boss edits emails before forwarding them to his wife, manager wants to pull an offer over traffic tickets, and more

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

1. My boss edits emails before forwarding them to his wife

My boss always forwards every convo in an email chain. However, when he forwards anything to his wife (who is the accountant), he deletes certain threads I have written. Specifically, one recent example was one where he mentioned looking forward to me attending an event that requires overnight accommodations. I responded that I’m looking forward to seeing him and the other employees and confirmed that I would be staying overnight. I then followed up with a second email asking about company shirts. When he forwarded the email about the shirts, he left in his initial email to me but would have had to manually delete my response. Why would he do that?

I’m guessing there’s something up with his relationship with his wife where either (a) she’s overly reactionary when he exchanges normal pleasantries with female employees or (b) he thinks she will be. Who knows why, but I can imagine it feels a little icky on your end to be caught up in that when you’re just offering routine niceties.

2. Hiring manager wants to pull a pregnant candidate’s offer over traffic tickets

We offered a candidate a job, contingent on passing the background check, and submitted her info to our third party right away. The background report has been pending for a very long time, like 10 days. Usually that is because of a California jurisdiction (they take forever!) or a remote rural area where I always picture someone’s grandma searching the basement for records to provide in a dusty old courthouse. This time it wasn’t that, it was a large metropolitan area that is all electronic reporting and usually comes back same day. So I went to our state Bureau of Public Safety website and put in the candidate’s name to see if I could find anything out, and she has two outstanding warrants for her arrest! They are for traffic tickets, but one of them is over five years old.

Our normal procedure would be to wait for the background to go through, then send the notice of adverse action, etc. However the candidate has been checking every day to see the progress and is eager to start, so I sent an email telling her what I found and that it may jeopardize the offer. She apparently went directly to the website and paid the fine on one of the warrants and made arrangements to go to court to deal with the other.

I am really torn. This is for a managerial position (head of a department) and it definitely could cause complications with our insurance carrier if the person has to travel or drive company vehicles, not to mention showing a lack of judgement that is concerning. Then again, these things happen. The hiring manager wants to rescind the offer, even though we have been looking to fill this position since last year.

Further complicating matters, the candidate disclosed that she was pregnant after she accepted the offer, so we don’t want to make it look like we are retaliating due to the pregnancy, but the manager was definitely not happy when he found out. I have a call in to our attorney to get his take but I thought maybe I would throw this at you as well.

I mean, they’re traffic tickets. It doesn’t make sense to pull an offer over traffic tickets, unless they were for something like reckless driving and driving is a key element of the role.

If you’re concerned it will cause problems if the person needs to travel or drive company vehicles, look into that and find out for sure. Right now it sounds like you’re speculating, and if you’re considering pulling an offer over it, you should find out with more certainty.

The bigger issue is that you have a hiring manager who’s unhappy that a new hire is pregnant, and just happens to want to rescind the offer the first time he gets a way to do it. It’s worth questioning whether his concern over the traffic tickets is actually credible (after you’ve been searching for a year?!) or whether it’s actually about the pregnancy … and I’d be having a serious talk with him about why the company is committed to following the law when it comes to pregnancy discrimination, as well as spelling out what that needs to look like in his management of her.

3. Head of HR accidentally sent an all-staff email calling employees “whiny”

I work at a 200-person company. Our head of HR intended to send an email to a department head but accidentally sent an all-staff email. In it, he called the staff “whiny” and said we are exaggerating complaints about a major new change in the company.

Staff are alternately laughing and furious, of course. This person has a history of foot-in-mouth behavior and is generally not well liked or trusted by staff. I’ve talked to fellow managers both within the company and out about what appropriate follow-up action looks like as a result. One said an apology email. Another said he should be fired, as this is quite the error since he leads HR. Just curious what your take is.

If I were managing him, the big questions on my mind would be: What does this say about the way he sees his role and the people he needs to work with, particularly in light of the history with him? And can he still be effective in his job or is this a last straw in what sounds like an already very problematic history? Having an untrusted head of HR is a problem already; having one who’s openly antagonizing the staff who need to have some degree of trust in his impartiality makes that problem even bigger. And last, what does he think he needs to do to repair his credibility with employees? Talking that through with him might tell you all you need to know about whether it’s salvageable.

4. Should we say more about salary in our job postings?

A few years ago, my organization finally started posting salary ranges in our job descriptions (hooray!) and I’m thrilled that that’s becoming more the norm. It’s good for equity and, at least in theory, it saves everyone the time and effort of going through a whole interview process and having it all fall apart in the end because of salary. But somehow we’re still running into that problem.

We set a fairly wide salary range (say, $110K-140K), because people with a wide range of experience and skills can fit into the same position. We reserve the very top of the range for those who tick nearly every box and have, say, 15 years of experience rather than the minimum five. Ultimately, we base the salary offer on skills, experience, and internal equity (i.e., what other staff with the same title and qualifications are earning).

A few times recently, we’ve had excellent candidates who are earlier in their careers than many of our current staff, and/or who don’t have direct experience in our field but show a lot of promise to learn on the job. To my mind, it’s obvious that they’d be at the lower end of the salary range, but once we reach the offer stage, they’ll counter with the number at the very top. We may be able to come up a little but not a ton, and then they walk away.

Since it’s now becoming a pattern, I think the real solution is to increase all of our staff salaries because clearly we’re not competitive at the lower end of the range, but while I work on pushing for that change (a whole other letter), is there any language you’d suggest including in our job postings that might mitigate the problem in the near term? Right now we just say the range is X-Y, depending on experience and qualifications. Should we include the equity rationale? Should we say explicitly that the top of the range is reserved for candidates who tick every box? Should we introduce a more specific salary discussion earlier in the interview process? (When I’ve been recruited for jobs with a wide salary range, I’ve said up-front if I’d only consider the top of the range, but most of our candidates don’t do that, especially if it’s a direct hire, not through a recruiter.) Or is it just human nature to assume you’ll be at the top of the range, so it won’t really make a difference?

It’ll help to be more explicit about it in the job posting. Use language like, “The top of the range is reserved for candidates with XYZ qualifications and experience. Candidates earlier in their careers or without XYZ experience will typically be offered the lower part of the range.”

Ideally, you’d also bring up salary early on in your interview process, using similar language — so that if people aren’t happy with where they’d fall in your range, they can opt out early rather than going through your whole process.

{ 663 comments… read them below }

  1. Melissa*

    Letter 1: When I forward emails, I delete anything in the trail that isn’t relevant to the person receiving the new email. I figure someone who emails me directly doesn’t necessarily want everything they’ve said shared with others. I do work in a field where people need to share private information though. That may be an alternative explanation.

    1. Tiger Snake*

      That was my thought too – I deal with a lot of Need to Know info, so I often have to sanitise emails I’m sending on.

      Usually you’d try to avoid changing other people’s words (e.g, removing their entire email response and then rewording anything relevant as your own summary). I see that boss did that in this case, but if he’s in a habit of usually deleting only certain lines and not her entire response, I would understand being bothered.

      1. GythaOgden*

        Same. There was some back and forth earlier in the week about what exactly the procedure was that the external customer didn’t really need to see, so when sending over the finished quote to her I went back to an earlier email in the chain so it didn’t look like we were a bit clueless about what she needed :D.

        NGL, I think everyone does it from time to time and the relationship issues are between boss and his wife rather than needing to be explained to the OP.

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        I deal with this type of information, too, and I create a new email with a new subject line and only include the pertinent information if the new recipient can’t see some of the original information. Otherwise trying to keep straight which version of “Fwd: Updated Information for Project” (the original version that included pricing from all bidders or the version with only pricing from the awarded bidder?) I’m sending/receiving/finding information in is, honestly, a huge pain in the rear end. Whatever time I save in just sanitizing the first forward is lost when I have to revisit it.

    2. EvilQueenRegina*

      Same. Say someone emails me with queries re two separate families, and each family has a different worker, I’d forward the query on to the relevant worker but delete out the bits about the other family that that person isn’t working with.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I do too but I add a mark that shows something has been deleted.

      1. Angelinha*

        This is probably confusing people more than anything else. Unless everyone you email with knows your code, if they see “//snip//” they are not going to know that means something was redacted.

        1. Happy*

          That’s very common in some places. Seeking Second Childhood probably knows their audience.

    4. JSPA*

      I could go either way on this.

      As personal policy, absent other information, I normally would assume professionalism all around. But this changes if the LW is the PA or in some other capacity where she sees ALL of the boss’s emails, and hers are really the ONLY ones being clipped.

      In my personal life, I assume that one controls the rights to forward one’s own words, but that other people’s emails are not automatically free-to-forward, so I have a habit of trimming. And in professional life, I also pare down stuff that’s private or irrelevant. And I suggest to people they do same, in sending to me. So if I did this, it would be for those reasons; and if friends did it when sending to me, it’s on my request. If the boss hasn’t been “off” in other ways, that’d be my go-to assumption: wife wants less in her inbox, and he makes the effort for her (and her alone).

      If there’s something funky, I see four options, given that he left his part of the message, but deleted the LW’s.

      1. The boss is vaguely aware of a flirty vibe, but has mis-identified it as coming from the LW, when in fact, it is coming from him. (“Self-deception” and “light flirting in a work context with power differentials” often co-occur.)

      2. the wife is indeed hyper-sensitive (for cause, or otherwise) to even the most neutral of responses from other women, that reference evening time and her husband. Seems like A Lot to presume that, and I’m surprised that’s where we went first-and-only, but…yeah, some people are intense, that way, even if it would not be my default assumption.

      3. the LW innocently used some turn of phrase (or emoji, or punctuation) that the boss either reads as flirty, or thinks it legitimately could read as flirty, and is saving them both potential embarassment by not forwarding it, and by not commenting further.

      4. the wife finds the LW’s email tone irksome for reasons that have nothing to do with anything inappropriate, and has asked him to trim. I know I have people I respect, but whose tone sets me on edge. And I know there have been coworkers who find my writing tedious, though they’re happy to use my (tediously collected and minutely-reasoned) data and analysis. Coworkers don’t have to be each others’ cup of tea, y’know?

      (I imagine we’re ruling out a #5 where the LW is being intentionally flirty and is hoping the boss intended same, as that goes under the heading of, “we trust the LW’s presentation of the situation.”)

      I’d suggest that the LW make her emails to the boss just slightly more formal and to-the-point. This will be unobjectionable if there is no “iffiness,” and it will be helpful if there is any sort of “iffiness.”

    5. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      But wouldn’t accounting need to know that LW needs overnight accomodations while attending a conference?

      It seems weird that something related to finance would be omitted.

      1. Lexie*

        There might be a specific process for submitting a request for overnight accommodations so that they don’t have to send multiple emails back and forth to make sure they have all the information.

      2. Hokey Puck*

        No. People submit reimbursements for expenses and accounting provides. Then it goes into the books. In most companies each department is traveling, taking people to lunch, doing all kinds of things they wouldnt inform accounting on beforehand, that would get crazy. Presumably there is a working budget determined by the company at the beginning of the year. Accountants have no say in what gets spent, only that it is legally reimbursable and do all their reporting.

      3. theletter*

        I think what was being forwarded was the question about t-shirts, with the first email for context.

      4. Lucia Pacciola*

        What a weird take! Accounting doesn’t need to be reading through unrelated email threads for mentions of things that might incur expenses later on.

        Also, accounting doesn’t need to know what expenses are planned or expected. Accounting just needs to know what transactions have actually occurred. Possibly what transactions are scheduled to occur. But, again, Accounting doesn’t need to be reading forwarded email threads to find out that information.

        1. Rm*

          Oof yeah it’s not uncommon to make accounting team be babysitters of department heads who can’t/won’t keep their spending budget. Usually after a small company has a cash crunch and and struggles to make payroll a couple times. We hate it too.

          1. Lucia Pacciola*

            Yeah but I bet it’s super uncommon for accountants to be told to read through unrelated email threads for passing mentions of things that might be financial transactions at some point.

      5. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        This is why I think it’s the “I’m looking forward to seeing you” bit that’s a problem rather than the fact that business requires overnight stays.

    6. Random Dice*

      I do that too.

      If they only need to see a part of the email, I don’t want the main point getting lost by irrelevant details.

      I also delete parts if there’s something sensitive or that they shared with me privately but would have phrased more carefully if they knew it would be forwarded.

    7. theletter*


      I could see how someone would get into the habit of scrubbing every email of unnecessary information before sending to someone else. The boss might want to only send relevant information to save time and energy for someone who’s valuable to him in both personal and professional ways.

      Another reason could be that he worked in a place that got sued and saw what happened to all the emails. After that I could imagine he just found it easier to remove anything unimportant rather than to scrutinize it for legal liability.

      1. Momma Bear*

        There’s also the problem that sometimes things get tacked on and forgotten and before you know it, information is in the hands of someone who didn’t need to know or shouldn’t have been included. I think that unless it impacts LW’s job, it should just be ignored.

      2. AnonORama*

        Yes! When I practiced law, we had document reviewers going over defendants’ whole hard drives, and while I’m sure they were scrubbed, some personal stuff was missed that would likely have been embarrassing. (I feel bad for 22-year-old Svetlana, who a 55-year-old executive was trying to bring to the US to marry. The saga did keep the document reviewers entertained, although we sometimes had to refocus them on the antitrust case.)

        1. mrs__peel*

          I think I was on this same document review!! We staged a dramatic reading of some of the emails.

          This was a great lesson for me as a new law grad in my 20s about “what not to do on your work computer”.

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Oh man. I worked at an electronic evidence discovery firm for a while, and I tell you what, I never put anything personal on my work computer again.

        3. Kyrielle*

          Huh, and to think I felt bad about the poor folks who had to go through *my* files on discovery. Actually, I still should. They weren’t at all entertaining, but I think there were about 50 copies of some emails due to all the replies and followups.

          Most entertaining thing I had, which my coworker wasn’t thrilled about, was a copy of the IM chain in which she made some disparaging comments about the customer who subsequently sued us. (I saved it because before and after it in that exchange was stuff I needed the technical details of for my work, but these days I would edit it.)

    8. Heart&Vine*

      I came here to say the same thing, esp. if it’s a long email thread. As an admin, I absolutely hate it when someone forwards me an email and says something like, “Can you help Jane out?”, and then I have to scroll through weeks of back-and-forth to figure out what the heck they’re talking about.

      If you forward an email, unless it’s a very short exchange, you should always try to delete irrelevant information. That might just be the only thing going on here and OP is reading too much into this.

    9. Someone Else's Boss*

      I often cut out things that I know will confuse someone. Maybe the person emailing me wouldn’t need/want it kept private, but I know that this particular person will read the entire email, get confused, waste time, etc. OR, if I know the person is likely to forward the email externally and I don’t want THAT person to see the entire chain.

      All that is to say, managing people is complicated and sometimes we make decisions that may seem arbitrary, but do have a purpose. If I could ask my team for one thing, it would be for them to worry less about inconsequential things. I have a lot of direct reports, and managing each of them effectively takes a lot of time and attention. Adding on explaining to person A why I don’t want to share information with person B is really draining.

    10. Not A Girl Boss*

      When I became a manager, I quickly learned that there are two halves of every email my direct reports send me: 1) the actual problem needing resolution 2) editorial complaining about how they have come to the point of frustration where they need to escalate to their boss. E.g. “Can you please see if you can get these teapots painted? I tried three separate times, but you know how Cecil is about his follow through…”
      I am always careful to remove the snark before forwarding, because if I was them I wouldn’t want to harm my relationship with the Cecils of the world.

      But honestly, this doesn’t feel like that. It seems very specific to be editing out pleasantries in the specific context of forwarding emails to his wife.

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        I’ve worked for people who had/were having affairs. To me, this smells of a boss who has strayed and the spouse knows it. The spouse keeps close tabs on the one who was unfaithful.

        I once worked for half of a couple where they were the cheating spouses with each other. The tabs they kept on each other was astounding. But they know how cheaters cheat…

        But sure, it could just be the boss being concise….

  2. BuildMeUp*

    #1 – Unless I’m reading it wrong, it sounds like the boss did leave in his initial email in which he says he is looking forward to the OP visiting and attending the event, and only deleted the OP’s response. So the boss’s part of the “exchanging of normal pleasantries” was still forwarded to the wife. I’m curious what the boss has deleted other times he’s done this.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I’m also curious how OP knows what the boss has forwarded to his wife. Does OP have access to his emails?

      1. Tiger Snake*

        I think you’re overcooking it a little bit. His wife is the accountant for the company, and OP confirmed she’ll be staying at the conference overnight and then followed up with questions about company provided products. If boss is confirming numbers of attendees for the accounting book, of course you’d have one person send just the email confirming and CC the people you’re speaking about.

        1. Tio*

          Yeah, presumably so the wife could follow up directly with her if there were further shirt questions

  3. Synaptically Unique*

    My experience with hiring salaries is that it literally doesn’t matter what you put in the listing. A substantial number of people will either ignore your explanation or be so sure they are THE MOST PERFECT candidate and surely you can stretch your budget for them. Half the people I interviewed last time – when I insisted our business manager include the actual hiring range (which was baseline to midpoint of our publicly-posted pay band) – were expecting that we could go over our budget.

    1. NegotiationOftenExpected*

      That’s in part because most companies that advertise salaries don’t actually mean the initial range is a real range and put it out there as a starting point for negotiating. They nearly always lowball so they save money on folks who don’t negotiate. Also, there isn’t always enough information in a job ad to know if the posted range is reasonable or not, especially if you consider it one part of the total compensation. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten paid the advertised rate for a position in those cases when one is provided up front and I often don’t know what I think is reasonable for a position or if they have other things I’d accept in lieu of a higher salary until fairly late in the process.

      I will say that I’ve now been burned twice on things I’ve accepted in lieu of higher salaries so I’d be less inclined to judge certain things as strongly in the future, but there is more to compensation than just the base salary.

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Yeah, the best is when I took a lower salary for a job with a much shorter commute and on literally my SECOND DAY they announced they’d be closing the office and we’d all be based out of one far out of my acceptable commuting range. (Literally going from walking distance to the far side of a major metro area.) It worked out okay in the end but yeah. They can change other stuff a lot easier than salary.

        1. JustaTech*

          Ha! I had a job where on the first day they announced that we would be moving to a new building – one block from my previous job, where I already knew the bus commute was just a no-go.
          And I had been so excited to work downtown where I could take the bus and there were more lunch options!
          At least they didn’t move us to the outer, outer suburbs, which apparently had been on the table.

    2. Also-ADHD*

      Why is the posted salary much higher than the actual budget? Unless you have language that states that in the ad, it seems like that is the issue. Now I can see not everyone being “worth” the top of a budget but you’re conveying something with that offer to the candidate when you say they’re not (may be fine if it’s a stretch role for them, may put them off if not).

      1. Green great dragon*

        Two separate things. The salary posted in the job ad is within budget for that job. Separately, overall pay scales for that pay band are publicly posted elsewhere.

        For example, if tardigrade herders grade one pay band is $80k and $120k, that means all grade 1 herders in the state are paid within this range. This particular job is being offered at a starting salary of between $80k and $100k.

        1. Also-ADHD*

          Ah! I’ve been at orgs that have public grades, and this is also common in higher ed etc. I thought you meant it was posted in the ad with the public range but that was not available for the actual budget. Makes sense!

          1. BeckyinDuluth*

            This is what I came to say: I work in higher ed, and the pay scales are reflective of what is the “norm” for that position in the market, but across the institution people try to not pay above (or much above) the midpoint, because we can’t afford to pay people what the market does in IT, for instance. But when talking to regents or legislators, it’s important for them to know what those actual market rates are.

            All that said; if you came in thinking you were going to get paid at the top end of the scale, you’d be sorely mistaken. But no one addresses that in the postings, from what I see. Ugh.

        2. Chicken Dinner*

          In the state/county I live in, anyone making 80k or under is (officially, by state government) considered *low income* aka poor.

          My state has a high minimum wage and it’s still less than half that, making them poverty wages, and we still have people arguing it is too high.

          What is considered “low income” in your state/county/city might end up surprising you, and if you are not hiring for a position people would expect to fall in the category of low wage jobs, this could be the entire reason people are jumping towards the high range. It’s worth looking into.

      2. Sneaky Squirrel*

        Pay transparency laws in some states may require that the employer post a salary that’s not actually within the budget of what an employer wants to pay for the job. For example, in NY, the compensation range that must be posted is the lowest and highest salary of compensation that the employer believes in good faith to be accurate at the time of the posting. As an employer, I may be looking to hire someone at the lower end of that scale, even though I may have staff who are more qualified/more experienced making at the higher end.

        1. Comp Ranges Often Backfire*

          This! I am a Recruiting Manager with a Fortune 500 company and we include multiple ranges for various locations (NY, Washington, Colorado, California, etc.) in all of our job postings. Legal has advised that the range included is our formal payband for every role which is often a $100K+ range because they go across every skillset at that role level and have a cap that no one even internally will likely reach. So our recruiters are often having to set expectations very quickly with the candidates that we would typically only hire in the bottom 30% of any range shared.

          It is not the best first impression and we have implored legal to update our verbiage and ranges to things that are more aligned to what we could actually hire for in any given role.

        2. Tev*

          Is a hiring range allowed? I live in Colorado (which has a requirement to post salary) and the postings here (at least for my industry) usually include the full salary range plus a hiring range. So the full range may be 60-100k but the hiring range is 60-80k. I see both of those on a lot of postings.

        3. Starbuck*

          If it’s worded right though that’s still great information for candidates to have and can help make the position attractive, to see how much room for upward growth they might be able to expect.

    3. EngineeringFun*

      I have had lots of situations where I go in for one position and then in the interview they want me for a different (higher?) position and I never know the salary. Most place won’t advertise a principal engineer position, so I have to choose senior engineer and then they see my project management skills and principal experience and then a position is created……

    4. Lacey*

      Interesting. I always assume employers don’t mean anything over the very bottom of their range. If they’re paying $40,000-$60,000 what they mean is $40,000.

      They’ll talk a good game about going up to $60,000 for the right candidate, but that candidate doesn’t exist (because when I talk to people from those companies I find that literally no one makes that)

      1. Also-ADHD*

        As I mention in another post, both in a recent job search and in a current one (2021 and just this month), most of my offers were at or above the top of the range, and not because I am a great negotiator. I have never asked for more money at all and been transparent with what I saw as market price and even told people my current salary (stuff you aren’t supposed to do). Granted I’m a neurodivergent lady who only really considered remote roles in both cases and applied to roles that seemed to indicate good vibe/company culture and I do something a bit niche. (Jobs that are entry level and more bulk hire may be very different.)

      2. Lisa*

        At my employer we have defined ranges for each pay grade and function, but once you hit the top of your range you get no raises other than when the range is redrawn unless you are promoted to a higher pay grade. The people in that situation have all been in their role many years and have chosen not to go for promotion (the higher pay grade comes with higher responsibilities). We would not hire someone too close to the top of the band and if we did they would get unhappy at getting minimal raises pretty quickly.

        1. Audrey Standish*

          This how we handle it at my org. We post the salary range rather than a set salary because there is some room for negotiation, but you aren’t likely to to get the top salary unless you’re close to retirement and/or are ok with not getting raises.

      3. Sloanicota*

        Oh, that’s interesting. I assume the ‘actual’ salary is probably the dead middle of the range. I think I’d be a bit offended if I was offered the absolute lowest number, unless the job was clearly quite a stretch for me (but I agree that nobody actually gets the highest end – I’ve even heard “they want room to offer raises in the future” as the reason, which seems fake).

      4. Panhandlerann*

        I have seen this. too. My son in law is doing a job search right now and seeing wide salary ranges, like $120,000-$190,000 or something like that, but actual offers are always at the bottom, despite stellar qualifications. The higher part of the range seems fictional.

        1. Beth*

          In my last job hunt, when I saw huge salary ranges like that, it made me think the company was trying to dodge state salary transparency laws. I read it as a flag that they paid at the bottom of the posted range, and also that they might be weird about things like raises and bonuses. A company committing to minimizing salary transparency as much as it can doesn’t generally go on to be super generous to its workers.

      5. fhqwhgads*

        I don’t discount your experience and it may be common, but I’ve twice been offered the top of a posted range without negotiating. The first offer was literally the top of the range they’d told me in the phone screen. Maybe I’m a unicorn, but I figured I’d mention it in case that helps soften your cynicism.

