telling recruiters I won’t move to states that discriminate, AirTag etiquette, and more

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

1. Telling recruiters I wouldn’t move to a state that discriminates

I’m currently job searching, trying to relocate from a mid-sized city in a purple state to somewhere like Chicago or DC, and one of the major reasons is because of the worsening political climate here (for context, I’m a gay person of color in a pretty conservative field). Lately, I’ve been receiving messages on LinkedIn from recruiters for large, national firms regarding positions in places like Miami or Dallas. Is there a professional way to say I’m definitely not interested in those cities due to the increased hostility and discrimination in those states, but that I’m open to opportunities in other cities in blue states? I don’t want to come across as very political (at work, I scrupulously avoid political talk) or burn any bridges at these companies since I would be interested in offers in the right place. I also think companies ought to know that these policies will hurt their business, even though I know saying anything won’t do anything to make things better.

Would you be comfortable saying, “As a gay person of color, that state isn’t safe for me to move to, but I’d be interested in similar opportunities in states with a different political climate”? Or just, “Florida’s not on the table for me because of what’s happening there legislatively (or because it’s stripping away so many protections for residents), but I’d be interested in opportunities in states without those issues”?

The first version has the benefit of personalizing the impact, while the second version has the benefit of suggesting this is an issue that concerns candidates regardless of whether they’re in the groups being targeted. I think either one conveys what you want to convey in a calm, straightforward way.

Read an update to this letter

2. AirTag etiquette at work

I have a terrible habit of losing my car keys, which has been made worse by a toddler that’s fascinated with finding/hiding them. So my spouse bought me an AirTag and keychain holder for it. This has worked great because my phone now tracks the keys and it even beeps to help me find them.

However I’m less likely to be the only one in my office section now and with a range of 33 feet, I’m concerned someone in another cube or a training is going to see the safety message that pops up if you’re around an AirTag not registered to you. It’s designed to pop up as a safety feature in case someone is using one to track you … and I know that statistically in a place this large someone is likely to have cause to be concerned about stalking.

Do I need to do an all-staff email that I have this? Mention it before I give a on site training to a new group? Am I overthinking it? I don’t want to stress anyone out but I’m not sure where tracker at work etiquette is since these became popular just in the last few years.

As long as the owner (you) is still near the AirTag, that message shouldn’t pop up for anyone else. It’s designed to pop up when the owner isn’t around but the AirTag is still there.

So it could be an issue if you leave your keys at your desk while you’re somewhere else for a very extended period of time (I can’t tell the exact period of time from Apple’s documentation, but it appears to be longer than an hour; it used to be 8-24 hours and they announced last year that they were shortening it; I can’t find what they shortened it to) but otherwise it should be a non-issue.

3. Can you be fired for breaking a policy that everyone breaks?

Here’s something I was thinking about in regards to my last job. There were rules clearly stated in the employee handbook and contract as policy, such as not drinking on the job or doing extra work outside of the organization, that didn’t really ring true to the actual day to day operation of the company and the office.

We weren’t Mad Men drinking, but one of my jobs in that place was to go out and buy drinks for people to enjoy in the last hours of the day on Fridays, while they were still technically on the clock. Also, we were in a creative industry, and a lot of people were working on passion projects or freelance work in their own time. The scale of those projects wouldn’t be comparable to that of the company’s — but went against the letter of the policy.

Would it be possible for a company to use this as a “gotcha” and discipline you for breaching the policy, despite it being part of the culture? Possibly to get someone out of the company for one reason or another? Might be paranoid thinking — it didn’t happen — but was curious about the practicalities. This is UK, by the way.

I can’t speak to the UK at all, but in the U.S., they would run into legal problems if they used that as a pretext for firing or disciplining you when the real reason was something illegal (like if the real reason they fired you was because you were pregnant). In the U.S. firing or disciplining someone for a made-up reason isn’t illegal in itself — they can claim whatever BS reason they want, as long as the real reason isn’t something that is specifically against the law (like discrimination).

So if they fired you because you were pregnant (which is illegal) but claimed it was because you violated their drinking policy, you and your lawyer would be able to show that was BS, since they let other people drink on the job without penalty (and in fact actively encouraged it), which then opens the door to arguing that the real reason was pregnancy discrimination. On the other hand, if they weren’t using it to cover up something illegal — if they just fired you because a client didn’t like you, for example, and cited the policy as their cover story — that wouldn’t violate the law (although it would probably make it easier for you to collect unemployment benefits, which is a whole different thing).

Basically, employers can lie, but if the lie is in service of an illegal act (like to cover up discrimination), the illegal act is what would break the law, not the lie itself. The lie might make the illegal act easier to prove (“everyone did X and only I got fired for it”).

4. I don’t know how to respond to my company’s automated endorsement requests

My organization has an automated endorsement system. If someone who applies for a job notes in their application that they know you, you get the option to indicate whether you endorse them — yes or no — and nothing else. Responses are confidential.

I encountered this for the first time this week when I got one for someone I went to college with over a decade ago. We’re not in touch but we have a lot of friends in common and each other’s contact info, so I was surprised he put down my name but didn’t reach out to me directly.

This person is well qualified for the job he’s applied to, but when I knew him he had a somewhat challenging personality. As such, I’m inclined not to respond and stick out my neck, but I think, if he had reached out, I would have endorsed him.

What’s your read on this system as a whole? Are you as put off by the straight thumbs-up / thumbs-down option as I am?

I’m put off by it too. References should be nuanced, not a yes/no situation. Sometimes they can be an obvious yes or an obvious no, but more often than not it should depend on the details of the specific job the person is applying for, what skills are most important, and what weaknesses are unimportant — which are all things you might not have any insight into when your company asks you to render a quick verdict. I can think of people I’ve worked with who were amazing at job X but who I absolutely wouldn’t recommend for job Y (for example, someone who’s great at building relationships and fundraising but would struggle with a job that required high degrees of organization and attention to detail).

It seems like what they’re really asking is, “Do you want to give us a red light on this person for any reason?” — which will get at really big problems (difficult to work with, embezzled money, pooped in people’s lunch bags) but doesn’t allow for more nuanced input on fit.

5. Weekends during business travel

I have an amazing opportunity to travel to Japan for work. My question is about travel reimbursement norms. I will be there for three weeks. My business will mostly be conducted on weekdays — Monday through Friday. If I do not have business (dinners, meetings, etc.), is it the norm to have a weekend off? If I take a weekend off, do I still put in for lodging and per diem for those days?

Yep, unless you’re told otherwise, assume you’ll have weekends off. It’s definitely the norm to be reimbursed for lodging on the weekends, and usually food as well. (It’s different if you were choosing to extend the trip through the weekend for vacation when your company otherwise would have had you fly back earlier — in that case you’d typically cover your own expenses — but assuming you’re expected to resume work there on Monday, these are all still business expenses because you need to remain there for work.)

{ 392 comments… read them below }

    1. Tinkerbell*

      I think my take on this would differ based on whether there was any benefit to me personally. Referral bonus if they hire the person? Yeah, sure, I know him! Just a general feeling of do-gooding from having helped someone who was barely an acquaintance twenty years ago, versus the very real chance that it will come back to bite me in the butt if he turns out to be a real pill to work with? Sorry, I must not have seen that email…

      1. AlsoADHD*

        Yeah where I am we have a similar system (you can manually go in and write stuff but you don’t have to, and it didn’t prompt you to so I’m not sure everyone even knows you can) and you get a bonus that’s significant ($1000-3000 depending on roles they’re hired into) if they’re hired and work for 6 months. But ours makes it clear it’sa general character referral and not an endorsement they have the skills for a particular job.

      2. LW4*

        OP4 here.

        The company does has a referral program, but I don’t think it applies in this situation because he technically applied independently (even though I’m pretty sure he heard about the job from a mutual friend).

        FWIW, full text of the request pasted:

        Someone interested in employment with us has indicated they know you!

        If you would consider this person to be a great talent who should join us please indicate your endorsement by clicking “yes” below. If you do not feel they would be a good hire for the position, please click “no” and your name will not be associated to the application as a referral.

        Your response is confidential and will not be shared with the candidate.”

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          Wow there really is no room for nuance there! There are so many scenarios I wouldn’t feel comfortable outright saying yes to, but saying no wouldn’t feel right either. Is there the option to have a conversation?

        2. Observer*

          I’d be much more comfortable if there were a third option such as “I have no strong feelings” or “I have mixed feelings” accompanied by a way to indicate whether or not you are open to further conversation.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            This would make it so much better. The lack of nuance in that post makes it hard – situations aren’t black and white most of the time.

          2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            Actually, since the company wants you to endorse this person if they are a “great talent who should join us”, I’d say not having strong feelings or having mixed feelings means the person can’t be that great a talent. “great talent who should join us” is pretty enthusiastic, so unless that’s absolutely the case you should refrain from endorsing them.

            1. Bee*

              The problem is, the only descriptions they give here are “is a great talent” and “would not be a good hire for this position.” There’s no way to answer “I don’t know them well enough to say.” It sounds like clicking no might just remove your name and not attach a black mark to their application, but I’d be really concerned about accidentally knocking them out of the running just because I couldn’t say for sure that they were a great talent.

              1. LW4*

                OP4 here. Yes, that was exactly my concern about clicking no. I don’t know this person well enough to blacklist them, but I also don’t consider him a “great talent.” Hence my not answering.

                I noted in a different thread that I checked back, and if you mark “yes” a comment box appears where you can offer further info. But I think I’m going to keep to not answering.

                The comments have also clued me into the fact that I should have looked into my company’s referral program before I started forwarding job posts to my friends. I’ve never been at a place where doing so can get you a bonus, and now I know.

                1. La La*

                  Go ahead and click ‘no’.
                  You found him to be a challenging personality, and it doesn’t seem like much has changed.
                  He name-checked you without even letting you know he was applying.
                  That’s some chutzpah. Do you want to reward theat kind of clueless at best, entitled at worst behavior?

                2. lyonite*

                  Eh, I’m not sure this is really a red flag about the guy. The form might just have asked him to list anyone he knew at the company, without making it clear what it was for. Heck, he might have thought he’d be in trouble for not mentioning a contact in that space.

        3. TomatoSoup*

          Ugh. That is incredibly unhelpful of them to write. I would be inclined to follow Alison’s approach on this that they’re really double checking for huge red flags that might not come up in an interview. Did this person steal from a previous employer but never get caught? Did they spend the workday hiding in the bathroom reading a newspaper? Did they harass colleagues? Are they a former romantic partner who responded very badly to the end of the relationship? I’ve known people with all of these but luckily only the thief put me down as a reference (without asking me!).

          Assume any issues of a difficult personality (if they still have one or are difficult at work) or questions of their suitability for that job would show up in interviews or possibly in reference checks.

        4. theletter*

          yeah, the ‘name not associated with the application’ seems like a much more neutral outcome than what it claims to indicate (not feeling that the candidate would be a good hire).

          It probably would have been better to have that be a ‘unable to refer this person at this time’ as the option that disassociates the referee from the candidate, and then another text box to indicate any strong objections to the HR team, such as embezzlement or whatever would immediately take the candidate out of the hire pool.

        5. Velawciraptor*

          Do you know if it’s clear on the website that indicating the applicant knows someone at the company will result in this message being sent to them? Because it wouldn’t occur to me that saying “yes, I know Blorbo at reception” would result in Blorbo getting an email like this. Maybe a casual check-in of “hey, Toddric said in their application they know you. Anything I should know if we’re considering hiring them?” But not an “are they a blessing or a curse? Give a single yes or no answer with no context or nuance NOW.”

        6. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          Ah well that answers my question which was “is there any way the candidate would find out if you didn’t endorse them”. If they decide to interview the guy despite your failure to endorse him, he might well see that nobody endorsed him, and deduce that you didn’t. This is a very tricky situation to be in.

          The mere fact that the guy named you but didn’t reach out to you would put me right off endorsing him.

        7. Bee*

          Hmmm, this MIGHT answer my question of whether “no” is a negative referral – it sounds like they simply don’t attach your name to the application if you click it? But the way it’s positioned, man, I wouldn’t want to accidentally ruin an acquaintance’s candidacy just because I didn’t know them well enough to recommend them. There are a lot of people where the answer is actually “I have no opinion one way or the other”!

    2. CityMouse*

      I don’t personally write referrals for people I haven’t worked with, but that doesn’t mean I’d red flag them either. I guess in this situation I would just do what LW4 has done and not respond.

      1. Miette*

        Same here. Could OP ask HR for clarity on what the expectation is here? I am very particular about who I’d endorse for a job, but if it’s just to confirm the person wasn’t lying, or even better if I’d get a referral bonus, then sure.

          1. LW4*

            OP4 here.

            The endorsement option is still available to me and it looks like there is a little followup – you can indicate how you know the person and there’s a comment box. So, not specific questions per se, but a little extra opportunity for information.

            1. Mockingjay*

              Well that’s somewhat better. You can put a note: “Worked with Fred at prior job; I’d be glad to give you a call and discuss his quals.”

            2. metadata minion*

              Oh, that’s good! There’s a huge difference between “Bob is a great guy but our work doesn’t really overlap so I can’t honestly recommend him for anything other than not being a jerk” and “I have extensive knowledge of why you should definitely not hire Bob”.

            3. Gnarly Little Surf Machine*

              Oh good for the comment box. Having recommended someone I knew of professionally and was a friend of a friend to another friend’s place of work, just to have them flame out a year later, I would like to be able to say “Yes I do know them but not well enough to say with confidence that they would be a great addition to our team.”

        1. Office Chinchilla*

          I second asking HR for clarification. Doesn’t have to be anything official – if there’s a low-level HR person you’re on good terms with, just casually mention you got this email and ask how it’s used. I agree this is poorly worded, but if you can have a candid conversation that doesn’t even get into this particular person or this particular position, they’re likely to be able to tell you, “Oh, yes! You should definitely click ‘yes,’ it makes you eligible for a bonus if they’re hired but you don’t have to actually recommend them” or “Oh, definitely always say ‘no,’ I know people whose reputations have been ruined when it turned out the person they ‘endorsed’ wasn’t a good fit.” They probably assume everyone knows because they know, and it’s not meant to be a secret.

      2. ferrina*

        Exactly! I’ve had a friend apply for my organization, and I had never worked with him so I couldn’t speak to his skills. Is there an option for “I know this person but not their work”?

    3. Love to WFH*

      I would hate to be put in that position.

      It strikes me as very odd that the applicant put the OP down without contacting them. Shows poor judgement.

      1. HQB*

        If the applicant was simply asked if they know anyone at the company (and, if so, whom), it does not show poor judgement to respond accurately.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          But then you’d try to send them a message like “hey OP, I just applied for a job at your firm and wanted to catch up a bit, any chance of a coffee next week?” or “hey OP, I just applied for a job at your firm and wanted to see if you could give me any insider information, when could I call you?”
          I mean, I’d find it off-putting if the guy didn’t reach out personally.

          1. LW4*

            OP4 here.

            To this point, I’m pretty sure he found out about the job through a mutual friend I forwarded the post to. He definitely sent it to another of our classmates, because she reached out to me and we had a conversation (she ended up not applying).

            Basically, I’m in a field where informal networking is really common, and in fact how a lot of hires get made. I’ve had dozens of 20 minute conversations with friends-of-friends when my previous company was hiring. While this guy and I aren’t in touch, we were part of the same small, intense, highly-relevant-to-this-job extracurricular in college (think like 40 people together for multiple hours each week). Hence my thinking it’s really weird not to have heard from him.

      2. Texas Teacher*

        I guess it depends. I could see myself answering a question like “Do you know anyone who works here?” And not thinking they’d be asking for a reference per se. More like full disclosure or something.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          That would be my thought too. Maybe it’s nitpicky or overthinking, but I’ve seen “were you referred by someone who works here” (which I read and assume they want to talk to them or there’s a referral bonus structure or something). If I just read “do you know someone” I’d assume I was disclosing…conflict of interest, maybe, or that they just wanted to do some kind of due diligence about nepotism, or show they knew there was a personal connection in the hiring file in case something comes up later regarding personality conflicts or potential reporting lines. I dunno. I can think of a million things that wouldn’t necessarily prompt me to reach out to said person.

          1. LW4*

            OP4 here.

            FWIW, I’m pretty sure he found out about the position through a mutual friend. I contacted a few people about the open slot and one definitely forwarded it to someone else from our class, because she reached out and we had a very nice conversation (she didn’t apply as far as I know).

      3. Festively Dressed Earl*

        I was thinking the same thing. Would it be that hard to send a heads-up message?

    4. Zarniwoop*

      Terrible design not giving an option for “don’t know.” I guess you can express that by just not replying.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Agreed – it’s a false choice situation, as the response options assume that you know enough about the applicant’s work to recommend for or against. The way it’s set up, you should only respond if that is true and when it isn’t, silence is the best option.

