should I tell my coworker about our colleague’s criminal record, I deeply regret joining my company’s leadership program, and more

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

1. Should I tell my coworker about our colleague’s criminal record?

My workplace includes a cafe with some volunteer workers assisting the paid staff. Some time ago, we took on a volunteer who is an ex-convict, we’ll call him Cassidy. I am not a manager here, but I am all for people getting second chances and agree that reintegration into society is an essential part of preventing people from finding themselves trapped in a life of crime. Some of our service users are recovering addicts, ex-convicts, or otherwise isolated from “mainstream society.” Cassidy, though, is not allowed around children. He only works here one day a week but occasionally comes in as a customer or service user on other days. We rarely have children come here but on the rare occasions that they do, Cassidy is required to leave.

One of our staff, Veronica, started working here and has developed a good banter with staff and volunteers, including Cassidy, which occasionally could be mistaken for flirtatious although all the relationships are purely professional. I heard a customer joke that the two make a cute couple, I corrected her that they just work together but it felt awkward. The real problem though is that I don’t think Veronica is aware of Cassidy’s criminal conviction. She has a young child, although he doesn’t come to her work. I feel that Veronica deserves to know but it’s a confidential matter. It’s unlikely to become truly relevant but it feels uncomfortable. I’m well aware that I’m not completely able to unbias myself on the matter as I am a survivor of childhood abuse. There’s also the question of what could happen if Veronica discovers this on her own (assuming I’m correct that she doesn’t know) and gets upset that her employer didn’t tell her.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t gossip to coworkers about a colleague’s criminal record … but there’s a difference between gossiping and relaying information to keep someone safe, especially in a situation where the stakes are so high. (Obviously this principle can be abused; I can imagine it being misused when there’s no real safety concern — like someone getting faux-concerned about a coworker with a conviction for, say, shoplifting. But that’s not the case when you’re talking about protecting a young child from someone who has been legally determined to be a danger to children.)

This would be more complicated if you were in a management position because there are laws about how the information obtained in a background check can be used by employers. But that’s not your situation. Ultimately, I don’t think there’s One Clear Answer here; different people will come down on different sides of it. Personally, I’d err on the side of protecting a child and have a discreet conversation with Veronica so she has the info she needs to keep her son safe.

Read an update to this letter

2. I deeply regret joining my company’s leadership program

I’ve been performing well enough in my job that I was nominated into a year-long leadership program where teams of individual contributors work on company problems and present to a board of execs and high-level managers at the end. I was told it would be a few hours commitment a week and it would be challenging but rewarding.

So far, it has been infuriating and demoralizing. The team has no cohesion. It calls meetings to talk about our interpersonal issues or to change the focus of the topic, but no one has produced any tangible deliverables related to what is supposed to be the task at hand. People agree to perform tasks and then … just don’t. No one feels like the program has taught us how to gather the information needed to analyze the issue at hand or advise on changes. I am constantly being pinged by one person or another complaining about the process, someone else on the team, or just to shoot the breeze. I feel talked down to by my teammates because I am newer to the company, and when I express that it leads to conversations that drag on for days but still no project work gets done. This is in addition to trainings we are required to complete for the program, monthly all-hands for the program, and twice-weekly meetings to discuss the findings from everyone’s calls and surveys — which have had to be repeated thrice as we keep moving the proverbial cheese. I hate logging on in the morning, and I’m angry that this “enrichment” activity is more stressful than my actual job, which I enjoy and is with a group of people and leader I adore. I feel like I am working on a doomed college group project as opposed to developing knowledge or tangible leadership skills, especially since I already have many years of leadership experience in an adjacent field.

I am at my wit’s end but terrified that if I don’t see this through, I will forever negatively impact my career with this company. I have no confidence my group will produce anything we can even present, and am mortified by the prospect of the final presentation being unprofessional and embarrassing. I have several more months of this and I am nauseous thinking about it. My mental health is a priority for me, and I find myself ruminating about work, crying in the middle of the day, and fantasizing about taking time off, none of which I did prior to this. Can I quit without ruining my career? Am I catastrophizing? Do I need to just suck it up? I don’t know the best way forward to start enjoying work again.

You can almost certainly quit without ruining your career, and it sounds like you should. If this were just aggravating, it might be worth sticking it out for the remaining few months, but it’s affecting your mental health. You should not stick with something that’s making you cry and dread going to work.

Why not talk to your boss about it, especially since it sounds like you have a good relationship with her? You might find out that dropping out wouldn’t be a big deal at all. You could say something like this: “I’m finding that the X program is really different than what I’d thought it would be. We’re constantly changing our goals, people don’t follow through on the work we agree on, and there’s a ton of complaining. I’ve tried hard to find value in it and move the group in a different direction, but at this point it’s been such a difficult and stressful experience that it’s impacting my morale and my quality of life at work. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’d like to leave the program so I can just focus on my job — which I love — but I wanted to talk to you about any ramifications to doing that.”

Read an update to this letter

3. How do I figure out which coworkers to invite to my wedding?

I am engaged and my wedding date is about a year out. My future husband and I work for the same small company in a pretty rural area. Everyone we work with and my bosses know about our relationship and are happy for us.

When we first got engaged, we planned to invite our bosses and our closest work friends only, as our venue has strict capacity limits. But since our engagement, I have been promoted significantly. I skipped at least two full levels to the point where almost everyone we work with is now my subordinate. I would no longer be inviting peers but employees. How do I navigate this? I don’t want to create any problems or perceptions of favoritism by skipping someone, but I’m not sure we can fit everyone we work with on our guest list. Do I go to extremes and invite all or none? Would my employees even want to attend my wedding or would they just feel obligated to? Gifts opens a whole new can of worms (I would prefer no gifts but I know someone will get us something). Any advice?

Your promotion definitely changes things. I’d say don’t invite subordinates at all — some of them will feel obligated to attend even if they’d rather not, and if you only invite some it will raise concerns about favoritism. It’s far cleaner and easier just not to invite people from work at all. If anyone asks about it, your venue’s capacity limits will be easy to cite.

the etiquette of weddings and work

4. Pushing back on a client’s request for extra work

I have a client who is incredibly needy and nit-picky. For instance, when we make a product — let’s say teapots — we write on the receipt the size, cost, color, and model of the teapot and send it on its way. But she will often send these receipts back with snippy emails that say things like “we expect correct work from you in the future” and outlining that she requires each receipt to list the number of handles, spouts, lids, cost, type of packing, and who packed it. We don’t typically do this, but the person who is in direct contact with this client has been telling us to just make her happy so she’ll stop calling us. To be clear, the things she wants are not industry standard, and it creates a lot of extra work. I just got done changing the description of 48 teapots because she felt the abbreviated descriptors were “unacceptable.”

Is there a good way to push back against this client? And a good way to present this to the bosses in case she turns to them for her specifications to be met? Am I completely out of line for not just accepting that she’s weird and moving on?

It depends on whether you have the authority to push back on the client or not. If you don’t, this is something you should take your boss — explaining what the client is requesting and how much extra time it would take to do what she wants (and what the impact would be on the rest of your workload, like if it would delay other priorities). Then it would be up to your boss to decide whether to accommodate her or not. If she’s a big enough client, they might decide to. Or they might charge her more for the extra work, or tell her it’s not something you can offer. But whoever makes that decision needs to be someone with explicit authority to decide.

If you do have the authority to handle it yourself and you decide to tell her no, you could simply say, “We’ll always list the size, cost, color, and model on your invoices, but we’re not set up to provide the additional info you’re requesting. That’s not something we’ll be able to provide on future orders.” Of course, if you do that, you’d need to be okay with her potentially pulling her business. Sometimes that’s the right move because a client is more trouble than they’re worth. Other times when you do the math, it makes sense to deal with the aggravation. It really depends on how much your company values her and how disruptive the requests are.

5. Stranger wants me to update them on their job application … I’m not involved in hiring

I received the following message on LinkedIn today (identifying details redacted, lack of capitalization left intact): “Hi (name). I hope you are doing well. I have applied for the Business Intelligence Analyst role at [Company]. I have been referred for the role by Ms. [Name]. It would be great if you could let me know the status of my application. your help would be highly appreciated.”

I am not connected to this person, I am not connected to the person who referred him, I am not a recruiter, nothing in my profile indicates I am a recruiter or work in HR or am hiring for this position,and I don’t have any job postings that I am hiring for. We do have one connection in common, who IS a recruiter for my company.

I am speechless at this request (well, maybe not speechless because I typed out this email). Is this a thing now? Reaching out to random people at a company and asking them for status on a job application? For context, my company employs almost 17,000 people.

It’s a thing, for sure. But it’s not new — there have always been candidates who take this aggressively random approach and contact anyone they can find to try to push their application along, even when there’s no indication the person has anything to do with hiring. You can just ignore the message.

{ 454 comments… read them below }

  1. greenland*

    LW2, I can really relate to that feeling of being so in over your head that you can’t see any non-disaster outcomes. Let me just echo that this will not ruin your career — leaving a voluntary enrichment program that you took on in addition to your regular job is truly not a big deal! If it helps normalize this, plenty of people sign up to join equity committees or lead employee resource groups and then down the road realize that because their work/life circumstances changed, it’s no longer feasible to fulfill their commitment. At the end of the day, the company cares that you are producing good work for them — making a decision that protects your ability to do so is the farthest thing from a career ruiner. Good luck with backing out gracefully!

      1. Willow Pill*

        Even if stepping back does have negative repercussions on your job, that’s often a red flag about the company and not you. I left a committee under similar circumstances, and it was one of many signs that the company had major issues – intense micromanagement, privacy breaches, illegal discrimination.

    1. El l*

      There’s a good chance your bosses are not aware of the program’s dysfunctional and unproductive nature. Perhaps previous years were excellent training in strategy and presentation – but this year’s is nothing but negativity.

      Unless you are in a dysfunctional office (period), speaking up and pointing out a problem is impressive behavior. And saying, “No, I don’t want to be part of this – I’d much rather spend my time on items more directly useful for the company” is a well-reasoned choice.

      Bottom line – you’re on solid ground here, and if you get much pushback then perhaps this company culture is not worth your career.

      1. Maglev No Longer to Crazytown*

        Most of these programs really come down to quality of that year’s cohort, which can vary drastically. Maybe in past year’s it was a quality experience, but it sounds like this year’s bunch is navelgazing to the point of uselessness. I don’t necessarily see that as a slight against overall company culture though.
        I don’t blame the LW for wanting to back out gracefully.

        1. El l*

          Or perhaps it’s always been dysfunctional. Who knows.

          Regardless, the program being dysfunctional doesn’t necessary mean the company culture is bad. The comment about company culture is if flagging the problem and bowing out is not respected.

        2. LW2*

          Yes, previous participants I’ve consulted have been shocked by my experience and I think much of it is down to some changes made recently and simply the group dynamic.

  2. Please Remove Your Monkeys from My Circus*

    Re #1, running background checks on volunteers is pretty standard, especially if there’s a money-handling aspect to the role (as there presumably would/could be in a cafe). Just throwing that out there.

    1. Jenny*

      I volunteer at a couple organizations and have been required to submit background checks for all of them. It’s actually extremely easy, I was required to submit to a very basic background check to volunteer at my son’s summer camp for a day and the report actually showed up within about 5 minutes.

      1. UnpopularOpinion*

        Yes, when I’ve volunteer for activities related to schools, I had to do a background check via a website, but it was simple and results came back in literal minutes for me too.

      2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Where I live it can be a bit of a pain in the butt. I’ve had to do the basic criminal record checks for a few roles in my organization, but they can take quite a while to come through. I gave my info to the organization and just waited.

        There is an extra extensive criminal record check that is required for some professions and for many volunteers, especially when volunteering with vulnerable people. That one is a huge pain.

        1. YA Author*

          Yes, this is the case for my kids’ school district. To chaperone a field trip or help with a holiday party or shelve books in the library—any volunteer work directly with or without children, on campus or off—we have to do a full FBI background check with off-site fingerprinting. Plus hours of online training. Annually.

        2. Maglev No Longer to Crazytown*

          Government jobs depending on security level are even worse. Currently transferring to a different agency, and it was miserable waiting weeks for my initial security background check to clear, and I am having to do so all over again with my receiving agency right now. I know I am squeaky clean, but still is an annoying stressor.

          1. Anonopots*

            A person just recently left my organization to work for the feds and the background check took approximately 4 months. I know of someone else whose partner’s background check took six months. It really does depend on what you’re doing/who you’re working for. You could even be doing not super secure stuff for some agencies and have to have a really thorough background check because the organization itself is sensitive.

            1. Tinkerbell*

              My wife’s first job took nearly a year… and then it turns out they accidentally applied for a higher level of clearance than she needed, so she could have gotten to work in three months instead of eleven if they hadn’t messed that up :-\ Ironically, that company went under only a few weeks after her (correct) clearance finally came through, so they paid her for a year to do busywork, then got like three weeks out of her on the actual project before they lost the contract. Luckily, already having clearance gave her a big leg up on her next job!

        3. lisasimpson*

          In the UK, the standard background check you need to work around children takes weeks to come back and you have to send your passport and proof of address in, as well as provide all your addresses for a certain number of years.

    2. Dawbs*

      I’m the person who runs them (for volunteers and new staff) at the nonprofit I work for and yeah- almost instant info. (Incomplete sometimes and for my state only. But it’s a starting point).

      I actually have a lot of ppl disclose-Like “here’s the info for my background check; it is going to show a drunk driving charge. That’s why i need the community service hours” makes me feel better than when i run it and there are 15 years of charges.

      (I may have said this here before, but if you need volunteer hours or a reference/ experience and you have something that will show up so funny know where to start contact the volunteer coordinator at interesting nonprofits and ask.
      We work with kids, there are definitely ppl who can’t volunteer with us. But, i recently did court paperwork for a person with years of check fraud- he couldn’t be in the office space but did yard work for us. And i write letters of recommendation and “this person did 15 hours of volunteer work for us” info letters. I’m not saying we’ve been able to take everyone, but we do try to be accessible to the community, even those who have messed up)

      1. Rosemary*

        I am curious about the fact that the background checks you do only covers your state. PLENTY of people move to new states. Seems concerning that someone could have a record in other states that you are not picking up, especially since you work with kids.

        1. oooooof*

          I read it as it’s the in-state info that’s almost instant, not that it’s the only part.

        2. orangeflower*

          +1 this is extremely concerning. I know someone who got a violent felony and quietly moved to the next state over so it wouldn’t come up if women he dated looked him up in their state’s criminal record. I assumed that paid background checks would at least check other states.

        3. Background check guru*

          I know way more about background checks than is needed as I used to lobby Congress to get them to make FBI nationwide checks available to nonprofits that are screening volunteers to work 1-1 with kids. Fingerprint background checks are the most reliable (avoids issues with similarly named people), but it’s up to your state to determine whether you are allowed to access the FBI’s database to get info beyond just your state. So you may only be allowed to do a state or local check in your state. This is really a mess for multi-state cities like DC/MD/VA — but is problematic for anyone given the amount of moving people do. Some nonprofits will do a state fingerprint or state name-based search because a lot of states give nonprofits that work with kids a serious discount, making it more affordable. Often that’s all that is available if their state doesn’t allow access to the FBI database, and commercial services could be cost-prohibitive. I’ve known some nonprofits in very restrictive states that tell their volunteers to get a gun background check because the NICS system is name-based, but it’s at least nationwide. (NICS has its own flaws that I won’t get into here).

          Commercial services are searching based on name/location and so often miss data (perhaps the name was misspelled on the arrest) or include data on the wrong person (similarly named person). They are generally nationwide but aren’t as reliable.

          All background checks need to be taken with a grain of salt though — criminal justice is really great about booking in the initial charge, but not great about posting the final outcome. So somebody could be arrested and then found not guilty, and you only see the arrest. It should lead you to ask questions, but arrest-only records should not be used to disqualify someone.

          1. Cat Lover*

            Really interesting info! I live in the DMV area (northern VA) so state-only checks are very concerning. I regularly work in MD and DC as well as VA.

        4. Dawbs*

          The system is imperfect; there are deeper levels of background check we can run (those being done here by other people).

          But the large events with 200 volunteers (think “scout outreach carnival” or “historical village fundraising event” or “school reading night” often have just the “instant”state checks. (This are events where no volunteer is supposed to have an opportunity to be with an unsupervised kid)

          I hate that ppl think “checked” means perfectly safe, because it doesn’t. But i dont even know how to begin making a better system- deeper checks are expensive, require access and training, and very time consuming- like months

    3. Felix*

      My questions on this is whether LW is supposed to have this information, and if Cassidy knows that. If you don’t know what your legal confidentiality obligations are, maybe there is some “subtle” (but not really) way of saying to Cassidy “I know what your restrictions are, and I know you’re getting close to a woman with a child. Back off. I’ve got my eye on you.”

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        Possibly some people have to know so that they make sure that Cassidy leaves whenever a child comes in? I guess they could rely on Cassidy self policing himself, but that seems risky. But I have no idea what the set up is.

  3. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    What words would you recommend using when telling LW1’s coworker? I’m struggling to come up with the second part of the phrasing. ‘Hey, don’t know if you know that Steve was arrested for ___ and is not legally allowed to be around children. I have noticed you two enjoying each other’s company and while I fully support people being given a second chance, I know you have a son and wanted you to know just in case” – I can’t figure out a way to say it that isn’t judgy or kind of awkward.

    1. greenland*

      Is there a way to frame it that’s more about the workplace? “Hey, wanted to give you a heads up in case it comes up that due to a criminal record, Cassidy isn’t allowed around children — if you see him leaving when children are in [location], that’s why. [X manager] is aware and should be the point person in case there are any issues.” Not focusing on her personal relationship with him but just more broadly as something that the staff should be aware of.

      1. Daisy*

        I like this. It gives Veronica a head’s up without directly mentioning her child or her specific relationship with Cassidy.

        1. John*

          Agreed. Because LW is in a sticky situation. If her co-worker tells the guy with the record that LW ratted him out, that might not not be pretty for LW. So best to take it out of the realm of advice or gossip.

      2. Snow Globe*

        The problem with this is that it implies that anyone working with Cassidy should know this. The coworker is likely to spread the information around, not realizing it is supposed to be confidential.

        1. Temperance*

          I think anyone working with Cassidy -should- know that, to make sure he’s leaving when kids show up, actually.

        2. orangeflower*

          It’s not confidential, though, it’s a matter of public record unless he gets the charges expunged (which he clearly hasn’t).

        3. ferrina*

          That’s not a problem, and there’s nothing that makes it confidential. This is a matter of public record, and it’s something that should be shared if it might impact people’s decisions (i.e., what they might invite Cassidy to or how close they want to be with him).

          Normally I’d say don’t share criminal records in order to help the person get a fresh start, but there’s some cases where it makes sense and is even necessary to share this information. Anything that involves kids (or other vulnerable populations, like the frail elderly or severely mentally impaired) is a case to share information.

        4. Ellie*

          That’s the safest way to go anyway. You never know who might be looking after their niece/nephew for the day. Its a shame for Cassidy but its what they have to do to prove they’ve changed.

