you have no idea what kind of damage she might cause.

  45. poutinerie*

    In response to #1 – my work has a fabulous policy that employees can take their day of cultural/religious/personal significance off and instead work on the statutory day that the general population gets off. Not many use it because we have a generous vacation plan, but those that do very much appreciate it.

    1. OyHiOh*

      At a previous employer, we had this arrangement. I would work on President Day, Veterans Day, and the like in exchange for my non Christian holy days. It worked very well for me

  46. Minerva*

    LW1- I assume the point of this is that everyone in the company gets the day off, but like Alison said a floating holiday or a floating “Cultural Heritage” day (so it is framed as taking a day off that is important to your heritage thus respecting diversity) would be much better.

    1. Wilbur*

      Floating holidays are great, but I’m not sure how they’d work for a factory/production setting. Companies generally don’t let factory workers vote on that though. I’d imagine if you needed to have everyone take the same day off it’d be better to leave it unconnected to a religious holiday. I’d imagine people might want to link it with another holiday for a long weekend, or for the holidays that fall in the middle of the week.

  47. Amanda, But Not Amanda Hugginkiss*

    LW#5 – I am sorry you are in this situation. I work in HR in higher education and know that posting jobs is incredibly important for transparency. Sometimes a hiring manager will want to waive a formal search ‘because they know who they want in the job.’ Unfortunately, the hiring manager has missed an opportunity to find out which other employees are interested in a new role. In addition, when the promotion or move is announced, other employees feel a lack of transparency within the organization. #justpostthegdjob!

  48. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

    For Diversity day. I think it would be better if the company just had a monthly calendar that shows different holidays and also different diversity and inclusion events, important dates, etc. We have one in our office that has holidays and other important dates. Each month it highlights what that month’s awareness/ celebration/remembrance it is that month, such as Black History Month, Pride Month, National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and Hispanic Heritage month. It also has a list of important dates, not only religious holidays that people might not know about but things like International Transgender Day of Visibility and even International Day of Friendship. OP if you wanted to you could maybe mention this to whoever is in charge of the Diversity Day and suggest something that is more inclusive. I like Alison’s suggestion of just a Floating Holiday that people can use whenever.

    I think the sentiment is nice but the company wasn’t thinking this through. There are lots of holidays that people don’t get off, even Christian holidays (ash Wednesday, Easter Monday,) And not every holiday is celebrated with no work.

    As Sophia from Golden Girls would say “[their] heart is in the right place but I don’t know where [Their] head is.

  49. Avril Ludgateaux*


    One of the ugliest things I learned while working on a disability-focused project was how commonly employers put seemingly innocuous things like “must have a driver’s license and personal vehicle”, “must be able to stand for 8 hours,” “must be able to lift 20 lbs,” and so on into job postings *specifically* to weed out people with disabilities. It’s not legally discrimination if applicants self-select out, right? And when the employer chooses not to go forward upon learning of (disability), they can always point to the totally believable “job requirement” that this individual can’t meet. Since learning about that, I tend to look at solicitations with such seemingly random physical needs suspiciously. (I know some people copy boilerplate into/inherit their predecessors’ job descriptions, or “borrow” from others, but if you’re not looking at or considering the implications of what you’re putting out there, that’s not a great sign either.)

    Like Alison has mentioned, how much of these jobs *really* relies on being individually able to drive, and how much of it is that the employers are (perhaps even implicitly/unconsciously) prejudiced against people who, for whatever reason, can’t or don’t drive (whether due to ability, background, finances, or any other quality). Obviously if your occupation is “CDL driver” then, okay, yeah, maybe it’s fair that they can’t hire you as a driver. Or if you’re in a social work field that makes a lot of housecalls. But assuming you are staying within the same field, and you successfully performed your job remotely for the duration of your contract, I am leaning toward skepticism of the actual, demonstrable need to drive.

    1. I have RBF*

      This. My occupation regularly has a “lift 50 pounds” in the JD to weed out the disabled and women. There are also a lot of people in my line of work with bad backs because of installing heavy equipment without proper lifting tools. It’s a farce.

  50. Marna Nightingale*

    I suppose one option is to talk to the other minister and then email and phone her on Sunday morning, have a hardcopy ready to hand her on arrival, and have the other minister begin the service by announcing her departure and wishing her well.