    5. Teach*

      Yeah, that’s really badly worded if it actually says “would you endorse this person?” My default to that would be “no,” even for someone who seemed fine. I don’t want to put my name behind something I’m at all unsure of, don’t know the details on, or may have to actively defend later. But I bet the company expects the default to be “yes” unless there’s something wrong. they didn’t really think about conflicting motivations here.

  1. Tiger Snake*

    #3: I would imagine the policy wants to make a distinction between drinking and then working with finishing and then going for a drink. In the first, your drinking can impact on business and the safety of others.

    As for passion projects and freelance, isn’t the usual rule of thumb not based on the amount of money you earn, but whether you take advantage of work assets (your reputation as an employee and corporate knowledge count as assets) or if you’re directly competing with them and so would still be perceived as taking advantage of your work assets?

    1. MK*

      Eh, no? What you are describing is the common sense approach or maybe the guidance you would receive from a manager if there was no policy. A written rule would be more likely to be “no drinking during working hours” and “no moonlighting”.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Our written policy says something like “social drinks sometimes happen during work hours for XYZ reasons, you’re still expected to maintain professional behavior and not drink to excess”.

      1. Rebecca*

        That’s common sense. A written policy would be trying to avoid the subjectivity of trying to figure out who’s drunk. ‘No drinks’ leaves no room for argument or interpretation, or anythign to untangle when two people both have, say, two drinks, and one is tipsy and is disciplined and one is fine and is not.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Written policies can outline standards of conduct regardless of the reason for said conduct, which typically eliminates the need for subjective analysis like that.

          You can drink at the holiday party, but if you get drunk and behave like an ass at the holiday party most places are going to talk to you about the behavior.

          1. Earlk*

            To be honest, in the UK, you’re very unlikely to be talked to about being too drunk at an office party unless you do something really off base.

            1. bamcheeks*

              I don’t know, I think “woah, X was really TOO drunk” is a very typical conversation, and certainly one I’ve had. It’s just unlikely to result in professional repercussions unless there’s some aggravating behaviour.

              1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

                Example behaviour: ordering shots of absinthe on the free bar. From then on we were told wine, beer and house spirits only.

        2. Smithy*

          I do think that while there are written policies that do leave a lot of subjective space – reminds me of the space of employers who don’t have a true dress code, but will have language about staff showing up to work looking “professional”.

          Now at one place of employment – when Jane shows up with pre-distressed jeans that have holes in them – that works within the context of that professional dress code, as it’s part of an overall composed outfit. However, when John shows up to work in pants that have a large hole in the crotch – that can be marked as unprofessional due to a manager’s discretion. And the workplace doesn’t have to go through the business of writing down every potential case like that.

          That being said, I think most places that bother with statements like “no alcohol” – will often have caveats such as “on duty/on call”. I’m largely thinking of any kind of emergency service position, where sure – sometimes there will be professional functions with alcohol and it’s ok to drink. But also sometimes they’ll be at home but on call, and having one drink is against policy.

        3. Anon for this one*

          Counterpoint: I live in Canada, and cannabis was legalized in 2018. The company I was working with developed a policy that clearly stated it was illegal to buy, sell, possess, or consume cannabis during working hours or at work events.

          This leaves no room for argument or interpretation on its surface… but at the same time, there was a giant gift basket of liquor in a file room for a United Way silent auction. There were no such policies on buying alcohol during work hours either. So I could buy a bottle of wine on my lunch break and store it in my purse without issue, but I couldn’t do the same thing with a bottle of CBD oil.

          Where’s the common sense in that?

      2. Student*

        There are some jobs where that is a reasonable distinction.

        There are other jobs where the rule really is “no drinking during work hours”.

        You may not mind if your barista or accountant had a drink at lunch. You probably mind quite a lot if your surgeon did, or the person running the local nuclear power plant did, or the person driving your taxi did.

        Alcohol starts impacting your judgement and reflexes on drink #1. It may not make you unbearably obnoxious or unable to perform any task until you’ve had more, but it makes you unable to safely perform some tasks immediately.

        1. Smithy*

          I’d add to this that professions where that matter are largely around emergency service and response – and honestly go a lot more in depth than just “no alcohol”. Because they’ll call out when you’re on duty, when you’re on call, when you can be representing your professional self (say at a conference, donor reception, holiday party, etc.) but are allowed to drink, etc.

          When those policies actually matter – they’re most often covered in a lot more depth because it genuinely matters. When the rules are listed bluntly but without context or reason, that’s often when they’re followed the least.

    2. Dread Pirate Roberts*

      Most if not all jobs I’ve had say no freelancing or outside businesses unless you disclose and it’s approved by your manager, and there’s a declaration to sign. I haven’t had a manager refuse, but if you didn’t disclose that would be the violation. I can’t imagine anyone getting fired unless they wanted them out anyway; it would be more likely the manager would ask them to fill out the declaration once it became known.

      1. Lady Danbury*

        That’s exactly how it worked at my last job. one of my coworkers forgot to disclose occasionally helping out at a family business (unrelated to our work) and he just had to fill out the required paperwork

      2. UKDancer*

        Everywhere I’ve worked has said “no jobs with a conflict of interest.” So I work for a llama grooming company, I can’t work for our major competitor in the field or any of the people we buy llama grooming supplies from. One of my colleagues has a cake decorating business. There’s no conflict between her work as a llama groomer and her side hustle decorating cakes so that’s fine and nobody needs to know.

      3. Hannah Lee*

        I worked with someone who was moonlighting … by offering related services and products to contacts in the company’s customer database. As soon as that came to light, he was called in for a talk with the company owner, who pointed out the policies about misuse of company databases and moonlighting without prior authorization and non-compete, all policies they had his signed acceptance of from when he was hired.

        He had been with the company for a while and was pretty good at his job, so they didn’t fire him on the spot. But he had to turn over any copies of company data he had made, sign a statement that he had done that and was told if there was ever hint he was moonlighting or trying to do side deals with customers he’d be out, fired for cause.

        So, a side job outside of hours was okay. But a side job working with the company’s customers on related, possibly competing projects, and things that could impact the company’s reputation, relationship with those clients if they went badly, and using company resources to do so was very no. no. and no.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      All we have to go on is what OP said:
      “…buy drinks for people to enjoy in the last hours of the day on Fridays, while they were still technically on the clock.”

      But wirh regard to the greater pattern broughtup in this thread… handbooks DO sometimes include off-work requirements whether or not they should. To loop back to this letter, the policy at my company does specifically say DUI off the clock was a fireable offense. That is rumored to come from specific incidents, but details are (appropriately) confidential.

      1. Lexie*

        I’ve had to authorize employers to pull my driving record and any violations on it regardless of being on or off the clock were subject to disciplinary action. The action was anything from taking a driver improvement class to termination.
        And obviously any criminal or child abuse check is for any and all offenses not just ones during working hours.

  2. Lady Danbury*

    For LW 3, the best advice I would give is to CYA in regards to the policy exceptions. The UK is very different from the US in terms of employment contracts and very specific rules for terminating someone’s employement (ie not “at will”), so your employer would be required to meet those requirements. Although a policy violation might meet those requirements, having written documentation that your supervisor told you to violate the policy would help to mitigate it. I would even take it one step further and send an email along the lines of “Hi [Boss], I know that you asked me to make the weekly beer run, but I saw that it violates [Rule X] in the handbook. Can you please confirm that it’s ok to make an exception to the policy?”

    1. Rosie*

      As an American in the UK, following this advice would only flag to your line manager that you were a stickler for the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law, and that would cause different problems. In my experience here handbook clauses like the one LW is concerned about are only brought up in really egregious situations, in this example like if you passed out in the office or showed up to work drunk (not hungover), but even then due to the workplace protections here you’d still have to get formal verbal and written warnings first before they could fire you (unless you’re in your first two years in the role). Even then if they wanted to manage you out they would pick something that you couldn’t immediately respond to, “Sure I was drinking at work, you bought me the beer!”

      1. Madame Arcati*

        It’s also worth noting that in the U.K. “managing someone out” ie treating someone in such a way that making it impossible for them to do anything but resign is called constructive dismissal and is illegal.
        IANAL but I would say that Alison’s phrase “everyone did x but only I got fired for it” would be very important grounds in a tribunal for unfair dismissal because here, after an agreed probation which is usually six months to a year in the white collar world, there must be a reason to fire you and it must be fair, with procedures properly followed and unlike the US protected characteristics don’t have to be involved.

        Also Alison mentions unemployment benefits – from what I gather they work very differently in the US and the company has some financial involvement/responsibility? Here, they are a government benefit, they are not paid for/contributed to by the company and the company has nothing to do with whether you get them or not. They literally don’t care because they have no vested interest.

        1. Ontariariario*

          My understanding of the US system is that the companies get a financial penalty if the person is laid off, so they try to show that the employee needed to be fired.

          In Canada each employee pays into Employment Insurance and gets money if laid off, but if fired with cause then there is no financial compensation from EI. I expect it’s the same in the UK, although in that case it’s a conversation between the government and employee with presumably little input from the employer.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            Not directly. There is a government administered “unemployment insurance” that companies are required take part in (handled through payroll taxes). Like most insurance schemes your costs are adjusted based on assessed risk of payouts related to you.

        2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          The qualifying period is now normally two years, not just your probation period.

          Agreed that your entitlement to unemployment support (Universal Credit in most cases) is not conditional on why you were fired.

      2. Media Monkey*

        exactly this. i’m in the uk and in an office with what sounds like a similar culture/ Industry (the media side of advertising). i’m in London so literally no one drives to work. people drink at lunchtimes/ after work/ in the office say on a friday PM. there would only be an issue if you drank to excess and couldn’t work at all/ were rude to a client/ turned up drunk to a meeting. there is an expectation that you know your own limits and also that you are cognisant of workloads – if you are going to miss a deadline because you are in the pub it will be a problem. or if someone else will have to do your work/ stay late to fix a problem you created that will be a problem. a couple of glasses of wine/ pints at lunchtime is fine.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

          > there would only be an issue if you drank to excess and couldn’t work at all/ were rude to a client/ turned up drunk to a meeting.

          Normally yes, but I (also UK) do understand the OPs concern. They have a contract/handbook/policy which says “no alcohol in working hours” etc. Some time in the future, the company wants to get rid of them due to whatever reason (not really discrimination, but just decided they don’t fit for some reason) so is able to lean on the “no alcohol” wording and demonstrate that OP violated it. Their concern is that because they’ve agreed to that wording, that it can then be used as a pretext down the line.

          1. londonedit*

            I can also see the OP’s worry. I do think that if most people in the office are breaking the no drinking in work hours rule on occasion, it would probably be difficult for the company to justify firing one person for breaking it – unless they could prove that person was impaired to the point where they couldn’t do their job properly. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to worry about the idea that if the company did want to give someone the boot, they might be able to make a case for dismissal around the fact that they were regularly drinking in work hours, as the employee handbook expressly forbids it. Even with the employee protections we have in the UK, it can be time consuming and expensive to go down the route of taking your employer to a tribunal.

            Being in publishing, which has a history of enjoying a drink or three, our employee handbook says that employees are expected to behave responsibly with regard to alcohol, and should remember that they are representatives of the company and act accordingly. Being drunk at work would definitely be a disciplinary matter, but coming back to work after a couple of drinks at lunch is absolutely fine as long as you’re still able to do your job. We occasionally have drinks in the office, but we’re not technically allowed to drink in the office before 5pm (though that is a rule that’s occasionally broken – but again, it would be a group of people behaving responsibly, rather than one person cracking open a gin in a tin at three o’clock).

          2. Magenta*

            They could, but as long as you have been there 2 years you can challenge it and take it to an employment tribunal and call witnesses who would speak to the culture. If they have documented that they are firing you because of breaking a rule that was commonly broken then it will look really suspicious and appear that they are lying to hide the fact that they got rid of you for an illegal reason.

            1. Rosie*

              The time I witnessed a company successfully force a colleague out using the handbook, first they tried to say she violated the company dress code. When that got laughed out of the room, a few weeks later they used the excuse that she hadn’t provided sick notes for her sick days. Sure, that’s in the handbook. But the law also says that you can self-certify up to five days off which she had always done, so it was patent nonsense. But they wanted her gone, had figured out how to hold her responsible for breaking the letter of the law if not the spirit, and it was within the two years so there was nothing she could do. If your employer wants to find a BS excuse to get rid of you they will so there is no point worrying.

          3. Media Monkey*

            i think the fact that the company is paying for the drinks would absolve them of an issue? however in the UK that’s unlikely to rise to the level of gross misconduct which would lead to a firing with no warning

    2. Bagpuss*

      Generally, in the UK, there is a requirement for the employer to act reasonably and fairly. If you were sacked for something which was commonplace then t’s likely that this would be seen as unfair and raise the issue of whether it was an excuse. The test a tribunal looks at is whether the decision reached by your employer was one which no reasonable employer , faced with the same facts, could have reached, and the same facts would include the office culture and how other staff members doing the same thing had been treated.

      That said, it may make sense for the LW if they are worried to make sure that they have some evidence – maybe a quick email / text to their boss one Friday to ‘check’ what specific drinks they are supposed to be buying, or keeping copies of the expenses receipt showing they were being reimbursed for buying them.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah, I imagine the OP is talking about a typical contracted position not a zero hours kind of deal, or casual position. If that’s the case then they have to follow a fair procedure of verbal and written warnings and give a chance to amend the behaviour. The only way you could be instantly fired is for gross misconduct like fraud, physical violence, serious lack of care to their duties or other people (so being drunk would qualify but not drinking socially like everyone else) or serious insubordination. In fact the gov dot uk page on dismissals explicitly says “(employers) must be consistent – for example, not dismiss you for doing something that they let other employees do”. I don’t think a tribunal would look kindly on a “gotcha” from an employer at all. ACAS has really good advice on this too.

  3. Jackalope*

    #1, I was reading something the other day quoting a conservative political leader/speaker who was talking about this issue with concern, pointing out that many people won’t be willing to relocate to places that are taking rights and protections away from their residents. I hope along with you that if this happens repeatedly it will be a wake-up call for the politicians in those states who are passing such terrible laws left and right; even if they care nothing for their residents, they might care that they’re harming the bottom line.

    1. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

      A nonprofit I work with had a VISTA Americorps candidate pull her application after abortion was banned in our state. I was eally impressed with her honesty.

      1. CityMouse*

        As a person with a uterus, I am with her. If I was pregnant, I would refuse work travel too, given what has happened to those having miscarriages.

        1. Jackalope*

          I also have a uterus, and I would even be concerned at the idea of planning a future trip to or going through one of these states. Even if I’m not pregnant now, I don’t have a way to know what my situation will be in X months when the trip happens. Especially with Florida, since it’s a long way from my home – if I was to start having emergency complications that required a pregnancy termination I’m not sure I could successfully make it home in time, and I don’t know that part of the country well enough to know where else I could go. So any travel there – for work or for fun – is off the table while this insanity is going on. (Which I recognize sadly may be for a long time.)

          1. JTP*

            There isn’t anywhere near FL that you could go. A politician that opposed the new abortion ban said that Florida was the last resort for people in other nearby states who needed care, until DeSantis’ new law.

          2. Student*

            Idaho is trying to ban people traveling for an abortion. They’re starting with minors, but I have doubts they will stop there.

            Can you imagine going on business travel to a state, then getting effectively trapped there because they found out you were pregnant and wanted to make sure you couldn’t potentially access an abortion?

            1. learnedthehardway*

              Canadian here, but I am seriously starting to doubt the USA’s commitment to its own Bill of Rights. Isn’t freedom of movement something that is supposed to be an absolute right?

              1. Fishsticks*

                So, it is. And you can’t make state laws, officially, that would obstruct interstate travel for reasons like this. OFFICIALLY you can’t. BUT. And there’s a big but. A law like this isn’t designed to be trouble-free.

                The idea is that it will go to an historically conservative and shockingly illegitimate Supreme Court that will agree to its specific tenets, allowing conservative states to pass more or less whatever authoritarian fascist whatever they want while ensuring less conservative states are unable to offer freedom to choose.

              2. There You Are*

                Oh, you can still travel anywhere you like. But if you do something — or aid someone else doing something — in another state (or country?) that the hateful fascist conservatives object to, you’d face criminal charges upon returning to the Idaho.

          3. Fish*

            Don’t forget Andrea Prudente, the pregnant American tourist who was hospitalized for a major miscarriage while on vacation in Malta last year. She and her husband were told the pregnancy was no longer viable.

            They requested an abortion, but were refused because Malta has a total ban on abortion. It’s the only EU country that does.