        5. Rainy*

          If someone is on the SOR for crimes involving children (at all, but especially if they are Level 3), it’s not confidential and it’s not supposed to be. That’s why there’s a publicly accessible SOR database where you can look up anyone.

          Protecting children is more important than this person’s reputation, and it needs to be known that he is legally barred from contact with children.

      3. Bonnie*

        Yes – and however LW received the info that Cassidy is required to leave if there are children present would be a good guide for telling a coworker. It sounds like that specifically needs to be understood by all the staff, and should give anyone a heads-up that they need to do more investigation before they allow Cassidy around a child.

        1. Rainy*

          It seems like Cassidy is not allowed around children period, so no, don’t “do more investigation”, hustle the dude out (or ask the child’s guardian to take them elsewhere if Cassidy is needed). This is not a “do more investigation” situation, this is a “don’t allow another child to be exploited” situation.

      4. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I like this approach. It’s a logistics conversation – just FYI that Cassidy has to leave then children are around. We need to make sure that there is coverage in the rare occasions that this happens.

        The other option is to talk to Cassidy, if your role allows it, and ask how he’d like the information disclosed to staff who need to know about him needing to leave. Or ask the relevant manager how that information is disclosed and when.

    2. Caroline*

      Hey Daphne, how are you doing? I see you get on really well with Steve, which is great – we love a collegial relationship here. Do you ever see anything of him outside work?

      If she goes ”no? Why?” or any version thereof, then that’s the end of the matter. Hopefully that’s as far as it needs to go. If she says ”well, we sometimes go for coffee or anything that indicates and outside-work friendship, you must tell her. You must. It’s hideous and awful, and I’m very sorry, but it needs to be disclosed for the safety of her child.

      1. Lily*

        Yeah, that’s not helpful. If she doesn’t see him in private right now but will start in 3 months she doesn’t get the information.
        Also, there’s a chance that something that sounds like a busybody’s start won’t make people answer honestly.

        1. metadata minion*

          Agree — if someone started that conversation and then stopped when I said “no, I don’t hang out with him outside of work”, I would then be desperately curious what she would have said if I’d said yes. I can’t think of any reason you would ask that in general (as opposed to “hey, did you know Steve is also into contra dancing?”) that wasn’t either about something suspicious or because the asker was being a total busybody.

      2. The Rules are Made Up*

        I don’t think this is the way to go. If a new coworker asked me if I was maybe seeing another coworker outside of work I’d think that was weird and be put off because well that’s none of your business. It’s also pretty presumptuous in general that a woman being friendly to a man must be flirting or interested in him romantically. Plus it shouldn’t really matter if she’s flirting with him or not.

        Though I do think that if Cassidy has to leave when kids come in, the coworker would find out like everyone else did. He might even tell her himself. I think the OP is making a lot of assumptions, one of which being that since Cassidy is “a criminal” he must be keeping this secret from Veronica. He might have told her already, he might not even be interested in her that way and have no intention of seeing her or her kid outside of work. Either way OP would be telling the business of a person who as of yet, hasn’t done anything (at this workplace) besides maybe make a friend.

        1. Anonandonandon*

          Why would you put quotes around “criminal?” Cassidy IS a criminal and has been legally determined to be a danger to children. No need to qualify that. As many others have pointed out, the stakes are too high to not disclose Cassidy’s criminal history to others or to dance around the reality of the situation.

          1. The Rules are Made Up*

            As an advocate for incarcerated and previously incarcerated persons we don’t define people that way, we use person first language.

            1. The Rules are Made Up*


              The Marshall Project also has writing on this, in regards to challenging assumptions and our tendency to label people in order to make sense of them in our world. They are *that* and I am *this*. We do this because it makes us feel better and imposes order on our world. There’s research and writing on this from the children’s national hospital as well, in regards to dealing with children who have parents that are or were incarcerated and how the way we refer to fellow human beings impacts the way we see and treat them. As evidenced by many comments here. If someone is a criminal and that’s all they are, it becomes okay for us to project onto them and let our assumptions of their life, character, and motivations to run wild.

              1. IDIC believer*

                Disagree. Criminal is what he is, though definitely not all he is. I am many things, many of which may be seen as having value judgments or othering (even simply a woman or a senior). But we, here meaning humans, are not all the same and labels are useful and yes can be pejorative. Trying to insist on using adjectives versus nouns seems too PC or too woke for me. But ultimately Cassidy is/was a criminal who was incarcerated and isn’t allowed around kids.

                1. Aitch Arr*

                  “Trying to insist on using adjectives versus nouns seems too PC or too woke for me.”


    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      In some ways it could be seen as a favor to Steve to not bring the kid because he’d have to leave– but I cannot come up with a natural sounding way to say that.

    4. Mark This Confidential And Leave It Laying Around*

      It’s judgy because it’s a judgement. You can’t really skip that, as the whole point of saying something is that a judgement is being made that this specific person for this specific reason should be wary of Steve. And it is awkward to say this! So be it.

  4. ENFP in Texas*

    I have to disagree on #1.

    The letter writer is not a supervisor, is not a manager, and is not close friends with Veronica. The managers/supervisors are obviously aware of Cassidy’s issue, since he does not work when children are there. They likely have more knowledge of the situation than the LW.

    Veronica banters with others, not just Cassidy. The LW is assuming Veronica doesn’t know, and acknowledges it’s a confidential manner. If the LW is wrong and Veronica has nothing further than a working relationship with Cassidy, then it’s no business of Veronica’s any more than it is any other co-worker, and the LW has no reason to be sharing confidential information based on assumptions that may not even be correct.

    1. allathian*

      The letter is a bit unclear, but does everyone else who works there know why Cassidy leaves if there’s a child at this venue? If so, Veronica’s definitely entitled to the same information as everyone else.

      1. The Rules are Made Up*

        But then the question is how did they find out? Did Cassidy tell them? If so maybe he told Veronica too. Did management tell them? If so she could already know. Does OP know what his charge actually was? Or just that he can’t be around children?

        Is it just coworkers with kids who should get told this? Does OP also take it upon herself to warn coworkers with nieces and nephews, those that babysit often? At that point they might as well announce it every time a new person starts. Assuming management knows more about this than the OP, how they deal with it is up to them. If OP has a concern maybe she can bring it up with her manager but talking to Veronica is overstepping, to me, and could do more harm than good.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          Can you explain to me what harm could be done by this information getting out that’s worse than children being protected from someone the law decided shouldn’t be around children? People don’t get restrictions like blanket “no kids around ever” from a court for something minor. Privacy is important, but someone’s right to it doesn’t supersede the safety of those around them, especially children.

          1. ENFP in Texas*

            The LW could just make Cassidy wear a scarlet letter and then everyone would know.

            1. Zombeyonce*

              I think we can both agree that someone that harms children has a very different impact on society than someone having an affair.

              1. Emily*

                Zombeyonce: Exactly. If people really can’t differentiate between those two things they are displaying a serious lack of judgment and insight. OP, I am definitely falling on the side of tell your co-worker and protect the kid. It’s possible that Cassidy does not even know that Veronica has a kid or that he knows, but plans to never be around the kid, but there have also been times when predators have befriended/gotten into relationships with parents/guardians in order to have access to children. In this case, it has already been determined by a court of law that Cassidy should not be around children.

          2. Butterfly Counter*

            1. False accusations if anything goes wrong. (“He’s been convicted of a horrible crime, he must be guilty of any crime that happens.”)
            2. An unprofessional working environment. Cutting him out of programs and opportunities just because people don’t like what he was convicted of.
            3. Outright harm. Someone physically assaulting him on the basis of what he was convicted of, convinced he didn’t receive enough or the “right” punishment.

            Now, whether or not you think these are worse than “protecting children” depends on your perspective. But our CRJ system generally operates that people should be able to reenter the workplace (under certain conditions) once they’ve paid their debts to society.

            1. Zombeyonce*

              He can reenter the workplace just fine (and has), but that doesn’t protect him from the consequences of his actions, which include people worrying about their or others’ kids that might end up around him.

            2. Ellie*

              I honestly think cafe work is a poor choice for someone who’s not allowed around children anyway. Unless it is located in a place of business, kids coming in must be pretty frequent. But professionally letting the staff know so they understand they need to cover for him when one comes in seems like the minimum they should be doing.

          3. A Name*

            There are literally multiple ongoing legal cases involving people being put on the sex offender registry list for things like consensual gay sex for 20+ years (, and in many states that’s an automatic “no kids ever.”

            Most of the cases where you *can* get put on the sex offender registry list for minor infractions disproportionately impact queer people and sex workers. Meaning uncritically claiming the only possible reason some could be on the registry is violent sex crimes compounds the harm to those groups, and often leads to lost jobs, lost housing, and targeted harassment of people who *are not a danger to children.*

            1. Zombeyonce*

              Pretty sure OP/Veronica can look up his exact crime and find out if it’s from gay sex or assaulting a child…

              1. A Name*

                Yes! Which is exactly what people are suggesting. Look up what the conviction is for before heavily implying to Veronica it was for pedophilia. This is not rocket science

            2. Survivor*

              Have you ever looked at the sex offender registry? At least in my state, it is very explicit about the crimes and convictions of the offenders listed there. It also indicates whether their crimes were of a violent nature or not. Veronica ought to be made aware of this publicly-available information in the interest of protecting her child. Befriending single mothers of young children is one of the most common ways pedophiles begin to groom their victims. The hand-wringing in this comment section over this is frankly triggering.

              1. A Name*

                Again, I don’t think anyone here is saying Veronica shouldn’t be informed if it was a conviction for something violent or child related.

                What I’m saying is OP should look up what the charge is *first*, because there is a very good chance that telling someone “this person legally can’t be around children” will lead them to believe the reason is for pedophillia, and not do any further digging. As, again, very well evidenced by this comment section.

              2. anon today*

                I used to have a friend (F, divorced, primary custody of 4 y.o. daughter) who had incredibly bad judgment. She met a sweet young man at some kind of recovery program who just happened to have restrictions against contact with children or being in a private place with a woman of any age. Luckily, she didn’t want to date him–but she wanted to hang out and talk about whatever common interest they had, on days when her daughter was visiting her father. She felt sorry for him because people were afraid of him, and now that he was on meds, the Incident wouldn’t happen again. (I think one element of what happened was him stripping in public while having a mental health episode, but that wouldn’t be enough to ban him from being alone with a woman. Or riding in a car with a woman, or whatever that detail was.)

                Even in the best case scenario, where he isn’t grooming her and her daughter, and he just flipped out one day and tore his clothes off at a park where women and children were present because he was hallucinating he was on fire or something, she knew her ex was gathering evidence that she’s an unfit mother. If her ex found out she was hanging out with someone on the sex offender registry, and could prove that to Family Court, she’d lose custody on the spot.

                She said her lawyer said it was OK, but when I finally met her lawyer after the custody hearing, the lawyer was tearing her a new one for getting everything she said backwards. I don’t know if that guy was part of why she lost custody (I was watching the daughter during the hearing), but talking trash about her ex in front of her daughter was definitely something she told me her lawyer said was OK and the lawyer said was DEFINITELY DON’T DO THAT, THIS IS HOW PARENTS LOSE CUSTODY FOR POISONING THE KID’S MIND AGAINST THE OTHER PARENT. Which was what I expected. The mother kept saying her daughter couldn’t understand what adults say because she isn’t making eye contact, but I remember being an Autistic little pitcher with big ears at her age, and this kid talks and reads like I did. I was hearing about feminism from my mother’s Canadian friend, but this poor kid had to hear about Daddy doing violent things to Mommy.

                I met the young man with the sex offense history before hearing the “forbidden friendship” part and he did seem like a nice young guy. But just because he needs friends and being shunned doesn’t help anyone rehabilitate, doesn’t mean a single mom needs to be that friend. If she can’t put her daughter first, no wonder her ex got custody. (I was creeped out by him even before I heard about the abuse. But he can play the game and my ex-friend kept doing the opposite of what she should be doing.

            3. Princess Sparklepony*

              One thing to think about – no matter what the crime the guy is not allowed to be around children. If he is out on parole (which I assume he is, I could be wrong) and is found around children his parole will be revoked and he will be back in prison. So it’s to his benefit that people know this restriction, whether it is valid or not, so that he doesn’t get sent back to prison because someone was unaware of the restrictions the state placed upon him.

              He can fight the restrictions through the courts if he wants, but going back to prison isn’t going to help him.

          4. The Rules are Made Up*

            There’s a link down thread that Alison posted about the second point. People DO get restrictions for all sorts of things because in certain states its not a case by case thing. Anyone with X conviction can have a certain restriction, regardless of the details of the specific conviction. The truth is we are assuming what the nature of his offense is but none of us actually know and are assuming the worst, which we justify for the sake of the greater good. Research on registry lists and similar find that the opposite is usually true. (there’s a You’re Wrong About podcast episode on this subject). The criminal system is not objective or infallible, it isn’t immune to the prejudices, assumptions and biases of humans. And to support its judgements, it enlists everyday people to act as police, detectives, judges and juries to people who are living their life and have served their sentence. It makes us FEEL better, but is largely ineffective.

            If the OP believes that people who have been incarcerated deserve second chances, this counters that. An incarcerated person having to deal with well meaning people who think they are helping but are just contributing to their isolation based on what we THINK we know. Cassidy made a friend at work, that’s what started this. If OP feels very strongly about this she can address it with her supervisor who would likely have more information about this than she does.

            1. Delphine*

              A second chance can mean an opportunity to hold a job and earn a livelihood outside of prison. Not to throw caution to the wind regarding potential CSA because the criminal system is fallible and prejudiced.

              1. The Rules are Made Up*

                Yes but the thing is, these things CAN effect whether they can hold a job. If every time you start a job rumors go around about your conviction, it will likely effect how your coworkers (and managers) deal with you. If someone isn’t considered worth the trouble, or too distracting, that effects their employment prospects. If customers overhear and complain etc. This is literally one of the main causes of recidivism. Getting the job is part of the battle, keeping it, because of the stigma of incarceration, is another battle. If you can’t keep a job what happens? Typically, re-entry into criminality and incarceration.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      I have to disagree here. Plenty of coworkers that flirt end up pursuing more outside the workplace and it’s not like Veronica is going to tell the LW if she and Cassidy are moving toward that. There’s far too much at stake here to not warn her.

      As for saying it’s based on assumptions that may not even be correct, if Cassidy is required by law to stay away from children, it’s because he was proven to be a danger to them. We may not know how (or want to), but it was enough for a court to make that ruling. LW is completely justified in worrying about this and trying to protect other children Cassidy hasn’t yet had the opportunity to harm.

      1. Up and Away*

        100% agree with all of this!!! “There’s far too much at stake here not to warn her.” Took the words right out of my mouth!!

      2. ferrina*

        Exactly. Veronica won’t exactly announce that she’s interested in dating Cassidy. LW has seen some signs, and that’s likely all that LW will see unless Veronica gets heavily invested in a relationship with Cassidy

        And this is pretty critical information before you’re in a relationship

      3. Nina*

        As a note, warning Veronica that Cassidy has to stay away from children also protects Cassidy from inadvertently violating his conditions and getting in what could be a lot of trouble – carpooling to work and Veronica has to drop off the kid at daycare on the way, anyone?

        Regardless of whether Cassidy is a danger to all children (as some commenters have pointed out, in some states this kind of condition can be imposed for being visibly queer in the wrong place at the wrong time), proximity to children is a danger to Cassidy’s liberty and chance at a fresh start.

    3. Ellis Bell*

      So, instead of assuming that Veronica doesn’t know, OP should assume that she does? That’s still an assumption. Also, if we’re going with the assumption that Veronica already knows, then how does double checking on that break any confidentiality? Either she doesn’t know (and is potentially at risk), or she does know and there’s no harm hearing it again. It’s definitely a delicate issue, and I don’t think OP should gossip widely or be indiscreet without valid concerns, but a sex offender’s first target is usually an adult and Veronica is a pretty good target for grooming, in her workplace were she feels safe. Hopefully this is not at all the case! However, I don’t think I would feel comfortable taking the less safe assumption.

      1. Caroline*

        As a total outsider, but a parent, I can assure you that Veronica does not know.

        How am I so sure? Because any parent of a child, especially a younger one, would no more associate beyond the minimum courtesy required with a person who gave even a hint of being a paedophile, let alone flirt with them.

        1. Jenny*

          As someone who used to work in thr criminal justice system, sadly that’s not true. I was investigating present when a prosecutor friend got a request from a parent to lift a stayaway order so she could date the guy… who had just been released from prison for molesting her daughter.

        2. Bast*

          As a parent of 3 young children, I agree. My children’s safety comes above all else, and finding that out about them would make me can any sort of personal relationship whatsoever. This isn’t something I’d feel comfortable rolling the dice with.

          1. Lydia*

            Parents do roll the dice, though. Or are unconcerned with dice at all. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen. Shoot, I have a friend whose siblings were victim and abuser, and their parents think everyone should “just get over it” and be a nice happy family.

        3. Yoyoyo*

          That is just simply not true. There are plenty of parents who turn a blind eye because they can’t accept that uncle suchandsuch is creepy, or they are repeating generational trauma patterns (sometimes outside of their conscious awareness), or they are engaged in familial sex trafficking. Sadly I speak from personal experience.

          1. Jenny*

            It’s shocking how often the child victims are the ones who get blamed. We had a kid absolutely moved to tears because 12 strangers sided with her when her own parents kicked her out (I don’t think it’s appropriate to get into details, but the defendant was her uncle and she was 11 years old). We had to have her picked up from foster care to testify.

        4. doreen*

          I spent 33 years working in CPS and the criminal justice system, and what I can assure you is that there is nothing, absolutely nothing you can say no parent would ever do.

        5. UKDancer*

          Sadly some parents can and do expose their children to abuse. They may not see someone close to them as a predator. Worse some willingly abuse children. A UK singer Ian Watkins was convicted of some horrible offences. Two of his co defendents were parents of his victims who had freely helped him.

          Being a parent doesn’t automatically make you a good person sadly.

        6. Temperance*

          This is such an optimistic POV. And sadly very, very wrong.

          I volunteer with an org that represents abused and neglected children, and many, many of them have mothers who actively work to hide the abuse and/or actually take the side of the abuser.

        7. anon today*

          I don’t know Veronica, but I did know a very clueless ex-friend who wanted to be friends with someone who had restrictions against not only being around children, but being alone with (or maybe just in a car with?) adult women. She claimed he hadn’t actually harmed anyone and it was related to a psychotic break but he’s on meds now. And he needs friends.

          OK, he can be friends with dudes his own age who don’t have kids.

          I don’t know if this friendship was one of the numerous reasons she lost custody, but anyone who puts some rando’s need to have friends over HER OWN DAUGHTER’S need to have a mom, she should lose custody. She also put her need to vent about her ex ahead of her daughter’s best interest not to know all Dad’s dirty laundry and repeat it to the nice lady at the courthouse. Mom F’d around and found out.