        1. Tiny Orchid*

          I work for an organization whose compensation is probably around the bottom third of the industry standard. But as long as your performance review meets a threshold, you get a 3.5% increase every year. when I hired recently, I offered the candidate the very top of the range I was authorized to, so their salary would stay competitive for as long as possible. So there are different strategies depending on how your company handles compensation.

      6. Rayray*

        This is what I think too. I thin a lot of companies don’t want people to know how low they pay, but want to comply with laws requiring salary ranges be posted. So they can say it pays between $40,000 – $90,000 and then be firm about paying only $41,000 and technically they did not lie.

      7. Chickadee*

        It varies. When I applied for my current job, I requested the bottom of the pay band, but they counter offered with nearly twice what I asked for – kind of an unusual situation, I admit. (Boss said he didn’t want to play games and I undervalued myself.)

      8. Consonance*

        It really varies based on geographical location, field, public/private, and the specific organization. When I set salary ranges for posted positions, I set it from the absolute bare minimum to about 12k over that. In my public higher ed position, I may be hiring people who are coming in either with or without tenure. For equity, those coming in without tenure make about 10k less than those with tenure. The bottom of the range is the minimum salary for exempt status. I generally offer a “good” candidate without tenure about 2k more than that minimum. I offer a candidate who’s coming in with tenure the top of the range. So that means it’s a total of 12k starting range, and it’s based both on their strengths and what level they’d come in at. But no, I don’t just offer the minimum regardless of those factors. In the past year, I’ve offered the full range to different candidates. My approach is that it should be the actual starting range, not just a check box for legal.

      9. Michelle Smith*

        This isn’t true across the board though, at least in my admittedly anecdotal experience. My current job had a range advertised and I had significantly more experience than what the posting called for. I’m making about $15k more than what was listed as possible.

    5. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing – People who are under-qualified expect the top of the range. People who are qualified expect that the top of the range is just a suggestion, not a boundary.

      1. Wonderer*


        If you’re stretching yourself to fit a job and fooling yourself into thinking you’re perfect for it, then you’ll be disappointed in what they offer you! If you really have proven years of expertise doing exactly what they want (and more), then they can make a case for going above their initial range. I’ve seen this not only when searching for my own jobs, but also when hiring other people.

    6. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I was wondering if they could post a narrower range and then say, “candidates with exceptional qualifications may qualify for higher salary” or something like that.

  4. M*

    In many cases I edit emails I’m forwarding to include just the important parts pertinent to the recipient. I wish more people would do that so I don’t have to pick through long chains to figure out what I need.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      I don’t edit, but I do highlight relevant portions and say “see highlights below.” I find that to be a good balance.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          But at that point you’ve already determined what’s important, why leave in the irrelevant stuff? I mean I’d read through it all just in case there was some minor detail in there that I needed to know and you just weren’t aware or sure of how important it could be…
          Why not take the bits you highlighted and put them in your own email “Manager said that {copy paste bit} so please let me know what your deadline would be given this new info”?
          I hardly ever forward conversations, in that I don’t know what the others in the thread consider private or “prefer not to overshare” status.

      1. Schrodinger's Hat*

        My company can and does regularly pull offers due to speeding tickets. I assume they would definitely pull it if there was a warrant for arrest. It’s because of our liability insurance. The merits of that system can be debated given the potential for bias, but it’s the reality at my company and other large companies.

        1. Chicken Dinner*

          I once got a “speeding” ticket in traffic so heavy it would have been physically impossible to drive as fast as the cop claimed unless I’d literally been phasing through the cars ahead of me.

          He’d seen an unclothed female mannequin (a Halloween decoration) in the back seat of my car with the passengers, she didn’t fit in my trunk, which was full of other decorations, and she was strapped in so as not to be a hazard should we get in an accident. He thought it was a nude or topless woman, and when he pulled me over, looked in, and realized his mistake, he was too embarrassed to admit it and announced he pulled me over for speeding.

          I ended up having to pay the ticket because the city I got to in was 3+ hours away from where I lived and it was less expensive than taking a day off work and making that long round trip to try and fight it, but anyone who saw that on my record and thought it had any reflection on my driving skills would have been dead wrong.

    2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      I find that really creepy and would be very upset if someone selectively edited my emails and sent them on. Summarization is great, but don’t claim I said something I never did.

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          No, but the person I’m responding to is saying they routinely do selective edits and wish more people did. Entirely removing an email (which seems to be what happened for OP) would be fine.

          1. Jennifer Strange*

            They said they do edits to only include the important information. It doesn’t look like they’re adding anything in or making it seem like someone is saying something they didn’t say?

            1. Critical Rolls*

              I don’t want to rely on someone else’s judgment of what I was trying to say. People misinterpret complete emails all the time, having someone cut out context or other key info would not help. When you edit someone else’s email in a chain, you are representing that as what they said when it isn’t, even if you do so with good intentions. Big no from me.

              1. Emmy Noether*

                I agree. If, for example, I included a warning about risks, and someone removed that so as to not “complicate” things, it would look like I hadn’t done my job. I’m sure y’all have good judgement for what can be removed, but if this practice becomes the standard, some people will muck it up, and some will use it maliciously.

                Removing complete emails is fine, removing parts of someone’s email is not. Removing parts and marking that something has been removed is borderline. I’d be furious if someone did the stealth edit to me.

                If I don’t want to forward something someone said, I remove the entire email and put the relevant info in my own, crediting the source if relevant.

          2. Astor*

            I also selectively edit when I determine it’s appropriate, and I always replace my edits with [redacted] or [snip] depending on the context. I use redacted if I’ve edited out sensitive information that’s mid-sentence. I use snip more often, to edit out sensitive information that’s in a separate paragraph, if I’ve edited to make it easier to skim/read, or if I’ve edited out less sensitive information.

            So personally, I use the term “edit”, but what that means is “delete and indicate the deletion”.

            I started doing it when I saw someone do it to an email of mine, and I also wish more people did it.

            1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

              I’d find “edit” completely unnerving, and I’d start to get paranoid about what might have been redacted.
              I really don’t understand why people can’t copy and paste the important bits of info into their own email with “Manager asked us to please…”, and then you don’t need to forward anything. I only ever forward a simple thing like “please send this to Jane”.

      1. Venus*

        I have deleted info and I think it’s fair. In fact yesterday I forwarded an email to a group where I specifically deleted one line from someone’s earlier email where he made a (valid) critical comment about the group. I debated sending a fresh email to the wider group, but the rest of what he wrote was informative context. I wouldn’t edit it to add or change info, but removing should be fair.

      2. Starbuck*

        Deleting irrelevant info isn’t the same as putting different words in someone’s mouth, though.

        If I need to know what color the teapots should be, I probably just need the email that says “blue” and not the dozen previous messages going back and forth on “well last season they were green and we need it to be different for this year” or “I wanted it to be purple but that pigment won’t ship in time so what other colors would match the cups we’ve ordered” or “what do we think about cerulean vs cobalt” etc etc.

    3. Not A Girl Boss*

      Just dont do what an entire department has adopted, and screenshot the relevant email and paste it in another thread… so that there’s no way to copy any of the ID #s out of the email and you spend 10 minutes trying to transcribe by hand.

  5. Orv*

    For me the traffic tickets themselves wouldn’t be a problem, but I would wonder about someone who ignored them long enough for arrest warrants to be issued. That suggests a certain lack of judgement.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      In which case the reasonable course of action would be to ask the candidate why they sat open for so long. It sounds like the candidate acted on them as soon as their potential new employer told her about them — and plenty of jurisdictions are lax to the point of incompetence about following up regarding traffic tickets, so it’s perfectly possible that she honestly didn’t know she had tickets pending. No company should be pulling offers over unpaid traffic tickets alone.

      1. Mztery123*

        I’m confused what a traffic ticket means here. To me a traffic ticket means you did something driving that you were ticketed for. And you ignore two of those overtime. Seems like a serious lapse in judgment. Again question the applicant and find out what the story was, and you will learn a lot from her reaction. But I would be very concerned about hiring someone as a manager who had speeding tickets, for example, and had never dealt with them.

        1. MassMatt*

          But many tickets are from cameras, the driver may not have known anything was wrong at the time, and the ticket sent in the mail may have gone to an old address or gotten lost. I know someone who only found out about a speeding ticket years after the fact when it came up at a license renewal. He had moved twice since that time.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              Yeah, an extraordinary number of people in the US have “bench warrants” out for their arrests based on tickets they either never knew about or couldn’t pay. They’re the most common type of warrant issued, and there were 7 million in the US in 2016.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                Please disregard, I mixed up bench warrants and arrest warrants.

                You can have an arrest warrant issued, or even be sent to jail, for failure to pay a parking ticket.

            2. Not A Girl Boss*

              But its also the law to change your address every time you move. I once moved 15 times in 9 years, and still got an abundance of tolls and traffic tickets related to someone who had stolen my plates.
              I mean I get it, its understandable and it might not make you an immoral person let alone a bad employee, but its still worth looking into as a data point.

              I think this really depends on the context of the exact job and her explanation. For example, I work in a role where attention to detail and rule following / ethics is imperative, so this would be a red flag. But we work with other departments who wouldn’t even blink.

              1. sparkle emoji*

                You’re required to notify/change your address but the areas I’ve lived in always had a grace period, IME in the weeks to months range. I can see tickets happening in that grace period where all the notices get sent to the old address with no follow up at the new address.

              2. Dahlia*

                Sometimes when you move you don’t have an address to update. You have “my mother’s couch”, “my car”, “whatever shelter will take me in tonight”.

              3. Chicken Dinner*

                I had a friend who updated her address directly with the DMV every single time she moved and still ended up with major issues regarding an ancient ticket because the DMV was sending everything to an address she’d lived at several years and two addresses beforehand.

                This kind of thing is not uncommon at all.

          1. Sami*

            Once, I can see that happening. But twice? I think that shows someone is pretty cavalier about the law. Not a trait I’d want in a department head.

            1. Brain the Brian*

              Twice makes perfect sense if the municipality had an old address on file. If she didn’t get the first ticket, it stands to reason she also wouldn’t have gotten the second.

            2. BuildMeUp*

              The OP says one of the tickets/warrants is over 5 years old, so these 2 incidents happened over the course of a number of years. I could easily imagine one ticket getting lost in the mail and another, several years later, being sent to the wrong address after a move, for example.

                1. Portia*

                  But instead, she just took care of it. That seems an even better path to me than explanations.

              1. CourtGrunt*

                Having previously worked for a traffic court – I can confirm it’s very easy for this to happen. The most common I saw were:
                1) their license had an old address on it with no mail forwarding (so missed notices); and
                2) they thought they handled it but had missed a payment or another condition for its dismissal, usually no new tickets for several months or submitting the certificate of completion from a Driver Safety Course.

                I would be more concerned about the nature of the offenses. I saw many expired registration citations go to warrant because they were ignored or forgotten by the defendant.

                1. LCH*

                  this was my question. how easy is it to not know you received a ticket? now i’m curious where to go to find out if i have any!

                2. Resentful Oreos*

                  To answer LCH, go to your Each state varies if you have to go by county or a statewide list, check DOT, Law Enforcement.

                3. Chicken Dinner*

                  A friend of mine had major issues with an ancient (very minor) ticket despite religiously changing her address with the DMV every time she moved because they screwed up and sent everything to a place she’d lived several years and two addresses beforehand.

                4. Chicken Dinner*

                  I drove on a suspended license for 6 months without having a clue because I thought I had completely handled everything involving a minor accident I had had years earlier. I had been assured this was the case and hadn’t given it a single thought for some time.

                  When it surfaced as an issue with the DMV, it was the one time I forgot to inform them I moved, and the forwarding order for my old address had long expired. Things proceeded without my knowledge until my license was suspended completely unknown to me.

                  My parents always had my brother & I get insurance on their policy to save out money, and one day their long time agent was doing whatever kind of maintenance insurance agents do on their policies and it came up. He called them immediately and they called me immediately.

                  Literally *the day before* I’d been stopped by a cop because he thought a suspiciously old & beat up looking car (I was poor) had pulled into the parking lot of a long defunct business to take evasive action after seeing him, when I actually pulled in so my passenger could undo her seatbelt and deal with something going on with her kid in the carseat she couldn’t otherwise reach. It was my lucky day because as soon as he realized it was two women and a fussy baby & totally benign, he left without bothering to ask for license, registration, and insurance. WHEW! I had cold chills going down my spine the next day when I realized how close I’d come to disaster.

            3. ThatOtherClare*

              Not necessarily. If there are road works near your house with temporary signs and a temporary camera and the signs blow over you can get two tickets in one day – one as you leave for work and one as you come home. Add that to the fact that you’re one of the first residents in a new development and bam! you’ve got two traffic tickets lost in the mail. It happened to my Aunt. Luckily she managed to successfully contest the tickets because the photographic records showed that every single car that went past received one, but the tickets were on her record until she found out about them.

              1. londonedit*

                I have a friend with a similar experience (in the UK). He made a regular car journey to a different part of London once a week, and then at some point his wife said ‘Have you opened all those letters that have come for you? They look important!’ and when he did, he discovered that for the last month or so he’d been merrily driving through what had become a ‘residents only’ road with ANPR cameras set up to catch anyone without a valid permit to drive there. He had no idea, hadn’t noticed any signs, etc – and by the time he opened the letters he had about £700 worth of fines. Now, no one’s getting arrested for that here – the fine just increases and increases until bailiffs get involved. But he’d racked up hundreds of pounds in fines for something he had no idea he’d done. In the end he went and took photos of the crap signage and appealed to the council and ended up getting the fines cancelled, because they accepted his argument that the signs were very unclear. But that’s another example of how someone could end up with a fine for doing something they had no idea about.

                1. Myrin*

                  Although in this case, while I agree there should be clear signage, the rest is on him for not opening the very first, nevermind a bunch of letters which were in his possession all along!

                2. londonedit*

                  Oh yes, definitely – but my point was more that this is another example of how someone might not have a clue they’d actually done anything wrong.

                3. Salsa Verde*

                  I don’t understand people who get mail that looks “official” and don’t open it right away – that would give me misgivings about a candidate as well.

                  Maybe I’ve just had too many experiences where fines built up because I didn’t pay them quickly enough, but I know a $25 ticket can eventually turn into a $200 ticket if not dealt with swiftly. I would be so mad at myself if I let that happen because I couldn’t be bothered to open my mail.

                4. MigraineMonth*

                  @Salsa Verde – At this point, half of my junk mail looks official, which means that upwards of 95% of my official-looking mail turns out to be junk. So no, I don’t immediately tear open that official-looking envelope marked urgent, because it usually tells me that my car warranty is about to expire.

                  I put it on the pile, and sort through it once a week when I’m sitting next to my recycling bin.

                5. rebelwithmouseyhair*

                  That points to irresponsibility though, not bothering to open mail that probably has an official look to it. Suppose he did that with correspondence at work?

            4. AMH*

              Where I live, there’s some disagreement between the postal service and the town; my official address has me in, for example, Town Port but the town considers that I live in South Town instead. Despite attempts to correct at the assessors, I continually don’t get mail that has South Town’s zip code, but I do get mail that has Town Port. How do I know all this? Because I once got pulled over with a warrant out because of a traffic ticket I never knew existed. It was a really scary experience for me. It can happen.

            5. YetAnotherAnalyst*

              The fact she paid one and is contesting the other makes me wonder if it’s provably in error (like a state she’s never been to). Imagine losing a job offer because a camera misread someone else’s license plate.

              1. mlem*

                Or because the state *issues duplicate plates*! (This is apparently a thing Massachusetts does. I am flabbergasted that they think this is acceptable!)

                1. mlem*

                  (“Duplicate” here means plates with the same alphanumeric sequence for completely separate vehicles, not replacement plates.)

                2. Peter the Bubblehead*

                  Not just Massachusetts. I live in New Hampshire and have a certain vanity plate which is also a Veteran plate. I have been sent photos by friends of another vehicle that has the regular Passenger Vehicle Vanity plate with the same letters as my plate and it is assigned to the same type of vehicle I drive, though the year and color are very different.
                  I also used to have a Veteran Vanity Trailer license plate that read the same thing as a Passenger Vehicle Vanity license plate.
                  And New Hampshire has so many different plate types – Passenger Vehicle, Veteran, Trailer, National Park, Etc and each type of plate can have the same Vanity designation!

                3. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

                  A friend of mine was pulled over by a very hostile cop who thought he was driving a stolen car because someone at a particular town’s DMV had a high error rate when keying in newly issued license plates and the numbers on the plate were recorded as belonging to a totally different car of a different make and model. Once the cop saw where the car was registered things calmed down considerably as this was a well-known issue.

                  A speeding camera wouldn’t know about that error-prone DMV, though.

                4. AngryOctopus*

                  Yikes. My aunt had her plate stolen once, and she had to get a notice from the DMV that she was the original owner of the plate, which she would use if she got tagged or pulled over for having that plate. I can’t imagine the chaos which would ensue because they also issue veterans/wildlife/other special plates with the same number!

              2. Random Bystander*

                98Or because somewhere in the process of translating from camera to computer system, there was a mis-key. Many years ago, I lived in upstate NY on one side of town. As it happened, my now-ex and I did a newspaper delivery job in the neighborhood of the block that is part of this story. At a time prior to this, we had an older car which required a repair that exceeded the value of the car so opted to junk the car. We surrendered the plates and received a receipt of surrender.

                Well, 8-9 mo after we had junked the car and surrendered the plates, I got in the mail a “second notice” for a parking ticket. While the block was one that was in the area where we would park when doing the deliveries, the plate on the ticket was for that car that had not been on the road for months prior to the date of the ticket (listed on this second notice). I was able to get it dismissed by bringing in that receipt from the plate surrender, but it was probably a matter of someone mis-keying or mis-reading the original ticket (back then, these were handwritten tickets) when putting it into the computer system.

                And then there’s mail delivery issues. I live on a numerical street (like North 7th St, for example) and not infrequently get mail for people who live at the same house number but 9th St (for example). I own the house outright, so I pay my property taxes directly, and I still don’t know where the county sent my tax bill for 2022. I had to pay it on-line (which really annoyed me, because that comes with a convenience fee for the transaction; normally my bank is a place where I can pay the property tax for no fee but I didn’t have the paper with the tax info which wasn’t available online. At least last year, they finally decided to join the current century and I can now receive my tax bill in my email–and received a confirmation email that set up worked). So I can see a couple possible points of failure, because if my mail ends up with the neighbor two blocks over, I don’t actually know those people so I don’t know if they would just junk it or what. If I catch the mailman, I’ll give the misdelivered to him; sometimes I have just walked it over to the right address and left it there. But who knows what other recipients of misdelivered mail do.

                1. Chicken Dinner*

                  Between me & my parents there were three separate times we received tickets on cars we had sold because the new owners hadn’t registered them in their names yet. It was all taken care of easily, but if we’d moved or mail had been misdirected, who knows what could have happened?

            6. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

              In my experience lots of people treat ‘traffic regulations’ and ‘the law’ as separate categories. It’s not rational but it’s extremely common and doesn’t indicate much about character except that they absorbed that specific attitude from their parents or environment.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                I think at this point we all know the US has enough ridiculous, ambiguous, outdated or little-known laws and ordinances that all of us are breaking some of them daily. A little more nuance in our understanding of “criminality” and how much more it’s influenced by circumstance and systems than by some intrinsic “character” would do us all good.

                Also, please remember that an arrest warrant or an arrest is not the same as a conviction. Getting arrested can have a lot more to do with circumstance, policy and the attitude of the arresting officer than the provable facts of the case, and we are supposed to be a country where you are assumed innocent until proven guilty.

                1. Chicken Dinner*

                  “Getting arrested can have a lot more to do with circumstance”

                  Like the time I was a kid and a striking employee at a convention center attacked my dad, an engineer there to attend an industry event, because he thought he was a scab crossing the picket line. My dad defended himself and cops arrested them both.

                  Nothing came of it in the end for my dad, and I doubt they pressed charges against the man because they supported union workers and agreed that scabs who crossed the picket line were jerks.

            7. Miette*

              I mean, they’re traffic tickets. It’s not like there’s a conviction for impaired driving or something… let’s have some perspective.

              1. MassMatt*

                Overall I agree, and the tickets seem to be cover for wanting to rescind a job offer due to pregnancy, but the fact that one of them led to an arrest warrant makes me think it was more serious than simply speeding or failure to signal.

                1. Siege*

                  When I was younger, I got five tickets for speeding in a certain time frame – 1 or 2 years. This meant getting called in to the DMV for a class, which I missed because:

                  1) I didn’t receive the letter because I was living out of state temporarily and my parents stopped forwarding mail that wouldn’t reach me;
                  2) I was delayed in my move back home by a week because of another factor that will become clear;
                  3) I was moving internationally within 3 weeks of my expected arrival home;
                  4) the class was scheduled for September 11, 2001.

                  Once I got back from Alaska (a week later than expected because my original flight home was 12:30 am 9/12) I got the letter, decided they would understand why someone wouldn’t make it that specific day, and moved to the UK. I never got a warrant issued but I did end up with a one-month license suspension for failure to attend the class.

                  My point is that it could just be cumulative + user error. It doesn’t need to be GTA to end up with a warrant. But I agree with you that in this case it’s a cover for the pregnancy discrimination.

                2. AnonORama*

                  It may not be. I refused to pay and contested an $80 failure-to-yield ticket in court years ago — normally I wouldn’t bother, but it came out of an accident where someone who was seriously speeding (she laid down like a block worth of skid marks) plowed into my car. The damage was in the thousands, and my insurance refused to pay. So, I went to court on the $80, and one of the court staff remarked that he was happy I’d showed up, because they’d already issued two warrants for the arrest of people in my situation that day. I was shocked that you could get arrested for such a pissant thing (I managed not to say “pissant” to the court staffer, thankfully), but apparently it can happen.

                3. MigraineMonth*

                  No, they can issue an arrest warrant for an unpaid fine regardless of the severity of the original offense. In the US, just failure to pay a parking ticket can lead to an arrest or jail time.

                4. dawbs*

                  yeah in the us “traffic fine not paid” leads to arrest warrants.

                  Only time I’ve bailed someone out of jail, they were young (living with parents) and there was an acrimonious divorce and the adult- child’s speeding ticket got put in the wrong parent’s pile… which lead to loss of license, arrest warrants, loss of job (since it required a license)…. it was a while nightmare.

                  because of aspeeding ticket &misdirected mail

                  While 20yo friend could have been more proactive, it was a trap 50yo me could have happen to me now.

                5. Chicken Dinner*

                  You can get an arrest warrant in the US for failing to pay a parking ticket. You don’t even need to have a moving violation, let alone a serious one, to end up in jail over tickets.

              2. Maggie*

                We don’t really know what they’re for. It could be going 5mph over or reckless driving. So it’s hard to say. They could also be from speed trap cameras and in the mail or from being pulled over. I’d want more information before I could decide.

              3. Dorothy Zpornak*

                Violating traffic laws puts people’s lives in danger just because someone wants to save themselves a few minutes or simply can’t be bothered and thinks that their own convenience is more important than someone’s life, so yes, let’s have some perspective.

                1. Yikes Stripes*

                  My one and only ticket was for a rolling stop on a right on red on a totally deserted highway at 11:45 at night. Sadly for me, traffic cams suck.

                2. Kyrielle*

                  My mum got ticketed for “speeding in busy traffic” on a rural road. She admitted she did go 5 mph over the speed limit…because there is a steep downhill followed by a steep uphill there, and with her anemic car she was doing under the speed limit by halfway up the hill and preferred not to be doing it at 1/4 the way up. Still sounds like a bad thing to do especially “in busy traffic” but she went to court and they reduced the fine hugely, because the “busy traffic” was one pickup truck ahead of her *and going faster than she was*, and the police officer who was, at the time she was speeding, parked just off the road at the entrance to someone’s orchard, and who then pulled onto the road to pull her over. She apologized for speeding, but she successfully contested the busy-traffic portion of it.

                3. Chicken Dinner*

                  I was given a ticket for supposedly going 20 miles over the speed limit in such heavy traffic that I was actually driving UNDER the speed limit.

                  The cop pulled me over because he saw an unclothed female mannequin in the back of my car along with human passengers, strapped in like they were so as not to be a hazard in an accident. She was a spooky Halloween decoration and didn’t fit in the trunk which was full of other decorations that had been used at an event.