            In the end they traveled to Spain for the procedure. Even then she had to sign herself out against medical advice, because Maltese doctors wouldn’t certify her as fit to travel.

            1. Emmy Noether*

              Yes, Europe is not that great on abortion rights either. While only Malta has a total ban, some countries (like Ireland) have severe restrictions such as only when there is danger to the health of the mother.

              Some other countries (such as Germany and Switzerland) made abortion not fully legal, but only not punishable. Which is mostly a semantic distinction I could live with, only it also means things like abortion providrs cannot advertise, and abortions are not systematically taught to medical students (there are voluntary courses outside the official curriculum).

              Also, it gets much more restricted after the first trimester.

              It’s quite shameful, really.

              1. SchuylerSeestra*

                Yeah. As horrific as the US abortion laws are, some of our states are less restrictive than other supposedly progressive countries. Which is beyond messed up.

              2. Candy Morningstar*

                Since 2019, abortion is legal in Ireland during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, and later in cases where the pregnant woman’s life or health is at risk. Many countries have expanded access in the past few years, while the U.S. is rolling it back.

          4. anne of mean gables*

            Yep all of my kid’s living grandparents live in Florida. We are actively trying for another, and I have a history of miscarriages. So – I can’t safely visit my family for at least a couple years (until I hit menopause, basically). Not that I loved visiting Florida -very not my vibe – but those are tough breaks.

        2. Festively Dressed Earl*

          I’m a person with a uterus that’s being very problematic right now. I’m not pregnant or likely to get pregnant. I live in Florida. Seeing the writing on the wall last year was what prompted me to uncurl from the pain ball and drag myself to the OB-GYN; I’m afraid of not being able to get appropriate medical treatment once they start banning procedures and medications.

          1. ASGirl*

            I saw the writing on the wall when Trump got elected and I got a tubal ligation a month after election day 2016. I was lucky to have a male OBGYN in Texas who had no problem doing the procedure even though I had never had kids (I was 39). After Roe was overturned I started looking for jobs in blue states that had reproductive rights and was able to get out of Texas last December. I put on my exit interview questionnaire that I didn’t feel safe as a woman in that state.

          2. 1850's Wisconsin*

            A year ago, I discovered that one of my eggs had decided to go it alone and start dividing, resulting in a weird benign ovarian tumor called a teratoma. At the time, I joked that I wanted it removed before the Republicans decided it had personhood rights.

            Then Roe v. Wade was overturned and Wisconsin’s 1849 anti-abortion law (no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother) took effect and it wasn’t really funny anymore.

            1. curio*

              Oh, huh, I didn’t know they could do that.

              …having a uterus is terrifying, and if surgery wasn’t equally terrifying (and expensive and painful), I would have yeeted mine ages ago.

              1. 1850's Wisconsin*

                In my uterus’ defense, this was an issue with only my right ovary. I did get into a pretty heated discussion with my gyno oncologist surgeon about whether the uterus would stay or go if they found signs of cancer. (He kept assuring me that he would do everything possible to preserve my fertility, even though that was the last thing I cared about.)

                In the end, they found no cancer, which I can’t be sad about even though that means I still have a uterus.

            2. Festively Dressed Earl*

              I’m so sorry you’re having to go through that. You’re living my nightmare scenario.

              1. 1850's Wisconsin*

                It was alarming at first because masses that large can be cancerous, but in the end it was a pretty simple surgery. I still have one ovary, so there weren’t even any long-term effects.

                (So far as I know, no crackpots have suggested that teratomas are in any way unborn babies, and I hope they’d be laughed out of the room if they did.)

        3. TeapotNinja*

          As a person without a uterus, I am with all of you, and in particular with my yet to have entered workforce daughters.

    2. Tinkerbell*

      We are unfortunately having to look at the opposite version of this – I live in Alabama, which has been copying Florida’s homework for decades now, and both my wife and my son are trans. Luckily my wife works for a company that goes by federal nondiscrimination rules, not state-level (which means being trans is a protected class), but if Alabama starts putting a bounty on trans kids like Missouri just did we may need to move :-\ My son is already planning to leave the state as soon as he graduates high school, which breaks my heart because there are literally no “safe” states to go to college within a reasonable drive of us. So far we’ve been fortunate enough to avoid most of the roadblocks Alabama has put up (my son doesn’t want surgery or hormones and isn’t bothered by having to use the girls’ locker room or be in the girls’ gym class at school) but we’re having to make contingency plans for when that changes…

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        We live in a dark blue state, and my teenage trans son is talking about moving to Europe.

        1. a trans person*

          I’m in a “safe” state, and I’m working with my boss on possibly transferring to a European branch. Spain just passed a big queer rights bill, for example. One national law or supreme court decision and I’m out, along with my partners and possibly my parents and my brother’s family. This is genocide and I’m of Jewish descent, so yeah, not sticking around for the camps.

        2. Caterpillars*

          I did that, and moved to Europe, and it was Italy, and as soon as I got there, they elected fascists. What can you do??

      2. onetimethishappened*

        My son is trans too. Luckily my state hasn’t done anything yet. Part of me wants put away money in case we need to move abruptly. I am scared.

      3. Kacihall*

        my cousin’s trans son went to Michigan for college because of Florida’s increasing ridiculousness. my family is ALL in Florida; they’ve made fun of me for years for living in the Midwest (mom moved me here as a kid). My plan had been to move down there when I inherit a house, but unless that time is a long ways away and things change, I’m thinking it won’t happen.

        1. Reed Weird*

          Yeup, most of my family is in Texas, and my cousin and her trans wife are planning to move out of the state with their chosen family fairly soon. Hell, I’m born and bred Ohioan, and I’ve been looking at moving up to Michigan. Ohio may not be quite as bad right now as the more southern neighbors, but unless we get some huge federal changes it’s just not worth it as a queer person considering gender confirmation options.

      4. AWing*

        We’re in Georgia and our teen is trans. They’ve been talking about moving to Canada for a few years now. I worry that they’ve built up moving away as the solution to all their problems and the reality won’t be what they’re expecting.

        1. The queer to the north*

          AWing: it’s normal to worry but I cannot overstate how wonderful it is to live somewhere where bodily autonomy is not only legal but government funded. Your kid will be safer here, and if they aren’t happier with that weight off their shoulders I will be very surprised.
          Source: Canadian (dual citizen) and partner of a trans person who left Virginia to go to a Canadian university and is now a citizen (a citizen who has had government funded gender affirming surgery)

        2. Fishsticks*

          They may discover Canada isn’t perfect – but ‘not perfect’ is still better than ‘state where I may be criminalized for my existence’.

          1. Ontariariario*

            Canada is far from perfect but – other than New Zealand – I don’t know where else I would rather live!

        3. Sun and clouds*

          Canada is for sure not perfect but it’s not illegal to exist. Following Canadian trans or queer people on social media will give a much more accurate picture.

        4. Jamjari*

          As a Canadian, I have all fingers crossed that we don’t vote in regressive conservatives next time around. I don’t know how much success they’ll have stripping away peoples rights, but they’re speaking from the same playbook as most US republicans right now.

      5. thatlibrarylady*

        I live in a cold blue state and a lot of my students discuss the difficulty of choosing a college because their choices are warm, but unsafe for them, warm, but expensive or differently cold.

        1. The queer to the north*

          Differently cold
          Despite my mission to recruit all your children to Canada I cannot argue with that!

          1. thatlibrarylady*

            A lot of us just secretly hope you will one day annex our state. It’d make for a weird shape, but worth it. We’re half way to the accent anyway.

      6. The queer to the north*

        Canadian here: my trans partner moved here over a decade ago for university and eventually got citizenship. That’s gotten more difficult but at the same time we northern queers (and allies) are petitioning to allow trans people to claim asylum. So for those of you with teenagers: consider Canada if post secondary is on the table!

    3. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      With the old HB2 (bathroom bill) in North Carolina, that was only revoked after it had a demonstrable economic impact on the state. If companies aren’t able to hire in these places, I do think that can have an impact on the success and spread of this legislation. It probably won’t be enough on its own, but it’s an important pressure point.

      Sending love and strength to everyone who is extending themselves and taking risks to avoid states that want to legislate them out of existence.

      1. Sylvan*

        HB2 was strongly opposed within North Carolina, including by our attorney general, who is now our governor.

      2. Jackalope*

        And also love and strength to those who already live in such states who are watching their rights crumble around them. I know I’m fortunate that I happen to live in a state that’s gotten bluer and bluer as I’ve gotten older, but I can feel the pain of not being able to move, or not wanting to because it’s your HOME, dang it.

    4. CommanderBanana*

      Yeah, I think things are dire enough that people are going to have to start voting with their feet. I don’t have or plan to have children, but if I did and lived in one of these states, I would seriously consider leaving.* Same if I was a teacher or a doctor. And I absolutely would not accept a job that required relocating to any of these states.

      *Obviously this statement comes from a place of privilege and assumes that one is in a situation where one can leave.

      This sucks, because it doesn’t help improve anything in those states, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect people to sacrifice their children in order to stay in a state and try to change it from the inside.

      1. Pippa K*

        You may have seen the news that a hospital in Idaho will no longer offer obstetrical services in large part because doctors are leaving Idaho in the wake of an extremely restrictive abortion law. The hospital’s statement mentioned that doctors will face a choice between providing care in accordance with accepted professional standards (and risking felony charges) or complying with the law (and risking patients’ wellbeing).

        These are grim times.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          I did. Rural counties are already suffering from a shortage of medical services, and I expect we’ll see more closures like this. It’s insane to me to see people voting for politicians that enact policies that hurt them.

          I would highly recommend reading Arlie Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land (she’s the author of The Second Shift). It’s a very eye-opening book about why people vote against their own self-interests.

          1. Queer Earthling*

            A lot of us aren’t voting for these politicians; we’re affected by gerrymandering and other things that effectively restrict voting. We’re also affected by Northerners writing us off and deciding we don’t need help because “we’re all just dumb republican hicks” as if there are no queer, POC, or other vulnerable people down here, and also–unfortunately–by a lot of people moving away so there are fewer and fewer people who CAN vote against our destruction, so those of us who can’t move are kinda screwed. But y’know what, we’re doing our best anyway.

          2. Anon 4 This*

            Dying Of Whiteness also talks about why people vote against their own interests and it’s really eye opening. There are people who are happy to die from lack of proper healthcare as long as it means that minorities & marginalized people don’t have access to healthcare either.

      2. Ontariariario*

        I watched a video last night (Legal Eagle on Youtube) where he suggests that anyone visiting Disney should opt for California instead of Florida.

        The elderly Canadians who visit Florida every winter don’t need to worry about abortion bans and anti-LGBTQ+ laws, but I hope many of them will go elsewhere.

      3. Kit E*

        My husband and I just moved from Texas to a blue state and it’s one of our best decisions after adopting our cats. Our water isn’t contaminated! No one’s talking about privatizing the fire department! No neighbors dealing with their anger issues by shooting off their guns at 11pm! In my morning jogs I’ve yet to encounter wild dogs or yards full of hateful messages letting me know the owner’s just itching to shoot someone. It’s blissful. Plus I know if something happens I’ll be able to get actual medical care.

        Weird thing is that for all the talk about how cheap Texas is, we’re actually doing better here. My husband’s pay is up by 33% and at my new job the training pay (which doubles after 3 months once I transition to my full job) is more than I made as a manager in Texas.

    5. Miss Muffet*

      DeSantis, specifically, is talking about how people are “voting with their feet” and moving to FL, so they *must* be in support of living in a state with these laws. What’s not being said there is that most of these people moving in are retirees. I think the more working-age people that refuse to go, the better, and whether OP wants to personalize it or not, it’s a good message to send. I think, in fact, that folx that aren’t specifically impacted by the laws can have good leverage here. I can totally see some in Florida saying, great, we don’t even want people of color (or trans people, or whatever) here anyway (aka, you can’t fire me, I quit!) But the more people who just say, on principle, whether I’m impacted personally or not, your laws that treat people crappy is a deal breaker!

      1. gmg22*

        Yes, I’m sure DeSantis wants to think that everyone moving in is doing so because they love how MAGA his government is, and truth be told there are some of those people. But you’re right — most of the influx is retirees, as it’s always been, and especially now because we’re smack in the middle of the baby boomers turning retirement age.

        I work in the clean energy/climate field, and a colleague of mine owns a place on Key West that he fully expects will not be livable at some near-future date due to sea level rise, storm damage or both. He also voiced his opinion that the influx to Florida will soon reverse because of the effects of climate change on housing and insurance costs (the latter are really skyrocketing). But I know too many baby boomer retirees who have formed their entire personalities around “I’m going to retire to Florida someday!” to believe this will happen as quickly or as logically as my colleague might think. More likely that what Florida will get first is another foreclosure crisis, as people desperately stick their heads in the sand and try to hang on.

        1. anne of mean gables*

          Oh, I see you’ve met my parents.

          My dad is less than a mile from the ocean. I am trying to convince him to sell his house NOW, before the inevitable sea-level/hurricane surge driven crash.

        2. penny dreadful analyzer*

          My dad bought a condo in Florida several years ago with the intent to retire there; he is currently about 1.5 years from retiring and part of his to-do list is “sell the place in Florida.” He met my stepmom when she was living there, so Florida is actually meaningful to them and not just Idealized Warm Place to Retire To, but even so he has decided that the last thing he wants is to spend the rest of his life surrounded by DeSantis voters.

    6. learnedthehardway*

      I think that pointing this out to corporate recruitment is going to be more effective than pointing it out to agency recruiters, but even they will pass on the message that qualified candidates are refusing opportunities based on eroding civil rights.

      It’s a great way to make the point that ridiculous laws have real and unintended consequences.

    7. old white straight*

      Completely agree with this. I am a straight white menopausal woman, but I would never move to any of these states that are taking away so many individual rights.

      I hope the OP states their reason for not considering employment in these states. And if not by describing their concerns due to their personal situation, then the general collective concern with so many individual rights being under attack.

    8. BlondeSpiders*

      Trying to nest this in #1’s section:

      I’m curious how this type of disclosure (I’m a gay POC and this affects me because….) correlates with other info we have been cautioned not to share (I’m pregnant, I need an accommodation for a disability) in case of potential discrimination. I can definitely see the value of disclosing this upfront, as a way to see if this is an agency you want to work with.

      Maybe the guidance is different for agencies vs. actual employers?

      1. 1850's Wisconsin*

        I think disclosure is a powerful move to make if one has the privilege to screen out employers that may choose to discriminate. For example, a very desirable candidate may decide to disclose that they are trans and ask about non-gendered bathrooms or coverage for gender-affirming surgery. The calculation is that it puts companies on notice that they’ll lose this desirable candidate if they don’t have those benefits, and the candidate doesn’t want to work at a place that discriminates anyway.

        There is a different calculation for those who don’t have a lot of options or badly need any job, even at a company that will discriminate. Of course, there are also candidates who need to disclose because they need accommodations for the interview itself. There are also those without passing privilege who often can’t make the choice at all.

      2. constant_craving*

        One noticeable difference to me is that OP is clear that they don’t want the job. A very different situation than disclosing during a process where you’re hoping to get hired at the end. Yes, there’s consideration of other jobs that may exist, but they’re hypothetical.

      3. bigender menace*

        I mean, I would say that disclosure as a concept is based on the assumption that the other party wouldn’t know if you didn’t tell them, and it works differently with things that are readily apparent. On the whole, most people of colour do not pass as white, and while there’s not one way that any sexuality “looks”, there are plenty of LGBT+ people who are consistently read as such based on appearance, voice, etc. (This is my situation.) And disability and pregnancy can both be visibly obvious just as often as they aren’t.

        I always thought the point of that advice was not to provide fodder for potential discrimination if you can avoid it, but we don’t all have the option to pass undetected as members of non-oppressed groups.

    9. Samwise*

      You’d think. But being from a state whose notorious “bathroom bill” sparked a boycott that cost a crapton of money in lost business, I wouldn’t be too sanguine about it. (The weinie way it was “repealed” the following year did not help much.)

    10. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I vaguely remember the mayor of a city who told hotels not to accept bookings from gays… this had quite an impact on tourism in the city. When someone coughed delicately and intimated that “actually gays usually spend a lot when they come here” the mayor backtracked saying “I didn’t realise they spent money!”, like he had trouble imagining “the gays” as real people.

    11. EJF*

      I wish there was an exit interview for moving out of state! My husband and are moving out of GA as soon as we can (both retiring). There was a map right after the Roe v. Wade decision came out showing where states were in terms of abortion rights. It certainly narrowed our field for states to move to!