    4. Well...*

      I’m curious to know what Cassidy actually did? Sex offender laws can be applied broadly… People have sometimes had to register for mild crimes (streaking, peeing in public, sharing pictures of themselves as minors). I don’t necessarily trust the criminal justice system to get this right.

      If you’re going to compromise his privacy for the safety of other workers, at least eliminate the possibility that he’s not actually unsafe. I get the impulse to appeal to the institution because it feels more “objective” to just state his status as determine by law. We all know criminal justice outcomes aren’t objective though.

      1. Allonge*

        No – but this is not about firing him from work or consequences like that.

        If this information is widely available, Veronica has the right to know and make informed decisions about the safety of her child. She can ask for details if she wants to.

        1. Well...*

          Then maybe give Veronica correct information about the actual crime, rather than just proxy information about the result of the legal system’s interaction with said crime.

          1. Allonge*

            So OP should what, re-open the investigation?

            This is how people, especially women, protect each other, even in the absence of a criminal conviction – you don’t wait until you are molested yourself or see it directly and have hard evidence, you tell the new staff not to be alone with Mark-who-is-a-creep.

            If Veronica wants the details, she can ask Cassidy herself and decide what to do. OP does not even have to share what crime was committed, just the result.

            1. Irish Teacher*

              Yeah, and this goes double where children are involved, as they don’t have the same level of autonomy as an adult so they need the adults around them to protect them.

              The fact here is that those who do have the details have determined that Cassidy is not a safe person to be around kids. Could they be wrong? It’s possible, but firstly, it’s probably unlikely and secondly, there are some cases in which the risks are just too high. I mean, yeah, there are problems with telling people somebody is a risk to children, but I think the risk of Veronica allowing him around her son are higher.

              1. ferrina*

                Exactly. Usually I’d say don’t disclose unless necessary, try to give the person a fresh start while putting up reasonable safety nets, but kids are involved. In that case, it’s better to err on the side of caution and information.

                LW doesn’t need to conduct a full investigation before they say anything. They can say what they know- Cassidy had done something that has caused the courts to require him not to be around children.

                1. Hannah Lee*

                  Yeah, in this case, someone with the authority to gather information on Cassidy’s actions and make a determination that limits whether or not he can be around kids in his workplace (or in general) has made a ruling that he should not be.

                  Whether that ruling is correct or not* or whatever the reason is why it is in place, as it stands today, that’s the rule for Cassidy at work. Someone at work relating that information to a new co-worker isn’t a violation of anything. I like the framing of it through the lens of “this is a requirement for Cassidy in the workplace, just so you’re aware. If you see him leave, that’s why, no need to ask questions. If there are issues with coverage, please check with your manager about it”

                  That way this new employee has the information, can make an informed decision about whether to pursue a relationship with Cassidy outside of work, bring her child to work (for a visit, when she’s dropping off, picking up stuff, etc)

                  *if there are issues with that ruling, or the information the courts/whoever used to come to that decision, there are likely avenues Cassidy can pursue to get things changed. It might not be easy, but it’s doable. The WHY that requirement is in place for him doesn’t matter as far as the employer, his co-workers are concerned. Just that it IS in place.

            2. Well...*

              Whoa there, strawman. OP could just look up what Cassidy was convicted of, and communicate that info to Veronica.

              The fact that people protect each other with informal networks is exactly a result of the criminal justice system generally failing to handle these kinds of cases well. I’m all for informal networks of spreading information about creeps… but I am pretty uncomfortable if we, as women, decide that our definition of “creep” is identical to the sex offender registry put out by the state.

              I’d trust a whisper network way more than I would the registry. In the absence of both, I’d say just look up the conviction and make sure it’s not something like streaking, etc. If we’re going to have a whisper network, it’s stronger if the info is good.

              1. Allonge*

                OP could just look up what Cassidy was convicted of, and communicate that info to Veronica.

                This is what everyone is suggesting. You said that the criminal justice system cannot be trusted for the conviction to correspond to what actually happened. What is it then?

                1. Allonge*

                  *What everyone is suggesting, plus to mention that part of the sentence is for Cassidy to stay away from kids – just to be more exact.

                2. A Name*

                  That is not what Well… said. What they said was that the fact someone is on the registry, by itself, sometimes is due to much milder crimes than people assume. That is a very different concern than questioning whether we should believe convictions correspond to the events that happened.

                  So yes, I do think it would be irresponsible to mention only “Cassidy can’t be around children,” with the knowledge that Veronica is likely to interpret that as “was charged with a deeply relevant crime,” before confirming the charged crime was actually what you think it was. I think the commentary here has made it pretty clear people *will* assume this. If LW looks up Cassidy and finds the charge was indeed for what we’re all thinking, then the point is moot.

                3. Well...*

                  Uhm, I just meant before you tell Victoria that he can’t be around children, look and see what crime he actually committed. If it’s something like public urination, don’t compromise his privacy. If it’s something serious, tell her.

                  That was in the content of my first comment.

                4. Allonge*

                  Ok, then I really misunderstood what you were saying, sorry. I still don’t think that OP needs to do three levels of due diligence before passing on the information they have. This is, according to the letter, not that Cassidy is on a registry but that he cannot be in any level of contact with a child. OP can mention that they don’t know what Cassidy did but this is the info they have for work.

                  (I may be totally wrong but I would hope that this is an extreme outcome imposed not by a generic registration but by the specifics of the case. If this is the outcome of having sex with a 17-year-old at two weeks past 18, I will stand corrected.)

                  Of course OP is free to check the conviction information, just as Veronica is.

              2. ferrina*

                LW isn’t responsible for investigating in order to say something. LW can just say what they know (which is good information), and Veronica can decide if she wants to investigate further.

                This isn’t a matter of an adult chatting up someone- there are kids involved. It’s okay to err on the side of protecting kids against someone who may turn out to be a threat, because the other side of that is failing to protect kids against someone who was. Cassidy can also talk about what his conviction was for- this isn’t something where he’s a bystander.

                1. Lydia*

                  Agreed. LW has relevant information she can pass on to Veronica. At that point Veronica can make the distinction between how much more she wants to know or knowing that much is enough.

                  In my (granted, limited) experience, courts can, and do, make distinctions between not allowed to be unsupervised with children and cannot be around children period. Rather than get into the weeds, why not just assume an abundance of caution is appropriate and start there?

              3. Lenora Rose*

                But this isn’t the sex offender registry. I know people are put on the sex offender registry for some things much less serious than we assume (And contrariwise are not put on the registry who should be), but **Orders to avoid kids specifically** are not a blanket part of the registry, nor are they given for public urination, as far as I am aware.

                1. ACDC*

                  Not sure about every state, but in my state you can see details of the crime that led to that person being placed on the registry. Could clear up some of the speculation if OP reallyyyyy wanted to. You’re right though, specific instruction to stay away from children is not a blanket mandate.

                2. Hannah Lee*

                  That same information is available to Veronica then, if it’s available to LW.

                  I’d go with “hey, just so you know, there’s this restriction on Cassidy being around kids in the workplace. (in the context of explaining workplace practices)” Then Veronica can do with that information what she chooses, including ignore it, ask Cassidy about it one on one, fire up a search engine, and make her own decisions about her personal relationships with co-workers.

      2. FisherCat*

        In the spirit of the commenting rules I’m going to assume you may not be aware, but you are repeating child abuse apologia here. There is nowhere that something nude but not sexual would cause a court ordered obligation to stay away from all children everywhere. This whole “people are sex offenders for public peeing” thing is repeated everywhere on the internet but really isn’t true and is especially not true in a case like this where the convicted person has very strictly imposed conditions.

        1. A Name*

          I’m not going to go into a bunch of details cause it’s derailing (and it varies per state), but there are multiple things that can get you on registry lists that are highly controversial and associated legal movements to change that. I recommend a quick Google, you will find many news articles on some of the current and former legal battles.

          This doesn’t usually happen as “a judge specifically ordered ‘don’t be around kids’ based on the facts of an individual case.” States have laws around the lines of “if you have been convicted of a crime in [X] category, you are obligated to put yourself on the registry and are forbidden from being near children.” No human involved to look at the risk level of that specific case.

          But in terms of the LW: you should be able to look up what Cassidy was charged with, it’s a public record. I’d recommend looking that up if the only information you currently have is that he’s on a registry, before saying anything to Veronica. As this comments section has made clear, a lot of people do not realize how broad the criteria are for putting people on the registry and will assume an entry on the registry means the offense must have been violent and/or involved children. And that is a really serious assumption to make if you’re in an area where the criteria for the registry is pretty broad.

          1. doreen*

            There are variations by state and people sometimes have to register for crimes that don’t appear to be sex crimes ( such as kidnapping) and the crimes may be neither violent nor involve children – but no state requires people convicted of “public urination” to register. I am not going to say that no one has ended up on the registry because they were urinating in public but the conviction would have been (rightly or wrongly) for lewd behavior or indecent exposure or something other than public urination.

        2. Watry*

          Mostly agreeing–in the jurisdiction I work in they would have to register for certain little things, but it would be a limited time and they wouldn’t have any living or working restrictions. My understanding is that the registration at that point is mostly just making sure nothing is going to escalate.

      3. Bast*

        I agree that sex offender laws can be used broadly, and if I were Veronica and I heard this information, I’d probably do some digging myself, as most of these things are public record. That being said, as a mother myself, I’d still want to know. This isn’t something I’d want to gamble with.

        1. ferrina*

          Exactly. As a parent, I’d want to know if the person I was interested in had an arrest that required them not be around kids. Other crimes? Maybe. But anything about kids I’d want to know about asap, even if it’s just “I don’t know what happened, but here’s the outcome.” Then I’d be able to make an informed decision about whether I wanted to look for more information, put a limit on how friendly I was (friendly at work but not getting together outside of work?), etc.

          If I later learned that someone knew that something had happened (even if they didn’t know what) but didn’t say anything to me, I would be livid.

          1. Kyrielle*

            Heck, if nothing else, if you’re contemplating a relationship with someone who can’t be around kids and you have kids…even assuming you are 100% sure that person is totally safe, they still *legally can’t be around your kid* and that is at the very least a logistics issue in that relationship.

            1. anon today*

              It can also be a logistics issue with Family Court, because it casts a lot of doubt on the judgment of the parent who wants to hang out with someone banned from contact with children.

        2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          This is where I land, too. There are some definite issues with sex offender laws, and things will vary across jurisdictions. It makes sense to take the information with a grain of salt. That doesn’t mean that the LW shouldn’t share the information with Veronica so that she can make informed decisions.

      4. Temperance*

        All the things you cite are largely myths, and what *actual sex offenders* claim landed them on the list. Peeing in public isn’t a sex offense in most states. “Sharing pictures of themselves as minors” is what people into CP claim.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          This was always my understanding too, but I just went looking for verification and I found this and other articles that challenged my thinking:

          (If this info is wrong or out of date, though, I hope someone will correct me.)

          It doesn’t change my stance on what the OP should do because they should err on the side of protecting a child (and Cassidy’s crime is going to be public record for anyone who wants to look up the details) but it seemed worth noting since the question has come up.

          1. Turanga Leela*

            People can definitely wind up as sex offenders (which can mean not being allowed around children) for things that most people wouldn’t be concerned about. I’m not saying it’s common, but it happens. The Slate article above talks about prostitution, public urination, and consensual underage sex. In addition to that, I’ve personally seen cases where someone was convicted of a registrable sex crime for:
            -making a sex tape with someone who was over the age of consent, but under 18, while they were in a consensual relationship
            -being a teenager in a consensual relationship with another teenager and receiving/sending nude photos to each other
            -downloading huge batches of pornographic torrent files, a handful of which turned out to contain child exploitation material (PSA: do not download large batches of pornographic files from torrent sites!)

            You’ll notice that all of these involved child pornography laws. (The preferred term now is “child exploitation material,” which I used above, but people don’t always know what that means.) Because child sexual exploitation is so horrific, the laws are often written to cast a wide net, and prosecutors will sometimes pursue charges even in cases that seem outside the spirit of the law.

            1. lisasimpson*

              I have personal experience of CSEM, and the amount of times I’ve heard “I had no idea those files contained CSEM, I thought I was downloading legal p*rn” could fill an entire library.

              Predators lie. They lie all the time. I’m sorry but whoever you know who claimed they “accidentally” downloaded CSA images by mistake and had no idea they were doing, they are lying. I would bet my house on it.

              Unless you personally are the person were convicted of possessing CSA after accidentally downloading something, you only have this person’s word that it was an accident, and like I said, practically every person arrested for possessing CSA claims they downloaded it by accident and had no idea what was in the files.

              This is just more typical apologist tropes.

              1. Turanga Leela*

                I’m a criminal defense lawyer and this was my case. I know the whole file. I’m fully aware of the possibility that my clients can lie to me; it happens all the time. I’m not just basing this on someone’s say-so.

                Please consider the possibility that this is not only something that people use as an excuse (which happens!), but also something that legitimately happens to people.

              2. Well...*

                Yeah like people can lie but also people can be punished too harshly? Those two things can exist at the same time and we have evidence of both. This is just an emotional argument, not a logical one.

          2. YeppyYeps*

            The total sum of those who end of on these lists who are public pee-ers or live within that boundary of teen and adult teen are incredibly slim. Also, most states also have tiers or levels of the offense. These things aren’t perfect, but nothing is. Its unfortunate, but its always best to ere on the side of caution, too, as many pedophiles are notorious for minimizing what they had actually done. And I know this article has a neat little story to back it up, but in all honesty? We don’t know the real details. You look at like this: They have to make that cut off somewhere – you clearly can’t have, say, 17 year olds with 13 year olds. So, whereas I am not citing any articles as I typically follow professional podcasts on these topics, I recommend some solid listening to ones like Real Crime Profile for a better understanding.

          3. doreen*

            I’m not sure if it’s out of date or if it was never accurate – but I remember seeing an article a couple of years ago that actually listed the statutes for the 12 or 13 states that the article said would put people on the registry for public urination and when I looked up the statutes there was not a single one that required registration for “public urination” – they were all statutes prohibiting lewd behavior or indecent exposure. Now, someone who is in fact doing nothing other than urination might be charged with lewd behavior or indecent exposure, but that’s something completely different than “public urination gets you on the sex offender registry”. I couldn’t find any specific statues in any of those Slate articles or I would have looked them up.

            1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

              I think that’s part of the problem, though. The laws about lewd behaviour or indecent exposure can be applied to behaviour that is super unacceptable, something pretty banal, or anything in between. I’m guessing the laws in these states were written broadly enough that public urination would be captured.

              Though I take your point that this does not mean that anyone who is caught peeing in public ends up on the sex offender registry.

              And, like Alison, discussion of these types of cases doesn’t change the recommendation to err on the side of caution and make sure that Victoria knows.

              1. doreen*

                I’m not saying the statutes were written that broadly – the ones I saw weren’t. They required some sort of intentional act in the presence of another person and would only apply to public urination in the almost non-existent case of someone who was making no effort to be discreet, not even by turning their back. I’m just acknowledging that it’s possible for someone to be charged with something they didn’t actually do. ( whether it’s by mistake or maliciously)

                1. Well...*

                  Part of what keeps rapists out of prison is this idea that criminals are inherently subhuman “others” and so that nice guy you work with can’t possible be a rapist because you see him as human (because he his, despite the harm he caused).

                  That’s why our justice system is so broken when it comes to sexual abuse. It’s not some stranger you can dehumanize, it’s very likely someone in your community. We can’t reconcile that person with the dehumanization of the criminal justice system, and so we never convict them.

                  I think going to extremes actually makes real accountability *harder* to achieve broadly.

            2. Remora20*

              From my understanding what usually happens to escalate a public urination charge is someone takes a pee and are SEEN taking a pee. Now it is indecent exposure, or worse if a child saw them. (A co-worker of mine was caught peeing in an alley by a bum. He was threatened with an IE charge, but the nun refused to admit she saw anything because she thought that was ridiculous.) Now that probably happens a LOT less often than someone deliberately flashing people and excusing it later as ‘I was just taking a leak and they walked by!’

            3. anon today*

              In the SF Bay Area, police departments will usually charge unhoused people peeing in public with “indecent exposure” or “lewd behavior” especially if they were in a park where they should expect women and children to walk by. Some unhoused people try to be discreet–I don’t know if they get charged–but we definitely have a subset who have zero situational awareness. I don’t know if the police are so aggressive they’d charge someone who was using a bucket behind a tarp, or just the ones who stand or squat right on the sidewalk.

              1. anon today*

                Also, just to be clear, this isn’t to excuse people on the sex offender registry who have done awful things. It’s just saying that the police make it harder for unhoused people to get housing by charging them with lewd behavior when they can’t pee indoors and ya gotta pee sooner or later (and nobody’s letting randos use store bathrooms since the pandemic).

          4. Temperance*

            I think all of those articles rely on a report by Human Rights Watch from 2007, or perhaps more accurately, other articles reporting on that report.

            It seems that the report itself is at least somewhat misleading; for example, on the public urination point, at the time of this report, they said that there were 13 states requiring registration for urination, but that’s not the full picture. Some of those states only required registration for multiple offenses, or if there were minors present, or if there was “lewd and lascivious conduct”. Basically flashing their genitals.


      5. wordswords*

        Look, I also don’t trust the criminal justice system, and I know that sex offender laws can be applied very broadly, so that sometimes people who committed very mild crimes end up on the same list as actual rapists and pedophiles.

        However. I’m not willing to risk a kid’s safety by keeping that kid’s mom in the dark about this. There’s a chance that Cassidy’s sentence was way too harsh, sure, but there’s also a chance that Cassidy isn’t allowed around kids for extremely good reason, and those are some pretty darn big dice to be tossing. And also, I’m not sure why you’re seeing “dig into the details of what exactly Cassidy was convicted of so that you can make your own judgment about whether he’s safe” as less of an invasion of his privacy than “pass on to Veronica the fact that Cassidy isn’t allowed to be in the same room as a kid, a fact which you already know because sometimes it’s work-relevant.”

        Maybe Veronica will choose to have nothing more to do with Cassidy. Maybe she’ll continue to talk to him at work but make very sure it doesn’t ever go beyond that to a point where he might meet her kid. Maybe she’ll talk to Cassidy and get the details herself and make her own judgments from there. But LW will have given her an important tool to make that judgment. This isn’t about smearing Cassidy’s name to all comers, or trying to get Cassidy fired, or speculating on what horrible things he must have done, or anything like that — LW is telling one specific person a concrete fact that that person has a real right to know, about a person that she interacts with regularly, so that she has info she might need to keep her kid safe.

        1. Well...*

          I guess I just don’t see the harm in doing a quick Google and making sure it’s something serious before spreading that info about Cassidy.

          In fact the strong reactions against that are exactly why I’m worried about spreading this info. People really go to extremes when it comes to even the possibility of these kinds of crimes. It costs nothing to just check, no child is harmed by that.

          1. Jennifer Strange*

            Saying that Cassidy can’t be around kids is just a fact, though. I don’t think the LW should embellish on that or make any assumptions about the reasons, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with stating it.

