my company hosts a dove hunt and only invites men, moving a meeting for Halloween, and more

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

1. My company hosts a dove hunt and only invites men

I’m in finance and my company (with 5,200 employees) hosts an annual dove hunt for high net worth clients. Employees are included and it’s great opportunity to meet your clients and other employees, especially higher-ups, from other offices. I understood there are director level and up at this event.

The issue is my director sends out email invites individually to male employees but it appears he doesn’t invite female employees. Neither I nor or other female coworker in our office received an invitation, although we were asked to provide a list of clients who may be interested. Alcohol is also served at the clubhouse (the Dick Cheney hunting fiasco comes to mind, lol). Not all who go are interested in hunting; my understanding is they go to network.

I’m thinking so many things … guns and alcohol, most women left out. I’ve been with company for about 16 months so I don’t feel comfortable saying much to my director or even HR. I may feel more comfortable next year asking why didn’t I receive an invite. I believe we have ethics line I can call anonymously, but I don’t feel comfortable speaking up at this point and am wondering if I should let it go for now.

Excluding women and only providing a networking opportunity to men is sex discrimination and it’s illegal. If you’re up for calling your company’s ethics line anonymously, you should. Otherwise, at whatever point you do feel comfortable addressing it, you should point out that the company is exposing itself to legal liability by issuing invitations based on sex (to say nothing of the potential liability of mixing guns and alcohol, but I doubt you’ll be able to convince them on that one).

Also, organizing a work event — or any event — around killing animals for entertainment is disgusting. I’m assuming you must work in a region where lots of people are okay with it, but I can’t be the only one who would pull my business if I heard about this as a client.

2. Defining “hybrid”

I recently had a job interview for a hybrid position that perfectly matched my expertise. I came in confident, prepared, and excited. The interviewer and I really gelled, and everything went well. However, in the last few minutes, the interviewer mentioned that the expectation was to be in office four days a week. I thanked them for the information and replied that that isn’t something I’m looking for. We exchanged pleasantries, and I’m back on the job boards.

I’m currently in person three to four days a week and am looking to reduce that, but recognize in my field, I’m unlikely to ever be fully remote. But now I’m wary of “hybrid” positions, because I now realize it can mean anything from four days a week to a few times a month. Are there any general assumptions I can make when a role says “hybrid”?

Typically “hybrid” means you’re working from home at least one day a week, but I wouldn’t assume more WFH days than that until it’s explicitly discussed. (I’m sure there’s some company out there calling themselves hybrid when they mean even fewer WFH days than that, but generally it’s come to mean at least a day a week.) There could be other nuances to it to that you won’t know unless you ask, like that you’ll be expected to be in the office every day for the first four months until you’re trained, etc. So if it’s a deal-breaker for you, definitely ask at an early stage what it looks like it practice.

I apply for remote jobs … and then it turns out they’re not remote

3. Moving a meeting so people can go out on Halloween

Our office meeting is usually the first Wednesday of the month. The November 1st meeting is being moved to November 2. The reason … Halloween, so people can party that night. A lot of people work remotely so it doesn’t really apply since they won’t be in the office. I have an appointment with a client outside that I can’t change. Is this the path that office culture/protocol is going down? Is this a trend you’re seeing?

Don’t read anything into it about office culture or trends. It sounds like your office just wants to be considerate of people who have Halloween plans. And why not? It’s good to accommodate people’s schedules when they can, and if means they get better engagement at the meeting that’s a plus too.

4. Can suing my current employer harm my job search in the future?

I recently retained a lawyer after filing a discrimination and retaliation claim at my workplace. I didn’t jump to this in ego or anger; I worked with my company’s HR for several months prior but received no support. My company has a reputation for legal issues and I was told by many that the company doesn’t address issues until they’re forced — i.e., with outside legal action.

There is no question in my mind this company is not the place for me, and I’ll need to take some time to heal from this and find my next role. Is the company allowed to comment that this is ongoing if they get called for a reference? Or is there any way a prospective employer may find out that I could actively control? To clarify, I’m still working there for the time being, so could this happen after I leave as well?

Yeah, if they wanted to make your life difficult (while you’re there or afterwards), they could say something like, “I’m not permitted to comment due to pending litigation.” Actually, even if they’re not motivated by wanting to make your life difficult, they might say that because it’s probably true — their lawyer almost certainly doesn’t want them commenting on your performance to an outside party (especially off the cuff) while there’s pending litigation because something they say could be later used against them.

Since you’ve already got a lawyer involved, this is a great thing to ask them about. They may be able to negotiate how it gets handled.

5. Fantasy Football after firing

I was terminated on Friday, but I participate in a work Fantasy Football league with my previous coworkers. I would prefer to just remove myself from the league and move on, but that’s not an option (literally there is no way to leave after the draft unless you are removed by the commissioner). Do I ask to be removed? Do I just tank the rest of the season on purpose? Or do I stay in the league and try to win?

If your preference is to be removed, it’s highly likely that you can just email whoever’s coordinating it and ask to be removed. But if you want to stay in … well, it might be weird and it might not, depending on the circumstances around your firing and how your people in your company generally deal with stuff like that. If it’s going to be awkward for you or them, the more gracious move is to bow out. If you don’t think it’ll be awkward, I’d still send the coordinator a note to let them know you’re no longer there since they might prefer to keep it employees-only or have a precedent for what they do if someone leaves the company mid-season.

{ 532 comments… read them below }

  1. Punk*

    OP4: I currently have a lawsuit pending against my former employer. Eventually your legal filing might show up on a site like Trellis, so after a point you won’t be able to hide it from anyone who might Google you.

    1. Rhymetime*

      A couple years ago when I started my job, I looked up my predecessor out of curiosity. I came across a blog they wrote, unrelated to work, and read a few posts because they were a good writer and I found their writing interesting.

      As I got to know people at work, I learned that they were widely considered a problem employee who was difficult to get along with. Over time, multiple people tactfully told me how glad they were that I was in the job instead. It turns out that my predecessor had been fired.

      Fast forward to a couple months ago when I remembered their blog and looked for it to read just for fun. Google shared that my predecessor had filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against my employer. Although it was settled out of court and the decision was confidential, all the motions in the case are public documents. I was easily able to read the entire legal filing, complete with quotes, with nothing redacted. This document is going to be accessible for the long term and any future employer looking them up is going to find it.

      (Happily, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences at my workplace and many of my colleagues agree and have worked there for decades.)

      1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

        Alison had some good advice for a previous LW who had quit spectacularly and it got around. She said they could say (if it came up) “while I can’t imagine ever being in those circumstances again, I stand by my decision to leave and I wish them well” or something similar.

        Maybe you could prepare a similar script? Maybe one that very briefly also says you tried using regular channels but when they didn’t work, the conduct was so egregious that you needed to seek legal advice, but don’t see yourself being in an egregious situation like that again.

        Good luck. My family member is also going through a lawsuit and it is so taxing. Cheering you on, or offering you wine, or Jedi hugs, or whatever you need.

    2. HR Exec Popping In*

      Yes, even if your prior company doesn’t comment on the litigation, it could come up in a through background check. Not your typical one but for executive level roles companies often do a very complete background check that includes social media, news, public records, etc. that would possibly include information that would attach you to a legal case against an prior employer.

    3. Random Dice*

      Alison, or others with this background, would a lawsuit be mitigated by having a number of glowing LinkedIn recommendations from that same company?

      Would future employers see that and think “they sound like a good worker, must have been the company messing up” or is it just straight-up “Don’t risk it with someone who sued once”?

  2. Kate Daniels*

    #3: That is nice of the office to move the meeting because people might be busy the evening before. I don’t do anything special for Halloween, but others are up late with kids and trick-or-treaters, so good for the office to consider life/work balance here.

    (Also, I wish the letter writer from a few years ago who adored Halloween a very happy Halloween and hope she was able to take off to fully celebrate her favorite holiday!)

    1. Bruce*

      Yes, to me keeping meetings away from Halloween is very family friendly, and even though my kids long ago moved out I’m going to have to juggle an evening call tomorrow with answering the door bell

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Yeah no kids but I will be handing out candy. I’m planning my work day around being available when the littlest ones are out.

        Its not just that adults might be at a Halloween party. Most of those were over the weekend because … jobs. Its more knowing that for families October 31 is a busy day, so it gives everyone a little breathing room before the meeting.

        It also sounds like the meeting is not iron clad on the 1st Wednesday, so a one day move regardless of the reason is not a big deal. It’s too bad you have a client meeting you can’t move but things happen.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I will also point out that for a small number of people it is a major religious holiday.

      Admittedly it doesn’t sound like this one was phrased that way, but I am throwing it out there on behalf of a pagan friend who passed away many years ago.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        As soon as I pressed send I remembered another — November 1 itself may be taken off for family obligations by employees who observe Dio de los Muertos.

        1. Lady_Lessa*

          Also for Catholics, Nov. 1 (All Saint’s Day) is a day of obligation. I’m glad that this year it is easy to go the night before.

      2. Wisdom Weaver*

        Yes! It’s Samhain, the turning point of the year when the veils between the material and spiritual worlds are thinnest. It is indeed our major holiday, a time of both celebration and thoughtful reflection on both the past and the upcoming years. (That said, we don’t mind sharing it with the assorted ghosts, goblins, superheroes and princesses coming to our doors for Trick or Treat – and hey, we won’t even grumble about cultural appropriation of our cherished holiday! But yes, it is indeed a religious celebration for many of us and it’s wise to keep that in mind.)

        Thank you, Seeking Second Childhood, for pointing this out!

      3. I'm just here for the cats!*

        November 1st is also the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) and there could be someone important who has taken the 1st day off to get a jump start!

        1. WorkingGirl*

          Ha, I was wondering if a NaNoWriMo comment would pop up here. Wonder if there’s anyone who’s saved all their PTO to take the whole month off for it…

      4. TMInsall*

        For traditionalist Latin mass Catholics, we observe all hallows eve (halloween), all saints on Nov 1, and all souls on Nov 2 (essentially dia de los muertos).

      5. not nice, don't care*

        Thank you for calling this out!
        Traditional observances so often get buried by modern appropriation and marketing.

    3. Nobby Nobbs*

      I’ve also worked places that consider it a safety issue to get people home an off the road before trick-or-treating starts if at all possible.

        1. Lainey L. L-C*

          That’s what I kept thinking, but Halloween is Oct. 31, what does that have to do with the Nov. 1 meeting?

          1. Irish Teacher.*

            I presume letting people start late on November the 1st, or at least not start with a meeting, so they can stay out a little later on Halloween without worrying about having to be fresh for a meeting in the morning.

              1. Audiophile*

                Except it does. It is a safety issue, both that night and the morning after.

                In high school, a classmate was killed in a hit-and-run by a drunk driver on Halloween, which also happened to be their birthday, while out trick-or-treating with friends.

                An employer moving a meeting shouldn’t be treated as a bad thing.

                1. Claire*

                  But getting people off the road early on Oct. 31st has nothing to do with OP’s company canceling a meeting on Nov. 1st.

        2. consuela*

          I read the comment as noting another instance of making schedule changes for the holiday (ie, another piece of evidence that supports the idea work culture more broadly can include accommodation for Halloween activities, and that such accommodation isn’t always to allow for partying/hangovers).

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Also, it doesn’t sound like the office is effectively closed for the morning and LW is stuck with an outside appointment. They just moved the standing meeting by a day.

      1. Daisy-dog*

        That’s what LW is interpreting. But I bet company is preparing for both hungover partiers and exhausted parents.

        1. ferrina*

          This is what I was thinking. Some adults may go out partying, and those that have kids may be up late desperately wrangling sugared up kids (then getting them to school the next day…uggggghhh).

          My kid loves Halloween and tries to go to as many houses as possible, and it’s like running a marathon while holding a bag of candy. I’m always exhausted the next day.

        1. Willow Pillow*

          Some of us don’t need drugs to be hungover either… I get that tired after a night out regardless!

      2. Lydia*

        The majority of people probably already partied during the weekend. I would guess they’re trying to be considerate of people with children who might have more going on the night before.

    5. Guacamole Bob*

      When I started reading the question I was momentarily worried it was one of my colleagues, since I asked for a 4-5 p.m. meeting this afternoon to be rescheduled. I’m taking off a little early to get the kids home from their after school program, get some real food into them, and get them in costumes before the neighborhood trick or treating really kicks off.

      Moving meetings the next morning seems a little odder to me, but if it’s what works for the attendees, why not accommodate it?

    6. AliceInSpreadsheetland*

      Yeah, I think it’s similar to not holding meetings or closing the office on January 1st. If you know a good portion of your staff will be up late (whether with parties or their kids/family) it’s just polite; and like Alison pointed out you’re going to have a more productive meeting if everyone isn’t super tired from the night before.

    7. Jules the 3rd*

      My kid’s school semester ends Oct 31 this year, and Nov 1 is a teacher workday, so parents may also have kids at home and need to take a day off or wfh to deal with that. Moving the meeting seems like a wise idea.

    8. Steph*

      Yes. This is a nice move for everyone, not just the partiers. My kids are a mess the morning after Halloween, getting them out the door to school this morning was much more difficult than usual. Adding a morning meeting to the mix would have been awful.

  3. VioletDaedalus*

    I know a 4-1 split is literally “hybrid,” but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. Earlier this year my company reduced our hybrid policy from W/F remote to just W, and it’s a completely different vibe.

    1. Quoth the Raven*

      In my corner of the world, I’ve even seen hybrid defined as “working in the office until lunch, then working from home after lunch” which… Yeah.

      1. Chattydelle*

        considering it takes me 2o mins to get home & I only have a 30 minute lunch, I’d have real issues with that!

        1. TechWorker*

          I mean I would assume companies that do this have flexibility over precisely how long lunch takes. I agree this wouldn’t really work for me either but it would probably work for some people! We are wfh 2 (fixed) days a week, and on those days I do sometimes go in after lunch because that means I can do morning exercise on my own schedule, get through a bit of laundry & eat at home rather than having to pack a lunch (which are the key benefits of wfh for me personally :p)

        2. Slovenly Braid Cultist*

          my commute is an hour plus and my lunch is thirty minutes unpaid… that would be a nightmare for me!

        3. Nedder*

          Probably in a company where time is not very strict. We technically have an hour for lunch and 7.5 hrs of work, but reality is, we are exempt, and no one is tracking you.

          I actually really liked going into the office for only a few hours and then leaving on the one day a week I would go in to talk to people. The whole day is what exhausts me, I just can’t handle it. Plus I have elementary school children that I need to be home before they get home from school, so that helped too.

      2. Bit o' Brit*

        That’s how I do my in-office days. I get in half an hour early, take a 1.5 hour lunch (30mins to get home, 30mins to walk the dog, 30mins to allow for delays to buses or needing to buy something while in town). It means I don’t need to worry about the dog and don’t get stuck in evening rush-hour traffic leaving the town centre. It’s perfect.

        1. not nice, don't care*

          Same. I do this a couple of days a week to accommodate my partner’s schedule and our dogs. My lunch is my commute home, then I eat while I work. It sucks to not save any gas by working at home a full day, but it keeps the bosses happy, and my dogs, and I’m already home at the end of my workday.

      3. Baunilha*

        My previous employer defined the positions as hybrid, but the only way for them to actually allow people to work from home was if the only other option was for the employee not to work at all. Like being too sick to go in person, so the alternatives were either wfh or take a sick day. I left the job over this.

    2. Oh sure*

      My office was always pretty empty on Fridays in 2019 and earlier, so I would balk at any job nowadays calling 4 days a week in the office hybrid.

      Hybrid = 2 days a week WFH or more to me. Though I would also accept Quoth the Raven’s definition above (so Friday WFH and two other half days in the office would also feel accurate to me).

      1. Gritter*

        Same here, Pre covid, I worked at a couple of companies where working from home on certain days (usually Fridays) was considered a company norm. Not everyone did it, I used to come in, but the office was a Ghost town on those days. Perhaps 1 in 4 employees where there.

        In no way would should that be considered ‘hybrid’. It needs to be at least 2 days a week WFH.

      2. Data Bear*


        Although it’s asymmetric; WFH 4 days in the office 1 is still hybrid in my mind. I’d say it’s not fully remote unless you’re only in the office on special occasions, if ever.

        1. AliceInSpreadsheetland*

          As someone whose job searches filter for ‘fully remote’ only I want to second this! ‘Fully in office’- M-F you are in the office all day, ‘fully remote’- you are never* in the office. Anything in between is ‘hybrid’, which does mean hybrid situations vary a lot but having in office days by definition means it’s not fully remote in my opinion. (I was job searching in 2021 and saw a lot of places calling themselves remote or fully remote while mandating in office days!)

          * I think 1-2 times a year still qualifies, such as coming in for onboarding paperwork or a yearly all-staff in person meeting.

      3. ferrina*

        This is where I mentally categorize it as well. Hybrid to me means semi-equal parts (or at least the option for semi-equal parts).

        The hybrid places I’ve worked had in-office set ups but where you actually worked from was up to you (no assigned days in office). I was hybrid insofar that I went in when I felt like it and worked from home when I felt like it (with rare exceptions for big meetings, etc). It’s the best!

    3. Ann Onymous*

      My employer’s definition of hybrid is different than this company’s (we consider a 4-1 split to be on-site rather than hybrid) but we do have a definition. I wonder why companies don’t just include their definition of hybrid in the job description. If they did, it wouldn’t matter so much that it varied from company to company. And employers and candidates wouldn’t have to spend time on the interview process only to find out they were looking for different numbers of in office days.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        I wonder why companies don’t just include their definition of hybrid in the job description.

        Because some companies think it’s more important to get lots of applicants than it is to get the right applicants.

        1. English Rose*

          But also some companies would have the same actual job description for the same role (say an Administrator) but in practice some teams could accommodate different hybrid arrangements than others.

    4. JTP*

      I’d call a 4-in office/1-work from home day an onsite job with a work-from-home perk.

      I’d assume hybrid means something closer to 50/50 — 2 or 3 days in office/2 or 3 days WFH.

    5. Orange_Erin*

      Yea I know that split is technically “hybrid” but it really is just what my job was before the pandemic – a full-time in-office job with flexibility to work from home once a week as needed.

      In my mind, a true “hybrid” setup would be closer to a 50/50 split of time in the office and remote. Currently, we do 2 days office 3 days home and might swap it to 3 office 2 home next year.

      1. Don't Call it Hybrid*

        After the pandemic when my workplace went entirely remote for 14 months, we are back in the office and have a work from home policy. It’s never referred to as hybrid by the higher-ups and always with “generous” included in the description. It works out to 3 days in-office and 2 days WFH each week, with an option to bank some days for later use when certain guidelines are followed. This was implemented somewhat grudgingly and recently staff has heard it could be revoked if we do not 1) turn cameras on for all video calls 2) notate calendars on where we’re expected to be on a daily basis.

    6. There You Are*

      My previous employer announced in early August that, starting mid-September, “hybrid” would now be in-office M-Th with Friday being the only day you could WFH without using PTO (yep, if you were sick M-Th but not completely bed-ridden, you couldn’t work from home that day and have to either go in or use PTO).

      Happily, I was able to tender my resignation just a week after the new policy went into effect.

      My new company is getting rid of its current permanent office spaces because the majority of employees prefer to WFH. The plan is to find a flexible space like We Work for the rare times when a big in-person meeting is required. And they would pay for work space for anyone who prefers an office environment.

      It’s refreshing to be somewhere that cares about people’s preferred work styles.

    7. And the Skeletons Are… Part of It*

      Yeah, 4/1 technically is a fair schedule to call hybrid, but when I hear it I’m assuming a 2/3 split in either direction.

    8. BongoFury*

      My company (which you’ve heard of and is a F50 company) announced last month that everyone is back in the office full time, even if you were hired last week as a remote employee.
      They also still have job postings that say “Remote” or “hybrid” but will not be offering those options to employees when they’re hired.

      When I raised a question about ethics about this my manager just said she couldn’t do anything about it, it is now company policy. Tbf, my manager hates this new policy too and keeps wasting time hiring people, onboarding them and having them quit in a week when they discover the fraud.

      If you’re looking for a position that is fully remote or even fully hybrid I’d push and push in an interview to make sure they’re being fully honest.