                  When he pulled me over and saw that it was not actually a nude or topless woman like he had assumed, he was too embarrassed to admit he made a mistake and gave me a sham ticket to save face.

                  The city I got it in was hours away from where I lived so it was cheaper for me to pay it & take the L on my driving record than take a day off work & make that long round trip to fight it.

          2. velveteen rabbit*

            Yep. I wound up with a *huge* fine and an open warrant after I didn’t pay a toll in 2020 – the bay area had just switched over to the system where they bill you after the fact based on a photo taken of your car. I had *just* moved back in with my parents in a different state after being laid off, hadn’t re-registered my car yet, and my ex-landlord just….didn’t let me know or forward my mail to me.

            When I moved back to California last year I had a massive mess to clear up, which I did ASAP! But I honestly had no idea about it and if I was passed over for a job because of it I’d be horrified.

            1. Pickle Pizza*

              Landlords don’t forward mail… you file a change of address with the post office and they do it automatically.

              1. Observer*

                you file a change of address with the post office and they do it automatically.

                Not everything gets forwarded.

                1. Maggie*

                  Sure nothing it’s perfect but “my landlord didn’t forward me my mail” makes no sense.

              2. velveteen rabbit*

                Yes, this is true. But I lived in her basement apartment for seven years, all of my mail went into the same mailbox as hers, we’d always been really friendly, and she’d said she would forward anything that looked important that snuck through until I got my living situation figured out since I was only supposed to be crashing at my parent’s place for a few weeks.

                When we figured out that it would just work better for me to stay longer term I did, in fact, register my car in Oregon and do a change of address with the USPS. But hey, if you’re the kind of person who would do a change of address form to what was supposed to be an extremely temporary way-stop before finding a new job and apartment then you’re clearly a more organized human than I was in June of 2020 when my entire life had just been turned upside down. :)

                My bad for not providing more details in the original comment, but the greater point is that people *often* wind up moving into couch surfing/temporary housing situations and don’t have a permanent address for a period of time. Maybe knowing multiple people who’ve avoided being on the streets or living out of their cars that way is a California thing? Or maybe I just have a very unusual social circle.

            2. M2*

              You need to forward your own mail. It is it up to your landlord. Go to usps and have your mail forwarded.

                1. StarHunter*

                  The post office doesn’t have a great track record these days of forwarding mail when you put in a forwarding order. So maybe these people did. Says someone whose office moved and signed up to forward mail for one year and after about 3 months the po just started returning random pieces of mail to the sender.

                2. Rosie*

                  Yeah the post office is pretty terrible about forwarding mail. I am renting a house right now and I know for a fact the owners did a change of address when they moved out, yet every. single. day. I get mail for them (and not just junk mail/catalogs – actual mail). So every few weeks I send them a package with their mail.

              1. velveteen rabbit*

                I explained in a follow up – the situation I was moving into was supposed to be *extremely* temporary so I didn’t plan to do a change of address until I’d found an apartment. When it became clear that I was going to be at my parent’s place longer term I did, in fact, do that.

                I should have been more clear about that and also that my living situation was an (illegal) basement apartment, my landlord lived upstairs and she offered to forward stuff to me until I’d settled my living situation. And then she didn’t do that.

          3. Jenny*

            The last time I moved I had something similar happen. I had used a store credit card that I rarely used to make a $30 purchase. I moved and had my mail forwarded. For several months I rec’d an assortment of mail that was addressed to my old address. But the $30 bill was never forwarded and it escaped my mind because it wasn’t a credit card that I normally used. Until many months later when I did receive a letter saying that they were going to report me to the credit company for my delinquent account. I paid the $150!! (Interest and fees) and didn’t fight it because in the grand scheme of thing it wasn’t that much money. I forgot about it until a background check at my job (not a new job but a regular background check) when it was brought up. Luckily my explanation worked. But I did have a ‘ding’ on my credit report for several years. Things happen!

            1. Filosofickle*

              It’s so easy for these things to happen. I’ve had it twice — once, like yours, a small clothing store bill that I thought was handled found me a couple years later. Despite having mail forwarding on, I received no notices. It just showed up on my credit report. Another one, a $50 electric bill, popped up more than a decade later, from a 3-day tenancy in an apartment that was unsafe to stay in. I stayed in the same city and set up service with the same company under the same name and info…and yet they couldn’t find me and had to ding my credit later?!

              I think people might be missing the nature of bench warrants, it’s not always what we think of as an arrest-worthy crime. Basic stuff like failing to show up for jury duty or unpaid tickets can lead to having a warrant out for your arrest. It doesn’t meant the nature of the crime is egregious, it’s just how the system works.

              1. Kyrielle*

                Yup. I have moved and had critical stuff not get forwarded by the post office (although thankfully, the new owner knew we had moved elsewhere in town and reached us to pass it along – well, at least in the case I know about!). But when my parents died, I forwarded their mail to my address so I could handle it and ended up with one charming company somehow doing a reverse address search and tying *my* phone number to *Dad’s* account. They were like “he must have changed it when he moved in with you” and I had to tell them he never had, I just had his mail forwarded when he died and I was handling his estate. I was furious.

                1. Kyrielle*

                  Sorry, point of the second rant is, it’s easy for things to go missing, but still somehow the ones you wish would, manage to pull stunts like that.

          4. lilsheba*

            If someone moves there has to be a way for the city to know, the DMV is supposed to have a change of address and the post office. If nothing else they should have been forwarded. I don’t buy that they “didn’t know”. I’m sorry but people get away with too much crap in driving these days and it needs to tighten up. The fact that they were speeding in the first place is stupid, don’t do that.

            1. Siege*

              Perhaps you could explain then why the post office itself said that they could not issue a forwarding notice when my sister moved out of my parents’ house a couple years ago because not everyone was moving and it was on my parents to manually forward her mail? Could you explain how someone can forward their mail if the post office won’t do it? Could you describe the method by which you expect someone to manually update their address with a large bureaucracy and have that change actually go through?

                1. Siege*

                  No, the post office was extremely clear that they will not forward mail from a PO Box when one person using that address is moving out of the home. There are no forms, there is no way to do this. It will not be done.

                  And since most of us have direct experience of updating an address at Large Bureaucracy and then finding out that Large Bureaucracy doesn’t actually check their own records, I am not confident that contacting every. single. entity. that has your address to manually update it is actually a good use of time or will be successful.

                  But then again, I also think no one is perfect, and in that I differ from the person I replied to.

            2. Not your typical admin*

              Sometimes it’s not easy to change your address. I had a friend who just moved. Her husband was able to change his address on his driver’s license online. For some reason she had to go into the dmv. When she went to make an appointment the earliest one was 3 months out. She wound up having to do a walk in appointment and wait 3 hours. Not everyone has the time to do that.

              As far as speeding – I generally agree, but there are a lot of places with speed traps.

            3. aebhel*

              As someone who works in civil service, I can assure you that this level of faith in governmental record-keeping is unwarranted.

            4. Chicken Dinner*

              I had a friend end up in a mess with an ancient ticket as well as her license & registration renewals, despite always changing her address directly with the DMV and having mail forwarded at the post office because the DMV screwed up and sent everything to a place she’d lived several years and two addresses earlier.

              Screwups on the part of the DMV, or the post office are not at all uncommon.

            5. Chicken Dinner*

              I’m going to add here that it embarrasses me to admit how many times I moved as a young woman before I realized that I was supposed to do more than just fill out the little tan change of address card you’d stick on the back of your license when I moved, I was also supposed to TELL THEM.

          5. pope suburban*

            Yeah, this doesn’t seem weird at all to me. I interned with the DA’s office when I was in college, so I’ve spent a lot of time in traffic court. Some people are being shady, sure, but a good amount didn’t get the ticket, or genuinely misunderstood something, or thought they’d paid (mailed in a payment that got lost, had some sort of electronic payment foul-up). Both tickets in the example are quite old, and the candidate immediately moved to address the issue once she was made aware of it. I don’t see anything definitively concerning here- except maybe the manager seizing on the chance to dismiss a pregnant candidate about whom he was already unhappy.

          6. The Man from the North*

            Not sure about other states, but in IL, camera-based tickets aren’t movers – since the camera can’t know who’s driving, the fines are assessed as civil penalties to the registered owner of the car. Collections if you don’t pay, but no license points and no warrant if you don’t.

          7. Chicken Dinner*

            A long time ago something like this happened to me because of (long story short) a minor traffic accident I’d been in YEARS earlier and thought I was completely done dealing with every aspect of a long time beforehand. I had severe, then-undiagnosed/untreated ADHD and while I’d put in a forwarding order for my old address, I’d forgotten to directly inform the DMV so I never got any of the notifications that would have alerted me to a problem.

            By the time I learned there was a complication I needed to deal with ASAP, I’d been driving on a *SUSPENDED* license for over six months. I only found out at all because my parents had me get insurance through their policy to save me money and their agent of many years discovered it while doing some casual paperwork.

            I also had a good friend who DID religiously put in her changes of addresses directly with the DMV, and ended up having major issues with not just an old forgotten ticket but with her drivers license and vehicle registration renewals because the DMV screwed up and was sending everything to an apartment she’d lived at several years and two addresses beforehand.

        2. Brain the Brian*

          I don’t know where you’re located, but here in the U.S., it’s quite common for traffic tickets issued by automated cameras to get lost in the mail. Sometimes that’s because a municipality doesn’t have the records for a car owner’s mailing address up to date; sometimes it’s because they “accidentally” send it to the bank that holds the loan on a car instead of the actual driver; sometimes it’s because the Postal Service just loses things willy-nilly now. Whatever the reason, an unpaid traffic ticket — at least in the U.S. — is so common it’s almost a cliche, and no sane company here should be pulling offers over one.

          1. DJ Abbott*

            Seconding the post office losing things willy-nilly. They also return things that were correctly addressed and could have been delivered. I deal with both these things in my job and it literally happens All. The. Time.

          2. TooTiredToThink*

            It’s also not uncommon for officers to accidentally put a wrong license number down and the ticket get assigned to another person who has no clue that the ticket exists because it’s not even theirs. A lot of people will just go ahead and pay it as to avoid the hassle of trying to prove it wasn’t them.

            1. Princess Pumpkin Spice*

              I once had a traffic ticket I didn’t know about for 3 years. The ticket was in a state I only lived in short term (about 6 months), the my last name was spelled wrong (the first letter, coincidentally, so looking up the ticket was extra challenging), AND they had the make and color of my car incorrect. I was made aware of it when applying for an internship in college and was both confused and peeved while trying to get it all squared away. It happens!

              But also – people just forget to pay things? Like I could absolutely see someone throwing the ticket into their bag with the thought to pay it on lunch, but then something happens and something else happens, and then a month has gone by and the ticket is still unpaid.

          3. Velawciraptor*

            As someone who has been a public defender for over a decade, the number of tickets I’ve seen issued in the name of someone who is not the actual person who was doing the driving is not zero. Sometimes identity theft includes using someone else’s name/ID when you get pulled over, and then you’ve created a headache for someone who is entirely blameless.

            1. Chicken Dinner*

              Many years ago a good friend of mine was riding with his best friend, who got pulled over & realized he forgot his license. My friend was dumb and slipped his own over so the other guy wouldn’t get in trouble, they were both goth guys in makeup with enough superficial resemblance the cop didn’t notice it wasn’t his. The friend fucked off and didn’t take care of it, it went to warrant, my friend ended up doing jail time because his best friend was an irresponsible git.

            1. Observer*


              If you think that the USPS was in good shape before DeJoy came on, you were not paying attention. Mail not being forwarded, idiotic rules and regulations that make it hard to file a change of address / limits what can be forwarded, plain incompetence, etc.

              All of these are loooong standing issues.

          4. Little My*

            Yet another example of this: my roommate has an uncommon first name, and she has received a traffic ticket in the mail addressed to someone else with the same FIRST name but a completely different last name, from a state where she’s never lived. The other woman presumably didn’t receive that notice at all!

        3. Hmmmmm*

          Is that a “serious” lapse in judgment though?

          I know many people who are ethical and great at their jobs who have a lot of parking tickets, or have otherwise gotten behind on bills and while, sure, I don’t think that is great for them, I think pulling a job offer is a huge (and unfair) jump.

          1. JM60*

            I don’t think they’re saying that getting 2 tickets shows a serious lack of judgment. I think they’re saying that ignoring 2 tickets (as in procrastinating on paying them, then forgetting, or even outright choosing not to pay them) shows a serious lack of judgment.

            The at being said, she may not have even known about these tickets for reasons that others mentioned. IMO, if someone can afford the ticket and simplt makes a conscious decision not to, that shows a serious lack of judgment. But there’s no way to know if that’s what happened here.

            1. 2 Cents*

              The fact she immediately paid and is taking care of the upon hearing of the two tickets tells me she either didn’t know or thought they had already been handled. We know every municipal, county and state government is perfect in the US /sarcasm/

              The bigger issue is the hiring manager wanting to pull the offer over the pregnancy. The tickets are a red herring.

              1. JM60*

                I would think she’d be scrambling to pay off the tickets regardless of the reason(s) why she didn’t initially pay them. She’d probably be doing that to save her job offer even if she didn’t pay them earlier because she intentionally chose not to.

                1. Brain the Brian*

                  Good, then. Let it save her job offer. For the last time, these are *parking tickets*, not murder charges.

                2. JM60*

                  @Brain the Brian

                  I’m not advocating withdrawing an offer from this particular woman (partly because the manager wants to use it as an excuse to discriminate, partly because there are many reasons why the tickets weren’t paid).

                  That being said, if you could somehow know that she intentionally didn’t pay the tickets (but had the means to do so), that shows a much more serious lack of judgement than simply getting a couple traffic tickets.

          2. lilsheba*

            They shouldn’t be doing things to get the tickets in the first place. Be a responsible adult and park correctly and don’t speed and follow the rules.

            1. Anon for This*

              Oh, you must be the person who drives at the posted speed limit in the far left lane of the 6-lane highway while most of the traffic is going at 10mph more.

              1. Yikes Stripes*

                I swear I felt my blood pressure go up just reading this comment. Those people make my ass twitch so bad

            2. JSPA*

              1. no way to know it was them, and that they knew about the tickets.

              2. Do you honestly believe that anyone who has ever mis-parked should be unable to have a job?

              Are you offering to house and feed and clothe everyone who fails that test?

              I find a reference to there being something like 1.5 million parking tickets annually just for street cleaning violations.

              So that’s very kind of you, if you’re offering.

            3. JustaTech*

              You know that the automatic ticket cameras get license plates wrong all the time, right?
              My MIL got a red-light-camera ticket in the mail for a car that wasn’t the same model, make or color as hers, in a city several hours from her home, at a time she could prove she wasn’t in the other city.
              But she still had to take time to fight the ticket, and she was lucky that the ticket was sent to her house so she at least knew to fight it!

            4. ElizabethJane*

              I have a red light violation ticket that resulted in a warrant for my arrest that took 6 years to figure out.

              I received the red light violation in the mail. I didn’t pay it because it wasn’t my car. I literally had proof my car was in a different state, not to mention the photo they sent clearly showed the ticket was for a different car. I sent in the documentation to clear it up.

              Apparently someone forgot to mark that my ticket was in dispute. I didn’t pay it and I didn’t show up for the original court date because I thought I’d done my job to show it wasn’t me. The police department thought I was blowing them off. It snowballed, I couldn’t afford a lawyer at the time to help so I was trying to navigate the whole thing on my own.

              But sure, I absolutely deserve to not get a job because a red light camera messed up.

            5. Starbuck*

              Oh my goodness, I agree on one hand that we as a society are far too easy on people who maim or even kill others with their cars and prioritize reckless people’s ability to keep driving over, say, pedestrian safety – but also things like red light cameras and then the corresponding bureaucracy are far from flawless!

            6. Chicken Dinner*

              You’ve obviously never lived in a city that is so crowded with parking at such a premium that residents understand that getting parking tickets is just part of life.

              Or lived anywhere that tickets on street cleaning day but has such a convoluted street cleaning schedule that even long term residents get confused sometimes.

              Or lived somewhere where maintenance is lax and parking signs are missing, or hidden in overgrown foliage, curb markings have faded into obscurity, etc.

              And you are also perfect and have never misread or misunderstood or simply missed a parking sign, or been distracted by stress, tiredness, illness, children or pets, hunger, strong emotion, or anything else.

            7. Nina*

              This thread is literally full of examples of people being assigned tickets that in no way belong to them, and that’s your takeaway?

          3. Maggie*

            They need to ask the candidate and/or research the reason for the tickets and how they were given. Personally I think having multiple warrants shows someone has a lack of judgement. If it were so easy and common why don’t I know tons of people who have all these warrants

            1. Too Many Tabs Open*

              If they have the warrants and know it, why would they tell you? And if they have warrants and don’t know it, how could they tell you?

              Adding up coworkers, friends, neighbors, acquaintances from my social activities, and members of my extended family, I know at least 250 people well enough to recognize and name them. I can’t tell you whether any of them have warrants for outstanding traffic violations; I simply don’t know. Indeed, I can’t tell you whether any of them have received a speeding ticket or other traffic violation; statistically I think it’s likely, but it’s never come up in conversation.

        4. Despachito*

          There is speeding and speeding though.

          I am a pretty law-abiding person and anything but a reckless driver but I was ticketed once or twice for exceeding a speed limit that was usually X at this place but for some reason was temporarily lowered to Y and as I go there frequently I just overlooked the signs (easy thing to do because they appear in the form of lit numbers and the lights can easily be switched from X to Y and backwards).

          Did I commit the speeding I was ticketed for? Absolutely, and it was just that I had to pay for that. But I do not think it was due to a character flaw for which I would be uneligible to hiring.

          1. M2*

            For what I do is very sensitive to detail. I couldn’t hire someone who had two outstanding tickets or warrants for years. One, fine, I would tell them and ask about it, but two that had not been paid (and if they weren’t on the same day), no I couldn’t. To me it shows lack of detail.

            Can you do any research on the tickets? Were they for speeding or accidents or reckless driving? I think all of that matters but if this is for a detail oriented role it would make me pause. I am a woman with kids.

            1. HB*

              You’re assuming facts not in evidence. Lack of detail requires that the person know or have reason to know that the tickets exist and is choosing to ignore them, which has not been established and based on the numerous examples in the thread, is far from guaranteed.

              I would also argue that lack of attention to detail in one’s personal life does not always correlate with lack of attention to detail in one’s professional life. I’m insanely picky about reconciling accounts in my job (Tax) but never balance my own checkbook because the consequences to a business of not having clean books are exponentially more serious than if I accidentally overdraw my account by $10. There’s also the thing where you will often sacrifice mental space in your personal life in order to succeed at your job (which is an issue I have). So refusing to hire someone because of a couple of parking tickets even if you knew they knew about them and just hadn’t gotten around to them yet… I think is a bit silly if their references and past work history are stellar.

            2. AMH*

              Making you pause is fine. It makes sense to ask some additional questions. But, I sincerely hope you read through the comments in this thread explaining how easily this could happen to someone so that you don’t automatically dismiss someone in a similar circumstance.

            3. Rosie*

              What does being a woman with kids have to do with it?

              I have a friend/former co-worker who is BRILLIANT and excellent at her job. She also has ADD and frankly is a hot mess when it comes to stuff like this. I could 100% see something like this happening to her. If it had, should we not have hired her because of it, something that has zero bearing on her ability to do her job?

          2. ferrina*

            Yeah, I think it really depends what the tickets are for. Repeatedly going 60 in a school zone? Yeah, that’s an issue. Going 60 in a 45? Well, there are some streets where if you go the posted speed, you are going below speed of traffic. In my area if you can show that you were going the speed of traffic, you can get the ticket dismissed. But most people don’t know that. And some cities just are terrible at posting signs and are constantly doing weird things.

            So….it depends. I think it also matters that the tickets sound like they were old. Maybe she was dealing with some stuff at the time that impacted her ability to know about/deal with the tickets, but that stuff has since been resolved (for example; housing insecurity- if she was homeless she might not have received the mailing about a ticket; mental health issues; caring for a dependent that needed a lot of care- when my grandma had Alzheimers, she would randomly throw away important items, so if a traffic ticket came to the house, we would never have known about it.)

            1. Random Dice*

              Small southern towns deliberately trap out-of-towners with speeding traps, to pad their low tax base budgets.

              One that got me was an abrupt drop from 45 to 25, for a straight stretch of road that had high walls and no sidewalks on either side (so no drop in speed to accommodate pedestrians for example). They pay for most small town functions with speeding tickets from traps like these.

                1. pope suburban*

                  The amount of people here unwilling to believe in human/mechanical error, or human malice, is mind-blowing to me. Someone reading the signs will still take time to slow by 20mph, or at least hopefully they will rather than slamming their brakes right before the 25mph sign, because that would be unsafe. What if someone is simply coasting down from 45 to 25 and the radar or cop doesn’t like that? What if there is an instrumentation error in the car or the radar device? What if there is error in reading the speedometer or the radar display? What if the cop is bored and a jerk, and/or pressured to create revenue through issuing as many tickets as possible? There is scandal upon scandal about issues like this, and the fact that so many people default to “the motorist must be flawless at all times or else they are a bad and negligent person who should be roundly punished in all spheres of life, nyah nyah” is honestly a little upsetting.

                2. Jackalope*

                  I’m reminded of a recent change in the city where I live. The speed limit for residential streets was reduced so that it is 5 miles an hour less than any other city in our area, or as far as I know our entire state. Plus when this changed the exact definition of which medium-sized streets would be considered residential vs not or how to tell. I learned about this from the local newspaper, not as good a form of widespread communication as it used to be. I may also have gotten a small mailer from the city with no details on it other than the bare fact of the new speed.

                  This happened….. over a year ago, believe. I haven’t seen any signs go up. Not on residential streets (which makes sense since you’d have to put up a new sign every place a “residential” street touched an “arterial” street). Not at any of the entrances to the city, along the lines of, “Speed in [City] is X mph I less otherwise posted.” Not anywhere. How are nonresidents, or new residents, or people who don’t get the newspaper and missed the one-time mailing, supposed to have ANY clue that we randomly have a lower speed limit? I use my home as an example because I’m familiar with it, but this sort of thing can happen all over the place.

            2. londonedit*

              Yep. I know people who were got by speed cameras doing 24 in a 20, and 35 in a 30. Of course no speeding is really acceptable, but especially in the second case, a mobile speed camera van had been set up just as the speed limit changed from 50 to 30 at the edge of a village, and you just knew they’d be catching tons of people who hadn’t quite slowed down to 30 in time. Where I live there’s no excuse unless you can prove you weren’t actually driving (i.e. that your plates had been cloned or whatever) but I do think there’s a difference between being caught by a pop-up speed trap going slightly over the limit in a 30 zone, and being caught on the motorway doing 100mph (limit there is 70).

          3. Chicken Dinner*

            For I don’t know how many decades there was a place like that by my parents house, all through my childhood and well into my adulthood. About 50 yards from the intersection, there was a freeway underpass, then the speed limit was inexplicably 10 miles lower for one block. It was easy to miss and cops LOVED hanging out nearby and giving easy tickets. They only changed it to be the same as the rest of the street 10 or 15 years ago.

        5. Beth*

          I’ve had friends get minor tickets (parking violations, a camera caught them going 5 miles over the speed limit, etc) and not know until it became a crisis months or years later. All it takes is a ticket put on the windshield blowing away, or a mailed one getting lost in the system. You would think there’d be follow-ups or something, but the system isn’t actually that sturdy–things do fall through the cracks.

          As long as the candidate resolved it quickly once she was informed of the issue, I wouldn’t personally count it against her.

      2. M*

        It’s not reasonable for someone other than the hiring manager to do their own research and tip the candidate off before the hiring manager has a chance to ask why they sat open for so long. That’s taking the decision on how it should be handled out of the hiring manager’s hands.

        1. BuildMeUp*

          I mean, maybe the decision should be taken out of the hiring manager’s hands if they were upset about the new hire being pregnant and may be bringing that into their decision making process.

          It’s also very possible the OP is in HR or some other position above the hiring manager that makes it completely reasonable for them to be involved. They are clearly involved in the background check process and have been in the loop about how the new hire was checking in on the process.