            1. Well...*

              As I addressed in my original comment, that fact is appealing to the objectivity of the institution of criminal justice. It’s tempting to state it as a contextless fact, but spreading such facts isn’t as objective as one might think.

            2. Well...*

              Also like, a lot of gossip is just saying facts, but that doesn’t make it okay to do at work. Alone that’s just not enough information.

              Any private info about you is a fact, but people still want it private.

          2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

            This is a fair point. A quick search can provide some context to share with Veronica during any conversation, which can help her make her own decisions about her association with Cassidy.

            In the comments, it seems as though some folks have made assumptions about what Cassidy was convicted of. We don’t even know for sure that the offence had anything to do with a child, but people are calling him a pedophile. People quite rightly get very angry about crimes against children (me included). Given the range of possibilities of the nature of the offence, it makes sense to take some care in what and how the LW discloses the information to Veronica.

            1. Hannah Lee*

              While it’s true that a quick search might provide some context, IMO, the LW doesn’t really need that context in order to share a fact about workplace practices involving Cassidy’s interactions with children.

              And stating the basic facts doesn’t prevent Veronica from doing a quick search to get more context herself. Leaving it to Veronica to do any follow up digging if she chooses takes LW out of the position of being a middleman, and keeps from adding a layer of judgement, gossipy end of things. Just a quick “hey, heads up, here’s a work thing I think you should know … don’t know the details” Veronica can take it from there.

          3. FisherCat*

            This probably cannot be determined by google. Criminal cases involving child victims are often sealed from public view. Which is part of why the “I was just public urinating/ just talking to the kid/ just (whatever excuse)” persists, it cannot be publicly refuted in a lot of states.

          4. nike*

            Too many people in this thread acting like LW could easily find out every bit of context around a conviction, when the reality is far more complicated. Let’s say LW finds out his conviction was for distribution of child exploitation material — as others in the thread have pointed out, that charge could be a result of a lot of different things, and finding that out isn’t going to lead LW to have any better judgment on this man’s character or the risk to her colleague’s child. But she doesn’t need to do either of those things — her colleague is the one who can/should make her own assessments about risk regarding her own child, which is why LW would be right to make her aware.

          5. Allonge*

            It took me some time to register this, so I am not in any way blaming you for not, but please consider: OP is a child abuse survivor. Potentially the harm is that they don’t feel that good looking into criminal records with any details on such crimes.

            Most likely they are not wild about being told by a dozen or so people that their abuser, (even if convicted, a big if) will always find a bunch of apologists who say that maybe they just urinted in public. So that’s the harm.

    5. Chikkka*

      Each and every one of us has a moral responsibility to protect children from pedophiles (who very, very commonly target single mums with young children).

      This person didn’t shoplift or rob a bank and pay his debt to society. He did something so extremely serious he cannot be around children ever.

      1. Chikkka*

        And no one is legally barred from ever being around children because they got drunk and peed on a playground, though there are certainly thousands of pedophile apologists online pretending that is the case.

        The criminal justice system has serious problems, but we live in a culture that massively enables pedophilia. This man does not have any right to “privacy” over something that is a matter of public knowledge, and it’s shameful that people aren’t even considering the very real risk of a child being raped.

        1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

          Are there non-child-sexual-abuse reasons to be legally directed to stay away from children?

          1. A Name*

            There are many, yes – if you are on the offender registry list for any reason, you are legally required to not be near children, and sometimes the laws overseeing who gets put on the list are quite broad. Non-sexual public nudity, teens taking photos of themselves, violating outdated laws targeting consensual gay intercourse, and consensual contact between teenagers of the same age are some examples of things that have been litigated before due to placing people on the registry.

            1. Twix*

              Yup. An excellent and very recent example of this is California’s update to its statutory rape laws. In California there is no Romeo & Juliet clause for statutory rape – it’s illegal for someone over 18 to have sex with someone under 18, full stop. However, judges are granted broad discretion on sentencing, including whether or not a convict has to register as a sex offender, in recognition of the fact that someone who just turned 18 having sex with their 17 year old partner and a 40 year old assaulting a 14 year old are very different crimes. Except that discretion only applied to PIV sex; for other types of sexual activity judges had very little discretion. In practice, this meant that straight kids convicted of statutory rape for having sex with their partners were generally assumed to be engaging in PIV sex and afforded leniency and sentenced to community service, while any gay kids convicted of statutory rape under the same circumstances had the book thrown at them and were sentenced to jail time and had to register as pedophiles. The movement to change the law to allow judges the same discretion regardless of the type of sexual activity was widely spun as “Liberals want to change California law to so gay pedophiles will not have to serve jail time” across conservative media.

              I’m all for protecting children from pedophiles, but minority groups in general and LGBTQ+ folks in particular are no strangers to having laws around that weaponized against them. “Gay = pedophile” is a well-known claim that’s been in use for centuries and is actively tracked as hate speech by many civil rights organizations. (“Discussing gender/sexual orientation is sexualizing kids” and “Queer people are a threat to children” are actively being used to defend Florida’s “Can’t Say Gay” bill and myriad anti-trans and anti-drag performer bills around the country at this very moment. Regardless of where you stand on this issues, they are not pedophilia-adjacent.) Part of the reason this tactic works so well is because it’s so easy to frame any pushback as trying to defend pedophiles, and part of it is that many people are willing to rationalize away the problems with the system as “necessary sacrifices to protect children”.

              Now I have zero sympathy for rapists and abusers of any stripe, and I have no ethical issue with sharing the details of what Cassidy did if he actually committed a heinous crime, and if he’s on the sex offender registry then it’s likely that he did. But yes, there are good reasons to not just assume that.

          2. Delta Delta*

            Yes. Release/probation/parole conditions are often sweepingly broad in sex offenses and often are not specifically tailored to the underlying harm. Cassidy’s underlying conviction could be for an offense where the victim was an adult. Or could be he had a 17 year old paramour when he was 19. Or could be he had to take a whiz in public. who knows. But those specific things do not necessarily equal “he is a danger to children” in terms of treatment, harm reduction, and recidivism. However, restrictions around kids are pretty common even with those kinds of offenses.

            1. lisasimpson*

              No. This is all utter nonsense, and typical MAP lies and abuse apologia.

              NO ONE gets told he’s not allowed to be around children ever even after having served a sentence just because he took a whiz in public.

              Inventing hypotheticals to defend convicted criminals who have been found by the court to pose an active current danger to children, is absolutely disgraceful.

          3. Just Another Zebra*

            Yes, absolutely.

            In college I worked at a juvenile detention center (I was running a writing workshop). Some of the stories these kids told were HEARTBREAKING. One was in prison for kidnapping – his stepmom had beat her child, to the point of broken bones. He drove to her house and his stepbrother threw a bag out the window, got in the car, and went to stay with the kid and his mom. Stepmom pressed charges. One of his conditions of parole was to have no contact with persons under the age of 18 for six months (I think) after release. It absolutely happens, especially in certain communities.

        2. Colette*

          We do know that legally he cannot be around children. The specific reasons for that are irrelevant. If he was convicted for punching every child he saw, he could still not be around children and would still be a danger to Veronica’s child.

    6. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      Criminal convictions are not confidential. They are a matter of public record.

    7. Lily*

      Tbh I’m very confused why the coworkers don’t know about it yet. If the rule is “Cass leaves when a child is around”, he will look very unengaged and frankly strange to his coworkers. A coworker who leaves several times a day will probably be suspected of other stuff, maybe a substance use problem or stealing stuff.
      They also won’t recognize if he does break the rule if the manager isn’t around. And this situation is bound to lead to “hey Cass, it’s extremely busy, can you assist that customer (with the two children) while I do this one?” and that’s a stupid situation to put him in.

      1. ecnaseener*

        LW said it was rare for a kid to come in, so I’m guessing way less than several times a day – maybe rare enough that part-time workers wouldn’t have seen it.

        1. metadata minion*

          Yeah, if it’s more like a couple times a week, I wouldn’t draw the connection between Cassidy leaving an the fact that there was a child. Unless this is the kind of job where you cannot leave the counter ever except on authorized breaks, I would assume he also periodically steps away to use the bathroom or grab something from the back or whatever.

    8. Jenny*

      Information about convictions isn’t confidential info, it’s google-able.

      As someone who’s worked in these systems and seen way too much horrific stuff, I’d absolutely tell. There are people who specifically date single moms to have access to their kids.

    9. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      This really isn’t confidential information, though. Arrests and convictions are public record and 98% chance it would come up on a google search.

    10. orangeflower*

      It’s weird and disheartening that commenters are trying to protect Cassidy from his own criminal record in the name of “confidentiality” rather than protecting children by sharing relevant, public safety information with parents.

      1. A Name*

        The vast majority of people here are not saying that Veronica shouldn’t be informed if Cassidy was charged with child abuse or CP.

        What people are saying is that LW should confirm, by looking at the public record, that Cassidy was, in fact, charged with something that involved children and/or violence. Because:

        – If you say “Cassidy is legally barred from being around kids” with no additional context, people will assume the only reason must be a violent sexual crime, as well evidenced by this comment section. This would cause significant damage to Cassidy and Cassidy’s work relationships *if it turned out to be an inaccurate assumption* and

        – The current American legal system’s approach to offender registries can include a lot of things that are neither violent nor about children. Lots of human rights organizations talk about this, including ACLU, it is easily Googleable.

        Seriously: I say this as a gay person who has watched people go through years of litigation to get charges of “sodomy” (a.k.a. consensual gay sex between adults) to not put them on a registry that implies to all their neighbors they’re a pedophile. Look up the case in Colorado, this is not as far in the past as you like to think it is. This is still happening, this is from 2021:

        Just look up what Cassidy was charged with before heavily implying he’s a pedophile. It takes ten seconds.

        1. A Name*

          Like I am honestly baffled by the “no one has ever been put on a registry for a dumb reason” takes when there have been many high-profile litigations over stuff like this.

        2. Common Taters on the Ax*

          I think the word “ex-convict” to describe Cassidy strongly implies that this was not a minor or technical offense, but rather one he went to prison for. Personally I’d want to Google it up just so I knew how strongly to phrase the warning, but in a situation where a child was in potential danger, I wouldn’t keep silent just because the offense I pulled up didn’t include something that sounded like child rape. If it was a serious enough offense to lead to prison time and also somehow got him on the registry, I think I’d still want to pass the information on–especially because there’s always the chance the actual charge was a plea bargain.

      2. Bubbles*

        The problem is that ostracising offenders from society. – which could happen in a small way if Cassidy is pushed out of the volunteer position by his co-workers turning on him – raises the risk that a: they might reoffend and b: they might stop abiding by the rules and make it difficult to find them if something did happen. In order for rehabilitation to work the offender needs to have a stake in society they don’t want to lose. As a human being I would want to know if someone I worked with was a sex offender – but that is an emotional reaction. There are reasons why confidentiality and maintaining the offenders privacy as much as possible is something to think about. At the end of the day I would want to err on the side of telling the mother about it, but I would want all the information first.

      3. Well...*

        I mean, I said LW should look up his record and see what he did before spreading info. So I’m definitely not protecting Cassidy from his criminal record, like at all.

    11. learnedthehardway*

      My objection is – why does the writer assume that Veronica is the person who needs to know? I mean, one of the guys who has kids could end up being buddies with Cassidy outside of work. Why isn’t that on the writer’s radar as an issue? That actually seems more likely than that one specific person will end up in a relationship with another specific person.

      Also, why does the writer assume that Veronica is moving towards a relationship with Cassidy? It sounds like she is friendly with most/all of her coworkers and that there isn’t anything special or different about her interactions with Cassidy.

      Under the circumstances, I would take a observational approach. Keep an eye on whether a relationship seems to be developing, but don’t do anything unless it is.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        We don’t know anything about the other volunteers/staff or their situations. This is speculative fanfiction. OP is asking specifically about this dynamic because it’s visible to them and they have the background to be concerned.

      2. Hazel*

        Yes! And she could befriend someone anywhere who might have a problematic history.
        How about going to the volunteer manager and asking how are criminal records that may affect work handled. Or asking them to please handle it. If a kid comes in, how is Cassidy being warned to remove themselves? There should be a system in place to protect everyone here.
        Maybe a quiet word with Veronica that her friendliness is nice but to be aware that some people may take it as personal interest not professional.

      3. Buffy will save us*

        This is my take too. She’s engaging in banter with everyone. An outside person called them a couple. We have no proof that Veronica feels that way. If this was something the business felt everyone needed to know, everyone would know. Unless you hear her talking about hanging out with him outside of work, why cause waves? He’s currently avoiding children as he’s supposed to.

      4. Just Another Zebra*

        I couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me about this letter, and I think you nailed it. Is Veronica the only coworker with children? More to the point – is she the only coworker with children that Cassidy speaks with in a friendly manner? On the whole, I don’t disagree that Veronica should be told. But something is making me side-eye this a bit, and I think it’s that OP wants to tell Veronica, specifically, instead of “parents who work with Cassidy”.

      5. Allonge*

        It’s really ok for OP to solve the issue that occurred to them and not every problem ever.

    12. Rainy*

      If Cassidy has been convicted for crimes against children and is barred from further contact with children, that is not a confidential issue, it is an issue of public safety.

  5. Midnight*

    LW#1- I’m wondering if there is a way to discuss the topic while keeping identities confidential? Like a conversation about how the café supports people who have criminal convictions, including x or y or “crimes that mean they cannot legally be around children anymore,” explained in a neutral FYI way.

    1. Mialana*

      I don’t think this would work. Since she seems to like Cassidy she would probably never think it was him. Or she would get scared of getting closer to any coworker at all since she can’t figure out who you mean. Or she might think that you don’t have any particular person in mind and just speak because of past experience.

    2. Temperance*

      That just stigmatizes all the people with a criminal history as sex offenders, though.

    3. orangeflower*

      The entire point of a judge deciding Cassidy specifically isn’t allowed around children is so that his identity and situation won’t be kept confidential from children (and their caretakers) he encounters.

    4. Three Flowers*

      It would be counterproductive to *not* label Cassidy, though. That’s the point—to protect Veronica and her child from Cassidy, not to incite paranoia.

      I wonder if OP could just print out Cassidy’s profile from an offender registry (I’m assuming Cassidy is a sex offender and would appear in a public registry) and drop it in Veronica’s locker (or somewhere similar) anonymously. But they definitely shouldn’t do anything more public than that, because some jurisdictions prohibit “harassment” of offenders.

  6. Tex*

    LW3 – can you throw a later more casual barbecue/picnic/cake at the office for people at the company? That way they celebrate with you but not at the pricey venue. Everyone from work just ends up talking to each other anyways.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, that would be better, and employees would no doubt feel less obligated to bring a gift to an informal event.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      Unless other people that work there throw gatherings like this for life events, I think this would feel really strange for the employees. And even if you say no gifts, there’s always someone that will show up with one, which then makes other people wonder if they should have brought one after all. I say just leave it alone and let people congratulate LW when they return from their honeymoon.

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        I think in this case (bride and groom working at the same company) it’s still the best option.
        Definitely be very clear on No Gift. Not ” o gift expected” but “no gift accepted”.

        1. KateM*

          But if you just brought a cake to break room and said “hey, have everyone a slice”?

        2. BubbleTea*

          I had a no-gifts bring-your-own-picnic birthday party for my son (and made it clear that it was no gifts because we were moving house literally the next day, not just out of politeness) and every single person still brought a gift.

          1. thatoneoverthere*

            A solution to no gifts is to have people bring an item to donate. I say bring an item bc it makes people feel like they are gifting something.

            We did this for my kids’ first bday parties. Esp my younger two. We had so much stuff and didn’t want 40-50 more gifts and clothes. For one I picked a local diaper bank in my area. Everyone brough a package of diaper or wipers. This can be affordable bc if money is tight a package of wipes is like $2. You can also get a small pack of generic diapers at Walmart for pretty cheap too. You could also canned goods or supplies for a local animal shelter. These are pretty generic charities for the most part, people don’t have issues supporting.

            1. September*

              That’s a nice idea! Hosts don’t end up with stuff they don’t need, and guests don’t feel obligated to spend too much. Also, I would like it because I have a terrible time picking out gifts, so I’m happy when someone just tells me what to get!

          2. Antilles*

            Yes, for things like birthdays and weddings, when you say “no gifts”, there will always always be people who still show up with one because they (a) assume that’s not really the case, (b) still feel obligated, or (c) have someone else in their life insisting that you can’t show up empty-handed/must have misheard/etc.
            I’m not a gift person, so when I go to a wedding or birthday party where the invitation says no gifts, I take them at their word. Every single time I’ve done this, there’s always a giant pile of gifts and I’m very much in the minority in showing up empty-handed.

    3. Mockingjay*

      No, just don’t invite the office. “We’re having a scaled-down wedding.” And don’t discuss wedding plans at the office. If people ask about plans, redirect: “thanks for asking, but I’m talked out about the wedding! I welcome work as break./How about Local Home Team?”

      Stay firm.

      Signed: my boss finagled a wedding invite through my fiance. (Still salty about it.)

    4. Office Lobster DJ*

      I had a co-worker once that I thought handled it pretty gracefully. Citing venue size, they brought in cake so everyone could celebrate with them, done unexpectedly such that no one felt like they should have brought in a gift.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        One of the things that has really been brought home to me reading AAM is the incredible power of some simple carbohydrates.

        Both to generate joy when they appear unexpectedly, and rage when the expected supply is interrupted for reasons like “Joe retired, and so he doesn’t bring in cookies on Monday any more.”

      2. Mr. Shark*

        I think that’s perfect. Tell people that the wedding venue is small so it’s just family and close friends, and then have a party at the office to let them celebrate with you as more co-workers than friends.

    5. Princess Sparklepony*

      Maybe instead bring in unannounced a nice cake to share with everyone. Then you don’t have to worry about the people who would want to bring a gift. Just sort of a Surprise, let’s celebrate my wedding break!

  7. LifeBeforeCorona*

    LW3 Why not host a small party just for co-workers as your wedding approaches and explain that you can’t invite everyone? Make it clear that No Gifts are expected and that this is just a chance to share your change in life with your co-workers.

  8. Friendly Neighborhood LD Gal*

    LW#2 – Also, if you haven’t already done so, please talk to the person managing your leadership program. If there’s any chance they’re unaware of the issues at play on your team, this would give them a chance to help course-correct. Depending on the structure of the program, there might be an opportunity for you to move to a more cohesive, better aligned project team. Agree with Alison that your mental health absolutely comes first, but I also wanted to share another person you could talk with aside from your manager. Best of luck!

    1. Zombeyonce*

      The program absolutely needs a facilitator rather than just throwing a bunch of unrelated people together with no concrete goal and expecting them to figure it out when it should be a learning program. No one’s going to learn leadership skills without a way to organize around a common goal first.

      This kind of situation is ripe for the disorganization problem it’s experiencing. On the other end of the “this is terrible” spectrum, a program like this could also lead to someone taking over (too many people equate arrogance and pushiness with leadership) and forcing their ideas on everyone else. All it takes is one outspoken person and a few less assertive people to make it go badly. Someone who can help guide everyone in working together would make all the difference. I hope the LW tells someone that might be able to help before just giving up.