    12. LWNum1*

      Thanks for the input, Alison and everyone! I think I just needed a bit of encouragement that saying the truth wouldn’t come across as unprofessional. I didn’t mention it in the email, but some of these recruiters are actual employees of companies I would like to work for so I didn’t want to end up on a blacklist for being too political. But honestly I don’t want to work for any company that would do that anyways. Hopefully we’ll get to a time where I can feel safe in all 50 states but until then, I’ll have a lot of hard choices to make. But going forward, I’ll be pretty direct with recruiters on where I want to live and why. The language I settled on is along the lines of “Unfortunately, moving to Florida is not in the cards for me right now due to the recent discriminatory agenda that state has been pursuing. If you hear of any other opportunities in areas without these issues, please keep me in mind!”

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Sounds great! If you’re willing to name the groups that are being discriminated against, that might make the message even clearer (since the language of discrimination is frequently co-opted by the right).

      2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I also hope for a future where people can be safe and respected no matter who they love, how they identify, and the colour of their skin.

        One tiny suggestion: I might replace the word “agenda,” since it feels kinda loaded to me. Perhaps moving to Florida isn’t an option right now because of “the state’s actions undermining abortion rights and rolling back protections for/criminalizing LGBTQ people.” It absolutely IS a discriminatory agenda. But using those words feels weirdly political, even though it shouldn’t be political.

        1. Festively Dressed Earl*

          Recent legislation and hostile atmosphere make it unsafe to relocate to (fill in the blank) maybe?

        2. Enai*

          Well, it is a political agenda, no? Politicians campaigned and voted for these laws and got them passed. I don’t see how you can talk about the fallout of politics without getting political.

          Don’t let false notions of polite professionalism stop you from objecting to objectionable things. Rock that boat, it’s going to capsize anyway.

        3. LWNum1*

          I switched out “discriminatory agenda” for “discriminatory legislation” which seems slightly less loaded. I ended up having a little back and forth with a recruiter and was able to say I prioritize a state with strong racial, LGBT and reproductive protections. If that makes someone think I’! a radical antifa leftist…

    13. Snow*

      Yeah. I am expecting to graduate from college this winter as a civil engineer. (Still have to pass the license test, but my program has pretty good pass rates.) I have a list of places where I’m looking for jobs. Most red states are flatly off the list because I am a trans guy and I would not be safe there. The West Coast, on the other hand, is looking very promising.

      You see a lot of stuff about how red state officials think they don’t need us college-educated nerds, but someone’s got to design the roads in Tennessee too.

      1. Kit E*

        Having lived in Texas I’ve got strong opinions about the qualifications of whoever designed some of our infrastructure. The monthly water boil notices after yet another break in the water line got old fast.

    14. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Came here to say essentially this. Although one applicant may not sway a company and one company may not have much influence over government decisions, if a lot of people do this, there could be change.

      In terms of what to say to a potential employer, Alison’s scripts are great. I can’t imagine you’d really want to work for any employer that’s going to freak out about a calm, factual statement about how bodily autonomy and civil rights are being taken away is a dealbreaker in terms of work location. (Obviously, this is not to say you’re not angry about all of this – I know I sure am! And I’m not even American – just that you’d express this calmly and factually even though what’s happening is total BS).

      1. RunShaker*

        I ended up telling a outside recruiter I wasn’t comfortable moving to small city in Oklahoma (pop. 32,000) since my husband is minority (Mexican American) due to that city being conservative and 93% white. I’m in San Antonio which has a great mix of ethnicities and leans blue. I am concerned about Abbott’s policies and support he has here but this is home and I’m older woman. I did look at moving to Portland OR or Washington state but the cost of living there is an issue for us.

    15. Anon for this*

      I’m in New Zealand, have previously worked for NASA, the NZ Space Agency, and currently work at our homegrown rocket company (Rocket Lab). I’d spent the last few years trying to get back to NASA but with everything that’s happened I just can’t anymore.

    16. Meow*

      I think marginalized people should do whatever it takes to protect themselves. But sometimes I wonder if non-conservatives fleeing conservative states will just increase their electoral power and represent in Congress? Like, we WANT the blue voters to dilute the red states – especially the swing states. Again, though, without compromising anyone’s safety or well-being.

      1. ASGirl*

        That doesn’t work for everyone though. I had to leave Texas for my mental health and reproductive rights. I worked for years in Texas trying to make it blue and I don’t see this happening anytime soon. Infighting in the state party, the sheer size of the state, the citizens who don’t know how to vote or how government works and impacts their daily life, the ridiculous gerrymandering, it’s not happening for a long time. My mental health is so much better living in a blue state that got rid of gerrymandering, protects reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights. A big weight was taken off me by moving here. plus I make more money and cost of living is cheaper, and there’s no severe weather like Texas has.

  4. Person from the Resume*

    For LW#4, yes. Even the cheap federal government will pay for the weekend hotel and per diem cost if they’re not flying you home for the weekend. And if the people you’re working with don’t work weekends, you’ll be off to keep yourself occupied as you please.

    Which actually led to an experience in my younger years of dancing all night in a Tokyo club and then waiting with a number of people for the gates at the train station to open when the trains resumed running at 5am, or something like that. Would not do that now, but definitely would play tourist Saturday and Sunday if I’m stuck in a city for work over the weekend.

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      I’ve traveled on federal per diem for over 15 years and never found it to be cheap. The only time it’s been a problem is when you’re in an expensive city (like San Francisco) when there’s a lot events going on (multiple large conferences, sporting events, etc.) and it can be hard to find a hotel at per diem, but that’s about it. State government per diems on the other hand…

    2. cabbagepants*

      I see having lodging and meals covered as the least a company can do to compensate me for having to be away from home all weekend.

      Note that I pay for my own transportation and entertainment over the weekend.

      1. Kevin Sours*

        The first company I worked for had a policy that they would fly you home for weekends when on extended travel. Except they figured that they didn’t actually care if you went home so long as the cost wasn’t any higher (though I don’t think they covered lodging if you didn’t stay at the work location).

        1. Snow*

          I think it’d be pretty easy to keep costs below what a round-trip flight would cost. Pricing out stuff in my area, you’re looking at an easy $500 even if you live in one of the nearer major cities. That’ll easily cover a couple taxi rides, museum tickets, and dinner. (Or nightclubs and drinks, or hiking trips, or whatever floats your boat.)

          1. Kevin Sours*

            In this case the company would also fly you to wherever you wanted to go so long as the tickets weren’t any more. So people with work trips to Europe used it to get to more interesting locations than the work site.

    3. Ali D*

      When I worked at a CPA firm, we had an audit client in Vancouver & to fly folks back home for the weekend & then back out Sunday/Monday was stupid expensive! The firm (meaning client) covered the hotel & food per diems for folks to stay 3 or 4 weeks, weekends included, but we also included an additional weekend stipend of $500 (early 2000’s) so they could go sight seeing/explore the city etc. because of course we would reimburse your expenses because we’re asking you to be away from home for an extended period of time. The clients were aware of this additional expense before committing to the work & travel costs, but it was never an issue.
      When we then had new clients in other countries where travel meant more than just a regular work week, we knew that those costs needed to be included in the scope of work & nobody ever batted an eye.
      Was there some potential weekend work, of course?!?! But, they were paid accordingly if they weren’t salaried & the stories we heard when they got back were epic & then folks were fighting for those clients in the following years.

    4. Lola*

      Haha, my organization does half the State Dept per diem to “offset costs, not fully cover them”. I dream of the fed govt rates!

  5. Bruce*

    20 years ago had a great weekend touring Tokyo during a 2 week business trip, more recently spent 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur… enjoy that weekend off and expense the room and food!

    1. Tiger Snake*

      Some companies like to try and treat the weekends you’re on travel as On-Call time. That is, you’re not working your normal shift and aren’t getting a normal day’s pay, but since you’re close by and they have to pay for your room they expect you to take care of anything that comes up.

      It’s not necessarily sketchy – when I was in this situation, I’d get paid my regular emergency response rate if they did need me to do something – but if you don’t know you’re company norm its so its worth checking hitting the clubs.

      1. CityMouse*

        My spouse traveled abroad recently and he had meetings for the whole time, including weekends. He did get extensive OT pay and special dinners. This isn’t always the case, this was the first time they had held the meeting in a while because of COVID and so had a lot to do.

  6. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

    I have an iPhone, and the only time I’ve gotten an alert about someone else’s AirTag was when I went on a 2 week multi-state road trip with someone and his wife was using one registered under her account to keep track of him (with his knowledge – I think it was just a way for her to be able to look on a map and see where we were on any given day to make sure we were still following something resembling our planned route). I’d get a message most days about an AirTag that wasn’t mine traveling with me, and hit ignore since I knew why it was happening (annoyingly, there is no way to mark a specific non-owned AirTag as ok and stop getting alerts about it, or at least there wasn’t last summer).

    It didn’t seem to trigger on days when we were off doing stuff on our own, just days where we were together the whole time, so I would guess that it would only trigger in a work context if the owner was more than 33 ft away from it for an extended time while the other person with an iPhone was right next to it the whole time. I don’t know if it also has to actually “move” with the other person rather than just both be in a static location for x amount of time. (We were on a road trip, so obviously on the move rather than sitting at stationary desks near each other all day.) If I were designing such an alert as an anti-stalking thing, I’d probably have a movement piece just to cut down on number of alerts sent out.

    I’ve never gotten an alert at work or in another situation where I was just sitting in once place for an extended period, but I have no idea if that’s due to lack of owner-out-of-range AirTags near me or because it doesn’t work that way. I guess I also don’t spend most of my time within 33 feet of very many people or their stuff for extended periods, so I may be a bad test case.

    1. Twix*

      Yes, the tags will only send out a warning update if they’re separated from their owner for a certain amount of time and determined to be moving along the same path as you based on GPS location. Just being near one shouldn’t set it off, even if it’s for an extended time. That feature is only intended to protect against them being used to track someone’s movements. They have a separate feature where they emit a noise when moved after being separated from their owner for a certain amount of time as a less alarming way to more generally notify people of their presence.

    2. Not like a regular teacher*

      A couple of weeks ago my friend got that alert, while sitting on a couch next to the tag-owner and her purse (which contained the tag). I don’t know if the warning system is as consistent as folks seem to be thinking it is.

      1. H2*

        I can’t speak to the AirTag, warning system, but I also find the AirPod warning system to be pretty inconsistent. I would say that it would be fine to send an email out or spread the word that if people get notifications to let you know. If you’re sending an email out to say, hey, you may be getting notifications, so just know it’s not a stalker, and you expect that people are going to get notifications regularly, that’s not OK. I would be pretty irked to routinely get notifications from a coworker’s device.

      2. Nobby Nobbs*

        My company uses AirTags to track company trucks, and sometimes one of my two phones (work and personal) gets the notification and the other doesn’t. So definitely not consistent.

    3. RCB*

      I’ve been walking along with friends before and gotten the warning from my phone that an unknown device has been near me for a certain amount of time now, so it’s not always when the device is not with the owner, in fact the only times I’ve seen it happen was when they (and I) were with the owner. These 2 times the people were not in my contacts, so maybe it also recognized that (i.e. if it was a friend that was in my contacts then it wouldn’t think anything of it, I’m not sure) but there are definitely some intricacies to the system beyond what Alison and others have experienced.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I had one repeatedly on a flight last week, presumably from somebody’s luggage. They were small planes so I’m not sure that the owner could have been that much farther away from the bag than me and we were certainly moving in the same pattern.

        1. Nina*

          On a plane I wonder if the owner had deactivated the function on their phone that allows the AirTag to know the owner is there. Some people take flight mode seriously.

        2. Twix*

          They definitely are not foolproof. They work via Bluetooth and Apple’s Find My Network. If they are within Bluetooth’s range of ~33ft of any Apple device connected to Apple’s data network, they can use it to send tracking info. In order to be considered within range of the owner, they need to be connected to the owner’s device via Bluetooth. The security feature uses users’ GPS position to determine whether anyone is following the same path as the tag.

          So first off, you’ll only get notifications that you’re being tracked if both your GPS and tracking data setting are turned on, and second off, the tag will only register that it’s near the owner if the owner’s device has Bluetooth turned on. But assuming those are both the case, given things like uneven signal attenuation and hardware degradation and GPS signal fidelity and plain old software bugs, it is very possible for the owner of a tag to be within normal Bluetooth range without the phone picking it up, or for someone to be outside Bluetooth range of a moving tag and have Apple determine that they’re still close to it. But for a situation where you’d have the tag either on your person or set down somewhere stationary (eg in a purse), it shouldn’t be an issue as long as you keep your phone charged and Bluetooth turned on.

          All that said, AirTags have unique serial numbers that anyone whose phone registers an alert from can view. If you’re going to carry one in the office, it might not be a bad idea to share yours with coworkers so that anyone whose device picks it up can identify it as yours and pause notifications.

  7. onebitcpu*

    LW2: no comment on the air tags, but when our kids were at that stage, they got their own keychains with decoy keys that didn’t fit anything.
    That way they lost our keys, instead of (1) leaving my keys under a pair of jeans in my closet or (2) putting my wife’s keys inside the hood of a walk-behind toy card and forgetting they were there for 2 or 3 days.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Seconding this.

      Also, I put rein clips on all my key rings (home, spare car. Work keys are on a lanyard with my ID) and clip them to my bag/handbag, which a) makes them much harder to lose and b) makes them easier to hide from small children, if I needed to. I specifically choose bags that have a sturdy ring on them somewhere just so I can do this, but you could add a ring if your bag doesn’t already have one.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I don’t have kids, but if my handbag didn’t have a key leash, I’d lose my keys all the time! I actually sewed one into my current handbag.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I don’t have kids, either, but I have the short-term memory of a goldfish. I do not dare not attach my keys to something too big to lose.

      2. Snow*

        Yep. My shoulder bag (Tom Bihn Pilot) actually came with several, and I strapped mine in immediately and don’t separate them unless I really have to. I don’t own a car but sometimes borrow one or get rentals, so I also have a separate carabiner clip on my keyring so I can snap other stuff in and out easily. It’s very useful.

  8. John Smith*

    re #3, An issue I came across in a disciplinary (an unfair one that was eventually abandoned) is that, when I pointed out other people did the things I was alleged to have done, the response was “this investigation is about you, not other people” or “if others have done X, they will be dealt with separately” (they werent). BS answers to cover themselves and avoiding the issue. I’d be interested in hearing of good ways to deal with being singled out without coming across as the asshole.

    1. Middle Aged Lady*

      Maybe try ‘it would be more efficient to call us all out at once. Let me go get Cersei and Fergus and you can deal with them right now too and save yourself some time.”

      There is no way to call them out because they know exactly what they are doing. My last epically bad job had this down to a tee. Their treatment of me reminded me so much of my scapegoat childhood it contributed to a breakdown.

      1. TechWorker*

        I’m sorry but I just don’t think this is remotely realistic advice, if someone was in a disciplinary meeting and they said ‘let’s go get our other colleagues so you can tell them off too’ the managers/HRs response would just be ‘….no?’

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Yeah I get the impulse but even if everyone was getting punished, it probably wouldn’t be as a group and it wouldn’t be dictated by the terms of one of the people on the receiving end of the disciplinary action.

      2. doreen*

        Understand that I am not defending selective enforcement – but there’s no way to call them out by mentioning specific people and also no way to really be certain that they weren’t dealt with. Saying you thought it was acceptable because that was the general culture in the office or because that was what you understood your supervisor to be instructing you to do – maybe. But saying “Let’s bring in Cersei and Fergus” won’t work and Cersei may never tall you if they were dealt with separately. I was involved in enough disciplinary actions to know that if Fergus gets suspended for two days, coworkers will most likely only get Fergus’ side if the story , which may very be that Fergus had some sort of emergency that required taking two days off on short notice.

      3. House On The Rock*

        I completely get where you are coming from, but it would be horrible HR/management practice to “deal with” people as a group or to allow others to know the details of their coworkers’ policy violations. In a well run organization,

        Unfortunately, “this is about you, not them” can be both the exact right response to derailing excuses from a problem employee and also a way to wriggle out of blatantly unfair treatment. There’s never going to be a “gotcha!” with poor managers and policies.

    2. Geebobjr*

      Re #3 in the UK what is looked at by an employment tribunal (ET) is “custom and practice”. So a contract may say one thing, but what is also looked at is what actually happens day-to-day or week-to-week. Based on that, if you were dismissed you would likely have a case.

      BUT remember in the UK you need 2 years service to make a claim and unless there was a discriminatory reason or other breach of your day1 rights, you would not be able to make a claim to the ET and would not have any comeback if dismissed.

      1. GingerHR*

        Realistically, dismissal for drinkin would be unlikely – it wouldn’t stretch to the level of misconduct necessary. It would be warnings first, and dismissal only after the normal number of warnings – unless as someone else said, there were other issues linked.