          1. Brain the Brian*

            It’s quite clear in the letter that the LW is in HR and that their company handles hiring as a collaboration between HR and the hiring manager, with neither one being “above” the other.

        2. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

          A hiring manager that has expressed potential bias against a pregnant person should not be entrusted with “doing their own research.”

        3. ?*

          The writer sounds like she’s in HR and in charge of this part of the process, she mentions having a call into their lawyer. She’s not just randomly intervening.

        4. Also-ADHD*

          It sounds like LW is in HR which is exactly who would handle this in many orgs, not the hiring manager.

      3. Also-ADHD*

        It sounds to me like the candidate had no idea about them, which is entirely possible!

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          Yep! Especially in a “large municipal area.” I knew someone who was arrested twice for traffic tickets that she knew nothing about and which were supposed to have been cleared from the system (as they had been handled already).

      4. Beth*

        An important element, for me, is that as soon as the candidate was told of the issue, she took immediate and effective steps to deal with it in a responsible manner. Mistakes happen, communication fails (especially with a lot of traffic ticket systems). How the mistakes are addressed tells you a lot, and this was addressed well.

      5. PhyllisB*

        Very true. Years ago I had a ticket that I forgot to pay and my license got suspended. I didn’t know it until I got stopped for a routine license check and the officer informed me. Luckily he was reasonable and told me to take care of it right away. I did the very next day. I’m surprised I didn’t get in trouble with my insurance company. I never got another ticket after that.

      6. Box of Kittens*

        This was my take as well, especially since she immediately took care of them once she was notified. I really hope we get an update on this one!

      7. Salty Caramel*

        I agree it’s possible. I remember getting a ticket and when I went to pay it, it wasn’t in the system to do so online. When I called about it, I was told they had 90 days to add it. Easy to forget in that amount of time.

      8. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        It’s also possible that the applicant simply couldn’t afford to pay those traffic tickets when they were issued; she may have had to put every cent she earned towards housing, food and utilities. It also sounds as if HR is eager to find any excuse NOT to hire her due to her pregnancy – in which case, HR is far less trustworthy than an applicant with a couple of unpaid traffic tickets.

        1. Ann O'Nemity*

          Then you go to court, explain your financial difficulties, and figure out a payment plan. You don’t ignore the tickets and hope they magically go away.

          1. pope suburban*

            That is not always easy. Some people are from places where law enforcement is actively scary (in a bigger way than in the States). Some people do not speak English well enough. Some people are intimidated by white-collar venues/officials/government buildings/law-related anything. Yes, I agree that people are responsible for their lives, but something I was very proud of when I was an intern with the DA’s office is that we showed sensitivity toward people circumstances. We’d guide them through processes and explain that it was more important to address things, and we weren’t looking to harm them. I know not every jurisdiction is so kind, but I’m glad I worked for one and it did give me good models for inclusive and nonjudgmental communication. Sometimes, we need to step outside our own experience to do the best possible job at handling a situation.

              1. pope suburban*

                Is it not? I don’t know her, so I can’t speak to her circumstances either at the time of the alleged infractions or in the present day. And since we are asked to refrain from such speculation and narrative rewriting on this site, I’m not interested in having a go at that either. My whole point is that life is not always black and white, and that people have a lot of very valid reasons not to always take what we think to be the perfect route. Taking the time to understand so that we can build better systems is never a waste of time- nor does it absolve anyone of responsibility, lest someone be tempted to tell me that’s what I’m saying. It’s just that life is not always “they’re roundly irresponsible because of this one thing,” and that is a good thing to remember.

          2. Broadway Duchess*

            You might do that. Someone who has not had great experience with law enforcement might put this at the very bottom of a priority list when they are just trying to make ends meet.

          3. Chicken Dinner*

            I tried to fight a ticket I couldn’t afford because I was unemployed and paying rent with UI checks. I lost and asked for a payment plan. The court did not do custom payment plans. They had one set payment plan and I couldn’t afford it.

            Now, when my parents heard they thought that was BS and decided to loan me the money to pay it off so I could pay THEM in increments I could afford, but if I hadn’t had them as a safety net I truly don’t know what I would have done.

        2. Also-ADHD*

          It sounds like LW is from HR and wants to hire her. The hiring manager wanted to rescind but I’m not sure why you’re blaming HR?

      9. Maggie*

        But if you got a ticket you’d know about it right? Why does the government need to “follow up” with you? You got it, you pay it. You either got pulled over or got it in the mail. Now, if it was only 1 unpaid ticket that had come via email I would change my stance because mail can have issues etc. But they have multiple tickets and multiple warrants!

        1. Brain the Brian*

          You’ve responded in numerous places with short, snarky comments displaying an incredible level of pedantry and unkindness. I’m not going to answer every single comment, but I will here.

          If the city sends one ticket to an old address, it’s quite likely they will send the second one there, too. I think the fact that the candidate had two outstanding tickets is actually more evidence she may not have even known about either one, not necessarily that she is some belligerent lawbreaker throwing a middle finger to her local cop. LW can ask the candidate about it (and I would support that as the proper course of action) and take action accordingly — but ultimately, the issue here is the hiring manager’s quiet pregnancy discrimination. The hiring manager is hoping everyone will get so sidetracked with the traffic ticket issue that they won’t notice when he skips over a qualified candidate because she’s pregnant.

          If you need evidence that DMVs, the Post Office, and traffic courts nationwide screw things up all the time, you need look only at my screen name, which should tell you precisely how the DMV misspelled my name on my license once. What a mess that was to fix.

        2. Starbuck*

          “But if you got a ticket you’d know about it right? ”

          Are you assuming that people only ever get tickets when they’re pulled over by a cop with sirens? Maybe you don’t know, but tickets can be issues by traffic cameras (might not show up in the mail) or just being put on the car (where I live, we often get gales with 60 mph winds) or etc. Do you really believe it’s that unlikely for someone to not know about tickets?

        3. Also-ADHD*

          If it didn’t come in the mail and was issued by a traffic camera or digital parking method where there wasn’t a paper ticketing or pulling over, how would you know? I don’t even think you can set something up to ping you etc.

    2. Mango Freak*

      It suggests an irrelevant lack of judgment and an invasion of privacy.

      If their lack of judgement were significant, there would be other indications.

    3. Sami*

      I have to agree. It’s not the tickets themselves, it’s the fact that the candidate didn’t pay the fine even when they were able to (since they did immediately when notified that it could jeopardize their job). What other regulation are they going to ignore in their job as a department head? Are they going to wait until it becomes a huge issue, not just for them but for the whole company?
      I wouldn’t hire this candidate either. For a department head, you need the type of person who is extra responsible. It’s normal for the search for this kind of position to take a while. I think the pregnancy issue is irrelevant.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Please see comments upthread about all the reasons the candidate may not have known she had outstanding tickets until her employer asked about them. That she is handling them as soon as she was made aware is a *good* sign.

        1. M2*

          People know.

          If you moved forward your mail. Used to be free but now costs a bit but you can have it forwarded.

          Also really depends what the tickets were for.

          She is paying them because sounds like OP told her and the person in question realizes if they don’t deal with them they won’t be hired. That is all it means. I know and have worked with people who won’t do anything unless it benefits them or unless they have too. Those are imo some of the worst employees.

          1. Lexie*

            Certain things aren’t forwarded. One day HR came to me saying there was an order for my wages to be garnished due to nonpayment of personal property tax on my vehicle. I had never received a bill. When I contacted the appropriate office they noted that the bill had been returned to them because I had moved and they had a “do not forward” notice on the envelope.

            As for the argument that I should have been expecting the bill and asked about I had only been in that state for a little over a year after living my entire life in a state that doesn’t charge personal property tax so it wasn’t on my radar at all.

          2. Jackalope*

            Please read the rest of the comments explaining all of the reasons that a person might in fact not know.

            1. Ann O'Nemity*

              Every “reason” is something that can be proactively addressed. Update your license, forward your mail, pay your tickets when you get them.

              Having outstanding warrants is a pretty big red flag. It’s not the original offenses, it’s the failure to take care of it. TWICE. If someone is this negligent in their personal life, how can we trust they won’t drop balls at work?

              1. Observer*

                Every “reason” is something that can be proactively addressed. Update your license, forward your mail, pay your tickets when you get them.

                Again, this is just not reflective of reality. You can’t “update” your license if you don’t know that it’s wrong in the first place. You can’t do anything about the USPS’s failure to consistently forward mail. You can’t do much about systems that don’t talk to each other.

                I’ve been living at the same address for decades, and I still sometimes don’t get bills. Even from places I started working with long after I moved here. There are a lot of reasons for this, but it really does happen.

                A couple of years ago there was a whole scandal when a bunch of people were having facing legal action for unpaid property tax bills. And it turned out that the postal carrier who was taking collecting the mail was just . . . not delivering it. He had been dumping a significant proportion of what he was collecting. It was finally discovered and when the investigators started going through the pile, they found all of these checks.

                I sent to find an article about it and put “postal carrier dumped mail” and came up with about a dozen stories. And this is on top of all of the other issues with postal service.

                1. Chicken Dinner*

                  When I was a young woman I moved multiple times before I realized that I also had to tell the DMV and not just stick the change of address card on the back of my license.

                2. Nina*

                  Yeah, we had that in my city too. Kids playing at the lake found piles and piles of mail (sent by DX, which is the more expensive mail carrier you use here when you do want the mail to arrive the next day and not get sidetracked to Gore as occasionally happens with the government post office). Piles of it. Like the carrier had just taken their whole cart to the lake and thrown the mail in. Huge fiasco.

                  It’s happened four or five times in the five years I’ve lived here.

              2. Jackalope*

                Nope. Read the comments on this thread (and other threads related to this letter); they are full of people taking the right steps (mail forwarding set up, address updated with the DMV, following the laws of all of the traffic signs they saw) only to get caught up by something over which they had no control – someone mistyping their address in the official system, a traffic law in a state they were only driving through that didn’t exist in their home state, someone at traffic court clearing their check to pay the fine but accidentally forgetting to clear the fine in the system…. I myself shared about a situation in my own life where a family member submitted a change of address form for me without my knowledge and then threw away the mail I received that he didn’t consider important, all without letting me know. Unless you are omniscient you cannot possibly know about all of this, especially in a country as big as the US.

              3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

                There are other examples in this comment section where USPS wouldn’t let people forward their mail, where mail forwarding was accidentally overridden by family members, where mail was just not forwarded, where mail was massively delayed or simply lost, where tickets were sent to the wrong address even though the license had the right address, where fines were paid but not correctly flagged as paid, etc, etc. There are responses from backgrounder checkers, from folks who handle traffic tickets, and from folks who have missed paying a ticket or two at various points in their lives but are still high achievers in their professional lives.
                Life is messy, bureaucracy is poorly equipped for dealing with people, and we could all extend a little more grace to each other.

                1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

                  @Ann – it doesn’t actually say five years apart, just that one is more than five years old. Twice doesn’t seem that improbable to me, either. If it’s an issue with her address being wrong somewhere in the DMV’s system but right on her license, that could take a long time to notice. If it’s an issue with how her mail was delivered, it could be intermittently recurring for as long as she was at that address (I live at 1234 Town Rd, and get misdelivered mail for 1233 Old Town Rd every couple months).
                  Might also be worth considering that she must not have been pulled over at any point in the last five years, or she’d have been arrested on that first warrant.

                2. Brain the Brian*

                  @Ann — yes, twice. It stands to reason that if your address is wrong in the DMV’s system, they will send all your tickets and related correspondence there, and you’ll never see any of it.

              4. Brain the Brian*

                I mean, not really. I have diligently updated my address every time I’ve moved, but important things still go missing. The most important? The car title and lien release letter from my bank when I paid off my first car. I had updated my address with them, and their other correspondence indicated they knew I had moved *states*, but they still sent my title and lien release to an apartment where I hadn’t lived in over three years at the time. Sorting that out with the DMV was a monthslong nightmare that involved getting notarized signatures from my father (who had cosigned my first car loan — bless him), the agent who sold the car to me (thank God he still worked for the same dealer), and the bank officer; driving between DMVs in three states (the original state of purchase, the state where I had lived temporarily, and my then-current state); and lots and lots of waiting. What prompted me to resolve it? I was trying to sell the car and had no clue where the title was. I was 25 and just plain didn’t know how all of this worked. It’s a darn good thing I didn’t have any tickets issued to me while the car was still half-registered in the wrong state!

                And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the saga of correcting my name on my license when the DMV got it wrong. For a hint how, look at my screen name.

                The bottom line: stuff happens. You can still ask a candidate about it to determine whether it really is, truly, minor — but no should be pulling offers willy-nilly over traffic tickets and similarly minor life-admin stuff.

              5. Parakeet*

                I guess I should just infer that some people here have never ever forgotten or been later than they should have on a life admin task like getting mail forwarded. For the rest of us, occasionally forgetting life admin tasks doesn’t mean that we aren’t capable of holding down decent jobs.

                I’ve never even had a car and yet I know that this stuff happens. I’ve done human services work and I know that unpaid ticket issues are so very common.

              6. Kyrielle*

                Periodically I get mail for someone at the same house number as I have but two streets over – or for my neighbors across the street. Because the USPS screws up delivery (either sorting by house number first, which they aren’t supposed to but do, or when stuffing the neighborhood mailboxes missing that one has no mail and ending up off one box for everyone thereafter – at least, those are the reasons for those two as it was explained to me).

                If the person who lives wherever the heck my mail goes when that happens to it doesn’t return it to the Post Office to redeliver (or, heck, doesn’t exist if it’s going to an unoccupied address), I would never know it. If it was something I was expecting and waiting for, I might figure out the issue, but if I didn’t know it was coming, I am just out of luck.

                1. io*

                  I get mail addressed to my next door neighbors (on either side) approximately every-other-month. Sometimes I’m out of town for weeks at a time; sometimes I sort through my mail in batches — so, it can take a while before I notice. I feel bad about their mail being delayed, but it’s USPS screwing it up.

                  Other people could have neighbors that simply throw the misdelivered mail away.

                  This, plus the many-many examples of how difficult it is to properly have mail forwarded when you move, is evidence of the “benign” reasons why people wouldn’t know about a couple parking tickets. (Don’t get me started on how it’s relatively easy to get a parking ticket in a major municipal area.)

                  The comments that expect a perfect system, and blame the job candidate without any room for grace, come across as naïve at best.

              7. Chicken Dinner*

                I had a friend didn’t just notify the DMV every time she moved, she got a new license with the correct address on it, and she always had her mail forwarded.

                She ran into issues with an ancient ticket, her license renewal, and registration renewal for a car she had only ever had registered at the address she currently lived at because the DMV screwed up and sent everything to a place she had lived several years and two addresses earlier.

          3. anywhere but here*

            It is unfortunately very easy for things to get lost in the mail, even with mail forwarding. I had to have a replacement security deposit check sent and lost a letter from a dear friend the last time I moved. You are weirdly confident that the only possible lazy/incompetent person could be the the woman in question when it is quite possible and even likely it could be the muncipiality or post office

            1. Tiny Soprano*

              Heck, the post office lost my Masters testamur. That the Uni had evidence they’d posted express. When the Uni was literally two blocks from my house and the post office they used was my local post office. It happens. At least I knew I was expecting my testamur, but if I’d been doing 3kph over a speed limit somewhere and got a ticket without knowing, how would I know if they’d lost it?

          4. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

            My parents still get mail for two of my siblings who haven’t lived at that address in years and also for my grandfather who is dead and didn’t live at that address when he was alive. I do not trust mail forwarding to be even a little bit accurate, or systems to be up to date after the period covered by mail forwarding ends.

            1. NotJane*

              Yep. A few years ago, my mom texted me a picture of an envelope that they received at their house that was addressed to me, using my maiden name. One – I’ve never lived at that address, and two – I’ve been married almost 30 years.

            2. I Have RBF*

              We still get mail for the former owner of this house who has been dead for nearly 11 years.

            3. Brain the Brian*

              I have not lived with my mother for well over a decade, and she still gets random mail for me despite me moving five times since I moved out of her house and diligently updating my address every time.

          5. kiki*

            They don’t necessarily, though. I worked at a background check company and this is really common. If you talk to a lot of the clerks who work at traffic departments they themselves will say that there are a lot of holes in their ability to communicate about fines with the people who incurred them. They really can only send letters to whatever address they have on file. For most fines, it is not cost effective to do any tracking of the person to see if they have a new address. They’re not going to send police to anyone’s job, so they send a few more letters to the person’s address on file and then issue a warrant.

            And mail forwarding isn’t forever nor is it infallible. I live in an apartment building in a transient city with a lot of turnover and I get the mail of so many former residents. I can’t imagine all of them are deeply irresponsible and not setting up the right services when they move. I always make sure to send letters for other recipients back to the post office and indicate that the recipient has moved but other folks in my building just throw the letters away. Like, it is SO COMMON if you are a renter or somebody who moves a fair amount to not be informed of a traffic ticket.

            1. Chicken Dinner*

              I used to rent a mailbox at a small retail business that offered shipping services and even there I often got mail for people who had previously had that same box number.

          6. blah*

            Please stop projecting your preconceived notions on this person. There have been plenty of reasons shared in other places in this comment section explaining how someone may not actually know.

          7. Observer*

            People know.

            I suggest you go re-read all of the comments that show how / why people often do NOT know.

            If you moved forward your mail. Used to be free but now costs a bit but you can have it forwarded.

            That assumes that the USPS gets it right. They very often don’t. I was lucky that our last move was literally across the street from our old house and that our former landlord was really nice about it. But for some reason, a lot of junk *was* forwarded, and a lot of really important stuff was *not* forwarded. Now, they even tell you that not everything will be forwarded.

            It also assumes that the DMV in question has the correct address, which is not always the case. Whether it’s because they got the license number wrong, someone fat-fingered the address in a system that requires retyping an address rather than just pulling it from a master database, or having the wrong address in their master database, it’s shocking how often that kind of mistake happens.

        2. SD*

          This feels like gatekeeping responses that don’t agree with you based on pure speculation from the hive. The previous response is a valid line of thinking given that the candidate has not been questioned on the negative information in the background check yet.

      2. MassMatt*

        I think the pregnancy issue is relevant if it’s the real reason she’s not being hired and the traffic tickets are merely a fig leaf covering that nasty bit, which seems likely.

      3. Hmmmmm*

        I really don’t think that is fair to extend private life behaviors like this! I often make decisions that only hurt myself – say, leaving dirty dishes in the sink – that I would never do to someone else – like in my office kitchen – because I have accepted the consequences when it is just me.

        If you found out someone had previously cheated on their spouse and violated their marriage contract, is it reasonable to be worried they will violate vendor contracts?

        1. JM60*

          Not putting away the dishes only affects you. Not paying a traffic ticket affects society (much like under reporting your income on your taxes affects society).

          That being said, it’s a relatively small effect on society, she may not have even known about the tickets, and even if she did know about the tickets, she may have intended to pay for them, but forgot.

          1. JM60*

            Oh, and in this case, pulling the job offer because of it would just be a veiled way to discriminate against her for being pregnant.

          2. Seashell*

            Depending on what sort of ticket it was, the driving involved could have put others’ safety at risk.

            1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

              Or it could be an administrative/technical issue, like an EZPass not being read going through a toll. Or she could be a scrupulously correct driver, but a victim of plate cloning / bad camera angle / typographical error.
              I don’t think there’s enough in a background check to tell which one we’re talking about.

              1. Kesnit*

                Several years ago, I represented a woman on a driving offense. (It had to have been more serious than running a stop sign since it was significant enough to have a public defender appointed, but I cannot remember the charge.) Turns out my client’s sister gave my client’s name and DOB when she (sister) was stopped by the officer. Even signed the ticket in my client’s name. That is how we proved to the court that it wasn’t my client – my client brought in documents that she had signed and the signatures were clearly different.

                How was it my client’s fault that her sister gave a false name AND forged my client’s name on the ticket? Did my client show “poor judgement” for having a sister who committed a felony (forgery) without my client’s knowledge?

                1. Ann O'Nemity*

                  Huge difference between your client and the LW’s applicant – your client went to court to take care of it.

                2. JSPA*

                  to Ann O’Nemity;
                  yeah, the client went to court once they knew about the situation (probably upon being served or arrested).

                  Same thing the new hire is now doing. Except they found out before the law found them, and approached the courts.

                  You can’t very well be proactive in dealing with something until you know that it has happened!

                3. Chicken Dinner*

                  I have a narcissist criminal addict brother who stopped carrying a license when he was on parole or probation because he was prone to doing really moronic things (like riding a bicycle at night without a headlight, I lmfao) that counted as violation and sent him back inside. He got busted shoplifting booze while intoxicated and gave the police our DADS name. My dad was an exemplary, honest, law abiding person whose only vice was cigarettes.

        2. Tau*

          Yeah, also wincing here… I have ADHD that is much better controlled at work than at home. At work, it mainly shows up in that I really suck at handing in requests for reimbursement on time to the point where I really try to avoid being in the situation where I’ll need to (thankfully fairly easy in my role). At home, I have more problems keeping up with the minutiae of daily life, because it’s just me who suffers if I can’t manage to get things done. I understand why people are making the leap, but I’d really hate to have people assume I’ll be neglectful at work for e.g. paying a bill late or having screwed up on address forwarding so that I never got one in my private life.

      4. Rosie*

        Yikes. Do you also insist on a tour of their house, to make sure it is kept neat and orderly? I can MAYBE understand considering this as another data point if there were other indicators to suggest that this person lacked judgement/was not responsible…but on its own? No way. Especially given that this kind of thing can and does happen on a not-infrequent basis.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Seriously. Do these other commenters ask if candidates’ children were conceived in- or out-of-wedlock? Do they call up candidates’ second-grade teachers and ask whether they were pleasures to have in class? Do they email candidates’ romantic partners and ask what they fight about? The amount of morality-policing here is genuinely frightening. What matters is how a candidate will conduct themself and perform in the role — that’s it. End of story.

    4. BigLawEx*

      You can easily get a bench warrant for not paying parking tickets. I personally don’t know how it gets that far, but I don’t move often and am pretty diligent. However, I’m from NYC where ignoring tickets and the word scofflaw are like drinking coffee. Many friends get their cars booted or have warrants – and professional jobs.

      Here in LA, those tickets blow off cars all the time. I see them laying in the street after Traffic Enforcement comes by.

      For both cities, you can quickly rack up tickets for ignoring street cleaning/alternate day of theweek parking.

      I think the issue is the pregnancy.

      1. Sue*

        In my jurisdiction (Washington State) you can’t get warrants for traffic tickets unless they are criminal offenses. A speeding ticket or any moving violation is a noncriminal infraction, no jail is involved and there would not be warrants. A parking ticket is not even a moving violation, does not go on a driving record and would not involve warrants.
        The kind of “traffic ticket” that is criminal and could result in a warrant for failing to appear at a court hearing would be a DUI, reckless driving, hit and run, driving on a suspended or revoked license, etc.
        I wouldn’t automatically deny employment over it but 2 warrants would be very concerning. It usually denotes some judgment issues that could easily manifest in many other ways. I would investigate further and find out what’s going on.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Washington State is better than most — and LW does not tell us where they are… for obvious and understandable reasons!

          1. ferrina*

            Yeah, Washington is well-known for progressive politics in most areas. Other states have very different policies.

        2. ChiliHeeler*

          Meanwhile, in NJ I got threatened with a warrant for not paying a parking ticket I never got. The ticket was for parking in front of my own house. Also, the town where I could have gone to contest the ticket dealt with parking/traffic for 3 hours in the middle of the day once a week making them hard to deal with generally.

        3. Chicken Dinner*

          I’ll confirm what the above poster said. I’m in/from the greater Los Angeles area where it’s possible to go to jail on a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket.

          I lived in a street that ticketed on streetcleaning day and had a ludicrously convoluted schedule- each side of the street was cleaned on a different day of the week- on alternating weeks. (So week 1, side A on Thursday. Week 2, side B on Friday. Week three, side A on Thursday etc) Even long time residents got confused.

          It’s become a SoCal cliche that cops will issue sham “rolling stop” tickets when they are trying to make quota. It wasn’t worth trying to fight so most people grudgingly paid…though in the era of dashcams that can show the truth of the matter this may be changing, lol.

          I lived in Washington (Olympia) for a couple years in the 90s, bored cops there gave out speeding tickets to anyone who went over the limit AT ALL. I quickly learned to drive like a grandma instead of a Californian, lmao.