      1. Jackalope*

        Yeah, I kind of did a double take when I read this letter. I’m all for letting people have a certain amount of unstructured time to figure out future steps, but this sounds totally disorganized and a good way to waste a bunch of time. Especially given that it’s supposed to go on for a *year*, which is a long time for a group that’s just charged with a vague, “Make things better,” sort of handwave. Maybe there’s more structure than was indicated in the letter, but it sure sounded like a poorly organized program that’s unlikely to yield results.

        1. LW2*

          There is a leader mentor role for each team. But many of them never participated and are not really sure of their role from what I’ve gathered.

          1. Zombeyonce*

            Ah, we’ve found the real problem! This program isn’t structured well and the actual leadership isn’t providing any real leadership to the program. If they’re not willing to adequately support it with clearly delineated roles and responsibilities, the whole program is full of bees.

            1. Miss Muffet*

              Agree. I was in a similar type of program once but we had an executive sponsor that was our guide. If the point is to develop leaders, you have to have someone in that coaching role! If we could just grow leaders organically by throwing people in a room together, we’d never have managers! Ha

        2. Kelly L.*

          If I had to guess, I would guess that just getting named to it was supposed to be the honor, with an extra perk of “we’ve carved out a time slot for you to get in face time with the bigwigs,” and the higher ups don’t really care if any work happens in between those two times, because that’s not really the point. Meanwhile, the employees, being overachievers (which is how they got named to it in the first place) are desperately trying to make it productive, but with zero guidance.

  9. John Smith*

    Re #4. It might be worth asking your client why they want this information. I’ve had similar situations where the client has been asking for all sorts fromnus. It turned out that they had adopted a type of quality management system (a system that we’re experts in) and had terribly misunderstood it. After working with them (and their rather incompetent auditor who was the source of the misunderstandings), we got ‘back to normal’ business and in the process saved the client, and ourselves, a small fortune. I’m just wondering if your client is similar and if there is a way to save the business relationship. If not, do feel free to dump them!

    1. Zombeyonce*

      We see this kind of thing all the time in IT. People write in asking for specific solutions but if we knew the problem instead, we could help them find something different that works just as well, if not better, since we’re the experts. LW, find out the problem she’s trying to solve first, and you might get a happier customer out of it and less frustration on your end.

      1. Roland*

        The good ol’ XY problem… Definitely something I run into as both an asker and an ask-ee.

      2. Miss Muffet*

        God yes, i deal with this with my clients all the time too. They come with this fully-fledged idea of the solution they want, when if they’d come to us first with the problem they want solved, we (the experts, which is why they hired us for the work in the first place) could come up with something that is probably better/cheaper/etc

    2. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Good point. There may be ways to meet her ultimate goals without as much pain.

      (that’s assuming that ‘being a pain’ isn’t part of her personality…)

  10. Kuddel Daddeldu*

    LW#5: I would consider forwarding this to the hiring manager or HR. She may want to know that this apppears to be a rather pushy person – it may or may not be a factor in their decision making. Or just delete it and forget about it.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing – it’s something the hiring manager and recruitment/HR would want to know about. The OP should make it clear that it is not an endorsement of the candidate and that they do not know the person, however.

    2. Jujyfruits*

      If it’s like most job searches, they probably reached out to a stranger since they’re being ghosted. I’m not sure what telling HR would accomplish if they already aren’t getting back to candidates.

      I’m team delete & forget.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        IDK, at my company we’re pretty diligent about closing the loop with every single applicant and still have people randomly contacting employees.

        It may be the case that LW’s HR is ghosting people, but it might not be.

        As a hiring manager and as the person who oversees all reqs, I’d want to know if a candidate was reaching out to random employees. It might not knock them out of consideration depending on the role, but more info about a candidate is better. For one thing, IME people who work the angles, go outside of application guidelines looking for other ins often, when hired, become employees who are a handful to manage because they bring those same approaches to their day to day jobs and either don’t stay in their lane or don’t follow instruction, norms, or established guidelines. For a sales, leads generation role it might be okay, for a role that requires more ‘stick to the given process’ work, or collaboration with others, it might be a no-go.

    3. Random Dice*

      I agree. This is really poor judgment on so many levels. Forward to the hiring manager.

    4. MigraineMonth*

      I once received a message from a LinkedIn stranger asking me for the answers to my company’s hiring assessment test. That’s gumption.

      I was going to pass the info to HR, but it turns out they weren’t even trying to apply to my company, they were trying to apply to another company with a similar name.

  11. Lirael*

    I genuinely don’t know whether this is an option for LW1 but could they go to the police or the probation service (or whatever the equivalent is locally) and raise concerns that he might be getting close to a person with a young child? Veronica wouldn’t be the first person to be taken in by someone “oh I was unfairly arrested poor me” who deliberately was trying to build a relationship to get close to a child.

    1. Ellis Bell*

      It would be almost impossible for them to really look into that. Veronica and this dude are just at the flirting stage, if that, and even if they are getting together, the authorities aren’t going to stake it out and follow him. The person who is best placed to safeguard her son is Veronica.

    2. Rosie Posie*

      This strikes me as a potentially bad idea, at least at this stage, which appears to be now just work friendliness. It may have implications for Veronica to have the police believe she is not adequately protecting her child. I do think the OP should find a neutral way to inform Veronica, I like Midnight’s suggestion above. But going to the police could have unintended consequences.

      1. Lirael*

        Yeah that’s fair enough. I hadn’t thought of bringing Veronica into the police orbit.

      2. thatoneoverthere*

        I don’t like the idea of turning someone in, for something THEY MIGHT DO. So far Veronica and this guy are just chatting. They might not even be flirting. The idea that a woman is flirting with someone just bc she is friendly is really infuriating. Perhaps this guys is genuinely trying to turn his life around. Turning him in, could have consequences for his probation and getting his life straightened out.

    3. Jenny*

      There’s a chance this guy is on probation and if LW had evidence he was violating it they could alert his probation officer. However I don’t see any indication he would be based in this letter. If LW knew he’d been around kids that’s different.

    4. JustKnope*

      The LW has only seen them lightly banter at work! There is absolutely nothing there that warrants going to this man’s probation officer or the police at this point. If the LW knew Veronica was going on dates with him then MAYBE that extreme of a response would be warranted but going to the cops is a huge overstep in a situation the LW is barely tangentially involved in.

    5. whatchamacallit*

      He might not even know Veronica has a child, even if he does there’s no evidence he has been around said child. Veronica should be made aware but I don’t think potentially messing up this man’s probation is necessary when he doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong at this point.

    6. Qwerty*

      This is an extreme reaction. Basically you are saying that Cassidy should go back to jail for talking to a parent – is that what you really want? Because that’s what happens if you violate your parole/probation terms. Plus the potential for Veronica to be investigated by the police or CPS and now the small child gets to have interviews as they try to determine whether Cassidy ever met the child or did anything to them. There’s also a good chance LW1 would lose their job once the investigation determines

      Ex-convicts are still allowed to talk and joke with their colleagues. It would be simpler to just tell Veronica that Cassidy isn’t allowed near children. It wouldn’t hurt for managers to tell people when they start that the center’s services are aimed at a group that includes ex-convicts, some of which may have restrictions around being around children. That way if someone has a concern (like being a parent) they can work out with their manager how to handle the information when someone like Cassidy gets hired.

    7. RagingADHD*

      How on earth is this less of an escalation, or more subtle, than just having a conversation with Veronica?

    8. MCMonkeyBean*

      That would be a wildly unreasonable overreaction. So far OP has not described the man as doing anything other than existing in the world and being friendly with coworkers. Warning Veronica is one thing, but there is literally nothing to involve the police over.

    1. Curtis M Sawyer*

      I think that is why I wrote in…it was the first time it had happened to me and I was amazed someone would do that.

      1. Lucidity*

        Are you going to follow Alison’s advice and ignore it? I don’t think I’d be able to resist replying to let them know that a) I’m not at all involved in the hiring process and b) gently explain why this is inappropriate. I can see why Alison advises not to respond though, you don’t know if this person just doesn’t understand the norms or is perhaps a little unhinged.

        1. Curtis M Sawyer*

          I chose to ignore, mainly because I just don’t have the time to deal with it (although I clearly took the time to write in. ;-)

    2. ursula*

      I have actually forwarded/flagged this for hiring managers once or twice, in situations where (a) I had a working relationship with the hiring manager and (b) this behaviour would be so inconsistent with our workplace culture (which was mostly quite relaxed, amiable, and not welcoming towards pushy behaviour) that I thought they’d want to know. And as someone who hires people, I would want to know if a candidate is spamming all of my staff on LinkedIn for updates. So, there’s that.

      1. LeRainDrop*

        I agree. I’d be tempted to let the hiring manager know of this odd communication.

  12. Frodo*

    LW#1: this reminds me of a colleague named Bob. Bob had an excellent work record, he reorganized our entire operations systems, he was genuinely concerned about the well being of the company, he was happily married with 2 kids. One day Bob didn’t show up for work. According to my boss, he needed to take a few personal days. A few personal days turned into forever because he was sitting in jail for breaking the terms of his bail. It turns out, the year before he was arrested for sexual assault against a minor. What kills me is that my bosses knew about his arrest and still let him keep his job for a year. Innocent until proven guilty. Except this was a toy store.

    1. Jenny*

      Innocent until proven guilty is a legal presumption the jury takes at trials. It is not a social or employment concept. It doesn’t mean you can’t (and shouldn’t) take action based on an arrest.

      A person who committed say a crime on video or assaulted someone right in front of you still gets a legal presumption of innocence but of course you’re not required to douht your own experience.

      Trials often take years and you’re not required to just sit on your hands.

    2. Temperance*

      I bet if Bob had stolen from them, or committed some other financial crime, it wouldn’t be innocent until proven guilty.

  13. Rosie Posie*

    For #3, I think you can invite subordinates (previously peers) under certain conditions. If, for example, you now now manage a team of 4 people, you would be fine to only invite that specific group of 4. However if, again for example, there are 20 people two levels below you (with no specific teams or structure), I would not just invite one or two from that group that had been your work friends/peers prior to the promotion. It may seem like favoritism. Note that I’m assuming this is a healthy work environment where everyone knows they would not be punished for not attending.

    1. 1-800-BrownCow*

      LW #3, honestly, I think best is not to invite anyone from work. You mentioned your fiance works there as well. Is he also a manager or does he want to invite work friends? I think some people being invited and others not will result in some hurt feelings. I’m speaking from personal experience. In a previous job of mine, the Sr. Director of my team married a Sr. Director of a different team. Our team was really close and had worked together many, many years. We even had a wedding shower for our manager at work. Her fiance’s team however had a lot of new employees that hadn’t worked together as long. While the company was not in a rural area, there were a lot of employees working there that were in relationships/marriages with other employees at the company. As the wedding drew closer, our team realized that we were not invited to the wedding, although our manager often talked about the upcoming wedding plans. The last couple of weeks before the wedding, employees in different departments were talking about the upcoming wedding. Come to find out, her fiance had invited his entire team, plus some work friends, which because a few of those people were in relationships with other employees and the invite was a +1, people in other departments were also attending the wedding. In the end, it was very awkward that no one on our team was invited and some of the team was offended as we heard many of our colleagues talking about going. The wedding and reception was held at their large home, on a few acres, so lots of room for guests. The couple was in their late 40s and neither had ever had children and their positions in our company were very well paid, plus bonuses. Which was evident on the expensive trips they often took and the luxury vehicles they both drove. So our team not being invited didn’t seem to be because of lack or space or for keeping costs down. We were just excluded while others in the company were not. Ultimately, it did not go over well and after the event, many people were questioning why none of us went and then were surprised to find out we weren’t even invited.

  14. Evil CPO*

    Cant agree with the advice to LW4.

    The PIA is a client, its a commercial decision.

    Snippy emails? An extra piece of paper? Boo hoo.

    The correct course of action is for the business to work out how much the extra bullshit costs and charge the customer accordingly.

      1. Red Wheel Barrow*

        But a funny one! Your pseudonym sequence made me laugh out loud. (And I don’t see the error!)

  15. ProcessMeister*

    To LW2, if you leave that group, think of it as taking leadership of your own career. It sounds like you’re wasting your valuable time, you’re not getting anything out of it and the company is not getting any value from having you in that particular program. Best to own yourself and see if your employer has any other opportunities that can benefit both you and them.

  16. Cat's Paw for Cats*

    I would have absolutely no compunction about telling a young mother that someone has been determined by a court of law to be a danger to children. In fact, I would feel compelled to. And frankly, I can’t think anyone in their right mind would feel differently.

    1. Generic Name*

      I am dismayed but not surprised at the lengths people go to to protect the perpetrators of awful crimes (rape, abuse, molestation) from the consequences of their own actions. The victims? Collateral damage. It’s no coincidence that the perpetrators tend to be men and the victims tend to be women and children.

      I’ll probably be flamed for this, but I don’t give a damn about the privacy of someone who abuses/molests/rapes children. Please tell Veronica.

      1. A Name*

        Literally the entire argument people are having is that we do not currently know if Cassidy was ever *charged* with abusing, molesting, or raping children. It takes thirty seconds to verify if he is, people are suggesting taking the level of effort of “open the public record to confirm the charge was rape or child related.”

        Not “go through every single lurid detail,” not “assume courts might be biased and try to reevaluate every piece of evidence and make excuses,” not “say nothing ever cause What If.” Literally just a quick, yes/no, confirm that the charge was for something rape or child related. If it’s not clearly that but ambiguous / something with highly variable levels of sketchiness like lewd exposure, tell Veronica *and include what the charge was*, she can decide for herself what her risk tolerance is and how much digging she wants to do.

        The only time I would actually go with “complete privacy ” is if he was charged with something no longer considered a crime (like, or something like participating in consensual sex work between adults where there is a low chance of danger to children. Because I do think violating privacy in these cases can cause tangible harm, and I have a hard time seeing how in those specific cases it would protect children much.

        Like in a dream world, ya Veronica is also capable of doing the ten second open-the-registry step . . . but for a lot of people it would never occur to them to look in the first place. People who don’t pay much attention to current legal controversies on registries and on blanket “no kid” bans based on crime type (and not by a judge on a case-by-case basis), they’re reasonably likely to assume “Cassidy must’ve been convicted of sexually harming a child and someone looking at the details of this specific case decided it was unsafe for him to be around kids.” And that framing could very well cause Veronica significantly more fear and distress than it would if OP mentioned the actual charge, if the charge was for something non-violent and non-child related.

        And if you’re about to respond with some form of “obviously people would never be legally considered a danger to children without immense forethought,” do me a favor and Google some of the legal controversies surrounding sex offense laws right now. They will come up very quickly.

  17. Chasing waterfalls*

    I can feel for LW1. When I was a manager I had a peer tell me the were arrested for participating is sex work, he had bought and paid for services. I didn’t know what to do but I figured backgrounds check would have flagged that. We worked in an industry, completely separate from any thing that would have caused issues. ( I.e. we didn’t work with vulnerable populations). I left about 1 year later but its been 3 years and I still regret not asking my manager about that since he was kinda a jerk to the women on the team. But I only put two together once I was gone.

    1. Charley*

      ‘He was kinda a jerk to the women on the team’ – that should have been worth raising to a manager alone. I know this all happened in the past, however, misogyny thrives when it’s not called out by allies.

    2. vegan velociraptor*

      Using the services of a sex worker really isn’t something that I think should affect employment – why is it likely to relate to him being a jerk to women?

      1. vegan velociraptor*

        (Obviously, as Charley says above, being a jerk to women on the team is enough to be worth raising! I just don’t think it necessarily links to being a sex worker’s client.)

      2. scandi*

        The primary risk to sex workers is their clients. Lots and lots of men who do not see women as people use sex workers. In countries using the Nordic model, it’s classified as a (minor) sex crime in recognition of the fact that men using sex workers are more likely to be violent to women.

        1. vegan velociraptor*

          Well yes, and the primary risk to married women is their husbands, but I can’t imagine responding like this about a husband. Domestic violence is also exceptionally high among police officers in the States, but I can’t see that being invoked in quite the same way in this context.

          The Nordic model is generally opposed by sex workers as opening them up to state violence and not helping reduce violence from clients (as it makes it harder for them to screen clients).

          1. Boof*

            “the primary risk to married women is their husbands”
            … what? Pretty sure most married women have other higher risks, like heart disease.

            1. UKDancer*

              Yes they do. That said statistically in the UK almost half of female homicide victims die at the hands of their partner (compared with about 8% of male homicide) according to ONS and the Femicide index. The figure varies slightly year on year but not much.

              It’s not the leading cause of death for women (which is usually a health related issue such as a heart attack or dementia in old age) but where women are murdered, it’s far more likely to be by people they know (most often partners or ex partners).

            2. MillennialHR*

              You’re 60% more likely to be killed by your spouse than anyone else – so I would say this is pretty accurate as far as violent crime goes. Adding in a red herring of heart disease doesn’t comment on this exact issue.

            3. Well...*

              For young women, like in their 20s and 30s, then yes their husbands do pose a pretty serious risk. Basically when you cut out thing that kill you via aging, the next thing that kills women is romantic partners.

          2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

            We’re getting into lies, damn lies and statistics here. Husbands being the greatest threat to their wives is not the same as clients being a threat to their sex worker if the latter has a much higher incidence of violence, which I believe they do.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              But neither of them have literally anything to do with how much of a threat a man who once hired a sex worker is to the rest of his team. That is not at all similar to the situation in the letter today and there would be no reason for that to ever come up at work. Why he chose to bring it up himself I don’t know, but there would be no reason to “warn” other coworkers about something like that.

          3. scandi*

            Idk, I think if you have been violent to your wife you’re also a risk to your female colleagues.

            The Nordic model is generally opposed by a very vocal minority of primarily online (i.e. not full-service) sex workers, as well as by interest groups that class pimps as sex workers. In states that have implemented it, sex trafficking and violence against sex workers both drop markedly. Whereas countries that fully legalise (e.g. Germany) are hubs for sex trafficking.

            1. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

              Book recommendation, for anyone interested in sex trade laws & their consequences: “Revolting Prostitutes”.

              I’ve not seen evidence of workers’ safety being improved under Nordic Model-style laws. Ireland switched to that framework a while back, and Ugly Mugs (sex trade safety org) got significantly higher numbers of reports of violence. I’ll put a link in a follow-up comment.

                1. New Jack Karyn*

                  I’ve wondered if there’s actually an increase in attacks on sex workers, or if attacks are more likely to be reported once the sex worker isn’t afraid of being arrested.

      3. Czhorat*

        Yeah, I agree.

        If I found that a colleague had been arrested for either frequenting a sex worker or working as one I’d develop a selective case of amnesia. Unless he’d been convicted of beating or otherwise abusing the sex worker it is a one hundred percent victimless crime.

        In 95% of cases, in fact, I’d not disclose the criminal conviction. The LW’s scenario is part of the other 5%.