  4. LinZella*

    Oh OP 1 – Your company has quite a few problems especially seeing as we’re in the last two months of 2023. It’s time to modernize and, quite frankly, grow up. Their integrity is on the line here. I would NEVER work for or do business in a company like this. Hunting dove? Guns and alcohol, especially in a professional setting? EXCLUDING women?
    All the nopes.

    1. ghost_cat*

      I worked for an organisation that did 1:1 interviews with senior staff in an effort to foster engagement show how ‘relatable’ they were. One of the interviews was all about how the person travelled internationally so that they could go bear hunting for fun. I was due to work with them on a project and withdrew. Hunting for food, sure. Hunting for sport, yeah no. I don’t have respect for people who find enjoyment in animal cruelty.

      1. Mishkam na korm*

        About ten years ago, I was in Moscow for a conference and got invited by a business contact to go bear hunting in Siberia. The guy was VERY Siberian — loud, boisterous, ebullient.

        I have never been hunting in my life, but I kind of regret not accepting!

        1. MusicWithRocksIn*

          The problem comes from how often people want to hunt doves vs. how often they want to eat them. In High School a friend of mine had a dad who liked to go bird hunting (no idea what kind, maybe doves? I did not realize that was a thing). They had a garage freezer that was totally full of dead birds, but they almost never bothered to actually prep and cook them. On occasion my friend would clear the whole thing out and scrub up the dried blood, but then it would eventually fill up again.

          1. Dek*

            I guess, but I feel like if it was An Event, that eating them would also be. Doves are a lot of trouble to prepare (or at least so I hear. Me, personally, I was defeated by trying to prepare a goose, and those are huge), so they’re usually served at “fancy” type meals or for special occasions.

            I do agree that just hunting animals for the sake of it, with no intention of actually eating/using it afterward (and not just as a trophy) is…distasteful at best. But seeing a lot of folks here leaping straight to how awful and Morally Wrong a dove hunt is is kind of frustrating.

            I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m from the “Sportsman’s Paradise” and have just grown up with it as a fact of life, even if my Dad doesn’t hunt very often, and I don’t think I could at all (which does feel a little hypocritical, since I have no problem eating meat), I just don’t see it as a good thing or a bad thing, just A Thing.

            1. Emmy*

              Yes. I do not hunt and don’t like hunting, but my husband grew up hunting in rural Montana. They always ate the meat. Last time he got a tag, after the meat was processed it lasted us for months, and at that time we weren’t well off, and it was a great help. I loathe trophy hunting of animals that are not used for meat. But I’m kind of surprised at the moral outrage over all hunting, especially considering that in many rural areas hunting has long been a way to supplement a family’s grocery budget with extra meat. The event as described sounds like it’s potentially discriminatory, and I don’t think hunting is a a good networking activity for all the reasons why it excludes certain groups of people from participating.
              IMO it speaks a lot to the rural-urban divide. I can’t imagine telling my childhood neighbors in the rural area where I grew up, who had hunted in the past to help feed their family, that this was gross and outrageous.

              1. Random Dice*

                Eating hunted meat is far more ethical than farmed meat, at least in the US.

                Hunted animals are the very definition of “free range” and “organic” and I’d argue most even meet the definitions of “humane”. They certainly don’t live lives and deaths full of torture, like conventional meat animals.

                I say that as someone who has field-dressed wild-hunted deer and processed humanely-raised chickens, and used to barter with hunters for meat they hunted… but could not handle doing the actual killing. Just not in my makeup, shy of my family starving.

                But inviting very rich men to go hunting for food they don’t need, as an Old Boys Club / No Girls Allowed event? Oh hell no.

                Hunting for meat is really different than hunting for sport and influence.

          1. JustaTech*

            Squab is a not-uncommon dish – it’s not-yet-fledged pigeon, which is like a dove. (Not a city pigeon, obviously, a farmed one.)

            So maybe it’s like that?

          2. Dek*

            Generally, people who hunt doves. They’re small, so they’re usually wrapped in bacon and served as, like, an appetizer or something.

        2. WorkingRachel*

          I’m sure in theory it is, and ethically I would argue all hunting is the same, but the optics are SO bad. In the US, dove hunting would come off very differently than, say, turkey hunting. Turkey is commonly eaten and I would mainly associate turkey hunting with, I don’t know, ordinary folk in Appalachia. Dove hunting I have only ever heard of the very rich engaging in, they not commonly eaten, and it’s a frickin’ symbol of peace.

      2. lilsheba*

        Yes exactly! I have zero problem hunting for food, that goes back to our hunter gatherer days. But to hunt for “fun”? That is the most insane thing ever. Also people who fish just to catch and release, all you’re doing is injuring the fish!

        1. Random Dice*

          Yes! Most fish that are handled by humans die after being released.

          How messed up is that.

          We teach our kid that he can only kill animals that he’ll eat. You want to kill that ant? You better enjoy the taste of ant. You want to go fishing? Better like to eat fish.

    2. Non non non all the way home*

      There’s a certain irony about hunting an animal which many view as a symbol of peace.

        1. Nedder*

          I thought it was like hitting the clay balls or something.

          I think this is probably really really regionally specific.

          1. MusicWithRocksIn*

            I googled it (do not google it! I have regret!) and it appears much more widespread then I would have thought. Apparently, it’s legal in my state, and I had no idea about that.

        2. Age*

          I live in Texas and dove hunting is a very big deal here(and likely most of the south). I don’t personally eat dove, but it’s popular. Usually bacon wrapped (I’m not kidding) and grilled. You could also go into a fancy restaurant and find it on the menu, much like quail.

        3. Chirpy*

          Unfortunately, no. My state’s official symbol of peace is now huntable, because apparently some people need to shoot all the things…

        4. AMM*

          Bird hunting goes into south Georgia and north Florida as well. At Thanksgiving gatherings, one of the family members was a manager of a large quail plantation in north Florida. At certain times of year, there would be smoke in the air from burning off parts of the grounds. Managing these plantations has specific routines and skill sets.

        5. Hannah Lee*

          I’d never heard of “dove hunting” until I saw an episode featuring it on Lone Star Law, which follows Texas Game Wardens at work throughout the state.

          Apparently they have a dove hunting season, and some people get really into it. Some people are doing it for food, “harvesting” the birds, but a lot of it is recreational too.

          The idea of a workplace organizing a day of hunting, thought, is creepy, because I’m betting those clients and execs are just enjoying the shooting and killing, and not taking any of those birds home to cook. And the drinking and the sexism, workplace discrimination just makes it worse.

          1. Random Dice*

            I’m not comfortable with that assumption, based on all the hunters I know. They are well-researched, care about doing it well, and rely on the meat for their families.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        The metaphor is so profound that I honestly thought that letter must have been written in Gilead, before I realised that women can’t have jobs there. I can only wish OP a happy job hunt, because I can’t imagine this event is the only issue, and even if it is…. men only event, guns, booze, shooting animals… that’s bad enough.

      2. Critical Rolls*

        And hunting it in a hypercontrolled setting, with no need to do so to feed yourself, while schmoozing high dollar clients over booze with none of the womenfolk around. F*cking yikes.

      3. Toolate12*

        This is a big custom in my area. It’s almost certainly not the kind of dove you are thinking of. These are usually a brown kind of migratory bird.

        1. Goldfeesh*

          Just because the colors are different doesn’t make mourning dove hunting any better or worse.

          1. Mill Miker*

            I’ve heard that, zoologically, the only difference between pigeons and doves is that we call the pretty ones doves.

          2. Toolate12*

            True. Clarification offered because the symbol of peace is the white dove, not a mourning dove or whitewing dove. These birds are ultra common in the cities and rural parts here, kind of akin to crows or sparrows in terms of ubiquity, coloration, connotation.

    3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      If it were a firm here that announced fox hunting and only for men as a business trip the BBC would be clamouring to put it on its front page (okay fox hunting is illegal in the UK now but when I entered the workforce it wasn’t).

      Infinity squared Nope.

      ‘But only the men like this activity’ – Nope
      ‘But we’ve done it every year and had no complaints’ – Nope
      ‘It’s good for the countryside economy’ – Nope
      ‘Women wouldn’t want to go anyway’ – Nope
      ‘It’s a MAN thing, you wouldn’t understand’ – Nope and sod off with that biological essential stuff.

      I didn’t think there was anything more disgusting than a mens only business outing to a strip joint but gods does this column prove me wrong.

      YUCK. I need a shower.

    4. DJ Abbott*

      I was wondering if they eat the doves they kill. Eating or self-defense are the only reasons to kill an animal.

      1. Nerdgal*

        I live in Texas and know many hunters. All of them eat what they kill, or donate it to charity or a needy neighbor. Sane with fish. I am making deer soup for lunch today.

        If you pay to go on a fancy hunt like in #1, someone else may dress your game for you, but it still gets eaten. They may serve it to you, freeze it to take home, or donate it.

        1. CommanderBanana*

          I don’t eat meat, but honestly, hunting for food is way less of an environmental impact that eating farmed animals, whether that’s cattle or ducks. Especially if you are hunting animals that like deer or kangaroo.

          1. CommanderBanana*

            Sorry, animals like deer or kangaroo, where there is a large animal population with few natural predators left.

        2. MusicWithRocksIn*

          If you hunt at a club (which it sounds like this event is) you can usually give your kills to the club for a discount and they sell the meat somewhere.

        3. CowWhisperer*

          Yeah, I live in rural lower peninsula Michigan and hunting deer, geese and turkeys for food is pretty common here. People wouldn’t like an event that invited men only – but you’d get a fine turnout for a hunting event.

          Neither my husband or I hunt – but we do let responsible people hunt on our land for deer. Deer are 3x more populous now than before European immigrants massively terraformed the landscape. Hunting does is a solid way to decrease the population and it’s an easier death than bad winter starvation. Also, the question here isn’t “Have you ever had a car-deer accident?” but “How many have you had?”

      2. Dances with Flax*

        Google “dove hunting” and yes, it’s a “thing” (sigh!) According to an article in Field and Stream, you can get about 1 oz. of meat out of a dove (there are several birds that qualify as “doves”, but all of them are very small, of course.) It’s a fair bet that NONE of the people participating in LW1’s dove hunt are hunting these birds for food – we’re not talking about turkeys, ducks or geese here.

        Ughh…Just ugghhh!

        1. Age*

          Honestly, they probably clean, cook and eat them during the hunt. Very likely. They are usually stuffed or wrapped in bacon.

          1. metadata minion*

            Oh, that’s good to know! I still think it’s inappropriate for a work event, but I’m completely ok with hunting for food, rather than purely for sport.

          2. Silver Robin*

            that does not qualify to me as “hunting for food”. None of these execs needs to hunt the doves to feed themselves, and if they were hunting for food, why go for tiny birds that barely have any meat? The fact that they do get the measly bit of meat off the doves afterwards is incidental to the activity, which is socializing around killing for entertainment.

            I would be flipping this and saying, “at least they eat what they kill” as a mitigating factor around an event that mixes firearms and alcohol (!!!!!) rather than “they are killing for food”.

            1. aunttora*

              “socializing around killing for entertainment” – EXACTLY

              I eat meat (though less and less every year). In some economic circumstances/locations hunting for food is probably a reasonable method to feed yourself. But aside from these specific cases, as here, it’s causing a living being to suffer terror and pain, for the entertainment of people well able to feed themselves in other ways.

              All that being said, I would agree that a farmed animal in many cases, maybe most, has a worse life than a wild animal who is killed by a hunter. In this situation it’s probably the worst of both worlds, since I would expect the doves are bred specifically for this activity – you don’t send a bunch of execs out to the woods and hope to find some. And I doubt the conditions are PETA-approved.

              Anyway, regarding the topic as it relates to AskAManager and this letter, it’s super gross and I wouldn’t involve myself with this company as an employee or a customer. The perfect example is that horrible dentist who shot the protected lion in Africa. I certainly hope he lost his patients and his business and livelihood, and had to resort to shooting gophers at the dump (like an old boss of mine did “for fun”) to put food on the table.

              1. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

                Actually, with doves, you do just send people out to the woods and hope to find some. But you’re very likely to find them, because the woods/fields are maintained with foods/plants/nesting areas that draw the birds there. They’re essentially free to leave, they just don’t because what they need to survive on is right there (and the hunting is only for a certain part of the year, so they’re not constantly in danger of being hunted, hence another reason why they stay). There may be some management of nests/eggs at fancy places, but in general, the doves are living their normal lives.

            2. angora998*

              I do not understand any type of work event that encourages the combination of booze and guns. I bet their insurance carrier would have a fit and half over it. Can you see the workman’s comp claim. “I was at a hunting event sponsored by my employer and some drunk CEO shut me in the butt.”

          3. Tooearly*

            I’ve gone dove hunting every year with my dad since I was a child and that’s pretty spot-on. (He freezes them in empty milk containers with a little note describing how the day of hunting went – e.g., “Tooearly limited out today!” – to be defrosted and barbecued as you describe at a later point)

        2. Phony Genius*

          I searched it because I thought it was only a thing in the U.K., not the U.S., but both countries do it.

        3. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

          Everyone I know who dove hunts eats the doves. They’re really good. And you can get much more than an ounce out of every dove I’ve ever seen that comes from these kinds of hunts. They’re bigger than quail, certainly, which are also popular for hunting then eating.

          I don’t dove hunt, but again, everyone I know who hunts doves does eat the birds, even if they go to a fancy place (and most do not go to fancy places).

          Also, if the business is say, camouflage apparel, it’s a pretty logical tie-in for a business get together (my stepdad used to do marketing for a company that sells camouflage; it’s a much bigger industry than I realized). They are making a huge mistake allowing alcohol and not including women, though.

      3. Slovenly Braid Cultist*

        Eh, population control is a thing, too. Deer can absolutely destroy a local ecosystem if left unchecked. I don’t love it- I am not a hunter and don’t think I ever could be- but I’d rather a robust, managed hunting season (that incidentally feeds people too) than see what happens when the deer are allowed to consume everything. It’s a nightmare for local biodiversity plus it leads to more ticks!

        1. Eater of Hotdish*

          I used to be a regular at a food bank, during some lean times. They regularly had ground venison—there was a state program that let hunters donate. Such a good idea!

          1. Katara's side braids*

            Was about to say this about the food cupboard where I used to volunteer! There was always an abundance of venison during the hunting season, and it really was helpful to our clients.

          2. DJ Abbott*

            I know someone who hunts deer with a buddy in a rural area. His buddy gets all his meat from killing 2-3 deer/year.

          3. LunaLena*

            Exotic animal sanctuaries often will take donations from hunters as well! One such sanctuary I used to live close to often said that, during hunting season, they never had to worry about having enough meat for the lions and tigers and mountain lions.

        2. Nina Bee*

          Not sure if that’s the case all the time/at all … Cornell Deer Management Committee did a study on this a few years ago and found recreational hunting of the deer they looked at actually doesn’t keep deer population down (‘Red oak seedlings as indicators of deer browse pressure: Gauging the outcome of different white-tailed deer management approaches’ is the name of the paper). I’ve also heard other similar findings (that hunters go for antlered dominant males which set off a breeding frenzy in the other males when they’re eliminated) but unfortunately can’t remember where. It may work in some cases, am not sure.

          1. Calpurrnia*

            Deer-hunting permits where I am only allow hunters to take bucks and not does, other than in very specific “events” of some kind. (I am far from an expert and generally not a fan of hunting, but I was recently looking up statistics on deer hunting in my area for Reasons.) Presumably avoiding the females also helps maintain populations, whereas if the goal was to reduce populations then the females would be the preferred targets?

          2. Chirpy*

            My state definitely upped the “antlerless deer” permits (meaning does, but if you get an antlerless male they won’t hold it against you) when they were trying to control Chronic Wasting Disease. Taking does does a lot more for population control for the reasons you stated, though really recreational hunting wasn’t sufficient for population control and the state had to bring in professionals in some of the worst areas.

      4. Mentalrose*

        I live in a rural community and I don’t know *anyone* who doesn’t either eat what they hunt or, if their freezer is full, many food pantries here will take game if it is professionally processed. The idea of hunting for no purpose but to kill something for fun just…boggles my mind, it’s so against everything I was taught about hunting. And that is half the reason why “dove hunting at work” made me just blink stupidly at the screen. Doves are a big mouthful at best and not really worth it.

        The other half is that even here in the land where Almost Everyone Hunts, men and women alike, I *still* can’t imagine a workplace hunting party. There’s a time and a place and work is neither of those things.

        1. Observer*

          The other half is that even here in the land where Almost Everyone Hunts, men and women alike, I *still* can’t imagine a workplace hunting party. There’s a time and a place and work is neither of those things.

          Sure. But this company is a bit . . . special. I mean who mixes hunting (ie guns that are ready to use and potentially loaded) and booze?

          1. Angstrom*

            If properly and professionally managed, the drinking and the shooting are kept separate. Often the hunt is in the morning, and alcohol is not served to the shooting party until the hunters return to the clubhouse for lunch and the firearms are back in their cases. The (non-drinking) club staff enforces the rules on firearm handling.

        2. TK*

          Yeah, as someone else who comes from somewhere where hunting is big (which means literally any rural area, in the US)… more men than women hunt, but women hunting is absolutely normal and accepted by everyone.

      5. Clisby*

        At an event like this, no idea whether they eat them. If the question is meant generally for dove hunters, sure they eat them.

      6. Dust Bunny*

        Yes, people eat the doves.

        I’m also in Texas. Are there really parts of the US where this isn’t a thing?

        (It’s a terrible work activity, though.)

        1. La Triviata*

          I can’t help thinking that a “dove hunt” might provide a perfect venue for THAT ONE person everyone wants gone but no one can fire.

        2. Curiouser and Curiouser*

          I’m pretty worldly and used to live in a (different) Southern state and had never heard of dove hunting. I think it’s pretty regionally specific…

          1. Flat Margaret*

            I’m also from the south (not Texas) and have never in my life heard of anyone hunting or eating a dove

        3. MadCatter*

          I lived in TX for a few years and it’s the only place I ever heard of dove hunting. I come from a hunting family in the upper midwest. I think it’s a very regional thing.

        4. Clisby*

          According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, 41 US states allow dove hunting, and mourning doves are the most hunted migratory game bird in North America.

          Interestingly, one state where it’s not legal is Alaska, and since I’m almost positive Alaska is big on hunting, I’m kind of curious about that. Although, it might be that mourning doves are just not common in Alaska.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            And Collared Doves are non-native and invasive, appear to be pushing out Mourning Doves, so hunting them might even be good for the environment. Unless they are farmed, of course.

            1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

              Can you tell the difference between a Collared Dove and a Mourning Dove from shotgun range? If not, the odds are hunters are taking more Mourning Doves than Collared, at least in my area

          2. mystiknitter*

            Protected species in Massachusetts!
            And now that people are talking about eating doves, golabki (Polish stuffed cabbage rolls) means ‘doves’, and I’ve always wondered if they really do look and taste like doves – the name had to come from somewhere! I’ve never had dove, but golabki? Many times!

        5. Parakeet*

          I’ve lived in two different Southern states (not TX) and one Northeastern state, and one of my parents is an occasional hunter. I’ve never heard of it before. I learn so many new things on this site!

        6. The OG Sleepless*

          I’m from rural central Georgia and I thought everybody knew dove hunting was a thing, ha. I’m not a fan of killing animals for sport, but I know lots of people who do, and they do eat them or give them to somebody who does. As it happens, I don’t like any type of wild game so it’s just not part of my life. The idea of a company doing a men-only dove hunt makes me shake my head. Tell me your company is run by a bunch of rednecks without telling me your company is run by a bunch of rednecks…

        7. Spreadsheets and Books*

          I live in New York City. I assure you, we do not hunt doves here.

          Jokes aside, I’m from Ohio and have also lived in Florida, and to the best of my knowledge, it was also not a thing in either of those places.

        8. CowWhisperer*

          Michigander here. People hunt wild turkeys and Canada geese here. A few people hunt quail. I know that doves are huntable here, but I’ve never heard of anyone doing it.

      7. Christine*

        Killing animals for fun is a huge no for me. The rest is not surprising given that. Animal abuse is the #1 red flag for all around nastiness.

    5. Fellow Canadian*

      haha when I started reading this comment I thought it was in response to the person who asked about the definition of hybrid, and I was like “wow, this commenter feels very strongly about WFH vs. in-offic– oh it’s the dove hunting one? oh yeah that makes sense.”

      1. Mill Miker*

        I mistook it as a response to the “moving a meeting for Halloween” question, and had a similar reaction.