      2. AnonAnon*

        Yup!! This happened to my partner. We were on vacation and forgot to re-feed the meter. He got a $25 ticket. For some reason he forgot to pay it. Next thing we knew the police were at his door to take him to jail. It was a whole thing. Luckily they were able to give him instructions to go to court and take care of it right away.
        It seemed pretty extreme for $25 but it does happen.

        1. Rosie*

          Whoa! That is nuts. You have to wonder, doesn’t law enforcement have better things to spend their time on?

      3. B*

        I got a speeding ticket while I was moving states–like, literally driving my stuff out of state for the last time. It was some rinky-dink rural jurisdiction. I called a few times over the next couple of months and they hadn’t processed the ticket yet. Then I forgot about it (what with moving and all). Nearly two years later, the new owner of my old home forwarded me a letter from the court saying I’d missed my court date and a warrant would be issued if I didn’t immediately pay the ticket. I called and got it taken care of, but if I hadn’t stayed in touch with the people who moved into my old house, or if they just threw away the notice, I’d have a warrant out. And I’m a lawyer!

        Point being: it can happen pretty easily.

        1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          Oh, this unlocked a memory. A former boss got a speeding ticket returning from a work trip, driving through a tiny little town about four hours away from the office. She called the number on the ticket to pay the fine, but the clerk who handled traffic tickets only worked three hours a day every other Wednesday, or something to that effect. Those hours weren’t on the answering machine message, or listed anywhere my boss could access. After six weeks of calling she got lucky and someone else picked up the phone and told her when the office was open. Ultimately I think she ended up taking a Wednesday off to drive up, pay the fine, and drive back.

      4. Maggie*

        But just constantly ignoring tickets to the point your car gets booted does show a lack of care? I’m from Chicago and if you don’t pay and get booted people will call you a dumbass lol. And again ignoring parking signs and getting tons of tickets for it is just irresponsible? Or just pay them?!

      5. JustaTech*

        Once, I got a parking ticket in my paid parking lot. It was pouring rain and man was I pissed because I had paid for my parking and my hang-tag was clearly visible.
        I got home and opened the ticket and, whoa, it’s not for my little red Subaru, it’s for the honkin’ giant silver truck parked next to me. Even has a picture of the license plate and everything.

        I don’t know who put the ticket on my window (the truck driver trying to foist it off on me, or the ticket giver just doing it wrong), but there was no way I was driving all the way back to work in the pouring rain on a Friday to give back the ticket.
        So the silver truck couldn’t have paid that ticket, and who knows if they ever got a second notice.
        Not my responsibility.

    5. Labrat*

      Or lack of knowledge. I once got a court summons for an unpaid ticket–for a county I’ve never been in, even though it’s in my state. It turned out the deputy pulled over someone with my first name, middle name, and last name and said she’d mail a ticket. At some point the wrong Labrat combo of names was clicked in the state database.

      I never got the ticket. I don’t know if it got lost in the mail or what.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Yet another example of why a sane company shouldn’t let pointless pedantry over traffic tickets stop a good hire! (And also, sorry you had to deal with that.)

        1. Labrat*

          Thanks. Fortunately the person I talked to in the prosecutor’s office was reasonable and able to clear things up after talking with the deputy, but I was stressing there for a while.

      2. Anon for This*

        Ugh, my job has to do with this and it’s so deeply frustrating. There are only so many reasonable differentiators, and if the LEO doesn’t get the info during the interaction, or introduces human error during one of the six thousand opportunities…

        This is why our system often has multiple entries for the same person, because while I can be reasonably certain that there aren’t two Englebert Humperdinck’s with the same date of birth, we don’t want a Mr. Humperdinck who lives in Exampleville getting served with something meant for Mr. Humperdinck who lives in Joke City.

      3. Chicken Dinner*

        My brother was married to a woman who has the same first name that I do and we were mixed up by social services (she’d already been getting some kind of aid for awhile and I had just applied for food stamps while unemployed) despite having different middle names, different birthdays nearly 10 years apart, different social security numbers, and living at different addresses in different cities located in two different counties. Apparently they didn’t check ANY of that before they just assumed we were the same person and sent a social worker to my door to ask a bunch of questions I was utterly confused b. Until he asked “didn’t you just have a baby?” and realized they thought I was her. I let him know he was talking about my brother’s wife and he looked so exasperated, he was also probably wondering why no one did their due diligence before they sent him out.

        1. EchoGirl*

          I worked doing public benefits advocacy for a few years and we had a similar case (although in that case the people in question were strangers, the shared last name was a pretty common one). The state tried to deny my client benefits on the grounds that she’d “applied before with inconsistent information”, when it took me — who’d been working at that job for maybe eight months at that point, so hardly an expert — less than ten minutes for it to become incredibly clear that the previous applicant was a different person. The most absurd part was that they actually made us take it all the way to a hearing rather than back down, despite having no defense (literally, we laid out a ton of evidence about how it was two separate cases that they’d mistakenly lumped together, and their response was to reiterate the “inconsistent information” claim). The opinion from the hearing judge was pretty blistering towards the agency, though, so there’s that. Hopefully they learned something.

          So, yeah, if that could happen with literal mountains of paperwork containing information that should have differentiated these two people, I can totally believe a system that has nowhere near that many details — like a DMV database — could make the same mistake.

    6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Yeah it seems to me that she must have been aware of the outstanding tickets already, but was ignoring them for a long time. Then she was only prompted into action when the tickets were going to cause her a problem. It does make me wonder if that is a good character trait for a manager.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        We know nothing at all to suggest she knew about the tickets, and almost everything about modern traffic enforcement and her reaction after LW flagged the tickets for her suggests she did not know about them.

        1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          I bought my house about five years ago. The previous owners had a son who was in college at the time, and I don’t think it even occurred to him that he had moved. We’ve been getting his traffic tickets, registration renewals, etc, for five years now – and even the title for his new car! All were diligently marked “not at this address” and put back in the mail, but that just returns them to the sender. We just recently got a postcard notice for him that his address had been changed with the MVA, so hopefully he’s aware of all those tickets now – but he wasn’t for years.

          1. M2*

            This is why you have your mail forwarded and then change it.

            Where I live I moved and I went on the DMV website and changed my address. It is easy unless you are well lazy! Bad characteristic for a manager.

            1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

              Even excellent managers may have once been distracted and clueless college students.

              1. Jackalope*

                Post-college i stayed with some friends and decided to use their address as my permanent address since I was moving overseas for awhile and my dad at the time (I have since convinced him not to do this) had a habit of throwing away any mail that he thought was junk mail even if it was mine. Over the course of a couple of years my parents moved from my childhood home for work reasons and again unbeknownst to me my dad put in a change of address form naming everyone in the family which overrode my previous COA with the post office (he was legit just trying to help; when he filled out the form at the post office it asked if there were any other family members there and he just put down everyone’s names without thinking it through). I didn’t find out about this until several months after they’d moved (to another state!) when I came to visit them and found mail – that I had actually wanted! – addressed to me at their house, and Dad casually explained this and apologized for not having had the time to toss it yet.

                All of this to say that I know I’m not the only one in this sort of situation. When you’re first going away to college both you and your parents are still used to the parent/minor child sort of interactions, and things like address changes often don’t occur to you or to them. (My dad for example had no idea he’d accidentally overridden my previous COA, and was trying to be helpful.) Getting on college students or recent grads about this is… ignorant of how the world works. Not that we know that the pregnant new hire is in a situation like this but it’s entirely possible.

              2. Brain the Brian*

                Excellent managers may also currently be distracted and clueless adults in their personal lives. My own manager gives so much of herself to work that her husband has to handle all their life-admin. He grew up in another country, so he doesn’t always get things done perfectly. I would be really put out if I found out that a fee he had forgotten to pay denied my excellent manager a chance at a promotion or a new job somewhere else.

            2. Jennifer Strange*

              When I moved most recently I paid the post office for my change of address and registered my change of address with the DMV. And yet, eight months later I got a jury summons that had been sent to my old address and then forwarded to me, meaning I received it literally the day before I was being called in. Things happen, even when folks do everything right.

              1. Bee*

                I can’t believe it was even forwarded eight months later! When I last moved, the USPS told me they’d only forward stuff for six months. It’s a VERY fallible system.

                1. Brain the Brian*

                  It sounds like this was eight months post-move but maybe only a month or two after the summons was originally issued. Still not ideal, of course!

                  @Jennifer, was it at least an interesting jury assignment?

            3. Three Cats in a Trenchcoat*

              Mail forwarding isn’t always that easy!

              I ran into an issue where I could not set a formal mail forwarding agreement with the USPS because they required I go in person to show ID matching the address I wanteded forwarding from. The problem was that I had only lived there for a year while finishing training, and was moving back to my previous state, so I had never changed my ID.

              Also, the USPS does not allow my husband and I to set up joint forwarding because our last names do not match. We have to each request separate forwarding, which is very annoying.

            4. dryakumo*

              Mail forwarding is supposed to last 12 months for first class mail. Despite having moved less than a year ago, I’ve had to go pick up mail from my old landlord several times already. And yes, I changed my address everywhere I could and notified my family, but that doesn’t stop people from forgetting or accidentally using an old address. Plus the myriad of reasons other people have noted in this thread. We don’t know if the candidate knew about these tickets or warrants prior. It seems like the hiring manager wants an excuse to not hire the pregnant person and I’m surprised that so many people don’t seem outraged by that.

        2. Maggie*

          We know nothing to suggest she didn’t know about them either. And I don’t think that the majority of people are unaware of tickets they’ve gotten due to “modern traffic enforcement”

          1. Brain the Brian*

            A sizable enough minority are unaware that it shouldn’t be an immediate disqualifier, though.

      2. Bird names*

        Five years just about covers pretty much the entire pandemic at this point. I’m finally in a place where I can start to sort out some longstanding issues that have accumulated in that time. Nothing quite like this, the negative consequences only affect me.
        I doubt I’m the only one who had to let some less important balls drop though, even ones like this.

        1. Siege*

          Yeah – it’s not the same thing, but I just found out a couple months ago that my student loans were not covered under the payment pause … something the people I regularly work with on debt forgiveness (it’s a benefit our members qualify for) didn’t even know about. Because I never once got notified of this, by anyone at all, I have a huge problem to sort out.

          1. Bird names*

            I’m very sorry that this cropped up so suddenly for you. Had something like that happen some years ago, deadline for my reply was very tight and I was incredibly worried. I was mostly saved from major hassle by getting an extremely understanding and kind person on the phone after several tries who helped me sort it out. I’m deeply grateful for that to this day and hope that you will receive similar help!

            1. Siege*

              Ha, because I did not, I am pursuing a very different, much more adversarial solution. :) The person I talked to when I called my current loan servicer was … less rude than the collections agent I talked to when my healthcare insurer failed to send me a bill for $25 for five years after they failed to track my forwarding address, but that was a very low bar to clear. :) But if you don’t have any idea how much you want me to repay to even get my account solvent until you hear my income but you know it’s 9 payments, you can put a dollar amount on that. Promise.

              On the other hand, I had to call the IRS once about which one of us made a mistake on my self-employment taxes (them, it turned out) and I got the nicest guy on earth on the phone. He was fantastic, and I highly recommend calling the IRS. Every time I’ve had to talk to an agent, they’re absolutely lovely.

      3. ferrina*

        I’d go back to what her references said about her. If her references talked about her attention to detail, I’d err on the side of thinking this was an issue with traffic court (see the stories up and down this thread of ‘weird things happen with traffic tickets’).

        But if this behavior is consistent with traits that her references discussed, I might put more weight on it. Really though, it’s traffic tickets which are really common and tend to get lost in the system, and it sounds like it wasn’t even recent tickets. Unless the tickets were for something egregious, I’d be inclined to let it go and assume she’d already been punished enough.

      4. Observer*

        Yeah it seems to me that she must have been aware of the outstanding tickets already, but was ignoring them for a long time

        Based on what? Sure, it could be the case, but there is simply nothing that the LW mentioned that supports that.

    7. Jan*

      I agree. I think Alison is being disingenuous here by framing it as “just traffic tickets”. The original reason for the fine isn’t really the issue here unless the reasons for the tickets is pretty egregious in which case then there’d be multiple issues.

      The issue is clearly 1. the lack of judgment in letting them get to the point of arrest warrants and 2. the lack of caring since she could’ve obviously taken care of them given she did once she was told it could jeopardize her job offer. Perhaps there’s a reason like they were lost in the mail (although I have to question how often she gets tickets if 2 got lost) and the hiring manager should be a discussion with the candidate prior to making a decision. However, overall, OP sounds overly involved and Alison’s answer strikes me as intentionally minimizing.

      Also there’s zero basis based on what OP wrote that the hiring manager being gun shy is due to the candidate being pregnant. There was no mention of negative comments made after the pregnancy was disclosed, history of pregnancy discrimination by this manager or the company, etc. Having an offer pulled for a valid reason while a candidate happens to be pregnant isn’t pregnancy discrimination.

      1. BuildMeUp*

        Your last paragraph is incorrect – the OP says “the manager was definitely not happy when he found out” about the pregnancy.

        And I think the OP is involved because it’s part of their job. They talk about how long the background checks usually take, being in contact with the new hire, and potentially reaching out to the company’s lawyer. It sounds like they’re probably in HR.

        1. M2*

          I have actually had HR force me or someone else in a department I know hire someone who either had an issue with a background check or a bad reference.

          I think talking to the lawyer is a good idea but if there were other issues in the applicants references or job history I would not hire. I would also ask the lawyer if you can find out what the tickets were for.

          The person I was forced to hire and people I know who were pushed to hire by HR all turned out to be not a good fit all the way to potentially lawsuit territory. I am always against HR pushing to hire someone if something comes back in the background check or references that are not good. That is the point of them!

          If the lawyer says there is no legal issue because these issues came back in the background check then speak with the hiring manager but don’t make them hire this person. It won’t end well for anyone. Does the hiring manger have a history of things or are they generally good and made a comment after the fact?

          People are allowed to feel how they feel. I hired pregnant women multiple times and I have been pregnant myself. Especially when you have a company that gives more than 3-4 months of paid leave (mine does) that can be a wrench in the next year and especially if someone is brand new by the time they actually learn what’s up they will most likely be on leave. Don’t discriminate, but people are allowed to feel how they feel especially if his role has been vacant for a year and the hiring manager now realizes they will have to do that job when the employee goes on leave.

          I am so against HR forcing a hiring manager to hire someone.

          1. Analyst*

            The entire point of the law is that you can not make a hiring decision based on the inconvenience of the pregnant person’s needs. Like leave. You can feel how you want, you can not allow it to change your actions. If the hiring manager is trying to avoid hiring her because she is pregnant, they are putting their company at legal risk by discriminating and yes, they should be required to hire this person. They should probably be fired or at least given extensive training for discrimination as well as they have no business being a manager.

          2. Jennifer Strange*

            Sure, people are allowed to feel how they feel, but they aren’t allowed to act unlawfully based on their feelings.

            1. Goldenrod*

              “Don’t discriminate, but people are allowed to feel how they feel”

              But that is discrimination. It’s illegal to make a hiring decision based on “feeling how you feel” when how you feel is…like not hiring someone because they are pregnant.

              1. Brain the Brian*

                I mean, I can find people who wear cross necklaces obnoxious, but I’m not allowed to skip hiring them as a result of that feeling. That’s what the law says — not that I can’t ever have a private thought.

          3. blah*

            You have consistently been projecting your own bad experiences onto this LW and the situation you’re talking about. Based on this, I wouldn’t want to work for you either! Sorry HR forced you to hire pregnant people or people who made honest mistakes.

          4. Chicken Dinner*

            “Especially when you have a company that gives more than 3-4 months of paid leave (mine does) that can be a wrench in the next year and especially if someone is brand new by the time they actually learn what’s up they will most likely be on leave.”

            YIKES ON BIKES how do you not realize that this is discrimination

      2. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

        “the lack of judgment in letting them get to the point of arrest warrants”

        But how would she even know it had gotten to that point? Clearly, no one has arrested her.

        Do you know if there are warrants out for your arrest? How do you know there aren’t?

        1. Jan*

          Yes, I do know and no I don’t. Make believing someone can’t possibly know if they have warrants is utterly ridiculous. I mean how do you know you never shot a man in Reno?

          1. Brain the Brian*

            But this is not shooting a man in Reno or anywhere. This is *traffic tickets*, which are commonly camera-issued these days. It’s so, so easy to be unaware you have outstanding tickets.

          2. ChiliHeeler*

            Many if not most jurisdictions don’t send you a notification about a warrant. Your notification is getting arrested.

          3. Poor Parker*

            I have found out about outstanding tickets multiple times, months or years after the fact. I had never received anything indicating these tickets existed, and could have done nothing about them prior to finally discovering their existence.

            Your inability to understand that this possibility exists does not preclude the truth of the situation, it merely indicates your blinkered conception of reality.

          4. YetAnotherAnalyst*

            If you shoot someone, you are very likely to have been present and know you have done so (though not guaranteed).
            If a warrant is issued for you, you are by definition NOT present, and unless it’s for something newsworthy you likely won’t hear about it until you get arrested – which may could be years later, if you’re generally a responsible driver and don’t get pulled over often.

          5. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

            “Make believing someone can’t possibly know if they have warrants is utterly ridiculous. I mean how do you know you never shot a man in Reno?”

            I know I’ve never shot a man in Reno because I’ve never shot a man in Reno.

            I have no idea though if there’s an arrest warrant out there for me shooting a man from Reno.

            (What *is* utterly ridiculous here is conflating murder with unpaid traffic tickets lol.)

            Do you do regular background checks on yourself??

            If not, where do you think notice about a warrant comes from? Your notice is getting arrested.

          6. Antilles*

            You’re assuming that warrants can only be issued for major offenses like a shooting.
            The reality in many places in America is that you can get a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket. Or an automated red light/speed camera where it’s mailed out to you – and if the post office happens to eff up that day, you never even know you have an unpaid traffic ticket out there.

            1. Some Words*

              Or accidentally pay the wrong amount on a ticket. In my mind the issue was resolved. Officially I ended up with a warrant I didn’t know existed.

              I strongly suspect the pregnancy is the problem here, not the tickets.

            2. Siege*

              My partner managed to get two traffic tickets from automated cameras in my car. They came to me, as the registered owner of the car. If I hadn’t told him, for one reason or another, he’d never know (though my state, at least, assumes the registered owner is not provably the driver, and an automated camera ticket is not attached to the registered owner, as I understand it, so it was a problem for my car, not for my driver’s license, if you see what I mean. No penalty (like an insurance increase) accrued to me as a driver, only as the registered owner of the ticketed car.)

          7. AMH*

            How would you know you had a warrant out for your arrest for an offense you didn’t know you committed? There are multiple people in this thread explaining how that can happen. You don’t get some sort of alert that there is a warrant!

          8. PhyllisB*

            Actually, you CAN have a warrant against you and not be aware. When my oldest daughter was a teenager we reported someone for threats/harassment against her.
            The police said they would put out a warrant on her. Time rocked on and we never heard anything else about it. Three years later this young woman was in a routine traffic stop and the warrant showed up.
            By this time young lady had gotten counseling and made amends so she begged us to drop the charges. We did, but had to pay $50.00 to do it.
            It’s very possible that warrant for this traffic offense was written but no action taken. If she had been stopped for any other reason, she would have been arrested.
            My son got taken to jail for an outstanding warrant for a charge in another county that he had cleared years ago.
            Even worse, they didn’t allow a phone call so we didn’t know for 24 hours. (After I had checked hospital and local jail in case something had happened.) Thankfully we had a friend who knew how to get information who found out where he was. We still had the paperwork proving things had been taken care of. He was immediately released with an apology, but all this rambling tale proves is its easy to have warrants against you without realizing.

          9. kiki*

            Unless you are regularly running background checks or checking every jurisdiction’s traffic department that you have passed through in the last ten years, you actually don’t know for sure. I have a friend I would consider deeply responsible who applied for a new job but found out she had a warrant out for her arrest in South Dakota, a place she has never lived. She drove through the state once on a road trip and had gone 10 over the speed limit. They had apparently sent letters but whatever address they had for her had some sort of typo (where she lives, the NW/SW/SE/SW on the street makes a huge difference) and she never received those letters.

            It really does happen all the time. If you talk to the clerks who work in traffic departments, so many of them will tell you themselves that this is tremendously common. I worked in a background company for several years. We intentionally gave caveats on arrest warrants related to traffic tickets to say that they are usually an indication somebody did not receive a couple letters in the mail, not that they’re truly on the lam. Part of why this check is taking so long is likely because the background checker is looking into the warrant situation to understand it better so they can give the full non-alarming story to the employer.

            1. PotsPansTeapots*

              Yes, I know a few people who have run into similar situations after long road trips.

              Summer road trip after college, get a ticket, the ticket is mailed to an old address or parents/roommates misplace it, soon you have an arrest warrant in a state halfway across the country that you don’t even know about.

          10. ferrina*

            ….cuz I’m not Johnny Cash?

            Also, I’m not regularly checking for arrest warrants for me. I may have inadvertently broken traffic laws due to poor signage/missing a single sign because I was too busy avoiding that aggressive driver, and I’m not looking for mail that I don’t know I’ll be receiving.

            More important question: Why are you regularly checking for warrants for your arrest?
            Is there something the government should know?

          11. JB (not in Houston)*

            This is an ignorant thing to say. How exactly do you think people find out they have a warrant? They aren’t issuing the warrants themselves

            1. pope suburban*

              As someone who is impossible to Google because I have a very common name, I never forget this. I can hope, but I know someday I may need to go deal with the fallout for something I didn’t do. It happens. People and the systems we create aren’t perfect.

      3. Myrin*

        Re: your last paragraph, people are responding to this part of OP’s letter: ” the candidate disclosed that she was pregnant after she accepted the offer, […] but the manager was definitely not happy when he found out”.

        1. Jan*

          That part you edited out is the important part that combined with the context of the letter as a whole changes the tone of the sentence. With just those 2 parts of “the candidate disclosed that she was pregnant and “the manager was definitely not happy” the sentence reads as being not happy about the pregnancy.

          With the middle part of ‘we don’t want it to look like discrimination’ (as opposed to it WAS discrimination which it’d be if the manager directly showed upset over the pregnancy) it reads more as OP saying “there’s this added complication of her disclosing her pregnancy so I don’t want us to look bad if we don’t hire her but the manager isn’t happy about this issue I’m writing in about so it seems likely she won’t be hired”

            1. Brain the Brian*

              Yeah, the letter definitely reads like LW knows this hiring manager has expressed a bias against pregnant people. The writing isn’t perfect, but the point is clear.

          1. Myrin*

            Ha, I knew someone was going to mention that!

            I actually initially read it the way you did – that the manager isn’t happy about the whole thing happening regarding this candidate – but I feel like the OP wouldn’t have phrased and combined the two half sentences the way she did if the manager wasn’t unhappy about the pregnancy in particular.

            1. Jan*

              Removed. You are being abusive and I’m not going to permit further comments from you. – Alison

      4. Brain the Brian*

        Oh, for heaven’s sake. Traffic tickets get lost in the mail — period. This is well-established. If a city has your address wrong once, and that’s where they send all the follow-up about your overdue ticket, you will probably never see any of it — again, period.

        If the first thing you do when someone says “Hey, you have really overdue traffic tickets” is call the city and figure out how to pay one and schedule a court date for the other… that’s *good* judgment, not poor judgment. Alison is not intentionally minimizing here — she is being realistic rather than pedantic.

        1. JM60*

          Although there’s a good chance these tickets got lost in the mail, scrambling to pay off those overdue tickets ASAP in the present is probably what someone would do in this scenario regardless of the reason the ticket wasn’t paid off originally. She’d probably be doing that to save her job offer even if she didn’t pay them earlier because she intentionally chose not to.

        2. londonedit*

          Where I live you can technically be fined if the address on your driving licence isn’t up to date – but in reality, especially if they’re renting, people don’t always bother updating the details. My sister had it with her car tax – she went to book her car in for its first MOT (yearly inspection required by the government from when your vehicle is 3+ years old) and discovered she’d been driving an untaxed vehicle for over a year (which is illegal). She’d moved house and had a baby in that time and had completely forgotten to update her address with the DVLA, so the car tax reminders had gone to her old address and with everything else going on she’d completely forgotten about it. Again, not the sort of thing that’s going to get you arrested here, but she had to ring up the DVLA and admit to her mistake, get her details sorted, pay a fine and get the tax paid for the coming year.