        1. Well...*

          I’d be on board with this if it weren’t for the fact that many women who are SWs in the US are underaged (like… median ages are quite young). Men who hire them rarely get prosecuted for statutory rape, whereas the underaged women often get arrested and charged more heavily than the Johns. So if someone is frequenting a SW and hasn’t been charged, it doesn’t mean they aren’t awful.

          This is one of those situations where we have to be backwards and allows for the possibility of more crime following from the first crime, just because our system is so woefully inadequate at protecting SWs.

    3. ferrina*

      It’s also different when it’s a child or other vulnerable population involved. A child won’t necessarily recognize or say when something is wrong- they simply won’t know better. Parents/guardians have a special responsibility to kids/vulnerable populations, and it’s more reasonable to err on the side of protection. So if a crime involves a kid, I think there’s an automatic duty to disclose if the person may interact with children.

      for many other crimes/convictions, I think it’s more nuanced and there is no single answer for every scenario.

    4. Princess Sparklepony*

      I didn’t realize they ever bothered to arrest the men who hire sex workers. Although they may go after gay guys who do because we got problems like that. (Homophobic thinking.)

  18. E*

    Re LW 1, I agree with Alison’s advice. It doesn’t sound like it was the case with this person, but I just wanted to flag that in some jurisdictions things like public urination can get someone on a sex offender registry for indecent exposure. So just worth confirming before raising alarms that the crime did indeed involve children (which would be horrible).

    Also, LW sounded very thoughtful in other ways so I just wanted to offer that using person-centered terms like “a formerly incarcerated person” or “person who uses drugs” is much less stigmatizing than Ex-con /addict.

    1. orangeflower*

      LW1 doesn’t say he’s on a sex offender registry, they say he is not legally allowed around children. That is reason enough to tell Veronica.

      LW1 doesn’t need to look for loopholes or decide what punishment Cassidy’s crime warrants. Allowing Cassidy around children doesn’t help Cassidy, and letting Veronica know that he’s not allowed around children doesn’t hurt him.

    2. RagingADHD*

      People arrested for peeing in the shrubbery don’t have to leave the premises if a child walks into a cafe.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I’m all for person-centered terms, but I feel like “person who uses drugs” and “addict” are really not interchangeable. There are lots of “persons who use drugs” that are not addicts. And there are lots of addicts who are many years sober and therefore it wouldn’t really be accurate to call them a person who uses drugs.

  19. WS*

    I had a staff member arrested for assaulting and seriously injuring a stranger in a supermarket queue. It was a big shock (she notified us as she would have to take days off to go to court and asked for a character reference) but as there were no safety issues and she’d never behaved inappropriately at work – which involved some customer service – we didn’t tell any of her co-workers or change her duties. And I think that safety issue is the key there: if there had been any signs that she was, for example, getting short-tempered or getting physical or threatening at work, that would have been a different matter.

    1. Observer*

      but as there were no safety issues and she’d never behaved inappropriately at work – which involved some customer service – we didn’t tell any of her co-workers or change her duties. And I think that safety issue is the key there: if there had been any signs that she was, for example, getting short-tempered or getting physical or threatening at work, that would have been a different matter.

      I’m sorry, that was an extraordinarily irresponsible decision. This is someone who clearly has an issue with violence. How on earth could you gauge whether she had any likelihood of being violent at work?

      Here is something we know about violence – the best predictor of future violence is past violence. So far, it’s the only thing that has much predictive power. So here you have someone who assaulted and seriously injured someone – not in self defense! Yet you think you can tell that she won’t do that again?

      You are lucky that she never actually attacked anyone at work.

      1. Well...*

        By that logic, should someone who’s ever committed violence be allowed to work anywhere ever?

        1. Allonge*

          Or leave their house ever again. I get the instinctive response and it certainly warrants a discussion but if we exclude from society anyone who ever was violent…

          1. Well...*

            Yes, and like, realistically, in our society people who have been violent HAVE to work to survive and they will end up in a workplace. So just pushing them out of *your* workplace isn’t exactly promoting the public good, it’s just shoving the problem down to people who don’t have the luxury to avoid it.

        2. M2*

          She seriously injured someone in the supermarket and they didn’t even suspend or investigate before allowing the employee back with other employees. Honestly if the employee did do something to another employee it’s a major lawsuit waiting to happen HR and counsel should have been involved before a decision was made! Did your employer even speak to a lawyer?!

          1. M2*

            The employee should have had to go to therapy or anger management or something before returning. People make mistakes but to allow them to come back without making any effort to not do that action again is not a good plan in my opinion.

            1. Well...*

              Anger management has been shown to be completely ineffective (in fact, for domestic abusers it often makes the MORE abusive). Therapy can be effective, but it certainly is not a catch-all for “solving” criminal behavior.

              I think people are obligated to make an effort to do what they can to heal the situation for the victims. But for people they work with who weren’t involved? I’m not so sure… we seem to be worried about the danger they pose *everyone* and we just do not have an evidence-based solution to mitigate that danger via some kind of personal improvement plan.

        3. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

          It’s not that this person shouldn’t have been allowed to have a job. It’s that her coworkers should have known about her past violent outburst so they could decide for themselves what level of interaction to have with her.

          If it were me, and I found out that one of my coworkers had committed an act of violence that was bad enough that they were arrested and had to go to court, I wouldn’t want that person to lose their job if they hadn’t been violent at work. I would, however, want to know about the incident and the pending court case so I could be aware during my interactions with them and decide whether or not to have a close, trusting coworker relationship.

          1. KatEnigma*

            All it takes is one punch/slap with no injury to be arrested and go to court if the person presses charges. That is not a bar at all for degree of violence.

            1. Boof*

              1) I think it’s pretty over the top to punch/slap a stranger at all, frankly, and someone who would do that has really suspect judgement
              2) this particular thread said someone was seriously injured

          2. ferrina*

            This policy is going to end up having racial repercussions. In the U.S., Black people are more likely than white people to be arrested for the same activity, and often be arrested for minor or trumped up charges (such as ‘resisting arrest’ when they weren’t being arrested in the first place, they were just walking down the street).

            So you will never hear about the white colleague who keeps his domestic violence under lock and key, or the rich colleague who beat up a stranger but whose parents settled out of court, but you’ll hear about the Black colleague who was pulled over for a burnt out headlight and did nothing wrong.

        4. Boof*

          Hm, allowed to work, yes; but I would really consider telling coworkers about a history of serious criminal convictions. Coworkers shouldn’t be allowed to harass someone based on their history, of course, but there’s no reason to hide it either.

        5. Observer*

          By that logic, should someone who’s ever committed violence be allowed to work anywhere ever?

          There is a reason why someone who has committed certain crimes cannot work around children, or cannot work with money etc.

          At minimum, you need to have far more information about what actually happened and what, if anything, the person has done or is doing to reduce their likelihood of recidivism. “We know they did this bad thing but they haven’t done it at work, and we don’t think they will even though we have not clue how to even begin assessing that” is nothing more than burying one’s head in the sand.

      2. WS*

        …she never did assault anyone at work and retired last year. It was her first offence, in her early 60s, so if the best predictor of violence is past violence, she had 60+ years of never being violent and one occasion of being violent. What was the better predictor?

        1. Well...*

          Yea I mean, the reactions here to your comment are exactly why I’d be against spreading information about crimes of of employees. People get limited information and jump to wild conclusions about their own safety.

          1. Smithy*

            Absolutely this right here. And while crimes like physical fights and drunk driving are in fact crimes that can involve the department of corrections, they’re crimes where punishment by the state is so often not felt to be enough by some people. And opening your employees to that judgement by your colleagues is unhelpful.

            I do think that for the OP’s question, it would be beneficial for employees to be more generally aware that part of this volunteer program is to work with those integrating into society including previous felons. That’s it’s part of a corporate culture that believes in integration and that our pasts don’t fully define our future – something to that effect. In the sense of busy bodies googling their colleagues – they were going to do that anyways. But someone actually considering dating a member of this program, (which I assume is what the OP is worried about?) it may be that genuine nudge of encouragement to do so.

        2. VeraWang*

          Well, to be fair you don’t actually know she didn’t have any incidents of past violence, just that she was never caught/arrested for it.

      3. Caroline*

        Was it ever disclosed WHY she did what she did? Assessing a reason doesn’t mean one excuses attacking a stranger, obviously, and the colleague obviously was held to account, but it’s very unusual to just randomly attack someone. I feel like there’s probably a story there.

        1. WS*

          The stranger was verbally abusive to her and she was hypoglycemic (the ambulance that arrived ending up treating both her and the woman she attacked). Neither of which was an excuse and she eventually did plead guilty. But I’m quite surprised at the response above that someone should be instantly assessed by that one instance of behavior and not by observing someone doing their job for some years! And that’s the difference between my situation and the LW’s – they can see a clear safety issue pending.

          1. MazMellem*

            Being hypoglycemic isn’t an excuse but it is a reason — it can make you behave irrationally.

          2. Boof*

            What is it about sharing the incident with coworkers that means they are not taking all the history into account? Won’t the coworkers do that as well? There’s room beyond discipline/fire for something like this; I agree that would be inappropriate. But I think coworkers and managers should be aware if there are any criminal convictions.

            1. Woodswoman*

              Make them aware so they can do what? Choose not to work with her or speak to her in the office? Then how do you handle it when she is unable to effectively do her job? Or the people who interact with her aren’t able to effectively do their job without interacting with her, and they now refuse? That just feels like a crazy situation to try to manage.

              It would be nearly impossible for anybody with a criminal background at all to work if disclosure to all their coworkers were standard practice. Many people, unfortunately, just aren’t all that reasonable and rational as a general rule.

      4. Well...*

        Also I’m curious about your statistic that one violent act is the strongest possible indicator of future violence. Does the *first* violent act correlate with any other variables (poverty, for example)? If so, then it’s very possible that violence appears to be the strongest indicator because it’s much easier to measure than poverty (or whatever the actual underlying variable might be, probably related to socioeconomic status).

        If, for example, poverty was the underlying variable with the strongest correlation with violence (and poverty didn’t have a strong likelihood of being alleviated over time), people who were very poor would commit, on average, multiple violent acts as their poverty status persisted. Then if you couldn’t measure poverty very well, you’d just see a group of people that committed multiple violent acts. You’d group them together, and come to the conclusion that violence breeds violence. The only way to come to a different conclusion would be 1) measuring poverty very well or 2) the underlying variable being something that got *better* with time, so people who committed one violent crime got less poor over time, and stopped committing violence.

        Now poverty isn’t a great example because it’s easy to measure. But there are LOTs of socioeconomic variables (and combinations of them) that are very hard to measure. And being arrested for crime is super easy to measure. Whenever a variable is easy to measure and gets blamed for something, the statistician in me gets very suspicious.

        1. Lizzo*

          THANK YOU. This is a complicated issue and too often people would rather deal with the symptoms (much more expedient!) than the root causes.

      5. Cat Quest*

        This logic is totally flawed, I know a few people who had some sort of violent incident once in their life but it was never repeated again, it had to do with a particular circumstance. To keep them from having jobs ever going forward would be ludicrous and incredibly hinder their families earning potential. I’ll give you two examples:
        1. A friend who had recently returned from an active war zone and was surrounded in a bar by 3 guys trying to fight him. He defended himself and broke some ones nose with his punch – none of them were charged (despite starting the fight and throwing the first punch) but he was because he knew how to fight properly and ‘should have known better’. He was put on probation and had to do community service. He has never in the 15 years since been in a physical fight. He owns his own business, supports his family and coaches basketball. But without the work experience he had before he opened that business he wouldn’t have been able to open that business.
        2. A friend who once, in his late teens, got into a fight during a party where both partied were not seriously injured. The other party to the fight called the police. He was charged and had to do community service, but has never had a violent outburst since. He is now a leader at the company he works for and does a lot of volunteering within the community (not something he does for recognition, if I didn’t know him personally I wouldn’t know this).
        Both of those people by your estimation shouldn’t be allowed in the work force (and I would assume by extension be allowed to volunteer). Imagine where they would be now if that were the case.

      6. MicroManagered*

        How on earth could you gauge whether she had any likelihood of being violent at work?

        How on earth can YOU gauge it, with the very limited information you have? Three sentences in an anecdotal story is not enough information to make the leaps you’re doing.

        Here is something we know about the legal system – It punishes POC more severely than whites for the same crime, and we have zero demographic info here other than someone who uses “she” pronouns and works in customer service.

      7. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        I don’t know how you can conclude this without knowing any of the details. The OP says she was arrested, not convicted, for one. You don’t know if she had, say, an addiction problem that she resolved, got anger management therapy, etc.

      8. SleeplessKJ*

        I once threw a water glass at my (ex) husbands head in the heat of an argument – I suppose I should never work again?

      9. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

        Without additional details beyond ‘an arrest’ we don’t know if this is someone who has an issue with violence, someone who was defending themselves in some kind of harassment/assault scenario, or something in between.

      10. Verthandi*

        By that logic, how would employers find enough people to work for them? The economy would grind to a halt.

    2. KateM*

      Exactly how did you all deduce that although someone attacked a stranger in supermarket queue, the same person would never ever attack a strange coworker in printer or microwave or canteen queue??

      1. WS*

        It was a very small workplace – seven people – she had never been violent or even lost her temper with anyone here. There were certainly no queues!

        1. MillennialHR*

          Honestly, it seems that the workplace handled this the best they could. People commenting are also not taking into consideration the bias that will be perpetuated against someone for a crime or a criminal record – the bias could lead to the gut reaction many commenters have had and could be considered discriminatory from the workplace against the employee (for example, if they were not promoted because the manager was biased based on their criminal record).

          There are many implications in a criminal case and each one needs to be examined individually, which is sounds like your company did!

      2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        Why do you think someone who has one incident on their record needs to prove “never ever”? Don’t you understand that never giving someone a second chance leads to more violence, not less violence?

    3. Imprudence*

      And at that point, it may only have been alleged, unless she admitted it, of course. After the court date, she would presumably have been found guilty or not guilty. So it might not have been appropriate to do anything before the court date.

      1. Enai*

        Why were there several comments condemning the coworker sight unseen before one pointing out that “accused” does not mean “guilty”? Even “pled guilty” may just mean “couldn’t afford the ongoing hassle of a court case coupled with the possibility of being convicted far harsher if they don’t take the plea deal, even though they don’t agree they’re guilty or even flat out didn’t do $crime”. I mean, there’s people in jail for years _without trial_ if they don’t plead guilty and also can’t afford bail who would’ve been out much faster had they confessed.

  20. Hiring Mgr*

    I don’t really know the best solution for #1, but if you do tell Veronica be prepared for everyone else to know also, if that matters.

  21. bamcheeks*

    I have absolutely no idea what I would do in LW1’s situation (and I’m a parent of small children), and LW1, you have my absolute sympathy in trying to figure it out.

    I guess my main question is why this comes down to an individual decision, and isn’t something that is being managed by someone with expertise in safeguarding. It seems extremely weird to me that some people in the organisation know that Cassidy isn’t supposed to be around children, and some people don’t? Does LW know this “officially” because of their role, or heard it casually from someone? And this “solution” where Cassidy just leaves if children enter the cafe– whose responsibility is it to make sure Cassidy leaves? Is it on Cassidy or whoever is the most senior person on duty tha tday? It all just sounds like a really bad half-arsed safe-guarding situation, and I think if I was going to do anything it would be to go to your lead safeguarding person and say, “WTF, how is this the right way to handle anything.”

    1. WellRed*

      It does sound half assed all around. It doesn’t sound like OPs place to correct it but it’s unclear who’s in charge. And it’s probably a good idea in general to clamp down on the work flirting.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I hardly think it’s “flirting” according to OP:

        which occasionally could be mistaken for flirtatious although all the relationships are purely professional.

        Some people just have a friendly personality.

        But agreed–who knows what and why they know or don’t know what they know seems really confusing here. Where is management in all of this?

    2. Observer*

      You make some very good points. Which means that there is probably a lot the OP does not know about the situation.

      Which is why I also agree with you that probably the first thing the OP should do is go to whoever is in charge and setting these things up and find out what is going on.

    3. RagingADHD*

      If it’s in the US, most places wouldn’t even consider it a safeguarding issue, because the organization is not oriented toward children the way a daycare or school would be. Most likely, the cafe management doesn’t actually take responsibility for ensuring that Cassidy leaves. It’s probably considered an accommodation for Cassidy, that he has notified the volunteer manager that he will have to leave if a child comes in, so they don’t wonder why he keeps disappearing.

  22. Brrrrrrrrr*

    LW2, I could have written this! I was in a similar program last year and eventually talked to my boss. He was surprised, too, that this program wasn’t what we expected and gave me the all-clear to back out to focus on my work priorities. Nothing horrible happened as a result, and it was so important to my mental health.

    Learning to say no, to prioritize your work and identify things to stop doing because they aren’t serving a purpose is a leadership skill in itself. Good luck!

    1. Green great dragon*

      Yeh, I think talking to your boss is the way to go, explaining why you no longer think it’s a valuable use of your time. It could even enhance your standing to be prepared to re-evaluate a decision when things are turning bad.

      As a manager I’d probably like you to be able to express what the problems are, and be willing in principle to consider other ways forward (are there elements of the course other than this group project you could still do?), though it seems unlikely that anything much can be pulled out of the fire on this one. Definitely don’t suffer in silence, wasting your (and therefore the company’s) time.

      1. LW2*

        Excellent perspective that it’s not just counter to my interests but the companies’.

  23. Catabodua*


    Is there a way for you to impart the information where it’s strictly business related?

    Like ask Veronica if she knows what’s expected if Cassidy is working and someone comes in with a child. What are the procedures in place? Does he have to let co-workers know he’s leaving? Does he leave for the rest of the day or just while that client is there? Where is he required to go while the child is there?

    Make your conversation about how his conviction and the terms of probation affect your workflow when children are involved.

    You are getting the message across without it being about Cassidy. It’s about how staff operates when XYZ situation happens.

  24. Peanut Hamper*

    I’ve worked with people like LW#4’s client. We’ve always just presented it to the client like this:

    We’re happy to do this once or twice, but it’s out of the ordinary for us, and disrupts our workflows. Your choices going forward are:

    1) We can provide you our normal services at our normal prices.
    2) We can provide you what you request, but it will be XX% extra.
    3) You can take your business elsewhere.

    In 90% of these cases, they went with option #1, and in the other 10% of these cases, they went with #2.

  25. WellRed*

    I’m sort of laughing at a leadership group with no leadership getting nothing done but having lots of unproductive meetings. OP, please get out of this ASAP.

    1. LW2*

      It is truly worthy of Sisyphus. I’ve been vague on some of the structure so as to best anonymize the company and myself. There is supposed to be some framework.

  26. Chocolate eclair*

    #3 Don’t invite anyone that you don’t spend time with for fun outside of work. I also found talking about my wedding less at work to not at all really helped stop expectations of wedding invites. It felt like anyone I discussed anything wedding with at work expected a invitation, and gave them an opening to ask more about the wedding. People who I started shutting down quit asking additional questions.