    6. JSPA*

      Dove hunts as charity events or financial services events seem to be primarily based in Alabama and Mississippi. Most of the people posting here are not going to be their target demographic. Mid-size banking / financial services seem to often be limited to a single state (presumably from some combination of regulatory constraints, or because statewide regulations are different enough that it’s easier to draw one’s borders to include only one or perhaps two states?). So how the rest of us feel about it is likely irrelevant.

      And for those who are skeeved out by dove hunting specifically: doves (pigeons, aka rock doves) were possibly the first domesticated (or semi-domesticated) fowl (5000 to 10000 years ago, while the guesstimate for chickens is 7000-10000 years). You’ll find it on menus as squab.

      As for shooting them: In US and european society, it’s only in the last hundred and fifty years or so that anyone began to question the rightness of shooting at birds, whether for food or sport (or more generally, both). After all, if you’re shooting for food, it’s human nature to say, “bet I can bag two before you bag one,” and thus gamify the process. Skeet shooting was originally a stand-in for the then-standard dove hunt; shooting “doves” is how we (humans, collectively) hunted the passenger pigeon to extiction.

      None of this is to say I like the idea of a social dove massacre, and bonding over blood. I don’t.

      I’ll take my rambles without gunfire, and my squab at a restaurant (medium rare, without birdshot dug out of it). Though I suspect that industrial “humane” killing probably isn’t that much faster and more painless than being shot out of the sky, so the mode of procurement is more for me, than for them.

      Regardless, the urge to shoot at darting objects (and to bond over doing so) is apparently lodged deep in human history and psyche; and not everyone who has that urge has made the transition from birds to video games. If the LW doesn’t think it’s gross, and their client base doesn’t, either (or if the company uses this to screen for clients who don’t have qualms over this sort of thing?) then I don’t think it’s our job to make out disgust into the topic of the letter.

      1. Chirpy*

        “Dove” hunting can also refer to mourning doves, though. Those are even smaller and it’s really just an excuse to shoot a songbird, at least where I live.

      2. Factory Girl*

        They sometimes don’t die right away. So there you are, unless you have the right kind of dog, looking for a suffering bird to kill with your bare hands. Or you don’t even bother to look for it and let it die in agony. This is sport.

      3. CommanderBanana*

        Though I suspect that industrial “humane” killing probably isn’t that much faster and more painless than being shot out of the sky, so the mode of procurement is more for me, than for them.

        It’s way worse, and things like industrial poultry farming are giving us diseases like bird flu. Any time you’re farming huge amounts of animals together, and those animals are coming into proximity with the humans that are farming them, you’re playing around with zoonotic disease transmission. And the conditions of farmed animals is inhumane, since the priority is producing as much consumable meat as possible as fast as possible.

        It feels really weird to feel like I’m defending hunting, because I don’t eat meat for ethical and religious reasons, and I think the dove hunt is gross, but if you’re balancing things like ecological impact, shooting doves and then eating them is way better for the environment than buying industrially farmed chicken.

        Ideally I’d like us to do neither. But if everyone who wanted a squab or a chicken had to go out and hunt one, meat consumption would drop precipitously.

        1. Dog momma*

          My mom had to kill the chicken as a kid, once a week or so. They didn’t have much meat. That went to the men, who were coal miners. Some went to fatten the pig for butchering..
          She ate her share of meat as an adult. How the neck do you think people managed before there were grocery stores? They processed their own meat!

          1. CommanderBanana*

            ….ok? I know all about meat processing, I literally lived next to a farm for a chunk of my childhood (not in the US) and my grandmother grew up on a chicken farm. They had a roast mayyyyyybe once a week and it was a BIG deal to have something like lamb, which they got only a few times a year.

        2. JSPA*

          Generally in agreement, but I’m in an area with small dovecotes and (truly) free range / farmyard chickens, and they use slow-growing heritage breeds. One pays accordingly and eats less of it, but the flavors are what I remember from childhood. It’s also not unusual to find products made from invasive hunted wild boar. With FODMAP, blood sugar and dairy problems (plus insect allergies), some level of meat consumption approaches medical necessity for me, but I’m being mindful all the same, to the extent of what I find possible, short of causing myself physical damage.

      4. C.*

        Thank you for the background and context, but shooting animals for entertainment is deeply, deeply offensive to me—among *the* most offensive, TBH—and I, Alison, and others have every right to express that here. I get that there are areas around the US (and the world) where this is considered normal, but perhaps those who have normalized it to the point of being disconnected from the terror, pain, and suffering it causes should be exposed to other viewpoints that find it utterly reprehensible.

        1. DJ Abbott*

          Many people need to eat meat to survive. Is shooting them really worse than buying them in the grocery store? Something to consider.

        2. JSPA*

          Maybe we need a list of exceptions to the supposedly “blanket” rule about focusing on the question asked, rather than hijacking the question as a platform for castigating the letter-writer’s culture and engaging in performative morality?

          1. C.*

            I don’t think performative morality means what you think it means, and you (obviously) don’t know me well enough to make that kind of claim. Further, my feelings about hunting for sport are clearly not in the minority here. I’m sorry if that makes you or others feel a certain type of way about what you excuse. I stated earlier in a separate response that I find the exclusion and discriminatory aspect of the LW’s question “gross, gross, gross,” it absolutely is, but I cannot conveniently extract my reaction to the activity driving that exclusion and discrimination to make you more comfortable in the end.

        3. CowWhisperer*

          Those of us who have been hunting can make our own decisions about how bothered we are about a fast kill compared to having to track and kill a gangrenous deer maimed in a car accident a week or two ago or watching the weaker members of a herd die from starvation during an icy winter. Wolves, bears and panthers are slowly resetting here – and being hunted, injured and killed by a predator is neither peaceful or bloodless.

          Nature is horrible.

          Feel however you want – but don’t kid yourself that hunters are the only messy way animals die.

    7. Rex Libris*

      Seriously. I keep wondering where they work… The administrative office of the NRA? The secret headquarters of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? The Diogenes Club?

    8. RVA Cat*

      I mean, it was outrageous when the 60s executives almost killed Ken Cosgrove on Mad Men. Makes me wonder how many millions he could sue for today.

    9. NMitford*

      I have a friend who grew up in an area where dove hunting was popular this time of year. As a child, she and her sister recoiled when the tiny little birds were then served for dinner. Her father directed one of them to say grace before the family ate, and her sister’s classic response was, “But, Daddy, God knows I’m not thankful right now.”

    10. Paulina*

      Especially since they’re asking OP (and other women) to provide their high-net-worth client list, so that the women’s top clients can be invited to network with OP’s male colleagues. It treats the women as junior and sets things up so their existing clients are likely to shift to work with the men, undercutting the women’s careers. They’re not just being denied new connections — this setup is going to take away their existing connections too.

      1. Fierce Jindo*

        This is such a great point and I’m sad it’s buried in all the comments about hunting. (Also relevant! I just think this level of sexism is incredible.)

        1. RVA Cat*

          100% this. Plus what about high net worth clients who are women? The company is also denying them the same level of service as men (even if they’re inviting married couples).

    11. AJ Crowley*

      I would hear “anything hunt” exactly one time at a company and immediately start my own hunt … job hunt. Excluding women is just the cherry on top of that sundae. Considering all the deaths by gun violence in the US and the resulting trauma from that, the fact that some employees may avoid killing/eating animals for religious or ethical reasons, there is an appalling lack of sensitivity on this company’s part that extends beyond the illegality of excluding a class of people. I wonder where and how else this shows up?

      1. IneffableBastard*

        I agree. Is not only not keeping up with the times, but a completely lack of any kind of awareness.

    12. Christine*

      Killing animals for fun is a huge no for me. The rest is not surprising given that. Animal abuse is the #1 red flag for all around nastiness.

  5. takeachip*

    Halloween has become a major social holiday in the US; some people celebrate it more than the celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. But since it’s not a federal/state holiday, they have to take time off or cram activities around their work schedule. It’s not just wild partying (most of that happens the weekend before/after anyway when Halloween falls on a week night), it’s decorating, trick or treat, pumpkin carving, going to haunted houses/attractions, costume parades, kids’ school stuff, etc. For some people these are important traditions and they go all out. I think it’s nice of the office to acknowledge that this may be an especially busy time for some people and give them a breather.

    1. Plastic Ball*

      I’m so happy Halloween season is almost over. So much tacky stuff lately – plastic decorations, store-bought cheap costumes, inflatables. Bah humbug. I miss hand-made costumes, decorations being limited to just hand-carved real pumpkins with actual candles in them, the event consisting of only an hour or two of walking around your neighborhood, or passing candy out to your neighbors kids.

      1. Michelle*

        I can only assume you didn’t exist in the 1980s, when 90% of kids’ Halloween costumes were a tacky plastic face mask and printed smock that was basically a drawing of the torso of the character. We were all so very not artisanal, and so very flammable.

        But even then we did have Halloween parties and costume contests…

        1. Varthema*

          Yeeeaaah, you have to rewind a solid 40 or 50 years to predate the tacky stuff (and tbh maybe longer, I just can’t personally attest).

            1. Miette*

              Ayup. And they sure beat dressing in my dad’s old clothes and going as a “hobo” each year…we were too poor for anything else.

            2. JSPA*

              I remember something paper-based in the late 60’s – early 70’s, a bit like plastic coated paper plate material. (The little metal end tabs of the elastic would often rip out their holes by halfway through the evening, and the mouth aperture would soften in the moisture of your breath.) The graphics were the same solidly tacky stuff, though, plus a whopping dose of cultural appropriation / stereotypes.

              1. JSPA*

                It was also a thing to be a ghost (old sheet), or a robot (cut-up box); but I still see the occasional sheet ghost and box-robot.

                1. Verthandi*

                  I went as the Invisible Man one year and wrapped ace bandages around my head. Those storebought costumes were fun but once you dressed for the weather, the only thing you could see was the mask, which came off very quickly as the eye holes never lined up well enough to see.

                  Other years, I went as a Pac Man ghost (same as any other ghost, but we didn’t have any white sheets my mom was willing to sacrifice), and also using a sheet, I went as a mummy. Sheets are so versatile.

            3. Panhandlerann*

              The 60s did, too. All I ever had as a kid in the 60s (don’t do the math) was a pressed plastic mask each year; that was the case for everyone I knew of in my small town.

          1. Worldwalker*

            I remember wearing a princess costume in the 60s with one of those flimsy plastic masks no one could actually see out of.

            And people had some pretty tacky decorations in their yards, with an emphasis on blow-molded plastic pumpkins and things made from those melted and fused plastic bits.

            I’m not sure when that Mayberry Halloween was standard, but definitely not in the 60s or later.

            1. Be Gneiss*

              I have a special place in my heart for those melted and fused plastic bits decorations! Thank you for making me think of them!

            2. Johanna Cabal*

              This sparked a memory. When I was super young, my mom made my costumes. At six I wanted to be a queen so she dutifully made me a cape and even a scepter (she bought the crown though). Of course, everyone kept calling me a princess so I was constantly correcting people all night lol.

          2. Nedder*

            40 years ago was the 80’s. Just need to remind people 40 years ago was not the 1950s like I originally thought….lololol!

                1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

                  The other night Hubby and I were discussing college football records. He was amazed at ones Harvard held. I said yeah back in the 20s Harvard was a powerhouse. Then I realized what I said and corrected it to The 1920s.

                2. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

                  Truer words…It breaks my brain that there are kids in college now who have never lived without YouTube and iPhones being a thing. I graduated before either of those existed. I was talking to a student the other day who had no idea that Facebook was originally only for people who had a .edu email.

              1. AJ Crowley*

                I am in my early 40s and I forget! Except on nights like this where I’m going to a weeknight concert and I’m worried about how I’ll feel tomorrow. Never was a concern in my 30s!

                I’m not even working tomorrow. I’m going to my friends’ wedding! I just don’t want to feel like warmed over poo for their day. (I had the concert tickets long before they set the date)

          3. Oolie*

            I grew up in the late 70s and we definitely had a mix of plastic costumes from the local five and dime and fabulous homemade costumes (that was how you knew whose mom could sew). My first costume was a hood with bunny ears made from an old pillowcase and a bent coat hanger. My big sis was a bride in a white dress my mom made, a bouquet of plastic flowers, and a sheer curtain panel as a veil.

          4. AMM*

            Rewind to the 50’s and 60’s. Plastic was way less common and costumes really were likely to be ghosts made out of pillow cases with tied up corners for ears and holes for the eyes. And LARGE candy bars and kids just scampering on their own all over the neighborhood. Oh, dear, the snow was 10 ft. deep, right?

        2. Magenta*

          Printed smocks sound posh! In my part of the UK in the ’80s we had a choice of about 3 face masks and paired it with a black bin liner with holes cut out for the arms and head.

        3. DramaQ*

          I joked with my husband during COVID that we should find some of those old Halloween masks. You’d suffocate long before the COVID virus made it in.

          I remember when they were banned because you had no peripheral vision. kids were supposedly being hit by cars left and right.

          Ahh the 80s.

        4. PhyllisB*

          Yep. I was a kid in the 50s and 60s, and tacky plastic masks and cheesy costumes could be had even then.I remember being upset with my mother because she always made our costumes instead of buying one like our friends did.

        5. Snowy*

          As a kid in the 80s, my mom made all my costumes and refused to buy store bought ones. (as someone who now sews my own, I do not know how this was cheaper, but maybe fabric stores were still catering to more people who made regular clothes than crafters?)

          1. Oolie*

            Fabric was much cheaper back then. I sew and I’d love to make my kids’ costumes, but given the choice between a reasonably nice store-bought costume for $30 and a handmade one that takes 20 hours of my time and $75 of materials…

          2. iglwif*

            Fabric was a LOT cheaper when I was a kid in the 70s and 80s. My mom used to make a ton of our clothes — and all our Halloween costumes, and a lot of my dance costumes too.

            Now sewing is kind of a high-end hobby, but when we were kids making your own clothes was a major money-saver.

            1. bestbet*

              I wonder how much is that fabric was cheaper vs. fast fashion has cheapened industrially made clothes so much today compared to how much the same piece of clothing would have been back then.

        6. Rex Libris*

          The first costume I remember was a Darth Vader comprised of a tacky plastic mask and a bright yellow (why?) vinyl poncho with a badly printed image of his torso on the front.

          We did have all the jack-o-lanterns with lit candles though, back before the flammability of small children wearing vinyl ponchos was apparently common knowledge.

          1. RagingADHD*

            Yellow for high-viz. So when you catch fire and suffocate, at least you won’t get hit by a car.

        7. House On The Rock*

          Yep! I grew up in the 70s and 80s and my mom was a sewer and quite artistic, so I was lucky enough to always have homemade costumes, but I was very much the exception! In fact, kids being kids, a couple years I was actually bullied because I didn’t have the “crappy mask/plastic poncho” thing!

        8. Plastic Ball*

          I was a kid in the 80s, I never once bought a costume. Neither did my friends. Our moms or ourselves made them all. We would reuse them too, or pass them down to smaller kids. We would do makeup instead of masks. Even into college in the 00s, most people were still creating their own costumes, often from thrift stores. I’ve sewn many costumes for my friends up until a few years ago.

      2. judyjudyjudy*

        Seems unnecessarily judgemental. Seems like the kids have fun every year, no matter how tacky their store-bought costumes are.

        1. Plastic Ball*

          There’s just no creativity to it. Just press buy on Amazon and let a Chinese child make it for you, then throw it in the trash afterwards. Yah, I’ll judge that! Compare that to what I experienced, which was two months prior going to the fabric store, picking out a pattern (or dreaming up my own pattern), picking out all the fabrics (which was the BEST part), helping my mom sew it up, then proudly wearing it! Picking out real pumpkins at the local pumpkin patch with corn maze, carving them with my dad. We weren’t rich, just lots of nice memories. I’m sorry, I’m just really sad this time of year, I really wanted children but didn’t have them, and one of the things I wanted to do most with them was sew Halloween costumes for them :-(

          1. ThisIsHalloween*

            I wonder if you’d be able to volunteer to sew costumes for kids who are stuck in the hospital this time of the year? Or maybe just something like fun Halloween capes or something simple that doesn’t need that many measurements.

          2. ferrina*

            I do this for my kids.

            It’s….a lot. My kids absolutely love it, just like you describe. Going to the fabric store, finding what you like, having something special just for you, and all the bells and whistles. It’s a bonding experience and great memories.
            But it is so. much. All of the fall is consumed with either sports or sewing. Usually it turns out well, but last year one of the costumes was a complete disaster- it was the wrong size and I was desperately doing last minute alterations to get it to vaguely fit. Every time I’ve sewn the costume I’ve been up until midnight on October 30 (which is super fun when I know I’ll be running around all night on Oct 31).

            I definitely don’t judge parents that opt out. A lot of people don’t have the time, energy, or mental bandwidth. Or they choose to use it doing different things with their kids. This year my kids opted out for me by creating their own costumes from what they already had. It meant I had more time to bake cookies and play board games with them, which they wanted more this year. It was sooooo nice to get a break.

            1. JustaTech*

              Or the skill! I’m an experienced costume maker, and I was brought to tears trying to make an adult-sized lampshade to go with my baby’s moth costume this year.
              It turns out that while I can follow a pattern really well I don’t have the materials experience to know that plastic boning like you would use for a corset isn’t stiff enough to be the vertical supports on a fabric lampshade.

              And I know I don’t have the artistic skill/ attention to detail to make an accurate character costume. Generic or literary characters, totally fine. Spiderman? Heck no.

          3. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

            I think the problem today is, too many people with kids need to have two incomes just to get by, which means there simply isn’t any extra time for one parent to do things like sew homemade costumes. Parents are doing the best they can with the time/money they have.

            I was one of the lucky ones who had a mom who loved sewing my and my brother’s Halloween costumes, and I definitely had great costumes every year. It was a lot of fun, but realistically, I can see now just how time-consuming our costumes were. I don’t like the plastic costumes either, but ultimately, as long as the kid has fun picking it out and dressing up, it doesn’t really matter.

          4. Parakeet*

            I never had anything like this, and I’m not young. My parents didn’t know how to sew beyond the occasional sewing up a rip in something. We did carve pumpkins, but I still see those around – our upstairs neighbors do it every year, as do several other households on our street. I’m sorry this is such a rough time of year for you, and I can see how having looked forward to passing on your tradition and being denied that would be really upsetting. :-(

            I agree with the commenter who suggested finding some way to volunteer by sewing costumes (if it wouldn’t just be even more triggering). There are probably a lot of kids who don’t have access to either purchased costumes or sewing gear for various reasons. Kids stuck in hospitals, kids in group homes, homeless kids. Maybe kids in Big Brother/Big Sister programs?

          5. Laura*

            I’m sorry you weren’t able to have kids and aren’t able to pass on the traditions you care about to them.

            FWIW though, I love to sew and make things but it’s just A Lot to do. I have made very elaborate entirely hand-made costumes before for my kids but it is so time consuming. With a full time job and spending 2 hours commuting each way, I’d have to devote entire weekends to costume prep at the expense of spending time with my kids (they enjoy the boring sewing part for all of 5 minutes before they want to play with all the fancy stitches on my machine). This year’s costumes are a combo of hand-made and store bought and I refuse to feel guilty for using existing clothing as a costume base instead of sewing pants and a top myself.

          6. judyjudyjudy*

            Ok, but the dollar doesn’t go as far as it did when you were a kid. Sewing a homemade costume can be a pricey affair in terms of fabric and notions and such, and getting a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch is usually a lot more expensive than getting one at the grocery store, especially if you include gas. Same with making homemade Halloween decorations.

            But the main resource you need for an Artisanal, Homemade Halloween is time. And lots of parents don’t have extra time for all these activities, so they have to make compromises — especially if both parents work.

            Finally, I thought the word “tacky” was pretty loaded here. Whatever your intent, it sounded pretty classist to me. Kids of all income levels deserve to have a fun, safe Halloween night, even if they are wearing store-bought costumes. Also, you can hand down store bought costumes. That’s not exclusive to hand-sewn ones.

            It sounds like this time of year is tough, and certainly you can dislike store-bought Halloween all you like. Hope you get through it ok.