    She might blow up, but it sounds like she’s going to do that anyway.

    1. Marna Nightingale*

      Also … whenever you do it, can you arrange to have someone present whose entire role is “be there for her”, ideally someone with some serious pastoral care chops, who is not from your congregation?

      It’s possible she’s just a very particular kind of jerk, but it’s more probable that all is very much not well there.

      As an employer that’s not your problem.
      As a congregation, of which she is a member, it is your problem, at least to an extent.

  51. Sparkles2013*

    LW4 I’m not sure they really need to disclose a medical condition right away. I would start by just saying they don’t have a driver license, which is true. There are plenty of people who don’t drive that don’t have a medical reason and they would still need to know how much driving the job requires and if there are other options.

    1. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      Depending on the area not having a drivers license is extreemly odd. It usually means that you have had a DUI and have gotten your license taken away. This is especially true in rural areas. Or areas where there is no public transport.

      For younger people, it can also show your socioeconomic class. I grew up poor and so my family was not able to afford the $400+ to take driver’s ed, or had a way to get me to and from the classes that were held in the next town over. It is only now, 15 years later, that I am getting my drivers license. Luckily I moved to a city which has an ok bus system.

  52. Yes And*

    Re LW#1: I’m a Jew who is currently spending a lot of political capital at my workplace to try to fix some equity-related employment policies, and adding a floating holiday is very high on my list. From that perspective, having to try to convince my (mostly Christian) coworkers to VOTE to give me Yom Kippur off every year is just about the worst solution imaginable.

    I honestly can’t tell which is worse, if they actually have any employees on staff that celebrate these holidays, and the company is pitting them against each other and against every other employee’s self-interest… or if they don’t have any employees on staff that celebrate these holidays, and the whole thing a glorious exercise in performing diversity without actually achieving any.

  53. TrixieD*

    In re: LW1, I’m a member of our newly-formed DEI Committee, and we *just* voted on floating holidays for 2023. Our committee came up with a list of days that aren’t included in our traditional holiday calendar, and we voted on 12 days that employees could select as a floating holiday. (In California, a floating holiday has to be tied to a recognized day, or else it’s considered a vacation day, and is allowed to roll over.) Our committee worked diligently to ensure that a variety of religious and secular dates were included in our proposal, including Eid, Lunar New Year, Day of Dead and the employee’s birthday. I don’t know what state you’re in, but you should check your state laws. Things like this can be fraught with issues–I wish you well!

    1. Temperance*

      I have one suggestion: you could also ask employees to share if there are holidays that they would like to include going forward.

  54. GreenDoor*

    LW #3, I bet that secretary is banking on you not wanting to make things awkward by correcting her in front of someone new. Don’t let that stop you! She’s the one making it awkward. Just turn to the new person and say, “Actually Tech Support is on the 2nd floor. I’m the organizations managing teacup designer. Nice to meet you.” You could even give the secretary a very obvious “what on earth??” look before you give the correction. Let her be the one to be embarrassed a few times and I bet she’ll stop. If she gives you a hard time I would say, “I’ve worked here long enough for you to know that I’m not tech support. I don’t know why you keep saying that to people!”

  55. Laura*

    Re LW #1, this sounds absurd to me. Also, are all the holidays on the list religious holidays or are some cultural holidays and is the way they are intended to be observed taken into account? For example, I am Jewish, there are a number of Jewish holidays during which you technically according to the religion aren’t supposed to work (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, First and Last Days of Sukkot, First and Last of Passover, etc.), but others (eg Chanukah) where it is totally fine to work. And obviously there are Jews who practice in a variety of ways, so many Jews do work on the holidays during which work technically isn’t permitted, but that is different (at least to me) than a cultural holiday where in theory it is possible to observe the holiday outside of work hours. However, I realize treating holidays that way would be waaayy too complex, so in the case of this company, just giving everyone at least one floating holiday would be a much better approach

    1. LW1*

      It’s not all religious holidays, they’ve also previously had International Women’s Day, for instance, be the “Diversity Day”

  56. I Speak for the Trees*

    As to the minister’s comment about the “non-consensual” meeting: aren’t many to most meetings non-consensual? I can’t think of many times a boss asked out consent to hold a meeting

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