    1. Some words*

      I didn’t talk much about my upcoming wedding, but it was no secret, either. I just casually let it be known that the marriage venue had very limited seating. I wasn’t even able to invite all the relatives I wanted to. Everyone got the message. It was no big deal.

    2. Lily Rowan*

      Slightly off-topic, but early in my career I had a young boss who talked to me about how to decide which coworkers she was going to invite to her wedding — and that didn’t include me! Don’t do that.

    3. Generic Name*

      Ha. I was chatting with a coworker about his upcoming wedding, and I absolutely did not expect (or want) an invite. I made sure to say, “I look forward to seeing pictures, if you’re willing to share” or something along those lines to convey that I was t expecting an invite.

  27. I'm fabulous!*

    LW 1: Has management talked to Veronica about Cassidy? Maybe approach your supervisor about her banter with him first?

    1. Observer*

      I wouldn’t approach it that way. I would approach it about “any staff with children who are getting friendly with Cassidy.”

      Because to be honest, it’s not clear at all the Veronica is actually flirting with Cassidy. The OP says that this is the way Veronica relates to all the staff. So why should the OP be more worried about Veronica’s child than about the child of any other person (staff or volunteer) who might develop a friendship with Cassidy?

      But I do think it’s a good idea to ask the manager some version on “What are we doing to insure that no one brings their young children to work on Cassidy’s scheduled day, and that parents of young children don’t invite him to their homes?”

      This would need to be handled delicately, because normally it is not the place of an employer to police or regulate who their staff socialize with. But the “stay away from children” order does complicate things and put some responsibility on the employer.

  28. Catabouda*

    # 3 – I would go with don’t invite anyone. It’s so much easier to hold that line whenever a question came up about who’s getting invited. You don’t want to spend any time at all explaining your decisions.

    #5 – I work for a large University/Hospital system and I get contacted by parents trying to get their kid into the University every now and again. It’s always amazing to me how they are able to think “Let me message this random finance person on LinkedIn to make sure they know how awesome Jr is and that way he’ll get ahead of the 20,000 other applicants!:

    1. Curtis M Sawyer*

      I know networking is important and all, but essentially cold-calling someone to ask about your job application / kid’s college application…do people think that actually works?

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Yes, they do. Which is why they try it.

        But if you get on Facebook/Pinterest/other ridiculous social media (I’m looking at you, TikTok), there is a ton of incredibly out-of-touch advice out there.

      2. The Eye of Argon*

        I guess it’s the latest version of the outdated “make a nuisance of yourself until they hire you (or accept your kid’s application)” bad advice. Since the pandemic started, and for security reasons, many businesses don’t let non-employees in without good reason, and now that automated phone systems and cell phones are the norm it’s harder to finagle a way to speak to the company president/ hiring manager/ whoever. So apparently the next evolution is to email every random person who works there that you can find, and hope one of them will go to bat for you.

        1. Verthandi*

          Somehow I ended up on a ton of emailing lists with my work email. Every day I get at least one that makes it through my company’s spam filter. They’re all trying to sell me something or sign me up for something. I am not in a role that makes decisions on IT equipment or attend the conferences.

          I hit the block sender button. Eventually I will whack all the moles.

      3. AFac*

        I don’t know that they believe it will work in as much as they think ‘well, it couldn’t hurt’. Sending an email is quick and easy, and is something they can do to relieve their anxiety about a process that they really have little control over.

      4. Catabouda*

        I think the bigger problem is – sometimes is DOES work. It just reinforces the bad advice.

      5. Antilles*

        Personally, I think it’s simply the admission version of the “one secret trick” mentality that you see for weight loss or building muscles or meeting your soulmate or a billion other things.
        This is a frustrating and long process, where it often feels like you’re not making any progress for weeks if not months at a time…so there has to be some kind of special short-cut right?
        Then you look online and find some bad advice / apocryphal tales / etc and just run with that.

      6. Anon for This*

        I work for a part of a university that’s unrelated to students, and we regularly get emails asking about college applications or help applying to a graduate program at the university. So, yes, lots of folks either think it works or are incredibly clueless.

  29. HonorBox*

    LW2 – I started thinking, “I wonder what their relationship is with their direct boss because I’d bring it to them” and then got to the point in your letter where you say you adore them. Which absolutely makes this a bit easier. I think the whole leadership program sounds awful, and even if it wasn’t affecting your mental health, I’d have suggested a conversation with your boss about it. It feels like you’re having to spend an inordinate amount of time on the projects and based on the group dynamics, accomplishing very little. So talk to your boss for sure. Highlight the challenges without sounding like you’re complaining (as in, just the facts). Let them know that makes you almost physically ill thinking about it and let them know you’d rather focus your time and attention on the work you really enjoy.

    I’d wager that someone stepping back and focusing on doing a great job with their actual job will have more lasting, and positive, impact on your tenure with the company than going through a program like this… especially if the final product that is produced from this mess is subpar.

    1. LW2*

      Yes I most assuredly need to speak with my boss in a more formal way then the vague complaining I’ve been doing. I have been afraid to look as though I don’t appreciate the opportunity but this may be unsustainable if I don’t either see changes made or adjust my mindset about how invested I genuinely need to be.

      1. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

        I could imagine the vibe as like: “I’m having a concern that this programme is not actually the best use of my work time.” I feel a sensible boss would probably be pretty receptive to discussing that.

  30. mlem*

    LW5, I’d actually flag the email as possible phishing. It *probably* isn’t, but social engineering can go some surprising directions.

    1. Curtis M Sawyer*

      Thanks, although I’ve got a pretty good eye for that (30 year IT background). :-)

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        That assumption is one of the things social engineering is counting on, though.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Yep. The test phishing emails our IT firm sends out are specifically designed to fool overconfident people with IT backgrounds. And they work.

    2. Verthandi*

      Very true. A number of years ago, I read an blog post that was some guy bragging about getting a lot of something for nothing so he could take his daughter out on the town for her birthday. He finagled their way into an invitation-only fashion show and managed to get front row seats, and then crashed a company party because the place they wanted to go was reserved for that company’s special event.

      His point was that if you’re nice to people, they give you things. I saw it as a highly entitled attitude and a good example of social engineering.

  31. Delta Delta*

    #1 – We don’t have enough details here (the assumptions made in the comment section are breathtaking, btw), but it seems this is not OP’s place to disclose. If OP is this distraught, she ought to go to management and raise the issue, and then allow management to talk to Cassidy and, as needed, loop in Veronica. It’s very possible Veronica already knows, and has chosen to treat Cassidy like any other coworker she has. Which, don’t we want Veronica to do just that? And why does OP not trust Veronica to know herself and her boundaries?

    Second, OP assumes Cassidy will not follow whatever terms he’s required to follow with respect to Veronica’s child. It appears Cassidy already immediately leaves on the rare occasions he encounters a child. Why would Cassidy behave differently, and why does OP make the assumption that would happen? Further, if Cassidy spent time in jail, why does OP assume Cassidy is willing to compromise himself and go back to jail by choosing not to follow his conditions?

    I could go on, but there are other dimensions here. And before anyone comes at me, I’m a 20 year criminal and juvenile defense lawyer. I guarantee you I have seen and learned about the worst possible things people do to each other – some you’ve never thought of. As someone who represents defendants and also kids, I have additional perspectives that hopefully help.

    1. MicroManagered*

      Yes! I love this response.

      The whole premise of the letter assumes that LW1 and Veronica don’t have the exact same information. If LW1 is not a manager, how does she know Cassidy has to leave if kids come around? It’s very possible Veronica has received the same information the same way LW1 did.

      Also, I am friendly with a lot of people at work that I will never ever be introducing to my family. There is no reason to assume Veronica has any intention to take her kid around Cassidy or that, if she did, that Cassidy would not abide by the terms of his release the same way LW1 has observed him doing at work.

      1. Felicity Lemon*

        Agreed! It seems like LW#1 knows this information about Cassidy despite not being a manager, so presumably Veronica would know in the same way. And so it would be up to management to disclose, or not, or how. I get how this seems different, and the instinct to protect children, but I feel like there is a lot of leaping to conclusions about both Cassidy and Veronica here.

    2. Nora*

      All of my thoughts exactly! It doesn’t seem like OP’s place to tell everyone that information, and OP is making a big assumption that Cassidy will not follow his conditions, without any evidence.

    3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      If Veronica knows, then telling her again won’t hurt anything.

      And we’re worried about Cassidy harming a child, not worried about him violating the terms of his release!

      1. MicroManagered*

        You’re missing what Delta Delta is saying. They’re pointing out that by jumping to “we’re worried about Cassidy harming a child!” you are taking several things for granted that you don’t really have a basis for:

        – That Veronica doesn’t know the same information LW1 does already
        – That Cassidy and Veronica’s child will ever be around each other
        – That if Cassidy and Veronica’s child are ever in the same room, that Cassidy will suddenly do differently than he’s been observed doing, which is leaving immediately per the terms of his release
        – Let alone that Cassidy and Veronica’s child will ever be alone and unsupervised in the same room together.

        Look – a lot of people hide behind “but the child!” as a way to excuse treating convicts as less human. He paid for his crime and appears to be abiding by the terms of his release.

        1. orangeflower*

          Letting Veronica know the (relevant! public!) information about Cassidy not being allowed around children isn’t treating him as less human.

          Withholding safety information from Veronica to ensure she doesn’t think badly of Cassidy is making some awful assumptions about her and ignoring the real danger he could pose to her child. Providing the information means Veronica can head off any potential for harm and doesn’t require her to treat Cassidy differently at work.

          1. MicroManagered*

            “Veronica, I saw you being friendly toward our coworker, Cassidy, and have automatically assumed you not only have romantic intentions toward each other, but that those romantic intentions mean you will leave your child alone and unsupervised with Cassidy. Based on these assumptions I made, I feel the need to disclose (possibly relevant! but not confirmed relevant! public!) information about Cassidy’s legal history even though I have not seen anything from Cassidy but evidence that he’s fully abiding by the terms of his release.”

            Sorry but how is this not destructive again? If the employer has made the decision to employ Cassidy given his background, it’s not LW’s place to go warn every person that works with him whenever she makes a bunch of assumptions about how that person is interacting with Cassidy. It’s gossip – periodt.

          2. Observer*

            Withholding safety information from Veronica

            Who is suggesting “withholding” anything? You said yourself that the information is public. What makes you think that Veronica does not have the same information that the OP has?

            ensure she doesn’t think badly of Cassidy

            That’s not really even the most important issue. The issue is that there are a lot of assumptions here that simply are not valid. And some of those assumptions are not harmless – not just to Cassidy, but to Veronica.

            ignoring the real danger he could pose to her child

            Is there more danger to Veronica’s child that to the child(ren) of other staff? Either management needs to alert all staff (because they may have children, be caretakers of children, or have minor relatives who visit them) or they need to leave Veronica alone.

          3. lisasimpson*

            All these posts speculating and inventing increasingly wild hypotheticals to defend this man.

            Are you not willing to even consider the possibility – even hypothetically – that he IS a predator, and that he is deliberately grooming Veronica to gain access to her child? Not even consider it as a possibility?

            It’s pretty hypocritical to be willing to invent hypotheticals to support one side, but not the other. You have to look at both sides equally. It’s a real shame that everyone’s willing to go to increasingly extreme lengths to write fan fiction and invoke astoundingly unlikely and rare incidences in order to defend a convicted sexual offender, but not one person is willing to even consider the possibility that there’s even the tiniest 1% chance that he might be trying to groom a single mother to gain access to a child, which is an extremely commonplace occurrence.

            1. A Name*

              . . . Pretty much every single person here is acknowledging that this is possible, and that OP should take the 30 seconds of due diligence to verify that what Cassidy was charged with involved sex or children. This isn’t “well what if hypothetical so do nothing,” it’s “these ‘hypotheticals’ have literally repeatedly happened in the past and are currently the subject of ongoing legal battles and it is *very easy to verify if they are relevant here*, so go do that 30 seconds of verification.” The registry will say what people are charged with.

              Like, obviously there’s a good chance what Cassidy was charged with was something pedophilic. In which case you have the very obvious answer that nearly everyone agrees with: tell Veronica.

        2. irene adler*

          Thank you for this.

          And, Delta Delta, thank you too for writing your post on this.
          I’m not gonna go into details but this is a very difficult topic for me. Some posts above were difficult to read.

          1. MicroManagered*

            It’s a difficult topic for me too, for reasons I have not put into my comments. You’re not alone :)

      2. Observer*

        If Veronica knows, then telling her again won’t hurt anything.

        That’s actually not necessarily true. Firstly, telling her *again* is essentially pressuring her to not be friendly with Cassidy. I’m sure that’s not the intent here, but that still is the effect.

        Secondly, there is another ugly assumption underlying the concern, it seems to me. And because it’s unstated it flies under the radar. Why are we assuming that only Veronica’s child is in danger? Why not the children of other staff? Is it because Veronica is being “too friendly” to Cassidy? Or she’s acting in a way that some people see as flirtatious and that just won’t do? Or because someone thinks that they “look like a couple” so obviously there must be heightened danger?

        None of these reasons really make a lot of sense. Yet it seems to me that this is part of the OP’s thinking. They specifically mention not only the flirtatiousness of her behavior, which would be odd but understandable, as it is her behavior at play (although not *really* relevant as the OP says that the relationship is purely professional”). But what does the comment made by a random visitor have to do with this?

        So essentially what’s happening here is that Veronica’s behavior is being monitored (and I think judged) in a rather inappropriate way. Actin on that judgement is going to make it clear to Veronica what is going on, and I cannot believe that it would not do harm.

        Again, I’m sure that the OP is not trying to be judgemental here, but their thinking points to some level of it, even if unconscious. And talking to Veronica would have to make her uncomfortable, even though the OP is not trying to do that.

        1. orangeflower*

          LW telling her for the first time (they don’t know if she already knows) isn’t pressuring anyone to change their behavior at work.

          As for the other employees, they should be told that Cassidy isn’t around children. It shouldn’t be a secret.

          1. Observer*

            LW telling her for the first time (they don’t know if she already knows) isn’t pressuring anyone to change their behavior at work.

            That’s not entirely true. Ann note that the comment I was responding to explicitly states that there is no downside to telling her even if she knows. Even if she doesn’t know, it’s reasonable for her to wonder why SHE is being told, not others.

            As for the other employees, they should be told that Cassidy isn’t around children.

            They should be told exactly the same thing that Veronica is told. No one has shown any reason to actually believe that Veronica’s child is in more danger than any other child of or related to others who work there.

            1. lisasimpson*

              Veronica’s child IS more in danger, because the child’s mother has (or is starting to develop) a relationship with a convicted sexual offender who the courts consider an active danger to children.

              It’s a fact that the vast majority of abuse is conducted by those known to the victim, and involves grooming (grooming frequently involves grooming of other family members too). It’s very very common for predators to pursue relationships with single mothers to gain access to their children.

              So yes, this child is potentially more at risk than a random child who interacts with this man briefly as a cafe customer.

              1. Observer*

                Please don’t make stuff up.

                According to the OP, Veronica’s relationship with Cassidy is not materially different than her relationship with the rest of the staff and volunteers. And they describe the relationship as “purely professional”. And the OP also notes that Veronica’s child doesn’t come to the workplace.

                There is simply no evidence of grooming here. And no reason to believe that Veronica doesn’t have access to the same information that the OP has.

            2. Parrot*

              I think this is really uncharitable to the OP, to be honest! It’s entirely possible that Veronica is the only parent of a young child who works there, or the only parent who’s actively friendly with Cassidy, or the only parent who started working there after Cassidy was hired (and therefore may not have gotten the same memo as everyone else), or a million other things that OP didn’t mention because it wasn’t relevant to their question.

              If you object to telling Veronica about Cassidy’s restrictions, OK, but you can do that without inventing reasons the OP is being inappropriate.

              1. Observer*

                No, I don’t think I’m being uncharitable to the OP. As I’ve pointed out more than once, I can very easily believe that the OP is not actually thinking to treat Veronica differently than anyone else. But, that is still the effect from what we can see.

                And that’s an important reason for the OP to take a step back from *Veronica* and lean into checking what Cassidy’s actual history if they can, and talking to their manager about the actual safety issue, which probably applies to multiple people.

    4. Just Another Zebra*

      Thank you for this. There are so many layers to questions like this, and sometimes people (like OP!) don’t have all the relevant information.

  32. redflagday701*

    For LW1, I’d just keep it short and straight to the point: “Hey, FYI, I’ve never seen any issues with Cassidy and I don’t know anything about the details, but his past conviction means he can’t be around kids. I’m not saying it because I want to spread gossip, especially because he does seem lovely — it’s just something I’d want to know if I were a parent.”

    There’s no great way to say it, but any parent will understand why you’re saying it.

      1. Allonge*

        Because, maybe, OP is more concerned about privací than you are and only had in mind to disclose when there is a potential issue?

        1. Observer*

          What exactly is there to make anyone say that Veronica’s child is more in danger than the child of any other staff or volunteer that has children?

  33. I should really pick a name*

    Where you planning to invite co-workers because you wanted to, or because you thought you were supposed to?
    There’s no obligation to invite co-workers to a wedding.

  34. just another bureaucrat*

    #2 Absolutely talk to your boss. It sounds like you’ve got a good relationship already and if one of my team was struggling with this I’d have a very sudden case of “I can’t spare this person right now for this business critical project, let’s possibly revisit this at some point in the future.” Done.

  35. Didi*

    OP2: I was involved in a similar program and had a similar experience.

    At my company, I think it WOULD damage your reputation and career if you drop out. I don’t know what your company is like, but at my company, this program is constantly billed as a HUGE honor to be part of. In some circles, you can’t get promoted without having gone through it. I could not make one presentation for the program and I was treated like a pariah in my team afterwards.

    So, you probably need to suck it up.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      This comment is in directs opposition to Brrrrrrrrr’s comment up above, where they were able to get out of a non-productive program.

      Your need to “suck it up” is very dependent on the company you work for.

      Didi, I am wondering what other kind of toxicity your company exhibits.

      1. Heather*

        There’s nothing “toxic” about a company having a formal leadership pipeline and considering someone who withdraws from it as no longer interested in leadership at that company. If anything, having that kind of process seems a lot more predictable and transparent that some of the other promotion practices that get described here…

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Being treated like a pariah because you couldn’t make one presentation sounds pretty toxic to me.

          Also, Didi describes this as an “honor” and not a “a formal leadership pipeline”. That makes a difference right there.

          1. Didi*

            To clarify, it was a formal leadership pipeline program. And it’s billed as a unique, closely watched program, major feather in the particpants’ caps. The CEO and other top leaders at the company participate in it, and the program is part of the company’s marketing, ESG and recruiting messages. So it’s a big deal.

            It is an excellent program overall and does a tremendous amount of good in the community. But it 100% percent comes off the backs of a lot of young, ambitious people who are willing to basically work two jobs, including every weekend, to make it happen.