          7. Biology Dropout*

            I do this with my kids, homemade costumes and crafts and such, but oh my gosh fabric is expensive. This year we used an old, holey blanket to make the costumes (ears/tails sewn onto regular clothes, duct tape on cardboard) and they were honestly not the best costumes though we had fun with them. My kids like to sew and I have the time to sew with them, but if I had to buy new fabric to make costumes, we could never afford it. For what it’s worth, I live in a lower-income area and most of the costumes I saw tonight were like ours, or hand me downs, or cobbled together from dress up bins, etc. so people are still doing a lot of making!

      3. Emmy Noether*

        I think this is more a function of social circles than time. Certainly the cheap plastic was very much around in my youth (several decades ago, *ahem*), there’s nothing “lately” about it.

        I still do handmade costumes and real pumpkins, I don’t do plastic, because I’m a little crunchy. It just depends where you look and who you know.

        1. Plastic Ball*

          Glad they still exist! I don’t have kids, but my social circle is a lot of busy high-powered career moms, and they certainly aren’t sewing anything.

      4. ClaireW*

        lol this is wild to me because the 90s (when I grew up, in Ireland) Halloween costumes were literally black bin bags, broken twig witches brooms, and plastic face masks that cracked and broke by the end of the one night you wore them. You must have had a very different Halloween to most people I know.

      5. Engineer*

        Maybe your corner of the world was so wholesome and handmade. but I can assure you that cheap plastic decorations and store bought costumes were very much a thing in the 60s, based on photos of my parents. So your complaints are at least 60 years out of date.

      6. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        I was grumpy in August but by September 30th I was pumped. but now I’m tired of Christmas! I’ll be excited again by December

      7. LB33*

        Yes but back in those days you had clowns in vans with candy and people putting razor blades in apples, so there’s always some rose colored glasses when we look in our rear view

      8. Fart Noise*

        Try living in Salem, where Halloween now encompasses the second half of September and creeps into November.

      9. Dust Bunny*

        See, I’ve been thinking that Hallowe’en decorations and fabric prints have gotten a whole lot better in the past few years. Yes, they’re still plastic, because most people can’t shell out for artisanal skeletons, but the Victorian revival twist has been an upgrade. I mean, don’t buy them if you don’t want to (I mostly haven’t since I don’t have any storage space), but they’re way better-looking than the stuff we had 10, 20 years ago.

        1. HelenB2*

          I love “artisanal skeletons”. Yep, people just aren’t making their own skeletons like they did in the good old grave robbing days. :-)

      10. JB*

        Good news is Christmas stock goes up now, and a rise in the likes of Mariah Carey and George Michael on radio and retail playlists. Hope you enjoy Last Christmas!

      11. A person*

        I’m sad Halloween season is done. It’s my favorite. I have a healthy mix of “tacky plastic” decor (btw… the decor these days is freaking adorable… I don’t know what you’re seeing, but you’re clearly not looking in the right places) and handmade items. I didn’t carve pumpkins this year cuz it’s messy and I didn’t have time. I did needle felt an adorable ghost and knitted a tiny pumpkin with sewing thread and the smallest needles I could find! Ain’t no one got time for handmade costumes anymore when they have such a variety at the ol’ spirit Halloween store. And don’t knock a good pair of cat ears on a headband. It really freaks my cats out so I’d say they’re a pretty good costume.

        Let people have their fun and let it go! It’ll be gloomy awful winter before you know it.

    2. Hamster Drink*

      For some pagans it’s an important religious holiday as well, for me it’s the most important. That might not apply to the office but in some areas it’s pretty common.

      1. Lena Clare*

        I am going out and setting a place for a couple of people in my life who have passed on recently, and eating meat (normally vegan). I avoid the trick or treaters, although I do think it’s a cute history of how it came about. I guess my Samhain is more Day Of The Dead rather than Halloweeny.

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        And while it’s not a major one, the 1st of November is a Catholic holy day as well, so many Catholics would want to go to Mass on either the evening of Halloween or the morning of the 1st of November and I’m not sure not everywhere has evening Masses so some Catholics might appreciate the option to start a bit later on the 1st.

        1. Nedder*

          Episcopalian, but we still celebrate All Saints’ Day with a service honoring those who have died in the past year.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      This is a good point. It’s a holiday where you don’t expect to gather with extended family, but there is a lot of scope for specialized food, costumes, and new and old rituals and traditions.

      Typed as someone whose least favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, aka “the day of being stuck indoors making stuffing, a dish I do not eat.”

    4. fhqwhgads*

      I’d expect them to reschedule an afternoon meeting on the 31st to accommodate the holiday. I think it’s a little more “huh?” that it’s moving something from the 1st to the 2nd, because they’re basically saying “yeah we assume you were partying all night”. And like, I guess, if they’re ok with that why shouldn’t I be? But it’s not like Thanksgiving where it’s common for people to travel far distances for the holiday. So ensuring the day after is free seems a little weird. If it helps people, doesn’t bother me, but to me it’s not super intuitive.

  6. Over It*

    #2 hybrid can commonly mean anything from 1-4 days per week in the office. There’s no standard definition here. If you have phone screens for future jobs, I would ask then what the expectations around hybrid work are for that role so you can opt out if their definition doesn’t meet your preferences. Unless a role is senior and/or hard to fill, I’d assume what you’re being told in the initial round likely isn’t negotiable.

    1. Over It*

      Just like salary ranges, I really think it would save companies and candidates a lot of time to post their definition of hybrid in the job posting. The last time I hired, I wasn’t able to get HR to put it in the JD but I told everyone who made it to the phone screen stage that our agency required everyone in office 3 days per week and there was no flexibility around this. One candidate later opted out of the process after the phone screen because she didn’t want to be in office more than 1-2 days per week. I appreciated her transparency, as I would have moved her to the next round had she no pulled out.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I agree, particularly since some companies seem to be using “hybrid” as a way to turn up in more searches, when they mean “you can WFH instead of taking sick leave” or similar rare occasions, not routinely.

        Asking early in the process what “hybrid” looks like in the advertised position could save a lot of time on both sides.

        1. rollyex*

          Or you can work at night from home after dinner, leaving the office at 5:30, instead of staying in the office till 8pm to wrap up.

          LOL. Kidding kidding.

    2. Allonge*

      Even within the same company there may be different rules – one of my friends has a one day from home, two in the office, other two agreed with manager framework that is for obvious reasons applied differently for event organizers than for legal.

      1. Allonge*

        But totally agree the information should be spelled out in the job ad as much as possible! At least a starting point is much more helpful than ‘hybrid’.

        1. Over It*

          Fully agree! Not every position at every company is, or should be, treated the same wrt WFH. A good company will find ways to equitably accommodate workers depending on their roles (and will also provide clarity in the earliest stages of hiring). I work at a large bureaucracy that broadly classifies everyone as essential (cannot WFH) or non-essential (can WFH up to two days per week). Considering there are 1500 people at my agency, it would be nice to have more than two categories, even though my current arrangement works fine for me.

      2. Platypus*

        My company is hybrid which means two days in the office, but I…just refuse to work in an office and was going to turn down the offer and so they told me I could work from home permanently. (I have a very specialized skill set and also just have specific things I want at work, so if that doesn’t align with your company, I am fine with that.)

    3. Daisy-dog*

      My job is “hybrid”, but it initially meant 1 week/month (usually 3-4 days in that week). Now it’s just as needed. We’ll see what happens in the next few months because my team has a new leader.

      This was not spelled out in the job posting, but luckily there was a recruiter who could explain the expectations to me.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      I feel like we can let companies decide what kind of hybrid works for them. My workplace doesn’t crow about being hybrid because, while they’ll let you WFH as much as possible, more work than not cannot be done from home and we still have a baseline coverage need. If the people whose jobs are more easily done from home max out their WFH time then the people whose jobs aren’t easily done from home also get stuck with more patron time. If someone applied expecting to WFT most of the time, they’d be disappointed.

      1. Daisy-dog*

        Your company can make a choice:
        – Advertise the role as in-office and list a benefit of WFH (when available).
        – Advertise the role as hybrid and highlight that coverage needs must be met.

        So for LW’s question, the company is technically hybrid and can advertise that way, but I do think they should list their expectations in the job posting. They know that regardless of coverage or training or tasks that the employees must be in 4 days/week.

    5. HR Exec Popping In*

      I agree that hybrid essentially can mean any number of days in office/remote. Best to treat it like any other element of the job and package and discuss it up front with the recruiter to see if it makes sense to be considered a candidate. If less than 3 days remote is a deal breaker for you, that would be the same as if the salary range for the job was 20k below your minimum salary requirement. You need to know that up front so that you can make an informed decision. Sadly you won’t know prior to applying and talking to a recruiter.

    6. Donn*

      Agree about not trying too hard to negotiate whatever hybrid schedule you’re told in round one.

      I’ve gotten the feeling some people take hybrid jobs, either thinking or hoping they can somehow mold them into 100% remote after they’re hired. But a hybrid job requires what it requires. If someone wants or needs 100% remote, then they need to continue looking.

  7. learnedthehardway*

    OP#4 – while yes, it can hurt your job prospects if you sue your current employer, this is much less of an issue than it was when I started my career in executive recruitment. People generally seem to have realized over the past 30 years that companies are not altruistic by nature. Also, if your employer is known for being unfair to employees and for getting sued, as a result, then it’s more likely to that people will be sympathetic if they know you had a good case.

    That said, it depends on the person and the company culture – some people are still leery of candidates who hold companies to standards of decency, equity, and fair treatment. BUT – do you really want to work for another company like your current employer, anyway?

    I would talk to your lawyer about including a clause in whatever settlement you end up with that forbids the company from mentioning anything about the lawsuit and that quires them to provide a written reference confirming your employment dates, that you received good performance reviews, etc. etc. If you can, get (and keep) the performance reviews you received.

    1. #4 LW Here*

      Thank you, I will do that. Follow up question with more background as you’re an executive recruiter – how should it come up in the process of job searching/interviewing? Is this something best disclosed up front (first interview) or after offer, assuming it won’t come up in background check? Or at all? Obviously understand why an employer would be wary, however I do have a long employment history of great work performance and not suing at multiple other companies.

      1. kalli*

        Don’t bring it up. Be civil (and kind where possible) speaking about your experience with that particular employer, and stick to talking about your work and work experiences, duties, achievements etc. If it reaches a stage where it is public knowledge and they ask, then you be diplomatic and say that you can’t talk about ongoing legal matters/you regret it came to that and you’re happy with the result and you’re excited for your next challenge. Ultimately the nuts and bolts don’t matter to anyone else and one suit isn’t going to make you look litigious, especially when sometimes that’s just what the process is. Making a big deal of it, however, will emphasise it and not positively.

      2. Cmdrshrd*

        “assuming it won’t come up in background check?”

        I would expect/assume for the case to come up in a background check, unless the company does a very light/basic check that just confirms employment. My understanding and I don’t work in the field is that most background checks look at a person’s legal history criminal/civil. Some places may limit it to only going x years back so it might not show up after x time.

        “I recently retained a lawyer after filing a discrimination and retaliation claim at my workplace.”

        Also just want to confirm a lawsuit in court has been filed with a complaint? The basic case info and most documents filed with the court will be public.

        If you filed an internal claim with the workplace, and/or with a government agency (EEOC/state EEOC) that will generally not be public. If it can get settled before the case actually gets to court it would likely not show up on a background check.

      3. not intended as legal advice*

        Don’t mention it up front.

        Also, keep in mind that if you are able to resolve your case without actually filing a complaint with a court (i.e., through a demand letter and subsequent negotiations), it won’t create court records in the first place. This happens more often than you may think, as the fees the company will pay to outside counsel just to file their answer to the complaint are usually significant. You can usually include language in whatever settlement agreement you sign that requires the employer to keep the matter confidential and provide a neutral (or better) reference if asked.

        (Additionally, if you have a particularly common name, the public records of your lawsuit might get lost in a sea of lawsuits involving parties with the same/similar name. Not every employer will be willing to invest the time to obtain and review the docket and pleadings for every possible hit.)

        As noted above, ask your lawyer specifically about this issue and he/she will have jurisdiction-specific advice for you.

  8. Observer*

    #1 – I’m seriously taken aback by your company. Is your manager the norm here?

    Specifically about about asking for your contacts while excluding you, based on your gender. That’s the kind of thing that sounds like a slam dunk discrimination suit.

    I believe that you can file an anonymous complain with the EEOC, if so. Because I have to believe that if this is business as normal in your place, this is not the only discrimination going on.

    On a separate note, you don’t have to despise hunting to recognize that this event is asking for trouble. Guns and alcohol are not a great mix on a good day. When you know that at least some of the folks there probably not very respectful of the power and danger of guns, well. . . it could get very ugly. It never ceases to amaze me how often companies take on such potential liability.

    Honestly, I think you should be thinking about your exit strategy. This doesn’t seem like a place that’s going to be all that hospitable to you in the long term.

    1. Siege*

      I guess I’m not sure what the benefit of going to the company’s own ethics line would be. The company is hosting the hunt, not the department. Maybe telling them explicitly that they’re breaking the law in case anyone isn’t aware of that is the goal, but I’d go to the EEOC instead, like Observer suggests.

      1. nnn*

        If the company has a reporting procedure, the EEOC will typically require that you show you attempted to use it before they’ll take action themselves.

      2. Snow Globe*

        The LW said that their manager sent invitations only to men. It is possible that other managers sent invitations to all employees. It is also possible that HR knows about the event but does not know women are being excluded.

        1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          A call to the hotline will weed out if its just this one manager or a company wide thing. However, I understand that the LW might not want to do that just yet. Not everyone has to fight every battle. But it is worth finding out if its just this manager being a sexist jerk.

          For the alcohol and gun — usually you aren’t out drinking and hunting at the same time. These things are done at ranches that have their own liability policies. So its hunt during the day and drink after the hunt is over. Some stupid places do mix them, but those are rare — for obvious reasons.

          1. Sandi*

            I have been to work-sponsored golf days that were held at golf courses and golfing was an option, yet many people went directly to the main building to socialize, drink, and eat. With this type of event there may not be many hunters, and the sexist exclusion of many employees is really awful.

      3. Observer*

        I guess I’m not sure what the benefit of going to the company’s own ethics line would be. The company is hosting the hunt, not the department.

        The ethics line would not be for the hunt but the explicit exclusion of women, and the apparent attempt to take women’s good clients away from them without coming straight out with it.

      4. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

        FYI, the ethics hotline is not actually internal. My old company had someone call theirs for employees being forced to work unpaid overtime. An external HR consultant showed up and interviewed everyone involved for about 30 minutes each.

        I had previously been cynical about it because I thought it was internal, so what’s the point? Nope. Our HR rep almost got fired. The unpaid OT and pressure stopped.

    2. Mishkam na korm*

      Specifically about about asking for your contacts while excluding you, based on your gender. That’s the kind of thing that sounds like a slam dunk discrimination suit.

      This is such a slam dunk discrimination suit that I wonder if somehow wires got crossed and OP was invited but never received her invitation.

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        I doubt that’s the case. Company executives that do these kinds of things don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Management may very well know that the law says they’re doing something illegal, but they don’t agree. If confronted, they explain it away with something like this: “That law doesn’t apply to us because we asked one woman to come along fifteen years ago and she didn’t want to come along, so we tried so this is OK.”

      2. Observer*

        I wonder if somehow wires got crossed and OP was invited but never received her invitation.

        Interesting idea. How do you think it is that the only two women in the unit somehow did not get their *emailed* invitations. But somehow those same two women DID get the email asking for their client list. And no one thought to confirm why these two women have not responded to the supposed invitation that somehow managed to not show up to just their inboxes.

        *This* is how companies get away with blatant discrimination. Even when it’s blatant people insist that it’s probably something else, no matter how unlikely, rather than the obvious thing sitting in front of their faces.

        1. Pht*

          I’m wondering what they would do if the client list contained a lot of women. Not that there wouldn’t be an out, but it would add more evidence that something doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    3. Mister_L*

      Years ago I worked as security at a large industry expo.
      In the evening I was suddenly informed, that I had to guard one specific exhibition stand till the morning.
      Turned out, the people of that and another stand got drunk and started a fight that ended with one guy from the other one threatening to come back in the night and smash up the exposition stand I was assigned to guard.

      Now add guns to the scenario.

    4. And the Skeletons Are… Part of It*

      Yeah I’d call a lawyer and skip the whole HR dance. If HR cared, this already wouldn’t be happening.

  9. nnn*

    Can anyone explain to my super-ignorant self why fantasy football would have a rule that players can’t leave? What would the consequences be for others if you just…didn’t do the thing?

    (Level of explanation needed: I don’t know what exactly “do the thing” would be)

    1. Rosyglasses*

      It’s more the way that the software systems are set up that manage this. Depending on the settings that the commissioner (admin) has chosen they may do this so people can’t just nope out if they start to lose or otherwise have a penalty so people stick with it.

    2. VioletDaedalus*

      You need an even number of teams. I’m in a 32-person league at my company, so 16 matchups each week. If someone were to drop out, there would always be one person without a matchup every week for the rest of the season.

    3. desdemona*

      Deleting a team creates scheduling issues (even #s easier to matchup), and makes a ton of good players available that weren’t before.

      Just giving up (not setting weekly lineup) basically throws the game – makes it less fun & fair for everyone else.

      I think the ideal option is OP personally leaves the league, but the commissioner sets their lineup each week so the team continues as kind of a “computer bot” team.

      1. Annony*

        Or finds a replacement to take over the team. I have taken over a team midseason when it was abandoned.

    4. Go Birds*

      It would mess up the whole thing because everyone has certain people etc. so they’d have to redraft what this person has, or get someone else to use their team or something. Everyone has selected their players, so it makes the whole thing “off.” No idea if this helps or not.

    5. Oh sure*

      Agree with everything above, but want to add that the way you could “leave” is you just forfeit your games by not doing anything.

      If you are actually playing, every week you have to pick players from your list (that you draft once, altogether in the beginning of the season) to play on your team, but it will default to whoever you picked the week before. So OP doesn’t have to do anything, and then the player he is scheduled to play against every week will basically get an easy win.

      1. Flossie Bobbsey*

        Having a team forfeit by inaction is so frustrating for other teams in the league. It gives a free pass to any team who has yet to play the defunct team or that is randomly selected to play it a second time, yet some teams may have lost to the defunct team when it was still competitive, which skews the overall standings and results. To be most fair to the others in the league, it needs to either be gone from the start or managed properly, not abandoned mid-season.

        Personally I think the best option would be for the commissioner to find another current employee to take over the team. The OP can quietly ask the commissioner to do this and then let the commissioner handle it from there. If the commissioner chooses to let the team be defunct instead, that’s obnoxious to the other players but not OP’s fault.

    6. Light Dancer*

      Yes, there must be a “hit by a bus” contingency plan for fantasy football. What if a player dies, is incapacitated, moves overseas or simply decides to stop playing? This scenario MUST have presented itself at some point to some fantasy leagues – how have THEY dealt with it?

      1. kalli*

        Most sites/software have a default option for ‘someone drops out’ whether it’s based on points from a default team, all home teams, or whatever makes sense for that particular competition. It isn’t some mystical thing that requires searching through musty tomes; it’s usually right in the FAQ and a tickybox on the management page. Really no big deal for LW to just go ‘I don’t work here anymore so I’m dropping out’ and the organiser can sort it in like, two minutes.

      2. desdemona*

        In my (very small) fantasy league, our commissioner would step in and set that person’s lineup for the rest of the season. When this has happened before (mostly someone got busy and stopped trying), he would set their lineup each week, but wouldn’t use waivers to draft new players or trade with other teams – basically making a “bot” team.

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      Thank you to everyone who explained. (I’m in a Survivor league, and after episode 1 airs everything is automated and it’s just bemoaning the bad decisions of players. Should have taken that sandwich.)

    8. Mr. Shark*

      Yes, it messes up the schedule and the competitive balance. If someone just quits, then other teams have an easier time in their matchup and it takes some of the fun out of the game.

      I don’t see why getting fired would impact the LW wanting to stay in the league. I have people who quit the place I work and they are still invited to our work league and still play in it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  10. Don’t pay me less because of body parts*


    Also, organizing a work event — or any event — around killing animals for entertainment is disgusting.

    1. Beacon of Nope*

      There’s plenty to take issue with in letter #1 (sex discrimination and combining guns and drinking), but as someone who grew up in a rural state, can we not with this?