          1. EvilQueenRegina*

            My uncle never bothered updating his from Grandad’s address for years – he just figured he could always collect any correspondence whenever he saw Grandad anyway so never worried about it. The only thing that prompted him to fix it was when he was trying to hire a car one Easter weekend after an accident on Good Friday wrote his off, and apparently he couldn’t do it because his licence still had Grandad’s address on it (Grandad had died by that time and that address had been sold the year before). If he’d had any tickets in that time period, he could quite easily have not realised for ages.

            1. londonedit*

              Yes – I think you’re fine as long as the address on your driving licence is an address you can be contacted at (when I was at uni, for example, I didn’t bother updating my address every year because that was way too much hassle, and I could still be contacted via my parents’ address). But as you say, there are still situations with that where you can come unstuck, if the person whose address you’re using is ill or goes away for an extended length of time or whatever.

          2. Curiouser and Curiouser*

            I’ll add one because, truly, to pretend this is an obvious lack of judgment is just so far from the reality for most of us.

            The last town I lived in, my address was something to the effect of: 1234 Junction Hollow Ridge Rd. #36

            The problem? The DMV limited that street line to 20 characters. When I first got my license issued, no one told me that, I just didn’t get mail because they were sending it to “1234 Junction Hollow” and it didn’t make it to my street or my apartment (there was also a Junction Hollow and I was Junction Hollow Ridge). I then tried to change it to 1234 Jnction Hllw Rdg 36, but no one told me that the spaces counted so 36 got cut off once again, still no mail. Last try – now close to 2 years later – 1234 Jnct Hlw Rdge 36 – but it was way too truncated to ever actually get to me. 4 years in that town, I never got any mail from the DMV. I learned to check on things like Car Tax, Registration, and Emissions proactively…but I would have had NO idea if there was a ticket sent. Luckily, there wasn’t, but I mean…it’s just NOT that out of the ordinary to have weird mail things with the DMV.

            I don’t know why anyone would expect that to be a perfect system…has it ever been?

            1. Bast*

              Similarly, I live on a street that while not a common name, has 2 versions within the same town (think Hickory Street and Hickory Road in the same town) and THEN one town over ALSO has a “Hickory Street.” It creates havoc for Doordashers in my area, who are always calling/texting to confirm “You’re on Hickory STREET right, NOT Hickory Road?” Or, “You’re on the Hickory Street in Town A, right?”

              1. EvilQueenRegina*

                I had something only the other day for an Amazon order I’d placed – let’s say I’m at 123 Address Street, Storybrooke, and on the opposite side of the country there’s a 123 Address Street, Riverdale. I was very surprised to get a notification saying my package was 2 stops away…from 123 Address Street, Riverdale. (It did get to me 2 days later, the day it was actually scheduled to arrive. I don’t know if delivery was actually attempted at Riverdale the day I got the odd notification).

                The other one I’ve had is, there’s a town with a very similar name to my hometown (say I’m in Storybrooke and the other town is Stoneybrook, and they often get confused). One year I got a Christmas card intended for the couple at 123 Addendum Street, Stoneybrook (when it got to Storybrooke by mistake, Address Street was the closest thing to Addendum Street so they just shoved it through my door).

      5. Ellis Bell*

        I mean, you’re assuming the person even knows they have traffic tickets. It’s beyond common to not know, and OP flagging it could be the first she’d heard about it. Also, why is it anyone’s business how much they “care” about their traffic tickets?! Unless we’re talking about really egregious driving offences which shows poor character and warrants some shame, it’s not something I would put energy into judging their level of concern and worried haste over it.

    8. Tiger Snake*

      Another question is: when you get a background check, do you usually get a reason for the warrant? Where I am you don’t, so our response would be based on the fact that we’re not going to hire someone who has a warrant. If we investigated one person’s cause and made an exception, we would be unfair to others who were rejected for the same reason.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        IMO, the proper response to seeing a warrant on a background check is to contact the candidate and ask about it, unless you were going to reject the candidate anyway (in which case you probably wouldn’t be running a background check). This example — a warrant over practically nothing — is precisely why companies shouldn’t just default to rejecting anyone with a warrant.

    9. melissa*

      I was once in this situation with the traffic tickets. I got one speeding ticket. Then I moved out of state and entirely forgot. Because I had moved, none of their reminder letters got to me. I didn’t end up with an arrest warrant, but I DID get my license revoked! Which I didn’t find out about until I went to the DMV in the new state where I lived, to transfer my license. At that point I was told that my existing license in the old state had been revoked (so I had also been driving without a valid license for months and I had no idea). It was humiliating! So, I know it’s rare, but things like this really DO happen.

        1. Admin Lackey*

          Do you work for bylaw? That’s the only reason I can think of for all the tedious scolding you’re doing in the thread.

          Shoulda, woulda, coulda, but people make mistakes! Forgetting to pay a parking ticket isn’t a mortal sin. And in case you’re wondering, I’m saying this as someone who has had two parking tickets and paid both on time – if the behaviour isn’t dangerous, it’s just not that big of a fucking deal.

          I think looking for an excuse not to hire a pregnant candidate is much more serious and harmful behaviour.

    10. Q*

      I worked in police/fire dispatching for many, many years. To really judge this I would want to know what the tickets were for and maybe why they had never been paid. Traffic tickets could refer to such a wide range of potential offenses. It was not unusual as a part of our hiring to tell people they had to clear their minor warrants before their start date. Some of them predated their employment at police departments who didn’t care enough to follow up and make sure they’d cleared them in the past.

    11. Just a question*

      In the state I live in, the traffic infraction has to be be pretty serious to turn into an arrest warrant

      1. HB*

        There are two issues at play. One: there are 17 states where minor traffic offenses are misdemeanors (so crimes, not just civil infractions). Second, even if a traffic offense isn’t considered a misdemeanor, some states allow courts to issue bench warrants to enforce civil fines/penalties.

        Also, you need to understand that an arrest warrant isn’t necessarily issued so that a police offer will go grab the person… it’s done because if the person is detained for some OTHER reason (like if you get stopped for some other traffic infraction), the bench warrant will kick out and the person will be brought in immediately. Why issue a summons when your police state infrastructure will just bring the person to you at some unknown date in the future?

        I think the larger piece of the puzzle that people are missing is that they assume the law being objective is a good thing. But objectivity here means that you enforce the law *without* consideration of context. So if your state says that any traffic offense is a misdemeanor, and they don’t take care of the ticket for some reason, then a good, “objective” system, will make *sure* they take care of it by using the tools they have in place. Like bench warrants. The traffic offense doesn’t have to meet your definition of serious – it just has to meet the state’s (or county’s).

        I thin we should be more appalled that there were two arrest warrants for traffic tickets than the fact the person hadn’t taken care of them.

        There was actually a pretty horrifying article about some county in… Alabama? Where the town had figured out that they could basically make a ton of money by ticketing anyone and everyone who drove through. The town had a ridiculously low population, but a gigantic police force. It was basically the town’s main form of commerce.

        1. Jackalope*

          There’s a medium-sized town that’s just off of a large city in my area that does the same thing. They got written up in the newspaper for having as many traffic tickets issued in… a month, let’s say, as they had residents. And a school district in the town I grew up in apparently funded their school like this; they’d ticket anyone who went even a mile over the speed limit (which is super easy to do even if you’re being careful, and you can’t use cruise control on a lot of cars at 25 mph) and never ever forgive them or let people get out of them.

        2. B*

          If we’re thinking of the same situation, the county also aggressively used civil asset forfeiture to, basically, steal whatever they could.

          I know people think this stuff could never happen to them, but … it can happen to them!

      2. Chicken Dinner*

        In the state I live in, a single unpaid parking ticket for the most minor of infractions can turn into an arrest warrant.

      3. Nina*

        I’m not in the US and where I live, to get an arrest warrant for a traffic violation, it would have to be like, a hit and run, or vehicular homicide. Someone would have to actually die for the cops to care that much.
        So I’m reading all this with my eyebrows somewhere past my hairline.

    12. Smurfette*

      Meh. I’m very good at my job (this is relevant) and I stay on top of my work admin – but my personal admin often suffers because I simply have too much on my plate. Two unpaid traffic fines is not necessarily an indication that the person thinks it’s not important.

    13. learnedthehardway*

      It’s possible they didn’t know about them. I found out I had a traffic ticket when I went to renew my license. I’ve never been stopped for a ticket and neither has my spouse. The clerk at the license office tells me a letter would have been sent out, informing us, but I don’t recall ever getting one.

      In any case, it’s a pretty minor thing to pull an offer over. The hiring manager is a weasel.

    14. Abogado Avocado*

      Before anyone starts blaming the job seeker here for the traffic warrants, please be aware: (1) in most jurisdictions, unless you injure or kill someone, a traffic ticket is a violation, not a crime; (2) even in this day and age, not all jurisdictions keep good electronic records about low-level violations (I dealt with one rural jurisdiction that files traffic tickets in shoe boxes); (3) traffic tickets often are handled by low-level courts that are poorly funded (traffic tickets are a money-maker, but not for the court) and, therefore, may not have the staff or even the tech to properly enter the ticket or advise the violater that the ticket remains unpaid.

      I realize that there is this sense that the U.S. justice system is efficient and always right. Not so, especially at lower levels, where funds are scarce, court staff are over-burdened, and, because there’s an emphasis on getting the fine money, there’s a tendency is to say, “Oh, just plead to it and take the fine; it’s only a violation!”

      1. Observer*

        I realize that there is this sense that the U.S. justice system is efficient and always right.

        Snort and ROFL my head off.

        I’m not especially cynical, but that’s out of an alternate universe!

    15. The Starsong Princess*

      Open warrants equals failed background check equals offer rescinded in my company as does undisclosed arrests or convictions. There’s other things that can mean a failed background check too.. If your company’s policy isn’t clear on what a failed background check is, then you need to clarify this and apply these policies consistently. The pregnancy is irrelevant.

  6. Observer*

    #3- Tactless HR.

    I’m going to add another question. How far off is the HR Director? Best case, you have a problem, to be sure. But if it’s just a matter of expressing a legitimate issue poorly and sloppiness with email, that’s one thing. Like if people are freaking out that a new phone system has 8 buttons on their phones instead of 16, even though no one ever uses the 16 buttons on the old system (I recall a letter where someone was dealing with something like this), that’s one thing.

    But if people are complaining about stuff that is a really big change, even if it’s not a truly problematic change, that’s much worse. And if the change is actually a problem for people (eg new processes that will require extra work) then this really may be the last push towards firing.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      Yes, I think the issues in #3 exceed just the HR lead accidentally calling people “whiny” to their face in an email. The workplace itself sounds like it has other problems.

    2. Some Words*

      But isn’t it very common for some people to be hesitant with major changes? In my workplace every time new software is introduced to replace (clunky) old systems there’s a period of heavy complaining. It’s just anxiety about something new & calms down pretty quickly.

      I’ve seen it happen often enough to realize it’s just human nature. To call the staff whiny is a pretty harsh sentiment to express. This isn’t someone I’d trust for anything which required their judgement.

      1. Antilles*

        It certainly is human nature to complain about all sorts of changes.

        However, I think complaining about the staff is less egregious if the staff reaction is wildly out of proportion. If the staff is throwing enormous fits about the number of buttons on your desk phone, then it’s a bit more understandable for the HR Director to have the feeling of “this is ridiculous, stop whining about trivial crap”. Obviously, the HR Director should be professional enough to not actually say that in an email, but it’s reasonable for him to think that.

        If the staff’s concerns are about truly meaningful issues like a complete reorganization, major layoffs or cutting PTO? Then calling them whiny” is extremely problematic because it’s not only a poor choice of language, but *also* indicative of a larger problem that he thinks legitimate concerns are ‘whining’.

      2. ferrina*

        Extremely common. Common enough that my company actually has someone who is explicitly tasked with creating a rollout and communications plan to help ease transitions.

        But calling people whiny? I’ve sat in a lot of meetings where we complain about whiny people, and we never say “whiny”. We say “they are particular” or “change doesn’t always come easily to this team”. And we’re even more cautious when writing things down.
        This HR director seems indiscrete, which isn’t great for his job. But OP isn’t likely to change the HR director.

      3. Observer*

        To call the staff whiny is a pretty harsh sentiment to express.

        I agree that there is a problem regardless. But it really does matter what is happening. I get that people can be change averse. But that’s not an excuse for some of the ridiculous behavior that sometimes happens.

        “It’s just human nature” is not a good enough excuse. Because functional adults should be able to keep their “nature” under enough control to avoid the ridiculous behavior.

      4. Lizzianna*

        Yes, people are often hesitant with change. But some people are often excessively hesitant with change, and I do have some empathy for the person who has to help manage them through a change that really, to the vast majority of people, isn’t that big of a deal. I would never call someone whiny to their face, but I have vented to other managers or my own manager that instituting a change is taking more energy or time that I feel like it should because of staffs’ hesitance.

        Putting it in writing was a lapse of judgment. Sending it out to all staff was a major mistake. But I don’t think the underlying sentiment is automatically enough for me to question someone’s judgment if I otherwise trust them.

  7. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

    “… so we don’t want to make it look like we are retaliating due to the pregnancy, but the manager was definitely not happy when he found out.”

    I mean… that’s exactly what it looks like. You said the outstanding traffic tickets were an issue so she resolved one and it sounds like she is soon to resolve the other.

    Are you checking for outstanding traffic tickets for current employees if this is such a critical issue? Are you checking on outstanding traffic tickets for all candidates as part of the background check? Pulling offers over it? If not, what’s unique and significant about this position that the company would do so here?

    1. Ellis Bell*

      I would be saying to this manager “Of course we wouldn’t pull an offer over traffic tickets, and you’ve given me real cause for concern that the real reason you want to pull the offer is the pregnancy. They’re still the same candidate we were happy to make an offer to. Not only is changing our mind illegal, it’s just a poor way to treat people we made a good faith offer to, and not okay on any level.” But, yeah I’d definitely double check there’s no genuine issue relating to driving on the job (I’d be surprised if there was) before saying this.

      1. M2*

        I think Hr should talk to the lawyers and do more reference checks. Not just the ones the candidate gave you. Can you do a deeper dive background check?

        Having two unpaid things and one warrant is a red flag to me. My organization would
        Most likely pull for more than one traffic incident that had not been dealt with or at the very least do more in depth background check.

        1. JHunz*

          Doing a second and more in-depth background check on a specific candidate when you do not do an in-depth background check on all candidates could very easily be perceived (and possibly successfully argued) to be discrimination if you do not need the information in the second background check for all candidates who apply.

        2. Mid*

          Then I’m glad I don’t work for your organization, because it seems like an unforgiving nightmare.

          My friend recently got pulled over for making an illegal U-turn (that she didn’t know was illegal, because the sign was missing.) The officer informed her she had a warrant out for her arrest. She was shocked, because she had no clue. The warrant was for failure to appear in court, for a ticket she got 15 years ago because the dog she was walking got loose and chased some ducks, and was told was dismissed by the court 15 years ago. She has passed multiple background checks in the last 15 years and never knew about this issue. Apparently the court with the warrant recent upgraded their online systems, and so a lot of old paperwork is now in their system and so was her arrest warrant.

          I got a traffic ticket for purportedly running a red light (I didn’t, it was a camera error, but that’s a different issue) and the ticket was sent to the address of the person who owned the car prior to me, even though my car had been registered in my name for over two years at the time of this ticket. Luckily this person had my address and reached out to let me know what happened and forwarded the ticket to me.

          My friend went on a toll road in a different and never got a toll notice, even though his address never changed. Until one day he got a call from a collections agency, letting him know he owed something like $1000 in unpaid fees and fines for not paying this toll fee. Turns out, the toll was getting sent to a random address in a different state than the toll and where he lived, and so he never received the toll bill, or any of the follow up paperwork.

          I can go on and on about similar situations. Two traffic tickets, likely by cameras instead of a person, in 5 years, is hardly the sign of a hardened criminal. Especially if the warrant was for the ticket that was 5 years old. Given how slow things are to appear in the mail, the summons for a court date for the ticket that’s five years old could very well have been during the first COVID shutdowns.

          The person figured out the issue, and dealt with it immediately. What more do you want from someone?

        3. Nina*

          …my organization has in the past:

          – paid the fine of an employee who got ticketed for texting while driving a company car roughly 20 kph over the speed limit, and told her not to do it again.

          – paid somewhere between twenty and forty parking tickets for the boss’ (also company) car, because he just parks wherever he feels like parking.

          – arranged for a preexisting carpool to make an extra stop to pick up an employee who had his license suspended for 6 months for a) going over 140 kph b) in a 80 kph zone c) that was a known speed trap d) in a signwritten company vehicle e) on three separate occasions. After the suspension was over, the employee kept driving the company vehicle, but didn’t get any more tickets.

          – bailed out (and sent a fairly senior manager to pick up) an employee who had spent the night in a police cell for getting too involved in a bar brawl. Again, it was suggested that he not do that again, but we needed him on the job site.

          It wouldn’t occur to us to do anything about an unpaid parking ticket and an arrest warrant. Laugh, maybe?

      2. fhqwhgads*

        I’d wait on the lawyer/insurance co. I think before it matters if the hiring manager or HR care about these tickets/warrants, it matters if their insurance does. If their liability insurance says no, then it doesn’t matter if either of the two humans involved in hiring decide it’s irrelevant to the job. It’s out of their hands. Once it’s actually in their hands, then say that to the manager.

    2. Stuart Foote*

      As far as I can tell, the LW was curious why the background check had not come back (and was significantly overdue), went to the Bureau of Public Safety website, and found that there were two arrest warrants for traffic tickets. It seems the background check hasn’t come back.

      Really, we don’t have enough information to know what the tickets were for or why they weren’t paid. It seems that the background check still hasn’t come back, so wouldn’t it make the most sense to wait for that? If the LW wants to find out more, they could google the candidate or search the local Clerk of Courts website, but the background check people will do the best job.

    3. House On The Rock*

      Good point about current employees. Does the company perform ongoing checks of driving records (even for staff who may use company vehicles)? And would they terminate someone who they found had unpaid tickets? If the issue is specifically around insurance/liability concerns when driving on the job, that’s an insurance/legal issue and once cleared shouldn’t have further impact to the offer.

  8. MassMatt*

    For #3, this HR person sounds terrible, and yes it appears they have lost the trust of the employees. But it sounds to me that while someone (the HR head’s superior? The CEO?) should definitely ask the questions Alison is asking, the LW doesn’t seem to have the standing to do that.

    1. El l*

      Yes. And the most interesting unanswered question here:

      Are the HR Head’s views representative of management and/or HR writ large? Because if they are, it’s no longer about this person.

  9. Cmdrshprd*

    “Are you checking on outstanding traffic tickets for all candidates as part of the background check?”

    Not directly but by virtue of the background check they are. it’s not just traffic tickets that are the issue, I suspect they would not have come up but for the warrant for arrest that was issued. traffick tickets are one thing warrants for arrest are another ballgame.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      The way most local laws are written — at least here in the U.S. — a traffic ticket that goes unpaid for a certain amount of time, whatever the reason, will eventually be automatically upgraded to an arrest warrant. See comments upthread about the reasons why it’s so common for people to miss traffic tickets for long periods.

      Bottom line: an arrest warrant for murder is a problem. For a traffic ticket, not so much.

      1. M2*

        It is if it’s for a DUI or for an accident or if you were driving say 50 in a school zone.

        All this stuff matters. LW you should at least do more background check or references on the applicant. How many references did you contact?

        I had a reference once not reply (they ended up being in the hospital) so HR contacted someone else at my company and someone else because they were worried the lack of response had to do with a flag on my application.

        1. AMH*

          In my state both DUI and 50 in a school zone would be considered reckless driving — criminal charges, not traffic tickets.

        2. Parakeet*

          Not every infraction that happens in a car is a traffic ticket. A DUI is a criminal offense, not a traffic ticket, in every state that I am aware of. 50 in a school zone would be in every state I’ve lived in.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      The real question is – has the company ever pulled an offer for any other candidate who had outstanding traffic tickets?

      My guess – they didn’t and wouldn’t have done so. So, if I were the HR Manager, I would be pointing out that this is illegal discrimination and won’t stand up to real scrutiny, if the candidate laid a human rights complaint.

      1. JSPA*

        I’m dubious, but willing to be convinced.

        Changing a default position is legal.

        Making an exception for something truly minor and irrelevant is common, and under almost all circumstances, legal.

        And that hypothetical non-pregnant someone who had not been hired previously on the basis of parking tickets would need to find out about the current hire being hired; know that the two situations were so essentially identical as to stand legal scrutiny; and choose to sue.

        On the other hand, pregnancy isn’t protected as a temporary disability, but under the category of sex discrimination. That affects the mandated general stance.

        The Equality Act does not make it unlawful to discriminate against a non-disabled person in favour of a disabled one (only the other way around).

        But in the case of pregnancy, the default is being “blind” to the condition, except for specific and relevant carve outs. Those carve-outs do allow “Positive discrimination” for issues like being preferentially protected from redundancy (which I assume is tied up with the right to come back to the same or an essentially similar job).

        But given that the hiring manager
        was displeased to find out about the pregnancy… and given how much more common it has always been, historically, to discriminate against pregnant candidates and employees… it seems to me that the legal case of this actual hire (if the offer is yanked) would be far stronger than the case of a hypothetical non-pregnant employee who at some past time lost a job offer over a hypothetically-identical, equally-“curable” pair of warrants.

        Noting additionally that it her job is Department Manager, not Delivery Driver. And that Rideshare exists, as does carpooling, as does driving one’s own car and being reimbursed.

        (If “being the driver” was a core part of the job description, not just the simplest way of handling things, for most people, I’m assuming the LW would have said so.)

        1. Brain the Brian*

          This is probably the single most coherent response on this topic all day. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

      2. Maggie*

        I think the question would be have you pulled a job offer for arrest warrants before? I don’t think traffic tickets show up on a background check so it is probably the warrants that caused the issue to appear.

    3. Kesnit*

      A few years ago (when I was working as a public defender), I got a parking ticket outside our office. I knew I got the ticket, but things were busy and I forgot to pay it.

      Some time later (a few months, maybe..?), I went to court (remember, I am an attorney!) and one of the local police officers asked to speak to me. Turns out there was a warrant for me for the unpaid parking ticket and the police officer was serving me with the warrant. (He was very respectful and did NOT make any snarky comments. The joking comment came from the prosecutor, who said he would run my criminal history, like they did for all traffic violations.)

      I paid the parking ticket before the court date and the misdemeanor charge was dismissed.

    4. fhqwhgads*

      Sure but my understanding is the background check just generally returns are there warrants? yes/no. It’s because the HR person dug into before getting the result they know what it’s for. It seems like normally they get the background check back, and then ask the person “hey why is there is a warrant?” It’s the extra sleuthing and finding the tickets before getting the background check that makes this a bit different – not the cause for the warrants that makes it different.
      Do they generally pull offers for outstanding warrants is the question.

      1. JSPA*

        And if so, question 2 should follow:

        “is this still a blanket policy that serves us well, or is it time to revisit the ban now that the internet has made it so much easier to get particulars?”

        To read some of the comments on this column, you would think that no business is ever allowed to update its hiring procedures!

        1. Observer*

          you would think that no business is ever allowed to update its hiring procedures!

          When that update just happens to coincide with pulling an offer to an otherwise qualified candidate who just happens to be pregnant and the hiring manager just happens to be annoyed by that fact, well courts and juries tend to take a very dim view of those kinds of “update”.

          Google the word pretext.

          1. JSPA*

            Respectfully, we’re on the same side / you’re reading my comment opposite-day-style. I’m saying that even if there has previously been a blanket ban on people with warrants, that doesn’t stop them from making the ban less absolute, from this point forwards.

            Making the rules less draconian moving forward, starting with the current pregnant hire, is not going to get anyone in hot water with a jury.