        Custom and practice is more about contractual terms, so might help on the freelancing, but not policy ones such as the drinking. It could be brought into play, but I wouldn’t give it much weight. It also takes much longer to build up C&P protections than people think. If the person fired was female and the rest male, and they weren’t fired, then there is a clear discrimination angle that, in the absence of other reasons, would probably win the case.

        It would be much easier to fire for the freelance work, although again it’s unlikely to warrant immediate dismissal unless it took business directly from the company. It would also have much more nuance than the drinking – it’s easier to argue that Fred’s passion project /freelance is more damaging to the business than Jane’s. If there is a good reason and no evidence of disciminatory practice, it isn’t for a tribunal to subsitute their view. So even if they disagreed, if the evidence showed that the company had an honest belief that Fred’s project was more damaging, the tribunal would be unlikely to support Fred.

      2. Nebula*

        The fact that OP says that one of their jobs in that role was to go out and buy drinks for people would probably carry some weight there too. It’s not entirely clear from the wording, but it sounds like they were a junior member of staff, and more senior members of staff were instructing them to buy the alcohol. If OP had been fired for that, I would have thought they’d have recourse to pointing out the fact it was presented as part of their job. If it was management sending OP out to buy the drinks for everyone, then similarly I’d think that if anyone else got fired for drinking, they could point out that the company management were encouraging it by providing alcohol. Not entirely clear whether that was the situation, but just one possibility.

    3. Observer*

      the response was “this investigation is about you, not other people” or “if others have done X, they will be dealt with separately”

      In the US that would not fly if the real (suspected) reason were illegal or discriminatory.

      If it’s legal and they are just being a bunch o jerks who are trying to make it look like they are doing their jobs, I doubt there is anything you can say to get them to act reasonably.

    4. anon for this*

      In my experience, selective enforcement is usually a workplace flagging their intent to get rid of the person in question.

      It’s usually small things – like calling you out for making one five-minute personal call when everyone around you is on personal calls all day, or writing you up for violating a dress code that no one else follows, or scheduling you for hours that they *know* you can’t come in, or gradually reducing your hours until you’re only coming in for two hours, or assigning you to clean the grill instead of waiting tables in your section… these are all signs that they want you to quit without going to the bother of firing you, but they will fire you eventually if you don’t go.

      It’s happened to me a few times, and every time, for me it’s just a sign to polish up my resume and get out as fast as I can.

    5. yala*

      “this investigation is about you, not other people” Yeeeeeup!

      I still remember getting reprimanded because my manager thought I seemed “physically threatened” by my coworker (I realized I’d interrupted her while she was bringing something to someone at her cubical and said she could go put that down (y’know, finish what she was doing before I asked her an involved question). I wasn’t, but still got reprimanded. My coworker had responded to me in the absolute *nastiest* voice (like, I nearly started crying). Since I was being reprimanded for my tone, I asked what about her tone and was told that Boss saw nothing wrong with it, and also me asking about another coworker is Being Difficult and …. well, a lot else.

      Any time I’ve tried to note habitual differences in treatment, it’s the same thing. I come in to work 5 minutes late? Trouble! (Although now, I have a grace period as an accommodation, so long as I make up the 5-10 minutes after work). Coworkers all leave 15 minutes early? Fine and normal.

      I really don’t know a good way to deal with being singled out, except to just accept that the letter of the law applies to me, not them. And to be hyper-aware of absolutely everything my face, body, and voice are doing when interacting with some coworkers.

  9. Brain the Brian*

    LW1: Just a note as you job-search that DC is increasingly under fire from conservatives who control the Congressional committees with ultimate oversight over the District’s affairs, which is causing a number of issues for District residents. Similarly, Virginia’s recent flip back to a conservative Governor is having real impacts in that half of the city’s suburbs. I know it’s not as bad as deeper-red states, but if I were advising you, I would tell you to look at cities other than DC.

    1. LWNum1*

      LW#1 here: Thanks, I definitely have that on my radar. The only reason I’m considering DC is because I have a good portion of my work network in DC/Virginia, otherwise it would be completely off the table for the reasons you describe! I’d rather not have to start over in a part of the country I have no connections to, but I’d rather do that at my leisure than rush it if things go downhill fast in 2024.

      1. No creative name yet*

        Yeah, as a long-time DC resident I would say it’s definitely concerning/infuriating, but not comparable to the types of laws being passed in other states, and the greater risks would likely be with a change in 2024 or beyond. So I wouldn’t rule it out if there are good reasons for considering it now!

      2. EPLawyer*

        But you can work in DC and live in MD. The legislative session just ended and a LOT of progressive bills were passed that protect rights.

      3. Fluffy Fish*

        MD life long resident here – You should be safe in Maryland but know that like any other purple state, there are places safer than others. It’s purple in the sense that local level you’ll get a mix of red/blue but for the most part the state level stuff is majority blue.

        I would not recommend the town I grew up in, but there’s multiple other towns and a city in the same county that are lovely and safe.

        1. metadata minion*

          Yup, former Marylander here and the suburbs that are effectively an extension of DC should generally be safe. The further out from DC you get in any direction, the more risky it’s going to be, in a remarkably diverse array of ways.

      4. nonna*

        I moved from DC to a blue area of a purple-turning-blue state. I’ll rant about home rule with the best of them, but even with bad decisions being made in oversight, the diversity of DC and progressiveness of the population made it so much more comfortable than where I am now (which is politically progressive, but very homogenous and narrow-minded/oblivious). There is a very large gay community, but it is dominated by cis men.

      5. Brain the Brian*

        You describe my exact calculus as I consider whether to stay in the DC area or move to another city before 2024. One additional thing to consider is that even though the suburbs are jurisdictionally separate from DC itself, their location means that anything that happens in the District spills out into them. For instance, some of the leading Insurrectionists stayed in a hotel in my Virginia neighborhood and went to the bar around the corner from my apartment the night of January 5, 2021. Definitely an unpleasant reality.

      6. Parenthesis Guy*

        Is one of your goals to live in a big city, or are you moving solely to get away from being in a purple state? Because it’s pretty easy to live in Maryland but work in DC/NoVA.

      7. just a thought*

        I lived in DC until last year and it’s overwhelmingly liberal and welcoming. My favorite was the church that had a rainbow flag and BLM banner.

        One good thing about being there is that a lot of organizing and movements happen in the DC area. If you feel safe, you can participate in some of the organizing, events, or other general ways to help the causes your passionate about. I worked for the federal government, but I learned so much from my friends in DC about how to support the liberal causes and politics I care about in ways that work for me.

    2. DataSci*

      The Maryland suburbs are still safe! And living in MD and working in the District is very common. (Living here and working in the VA suburbs is a long commute, but people do it too.)

      1. Not Todd Howard…. Or Am I?*

        100% — I live in Bethesda and it’s all of the benefits of living in DC plus all the benefits of living in a blue state.

      2. new year, new name*

        Not all of Virginia is a long commute away! Some of us are right here on the other side of the river :)

        The state-level political situation in Virginia is definitely concerning, but it’s still a very purple state and it’s not nearly as bad as other places. There’s also a huge difference politically between the deep-blue jurisdictions close to DC and the outer suburbs. The challenge is the obscenely high housing costs here in the places OP would likely feel most comfortable.

      3. Brain the Brian*

        I think it depends whether we are talking about “safe” as in “my rights are legally protected by state law” or “safe” as in “physically safe from racist, homophobic thugs who might beat me up regardless of whether my state government legally protects my rights.” If the latter, DC and its suburbs on both sides of the river are a lightning rod for right-wing extremists who don’t really care what the law says.

        Just… be careful. Sigh. I hate that I even have to say this. My heart hurts too much.

        1. Very anon for this*

          Yeah, I live in a very “safe” state – and am genuinely glad for the legal safety, which so many people don’t have – and I got beaten up a few months ago, and a couple of friends of mine got transphobic bile screamed at them by a passer-by while they were out getting coffee (in one of the bluest neighborhoods in the entirety of this blue state) a few weeks ago. Legal safety is unfortunately only a starting point (and the garbage bigots can get resentful about living in a state where that legal safety exists and take it out on the people they’re bigoted against, too).

    3. annoyed and poor*

      Virginia sucks, just see that post about the letter writer contemplating a move up here.

    4. Jack Russell Terrier*

      I’ve been in DC (itself) for decades now and really endorse the people who say it’s diverse and day-to-day living here is really safe and good that way.

      I had an airbnb for a while and one interracial couple visiting from Seattle who loved that they saw people of different races eating lunch together and interacting. They moved here.

      You have to take into account Conress’ grip of course but DC itself is over 90% democratic – and generally on the liberal end. In fact, it tends to be a bit of a bubble.

  10. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    Attorneys on here, for #3, would the rule of estoppel apply here since they never enfored it before? I am thinking of a miltary case where they threw someone out for being gay (Perry Watkins), but they knew about that for 16 years, it was in writing and they promoted him, so they could not suddenly use it against him. Perry checked yes to homosexual during the Vietnam War, but they drafted him anyway.

    1. Twix*

      I’m not a lawyer but I highly doubt it, at least in the US. Unless you have an actual employment contract, employment is at-will. Employers have no legal duty to employees not to change their internal policies or how they’re enforced, as long as those changes are legal. As Alison said, it might make qualifying for unemployment a lot easier but that’s a whole separate thing. Courts have generally found in favor of employers even in cases where there was a much stronger argument for promissory estoppel applying, such as companies revoking job offers after a potential new employee has quit, moved, etc under the theory that at-will employment means employees are aware that they have no legal entitlement to continued employment.

  11. Warrior Princess Xena*

    For LW #3, there’s been at least one case where an employee successfully argued back on being fired for drug usage because he was black and his white coworkers, who were using with him, were not fired. So there’s some protection against this sort of rules lawyering. However, I’d guess it wouldn’t be too helpful if you’re not part of a protected class. I’m definitely not a lawyer though!

    1. Twix*

      Yeah, it’s well established that a company cannot decide whether or not to enforce its rules in a manner that is discriminatory toward a protected class. That falls under what Alison was saying about if they fire you for being gay, claiming it was for violating a policy they otherwise don’t enforce doesn’t cover them legally. If you can show a pattern of discriminatory selective enforcement or lack of enforcement and evidence that the real reason you were fired was membership in a protected class, you’d potentially have a case. But in cases where employees don’t have explicit civil rights protections, if the company wants to change their policies or how they’re enforced that’s generally their prerogative.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Correct! These cases are much easier to win if you can prove disparate impact to someone who is in a protected class. It’s still possible to win a wrongful termination suit if you can show an uneven application of policy, but less likely, especially in the US where you can fire someone for just about any reason. But discrimination is where these cases usually see the light.

    3. Observer*

      However, I’d guess it wouldn’t be too helpful if you’re not part of a protected class.

      It wouldn’t be helpful even if they were part of a protected class, unless that were *the reason* they got fired. The employee didn’t win because he was black. He won because a situation like this makes it pretty obvious that the drug use was just an excuse (pretext in legalese) and the real reason he was fired was because he is black.

      1. Ontariariario*

        I was thinking the same. If all employees were fired then the one person in a protected class wouldn’t have a chance. It’s the decision to fire that one person when all employees were behaving the same way. The employee won because his white coworkers kept their job.

    4. I should really pick a name*

      Everyone is a member of a protected class.
      Race is a protected class (not a specific race).
      Sex is a protected class (not a specific sex).

      1. Lenora Rose*

        The point was, if a white cis able man with other white cis able men did drugs and only he was fired, it’s clearly not about his protected class, though it would be weird and targeted in other ways.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          I was addressing this statement:

          However, I’d guess it wouldn’t be too helpful if you’re not part of a protected class

          It’s a common misunderstanding of what a protected class is.

    5. Snow*

      Yep. If they’d fired everyone who was caught doing drugs on their lunch break, no problem – I think even in Europe that’d at least be grounds for a performance improvement plan. But they only fired the black guy, and he successfully sued because that’s clear racial discrimination.

  12. Lena Clare*

    I never saw that article about the boss pooing in the lunchboxes before. That’s horrible. What a horrible person and a horrible place to work.

    LW3 – ACAS is great for employment advice in the UK. Might be worth checking them out. Also if you’re in a union, you can get free legal advice from them.

    1. Emma*

      ACAS are a resource that’s often useful, but the quality of their advice to individual employees is not great. I would go for your union, citizens advice, law centre or a university law clinic first.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Based on my experience with Citizens Advice they are very hard to get in touch with, but unions is a sound suggestion.

    2. Bronze Betty*

      I never saw that article before either. Just when you think you’ve seen the most horrible boss, another worse one pops up. And he got promoted!

  13. fanciestcat*

    LW#4 I’d probably not send in a response too. Or if I knew the hiring manager, circumvent the process and email them directly. There are a lot of people I’ve worked with that were competent enough that I wouldn’t ever tell a future company not to hire them, but not so amazing that I’d want to stick my neck out and endorse them either. That’s actually most of the people I’ve worked with honestly.

  14. nnn*

    Another thing #2 could do if an appropriate opportunity arises is simply mention in casual conversation that you have an airtag on your keys, for example in the context of an adorable story about how toddlers are always finding new and innovative ways to hide things.

    That would be a low-key way to let people know you have an airtag without making a Whole Big Thing out of it.

    1. LJ*

      Even if they accidentally leave the tag at work and go on vacation, when others get the “nearby airtag” notification, it’ll show that work is the only location where this airtag has been nearby (and not say along their commute or at home). Should be fairly easy to figure out it belongs to a colleague if it comes up

    2. LW 2*

      That was my hope with all this. We have a lot of folks that come for just a day or two for training and then leave, but it sounds like as long as my phone is near my keys I should be okay. I’ll also drop a comment into conversation if I can about having an AirTag (love that suggestion).

      We have so many safety policies I’m a little surprised we don’t have one about trackers truthfully.

      1. H2*

        Just make sure that your coworkers aren’t getting repeated notifications. I don’t know about how the trackers work, but I get AirPod notifications from my kids’ and their friends’ AirPods all the time and it gets obnoxious. I would be annoyed if I got notifications from a coworker’s device every day.

  15. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    Laughing so hard this morning at the tag of the “poop in lunch sack” incident. I lived in Montrose, and know the perpetrator by reputation and am wondering what his family would think if they knew his stinky case is still making the news.

    1. WTH*

      If English’s family are decent people, I’d hope they don’t talk to this jerkwad anymore–unless it’s to yell, “I’M CALLING THE COPS” whenever they catch him setting up bombs on their property.

  16. urguncle*

    Regarding LW1, I know of a tenure track position in a state where laws are quickly changing specifically targeting education content. They are also trying to attract minorities in the field to teach and the position remains open. Unfortunately for the people who live and work in these states, I don’t think things will change until there is devastating economic consequence to these laws. It absolutely sucks to have to trust that your employment is not only tied to affordable (ish) healthcare, but also protection against discrimination or access to procedures illegal in your state.

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      I mean, I don’t think legislators in those states care. Mississippi’s hospitals are pleading with the state to accept the Medicaid expansion so that they can remain financially solvent and the government is like, “Wouldn’t want poor people to think they can get something for free!”

      1. MsM*

        I suspect the reaction to not being able to fill higher ed positions in at least some quarters is “the plan is working.”

  17. Mellie Bellie*

    LW1: as someone stuck in a state that is fast traveling back in time, please do tell these recruiters exactly why you won’t move to FL/TX/red states. Companies need to know this is a problem for them when they’re trying to attract talent.

    LW2: My dogs have air tags on their collars that my husband has registered on his phone, and one weekend when he was away, the sound going off drive me nuts until I figured out what it was. I’d just mention it in passing to your closest co-workers if you’re prone to leaving your keys on your desk but taking you phone with you when you step away at work.

    And no words on the bomb making, pooping boss. I work in employment law and I’ve seen some companies defend some truly horrible behavior, but this one takes the cake. Wowza!!!

  18. PhilG*

    A simple metal box in a drawer should suffice to block the signal. e.g. a old style note card or recipe card box or small cash box.

    1. Dr. Rebecca*

      If you’re talking about the airtag, that…kind of defeats the purpose and ignores why the LW put it there to begin with. If they could keep track of where their keys were, they wouldn’t be using an airtag, and if they block the signal from the airtag, they won’t be able to find their keys.

      1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

        I think the issue is more the toddler hiding the keys at home not leaving them at work.

      2. Nota*

        I think the issues is the OP loses the keys at home but knows where they are at work. So keep the keys with the airtag with at work in a metal box.

        1. Dr. Rebecca*

          OP starts out “I have a terrible habit of losing my car keys” and then says toddler made it worse; there’s nothing that precludes having lost them at work on occasion.