      1. Tired and confused*

        Why? Many people (myself included) think that killing animals for fun is horrifying. Unless the company is in the hunting business having a network event that’s going to clash with the ethics of a lot of people is a really bad look. This is a 5,000 employee company which means they are going to be doing business with a lot of different people.

        1. Beacon of Nope*

          Not everyone agrees that sport hunting is disgusting. Also, it doesn’t sound like the letter writer is trying to get it shut down – it sounded like they wanted an invitation.

          1. ghost_cat*

            I’m with the philosophy of give the animal a gun so that they can fire back – that’s how you make it ‘sporting’. Until then, yeah, no.

          2. Irish Teacher.*

            I think the issue is that it’s very likely there will be somebody in the company who finds it disgusting, which means people will be excluded for even more reasons as well as the exclusion of women.

            I think it is probably best not to organise a work event around something a significant number of people have moral objections to. Now, it sounds like most people in the company do not, but even if one or two do, it’s…not a great choice.

      2. Eliot Waugh*

        I also grew up in a rural state, but the answer makes a good point. I’d pull my business if I knew a company did this. Killing animals purely for sport is immoral.

        1. Rex Libris*

          Same. Using “it’s a rural thing” as an excuse is offensive to me, as someone who’s family background is about as rural as it gets. (Yep, my parents actually did walk two miles through the woods to their one room schoolhouse.) Being socially accepted by a subset of a particular demographic does not automatically give blatantly cruel behavior a pass.

      3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        As someone who also grew up in a rural state, and who comes from a long line of hunters-for-food, I’m pretty disgusted myself. Hunting-as-client-networking is not ethical hunting, it’s not responsible hunting, and in this case I’m struggling some with how it can even be legal hunting (though that’s going to depend on specifics). If you think this is fine, own it – but don’t pretend this is some sort of rural cultural patrimony.

        1. Nerdgal*

          I live in Texas and know many hunters. All of them eat what they kill, or donate it to charity or a needy neighbor. Sane with fish. I am making deer soup for lunch today.

          If you pay to go on a fancy hunt like in #1, someone else may dress your game for you, but it still gets eaten. They may serve it to you, freeze it to take home, or donate it.

          1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

            I mean, I know many hunters as well, though I guess I don’t know many in Texas. But growing up where I did, I knew plenty of hunters who ate what they hunted. And I knew of plenty that didn’t, or that just took the back straps and let the rest of the deer to rot, or that poached on private property because they saw a nice set of antlers from the road, or got greedy and fudged the tags, or got so het up about having a deer in their sights that they shot across the road or towards the neighbor’s house or managed to shoot their hunting partner. In my experience the usual culprits were wealthier tourists who came out to the boonies and thought everything was fair game. So this client hunting party, to me, sounds likely to be some of the worst sort of hunting.

        2. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          While I’m at it, the rules for responsible hunting as my father taught them to me were thus:
          1) You don’t mix alcohol and guns, ever.
          2) Everyone in your hunting party must be legally allowed to possess a gun, and have sufficient target practice to produce a quick kill. You don’t hunt with someone if you haven’t seen them shoot before.
          3) Everyone in your hunting party has completed hunter safety (an 8 hour course where I grew up), is familiar with the relevant local/state/federal laws, and is properly licensed for whatever you’re hunting.
          4) Everyone in your hunting party can reliably identify whatever you’re hunting. Your finger stays completely off the trigger until you’re sure.
          5) Everyone in your hunting party is 100% focused on the hunting while the guns are out. You don’t mix distraction and guns.
          6) You can try to figure out where the animals are likely to be and go put yourself there, but luring the animals to be where you are is unethical, bad practice, and (in my home state) usually illegal.

      4. Empress Ki*

        As a meat eater, I don’t have a problem with hunting, when it is strictly for food ! I think the issue here is because it is for entertainment, and that’s cruelty. It has nothing to do with being from a rural area or a city.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          I agree, with the addendum that there is also hunting for population control (otherwise the deer where I am, which don’t have natural predators other than humans, would quickly overpopulate, leading to starvation and disease). The meat is then also eaten. As a meat eater, I actually consider this one of the most ethical and environmentally friendly sources of meat. That isn’t done as some kind of event for funsies, though, it’s a job, and needs to be done right.

          1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

            My wife has been a vegetarian for many years, but will eat meat from animals my dad hunts – she considers it the ONLY sustainable and ethical source of meat.

        2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Not to defend the dove people, but “strictly for food” isn’t a very usable line. Most hunters eat their game and almost all of them enjoy hunting.

          1. Jackalope*

            I think part of the issue (from my perspective anyway) is having this be a huge work socialization thing. I too have family members who hunt for food and fun both, and one family member who at least for awhile (not sure if this is still his job) was a professional butcher for hunters who didn’t know how or didn’t want to take care of that part of things. In general I’m fine with people hunting for their food, but there’s something about having a big work event with a lot of people, lots of guns and alcohol, and going out to kill a bunch of birds, that doesn’t sit well with me. I’m not sure how to put the reasons into words, but it’s there.

            1. Silver Robin*

              exactly, and the fact that it is rich execs and their clients adds to it for me, personally.

              this is not them going grocery shopping for funsies and seeing who can…Idk bag the most deals? Hunting for your food as a significant source of nutrition looks different than this (and yes, I know what deer camp looks like too). The fact that they might be eating the birds after feels incidental here.

              Actually, the hunting itself is incidental here. The point is to socialize with clients, they happened to choose hunting. Which makes hunting equivalent to…golf or billiards or bowling. Hunting for food is not a game, it can be gamified, but at its core it is not a game. This is purely game, purely fun, and it makes me feel like the birds are even less valued because none of the hunting was necessary.

              1. Willow Pillow*

                I would actually love a social event held at a thrift store where you shop for a tacky outfit. It would have its own set of issues (can we have someone do a load of laundry like they dress the game?) of course, but would be fun!

        3. Dinwar*

          The issue is, this is a very tricky line once you get into any amount of detail. Most dove/pheasant hunts ARE ostensibly for meat–at least the ones I’ve seen allow you to take the meat home with you, and the people involved are the sort that will almost certainly do so (or give the birds to someone else to eat, if they don’t bag enough themselves). For deer hunters, I know a butcher who sells meat that hunters don’t want, and gives away the scraps (at the encouragement of vets and breeders we’ve started feeding our dogs some of this, and they’re healthier for it). So even if the hunter doesn’t want the meat it doesn’t got to waste.

          I have a real problem with killing an animal and letting it rot. I also have a real problem with trophy killing. But the idea that you shouldn’t enjoy hunting is just silly. The people who hunt for meat are the people who enjoy the activity, so separating the two is essentially impossible.

          1. Silver Robin*

            the order matters – I am not mad that people enjoy hunting. Hunting for food because you need to feed your community and then getting enjoyment out of being good at it is fine. Competing to get better at it than your friends also makes total sense. Not telling people not to enjoy their skills.

            Looking around for social entertainment and choosing hunting for your wine and dine fancy client event is gross. It makes the killing equivalent to golf. This is hunting for sport.

            1. Dinwar*

              Good luck sorting out the motivations among the various people that hunt. I don’t think it’s possible.

              I’ve known a few companies that hold hunting trips, either as internal trips (FAR more ethical in my opinion–open to everyone, during off season, and the company in question included a lot of people who had periods where they either hunted or went without food), or as client networking. In each case everyone involved is a hunter, and hunts for food. This is merely an opportunity to hunt something new for food. The folks involved would be hunting anyway, so it’s not like this changes the equation much–from an ethical perspective it doesn’t seem to me to matter if you’re hunting in Location X or Location Y, or if you’re hunting in Location X because you paid to do it or because someone else paid to allow you to do it.

              As for the “killing for entertainment” part, I’m not sure that matters either. Whether I kill for entertainment or for food, as long as I eat it the animal’s still dead and I still eat. Further, a number of these places allow at risk animals to thrive. Yes, the ones that get shot obviously don’t, but the existence of these places creates economic incentives to keep certain species in the environment. Quale and pheasant, for example, are native to some areas but have seen their numbers plummet due to over-hunting in the past. Having an organization that relies on the continued existence of these animals for its survival means that quale and pheasant stand a better chance of continuing to exist in these environments than they would otherwise. Nature is not nice, and often predation is good for the prey as a population; given that we can directly observe the consequences of not recognizing this (species loss in some, rampant diseases in others), it seems rather unethical to me to ignore this.

              I’d have to know a LOT more about the company involved before I’d feel comfortable passing moral judgment on it. The issues are far more complex than most realize.

              The morality of systematically excluding women is another matter entirely. That’s wrong. And in today’s world a focus on hunting can damage the image of the company, which is worth consideration.

          2. Anonymoose*

            I believe its illegal to sell wild game meat that’s been hunted. It can be donated but not sold

      5. MK*

        Agree. The rural bashing gets old. It is incredibly rare for meat to not be consumed after a hunt, so basing an argument on that assumption is acting in bad faith.

        1. Billy Preston*

          Look I’m from a rural state and area but anti-hunting is not rural bashing. Some of us are just opposed to that practice.

          1. La Triviata*

            My mother once accidentally hit a deer and killed it (didn’t do the car any good either). She contacted local law enforcement and arranged to have the deer meat contributed to a good cause. So, not hunting, but not wasting the kill.

          2. Rex Libris*

            This. And the trope that all hunters are super respectful of nature and eat what they kill is definitely not universal. I’ve spent plenty of evenings in my youth listening to some of my more reprehensible extended family and acquaintances go on about killing foxes, raccoons, coyotes, etc. just for the sheer fun of going out in the woods at night and shooting at things.

            1. Nerdgal*

              Those are predators. Ranchers shoot them for that reason. Raising livestock is their livelihood.
              If running a restaurant was your livelihood, you would kill rats. I you were a beekeeper, you’d kill ants. And so forth.

              1. Rex Libris*

                True, but the people I was thinking of from my own experience aren’t ranchers, or farmers, or landowners, or anything but guys employed in standard 9-5 blue-collar type jobs who just like to kill stuff on the weekends.

                In their case, the fact that they’re predators may be a convenient excuse, but they aren’t an actual threat to their livelihood, unless coyotes are invading the local auto repair shop.

      6. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I grew up in a rural place but I have an issue with hunting. “Thou shalt not kill” isn’t followed by an asterisk sending you to a footnote saying “except if you want to eat your victim” or “unless you live in the country” or “unless your victim is non-human”.

    2. Carlie*

      The idea of killing living creatures for fun just boggles my mind! And for CLIENT NETWORKING at that!?!?! Alison’s correct, disgusting is the word.

    3. Bridget F*

      I work for a nature conservation NGO that occasionally culls predatory/invasive species on our sites to preserve biodiversity. It is always done as a last resort, by licensed professionals, in a very discreet way as part of a wider management plan. In no way is it celebratory, entertaining or a social event.
      I agree with Alison: organizing a work event — or any event — around killing animals for entertainment is disgusting.

    4. Mr. Shark*

      That’s an opt out thing, though. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. It may be a moral question to you, but not to others.

      The sexism discrimination is a different subject and shouldn’t be happening. Absolutely no doubt about it. But to me, hunting is similar (no, not the same thing) as the zip-lining. Someone may hate heights and have no interest in it, but that doesn’t mean you should eliminate the opportunity for others to be involved in that event.

      1. Mr. Shark*

        and by the way, I’m not a hunter at all. I would never go. I do go fishing, though, to eat, not just for sport.

      2. Bunny Lake Is Found*

        Eh, you can say it is an “opt out” thing, but it falls into the same vein as going to a strip club or bungee jumping or zip lining (as you noted). It’s not like getting a private box at a sporting event where if you don’t like football, or whatever, you can just socialize and ignore the actual subject of the networking event. These are “networking” events that many people would have serious aversions to participating in. And aversions which would be evident from miles away.

        If we were talking about a monthly networking event that this month HAPPENED to be a dove hunt, I could understand it not feeling particularly exclusionary. But it seems like this is a massive event and creating such an event around an activity that one cannot really neutrally attend without tacitly supporting or in some way participating feels designed to intentionally exclude those who are not these guys’ “kind of people.”

    5. LlamaMama*

      Yes, I am so glad Alison mentioned that. I eat meat, but I have always found the idea of KILLING FOR FUN to be incredibly disturbing. Sorry not sorry but if your reason for hunting is “entertainment” I imagine you have some level of psychopathy.

  11. What's This?*

    There are a lot of accidents with kids and cars on Halloween, so the fewer potential drivers on the road at prime T or T time the better. If this is a trend I only see positives!

    1. Jade*

      It is disgusting but the very rich truly are different. I have some extremely wealthy relatives (rich rich) and they really are in another world.

        1. Non non non all the way home*

          I suspect Jade was intending to comment on a thread about #1 (rich old white men hunting doves).

    2. fhqwhgads*

      I don’t see how the letter causes fewer drivers on the road at trick or treat time? They’re not letting employees out early on the 31st. They’re cancelling a big meeting on the 1st, a day later.

    3. DogsInPJsAreMyFavorite*

      My old department at my first job (pre COVID, so not at all a thing to work from home) would have us work from home the afternoon of Halloween/ leave at 3 pm, for this exact reason. and it wasn’t until I left that company and drove through my neighborhood at 6 pm coming home at my regular commute time/peak Trick or Treat time that I realized what a blessing that was!

      fun to see all the kids in their costumes, TERRIFYING to drive by and worry they would run out in the street.

      suffice to say I’m going out to dinner after work so I’m not home til after 9 :)

  12. Sleve*

    Before the controversy starts, some countries use hunting as a method to control introduced and/or overpopulated species that would damage the environment and reduce biodiversity if their numbers weren’t reduced by an apex predator, i.e. humans. Whether or not you agree to the use of hunting as a population control method, animal population control is ethical and necessary in some contexts. Deer in parts of Australia are a good example.

    Animal population control for biodiversity is also something best left to professionals who can cover wide areas for good effect. It is not well achieved by small private groups such as those in the letter. Let’s be clear, the dove hunting in the letter is not well regulated, necessary, ethically performed animal population control, it’s entertainment.

    1. nodramalama*

      I’m a bit confused by the purpose of your first point. The fact that in many places hunting is used as a form of culling seems to have little bearing on whether it’s appropriate for work.

      I am Australian, know many people who hunt deer and kangaroos. None of them would think that organising a hunting party was an appropriate work activity.

      1. vombatus ursinus*

        Also Australian and have a friend who has a job literally organising aerial feral pig and deer culls in our state. I’m not that crazy about it but I understand why they’re doing it.

        I was a bit confused by Sleve’s comment at first too, but I think they’re actually agreeing with the general sentiment that the situation in the letter is totally inappropriate. They’re pointing out how even though there are some situations other than needing to eat where hunting could be ethical, this isn’t one of them (last sentence: “Let’s be clear, the dove hunting in the letter is not … necessary, ethically performed animal population control, it’s entertainment.”)

        1. bamcheeks*

          aerial feral pig

          I’m assuming the cull is aerial rather than the pig, but I love the image. :)

      2. Varthema*

        Think they were trying to pre-empt others coming out of the woodwork with that argument. basically saying, “Yes, x is a thing, but dove hunting with clients is not x.”

    2. Dog momma*

      Deer in parts of the US are a big problem. and no you can’t relocate them ( for all you AR folks).
      so are feral pigs..they are why we get sick from veg and salads.. Google it
      you can’t eradicate them either. Only TRY to control them

  13. This is what it sounds like...*

    OP 1, why on earth wouldn’t you report in anonymously?? Hell I’d ask a friend in another state to call and leave a message on the line if you’re concerned about them tracing it back to you.

    1. Clare*

      Maybe they’re afraid that there haven’t been any complaints in the past and hence the assumption will be that the complainant was the new person.

      1. Long Time Lurker*

        She’s been there 16 months so surely she’s not the newest person to encounter this.

    2. Aggretsuko*

      If there’s only two women in the company, who aren’t invited, and a woman calls, it’s not really very “anonymous” and it sounds like OP 1 would be pretty much immediately figured out. Even if “a friend” calls.

      Frankly, I wouldn’t call to complain if that was the case because it won’t be anonymous.

      1. Empress Ki*

        Will the anonymous line report that they were called by a woman ?
        In this case, maybe she could have a male friend or relative calling instead of her ?

        1. Varthema*

          I don’t think it’s the voice, it’s the fact that if there are a very small number of women in the office and the other 4 have never complained, it’ll be pretty obvious it’s the new woman.

        2. Ane*

          I don’t think non-employees can call in and it may be too risky to talk too much about it to find a male coworker who supports her.

    3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Because sometimes you just don’t have the spoons to fight. Not everyone is up to fighting every battle for a variety of reasons.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Totally agreed. You do not have the advantage to fight, big corporations frequently win, and I’m not spending a lot of time, money and energy fighting city hall and authority figures.

        (I note people are telling me I should sue my work, but I would sooooooooo lose and put an even bigger black mark on myself for employment, I see no point. I note a witchy friend of mine suggested using magic…she couldn’t afford a lawyer and told me she paid a sorcerer $250 for a “justice spell” that apparently worked for getting back custody of her kids from her abusive ex…I swear THAT would have better odds than me suing anyone.
        Really, I’m just mentioning that last bit because Halloween.)

      2. Victoria Everglot*

        Or sometimes you do want to fight but have no idea how to do that effectively and you want to ask so you can see how many spoons it’ll take and what the consequences may be.

  14. Jane*

    LW1 – Please, please report your employer. The only way we can make progress as women is to stand up for ourselves and fight back. Furthermore, please leave an anonymous review about your employer on Glassdoor and other job sites.

    1. Empress Ki*

      It is always easy to say to people to report their employer. But what if they lose their job ? Who is going to pay their bills ? We have to be realistic.
      An anonymous review on Glassdoor would be good, but she has to be sure they can’t guess it is her.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        If there’s very few women in the office, the odds of OP being guessed and found out are extremely high. I don’t think she should Glassdoor anything unless she’s gotten another job.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Women get to prioritise themselves and their livelihood and their safety, just like everyone else.

  15. Drag0nfly*

    OP#1, I’ve never been hunting, but I gather some think it’s an ethical thing to do at least once if you enjoy eating whatever is being hunted. I don’t feel tempted to eat squab, so I would pass on hunting that type of pigeon. But of course there are also the population control issues Sleve mentions above. There’s no reason to assume your coworkers just hunt because “hur, dur, it’s fun to kill stuff.” If you come at it from that angle you’re not going to make any friends, or influence people.

    The fact that you’re surprised hunting is seen as a network opportunity suggests you’re a transplant to an area where hunting is just another past time, like golf. This may limit your influence. So I’d focus on the fact that this network activity isn’t inclusive. I’d really drill down into questioning this. Questions such as, is this the only event where one can get face time with these high dollar clients? What’s the usual outcome of this event? More projects, more business? What, specifically, was the criteria for choosing who gets to go?

    That last one is what I’d really press on, because the organizer may have some plausible deniability there, if the criteria is that you have to have a hunting license or similar. Which is a great way to segue into questions about safety protocols, given that alcohol is an element. I tend to assume the drinking will happen after the shooting; I would also assume the club itself has rules about that. If you’re nervous about asking, consider using your coveted client list as leverage.

    If it turns out that hunting is just a cultural practice common to the area, you’re not going to overturn it. But you might be able to use the answer to these questions to make a case for an alternate event that achieves the same objective as the dove hunting outing AND is more inclusive.

    1. Tired and confused*

      It is my understanding that at least in the US discrimination happens if one protected class is excluded weather this was done on purpose or not. So if having a hunting license is a requirement and if so happens that only women lack one (not the case as nobody did ask the LW) that would still be discrimination as it results in women not being able to attend

      1. Drag0nfly*

        I’m less certain of that, because it’s not as if hunting is a male-only past time, or something that only men can do. Nor are there any sly shenanigans to keep women from getting a hunting license. So it would be harder to make the case for discrimination, because women do hunt, and no one stops them.

        The main issue seems to be that women at the OP’s company aren’t even invited, but I threw in the hunting license as a potential “out” the boss might have. If the OP said she had a hunting license, what then? If it turns out that every year the boss sends out a mass email saying that anyone who wants to attend must show proof of their license, and the women simply don’t, what then? As I understand it, disparate impact hinges on whether the requirement is necessary vs. arbitrary. A hunting license may be state law.