  10. pcake*

    Regarding letter 2, we got someone else’s ticket in the mail for going over a bridge in San Francisco and committing some traffic infraction and getting caught on camera. We were in Los Angeles at the time of the ticket, so I called. The woman I spoke to asked me what car we drove, I told her a VW Jetta, and she said the car that got through without paying the toll was a Honda with a completely different license plate. She said that their system isn’t great, and they often mail tickets to the owner of completely different cars. I was pretty startled, but if I hadn’t called, the person in the Honda would never have known they got a ticket.

    1. Q*

      On vacation in Denver last year we knew we’d get a bill for tolls. The bill was almost twice what we expected because some roads to use the HOV lane you had to have 3 people in the car and on camera they couldn’t see the third person. In my state, the Supreme Court ruled years ago that cameras can’t be used for enforcement ticketing, in part for that sort of reason!

      1. JSPA*

        Hunh. I’m now realizing I never got a toll bill in the mail for a toll over two years ago, that I’d expected to get. I wonder if I have a warrant, or if they sent it to someone else. The weather was absolutely foul, so I suppose the plate might have been unreadable.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Fingers crossed for your sake that you do not have anything outstanding, and that if you do, it’s easy to resolve!

    2. Cj*

      my husband once got a ticket in the mail for speeding in Arizona. the ticket had been generated by a camera. he had never been to Arizona. what happened in this case was we had sold the van in question, and the new orders never transferred title. if we feel a vehicle privately, really meet them at the DVM to make sure this doesn’t happen, but in this case since it was supposed to be registered out of state it wasn’t possible.

      we have to stop of the title where the buyers sign, so we’re able to clear it up, but this stuff happens.

      since the job candidate paid the ticket as soon as she found out about it, it probably is really her ticket, but I thought I’d give one more example of how this stuff goes wrong.

      although actually, since she’s going to court over one of the tickets, maybe it’s not legitimate.

    3. londonedit*

      My mum once discovered that someone had cloned her car’s numberplates when she got a speeding ticket in the post from somewhere in Scotland. Probably 500+ miles from where she was at the time. Luckily she’d been to the shops and could prove with the receipt that it wasn’t her, plus there were a couple of other discrepancies with the car that didn’t match hers 100%. Cloning numberplates is a thing criminals do fairly frequently here, so as to evade the police, and it does mean that innocent drivers end up being sent notices of speeding fines etc which they then have to sort out.

      1. JSPA*

        I was quite surprised to find out that in europe, plates are not sent by the government after you register the car, but are banged out at pretty much any car dealership! Seems like that would leave a lot of plate-making tools and blank materials floating around, in less-than-secure locations, and make cloning crime a lot easier to pull off.

    4. Madre del becchino*

      We once received a parking ticket in the mail from a city in our state we have never been to with the license plate number of a pickup truck we had sold 2 years before. Thankfully I still had the DMV form showing when we had turned in the plates after the sale.

  11. ThatOtherClare*

    LW#4 – To exand on Alison’s final point: you might consider including a revised salary band when you email the candidate to set up the first interview. Something along the lines of:

    “Thank you for your application for role X. Your 5 years of experience in the role means you’d be a good fit for our $110k – $115k position. We would like to offer you an interview blah blah….”

    A similar approach would work for a phone call. Make sure you mention the revised salary band before you offer them an interview, while they’re still hanging on your every word. After the offer some people will zone out in relief and stop paying attention.

    You won’t be able to catch every skim-reader, but it may help improve your conversion rates.

    1. Elsa*

      I’m in an interview process right now in which, at the end of the first interview, the interviewer told me the exact salary I would be offered if I get the job. I really appreciated that.

      1. NotEnoughInfo*

        I would find concerning that they knew that so early in the process. To me it means they wanted to pay that in the first place and tried a bit of bait and switch if they advertised something higher was in range. They don’t know enough about me to come up with a personalized figure before the first interview.

        1. ThatOtherClare*

          The letter writer said salary was partly based off years of experience, and that it was very early career applicants who were making this mistake. You’ll notice I didn’t recommend giving the final figure, just the revised band. I’d be very surprised if they weren’t able to tell the difference between 5 years and 15 years of experience based solely off resumes.

          Now, if they’re not getting anyone with 15 years of experience applying then they probably do need to increase the entire band, but they could do both. They could tell a 5 year applicant “You’d fit our $140k-$150k position”, while telling a 15 year applicant “You’d fit our $180-$200k position”.

          It’s hardly feels to me like a bait-and-switch if they’re being upfront with people before they decide whether to spend their valuable time scheduling an interview. If a candidate doesn’t like the fact that they were hoping for someone with more years of experience this gives them the perfect time to say “Thanks for the offer but I’d like to withdraw”.

          1. bamcheeks*

            I think part of this is that there’s such a strong idea that if you aren’t getting appointed at the top of the range, you’re being cheated somehow. The idea that if a company has budgeted £40-50k, then you should never accept anything less than £50k because you’re “leaving money on the table” whcih the company has decided it can afford so why AREN’T they offering it to you.

            So you get away from the inequity of fully open salaries, but you’ve introduced a new problem of “but why aren’t you offering me the top of the range?”

            I do think companies can probably alleviate that by being as transparent as possible, as early as possible, about what the top of range is reserved for, and how salary increases are calculated once in post.

        2. Parenthesis Guy*

          Some places make sure to determine salary based on a formula to ensure that there’s no discrimination. I dealt with one place that had a huge range, so I asked for clarification on the salary. They asked me like five questions (years of experience, total schooling, education, etc etc) and then told me I’d get an offer for roughly X amount.

      2. M2*

        We always are upfront about salary. HR is a bit cagey but I usually give a 5k band. I have also seen many companies say the band is X but we hire either at the low end and mid range.

        I have never assumed I would get the top of the range.

        I also pushed HR to up the salary for a role. It is all about equity and parity now (which annoys me it should be based on output and achievements I know people who have the same role and 1 is a lot better. Paying them almost the same will make the better person leave as they should).

        My department pays better than some others because we have a lot of travel and some night and weekend work, so I got HR to raise the salary $15k for the 2 newest hires. The rest of the company same role was bumped about $5-7k more which I was very happy about.

    2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      I like this. Mention the actual salary band for the candidate’s experience in the phone screen! Or write the ad as “We are open to hiring for this position as a Junior Teapot Designer (lower salary band here) or a Senior Teapot Designer (higher band here) depending on experience and qualifications.”

    3. SpringIsForPlanting!*

      Does the role have levels? Engineer I, Engineer II, Engineer III; Marketing Associate, Senior Marketing Associate, etc? Many of those kinds of roles benefit from this kind of level-differentiation, not just for recruiting but for promotions, retention, employee growth, etc. If that system is in place, it’s easy enough to split out the levels in the ad, along with the qualifications and salary they would correspond to. “Hiring for an Engineer II or Engineer III. Engineer II range is X, qualifications are X. Engineer III range is Y, qualifications are Y.”

    4. LCH*

      i’d prefer my placement in the band being related to my years relevant experience over whether or not i’m new to the company. most places i’ve interviewed with bands have all new employees start out in the lower quarter regardless of experience. it sucks! because usually i’m like, well i have over 10 years relevant experience, i’m probably close to the mid-point. and then that isn’t the case.

    5. Cup Name Kate*

      My organization lists reasonably wide pay bands and always states that the salary band is XX and “new hires rarely start at the top of the band.” This sets expectations that unless you are exceptional you are unlikely to be hired at the top. If someone who is clearly not supremely qualified is still upset at their offer not being the actual top, that is just a reflection of their opinion of themselves being out of sync with reality and not something you can fix.

  12. Jan*

    OP 4, not to be rude but what’s the point of your company posting salaries if there’s going to be some huge range with the top range being reserved for candidates who go beyond what’s listed in the job description? If the range is more than $10k for a job or the years of experience expected for the job (as opposed to being considered for the next level up) is more than a few years range then seems to me like there needs to be more job levels at the company. Either that or explicitly break the range down to smaller ranges within the job listings to be more clear.

    It’s utterly ridiculous for a company to post a job wanting 5 years experience, post a range of $110-$140k, and then say “oh the $140k is for candidates with 3x the listed expected experience”. No reasonable person is going to think that. They’re going to think $140k is the potential range for someone with 5 years experience who meets a majority/all of the other preferred requirements not the potential for someone who actually has the qualifications for a higher level job but is applying to that one for whatever reason. Although to be charitable, a $30k is better than some listings I’ve seen where the range is something stupid like $50-200k. Still not great though.

    1. nnn*

      I think you misread. The letter says they reserve the top of the range for “those who tick nearly every box,” not candidates who go beyond what’s listed. they also said 5 years is the minimum, not the specific target profile.

      1. Jan*

        No, I didn’t misread anything. 1. 5-15 years is a ridiculous range for a job and 2. most job listing “minimums” aren’t really minimums more often than not. If 5 years is listed, whether it says minimum or not, the company will probably hire anywhere between 3-6 years with 5 realistically being on the upper end of the experience before candidates look at a higher level job.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          This very much depends on the role and how hiring is handled. At my company, we’re sometimes hiring for a very specific slot with just a narrow range of required experience, and sometimes we’re building out a new team with three or four roles, each at a different level. More often, though, we’re hiring to replace someone who had (for example) 15 years of experience, and that’s our ideal, but we *could* hire someone with only five years of experience and redistribute some of the job’s old responsibilities to other people, some of whom we might promote when we do that. But to avoid cluttering our online jobs board or confusing people who might think we’re hiring multiple people, we’ll have one posting outlining what the role would look like at different levels. If we posted salaries (something I so, so, so wish we did — alas, out of my hands), we would list the salary that accompanied each potential level. Does that all make sense?

        2. Katie Impact*

          I don’t see what’s ridiculous about it. There are a lot of fields and jobs where someone with 5 years of experience and someone with 15 years could be filling basically the same role and performing basically the same tasks, with the more experienced candidate mostly just having more familiarity with rare, non-routine parts of the job.

          1. ThatOtherClare*

            Teacher is the first one that springs to my mind, although not with that salary range.

          2. amoeba*

            Yup, absolutely. I’m a scientist and honestly, for a classical “lab head”/scientist position, you could hire somebody between 0 and 20 years of experience most of the time! Common requirements are either “no experience required, but would be a plus”, 3+ years, 5+years, 10 or 15+ years. But note the +, the positions with 3+ years would still be relevant and suitable for people with 10. (We also often have positions posted as “Scientist/Senior Scientist Area XY”…)

            This is definitely a job you can do from right after grad school/post doc until requirement – with increasingly senior titles and salary, but still fundamentally the same job. My predecessor in my current position had had the job for 35 years, and not because he was unsuccessful/stuck!

          3. Nightengale*

            I’m hoping my practice will hire a nurse practitioner and would be open to someone fresh out of school ranging all the way up to someone with 20+ years experience. I do recognize someone with less experience would need more support and supervision at first but the job description would be identical.

          4. House On The Rock*

            I manage a team of analysts at a large health system that’s affiliated with a state university. The “salary band” for my positions includes everyone who has that title in both the health system and university, so it’s pretty big (think 80-120k). The minimum requirement for the senior level of this position is 5 years of experience, but a lot of my staff have 20+ years. Someone coming in with 5 years isn’t going to get the same salary as someone with 20. Someone who already has 20 likely will. And I definitely get both types of applicants and some in between. I also don’t think it’s weird to have wide ranges of experience – it actually helps sometimes with having a more diverse candidate pool.

          5. I am Emily's failing memory*

            Yeah, a lot of ordinary people will max out and never want to be promoted beyond a senior individual contributor or middle manager level that a talented go-getter might conceivably rise to in 5 years – for instance, maybe they start as data coordinator, after 2 years are promoted to junior analyst, and 3 years later apply to a senior analyst role with a strong track record. Meanwhile you may have someone who has been a senior analyst for 10 years and doesn’t want to apply for director roles because they don’t want the longer hours and added stress that comes with a director role, or they just really like and want to work with numbers and being a director means they’d have to manage people, or maybe they just haven’t gotten enough people managing experience yet to be competitive for a director role so they’re for senior analyst roles that might involve some supervisory requirements as a stepping stone, etc.

            Just the simple fact that there are fewer positions at the top of the pyramid, means that many people will stop climbing the ladder somewhere halfway up and work their roles for years alongside younger employees who have just recently hit that rung. They may have the same nominal duties but the more experienced employee can still often be performing at a much higher level than the freshly promoted one.

        3. bamcheeks*

          I was looking at a job like this yesterday— it was a software development role, and it was obviously in a team of software developers with varying levels of experience. They could slot someone in at the higher level and expected them to take more of a senior/lead role, dealing with the less routine, more complex parts of the role; more client-facing work; more mentorship of junior colleagues— or at the junior end, and expect them to pick up more of the routine stuff, need more supervision, and so on, or someone in the middle. The workflow will then be rearranged according to the profiles of the people you’ve got.

          If you’ve got a team of people with the similar role, it’s pretty normal to be able to slot people at different levels. Sometimes you’ve got an obvious gap for a junior (or only budget for a junior!), or a real need for another senior person, but sometimes you are genuinely open to seeing what the market is like and enough flexibility to figure out what the work spread across the team will look like once someone’s in post.

        4. Ellis Bell*

          I’ve worked for both types of company – the kind where experience is very structured and prescribed for job roles and the kind where the experience of the next hire could be literally anything as long as the skills were there. If OP says they are willing to look at a spectrum of experience, let’s believe them?

          1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

            Of course! But then the job ad and salary bands should reflect that – people with qualifications X get Y salary, people with qualifications Z get W.

        5. Smurfette*

          It really isn’t. In my field, Design Leads would be expected to have 5+ years experience.

          Those with 12-15 years would be given projects with
          – higher business priority
          – more designers
          – more complex requirements
          – more difficult stakeholders

          They would be expected to be able to do more, with less oversight and support, than a DL with 5 years experience.

        6. postitnote*

          There are plenty of jobs that you can do with a range of experience without needing to be promoted out. I’ve been in multiple positions that suited employees entry level all the way to 20+ years of experience. I know in some industries you’d expect people to be promoted, but that’s not all industries or positions.

        7. Rosie*

          You sure are making a lot of assumptions. At my company, we are often open to hiring someone with 5 yrs or 15 yrs for the “same” position – the difference being that they are expected to take on differing levels of responsibility depending on the amount of experience they have. So our job descriptions are broad enough to encompass this, as it does not make sense for us to post multiple job descriptions.

        8. JSPA*

          If that range works for their needs–and the LW says that it does–I don’t think anyone else gets to say that it’s ridiculous, though.

          I’ve certainly seen small organizations that cycle through (say) someone in a fundraising and publicity role who has strong grant-writing skills, but short history in fundraising, and isn’t great at events…someone who has weaker writing skills, but knows everybody, and is good at making the ask, and puts on one phenomenal big-ticket gala per year…someone who isn’t great at big-donor or grant fundraising, but is excellent at growing the base and drumming up small / first-time donors through community events. After 2 or 3 years, they’re ready for a shift in focus, and the person in the job is ready for their next job.

          Those people can be in very different stages of their careers, and get different paychecks, yet each do a reasonable job in keeping the organization afloat.

          Or say you’re a medical practice that mostly needs an office manager, but there are also, always, occasional IT issues and occasionally some need for graphic design. There are good office managers who happen to have IT or graphics skills. There are equally good office managers who are not either of those things, so you’ll just spend a bit elsewhere to contract out / hire in someone to fix IT problems or do basic illustrations for physical therapy exercises.

          Both people are entirely reasonable hires, but one is worth the extra pay, to have those extra skills available in house, on-demand.

    2. Green great dragon*

      That’s a strange take to me. We need hard-to-find skills, and I’m not going to argue about exact number of years of experience. If I get someone with 5 years experience I’ll expect to support them a bit more, maybe reshuffle across the team a bit, but far better that than than a vacancy. And maybe a 5 year candidate could get the top of the scale if they were outstanding in their interview.

    3. Bast*

      We’ve hired for the same position, and will occasionally break it out into “Junior” and “Senior” roles. A Junior Paralegal or Junior Associate is going to be on the lower end of the pay scale, and we expect that they will take more training to be up to speed than someone who qualifies more for the Senior Paralegal or Associate role. Depending on which company I’ve been at, some HR people ditch the “Junior” and “Senior” just decide to call it “Paralegal” or “Associate” and are willing to hire on either end of the spectrum, but someone who is entry level is going to earn less than someone mid-career. Other than being made a Department Head/Head Paralegal (for a paralegal) or a Partner (for an attorney), there really are no other “roles” to fill or create to account for a pay difference. I realize that in some industries that may be different, but sometimes there really are no other titles for one to have.

    4. Bloopbloop*

      very common way to do it for librarian roles. For a listed 60-90k range, it is expected that if you are early career you’re going to come in in the low 60s. I imagine it’s similar for other careers that have long “lifespans.”

      1. Poorly paid librarian*

        Librarian here. Oh, if only we started at 60k :(

        Salary compression is a problem here. But also, inflation is crazy. Jobs require degrees which are very expensive for those of us who don’t have mommy and daddy to pay for them. I think a lot of older folks, more established in their careers, don’t understand that these younger folks, early career, can no longer afford to live off these salaries.

        1. Pummeled by PowerPoint*

          Inflation is ludicrous, salaries have not kept up, and a lot of people refuse to realize that. Instead, they throw shade at younger workers who can’t afford to live on their own, even with copious amounts of roommates, saying they are sponging off Mommy and Daddy.

          and that’s before paying back student loans. It’s bananapants.

        2. Chicken Dinner*

          Where I live in SoCal a person is officially classed as *low income* if they make less than $80k a year.

          Minimum wage here is just a touch over 30k (starting THIS YEAR.) And people still fail to see the issue with not paying a living wage.

    5. JustKnope*

      I’m in a band that’s got a $60k spread at my company. People at my level have anywhere from 5-20 years of experience. It’s not crazy – it’s just about what duties they are expected to do and the amount of responsibility they carry. And a wide band gives room for people to grow YOY with raises.

  13. Decidedly Me*

    People always want (and think they’re worth) the top end of the range. I can’t really blame them – it’s hard to accept X when you know it could be X + $10k. People wanting the top end of the range doesn’t mean your salaries aren’t competitive either. They could be and it’s worth checking that out, but we have this happen even with salaries based on frequent benchmarking done by HR, which I’ve also done my own personal research into, as well.

    I wish I knew what the answer to this was. I’ve tried letting people know where in the range they’d fall into and that still backfired. I had a candidate lacking an important piece of experience, but I was willing to train her on it. With that, I said she’d be at the lower end of the range and would she like to continue on with the process. She said yes and made it to the offer stage, where I offered what I said I would. She proceeded to say she wouldn’t except anything less than top of range + $5k.

    1. SoundsNormal*

      I may not know what I think the position is worth until engaging in the discovery process, i.e. interviews. I expect the same from companies – they should do their due diligence before deciding what I’m worth paying. Anything until that point is just guesswork. And negotiation is a normal, expected part of the process, so unless we’re wildly out of sync I’ll assume there’s enough wiggle room to come to agreement if we like each other.

      1. amoeba*

        Hm, in my field at least, that’s usually easily visible from the CV. Sure, something might come up in the interviews that might change things somewhat, but in general it’s mostly your years of experience in the field plus whatever academic stuff you’ve done before (postdoc or not, etc.)

      2. Cj*

        but this candidate didn’t ask for the offer plus $5,000, they asked for the top of the range plus $5,000.

        1. SoundsNormal*

          The range is an estimate until an offer happens. They would like to hire between $x and $y. They make an offer at $y or $y-$3k or whatever for a good candidate. Candidate negotiates to $y+$5k or to $y + $2k + extra time off or whatever. Happens all the time.

    2. BaitAndSwitch*

      It works both ways. I once interviewed for a senior position – in line with my experience – at a well known company and we were within the same general range for salary expectations but their HR person indicated after the full interview process they decided to reclassify me as a junior employee and offer me a job at ~45-50k/yr less – and tried to tell me I should be thrilled about taking it because they rarely offer a job to candidates and it was a sign of how highly they thought of me. They thought they were prestigious enough that everyone would say yes just to get their name on their resume (they implied this/used it as part of their spiel for why I was getting that offer) – and some people apparently did just that.

      1. Bird names*

        Sounds like you turned down their very “generous” offer instead. Good for you and I hope you landed somewhere better.

    3. ThatOtherClare*

      I’m aware of some companies who address this by only advertising the bottom of the range and then using the secret top part to offer an excellent candidate even more, hoping they’ll get excited and flattered and definitely take the job. I’m not sure it’s a good strategy, since I think it’s likely to cause some good people who know their worth to avoid the job if they think the cap is solid. But it does have the side effect of increasing the number of underpaid and under-valued people in the pool, so it might be a tool for increasing diversity I guess? I remain unconvinced.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I think this can work if you post that the salary range is (say) $110k+. That is, the salary for a person who meets the minimum requirements would be $110k, but candidates with more to offer (more experience, a useful language, etc) could command more.

        1. Zee*

          I’ve seen a fair number of postings that say something like “at least $70,000” for the salary, but I’m not a big fan of that. Like, it’s great to know the minimum… but it’s still hard to judge without knowing the maximum. Could I get $80k, or will I get through the entire process to find out their limit is only $71k?

    4. bamcheeks*

      If you’ve got a big range, split it into grades and figure out what level of experience and specific duties are associated with each grade:

      Llama Wrangler: we are open to appointing at. Junior Llama Wrangler (£25-30k), Senior Llama Wrangler (£29-34k) or Lead Llama Wrangler (£34-38k). Please indicate in your cover letter which positions you are interested in.

      You first screen can then be “we’d be considering you for the Senior Llama Wrangler role, with a range of £29-34k. You’d be eligible for promotion to Lead Llama Wrangler after two years, and we’d look at performance across these three areas. Are you happy to proceed on that basis?” Sometimes it might be exactly what they’ve put in their cover letter, sometimes you might want to explain that they wouldn’t be eligible for LLW and ask whether they are still interested in SLW.

      If they want to say, “actually, I’d only be interested in the Lead Llama Wrangler position”, you can both peace out early with minimal time waster on either side.

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Yep! I suggested exactly this. We’ve done it at my company and it works well.

    5. M2*

      This. It is a waste of everyone’s time.

      I do this too. It irks me when someone was told the exact salary and then asks for more or even more than the band. I usually say we are not on the same page and rescind the offer. I find people who do this end up being difficult to work with. It is ok to ask for more but don’t ask for too of range or above range when I tell you the role pays max $120k and you turn around and ask for $150. That is not happening! It’s frustrating because I go to bat for those I want to hire.

      If I am clear about the job, the duties, and the salary and you still think you can get more then go get it elsewhere. I don’t want someone on my team who when I say let’s do x decides they can just go of course and do what they want. I am clear and I want my team mates to be clear.

      It’s an interview for both candidate and company. I think it’s important to see how you would like to work for a hiring manger and if they would like to work for you.

      I once interviewed for a Director position had done it for years but a company was headhunting me. They decided to go with someone else but offered me a Manager position. I turned them down. They wanted a Director level experience at a manger salary (non profit). I heard later this was their MO and to me that is a waste of everyone’s time. I don’t do this to people but will sometimes say if they didn’t make the cut, hey I think you need to learn xyz we have this role opening up if you want to apply or get those skills and apply in a few years. People usually don’t like to be told they are at a lower level though.

      I value time, so I don’t want to waste anyones time. When they interview they could be working or playing with their kids or outside or doing something else, so that time we are speaking needs to be valuable for both parties. I say the good and the bad about the role and also talk about the salary and benefits. I am not HR so I say ask Hr for the information but this is my experience.

      1. watermelon fruitcake*

        It irks me when someone was told the exact salary and then asks for more or even more than the band. I usually say we are not on the same page and rescind the offer.

        You… penalize people for negotiating? Yikes. This reflects worse on you than on the candidates.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Yeah I would never rescind an offer for people asking. I would say that the offer is firm, and they can take it or leave it.

        2. Bast*

          If the role pays max 120k and you turn around and ask for 150k, that’s a fundamental mismatch. If 120k is truly the top, there is no negotiating that would make the 150k person happen, because the salary is way off range. It would be different if top was 120k, person was offered 100k and came back asking 110k, or 115k and could back it up.

            1. evens*

              No it doesn’t. It sounds like if the candidate asks for 25% more than the max, it’s a fundamental mismatch between what the candidate wants and will be happy with, and what the company can pay.

              1. biobotb*

                “It irks me when someone was told the exact salary and then asks for more or even more than the band. I usually say we are not on the same page and rescind the offer.”