      3. Angstrom*

        If the keys are lost at work–not in the metal box–the AirTag will function.
        If the keys are in the metal box in her desk, they are not lost.

        1. Dr. Rebecca*

          If she had the habit of putting the keys in the same spot every time she put them down, they’d *never* be lost. Is my point.

      4. Emily Dickinson*

        I don’t think putting them in a box would block the signal anyway. My partner put one in the metal frame of their bike and I still get the notice when I borrow it for errands.

  19. I should really pick a name*

    I’m a little surprised that #4 would have endorsed the acquaintance if they’d reached out.
    Can you really have a solid work opinion of someone you haven’t been in contact with for 10 years? (And even then, only in the context of school)

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      If all they’re asking for is a thumbs up/down, they’ve sort of sacrificed their right to nuance. “This person handled the referral request in a professional manner which tells me they aren’t a total canoe, and I have vaguely positive memories from earlier in their career which I hope have carried over into positive professional qualities” is enough to justify a thumbs up, in a lot of cases. It depends a lot on context but that’s not egregious to me.

    2. LW4*

      OP4 here.

      This guy and I were part of the same small, intense, highly-relevant-to-this-job extracurricular. Over the course of my four years, we’re talking maybe 40 people all together. We’re both still involved in the alumni community, meaning even though we’re not directly in touch, we’re still sort of in the same circle. I hear about him from time to time.

      So while yes, this isn’t the same thing as work experience, I did see something of how the guy operated (he actually ran the group for a year) that I think I would be able to say something – if it hadn’t been over a decade ago.

      And, well, in total candor, the club was a formative part of my school experience, so I’m automatically inclined to think everyone who was involved in it is fantastic.

  20. DJ Abbott*

    #1, A few decades ago I moved from southeast Kansas to Chicago, partly for more job opportunities and partly to get away from the fundamentalist culture that oppresses girls from birth. Even before the current political climate, I didn’t like leaving the big blue cities and didn’t travel much.
    I’m sure there are many who feel the way you and I do, I’ve seen other letters here expressing this. I would probably just say bluntly what’s on my mind, but I’m old and don’t care. :) any recruiters who haven’t already heard about this need to hear it, and you need to stand your ground until you find a job in a city that supports you. The consequences of a company’s decision to stay in an oppressive state are their problem, not ours. :) Good luck!

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      The consequences of a company’s decision to stay in an oppressive state are their problem, not ours.

      Well said!

    2. M2*

      As someone who used to live in Chicago and have friends still in the Chicago area (Hyde Park, River North, Rodgers Park) I would not put Chicago at the top of your list. I went back for a work trip recently and wanted to walk back to my hotel and a friend wouldn’t let me. That exact way I would have walked someone was stabbed and died that same night. It was allegedly a random attack.

      Another friend brought their kid to a playground and someone started shooting. I think they all have been mugged and at least one was robbed at gunpoint another with a knife and this wasn’t all at night either! Two of the three (I know) are looking to leave the city.

      Illinois also has high taxes and is deep
      in debt, is one of the states with the highest amount of debt. Fiscal responsibility is important too!

      1. Call Me Dr. Dork*

        As someone who works in Chicago and lives just outside the city limits (Oak Park FTW), my experience isn’t as grim as all that. I take the El to work, I walk around the Loop without fear, and there have been zero playground shootings in Oak Park.

        Personally, as a member of a couple of minority groups, I feel way more comfortable here than I do in more homogenous and/or gun-toting places in the Midwest.

      2. DLW*

        Illinois is no longer deeply in debt. Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly have done an awesome job improving Illinois’s finances. And Illinois protects everyone’s rights. If the LW doesn’t want to live in Chicago itself, there are dozens upon dozens of lovely suburbs. LW will still be able to work in Chicago and take advantage of the many things Chicago has to offer.

        1. DJ Abbott*

          That’s right, we’re an island of fairness in a red sea of discrimination. I’m very proud to live here!
          Also, some neighborhoods are more dangerous than others. Rogers Park looks quiet and peaceful, but has lots of drugs and crime. No matter where you are, it’s a dangerous world and you should always take precautions.

      3. Chutney Jitney*

        LOL, I love someone talking about financial responsibility while in the same breath griping about taxes. Taxes pay for things.

      4. Nesprin*

        I love your instinct to bring “fiscal responsibility” into a conversation about how half the population now can’t receive life saving medical care in some states.

      5. Synergy*

        My taxes are higher in WI than they were in IL. I lived in Chicago until 2021 and it’s so strange to me when people act like it’s Fallujah. Even during the protests what was scariest was the gas from the police coming through our windows, not whatever ruffians Fox News wants to convince you are going to loot your home and recruit your children into gangs. It’s a major city in an affluent country.

      6. John*

        I’ve lived in Chicago 7 years in several different neighborhoods and have never seen or heard any acts of violence. Stop spreading false rumors of fear!

      7. ThatGirl*

        I live in the Chicago suburbs.

        The city is not nearly as dangerous as people like to believe. It’s not even on the top 10 most dangerous cities list! Yes, terrible things happen. And yes, I live in the suburbs, but I WOULD live in the city, I am not afraid of it. I love this region. Chicago is a city like no other.

        As others have said, the state is no longer in debt – Pritzker has been a surprisingly good governor – and I want to live in a state where we protect people and their rights. There are places to live outside the city limits!

        Years ago, my in-laws moved to Florida from the burbs, lured by the promise of lower taxes. Sure, they didn’t have an income tax. But they realized they were paying a LOT more for a LOT of other things and weren’t really saving any money. (They live in Kansas City now.)

        1. DJ Abbott*

          I think it’s from watching too much news. TV news uses fear to keep people watching. They emphasize any violence and keep hyping it until viewers are always terrified.
          This is a violent world and there is some violence everywhere. We can’t let that ruin our lives. Personally I’d rather live in a place that openly tries to deal with it than a place that’s in denial and pretending it doesn’t happen.

      8. Blue States Only For Me*

        Please stop with the fear mongering. I am a lifelong metro Chicago resident, and Illinois is very blue and will likely stay that way so I will stay here, thank you very much. Crime is everywhere, but media hypes it up here. Gun proliferation has affected Chicago like it has everywhere, afterthought mass shootings are generally not a thing here. I thought about moving to Indiana since I am near the border but no can do because of their totally unacceptable politics. Houses can be purchased for reasonable prices in suburban areas with good schools here. Don’t talk about what you don’t personally know.

          1. Blue States Only For Me*

            Also, we got income and property tax rebates last year. I thing the governor is doing a great job.

            1. ThatGirl*

              Legitimately was not expecting a lot from Pritzker when he was first elected, but man, he’s been great!

              1. A.K. Climpson*

                I did not vote Pritzker in the primary and was extremely unenthusiastic when I did so in the general election … and absolutely co-sign this comment.

                I’m no longer living in Chicago for work reasons, but I grew up there (city, too, not suburbs) and my parents and tons of friends live there still — they are not all being mugged all the time! I hate the fearmongering about crime, and am not looking forward to the extension of that narrative to blame the incoming Mayor (which is happening already, before he’s even in office!).

      9. I have RBF*

        Every city has neighborhoods where it’s “dangerous”. So do small towns and suburbs. But those tend to be small parts of the city. I live in a large city – San Jose, CA. There are bad neighborhoods, and people who whine about “crime” and all that, as if it is the whole city. It’s not. Oh, and for robberies? The folks from the “bad” neighborhoods go to the rich neighborhoods to steal.

        So I take all of the hand wringing and fear mongering with a great big grain of salt. The conservative fear machine claims that all cities in California are dens of crime and drug use, with needles all over every sidewalk and muggings everywhere at every hour. It isn’t true. They talked like all cities were war zones with the BLM protests – I live five blocks from city hall, and the only sign of the protests were the damned police helicopters buzzing around overhead, making noise.

        Remember, when it comes to news: “If it bleeds, it leads”. Reporters are drawn to conflict like a moth to flame. So if you judge an entire city based on crime that makes the national news, you will be mistaken in most areas.

        But if an entire state has a political class that is actively taking people’s rights away? That is all over, because laws are all throughout the state.

        1. Anon for this*

          I find all the ‘argh danger’ stuff bizarre, personally. Absolutely some cities are more prone to violence targeted towards marginalized people, and that’s great info to have when deciding to move.
          I have never lived in the ‘safe’ part of any of the cities I’ve lived in; drug dealers on the corners, knowing which house was the meth house (it was across the street, and the other one was on the corner) and which was the gang house (you passed two on the way to the grocery store) have been normal my whole life. There was an armed robbery at the corner store 100 yards from my current house a month ago and a guy died; I heard this on the news and saw one (1) police car but otherwise wasn’t affected. When I was away for work a few years ago, a woman was stabbed at her boyfriend’s place next door and came to my partner for help and to use the phone. Never saw the boyfriend again. It’s shockingly easy (in the sense that it happens to many people, not in the sense that there are concrete actions you can take to ensure you are one of those people) to live in a ‘dangerous’ part of town for decades and never ever be personally in danger.
          tl;dr: ‘oo the dangerous part of town’ is way overblown. Stop it.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            Co-signing- I moved into Wicker Park before it gentrified. I wasn’t savvy enough to know which were the meth house or the gang house unless someone had told me, but I saw enough to know what precautions to take. I was fine, and lived there happily for a long time. :)

  21. ecnaseener*

    For #4 I wonder whether the No response is supposed to mean “I didn’t refer them / don’t actively endorse them” (no effect on their candidacy, they’re just not marked as referred by an employee) or “I actively disapprove of them.” If the first, I feel like that would be okay if only they made it clear in the instructions!

    1. I should really pick a name*

      One problem is that there may be a disconnect between way the company intends it, and the way it is interpreted by people outside of the company.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        This is the problem that I’ve often seen with these types of questions. They are completely devoid of context.

        When I’ve been the one to implement these kinds of things in the past, I would often ask people I worked with how they interpreted the question, and was often quite surprised when they interpreted it in a way completely different to what I had intended. Interviewing them allowed me to provide the context needed so that the purpose of the question was clear and it could capture the data it was meant to capture.

      2. ecnaseener*

        I don’t think in this case the outside candidate would know about the response, since the letter says responses are confidential. So there’d be no interpreting it outside the company.

        If you mean the field where the candidate puts down an employee’s name is interpreted differently than the employee’s endorsement question, yeah that could be an issue if the employee’s response is “I disapprove.” I still don’t think it’d be much of a problem if the employee’s response just means “no thanks, don’t link my name to this candidate” with no penalty.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          The person calling for the reference is the person outside the company who would be doing the interpreting.

          It’s possible that one side thinks no response (or no endorsement) = neutral, and the other side thinks no response = bad

        2. LW4*

          OP4 here. I pasted this in the comments above, but this thread seems to understand better than I did what they were probably getting at, so in case it’s helpful here’s the full text of the request:

          Someone interested in employment with us has indicated they know you!

          If you would consider this person to be a great talent who should join us please indicate your endorsement by clicking “yes” below. If you do not feel they would be a good hire for the position, please click “no” and your name will not be associated to the application as a referral.

          Your response is confidential and will not be shared with the candidate.

          1. I should really pick a name*

            Wow. That sucks.
            There’s no room for “No opinion”.
            Though at least since it’s internal, you might be able to get some insight into what kind of weight they put on a no.

            I hadn’t realized it was just a flag for the application system, I’d thought it was for external reference checks.

          2. Reality.Bites*

            I can’t see any value to them in using this system. Even if you endorse them, you’ve said nothing about the candidate, nor about yourself and your relationship to the candidate.

          3. metadata minion*

            With that wording, it really reminds me of the customer service surveys you’re asked to fill out after basically any interaction with another human these days, where I always give them the top rating because I realize that means “cashier did not actually stab me”.

            1. MsM*

              I feel like the intent with this one might be the opposite, where saying “no” is supposed to just mean “please evaluate this person as normal without factoring me in,” but it’s really badly constructed.

          4. ecnaseener*

            Yeah, that definitely sounds like the worse option where No might penalize the candidate. Crummy system!

  22. UKDancer*

    I think if you won’t go somewhere for a reason, it’s worth telling recruiters why so they understand what factors there are. I was approached by a recruiter with a possible job in Qatar. I declined and she offered me more money. So I said that I didn’t want to work somewhere that had capital punishment, criminalised adultery or homosexuality, banned trade unions and had a restrictive dress code for women. I also pointed to the mistreatment of migrant workers in the recent construction of the World Cup stadium.

    I thought it might be helpful to her to know why I wouldn’t work there. She thanked me and said she entirely understood and would feed that back (politely) to the company. I let her know which countries I would be willing to work in instead.

    I think it’s good for recruiters to know why people say no to jobs so they can be aware of what are motivating factors.

    1. Anon for this*

      “So I said that I didn’t want to work somewhere that had capital punishment, criminalised adultery or homosexuality, banned trade unions and had a restrictive dress code for women. I also pointed to the mistreatment of migrant workers in the recent construction of the World Cup stadium.”

      Thank you for this. My alma mater has a campus in Qatar and I’ve always been baffled by the absolute lack of acknowledgment of human rights issues in that location – I guess the $$$ is more important.

      1. Blue States Only For Me*

        I’m a Northwestern University alum, and I find the Qatar campus puzzling and distasteful. NU is all about the money though.

  23. Zarniwoop*

    My guess is a recruiter on commission won’t really care why you do or don’t want to work in a particular location; all they need is a list of where you’ll consider going and where you won’t.

    1. Ale*

      Yes, but if they get consistent feedback on a particular area of the country being hard to fill positions, that’s likely to be felt.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      No, they will want to know this. They are basically sales people; if they consistently can’t make sales in a certain location, they will want to know why.

      And moreover, given the current political climate, they need to know this.

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      That would be true for more general highly personal reasons like oh I wont move to Florida because I hate humidity.

      But because the state is passing laws that make it unsafe for people to work there? They will very much care. Most make money doing this. If they are struggling to come up with candidates for that kind of broad impact reason, it’s going to affect their bottom line.

      And companies are going to want to know why the recruiter they are paying cant get them candidates.

      They care.

      1. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

        I would also think that if recruiters continually had problems finding candidates for certain locations, the recruiters might begin turning down companies in those locations. So, the companies may wind up having a hard time finding recruiters who will work with them.

        1. Fluffy Fish*

          Oh absolutely. People go where the work is. If the recruitment pool is drying up, recruiters aren’t going to work there.

    4. Observer*

      My guess is a recruiter on commission won’t really care why you do or don’t want to work in a particular location;

      A recruiter on commission probably wants as much information as they can get as to what makes positions attractive or not to candidates, so they know how to best use their time and resources to make the most placements. If such a recruiter knows that employers who do X are going to lose qualified candidates, they will focus more on employers who don’t do X. And when dealing with employers who do X, they will try to make sure that it’s not going to be an issue for the candidate earlier on in the process so they don’t waste too much time if it’s a deal-breaker.

      1. Emelius*

        perhaps they won’t care so much in the beginning, but if they are repeatedly unable to find people willing to consider jobs in certain states that may have an effect on things. if these recruiting firms are unable to find people willing to accept jobs with companies operating in red states, they will eventually no longer be willing to recruit for these companies. if enough companies operating in red states are unable to find good talent, willing to move there, perhaps that will send a message that they need to move their operations to somewhere that is more respectful of personal rights

      2. UKDancer*

        I think recruiters definitely want to know why people are saying no, so they can make the client aware of the issues and any trends they’re seeing. I mean they may not care about you, but if you’re the third person who has raised an issue with the location, that’s probably worth flagging to the company.

      3. Kyrielle*

        This, and if they’re independent recruiters, knowing that I won’t go to these states lets them know not to waste their time calling me for positions in those states…but they still might call me if they had something in another, safer state. They don’t get anything unless they place a candidate, so knowing “anything in Florida, Texas, etc., will be turned down by this person” is a useful data point for them – especially if they have a matching position in, say, Maryland, come up.

    5. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      They don’t care about personal stuff like “I won’t work there because I have relatives nearby who I don’t get along with”. That’s too much to ask a general recruiter to remember. But they’ll remember stuff about the company or location, because those are not specific to any given recruitee.

      And hell yes, I absolutely tell recruiters “I won’t work for that company because their equipment exploded and killed children at school, and then they fought in court to avoid responsibility” (this is a real incident in my area). That particular company used to offer lower than market rate wages, and after that incident the offered wages went up a lot.

    6. Lenora Rose*

      They may care about trends; if they ask 5 people who turned down a position and all 5 give different unrelated answers, they’ll dismiss it all from their minds. if they ask 5 people and 4/5 give the same answer, they’ll start paying attention.

    7. cat with thumbs (uk)*

      Perhaps this is so. In that case, saying things like “I won’t work in red states” or “I won’t work in states that have restrictive abortion laws” is giving them that list, so it’s still worth saying.