        That said, I think there’s always going to be some kind of activity not everyone *can* do, let alone *want* to do. It’s easier to make a case if it’s a question of “can.” Like insisting that the activity is hiking, even though someone uses a wheelchair. Because the activity doesn’t have to be hiking, and hiking is an arbitrary choice. That’s also why I wonder if hunting is part of the fabric of that community, because it might be THE activity that the majority of people do in that area.

        Case in point on necessary vs arbitrary, I once knew a retired cop who said that way back in the day the police force had a height requirement. You had to be 5’7 or something like that. This discriminated against recent Asian immigrants and refugees in those days, who tended to be shorter. There was no objective reason a cop could not be 5’4, so the height requirement was scrapped on the grounds that it unjustly kept out otherwise qualified men. I don’t remember if women were allowed on the force in those days, but currently the average American woman is 5’4, not 5’7. So women would have been affected by that rule back then, too. That’s how I understand disparate impact.

        1. BubbleTea*

          If it turned out that none of the women were able to participate, choosing to go ahead with that as the planned activity is discrimination. Think about the situation if instead of gender, the protected characteristic was disability and the activity was running. “We weren’t deliberately excluding the disabled employees, they just happen not to be able to do the activity” wouldn’t hold up.

        2. bamcheeks*

          I don’t know US employment law but the UK equivalent is indirect discrimination and this would be a very, very weird reading of it because there’s no business reason to go hunting in the first place. Like, you can’t hold a business meeting in the boys’ toilets and go, “sorry, no gurls allowed, not our rules not our fault” when you could just ~~not hold a business meeting in the toilets in the first place~~.

          1. Drag0nfly*

            Right, that’s why I had the hiking example. However — team building and network building exercises are a thing. Not everyone hikes, but a lot of people might like to. And until someone with limited mobility comes along, hiking *might* be a suitable networking event.

            IF — note IF — the *local culture* as a whole engages in hunting as a past time, then THAT activity might be considered inclusive by the company. After all, “everyone” does it. In other parts of the country it might be a Super Bowl party instead, but in this situation, the “high dollar” clients go hunting, which suggests this is a local past time. Pivoting from hunting would be an uphill battle in THAT case. And why keeping it a boys’ club is not gonna fly.

            Again, I do not understand disparate impact to mean, “some people aren’t into it, therefore we can’t do this.” I understand it to mean, “We have this requirement, which inherently excludes some people, yet there’s no justification for this requirement.” Like the height issue I mentioned above. Being a surgeon requires you to see, so the blind are inherently discriminated against, but it’s okay. Even desirable in that case.

            And of course, this situation might be just straight up sexism, where even if a woman were a licensed champion huntress, she still wouldn’t be allowed to go. But my purpose was to suggest angles the OP could use to successfully tackle the issue.

            Oh, PS: in America, it’s not unusual for women to take over the men’s room if the line is too long at a public facility, like a sports stadium. Eventually businesses responded by giving more stalls to the women’s bathrooms. Plus I used to know a sports photographer who was one of the women fighting to enter the men’s locker rooms back in the day. She and the other women wanted to be on equal footing with the male reporters and photographers who’d go into the locker rooms post-game and get all the interviews. Your example just made me laugh at the thought of her reaction; she was a self-proclaimed curmudgeon. I get your point, though, but over here that particular scheme wouldn’t get far.

            1. bamcheeks*

              I do not understand disparate impact to mean, “some people aren’t into it, therefore we can’t do this.”

              Unless US equality is *absolutely wild*, you’re getting really confused about where business need applies here. The business need is networking: you do not need a hunting license to network. The business has plenty of opportunity to choose a networking activity which does not disadvantage members of a protected class.

              But this is all wild speculation anyway because the LW says “women weren’t invited” not, “we were all invited but only the men can go because the women don’t hunt”.

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                I live in an area where hunting is common. (But not universal – I am in a metropolitan island surrounded by rural communities.) While I do know some women who hunt, the general attitude among hunters here is that men go out and hunt, while women stay behind and do “women-y things.” If the OP lives in a similar area, the exclusion is just built into the attitude.

                My father is a military veteran with a love of animals and a fear of guns. Hunting was not a part of my upbringing, even though he came from a semi-rural background.

          2. kalli*

            Business need isn’t a criterion for indirect discrimination. If something disadvantages a protected class, demonstrating a business reason for that specific measure can justify an exception (frex: providing pregnancy education only to people who can get pregnant) to the law, but it doesn’t make it not discrimination. Not having to hold the meeting in the toilets means it is unlawful indirect discrimination, because there isn’t a reason that having the meeting only for men in the mens’ toilets is objectively justifiable.

          3. CommanderBanana*

            Now I’m having visions of them attempting to hold a drink-and-dove-huntathon in the men’s loo.

        3. Varthema*

          I’m pretty sure AAM has addressed this kind of thing in the past and that argument doesn’t fly in discrimination suits – I believe the example was golf and if an office plans a golfing event and whoops the ladies of the office don’t golf, too bad – that’s still discrimination, even if there’s nothing preventing the women from golfing, it’s deliberately selecting an event that would only appeal to a certain subset characterizable by a protected category. it wouldn’t be actionable discrimination if the people opting out were a mix of genders, races, etc.

          anyway all academic because this case is textbook discrimination – the women aren’t invited.

        4. Ellis Bell*

          You can say the same thing about playing golf, or going to girlie strip clubs, or other activities which are clearly deliberate attempts to be “masculine” and are specifically held to exclude women. There’s no physical barrier to a woman learning to play golf, and no reason that a woman can’t appreciate the female form in a strip club (or do it better). It’s the cultural message that’s off putting: “Hey girls, the men are going hunting/to look at strippers/to play golf and we know you don’t like that yucky/boring stuff because you weren’t raised to it! Answer the phones while we’re gone, eh?” And yes, it is unreasonable to expect women to get a hunting license, or to learn how to golf when the activity could simply be more inclusive. The recent letter about male teachers going camping while being verbally gross about women around the campfire is an excellent example; the OP knew she could camp, and would enjoy camping but she still didn’t want to go into the woods alone with sexist men who didn’t want her there.

        5. Clisby*

          You do need a hunting license to hunt dove in SC, but heck I could buy one online. This is perfectly legal – it’s not like you need to jump through a bunch of hoops. You just hand over $.

          1. Anonymoose*

            You have to take a hunter education (safety) course and pass a test (relatively simple test, but its not just click a button and done)

            1. Clisby*

              Nope. That requirement (in SC, at least), is only for people born after 1978 (or maybe 1979?) I don’t know why older people are exempt, but we are.

        6. Jackalope*

          Per the EEOC, disparate impact is when decisions that are made for anything other than business necessity – which this certainly isn’t – have a more significant negative impact on a protected class than on the majority class. In this case it sounds like just straight up discrimination because the women weren’t even invited (no asking if they had a hunting license, etc.), but making a huge networking event like this something that is inaccessible to a protected class is disparate impact since it can have negative effects on their work and ability to network. The “necessary” part is about whether it’s necessary for the business to operate (see below about a surgeon needing vision), not whether a specific document (hunting license, in this case) is needed for the activity.

          (Vaguely related: there was a push to make it necessary to show legal proof of all past name changes in order to get ID to be able to vote, and that was considered to have disparate impact on women because they are more likely to have name changes due to marriage, divorce, etc. So even something like that can be an EEOC issue.)

          1. Anonymoose*

            It has nothing to do with ‘majority class’ – everyone is a member of a protected class. Whether you are male or female, sex is a protected class and discrimination based on it is illegal. Whether you are black, white, or anything else, discrimination based on race is illegal because race is a protected class. Protected class just means a characteristic that cannot be used to discriminate in [employment or other] decisions. Age is the only protected class as far as I know that actually has specific sub-groups that *can* be discriminated against (age discrimination only applies to victims of discrimination over the age of 40)

            1. Jackalope*

              Okay, yes, my language was sloppy when I wrote this – I was trying to head out the door for work and wasn’t thinking. You’re correct that everyone is a member of protected classes, at least in the US – everyone has a race, some sort of place on the gender spectrum (even if it’s something like gender queer that’s outside of the usually considered binary), sexual orientation, etc.

              My broader point still stands, however. Members of a majority group, where the “group” is a protected class (in this case, gender) making a work decision that specifically excludes the minority group in that protected class can still be considered disparate impact even if the official action does not explicitly state that the minority group will be affected. Having a major networking activity with a requirement that “just happens” to exclude most or all of the women can still potentially be considered disparate impact even if there’s nothing stating that women are to be excluded.

      2. Long Time Lurker*

        Are there religions where hunting would be a problem? Wondering about Hindus in particular. Not wanting to hunt isn’t a protected class but religious requirements not to do so would fall into that category.

        1. Holly*

          Hunting for sport is against a lot of Pagan philosophies. There’s also a religion where its adherents won’t even till soil in case they hurt a bug, I think its Zainism but I can’t be sure. It might even be a sect of Buddhism now I think about it.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Jains have a duty to cause no harm to any living beings which includes everything from humans to tiny insects.

          2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            Jains use little brushes to gently brush away any insects so they don’t tread on any. They also insist on digging manually, so they can make sure not to kill any worms or other insects in the soil.

        2. Silver Robin*

          In Judaism, one could hunt for sport, I think, but the resulting meat would not be kosher since it did not follow the proper slaughtering process. Hunting is not guaranteed to kill on the first shot – multiple shots would introduce blemishes and cause distress to the animal – and there is an assumption that a hunted animal is inherently distressed; kosher ritual slaughter is theoretically meant to reduce distress at time of death. From what I have seen, Judaism is very pro-pastoral and not really big on hunting as far as the laws go.

          Somebody above has been explaining that the birds would likely be served for dinner or packed up for guests to take home, which is why I thought of this.

        3. OyHiOh*

          Hunting is generally not considered kosher. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Jew who hunts. Although deer and elk are kosher animals to eat, I don’t know any Jewish people who eat venison, because these animals are usually killed by gunshot and that’s not kosher.

    2. Clare*

      If you read the entire comment by Sleve, it’s pretty clear that they’re saying this ISN’T the kind of hunting you can make animal management/environmental arguments for.

      1. Dinwar*

        The dove hunts I’ve heard of (never been myself, but some relatives of mine go occasionally, NOT as part of any business) occur in areas where the doves are cultivated for the purpose of hunting. Not necessarily “raised”, but the owner certainly makes sure the environment is right for doves, and incubates dove eggs for release during years when the population dips, that sort of thing. They are professionally run organizations catering to a specific demographic, and they make sure they have a product to sell.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I think this is a fair point, and I understand why people can find it off-putting that people will treat “I eat meat, but I would never personally kill and butcher an animal” like it’s some highly evolved moral state. Very reminiscent of why we eat beef and pork (French aristocracy words) but farm cows and pigs (English peasantry words).

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            The use of old English and French like that dates from the Norman conquest of England. The peasants spoke Anglo-Saxon, and at court they spoke French, and English evolved from there.

        2. Snowy*

          Same with pheasant hunting. They aren’t native where I live, so they’ve all been raised and released into the wild, managed specifically for hunting.

    3. Myrin*

      “There’s no reason to assume your coworkers just hunt because “hur, dur, it’s fun to kill stuff.””
      I mean… yes, there is, because anything else doesn’t really make sense? Are you suggesting this finance company with its execs and directors invites its high-profile clients to a hunting trip because they’re all moonlighting as ecological conservators (and pertaining to doves, of all animals)?

      1. bamcheeks*

        It’s quite funny to read as a British person because of the implication that nobody would hunt just because killing is fun, and there must be a Good Reason. “Killing is fun” is literally the only reason anyone can hunt in Britain: there are no populations of anything being managed through hunting, it’s sport all the way down.

      2. Dek*

        “yes, there is, because anything else doesn’t really make sense?”

        Dove is tasty, and sometimes hunting is the best/easiest way to get it?

        I’ll be honest, I don’t really get how this would morally be different than, say, a fishing trip.

    4. niknik*

      Are you seriously suggestion that this event is held for environmental purposes ? Because it sure as hell is not.

    5. LB33*

      If you’re saying it’s comparable to golf, doesn’t that mean they’re doing it becuase it’s fun? I doubt these guys are population control experts

    6. Snow Globe*

      Also, the LW states that many people go for networking purposes but don’t participate in the hunting. There is absolutely no reason to think that something like a hunting license is a prerequisite.

      1. Pippa K*

        States generally have rules about whether (or how many) unlicensed hunters can accompany hunters in the field, so it’s not likely that many non-hunters could tag along just for the networking – even if unarmed, they’d most likely need a license. (This is to prevent people who didn’t buy a license or aren’t trained from going hunting with a friend and just using that friend’s shotgun, for example – “I wasn’t hunting; Jeff just handed me his gun for a minute” or whatever.) A big organized hunt would likely know the rules, so maybe some of the networking is taking place back at the clubhouse afterward, which would also be a fine place to serve alcohol without breaking safety rules.

        In any case, the organizers wouldn’t know if the women had hunting licenses or not, and you generally get them annually at hunting season anyway. So no matter how you slice it, the sex discrimination in OP’s situation is the fundamental problem that can’t be explained away. Maybe everyone there likes to hunt, maybe a group outing of this type is safely and legally arranged, but there’s no excuse for excluding the women.

        1. Dinwar*

          “States generally have rules about whether (or how many) unlicensed hunters can accompany hunters in the field, so it’s not likely that many non-hunters could tag along just for the networking – even if unarmed, they’d most likely need a license.”

          Even if the state didn’t, the individual institution may. Hunting is inherently dangerous–the goal is ultimately to kill something, and you are carrying a deadly weapon for that purpose. Bird shot may not be the most dangerous round to be hit with, but it absolutely can still kill you.

          Most states require hunters to undergo some sort of safety training before getting a license. Some allow you to do this online, but there’s still training involved. It’s very, very typical for companies to default to some government training standard when you’re dealing with inherently dangerous activities–if nothing else, it makes discussions with insurance companies much easier, because “The government says this is adequate” is something of a trump card. Explaining to an insurance company or lawyer why you failed to comply with government standards is not impossible, but it’s really, really tricky.

          What the non-hunters may be doing is participating in non-hunting activities. The dove/pheasant hunts that I’m familiar with included a lodge of some sort where you could have drinks, hang out, and sometimes a kitchen where they’d cook what you bagged. That part may be open to non-hunters, and would be easy enough to open to non-hunting members of the company.

  16. Mighty K*

    Are female clients invited to the dove hunt?

    (I would guess not, but would be interesting to provide an all-female client list and see what happens)

    1. Ane*

      I was wondering that, too.. but if there was at least one high-ranking female client who loves hunting on these trips, wouldn’t she have been noticing the company only sent men and ask about that? Because I am guessing if she did and she got no satisfactory answer she wouldn’t be back.?

      1. Cat Tree*

        No, she would most likely notice and NOT say anything about it, knowing that she’s a minority in a male-dominated hobby and industry. She would know from experience or observation that she’s unlikely to change anything and might not want to make waves when she already has less power.

        If you’re thinking that she has power because she’s a client, that is unrealistic. I assure you that misogynists would rather lose clients, even important ones, than to stop being misogynists.

        1. Sparkles McFadden*

          Yup. 100% agree with this, but it’s highly likely that:
          – There aren’t any female clients.
          – If there are female clients, they would not be invited.

      2. Say It Ain't So*

        This is a company of over 5,000 employees. The LW’s director specifically does not include his female employees, of which there are 2. There are surely hundreds of other women in this company, who report to other directors who invite female employees, and there very well are likely females in director positions. It seems entirely plausible that many women are invited (by either being directors themselves or being invited by their director), and there very well could be women in attendance at the hunt, or at the very least, for the networking time outside of the actual hunting time.

        I’m also presuming that LW was pretty new when invites for last year’s hunt went out and she didn’t think much of it, or just didn’t know enough yet to question the invite list, but now that’s she’s been there longer, likely knows who actually is supposed to be invited (men AND women) and who actually attends (men AND women) and that’s why she’s annoyed – she knows other women are there, but her director excludes her (and her female co-worker), seemingly based on her gender.

        The ONLY possible explanation for the exclusion COULD be that employees with certain titles/years of service are invited, and the two women in the office somehow don’t meet this kind of criteria. However, with having clients of their own who are invited, it seems in poor taste to invite the client while not inviting the employee with the closest relationship to said client, regardless of years of service.

  17. nodramalama*

    LW1 wtf. first up, it is so weird that even where hunting is common practice, a company would do it as a work activity. It’s doubly weird that they’d have this activity and then not invite women.

    LW3 its generous. it would never in a million years cross my mind to have meetings around halloween but I don’t really see any downside.

    LW5 could you just stop logging into the app/site and choosing your picks every week?

  18. Mmm.*

    The dove hunt thing could also turn into religious discrimination, as people who practice faiths that ban harming animals. Buddhism comes to mind. It’s not the same as having meat at an event, as there’s usually another option, and you aren’t hanging out with the people killing the cows so you can further your career.

    Also… A dove hunt? I’m gonna go give my yard doves extra food so they don’t leave my block ever again.

    1. Editor Emeritus*

      I wonder if these are doves that have been bred specifically to be hunted, like pheasant or grouse. I was sort of hoping “dove hunting” is a regional term for clay pigeon shooting.

      1. Awkwardness*

        I did too!
        But the dictionary clearly said that a dove is a done and a clay pigeon a clay pigeon. It really seem to be doves.

      2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Are you in the UK? In the parts of the US I’m familiar with that have pheasant hunting (South Dakota, where it’s a HUGE deal) the birds are definitely not being bred – they were introduced about a century ago, so they’re not native, but they’re still wild.

      3. Lime green Pacer*

        No, it seems to like duck hunting. Sometimes crops are planted to encourage doves to feed in a specific spot, though.

        I’m a bird watcher, and the (new to me) idea of dove hunting is more distressing than duck hunting. They’re songbirds, hardly any meat on them at all! What on earth? I suppose the closest analogy would be fishing for something pretty small.

  19. kalli*

    LW#4 – a lot of resolutions in this kind of action include a statement of service or written reference, which you can give a copy of to a prospective employer in lieu of a reference, and/or outlines what a reference from anyone at that company is allowed to include. Some people agree to just date started, date ended and title, others agree on a list of duties/achievements/training as well. If you are not looking to leave it might feel a bit strange to start considering this now, but honestly, only about 1/3 of people survive 3 months after taking legal action against an employer, and your lawyer will no doubt broach with you whether you want to negotiate a resignation and severance anyway – and that may be easier/faster than trying to manage a larger commitment to change in an org dedicated to not changing. The thing about getting it in writing as part of a negotiated settlement is that you can go back to the lawyer and they can take further action for you if a reference is not of the agreed form, while the power of the more general NDA has been rather abrogated of late. If you want a coworker from there to speak as a reference (someone you trust to be more honest and less retaliatory than a manager), however, they will also be bound by it while employed there, but you could also ask for them to be listed as the proper contact for a reference in lieu of a full statement.

    In the meantime, there’s very little you can do to keep it private beyond settling before any court documents are filed – court lists tend to be public unless a judge approves a specific application for anonymity, and media often watch for interesting discrimination cases to report on. Instead of worrying about what your employer may say in a hypothetical future reference, your energy might serve you better being focused on the things you want to achieve out of the action and what you need to kickstart your healing process.

    1. WS*

      +1, and a lot of companies now only offer confirmation of an employee’s position and time there, and don’t give references, so it won’t particularly stand out if you only have a statement of service.

  20. kalli*

    LW#5 It depends on whether it’s a work-arranged tournament or whether it’s a bunch of friendly people who also happen to work at the same place – if it’s the former, if someone leaves they often just give them the home team wins or half points as default and don’t require further active participation; if it’s the latter then a lot of people are fine with staying on until the end of the season because the ‘this is a social thing for us friendly people’ is unchanged.

    It sounds like you want to leave anyway, which is fine – even if it’s the latter, it sounds like the ‘social thing for us friendly people’ no longer applies to you, which is valid. It sounds like you know how to leave – ask the commissioner. The online systems don’t all allow people to leave unilaterally because it can affect the pool (if half the people leave and withdraw their money, then the winner may get much less than was advertised; people using dropping in/out as a means of harassment etc). So you either ask the commissioner, or if you don’t have a contact for them because it’s a work email and you don’t have access to the directory any more, tell someone at work you’re still in touch with, or bring it up when you’re sorting final pay and surrendering materials. It is definitely an option, and a normal thing to cover, just like if you’d RSVPd to an off-hours team building thing or a conference and you had to negotiate backing out or taking over the ticket.