            If anyone drops out, or is unable to participate in key moments such as I was, it’s taken very badly.

            I was crass in saying “suck it up,” and I apologize for that. I just mean that for some programs, you either must endure it or drop out, knowing that you have probably burned your chances for promotion and sponsorship.

  36. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

    Re the needy client–I notice that the receipt already has the model number on it. Is there a model description that addresses all of the other details that could be sent with the receipt, or sent separately with an instruction to reference the model description for the additional details she requires? Might be a win-win.

    1. H3llifIknow*

      That is actually a great idea, but I’d take it a step further: When the client calls/emails I’d respond with ” Our current invoicing does not include all of that information, but all relevant specs for model XYZ are availabe at our website/wherever.” After a few times, hopefully the obnoxious client will get the hint. It sounds exhausting to have to manually modify each and every invoice to her exacting standards, UGH.

  37. FashionablyEvil*

    #2–there’s a bunch of solid advice and phrasing in this thread, but you might also want to consider how it got to the point of crying, dreading work, etc. Reflecting on the warning signs (both about the work itself and your reluctance to raise it as an issue with your boss) would be a useful exercise. Many times, those red flags are only obvious in hindsight, but thinking about them can help you avoid a similar situation in the future. Hope you’re out of this mess soon!

  38. LB33*

    On #1, shouldn’t there be a more official way of communicating about Cassidy? It sounds like it’s all on the individual employees to make a judgement call like this which makes no sense to me.

    I would go talk to your boss and ask for clarification on what to do – the current situation sounds very messy.

  39. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    LW2, talking to your boss totally makes sense, especially since you like and respect her. She can hopefully give you good advice on your options. Because you have options here! I’d say the risk to your career from delivering a terrible, unfinished project is much higher than anyone judging you for leaving the program.

    I’m curious whether you could talk to whoever is leading the program. Are they not meant to be offering the teams some mentorship? Is nobody holding the teams accountable for making progress on their projects? Is the program supposed to just put everyone in groups and let them sink or swim or is this a problem the program leaders should be dealing with more actively? Your boss will hopefully have some insight on this and the information may help you decide the path forward.

    1. Abogado Avocado*

      LW2, yes, talk to your boss. But may I suggest you frame it asking to leave the team, not the program? From closely reading your letter, it seems to me that your problem is that you are on a dysfunctional team. Not all teams in company-based leadership programs are dysfunctional and I’ll bet your boss knows that and wants you to succeed.

      Alternatively, if you can’t get onto a functional team, you might want to consider asking your boss if the company will support other leadership training by paying for additional education or allowing you to engage in an outside leadership program (Lyceum, etc.) on company time. I suggest this because I’ll bet your boss sees promise in you and wants you to have the tools to climb this company’s leadership ladder. If that’s the case, use that to get the leadership experiences you want.

  40. HearTwoFour*

    LW1, if you aren’t a manager, how do you know about Cassidy’s past? It sounds like the rumor mill leads over discretion at your workplace. In this instance that’s not a jab, because I believe people who commit crimes against children don’t deserve much discretion.

    1. Generic Name*

      I have a credit monitoring service that also monitors the sex offender registry. I get an email whenever a registered sex offender moves to a certain radius of my home. The information isn’t exactly secret.

      1. Observer*

        In that case, what makes you think that Veronica doesn’t have the same information as the OP?

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      If Cassidy has to leave frequently, or even occasionally, it’s probably visible. And details around this sort of thing are generally public. The real question, to me, is are you sure Veronica doesn’t already have that information?

      1. HearTwoFour*

        A lot of the commenters here are saying that Veronica may already know about Cassidy. I’m not a parent but I have to assume that Veronica *doesn’t* know, because…could a parent really be friendly with someone who is a known pedophile?
        I’m not saying Veronica should do something that puts her own professionalism in jeopardy, but I can’t even imagine being friendly with someone who has done that.

  41. L*

    To be honest I really disagree on #1, unless the letter writer has a close friendship outside work with this woman or the woman had specifically asked advice about dating the man, or something. He isn’t in contact with her child at all, so I don’t see how it is relevant information in any way. He is no longer in prison and seems to be abiding by his court-mandated rules to leave the premises on the rare occasion that children are present. Is there any particular reason to assume he would go against this rule?

    1. Generic Name*

      Then why does the sex offender registry exist? There is no “homicide offender resisted” or “DUI registry”.

      1. FashionablyEvil*

        With all due respect, I suggest that we not pursue this line of discussion (recidivism among sex offenders.) It assumes facts not in evidence, is highly fraught and controversial, and isn’t going to be helpful to the LW.

      2. Observer*

        It’s actually more complicated than that.

        One time offenders tend to have a very low recidivism rates. People with multiple offenses re-offend at EXTREMELY high rates – so high that it swallows up the low rate for single time offenders. It’s pretty shocking when you see that. But the registry and, often the regulations around them, often don’t differentiate. I understand that, but when taking action you need to think about that.

        In this particular case, it’s worse. I’m not really as worried about Cassidy, since this information is probably not secret and I do agree that his privacy should be over-ridden by the need for safety for the kid.

        The real problem is that the OP is essentially going to be approaching Veronica about her behavior, even though there is nothing to indicate that she doesn’t have the same information that they have (unless the OP has clarified elsewhere in the discussion), there is no reason to believe that Veronica is going to invite Cassidy into her home or introduce him to her child, and there is no concern for any OTHER children of staff.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I agree the business needs to a better way to make sure that all employees working there are informed if Cassidy is a danger to children (others may have kids or nieces/nephews, etc.) but the OP isn’t in charge of that. They know about this one child they want to ensure is protected, and I don’t think they should forego doing that just because the problem could potentially be even larger. They can use this as impetus to pressure the management to handle this differently in a broader sense, but there is also one child the OP knows they should protect and I don’t want to steer them away from doing that because they don’t have a big enough solution for the whole thing.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            “there is also one child the OP knows they should protect and I don’t want to steer them away from doing that because they don’t have a big enough solution for the whole thing.”

            Bingo. The larger context isn’t OP’s to solve. They’re asking for a gut check on this much more narrow situation.

          2. Observer*

            No, I think that they should forgo dealing with ONE child because they don’t actually have any good reason to believe that the child is in actual danger. On the other hand, it could pose a problem for Veronica.

            On the other hand, they DO have good standing to say to their management “We need to make sure that people have the information they need to make safe decisions about friendship with Cassidy out of work.”

            I don’t think I’m over-thinking the issue of judgement for Veronica. I noticed at least one comment that highlights the issue. That commenter says that Veronica must not know, because what kind of mother could ever be friendly with a child molester. I have not read every single comment, so I don’t know if there are more like it.

            1. Delphine*

              The entire premise of child safeguarding is to do the work beforehand, rather than assuming that there’s no good reason to believe a child is in danger. Because then you don’t do anything until the child has already been put in danger.

              1. Observer*

                Child safeguarding can only be done with reasonably complete information. And the OP does NOT have that.

            2. lisasimpson*

              He’s pursuing a friendship/flirtation with a single mother of a young child – a flirtation that’s noticeable enough that strangers assume them to be a romantic couple. That’s a red flag in a convicted criminal who’s not allowed to be around children because the court considers him a danger to them.

              Is he pursuing friendships/flirtations with any other employees? Is he equally friendly/flirty/coupley with employees who don’t have young children?

              Maybe he’s equally friendly to everyone. Maybe he doesn’t know Vanessa has a young child. But right now, convicted sex offender pursuing single mother of young child = red flag. Hypothetical other children aren’t a factor here. There’s a real child who may well be being targeted for grooming. (Sure, there are a million reasons why this whole thing might be completely innocent. But if there’s even .0001% chance Cassidy is trying to groom Vanessa to gain access to her child – a REAL child, not a hypothetical child made up to play devil’s advocate – OP has to act.)

        2. k.*

          I have zero sympathy or patience for pedos. And usually the “one time” event is only one time because the relative they’re molesting/assaulting ages out.

          1. Observer*

            And usually the “one time” event is only one time because the relative they’re molesting/assaulting ages out.

            Nope. There are some really good numbers. The repeat offenders don’t molest ONE kid many times, they molest a LOT of kids – some as many as 50-60

  42. Rosemary*

    #5 Ignore, ignore, ignore. You have already given it more consideration than it deserves by letting it take up space in your head.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      Yeah, this appears to be a modern-day application of “gumption!” Just laugh to yourself and hit “delete”.

  43. H3llifIknow*

    For the wedding: I am a govt. contractor. A dear friend from HS is a federal civilian, many many rungs on the ladder above me in my organization (i.e. she is a General equivalent). I was invited to her wedding. The rule is basically that if a relationship (friendly/familial) existed prior to the professional relationship, exceptions to fraternization and gifting rules are permitted. I realized yours is a little different but maybe you can apply a sort of similar distinction, along the lines of “I knew Lucinda and Joe well before all of this, and we’ve remained close, but I only know Sue and Cerce due to my promotion, so it makes sense to invite Lucinda and Joe, but not Sue and Cerce,” although, of course I don’t know the politics and optics within your specific place of employment or how offended those not invited might be. Happy Nuptials, either way!

  44. RagingADHD*

    LW1, yes you should certainly tell Veronica “Hey, IDK if you ever hang out with Cassidy outside of work, but if so, you should know he is legally prohibited from being around children, so he is not supposed to be anywhere near your son.”

    If Veronica wants to be friendly with Cassidy as an adult at work, that’s her business. But she also needs to be able to put any social overtures he may be making into context. If the mom who is known to have a little kid is the *only* coworker that Cassidy has chosen to be extra-friendly with…well, that’s yellow-flag territory, at the very least.

    If he has at any point socialized with her and her son already, then he would be intentionally violating the terms of his release, and she definitely needs to know that because it would be a huge red flag.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Right. This is certainly getting a lot of heat in both direction in the comments, so it feels big, but in real life this is all it looks like. A quick FYI, erring on the side of safety. Veronica can then do or not do with that information as she wants.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      I like your wording. It doesn’t imply there is anything wrong with Veronica being friendly with him at the cafe but still lets her know the larger context in case she’s not already aware.

  45. Immortal for a limited time*

    For #1 – Is there a database in your state/province/country that provides public notice of convicted sex offenders? If there is, you could simply look him up to determine whether he’s on it, in which case it’s public safety information, which you then could discreetly mention to your coworker and assure her she can confirm it herself on that database.

    #2 – why is there not a leadership sponsor of that group? That sounds like a failure the management team needs to be made aware of. I’ve participated in groups like that for a couple of large corporations, and they always had someone with experience and authority to either lead or at least mentor the participants. A leadership program without guidance from actual leaders is useless.

  46. voluptuousfire*

    OP #5, feel free to ignore the message. They were referred to the role by someone at the company, so why are they bothering you? It makes no sense to hit up random people who aren’t in HR/recruiting/not the person that referred them to see where their application is. If you want, I’d refer them back to their contact, stating that you haven’t anything to do with hiring.

  47. Veryanon*

    LW1 is a tough one! It’s not really great to disclose someone’s past criminal history, especially if it’s not relevant to the job (which it sounds like it’s not here). On the other hand, I’m definitely sympathetic to keeping children safe. I’d probably err on the side of not disclosing this information unless you have reason to believe the two employees are pursuing some kind of relationship outside of work. It’s not a great solution, admittedly.

  48. Rick Tq*

    LW4 – Has the sales rep asked this troublesome customer why they need all this detail on their invoices? They may be trying to fill out a customs report or other audit documentation. You might also look at the system that generates your invoices, there may be better ways to create their report.

    If they do require it I’d track the time required to generate the custom report, calculate a cost, and add it as a specific line item as “Custom report services”. If they refuse to pay the invoice they have fired themselves, or, they may see just how expensive their request is to generate and figure out a solution on their end.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I like this suggestion. If it’s a bunch of extra work, it’s totally reasonable to charge for that. Give the client the estimate and let her decide if she needs the information enough to pay for your time.

  49. HearTwoFour*

    (I accidentally also posted this under a comment, rather than as a new post/question)
    A lot of the commenters here are saying that Veronica may already know about Cassidy. I’m not a parent but I have to assume that Veronica *doesn’t* know, because…could a parent really be friendly with someone who is a known pedophile?
    I’m not saying Veronica should do something that puts her own professionalism in jeopardy, but I can’t even imagine being friendly with someone who has done that.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      We don’t have enough context to know that the coworker is definitely a pedophile. The strength of the reactions is specifically because we don’t know, and in the absence of information – particularly with the safety of a child involved – it is often best to err towards overcaution.

      But maybe Veronica does have more information, as well as more context. Maybe Veronica is just friendly with everyone and doesn’t pry but wouldn’t let him around her kid. Maybe she doesn’t know. Maybe she’s making her own value judgements.

      Personally I believe in the community responsibility to keep kids safe and making sure Veronica has all available information is the best way to do that. Past that, she’s going to parent how she sees fit.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Agreed. I just posted below that we don’t know what Cassidy’s convictions were. People can end up on sex offender registries for all sorts of reasons, from the banal (e.g., peeing outside) to the horrifying. We don’t even know if Cassidy’s offence involved children or if there’s any risk to children at all.

        I definitely do not want to discount the concerns that people would have here or to suggest that people shouldn’t take steps to protect children. Just be careful about assuming that Cassidy must be a danger.

    2. H3llifIknow*

      There are a lot of assumptions that Cassidy is a pedophile. Admittedly, my mind went there, too, but there are other circumstances/crimes that result in an order not to be around children, including reckless endangerment, driving drunk with a child in the car in the past, etc… Sure, “maybe” he is a pedophile, (and I think all states have a searchable database for those near you), but I wouldn’t use that term when discussing him until/unless the OP knows for sure. “Cassidy has a restriction placed on him where he cannot legally be around children” is safer/less volatile verbiage until it’s proven, assuming she needs to say anything at all, which I lean towards NOT doing IMHO.

    3. Appletini*

      Unfortunately there are parents who have handed their children over to known pedophiles, let alone being friendly with them.

      BUT that’s a global question and answer. It doesn’t really have much bearing on this specific situation. Instead of trying to analyze Veronica’s behavior from a distance LW1 could just go talk to her.

  50. Observer*

    #1 – Child molester at work

    OP, is there any reason you haven’t asked the actual manager what is being done to keep children and minor relatives of staff and volunteers safe?

    1. H3llifIknow*

      We don’t KNOW Cassidy is a child molestor. There are other reasons a court will mandate no being alone with or around children. And if the OP tells someone he is a child molestor and it turns out he is not, the OP is at risk of being sued for slander. Be wary of throwing those kinds of accusations and names around.

      1. Observer*

        That doesn’t change the fundamental question. The OP has solid reason to believe that Cassidy presents a risk to children. It makes no sense that the manager is not aware of this, and if they really aren’t they NEED to be. Given that reality, it makes total sense for the OP to talk to the manager about the real safety issue.

        PS There are not too many reasons why a court would forbid someone to even be *around* children – not just “alone with them”. And I don’t think that any of them are that much better than molestation.

        1. H3llifIknow*

          They are clearly “not better” than being a molestor, but they can be different. Child molestor and/or pedophile are extremely loaded terms and if it turns out that, say Cassidy was convicted of I dunno…reckless endangerment, or slapping a child, or driving drunk with a child in the car (all of which CAN lead to a prohibition of being permitted around young kids) and the OP starts throwing around the phrase “child molestor” or “pedophile” she is opening a nasty can of worms. Best to simply say “Cassidy is restricted from being around kids” or even better, let Veronica be an adult and work out her own life and safety of her kids. There is NO indication that Cassidy is seeing her outside of work or around her kids at ALL. The OP is doing a lot of guessing/worrying/making assumptions based on in-office banter.

      2. Rainy*

        If Cassidy is on the SOR, LW1 can and probably already has checked the database and knows what kinds of child-related crimes Cassidy has been convicted of.

  51. BS*

    LW2: This happened to me. Some thoughts/ideas:

    Quitting: people bowed out for multiple reasons. Primary was some expansion of their job (new project, onboarding new supervisee). “I need to focus first on my job” was key. One person said they needed an accommodation not provided. However, all quietly relayed to their supervisors that there were problems with the facilitator and parameters. Supervisors need to know, especially if the program is pitched to them as training they don’t have to budget for. They can put pressure on the training program design.

    If you stay: have your group first decide how they are going to make decisions. Is it a vote, or is one or two people person ultimately the decider? Then, decide the *one* thing you collectively want to get in front of your execs in the presentation, something you wouldn’t otherwise be able to show to them. The execs will see a bunch of them and will only remember highlights. The rest of the final project can be more basic. Finally, when filling in the rest of the presentation, decide whether everyone does the work they already do in their regular job, or if anyone wants a chance to do something different. But again, keep this filling in basic, focus on your one primary idea.

  52. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    Maybe LW1 knows, but the letter doesn’t say what kind of conviction Cassidy had. In the US – and possibly other places – people can end up on the sex offender registry for things that are not a big deal. Or at least shouldn’t be. Like being caught peeing outside or consensual sex between teenagers. Of course, it could obviously be something awful. My point is that we don’t know. The concerns about Cassidy could be totally legitimate or he could pose absolutely no danger to kids at all. Just something to keep in mind when deciding what to do.

  53. k.*

    Why in god’s name are we giving someone who is not allowed around children (regardless of why) any leeway here?

    Disclose it. Disclose it to everyone. It’s a matter of public record.

  54. Ben*

    LW1: Presumably Cassidy has some obligation to comply with the conditions of his conviction and we don’t have any reason to think he’s failing to do it. If you have any evidence whatsoever that he is improperly spending time around Veronica’s kid, or trying to, then address it. But otherwise this is really none of your responsibility or business. Your job is not to enforce Cassidy’s sentence or to monitor his relationships.

    1. Rainy*

      My direct experience with convicted child sex offenders hiding their background and worming their way into situations where they can have access to children indicates that people who have been convicted of crimes involving child exploitation, regardless of legal obligations to comply with conditions of parole/probation/release, don’t usually feel *personal* obligations to comply with those conditions.

  55. xtine*

    LW5 – Not hiring related, but I occasionally get panicked LinkedIn requests from people who urgently need to get in touch with the manger of customer service at a small company I left six years ago (and where I was never the manager of customer service).

    By the way, it’s a business where virtually nothing is an emergency so it’s never *that* urgent.

  56. Raida*

    4. Pushing back on a client’s request for extra work

    If it were me, I would simply supply her with a reference sheet.
    The invoices do not change, but on her end if desired the granular components can be derived using the reference table(s) and the invoices.
    along with an “I completely understand, the reference tables will provide you with the information you’re after.” and a few “I do not have a fee structure for the additional itemisation work”, “This isn’t something we offer.”
    And repeat repeat repeat that this is not a service that’s offered, if it were there’d be a fee, we are not offering to quote that fee as we do not offer it, the reference table(s) are sufficient but can be supplied in a different format if desired.

    I’d run through my plan with my boss and boss’s boss and the contract contact and their boss to get everyone on the same page and ensure all questions are directed to me, nobody will contradict me, this is the new policy and it is to be followed.

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