  24. EPLawyer*

    #1 – Definitely tell the recruiters. Use Alison’s language because its sounds more professional. Red State/Blue State is short hand and we all know what it means, but you are still job hunting so you want to be professional.

    It’s the difference between saying Hey, what’s up? when you first walk into the interview and saying Hello.

    1. Juggling Plunger*

      How you saw it also depends on the message you wanted to send. You expressed concern that it could make it appear that you would politicize your work, and that you don’t want to send that message. In that case, saying that you won’t move to X state because it’s not safe for/supportive of you should diffuse that. If you do want to make it more political, simply saying “I am unwilling to move to/spend money in/pay taxes to a state with these policies” may send a more pointed message about how the state is hurting its employers (who tend to have some clout politically).

  25. GlamorousNonprofiteer*

    LW #1: You are absolutely right to be concerned. Someone else recommended that you look at Maryland, instead of DC or Virginia and I can tell you that’s great advice as a former Montgomery County Maryland resident. MoCo will stay blue forever and the state won’t go against the richest and most populous county. Chicago is lovely as well but let me put in a plug for Michigan, where I moved home to just recently. LGBTQ+ and abortion rights were added to the Constitution (!!!) and there are several parts of the State where you would feel very safe (Detroit, some Detroit suburbs, Ann Arbor, East Lansing).

    I’m also an employer and am considering where future potential employees live – some States (cough *the other peninsula* cough) are trying to pass through legislation that would make it illegal for our organization to require things like vaccinations or provide comprehensive and inclusive healthcare for everyone.

    Be safe and best of luck.

    1. gmg22*

      Michigan is such a ray of hope right now! I have (very conservative) family there and I had written off the state in my mind as lost. So glad to have been so wrong about that.

    2. DD*

      Michigan also passed a non-Gerrymandering item where an independent commission sets the districts. After the first independent districts were set both the state house and Senate flipped from red to blue majority. We also have a woman governor, Atty General and Secretary of State.

  26. WorkTravelPerks*

    #5 Pre-covid I traveled internationally for work several times a year usually including at least one weekend where I wasn’t working. Unless it was cheaper/easier to fly home and then back the next week, they covered lodging and meals for the weekend. Since I often visited the same small town, I would often go somewhere else on the weekends either by myself or with other colleagues. My company didn’t care where it was paying for lodging and meals as long as it was similar in cost, so I would pay for the airfare/train costs, any significant different in lodging, and any sightseeing expenses. It was a great way to see new places as a young adult!

    1. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

      Sometimes though they pay for the entire hotel stay, so if you stay somewhere else it might not be covered.
      I would ask before you assume they don’t care where you stay.
      But it is a great way to see a new country. Even if you pay for the weekend excursions.

  27. NotanAppleUser*

    So the air tag notification would only appear on other iPhones, is that correct?

    Surely, not everyone in the office has one so it shouldn’t be a wave of notifications, right?

    Signed, the girl with a Motorola phone.

    1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I believe there is also an alert app for android phones that you can download to let you get the alerts about non-owned AirTags. I have no idea how many people actually use it, but I imagine anyone who was worried about someone potentially monitoring them using an AirTag would at least consider it.

      I think the issue is that for most people, an occasional “hey, there’s an AirTag around here that’s not yours” alert is not a big deal (particularly if it only happens at work and not other places), but anyone who is dealing with a threat model where someone might be trying to track their movements would be both more likely to have things set up so that they get the alerts and be more likely to be stressed out by getting stray alerts in situations like this. I don’t have a good solution here, but I hope that eventually there’ll be more robust “ignore this specific AirTag in for this amount of time in these locations” type settings for the alerts to make it easier to filter this stuff. (In the road trip situation I posted about in another comment above, I would have loved an “ignore this AirTag until x date” setting, but I can also see the use for an “ignore this AirTag in x location” setting.)

  28. Boolie*

    #5 you might have done this already but since you didn’t mention it, your employee manual should have information about this. Many folks don’t often remember/think to check there.

  29. PassablyFondofBoiledPeanuts*

    LW#5: Per diem + lodging is much cheaper for the company than paying for plane tickets (plus potentially salary for travel time?) to fly you back and forth between Japan and home every weekend. Unless your policy manual explicitly says something different, enjoy your weekends!

  30. HonorBox*

    OP5 – I have always looked at situations like this through the lens with which my first boss presented it. She and I were traveling back from a conference and I went to some airport shop to pick up a snack and soda. She was in line behind me and as I was starting to pay with cash, she told me to use my company card. Once we sat down, she told me very clearly that we were in an airport because work required it. She asked me if I’d have paid $4 for a soda otherwise and I said no. She nodded and said, “exactly.” So I think if work is requiring you to be somewhere, you absolutely should expect them to cover basic costs even during your non-work time. Your hotel… absolutely. Because you wouldn’t be paying to stay in a hotel over the weekend if you were at home. Your food… absolutely. Because you would be eating at home if you weren’t somewhere for work.

    Does that mean that ALL the expenses you incur should be covered by the workplace? No. If you choose to go to a museum or a nightclub or a movie or a super high-end steakhouse, that’s something you’re choosing to do on your own time. But reasonable meals and absolutely accommodations should be covered. As should be laundry, if need be, since you’re not able to get home and use your own washer and dryer.

    I’d have a really hard time supporting any business that expects employees not to be reimbursed for those costs since they’re assigning you to be somewhere and you don’t have the opportunity to be at home to eat and sleep and do laundry.

  31. Keymaster of Gozer*

    3. I work in a UK industry that has a very strong ‘you do not work with any alcohol in your system’ message in our contracts and handbooks – they do randomly check and if you’ve had a drink at lunchtime it’s a fail.

    This is, however, not normal across the UK and they absolutely apply this rule across the board. If there was a group that was out drinking during the work day and coming back into the office and no response from the firm then the unions would go ballistic. The rules have to apply to all.

    I won’t say you can’t be fired for violating a rule that they let others get away with because I’ve known a few employers here who are dodgy enough to try it (one fired me for taking sick leave) and reason that if the firm is large enough a single person can’t fight back. Which is sadly the case sometimes.

    Definitely speak to ACAS. I’ve dealt with them a lot and they know employment law forwards and backward.

  32. Per Diem Question*

    I am number 5. Thank you for all of your answers, I was truly obsessing about this and felt very odd even asking the question that I felt I should have known the answer to.
    Most of my travel for work in a case like this included a vacation tagged onto the end with non-stop meetings, business dinners etc during the first part.
    All of the answers are very helpful.

    1. EMP*

      Enjoy the trip! Japan is an amazing country to visit and the train system makes day trips easy and pretty economical.

    2. Hillary*

      Enjoy the trip! Some employers I’ve been able to get them to pay for my lodging on “vacation” days because the return tickets were a lot less expensive if I stayed over a Saturday night. Definitely know your environment and talk to your boss, but they’re often flexible.

  33. irianamistifi*

    LW#1 – I think it’s perfectly fine to say why you don’t want to take roles in those locations. My experience with recruiters on LinkedIn sounds different from yours… I’m mostly getting pinged by recruiting firms trying to fill positions at other companies and these folks barely know anything about the position (very annoying) and in those cases, I’m not sure they would care or convey your concerns to the hiring company. But a company where HR is reaching out to you directly would be different.

    Other cities I haven’t seen raised but you may want to consider:

    – Philadelphia (but live in NJ). NJ has just become the 7th safe haven state for trans folks. Cost of living is a little high in the northern part of the state but is more affordable in the south and west. PA is still a purple state unfortunately, but NJ is small enough that many parts of the state are still within a 1 hour drive of PA.
    – Boston. The number of colleges and universities in MA makes it one of the most liberal states.
    – Hartford. Less than an hour’s drive from parts of western MA which boasts a number of women’s colleges. I went to college in western MA and the whole area is a bright and thriving community.
    – Stamford. Not great for affordability, but this area has really expanded in recent years and has tons of great places that make it more attractive to 20- and 30- somethings than when I lived there (back then, it was boring and the only thing to do was to drive into NYC).

    1. white straight old*

      As a person of color, the OP may want to research Boston. I do not have direct knowledge, but my brother-in-law, who is a person of color, declined a job offer in Boston due to his concerns about moving his family there. I was very surprised when I heard this, as I assumed it would be very liberal due to the colleges and universities.

      1. EMP*

        Legally and socially it’s pretty liberal (although not always in the ways you’d expect – there’s a lot of Puritanism in the liquor laws still) but I’ve also heard Boston can be incredibly racist toward BIPOC. I’m white and can’t speak to this first hand but I’ve had friends call it the most racist city they’ve lived in.

        There may be other cities in Massachusetts though that have a better reality/reputation.

        1. Random Dice*

          Yes especially the policing in Boston has had real racism issues. Black folks I talk to tend to like DC much more than Boston.

      2. Relentlessly Socratic*

        I’ve been in the Boston area for 30 years now (and am New England native). Boston and surrounds is very liberal, but is also pretty ding-dang white.

      3. Angstrom*

        Boston can vary greatly by neighborhood. The school desegregation busing protests in the 70’s and 80’s were vicious.

      1. penny dreadful analyzer*

        Seriously; I am absolutely shocked that there is a “not great for affordability” caveat on a different city on a list that includes Boston. Housing costs in Boston are extremely unreasonable.

        1. irianamistifi*

          My apologies for not including that. I’ve never lived in Boston proper, only the surrounds which *does* have some lower cost options. OP indicated they were looking for jobs in cities but were ok living in surrounding areas, so I assumed that was alright. I can only speak to the costs in places I’ve actually lived.

          I’ve lived in the Bay area in California and while it’s quite liberal, there’s nearly nowhere around there that you could live that qualifies as affordable so I didn’t include it in the list.

  34. Fishsticks*

    LW1, I’ve been having the same concern as I look around and see what opportunities are out there. There are a lot of states where I simply do not feel either myself or my children will be safe or able to trust doctors, teachers, etc as the law increasingly dictates discrimination in those states.

    Florida and Texas both tried to declare they will kidnap children from parents who aren’t abusive if they support those children being trans. That’s terrifying. I can’t imagine choosing to live or work there if you’re not already in the state.

  35. Observer*

    #5- Should you put in for travel expenses.

    I’m confused by the question. Why would you NOT put in for lodging / per diem? What would be a reasonable alternative? That you fly home every week? That you check out of the hotel and stay on the street (with all of your work equipment and materials) for the weekend? Not eat over the weekend?

    You are there, even over the weekend, because your company needs you there. Therefore it’s absolutely their responsibility to pay those costs.

    1. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

      Possibly if the OP is contract or freelance maybe the company wouldn’t cover weekends? I would still find that highly unusual.

      I think it’s a normal question to ask for employees who haven’t had much experience with corporate travel, especially international travel.

  36. nonna*

    Re: LW1. I’m curious about what others think of Alison’s advice on this one. While in the abstract, I love the idea of applicants telling people exactly why they don’t want to move to those states at the moment, at an individual level I’d worry about being labelled as difficult/uppity by the recruiter. I’m also in a conservative industry, and it’s very possible to have terrible recruiters that think like this at a company that I might want to work for. Put another way, I don’t think it’s reasonable for the LW (who in already on the receiving end of these policies) to take on the burden of pushing back.

    Why not just say that you’re not interested in moving to X state, without specifying why? If pushed “family reasons” should work.

    1. Alice*

      I don’t think this is that unusual or that unreasonable. People generally have strong opinions about where they live, and being safe there is a basic requirement.

      1. nonna*

        It’s entirely 1000% reasonable, but the letter writer noted that they’re in a conservative industry. In my company at least, having a conversation like this would be met with a lot of eye-rolling and judgement, and accusations of making everything about race/gender/sexuality. Sometimes I’ll fight the fight, other times I just want to do my job – it’s a tightrope between affecting organisational change and doing the work I’m hired/trained to do. In this case (trying to find a new job), my impulse would be to keep my head down, and not put the focus on my identity.

        1. Heather*

          Same. I’d be listing states or cities I’m open to/not open to, without spelling out why. If the recruiter notices the pattern, great, if not that still works out for me.

    2. Observer*

      If a recruiter is going to consider you “uppity” for having the temerity of having opinions about the sate a potential job is located in, then you really don’t want to work with them. Because that is a recruiter that has zero respect for you and you cannot trust them one whit.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      The LW specifically asked “Is there a professional way to say I’m definitely not interested in those cities due to the increased hostility and discrimination in those states, but that I’m open to opportunities in other cities in blue states?” (bolded for emphasis). They’re under no obligation to explain to recruiters why Miami and Dallas are bad options for them, but the way I read the question, it sounds like they want recruiters to know why they won’t consider offers in Miami and Dallas.

    4. Annie Ames*

      I also was thinking that Alison’s suggested wording might cause harm to LW1 because of the potential for discrimination just by stating their race and sexual orientation.

      1. white straight old*

        The second suggestion might not have that same impact, as it is more of generalized concern about the suspension of so many individual rights, as well as general hostility and discrimination. As an old white straight woman, this is what I would say, as I am not personally affected (not yet, anyway), but I am highly concerned.

      2. Brain the Brian*

        On the other hand, if it helps recruiters also screen for companies that would be less likely to discriminate against LW1 along those lines, maybe that’s a benefit to being honest with a recruiter about the reasoning?

      3. Lenora Rose*

        Nothing in the stated wording specifies race or sexual orientation, or disability, or health concern, or gender identity…

        1. Snell*

          Alison provided two options for wording, and the first one did reference LW1’s race and sexual orientation. Her second option didn’t, and was more generalized; you may have been focused on one and not the other, but I assume Annie was talking about the first option.

    5. Emelius*

      I don’t think most recruiters are going to consider a person difficult or uppity over a situation like this. There are many reasons why a particular job may not be one that a person would be willing to take. People decline to be considered for particular jobs all the time for many different reasons. Sometimes the salary is too low, maybe there’s not enough vacation time, too much travel, maybe the person only likes living in big cities or only within an hour of the ocean, or only in a place where it doesn’t snow, etc. Those are all valid reasons not to consider a particular job. The fact that a particular state has passed laws putting restrictions on a person’s right to exist or receive medical care that they need is just as valid as the previous reasons I mentioned. Even if the laws don’t affect you personally, it is perfectly acceptable to say that you will not live in a state that has passed despicable laws against women or the LGBTQ+ community.

      The recruiter can then pass your feedback along to the company. If it happens enough, recruiting firms will stop doing business with companies that continue to operate in these states. Perhaps the company will realize that they are missing out on the best talent by continuing to operate in a state like this and they will relocate. If a recruiter labels you difficult because you won’t consider any job in a state with these disgusting laws, then that recruiter doesn’t deserve to have your business.

  37. Lenora Rose*

    Re #3: I know it’s just an example, but I feel some sharp prickles reading about being fired for drinking being against policy (even though everyone does it), when the real reason behind firing is pregnancy. That juxtaposition or drinking and pregnancy gets into a whole set of other discussions that aren’t workplace related and are distractions from the *actual* point (Ie, I had to read it twice to get what the actual advice was because I had to mentally separate the two. Would it maybe be better to use “working on personal projects” as the excuse for firing that everyone does, but this particular person was targeted for?

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      I get where you are coming from but I read the example as the OP had been drinking, then they found out she was pregnant when she stopped drinking at work and then they fired her for what she did in the past. I didnt read it as she is pregnant and drinking.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        I know – but I had to read it twice, as I said. Whereas “Oh, you’re pregnant? Oh, by the way, we noticed you were working on this personal project in work time, you’re fired” doesn’t require a reread.

  38. Dinwar*

    #5: Having weekends off to explore is generally considered one of the perks of business travel. I know project managers that use this as a selling point, in fact.

    It also makes sense from a financial perspective. Travel home from Japan is going to cost more than paying for you to stay even if you’re not working. And if you work weekends–meaning only evenings off–the number of errors you commit will skyrocket. This is the reason why OSHA’s fatigue management guidance is 10 hours a day, 10 days in a row. It’s cheaper in the long run for the company to pay a few hundred bucks and let you relax than it is to pay you to do the work plus someone else to fix it. To be clear, I’m not insulting you here; it’s not a matter of pushing through. It’s a matter of human operational parameters. We can’t work without rest, and no one can work three weeks straight without consequences. Even if you think you can, it’s in the company’s best interest to not take that risk.

    The thing to remember is that when you have weekends off the company isn’t paying you. They’ll reimburse meals and hotels, but that’s a drop in the bucket. Any company that’s sending you overseas and also complaining about a few hundred dollars is extremely shady, and likely not going to survive.

    (For what it’s worth, I’m also hoping to provide some info in case you or someone reading these comments needs to push back on an unreasonable workload.)