    1. Antilles*

      or bring it up when you’re sorting final pay and surrendering materials. It is definitely an option, and a normal thing to cover, just like if you’d RSVPd to an off-hours team building thing or a conference and you had to negotiate backing out or taking over the ticket.
      No, absolutely not, do NOT do this. Your exit meeting is not the place to discuss a $10 fantasy football league with no affiliation with the company.
      Fantasy football leagues are unofficial things done by people on their spare time, not organized by the company, and not part of your duties/job. That’s not a “normal thing to cover”. Completely different scenario than your analogies of a conference or work team-building activity.

      1. doreen*

        I’ve never seen this sort of thing be an actual work-arranged event , whether it’s a fantasy football league, sports brackets, super bowl boxes lottery pools or even actual bowling leagues or softball teams. They all involve “friendly co-workers” and sometimes involve people outside of the workplace – but they are never actually part of the job and should absolutely not come up when turning over materials etc. It’s not like backing out of a team building event or conference that was arranged through your company – it’s more like backing out of a event you arranged and paid for on your own that you found out about at work.

        1. Antilles*

          No, the medium has nothing to do with it.

          Regardless if it’s a formal exit interview or an email chain with HR, either way it’s still not company business, the company is not involved, and your friendly FF league with ex-co-workers has no place in any kind of discussion regarding “sorting final pay and surrendering materials”.

          The company isn’t involved with the FF league at all, it’s neither their responsibility nor their problem to sort out.

  21. Coyote River*

    I do love hunting, and may have even invited business associates along on a few. But everything about LW1’s company trip screams “bad idea” to me, with flagrant sex discrimination thrown in for good measure.

    1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      In addition to moving meetings from Nov 1 (or at least from first thing in the morning) please consider moving late afternoon meetings on Halloween so people with trick-or-treating aged kids are home in time, and people who drive are off the roads before kids go out. My wife is at a conference today, and the organizers have it ending early today so local attendees can make it home for trick or treating.

  22. Rosacolleti*

    #1 I dont have the words to express my disgust that your company sanctions gratuitous animal cruelty.

    #2 recruitment platforms like LinkedIn don’t allow for the flexibility to describe a role as anywhere than hybrid OR on-site. I just listed a role today for an 80% on-site role so I called it hybrid but in the summary made it clear.

  23. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    4. Am in the UK and slightly different in that I actually turned against a former employer; giving evidence to the prosecution detailing exactly what illegal stuff they’d been up to.

    For someone in IT, handing over data to outside lawyers was the moment I thought my career was gone forever. Who’d trust an IT manager who turns on her employer?

    I don’t make a thing of the court case in applications but my real name is unique enough that any interviewer Googling me will have that result staring at them. If they choose to not move forward based on that then, well, that’s something I’ve had to accept. Probably wouldn’t have liked working there anyway.

    For those who bring it up as a question from recruiters, interviewers etc. I will explain that it was a case where I had to stand against illegal behaviour that was hurting others (myself included). I will never divulge company information unless it’s at a truly staggering breaking point.

    The firms that can’t accept this? Well, they obviously want employees who’ll happily keep quiet despite law breaking activities. I’m never again working for a firm like that.

    But, there are LOTS of firms where that’s seen as a positive. You saw something hideously wrong and spoke up, even putting your career on the line. That’s a strength of character and the good recruiters and employers will want that.

    Won’t BS you, it’s not been easy. At all. I strongly suggest a good therapist/doctor/professional counsellor/whatever you have access to because by goddess I wish I’d had one back then. The stress is unreal.

  24. Not your typical admin*

    Yes to moving meetings the day after Halloween! I have 4 kids from ages 9-17 and also do a lot of volunteer work with kids. We’re not big Halloween people, but alway participate in a local trunk or treat. Between the semi late night, overstimulation, and more than the usual amount of sugar we’re all wiped out the next day.

    1. Extroverted Bean Counter*

      My old school district has Nov 1st as a district wide holiday. According to my elderly neighbor who worked in the schools for decades, it was implemented in the 90’s after decades of teachers being like “the day after Halloween is a total sh!t show, I hate this day with the passion of ten thousand suns”, haha.

  25. Dear liza dear liza*

    LW 2: My large university’s HR software allows 3 choices in position descriptions: In person, remote, or hybrid (at least one day a week work from home). That last one includes the parenthetical. It’s a good way to put a baseline on what hybrid means, but it can be understandably confusing to job applicants. In our last search, I had a few applicants email me for clarification, which in academia is 100% fine. But I wish we were allowed to change the wording to say exactly what we allow! (In our case, 1 day/week maximum. )

  26. Darsynia*

    Was it specifically phrased ‘to party’ for Halloween? Parents who work till 5 and have to supervise the holiday (either to give out candy or walk with kids) often struggle to get home in time, depending on the hours of their local event. A company allowing leeway would be great.

    My husband is working from home today so he doesn’t make us wait :)

    1. Ashley*

      I think the issue is not about being home early Tuesday, but it flowing into Wednesday’s meeting time.
      Moving a meeting off Halloween makes complete sense because of what you said. I get why moving one off the next day could cause someone to pause and wonder. To me someone should always look at the calendar for standing meetings to adjust months out for stuff like this or and other holidays like the 4th of July. Though in sports towns I could see last minute adjustments for things like your city’s team making the World Series.

  27. Dinwar*

    #3: It’s worth pointing out that Halloween falls on a major sabbat, one of 8 holy days in Wicca and many modern Pagan religions. It’s the end of the year, and some I’ve spoken with (I fall into this category) consider it the most important of the sabbats. Some celebrations occur at night, meaning it can get late.

    While I have no doubt that the main issue here is “Kids are going to be out late getting candy”, it’s nice to see that a company is accommodating minority religions, even if accidently. If that’s the direction a company is going, I can only see it as a good thing.

  28. Twill*

    Re: LW#5 – I admittedly have never understood the whole Fantasy Football thing, but “literally there is no way to leave after after the draft unless you are removed by commissioner” ?! Can’t you just, you know, not play anymore?

    1. Llama Identity Thief*

      You can, but it’s considered very bad etiquette in the Fantasy Football community. It affects the competitive balance of the season based on scheduling – teams that were scheduled to play you after you drop will have by definition an easier matchup against you than teams before you play. I’ve been on the receiving end of “I’m knocked out of the playoffs because the guy who drafted the super team left and I lost to him Week 2 and my closest competitor was able to beat his corpse Week 11.” It really, really sucks, especially if you think of FF as a major competitive outlet for analytical skill!

      I’d summarize it as if you don’t want to play anymore, make sure to reach out to the commissioner (you should have a commissioner email through the website/software used for FF in most cases), and let them take the ball and run. If there’s no money on the line, then it shouldn’t be a huge issue – even when the above suckitude happens, if it’s enough to affect someone’s level of professionalism/attitude in the workplace then they shouldn’t be playing FF and need to work on their professionalism. If there IS money on the line, I’d ask if the commish or someone else can fill in for your spot, maybe used weekly ranks on ESPN or similar to be a more “automated” process, and if there isn’t a fill in maybe name a charity for proceeds to go to should your corpse somehow win.

      1. kalli*

        They should absolutely contact the commissioner to make sure they’re aware, but work FF leagues and the general FF community don’t necessarily overlap for LW to be worried about etiquette.

        1. Llama Identity Thief*

          +1 on this point, didn’t really consider that level as I’ve never FF’d with coworkers and intend to keep that line.

    2. iglwif*

      You can just not play, but that doesn’t remove you from the league and can mess up everyone else who’s playing. (I have only done fantasy hockey, but these leagues all work in more or less the same ways.) “Playing” mostly means looking at your roster vs who’s playing this week and moving players on and off your active roster (because you draft a couple more more players than you have spots for — you might have 3 goalies but only 2 goalie slots per day, for instance), but it can also involve trading players, dropping ones that get injured and picking up new ones, putting players on waivers / claiming players off waivers, etc.

      If you just don’t play, one consequence for everyone else is that whoever you drafted is now tied up forever, since you won’t be participating in trades.

      1. Antilles*

        To me, it just read like a general check about something OP hadn’t run into before. My company is doing X and I’ve never heard of that. AAM, you talk to a lot of people, is this a thing now and/or part of a larger trend?

    1. PhyllisB*

      I believe they said they had a client meeting they couldn’t change, so this will cause them to miss the meeting.

    2. Ginger Cat Lady*

      She says she has a client meeting she cannot move, so it has created a conflict for her.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Which happens. Unless they are running the meeting, they miss. What if they woke up feeling sick? They would miss.

  29. OrdinaryJoe*


    Can’t you just ask your Director if you can come, citing the inclusion of your clients? It doesn’t have to be confrontational but under the assumption that he thinks you’re not interested or it’s ‘always been’ or whatever excuse he wants to use. This is a business event that you have a right to be at (assuming your roles is similar to those who are invited), it’s not a social event where the host gets to pick. Ask to come and see what the answer is. If they say “No”, then you have a much stronger case for discrimination.

    1. HonorBox*

      I was thinking the same! The OP knows that the event is happening, knows that her clients are being invited and could just assume that she should be there.

    2. Ashley*

      I would approach is from a how long do you work here usually before you are invited to this event. Make it seem like it has nothing to do with being a woman but with being newish.

  30. Irish Teacher.*

    LW1, yikes, this sounds problematic on a whole load of levels. Inviting male employees and not female employees is utterly gross, but the event itself sounds likely to exclude people too, even those who are officially invited.

    Hunting is controversial enough that it is very likely there are at least one or two employees who would be uncomfortable with it or even vehemently opposed to it. Especially if it is hunting doves, as they are somewhat “pretty” animals and have religious symbolism, so I could even see people being uncomfortable with it for religious reasons. (Not due to a religious prohibition, but I think a lot of Christians associate doves with the holy spirit and may therefore not be comfortable shooting at them even if they are OK with sport hunting in general.)

    As well as that, both guns and alcohol can be somewhat controversial and putting them together is likely to make even more people uncomfortable.

    I can see a whole load of reasons people would be uncomfortable with this activity – people who oppose hunting, people who see doves as a religious symbol, people who have past trauma around guns or alcohol, vegetarians and vegans – and while I know any event could be unwelcoming to some people (anything with alcohol could be triggering to somebody who grew up with a alcoholic parent or is otherwise triggered by being around drunk people, meals can be difficult for people with eating disorders, any sporting event may be difficult for people with disabilities to participate in, and so on), I feel this is an activity likely to be controversial on enough levels that it wouldn’t be a great choice even if everybody was invited.

    It is something likely to appeal to very particular demographics and while I am guessing it is in an area where those demographics are the majority (and I do recognise that some of the controversies such as attitudes to hunting, guns in general and doves, are cultural), I would be surprised if the LW were the only one bothered by this.

    Now, of course, the largest problem is the direct exclusion of women, especially given that they are asked to provide lists of people to be invited and I guess if the company doesn’t see how inviting only men is a problem, they are hardly likely to see that organising an activity that some groups would not wish to attend is a problem (especially as every activity has somebody who doesn’t want to attend; this just seems more likely than most to have people who feel strongly).

    LW3, this is probably only vaguly relevant but in Ireland, we have a public holiday (day when people are entitled to paid leave or an extra day’s pay in lieu) on the Monday before Halloween. Schools also have a break the week of Halloween.

    It has both Christian and pagan religious significance (yeah, the Christian All Saint’s day is 1st of November, with Halloween being the “eve”) and in Catholicism at least, November is also the month to remember the dead and a traditional time to visit the graves of those who have died. So there are more reasons that it might have significance to people than just “so I can party and drink without having to worry about getting up early the next morning.”

  31. Insert Pun Here*

    “Hybrid” at my very large org varies from “come in on a fixed schedule” to “set your own schedule but come in on the same days every week” to “come in as-needed when XYZ in-person task needs to be done.” It frustrates me that the same word is used for all these things. Words mean things, people! (Most divisions are pretty good about specifying in the text of the job description itself.)

    1. Crunchy Granola*

      Most divisions are pretty good about specifying in the text of the job description itself

      I’m glad you’re seeing that. I wish that was my experience. It doesn’t help that the job boards are woefully inadequate to setting search parameters around the various definitions of hybrid, especially those with residency requirements.

    2. Donn*

      Agreed, especially with come in as needed when you have an in-person task to be done. Don’t expect someone who’s already on-site to do it for you, because by God you’re not hauling yourself into the office for any reason.

  32. Ally McBeal*

    OP #2 – would it help you to reframe? Many people are not partying but could still use the recovery time – statistically speaking, a lot of employees are parents, and parents often let their kids stay up later than usual on Halloween (they have to, or the kids wouldn’t get to go trick-or-treating/trunk-or-treating because of their parents’ work schedules and commute time). Of course, I’ve been to neighborhood Halloween events where parents are drinking while meandering with their kids, so some folks may also be recovering the next morning, but I imagine a fair amount of them are just extra tired from dealing with sugar highs and late bedtimes.

    1. Victoria Everglot*

      Honestly I don’t really see the problem even if it was just “everyone was partying all night”. Let people enjoy themselves during a community event without having to worry about The Job once in awhile.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        Oh, completely agree! I think this is a very silly thing to be upset about. I don’t live to work, I work to live, and employers SHOULD make easy accommodations like this one (or letting people out early on a Friday before a holiday weekend, or whatever) as a matter of routine rather than exception.

        But, for example, my grandma was a teetotaller, so reframing a situation like this from “they’re partying all night” to “a lot of them are actually wrangling kids on sugar rampages” would’ve helped her move past her single-mindedness and irritation.

  33. HonorBox*

    OP5 – A question in my wheelhouse! I’d love to suggest that you stay in and try to win. That feeling could be so sweet. But in all actuality, it probably isn’t the best move in the long run.

    I’ve run several fantasy football leagues and removing someone is pretty difficult depending on the host platform. Some won’t allow an odd number of teams, or less than a minimum number. If you feel like abandoning the team is the best move, which I think I’d lean toward, you could just drop all of your players and pick up guys on IR or who don’t see the field. Give the commissioner a heads up and then maybe post something on the league message board letting people know that since you’re not there any longer, you’re going to make your good players free agents as of a specific day and time. That’ll give everyone else an equal opportunity to pick them up and you won’t have to worry about checking in on your team or causing any ill will when you accidentally win a game.

  34. Capt. Liam Shaw*

    LW1: What you describe is pretty common in wealth management and private banking circles. Though I have never seen a dove hunt, but have seen other types of shooting events. Also you probably aren’t invited since you are not high enough the organization chart. Having worked in private banking and wealth management (before and currently) I have seen several events that made me do a double take. I get why you are nervous reporting this. The private banking/wealth management field has long memories and is very cliquish. If you report it, make it about the gender angle over the dove hunt.

    1. GirlBoss*

      Agreed – it sounds like she is not Director level or higher. The reality is men are usually the ones that hold those high level positions. I say this the female that attends these events and there are usually only one or two of us in the room at most.

  35. Dulcinea47*

    “hybrid” doesn’t imply any specific amount of time and if you have a mostly remote schedule in mind, it’d be good to save everyone’s time by asking at the beginning of the process if this is possible. Most of the hybrid jobs where I work are “60/40”, meaning people work two days a week from home.

    My new “hybrid” job is not very hybrid at all, part of it is the nature of the work where I don’t currently have many things I can work on from home but I will eventually. I knew this would be the case coming in, though, and the lack of commute makes up for it IMO.

  36. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    OP5: I’m in a fantasy league at work – 2 people in the league were laid off in the spring. But we’re all still friendly and had no qualms about having them play again (I’m a newby – several of the others have been playing for years.)

    We keep the chatter and trash talk to a Discord channel, instead of company slack, but otherwise it’s indistinguishable from a fully in-house league.

    I think it all depends in your situation about whether you and your former coworkers have any ill feelings towards each other, or whether your firing had nothing to do with that particular bunch of people.

    1. Sparkles McFadden*

      People at my company who were laid off still stayed in the FF league. Everyone was happy with that. It sounds like the LW just wants to move on completely, so I think asking the commissioner or others in the league if a replacement could be found to take over the team is the way to go.

  37. NYNY*

    Lw1, years ago, a former employer of mine changed the hunt to a no guns hunt but a camera hunt (and as this was a long time ago, if you did not have a smart phone with a camera, you were loaned one). People who did not want/couldnt walk alot could sign up for ATVs

    At the dinner, the people running it put up the pictures and participants voted on best pictures in a number of categories. Evyerone loved it.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      This is such a great idea! This is the type of event that I could get behind!

    2. Dinwar*

      I’d like to recommend uploading these photos to iNaturalist as well. It’s a free website that crowd-sources biological observations. Basically, you upload photos and location information, and they are identified by other members, sort of like Galaxy Zoo. Once they are sufficiently identified (I think 3 people, but I think it also weighs people’s votes differently–a professor of ornithology may weigh more than some random person when it comes to birds, for example) the information is made available for research purposes. It’s a fantastic way to help biologists understand the world as it is, and how it’s changing.

      The system has ways to construct events, and this would be perfect for it. It takes a little effort, but honestly not much more than setting up a hunting trip would in the first place.

    3. Delta Delta*

      This sounds like a lot of fun. To be clear, I grew up in a household where hunting was a thing and I live in an area where hunting is very much a thing. I understand it and for many reasons I endorse ethical hunting. I have gone hunting and what I like is the walk in the woods and the quiet. This said, it’s not for everyone, so why not do something like a camera hunt? And also, obviously, invite everyone.

  38. LucyGoosy*

    LW 3 – Is there any chance you have work colleagues with small children and they want to take them trick or treating? If so, why not accommodate? The tone of your letter makes it sound like this is a breach of professionalism or a reflection of how the “latest” generation has forgotten the values of yore, but really, I wouldn’t say this is much different than people leaving work an hour early the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day Weekend, or whatever.

    1. Dinwar*

      I remember a jobsite I was on in a year when July 4 fell on a Thursday. The construction manager on Monday quite loudly informed the crews during the safety meeting that we’d be going full-bore on Friday, we’re here to work and we’re behind schedule! After the meeting I asked him (as an aside, I had other stuff to talk to him about) if he thought this was a good idea. These were construction workers, and I pointed out that many of them would likely still be drunk Friday morning.

      On Tuesday morning he came in and said “Upon further consideration, you all have been working really hard. Enjoy the time with your families, we’re shutting the site down Friday. Be back at 0700 Monday morning.”

    2. Miss Muffet*

      It reminds me of about every third letter to Miss Manners about some particular way someone is throwing a wedding/shower/party/whatever and it is a little gauche, or maybe just untraditional and the writer is like, is this the new trend? It’s literally one. One party. One change of schedule at one company. It’s ok.

    3. Sparkles McFadden*

      I hate Halloween and I like the idea of moving the meeting. I think it’s a sign of a decent place to work, not a breach of protocol, It’s acknowledging that people have a life outside of work. Eventhough I, personally, dislike Halloween, I would try to take a day off from work so I could be home to give out candy because *other people* like Halloween.

      As to why people might be too tired to want to focus on a monthly meeting: Have you ever taken small children trick or treating? Have you ever tried to get an over-excited kid to bed? Moving the meeting makes total sense.

  39. Glazed Donut*

    Companies should describe what their work arrangements are in the description as best they can.
    In the hiring I have done, the work is WFH 90% of the time and the other 10% requires travel to the office – employees can work anywhere in the state. However, I have hired someone who thought that the flexible WFH policy also meant they could set their own hours to vary day to day (!) since the job description stated “work hours are usually 8am – 4:30pm” (emphasis mine). I think she was a special case with that interpretation.
    Now that I’m interviewing for my own next role, the hybrid / remote / telework is throwing me off since so few companies have clear expectations for what this means in the job description. Help me help you (not waste anyone’s time) by spelling things out as clear as possible in the description or even the initial reach-out/phone screen set up email.

  40. PanamaHat*

    School is out where I live on Nov 1 this year. It’s being taken as a teacher work day. Just one more reason to move a meeting off Nov 1.

  41. C.*

    No advice other than what Alison shared, but #1 just really upsets me all around: exclusion, discrimination, and… animal hunting for a work activity. Gross, gross, gross.

  42. Ex-prof*

    LW1: Not to mention the sheer symbolism of killing doves.

    (Dick Cheney wasn’t drunk when he shot the guy in the face, was he? He doesn’t seem like the drinking type.)

  43. Kevin Finnerty*

    I used to practice employment law in a place where a drunken dove hunt wouldn’t have turned any heads, but even having seen so much I am genuinely surprised that in 2023 they are systematically excluding women. Employment lawsuits are much more emotional than people typically realize, and as LW4 seems to have started to realize even valid lawsuits can damage future employability and industry reputation. Even so, imo LW1 should consult with an attorney and consider suing because this sounds wildly illegal.

    1. Dek*

      Yeah, I’m not particular put off by the dove hunt itself (I really don’t see how it’s different from any other kind of hunting or fishing where you eat it after), but I am boggling over them making it a men’s only event in the Year-of-Our-Lord-Twenty-Twenty-Three.

      1. Clisby*

        I’m not bothered by the dove hunt, either, but I am honestly wondering about one logistical aspect of it. To participate (in the hunting itself, not just going along), do you have to already own a shotgun? I could get a hunting license online for $25 in my state, so that wouldn’t be a bar; but I don’t have a shotgun, and while I know how to shoot a shotgun, no way am I spending the money on one for a networking event. Whoever’s organizing this would have to be insane to just loan out shotguns to people who don’t have them. I don’t own fishing tackle, either, but I know how to use it; and at any rate a loaner rod and reel wouldn’t be putting me or anyone else in danger.

      2. Stuff*

        You should be put off by it. Here’s the problem, setting aside the gender discrimination. Let’s say an employee is in a wheelchair. Well, most of the networking and relationship building is happening while people are walking around in the woods with guns. You just excluded that person from having anywhere near the same career advancement opportunities as if they were able bodied. And that’s an extreme example, tons of people who don’t look disabled wouldn’t actually be able to do an event like this, it’s very ableistic for it to be how vital networking is done. You could say “Oh, just hang out in the club and bar”, but that’s still missing all the networking and relationship building in the hunt itself.

        Furthermore, what if someone is vegetarian or vegan? Should they be expected to attend a hunt for their career advancement? What if you have firearms related trauma, and this is super triggering? What if you have a history of mental health issues where you cannot be around a firearm for your own safety?

        This is wildly exclusionary, and it is absolutely a problem.

        And for the record, I do own guns, and would be up to taking part in a dove hunt. But not as a work event.

  44. CC*

    OP#5: I love fantasy sports and can definitely see how this is a weird situation. I think telling the commissioner you are leaving is the basic answer, and if the commissioner doesn’t know what to do, the options I’d recommend are either to find somebody that would be willing to do basic management of the team for the remaining weeks, or dependent on the league settings, have the commissioner set the line up each week by an established system (field the best players on the team each week, in case of open positions due to injuries or bye weeks, pick up the best player by projected points on the waiver wire, dropping the lowest ranked player if necessary).

    But it’s not really your problem to deal with once you tell the commissioner! That’s a commissioner problem, not yours.

  45. This_is_Todays_Name*

    When I was a teacher in South Carolina for a few years, Dove Hunting was a BIG THING to the point of being “an excused absence” from school during dove hunting season. Opening day, IIRC, was actually a scheduled “off” day. Hordes of men and kids in pickups all around the area, shooting the doves. It was gruesome.

    1. The OG Sleepless*

      I went to an outdoor wedding in a rural area on opening day of dove season once! We were all seated waiting for the ceremony to start and there were shotguns booming off in the distance. Lots of quiet jokes about shotgun weddings were being made.

    2. Clisby*

      I don’t remember that in SC, but I’ve never been dove-hunting so probably didn’t pay much attention. My husband grew up in rural Ohio, where the first day of regular gun season for deer was a school holiday. (The entire week of the county fair was a school holiday as well – otherwise the absentee rate would have been horrendous.)

  46. Observer*

    #5 _ fantasy football.

    It sounds like you should ask the commissioner of your league to remove you as you don’t seem to have any good will to the employees there.

    But I hope you were joking about the suggestion to “tank the season on purpose”. It sounds petty and childish. If there is any good will or even neutrality among your former work-mates, this would be a good way to tank it. And don’t think that this could not come back to haunt you. It’s surprising to people how often you run into people who you met / knew / worked with at a previous employer. And how often what they have to say about you can matter. Don’t give people a reason to remember you poorly.

  47. Ssssssssssssssssss*

    I’m getting old. Who parties on a Tuesday night?

    Ppl tend to leave work early on Halloween to get ready for treat or treating is my experience, not to party on a Tuesday night (a school night, too!).

    But hey, if the meeting can be moved to accommodate a larger group of ppl who have plans, why not? It’s not a trend I’m aware of though.

  48. A*

    @#5 I got fired while on a work Fantasy Football! I tanked my team, and got a lot of pleasure out of it. It’s petty in a pretty unharmful way, so, I say do it!!

  49. Dek*

    “Is this the path that office culture/protocol is going down? Is this a trend you’re seeing?”

    I’m confused as to what “this” means. Moving meetings to accommodate employees? Considering Halloween worth moving meetings? People partying on Halloween?

    I’m also confused as to why this warranted writing in. Does the new time conflict with your client appointment?

    1. K8T*

      Yeah that letter just seemed like sour grapes. I would assume they wouldn’t get in trouble over taking a client meeting over a rescheduled occurring one if their managers are any sort of reasonable person.

  50. CV*

    Re: hunting only for men

    Is it most people’s conclusion that men would not complain/report that women were excluded from these events?

    I would hope anyone would object if the other half of the human race were prohibited from participating.

    1. Clisby*

      Based on the original letter, we don’t know that half the human race was prohibited from participating.

      What we know is that, in a company of about 5000 employees, LW and the only other woman *in her office* were not invited, even though LW, at least, was asked to suggest high-value clients for the event.

      What we don’t know: In a company of 5,000 people, it beggars belief that there are only 2 women, so … did other managers invite their female employees with high-value clients? Are the invitations limited to employees who have been there considerably longer than LW? Is this sexism but it’s just LW’s boss and not a companywide thing?

      The common-sense thing for LW to do is to ask her manager what it takes to get invited to this event. Not to be combative about it – just approach it as, “I’d love to go one year – is it based on seniority, or what?” Because we don’t know any of that. The LW might know that, but if so, she hasn’t included it in her post.


    #1 I’m not clear from your post if you and other women in the office are excluded because you are female, or because you are not high enough in the hierarchy. If there are no female Directors, that’s still a problem, but a different problem. Either way, if you have an anonymous reporting hotline, I would use it.

    My company also sponsors a dove hunt for clients. There is lots of alcohol in the evening when we eat the birds, none during shooting. There are very few women at our event, but that’s because there are very few women in my industry. We invite all executives and rainmakers who obtained the client; not necessarily the folks who manage the client. We also host the hunters education course (mandatory in TX) for folks without previous hunting experience.

    1. WellRed*

      One reason why there are still industries with few women or few directors is because they are excluded from networking opportunities like this, either intentionally or unintentionally.

    2. Stuff*

      I strongly suspect that such events being huge networking events where the relationships that determine promotions are built is exactly why you have very few women in your industry, and why OP 1’s workplace has no female directors.

    3. Tooearly*

      I’m also from Texas and grew up dove hunting, and that’s part of what I was wondering too. I would be too junior to be invited on a dove hunt, that kind of thing is what our board members do. I like your office’s method of doing it

  52. CommanderBanana*

    I’d propose that they nix the dove hunt and instead go on a javelina hunt. Except you can’t have guns, only rocks lashed to sticks, and the drinking starts before the hunt.

    You’ll probably end up with a few fewer executives than what you started with.

      1. CommanderBanana*

        I’ve got an open position for Head Javelina Stick Poking Technician. The last one lasted about 90 seconds, although we were able to retrieve bits of a jawbone. I am also definitely a Human Person, not a javelina typing away with my little trotters.

  53. Clisby*

    I’m not bothered by the dove hunt, either, but I am honestly wondering about one logistical aspect of it. To participate (in the hunting itself, not just going along), do you have to already own a shotgun? I could get a hunting license online for $25 in my state, so that wouldn’t be a bar; but I don’t have a shotgun, and while I know how to shoot a shotgun, no way am I spending the money on one for a networking event. Whoever’s organizing this would have to be insane to just loan out shotguns to people who don’t have them. I don’t own fishing tackle, either, but I know how to use it; and at any rate a loaner rod and reel wouldn’t be putting me or anyone else in danger.

  54. Lily Potter*

    LW#1 brought me back a few years. I live in a part of the country where hunting isn’t any big deal and I grew up with it. Shooting animals doesn’t shock me one little bit – in these parts, the hunters do society a great service by thinning the deer herd; we have enough people hitting deer with cars as it is, thanks! The alcohol aspect doesn’t concern me either. Responsible hunters don’t mix the two, although many do imbibe the night before or the evening after a day in the fields.

    In any event, for years I was the “client” of a company that sponsored an annual bird hunt. Both my company and the vendor company were male dominated. I was always invited on the hunt and certainly could have held my own with the guys – it just didn’t sound FUN to me to hunt with a bunch of men I didn’t know, six hours from home, in cold weather. I think that my vendor was secretly relieved that I didn’t want to attend; it absolutely would have changed the “guy” dynamic. We hashed over the “guy dynamic” a few months back; I’m of the unpopular opinion that sometimes guys just gotta be guys with guys. This vendor DID invite me every year but I think I was smart in declining, even if I did want to hunt.

    I used to joke with my friends in other industries that they got to go on spa vacations with their vendors but my only invitation was to a bird hunt……

    1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Yes, sometimes guys just want to be with other guys. And sometimes it’s OK for them to do that, even if some of us will think less of them for it, and other times it’s clearly discriminatory, or perpetuates discrimination.

      I mean, you could also point out that sometimes Christians just want to be with other Christians. That doesn’t make it OK for a company or university to have a Cbristian-only networking meeting, whether or not they tell the non-Christian employees “we’re only inviting Christians, but please, give us the names of your Christian clients so we can invite them.”

      If guys want to be with other guys and exclude the rest of us, th

    2. Observer*

      I’m of the unpopular opinion that sometimes guys just gotta be guys with guys

      That’s fine. But there is a time and a place for that. The workplace is not it. *Especially* when it also involves keeping women from *business* networking even with their own clients.

      This set up is the classic “old boys club” dynamic that has been used to exclude women for decades. It’s not the job of a wealth management company to provide their customers time to “chill with guys.” I get that they want to build relationships. But they really have to find ways to so that that don’t exclude women from building those same kinds of business relationships.

  55. Generic Name*

    #1 Yeah, this event is problematic on so many levels. If company leadership REALLY wants to do something hunting adjacent, they could organize a skeet shoot outing, and you know, let women attend. My mom’s small family owned company did that one year for a team building (the owner called it the “Nimrod Tournament” ha). My mother, who up until that point had never held a gun, managed to shoot down a respectable number of clay pigeons.

  56. Clisby*

    Based on the original letter, we don’t know that half the human race was prohibited from participating.

    What we know is that, in a company of about 5000 employees, LW and the only other woman *in her office* were not invited, even though LW, at least, was asked to suggest high-value clients for the event.

    What we don’t know: In a company of 5,000 people, it beggars belief that there are only 2 women, so … did other managers invite their female employees with high-value clients? Are the invitations limited to employees who have been there considerably longer than LW? Is this sexism but it’s just LW’s boss and not a companywide thing?

    The common-sense thing for LW to do is to ask her manager what it takes to get invited to this event. Not to be combative about it – just approach it as, “I’d love to go one year – is it based on seniority, or what?” Because we don’t know any of that. The LW might know that, but if so, she hasn’t included it in her post.

  57. Tooearly*

    I’m a woman and have gone dove hunting every year since I was a child myself. It’s a hugely important social custom in Texas and one of the most important traditions in my family (my dad would say opening weekend is the biggest family holiday of the year for him). There’s a lot of masculine energy in these things and as a woman and usually the youngest person I’ve certainly been excluded at least socially a few times myself (not an excuse, just commiseration). Joke is on them, I suppose, I doubt they have the same volume of birds limit out every year like we do.

    It’s also a really important custom in terms of professional networking here. During whitewing season, our male board members/execs/external CEOs would usually spend the first 5-10 minutes of each meeting talking about how the birds were flying (). My guess would be that OP works for a white shoe firm in a major Texas metro. It sucks but is not surprising at all that they exclude you – I wonder if there’s a way to get yourself invited next year (if they get a gold-plated package at a ranch, it’s really something to see with the riders on horseback, so I’ve heard – again, I myself am not usually invited to these things). And of course, it’s totally unacceptable that they ask you to pony up your own network for something you can’t benefit from.

    1. Stuff*

      I’m just so furious at the naked gender discrimination in you never getting invited. It’s such a flagrant violation of both your legal and moral rights, and even though I’m against guns having anything to do with business networking because of how massively uninclusive that is (and I own guns and love my collection), I’m still appalled you don’t get to participate because of your gender. This is guaranteeing an environment where women (or people with firearms related trauma, or vegetarians, or people who just don’t enjoy killing) don’t ever get to earn seats in leadership. It shouldn’t be acceptable to organize a workplace like this.

      I would totally go dove hunting with you, but it shouldn’t ever be a work event.

      1. Tooearly*

        Speaking at least for myself and not OP – I’m not really positioned in terms of seniority to get a lot of invitations anyway. I an early/mid-career in the public sector with a lot of the usual liberal urban professionals who don’t do this kind of thing (it’s not like I’m working as a landman or in oil and gas, which are professions where I’d expect people go hunting with their professional contacts often). But – in Texas – the high-net worth men on the boards of our universities, major employers (including my own employer), our legislators? All of them regularly go dove hunting and talk about it every year, I hear it often in the meetings I staff.

        Plus, at least for myself – I probably wouldn’t feel super comfortable going hunting anywhere without my dad there – to be frank, I’m mostly a terrible shot, I’m not very good at cleaning the guns, there are a lot of unspoken norms I dont know.

        What I would say to OP, if she could get herself invited next year, is to see if she can find a mentor/buddy who has done it before, because there are sometimes certain unspoken norms at these kinds of things (e.g., what you wear, etc.).

        1. Stuff*

          I mean,

          “But – in Texas – the high-net worth men on the boards of our universities, major employers (including my own employer), our legislators? All of them regularly go dove hunting and talk about it every year, I hear it often in the meetings I staff. ”

          I think this is inherently discriminatory and a massive problem that needs to be cracked down on. It is so ableistic, and excludes so many people from ever joining those boards. And it just makes me so mad. Like, elsewhere in the comment section, I was asking about what if people have firearms related trauma, or a history of serious mental health struggles, or just don’t eat meat. It excludes all of those people from the necessary networking to join the elite ranks of society. And that’s shitty.

          1. Tooearly*

            Agreed, but would add it’s sort of the tip of the iceberg as far as obstacles to access these positions are concerned. Some of the positions I’m describing are largely reserved for quite conservative multimillionaires/billionaires, people coming from the old families, etc. It would be so interesting to see a different demographic control these roles.

  58. Jen Cranston*

    I couldn’t read all of the debate about whether hunting is all right or not — but it seems like that’s an unimportant point to get “settled” before deciding whether something is a good work function. Things that some people can’t or don’t do shouldn’t be a crucial work-sponsored networking event. Those who don’t do that activity miss out on the professional opportunity. See also: golf, karaoke, drinking-essential events like wine tasting, kayaking…

    1. Observer*

      but it seems like that’s an unimportant point to get “settled” before deciding whether something is a good work function.

      I think you are completely correct. The issues around hunting are really not at the heart of the problem.

  59. Startup Survivor*

    OP1: this is all so, so wrong. If you want to fix this rather than just leave, you will have better luck going to your company’s legal counsel with documents and possibly data (eg market research on hunting acceptability; are they willing to alienate 20% of clients?). Next, come with some suggestions on how to fix the mess, like invites based on seniority level or position, and some alternatives like an upscale clay course.

    Why legal counsel? They usually know the law and are terrified of unnecessary exposure for their company. HR is hit and miss in that department.

  60. Stuff*

    I’m absolutely furious on OP’s behalf, from a lot of different angles.

    First off, guns don’t belong in the workplace, unless your job specifically involves guns. For a team building exercise, absolutely not. And I’m not anti-gun, I’m a gun collector. I own a lot of guns. But those aren’t appropriate for work. A team building exercise must be inclusive to the whole team, and I don’t think I need to explain why anything involving guns isn’t inclusive.

    Furthermore, killing animals isn’t an appropriate team building exercise. I eat meat. I’m not necessarily opposed to recreational hunting as long as the animal gets eaten by somebody, and it isn’t endangered species being killed, or otherwise causing issues (hunters often want to go after big bucks specifically, which can make what could have been sustainable deer hunting rapidly become unsustainable). But again, a team building exercise must above all be inclusive, and I don’t think I need to explain how killing animals isn’t inclusive.

    Yes, maybe nonhunters can sit in the bar and drink, but even that sounds uninclusive.

    But beyond that, they are openly discriminating in what employees even get invited, and it is ABSOLUTELY illegal. This is 100% a situation where women are not being given the career opportunities men are. A significant amount of vital networking and relationship building is happening at an event where they don’t even let the women attend, of course it’s discrimination. I know you can’t afford to risk reporting this and losing your job and income, but I’d be job searching furiously in your shoes. You do not have advancement opportunities in this place because of your gender, and if inferences about where this is and what kind of industry it is are accurate, it’s not going to get better any time soon.

    1. Stuff*

      By the way, I’m a woman, and I’m absolutely insulted by men like this who assume I WOULDN’T be interested in going dove hunting, when I probably own more guns than they do.

  61. Jesse*

    OP #3: I doubt the reschedule is just so that people can go to Halloween parties. Parents might be up late from taking kids trick or treating. Others might be up late from staying up to give out candy. But I would bet anything it’s because parents and families are often exhausted (not because other folks are partying in the middle of the week — adults’ halloween parties are usually the weekend before!)

  62. Wilton Businessman*

    OP#1: That is not OK at all. Discrimination in any form is totally unacceptable. I would think calling the ethics line would be the first step. BTW, there are plenty of women who dove hunt.

    Regardless, addressing the liability of guns and alcohol, no self respecting gun club is going to allow clients to shoot after they have been drinking. The gun clubs we are talking about are ones that have 5 figure annual dues and cater to the 0.001%.
    And let’s be perfectly clear, Dove Hunting and Pheasant Hunting is a BIG deal to some MEGA-Wealthy clients. Some of the world’s richest people are big time hunters. This is no different than them organizing a golf day or a Caribbean Cruise. Its what some of the ultra wealthy like to do.
    Your FEELINGS on hunting will lead you to make your own decisions.

  63. Texas Teacher*

    My nephew’s district has 6 late start days a year. Their teachers get that time to work on grades, planning etc. One of them is tomorrow. Logical to me.

  64. Lacremala*

    About the dove hunting. I am from South Texas close to Louisiana and I think most people do not understand the dependency on hunting for meat in this region and across the South. My husband frequently hunts both doves and other animals to feed our family. It is very common here. He has been invited to similar work trips but also people here hunt on weekends. It might not be common in other parts of the US, but we also eat every single thing he brings home after processing.

    The real issue here is the sexism. I can guarantee she does not want to attend that trip, but it is a big problem to have a male only event. I would bring to the attention of HR. Things are changing, albeit slowly.

  65. Adalind*

    LW1: this reminds me of my sister’s company who has some golf event every year and the men are allowed to golf while the women serve beer. Yes, you read that right. It’s insane.

  66. Lawyer from abroad*

    LW #1 I suggest you consult with a reputable lawyer that works specifically on the discrimination field in your region before taking any action. From past experiences, they probably know how best to advise you. Best of luck navigating this terrible mysoginistic scenario, OP!

  67. A person*

    If they really are set on the hunting style activity, they should find a place that does trap shooting instead… no animals are harmed. I’m sure there are sketchy places for that, but every time I’ve been to that for a work event it’s been very fun and very safe (even with some alcohol).

    And they should invite women too… that’s so disgusting and illegal!

    I’m a woman. I personally hate hunting but love target practicing. A reputable trap shooting place will have instructions for those that have never done it.

    There are probably better more inclusive activities out there for work events though… but if they were set on “hunting” it might be a slightly less bad alternative.

  68. Llamalupe*

    OP #5: I know nothing about fantasy football, but just want to send supportive vibes your way. I’m sorry this happened to you and hope you are taking good care of yourself. Speaking from experience, it does get better.

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