  39. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    # 5 work travel
    On an extended trip like this your company covers the entire time you’re there, including weekends you’re there for the work trip.

    The only thing that wouldn’t generally be covered is if you take a personal trip (go somewhere else for sightseeing) over one of those weekends you’re there, or if you tack on any additional days to the trip for personal reasons. Then that’s on you.

    It’s common. I tacked on a few extra days to visit London during a work trip to Europe. You would be responsible to pay for any change fees on the return flight if you change airports. Just keep any personal travel separate.

  40. CTA*

    For LW # 4

    I’m confused about the endorsement system as described. Is the question on the application meant to be an Employee Referral? Is it a more broad “do you know anyone employed at this company?” so your company can determine conflicts of interest? If it’s supposed to be an employee referral, then your acquaintance should have really asked you if it was okay to put your name down. I know some people will assume that there’s an employee referral program where you’ll get a bonus, but they should still ask if it’s ok to list your name. If it’s the latter, then maybe there’s some understandable confusion. But your letter makes it sound like it’s the former (a referral or endorsement). Is there someone at your company that you can reach out to and ask about giving a more nuanced response?

    I’ve definitely reached out to the Hiring team at my employer’s when a complete stranger put down my team’s group email as a referral. Our team’s email is a public email so users can reach out with questions. I think the applicant thought that my sharing a job opportunity on a Slack workspace’s jobs channel meant this was a referral. My employer’s job application required a name and email for an employee referral so the applicant put down the public email. The online application actually emails a thank you note to the employee listed. Yep, my whole team got a notice of this applicant. I emailed the Hiring team and told them I don’t know this person.

  41. TomatoSoup*

    OP1: I have no useful advice but just wanted to acknowledge what a difficult situation you’re in.

  42. Annie Ames*

    LW1: if they don’t want to come across as political at work, I’d avoid using Alison’s suggested responses. The responses are highly political and would start an employment relationship off on a political note. Instead I’d say something on the lines of “those cities won’t work for me and my family, but I’m open to city X.” If the recruiters ask why, there may be an opportunity to explain the cultural/political safety factor. LW states they don’t want to come across as political, yet they want to educate employers about the current political/justice situation they’re facing – I don’t think they can achieve both objectives.

    1. The Ginger Ginger*

      It’s not a political comment to say, yeah that state isn’t safe so I’m not moving there. The less we allow the idea that people’s safety and general existence are political, the better.

    2. Emelius*

      Dancing around the issue because we don’t want to sound political is not going to solve anything. We are talking about states passing laws that have created a situation where people may not be able to get medically necessary treatments and where children could potentially be seized from loving parents. This is not time to be keeping politics out of the discussion as to why you decline to be considered for a particular job. Companies that are continuing to operate in these areas need to know why talented and qualified candidates are declining to apply for jobs with them.

      1. Fishsticks*

        Yeah, we’re far outside the bounds of “don’t get political” when talking about states that want to abduct children from loving families for being trans or having a trans parent, states that force a woman to carry nonviable pregnancies against her will even if it does harm to her mental, emotional, or physical health, states that are working to criminalize drag performances…

        We’ve gone past political. Keeping quiet about our worries is what enables it to get worse.

    3. Political person*

      As a queer women who works in education, my entire existence and career are “political.” That wasn’t my choice, but I won’t ignore the threats to my legal, physical, and financial safety just to make bigots or fascists feel more emotionally comfortable. If a company / recruiter finds my sense of self preservation too political for their taste, that’s not on me.

    4. eye roll*

      It’s “political” to say you will only live somewhere where you are safe and have civil rights? Tell me more about this philosophy where it’s “political” for “certain people” to want to live in safety.

      1. Enai*

        Also, *they* made it political first. Or is there a universe in which politicians campaigning with “I’ll make $discriminatory_thing law”, passing said law and then enforcing it is not a political process? You can call a spade a spade, and “This state’s laws and politics harm me and my loved ones” may not be what people like to hear, but so what? It’s true and needs to be said. The notion that people directly impacted should smile politely and keep silent is offensive, actually.

    5. Lenora Rose*

      I don’t see what part of any of those answers requires “educating employers” after it’s given. The question is answered, with enough detail to let them know it’s not something the job can get past with more money or better perks or a moving allowance, and that is all they need to know.

      They definitely don’t need to know WHICH category specifically is of concern (and with states like Florida and Texas, the options are pretty much every single possible marginalized group across the board) and they almost certainly know the overall political ground.

  43. Dulcinea47*

    LW2: Get a Tile instead maybe. I use one to keep track of my phone/keys. I’m not sure what features the Apple tag has that the Tile might lack, but it definitely doesn’t tell other people walking by about itself. (I’m not an ad, just been using that thing for years and it’s saved me hours of looking for my dang-diddly-ang phone.)

  44. BreakingDishes*

    #4 reference to:
    Poops in a bag and puts in people’s lunches….. Makes and detonates small bombs…. Pranks??
    I was not a reader in 2016. This story left me gobsmacked. Surely wins the worst boss ever. It’s really quite hard to believe some of that stuff is true.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I would point out that the details come from a legal case–it’s not a reddit thread with an anonymous tale of workplace hijinks. (In fact, someone upthread recognized the players.) Great illustration of a toxic workplace.

      I loved the detail that because controlled explosions by trained personnel are carried out in mining, rigging bombs to go off around your employees is totally normal and adds a sense of fun to the workday.

    2. Random Dice*

      It’s genuinely the most startling instance of a stair that’s not only missing, but with a raging pit of hellfire underneath.

      And all easily verified through court documents.

    3. Observer*

      Yes, it is. Except that the linked article has enough detail that you can actually verify the case.

      And it’s one of the reasons I tend to believe most of the wilder stories that get posted here.

  45. Ya Better Werk*

    LW4: Seems really straight forward, that candidate would be a no for you.

    Not because he had a challenging personality when you went to school together. It would be weird to hold a grudge on how they were 10 years ago, in their late teens and very early 20s.

    Your answer is no because it has been 10 years and you clearly haven’t kept up with this person. You have nothing to endorse.

    1. Lenora Rose*

      But in the initial presentation, there’s no way to differentiate “I don’t know this person well enough anymore to make an informed opinion” vs. “I absolutely do NOT think this person should work here.” and no indication whether a no for the former would be taken as the latter. Just because you don’t endorse someone doesn’t necessarily mean you want to risk damaging their chances.

      LW #4 did expand later and said it turns out there is some space to elaborate on your answer enough to distinguish those, which helps somewhat.

  46. JC*

    #5: I was also just in Japan for work! I was reimbursed for hotel and food on the weekend, even though I was not “working” then. I did not put in for reimbursement for other personal things, such as the costs of taking the train to do something touristy or a museum admission fee.

    Enjoy your trip!

    1. Mr. Shark*

      Yes, I was in China for work over a three week period, and the company was definitely responsible for hotel and food. I did take a train to do some tourist things, and paid for that myself, and since I didn’t want to take all of my luggage with me, I paid for a separate hotel in a different city myself while my luggage occupied my “work” hotel.
      Basically, if you are required to be in a location for work, they should be paying for all accommodations. If I was just traveling in city on the weekend, I would have charged the company for my travel in that city. I did charge my company for all food, even in a different location.

  47. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    #1 If you don’t want to come off political in anyway you can always say “Miami is not a city I would consider relocating to but if there are openings in (other cities where that company exists) I would be interested in hearing more.

    I think whether you blanket state that it is because of the political climate/your safety should depend on whether you are speaking to a recruiter or a company directly. I wouldn’t with a recruiter because there is no upside for you, they could stop passing on opportunities that would be a good fit. But a company I might be more up front because if they don’t like it, good to know now.

    1. Emelius*

      I can see a flaw with this method. You might be able to get away with telling a recruiter that you wouldn’t want to work at a company’s offices in Miami, but what if this company also has offices in other Florida cities? what if the company also has openings at their offices in Texas, Tennessee, and Alabama? how are you going to explain why you would not consider working in any of those places as well? this is not a time to avoid being political. You can absolutely explain to a recruiter that you will not work in a state where there are laws that put the lives and safety of people at risk. if the recruiter has a problem with that, then you are better off finding another recruiter to work with.

  48. No name please*

    LW 1, have you asked anyone in your network facing the same situations how they would respond? Are you able to research the recruiting company or is there so many it’s kind of impossible? I have sometimes seen videos on YouTube telling poc which areas to visit and not visit so I wonder if there’s a video on which areas – beyond the obvious of Texas , Florida, and others people have mentioned that can suggest areas to consider?

    One other thing you may want to consider is to move to a place that isn’t perfect but not totally bad, either. Ohio could use someone like yourself. We have been known to be a bellwether when it comes to deciding future presidents. Just stick to Columbus and Cleveland. Cincinnati and rural areas in Ohio are not to be trusted, but Columbus and Cleveland work hard to be LGBTQIA+ friendly as well as friendly towards poc. I would personally love to see more liberal-minded people to add to our current groups.

  49. Elizabeth*

    LW#1: I think recruiters are very understanding about people’s reasoning for these sorts of things. I’m an attorney and a recruiter asked me recently if I was interested in working for a conservative law firm in Salt Lake City. I said I appreciated the recruiter thinking of me, but I was never going to work for a law firm that makes its employees pray before every meeting. The recruiter was very supportive.

  50. Grandma*

    There’s been quite a bit of commentary on refusing to move to an anti-abortion/anti-trans state for work and “voting with your feet” by moving out of such states if you already live there, but there are also perils to temporary visitors. Starting today there is a high school robotics competition going on in Houston. Our local high school has sent a team that includes a number of young women. I really, really hope that none of them is pregnant, known or otherwise, and has a problem while they are there for the next few days. A gyn problem that could even remotely present as a possible pregnancy could be life threatening for fear to treat. And, yes, I donated a $100 for them to go, but the location made me think hard about it.

  51. Not One of the Bronte Sisters*

    Please consider New York as an education destination. We have an excellent state university system and after a year of living here you are considered a state resident and can pay in-state tuition. New York City is extremely expensive but much of the state is not and we are blue, blue, blue.

  52. Mr. Shark*

    The bad thing I can see if people flee the areas in which their rights are being oppressed (which is completely understandable), it just means that areas is going to get worse and worse. We could see an unofficial “Handmaid’s Tale” type situation, and the opposite in the blue states. We seem to get further and further apart in ideology. The thing that has kept laws more fair has been the balance between the two sides.

    1. ok*

      Trends show that people are actually moving from blue states to red ones.

      NY, Illinois and California have decreasing populations while Texas, Idaho and Florida’s populations are only increasing.

      1. Sunshine*

        Not that it matters, but as someone living in Illinois, I wonder how much of that is politics vs. property values. My parents retired to Tennessee because it was so much cheaper to buy and maintain a house.

      2. Jackalope*

        Do you have any sources for that? And in particular, any sources that have recent information since the changes in law that are happening right now? Stats from a couple of years ago, for example, aren’t going to show what’s happening in regard to the Dobbs decision.

          1. ok*

            Sorry the link didn’t come through. you can find easily.

            See below from the Census site.

            Changes in State Population
            Increasing by 470,708 people since July 2021, Texas was the largest-gaining state in the nation, reaching a total population of 30,029,572. By crossing the 30-million-population threshold this past year, Texas joins California as the only states with a resident population above 30 million. Growth in Texas last year was fueled by gains from all three components: net domestic migration (230,961), net international migration (118,614), and natural increase (118,159).

            Florida was the fastest-growing state in 2022, with an annual population increase of 1.9%, resulting in a total resident population of 22,244,823.

            “While Florida has often been among the largest-gaining states,” Wilder noted, “this was the first time since 1957 that Florida has been the state with the largest percent increase in population.”

            It was also the second largest-gaining state behind Texas, with an increase of 416,754 residents. Net migration was the largest contributing component of change to Florida’s growth, adding 444,484 residents. New York had the largest annual numeric and percent population decline, decreasing by 180,341 (-0.9%). Net domestic migration (-299,557) was the largest contributing component to the state’s population decline.

            Eighteen states experienced a population decline in 2022, compared to 15 and DC the prior year. California, with a population of 39,029,342, and Illinois, with a population of 12,582,032, also had six-figure decreases in resident population. Both states’ declining populations were largely due to net domestic outmigration, totaling 343,230 and 141,656, respectively.

            1. Jackalope*

              Hmm, that’s very interesting. I haven’t heard of anyone making that move in the last couple of years, although I’m a bit insulated (not just because of politics; most of the people I’m close to would never move to someplace as warm as TX or FL). I wonder what the explanation is.

              1. ok*

                There are probably multiple reasons for people moving.

                Number one I would think is financial reasons. usually red states have lower taxes and lower COL.

                I believe the pandemic too played a role with many restrictions in blue States and rising crime rates in big cities.

                You can read up on it. There are many different articles with different explanations.

                1. Quality of Life*

                  Red states also tend to have drastically lower QOL and life expectancy to go with that COL and lower taxes. But people who move to red states “because it’s cheaper” rarely take the whole picture into account until they realize the hidden costs mean they didn’t move to their dream home after all.

    2. Daisy-dog*

      As an ally, I did weigh this into my decision to stay put in my red state. Ready to vote in the upcoming school board election!

      (It was a small piece of it because the rest was related to generally liking the area and having a career here.)

  53. Tech writer*

    OP #1: I’m a tech writer and I’ve had external recruiters email out of the blue on linkedin begging me to consider moving to Wisconsin for a temporary 3-month-job that didn’t provide health insurance, even though my linkedin profile clearly states “New York, NY.” They were and are so desperate to get a commission that they’ll message anyone that comes up in a mass search on linkedin. I’ve also had an external recruiter openly mock me for not wanting to work in a New Jersey office because I lived in Westchester, NY without a drivers license, and because he wouldn’t get the commission if I said no. That’s how external tech recruiters treat people. This might not be your situation. You might be receiving messages from internal recruiters who are far better. But still, stand your ground. Seriously.

  54. Nellbee*

    LW3, I’m in the UK and yes, absolutely you can be fired for breaking a rule everyone breaks, and you can be scapegoated for it too!

    Exactly this happened to my Mum. She was made the public fall person for side swerving red tape that sounded necessary on paper but that was, in practice, a barrier to getting the job done well. Everyone did it, but when my Mum’s boss took against her and began bullying her, she used it to justify firing Mum. In fact, the org had very little justification and, as Alison says, they were in legal jeopardy (which they knew and was evidenced by the generous “early retirement” offer they gave Mum in the end), but the reality is, if you’re in that sort of situation, you likely don’t have the energy or financial resources to fight. It was also a small town and a small field where everyone knew each other, despite the thin legal argument and the settlement, my Mum’s ex boss got her black listed at all other potential employers and she ended up giving up work.

    If you’re in that situation, I advise sticking to the rules yourself and documenting everything. It’s seldom the only problem with a workplace and a mismatch between rules and practice is a red flag on its own. Go carefully and good luck!

  55. Addison DeWitt*

    Okay, I have to chuckle a little at the idea that Miami is not gay-friendly. Beware of Key West, too.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      Why? Are you unaware of the Don’t Say Gay law, the open hostility of the current government, and the fact that this kind of legislation and attitude affects the entire state including the more progressive cities?

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Some people think discrimination is exemplified by people saying slurs at you on the street or the cashier being snooty to you when they smiled at the last three people, and not by things like laws and judicial rulings. Because the firmer is concrete, and the latter can seem abstract if you aren’t affected. So if people in Miami wave and smile at their neighbours of any sexual orientation or gender identity, and get to have parades and parties at Pride, then it’s easy to presume everything is fine.

  56. SB*

    #1 – you must be exhausted from the anxiety. I am a cis white woman in Australia & just reading about what is going on in some states of the US is making me anxious. I absolutely cannot imagine how you & people in similar situations must be feeling. A good recruiter would understand your concerns & most likely agree that these states would not be a safe move for you. Best of luck to you.

  57. Michelle Smith*

    What did I just read at that link to the boss who pooped in his employee’s lunch bags??? WHY IS THAT THE LEAST HORRIBLE THING HE DID WHEN IT’S SO DEEPLY HORRIFYING?!

  58. SometimesCharlotte*

    #2 – The AirTags on our keys are registered to my spouse’s phone. I do not get the message when I’ve been riding with my husband all day. I do not get them when I’m at home with the keys all day. I do get them when I’m moving around on my own with the keys and I get that alert at the end of the day after the tag has shown up in multiple locations with me, “traveling with” me. Which I find irksome in a way because if it was someone stalking me, at this point I’ve led them both to my office and my home before I get a notification! Someone who is moving in and out of the field of the tag shouldn’t get the message even if you’d left your keys on your desk and left because the tag isn’t “moving with” them.

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