                Their single example was a big difference, but their first assertion was about rescinding just because someone asked for more. They didn’t say they only rescind if someone asks for a LOT more, just more.

        3. Also-ADHD*

          Yeah, saying no, being transparent, etc. is good but rescinding someone for asking is messed up.

          I did see a process once where a guy was really aggressive (and not worth the salary he wanted) and kept emailing us other totally different jobs (different roles/functions, higher levels, like say we’re Llama Care Specialists and it would be for a Director of Llama Genetics position, when he had only intermediate experience in our function and none in that function) and questioning why the salary was not as high. Finally, the department told him that we needed an answer at the offer given and he called my Director a ballbuster, suggested he was getting lowballed because he was a man and women don’t know how to negotiate in a condescending email where he said he needed to take the weekend to think about it more (after 2 weeks), so she obviously rescinded. But that was because he went nuts (and it led to adding more rounds/checks to interviews).

          So I’m not saying never if they negotiate like crazy people, which can happen, but just saying “How about 150K?” and getting rescinded would be wild.

    6. linger*

      People always want (and think they’re worth) the top end of the range.

      Compare Kruger-Dunning’s finding that most of their respondents, no matter their competence, considered themselves “above average”. Although a few caveats attach to that result:
      (i) The skills being rated were all things anyone can believe they have some untrained ability on (logic, sense of humour, native-language grammar). When skills obviously require training, the “above-average” baseline disappears.
      (ii) Their respondents were from a culture that values individual achievement above group cohesion. (By contrast, claiming to be “above average” in Japan is stigmatised, so more competent individuals downplay their ability, which removes the “above-average” baseline, though other parts of Kruger-Dunning’s findings still hold true.)
      (iii) Specifically, their respondents were psychology students at Cornell. Who, since they got into America’s top-ranked university, might have some justification for believing themselves “above average” in general.

  14. Support Project Nettie*

    Re the traffic tickets. I’d look into this a bit more. Is it a case that they A: didn’t pay (for whatever reason) or B: they didn’t pay, ignored a reminder, ignored a court summons, ignored the judgement and ignored a request to hand herself over? There’s a difference between the two, and the latter would give me cause for concern, the former not so much.

    And did she pay and arrange to attend court because A: oh no I didn’t know about these and I must sort them out, or B: damn, now I’ve got to pay these damned thing ga just to get a job. Again, the latter makes me wary.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      Thank you for sharing these links. I wanted to bring up the way that traffic fines criminalize people of poor and minority background upthread, but I didn’t have the citable resources at hand.

    2. ThatOtherClare*

      Traffic fines and parking tickets are never even close to equitable unless they’re based on a percentage of income and/or assets, and even then they’re not perfect.

      1. subaru outback driver*

        Honestly, why should they be equitable? Nobody is forcing you to drive over the limit or park somewhere you shouldn’t.

          1. Beany*

            I feel this is an argument for sliding-scale fines, which scale up to a fraction of the offender’s net worth.

        1. Lirael*

          How is the fact that you can choose not to commit traffic violations an argument against the punishment being equitable? Either traffic laws are important and necessary to follow, or they aren’t. If they are important, then having inequitable fines as the punishment allows the rich to break traffic laws with total impunity, because the punishment doesn’t actually punish them. That’s bad because there’s no deterrent preventing a certain subset of people from breaking an important law. If traffic laws aren’t important enough to ensure the rich follow them, then inequitable fines are bad because the poor are being punished arbitrarily for breaking rules that don’t actually matter (because if the rules mattered, it would also be important for the rich to follow them).

          1. subaru outback driver*

            There are consequences, get enough tickets and you get points on your license. Go super-fast over the limit, then the crime goes to reckless driving and such. Do it enough times and that person loses her license.

            1. Your Former Password Resetter*

              That just means rich people get a couple freebies while poor people get disproportionally punished every time.

              Not to mention that rich people likely have better legal support, and are less likely to actually get those consequences.

        2. Jennifer Strange*

          No, but inequity allows rich people to get away with crimes that poor people can’t.

          1. subaru outback driver*

            But rich people didn’t get away with anything, they just pay their traffic fine. That is literally not getting away with anything.

            1. I am Emily's failing memory*

              The relevant expression is “a slap on the wrist.” A punishment so trivial that it has no meaningful impact on the perpetrator.

              1. Brain the Brian*

                Correct. Rich people can pretty much always pay their traffic tickets; poor people wind up with bench warrants if they can’t find the money to pay up.

                (Of course, this assumes that both of them know about the ticket. And, as we all demonstrated extensively elsewhere in this comment section, that’s not always the case.)

            2. biobotb*

              But the burden is much less if you’re rich–which is why multiple commenters have mentioned equity. It’s not equitable punishment if it’s so much more burdensome to someone with fewer resources.

        3. JustaTech*

          OK, talking about parking: I am well off and my house has a garage, so I park there and no one cares if my car doesn’t move for 6 weeks because I went on vacation.
          The house across the street is small, and doesn’t have a garage (and the people who live there are not well off). They must park their car on the street. Technically, they must move their car every 72 hours. If they whole family gets COVID and doesn’t leave the house for a week and forgets that they should move their car, should they be punished?
          The law says yes. I say that’s dumb, there’s plenty of parking for other people, and no one is being hurt.

          When the young woman down the street got a flat tire and it took her 4 days to come up with the money for a replacement, should she have *also* had to pay the “parked too long” fine because she doesn’t have a driveway? She didn’t have the money, how would adding a fine have made her car get fixed sooner?

          That’s just one way that the parking laws are not equitable – the poor are more subject to them than the rich because rich people have driveways and garages.

    3. Stuart Foote*

      This is super irrelevant. Whether fines are fair or not doesn’t have anything to do with this situation, and we don’t know the race or income level of the candidate involved.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        But we do know they shouldn’t be used as a flimsy excuse not to hire a pregnant person.

      2. These commenters have lost their minds*

        yes but it wouldn’t be an AAM comment section if people didn’t wildly speculate instead of sticking to what they know

  15. Just another auditor*

    LW1 – “ I then followed up with a second email asking about company shirts. When he forwarded the email about the shirts, he left in his initial email to me but would have had to manually delete my response”
    I don’t know about your email system, but in ours if I reply to an email, then send a second reply to the same email without the other person replying to my response, and the person forwards my second response, the accompanying chain will not show my first response. My first response would not be a part of the forwarded chain. So Fergus sends me a email asking about our widget order for project X, I reply to him. After I hit send, I remember I need to ask him if he knows when we will meet with Jane about project Y. I quickly reply again to his first email asking this. Fergus forwards that email to Jane, and Jane gets the chain showing his question about project X, and my reply about project Y, but not my answer to his original question. Could this be what happened?

  16. Also-ADHD*

    For salary, my take after just having gone through a job hunting process is I always assumed the top of the range was available UNLESS the job had some verbiage (as most higher education jobs will) like, “This is the salary range for the position but candidates are rarely offered the top of the range” (check many university job listings for full language).

    I got two offers and both were above the range due to fit, and my current salary, but I was very upfront in interviewing about wanting the top of the range because that was basically what I made now. (Not a great negotiation tactic in many ways, but I also wasn’t desperately needing a job or moving for more money—I had other very clear goals.) So I’m not surprised folks are asking for the top of the range—in my last offers in 2021, prior to this, I was also always offered the top of the range except once (4 offers total in that search, 3 at the top of what they initially quoted in recruiter screen, that was before posting salary had become as common). The one that didn’t offer at the top of the range was a higher education job with that verbiage but I wasn’t bothered, though they were both too low and too slow to be contenders when I selected. But someone who really wanted to do Higher Ed (which actually is totally different in my field than corporate work for the same job title, but I’m qualified for both) might have taken the offer. It wasn’t horrible.

    Obviously this may depend on field, but I actually am not moving into a job with the same exact title as my last one, and I was technically even more “career pivoting” before in 2021, so I know “years in title” wasn’t what they used to determine pay. My company counts related experience as experience though (across industries, fields, and title) I know from being on the hiring committees and reviewing resumes for my team. I think if you’re going by direct years experience, be sure that’s very clear. It may vary by field but in my field it’s pretty common to weave in and out of other functions and even valuable to do so, a requirement for management or certain consulting roles.

    1. Elly*

      “check many university job listings for full language”

      Yes! I was going to say that this is common verbiage in university postings – a job I applied for a few years ago, they said “Salary on first appointment is normally to the bottom of the scale, although in exceptional circumstances an appointment further up the scale may be considered.” I was quite impressed by this at the time, as my then employer didn’t address the scale in adverts, and we often had disappointed candidates (I recruited entry level, so in most cases, there was no way they were getting above the bottom of the scale).

  17. Takes a lot to get a warrant*

    The two traffic tickets aren’t the problem, it’s the two arrest warrants that are the problem. No way I’d hire this person. My husmand is a municipal judge, you get notice of traffic fines, have to ignore them and you also have to ignore court dates to get to warrant status. We’re rural, and out PD does warrant roundups annually, they will come to your job to arrest you. This was poor judgment. For five years.

    1. Poor Parker*

      Perhaps in rural spaces such as where you are, this is the case. I’ve never lived anywhere that remote. But in more urban areas, it’s extremely common not to receive the tickets or notification of the warrants being issued, due to poor record keeping, inaccurate recording, misidentification etc. This was very likely simple not knowing. The fact that the candidate immediately took steps to address the problem once made aware is more compelling evidence of their character to me.

    2. ThatOtherClare*

      I don’t know for sure since I’m not from the US, but a lot of comments upthread appear to be saying that some other states give far less notification and warning than yours does. It seems you might live in one of the more efficient states and some of them are far more slack about it.

    3. bamcheeks*

      But presumably if the candidate lived in a place where that was true they’d have been arrested at some point in the last 5 years?

      Got to say, this whole system sounds crazy to me. If something’s serious enough for an arrest warrant, the state should be making an effort to arrest them! “We’ll arrest this person if we happen to run into them, but it’s not serious enough to put any time or resources into finding them” sounds like the state giving itself an excuse to harass people. And I’m pretty sceptical that that’s going to be applied equitably.

    4. Just Me*

      It totally depends on where you live. In our area, if you don’t pay the fine by a certain date, they send a second ticket with a penalty added on. Don’t pay that, they issue you a summons to court. If you don’t show up, they issue a bench warrant, but they never actively search for you. (For minor violations.) They figure they’ll get you if they pull you over for something else and run your name. Most speeding tickets in our area are camera tickets. People don’t know they have them until they get the notice in the mail. It’s pretty common for those tickets to be sent to the wrong address, especially if someone has moved. They find out about it when and if they get stopped for something else. I know two people that has happened to. (In one case, they realized the tickets were sent to 123 Main Street, but he lived at 123 Main Avenue. Same zip code. They dropped all fees and fines except the original speeding fine, and removed everything from his record but the original speeding charge when they realized it was entirely their fault. His license reads Avenue – how they got street is unknown.) In our area, the fact that the warrants are five years old would tell me she must be a good driver (now) since she’s gone so long without getting stopped. Because a stop would have had her taken in on the warrant.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      So, if people move, or are away for an extended period of time… do they still get the notifications?

      1. Away*

        They do if they changed their address or had their mail forwarded like a responsible adult.

    6. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Court summons can get lost in the mail, accidently tossed, etc. You get the ticket, you want to contest it, so you mail in the request. Then the summons apparently never comes, so you go on about your life and eventually forget about it. You don’t know you have a warrant until you are arrested or it turns up in a background check.

      Stuff happens. It doesn’t mean this person is terrible. It means they are human. If it was a warrant for assault, yeah problem. Warrant for traffic tickets — welcome to owning a car.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Absolutely. The comment section lost its damn mind today, and very few people seem to be remembering this as a very real possibility.

    7. kiki*

      I get that things in your area are run differently and it would be hard to have a ticket and not know about, but I worked in a background check company for a few years and this is not the case everywhere. A lot of areas, especially large metropolitan areas like mentioned in the letter, have “warrants out for arrest” for years over simple traffic tickets. It’s more costly to track down the people who have unpaid tickets than the tickets are worth, so basically “warrant for arrest” means that the next time this person is pulled over, they will have to pay their fine or face larger consequences. This is especially common for folks who change residences. So often the letters are being sent to the old address on file and if their mail forwarding isn’t set up correctly or if the new resident is throwing away their mail, they may not ever receive those notices.

    8. I Have RBF*

      In the city and state I live in, the only way I would find out about a warrant is when I went to renew my license. The post office is flaky, the clerks at the police department are underpaid and sloppy, and the courts are understaffed and don’t have time to issue notices.

      So while people may be very proactive and prompt in your rural area, you really can’t generalize it to other areas, because your situation is the exception, not the rule.

    9. B*

      This is a great example of a little knowledge being very dangerous. It does not work this way in many places. For instance, I assure you no one in big cities is going door to door haling people into court for unpaid traffic tickets. It is very, very possible — and indeed common — to be unaware you have a warrant.

  18. NothappyinNY*

    LW2 — this is not about traffic tickets, it is about open warrants. BIG difference. And not one, but two. I don’t know if I buy this oh the states do not give notice. I suspect far more likely people ignore. And did the woman only clear them up because she thought it would cost her a job?

    I do not think an employer taking open warrants seriously is indicative of discrimination against a pregnant applicant, unless OP knows more about what employer does.

    1. r.*

      TBH this is a US-doing-stupid-US-things warrant.

      Only in the US you have silliness like a traffic ticket being a big enough thing to warrant an arrest, combined with the incompetence to execute such a warrant of a person in a timely fashion on a person where you bloody know where they live (they file taxes! they presumably have a car! all of that have addresses to them), and the ticket being not enough of a big thing to actually fix that incompetence.

      1. NothappyinNY*

        And if someone racks up a number of tickets what should the state do? No, they do not generally send out a police officer on warrants, but if you get pulled over for something else, it may have a problem.

        And the people here speculating that tickets were lost in the mail is just that speculation.

        If it happened in the state she lived in, I would be surprised if her insurance did not get cancelled or jump.

        I am guessing you are from England? If we are going to criticize other countries administration, I think the UK Post office fiasco is far worse, and they have treated their employees far worse.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          I don’t think it matters if the tickets were lost or she just forgot, or ignored them or whatever. It’s the fact that it’s over traffic tickets. Ok, so it went to a warrant…and?

        2. r.*

          No, I am not from either England or the UK. Even if I was, we’re not talking about the post office scandal, we’re talking about how certain processes from the justice system map onto a hiring process.

          As such the point is not “country does better/worse than country “; it is “country does in a rather foolish fashion, so its probably best not get too hung up on that”

          And on that note, if a country or state feels strongly enough to issue an arrest warrant over something like a traffic ticket, it should actually act on it in a sensible way.

          If you have something you issue an arrest warrant for something, and then are like “ah well, we’ll just wait until we can somehow catch that person in a traffic stop by chance, it isn’t that important to, you know, actually try to arrest them in a timely fashion”, then said something is probably better dealt outside of the *criminal* justice system.

          Hence it also makes no sense on the hiring side to treat a warrant over a bloody traffic ticket similar to any other sort of arrest warrant over a misdemeanour or a crime, because quite clearly, *neither law enforcement/nor the justice system itself does not treat it like that*.

      2. Seashell*

        The traffic laws are made by the states, and we have 50 of them, so let’s not blame the entire country for those specific choices.

      3. Also-ADHD*

        And only in certain states (though most), which might make it confusing to people in states with sensible policies, where not getting and paying a ticket would never lead to a warrant (WA for instance, that wouldn’t happen, but it seems evident that the candidate must be in a state where tickets of any kind get automatically upgraded to warrants because she can pay them to clear them up still). “Warrant” doesn’t indicate extreme infractions so much as policies that automatically upgrade tickets of any kind if unpaid whether the driver received notification or not—many municipalities issue most tickets through cameras these days so the person may not have gotten a note on their car (which can blow away anyway) or been pulled over. Many times tickets are erroneously mailed too and some municipalities realize this and don’t even add late fees but still might issue a warrant.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      There are many, many comments upthread about how the ticketing system in many parts of the US is just bad. Tickets get lost, tickets get issued to the wrong car, etc.

      We have no insight into why the candidate cleared up the issue with these tickets now. It could be because she was worried about the job offer, or because she was finally aware of them, or both. Correlation does not imply causation.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Or it could be because she couldn’t afford to pay them when they were issued and then forgot until the LW reminded her.

        In none of those scenarios should someone lose a job opportunity over a traffic ticket. Full stop.

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      its ridiculous to issue warrants over traffic tickets. traffic tickets. not murder. not embezzlement.

      do you know how easy it is to not know you have a warrant over a traffic violation?

      assigning some deep flaw to someone over traffic tickets is more concerning to me than traffic tickets .

      1. subaru outback driver*

        No I don’t, I always have paid mine. The officer has literally given me paperwork when I have been pulled over and explained the next steps to what I have to do to get it resolved.

        1. urguncle*

          Many states and jurisdictions have traffic cameras where it mails you a ticket that may or may not actually get to you, especially if you live in a city where it’s normal to move often between apartments or you don’t own the car anymore.

        2. DLW*

          As explained by many commenters, lots of jurisdiction issue traffic tickets based on cameras, not police stops.

        3. Fluffy Fish*

          great – then you’re in luck because there are lots of comments in this ery comment section!

          you arent morally superior because you never forgot about a fine or lived somewhere that doesnt properly notify people about tickets, fines and warrents.

        4. I Have RBF*

          Lucky you.

          Where I live, cameras give tickets, no cop required. The automated revenue generation system is designed to be as inefficient as possible so they can generate the most revenue possible – hence notices not being mailed, being mailed to the wrong address, being mailed months after the infraction, etc. That doesn’t count anything that has a human involved will invariably have multiple typos, missing or incorrect data, etc.

          Parking tickets are the worst. They may or may not even be on your car – some people are evil and take tickets off of cars, the wind blows them off, etc. Then the parking enforcement person may screw up your name, address, or even the license plate of the vehicle. You can park somewhere and get multiple tickets in a short timespan if the ticket blows off your car or the parking enforcement person had a fight with their spouse the night before, and the same problems with the mail and the clerk’s accuracy come into play.

          I have no moving violations on my record currently that I know of. I have no parking violations that I know of. But both always have the caveat, because the way my state and metropolitan area handle parking and camera tickets is frighteningly inefficient and error riddled, but always to the municipality’s benefit. Crooked? Not deliberately, but yes, in actuality. Parking and camera tickets are a revenue generating tool for municipalities, and they are never designed to give the victim the benefit of the doubt, ever.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        The town next to mine has draconian parking rules. They also issue white colored tickets for snow ban parking infractions. Do you know how easy it is to miss a white (probably very wet/falling apart) ticket as you clean off your car? (yes they clear and put the ticket on. even if it’s still snowing. yes it’s dumb. I didn’t invent it).

  19. Hiring Mgr*

    I’ve hired someone when their background check revealed a DUI, no way I’d be withdrawing an offer over traffic tickets.

    I realize that some people are saying it’s not the tickets, it’s the fact that it got to the point of a warrant but I struggle to see what that has to do with this job.

    1. M2*

      I wouldn’t hire for a DUI but a family member of mine was killed by a drunk driver. I told HR that as well. I spoke to AGC and HR and said if a background check comes up with a DUI do we hire because I don’t want that person on my team. HR has only come to me once (not about DUI) about a background check issue but they usually rescind the offer or they do more of a background or reference check.

      I think the US doesn’t make as much of a deal about drunk driving as it should. Get an Uber!

      1. Engineer*

        Yeah, you’ve made your incredibly black-and-white, no room for nuance or actual reality views known all over this post.

        1. watermelon fruitcake*

          Seriously! That a person like that is in a hiring position is disconcerting. And I even agree that DUI should be treated far more seriously than it is, but in the context of their other comments, they seem to hold a lot of hard lines that are all decidedly and somewhat arbitrarily applicant-unfriendly. They made a comment above that they broadly disagree with pay equity and parity, and another comment that they find it irksome when candidates ask for more money than the single, precise salary figure they offer – going as far as eliminating candidates for the audacity to negotiate. Not only is this egregiously poor judgment, but I think it bothers me even more because of the lasting damage it can do to a new jobseekers future career. It can set them up to limit their own earning prospects if it leads to them being reluctant to negotiate, all because they were punished by an overly strict hiring manager. I’m not exaggerating – their comments are making me feel queasy.

          1. Brain the Brian*

            For real. This commenter seems to view hiring as a process by which a company “graciously” gives applicants a “chance” — and to take peculiar, sadistic pleasure in “weeding out” “bad” applicants. None of that is how hiring should — or usually does — work. It’s a two-way street, and all of the things they find disqualifying are things most hiring managers would cheer! I fear for this commenter’s workers.

    2. MicroManagered*

      I’m with you. Arrest warrants for traffic tickets are not the same as someone who has a warrant for, like, robbing a bank. People move out of state, forget to pay things, whatever. She took care of it right away. Unless the job has something to do with driving safety, it’s irrelevant.

  20. r.*


    that one is tough to assess without knowing how well you’re doing with hiring.

    If you can, in general, hire with reasonable effort, and are both happy with the hires you get and are able to retain them, then what you’re seeing may simply be people who either a) knew that they were going high but would give it a good go to see if it would take them anywhere, and hence drop out once the answer to that becomes ‘nowhere’, or b) who do not have a good idea of what they can reasonably demand.

    On the other hand, if you have difficulties getting or keeping good hires, then yes, chances are the problem isn’t your job advert, or the candidates, but simply what you’re prepared to pay for what you demand.

    I think there’s not much you can do here advert-side that wouldn’t cost you in opportunities to hire; the best course would be to have a preliminary discussion over pay right in the first interview, possibly even in the initial phone screen.

  21. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    #2 “Our normal procedure would be to wait for the background to go through, then send the notice of adverse action, etc. ”
    It would be fairer to stick to normal procedure for all candidates in future, unless they state they have another offer and you really want them.

    For a non-pregnant candidate, would your company normally ignore arrest warrants for 2 old traffic offences? If so, you MUST do so for this candidate.

    If not, then it could cause problems to have in effect positive discrimination for pregnancy (as it would for race, sex etc) Are you over-compensating for the HM being disappointed at the pregnancy announcement? – it’s human to briefly think “oh no” if he’s been hunting so long for a new employee and now learns they’ll soon be away for months. Red flag is if he has more than a short whinge, in which case you need to remind him again of the law and shut him down

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Check if your org has ever pulled offers because of arrest warrants for traffic offences. Do you find a discrepancy in this wrt race?

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        There’s already a racial discrepancy in who gets traffic tickets, which is going to complicate matters.

  22. DJ Abbott*

    Does anyone else find the situation in #1 to be a little creepy? I would not be comfortable with a boss or colleague hiding my routine interactions with him from his wife. It feels like putting OP in the middle of a marital problem.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      As long as the manager acts professionally towards his staff and isn’t creepy at all, I would assume he’s concerned that his wife would misinterpret the OP’s enthusiasm about seeing the manager at the event. Perhaps the Manager knows that his wife is insecure or jealous. Maybe they did have prior issues of fidelity, and the Manager is hyper-concerned not to create issues where none exist. If this is the case, arguably, the Manager is making sure that the OP doesn’t end up in the middle of a marital problem, or get wrongly identified by his wife as a rival.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        That would make me nervous too. Suppose the wife finds out he’s hiding OP’s responses and assumes something is going on?
        I would not want to be anywhere near that situation. I like a quiet peaceful life.

    2. MicroManagered*

      Not really. Sometimes when forwarding email threads, I will delete immaterial portions of the exchange. If nothing else in the situation is “off” I don’t think we need to put more on it than what’s there.

    3. Goldie*

      Yes I would be uncomfortable, unfortunately women have to interpret signs and flags to stay safe

  23. JSPA*

    #3, I’m less worried about mis-directed email, or about the use of “whiny” than about the greater distrust and dysfunction.

    Just as I expect trauma surgeons to resort to a certain level of gallows humor, I expect that HR people may sometimes vent about how their job is basically dealing with other people’s problems all day. (By the time something gets to the head of HR, there’s probably a lot of built-up stress and animus.)

    If the HR head had singled someone out, or said something that unmasked a core “-ism” or indicated that they thought the staff were lying, cheating, stealing…that would be different. But “whiny” is an unguarded way to sum up, “I’m fielding endless complaints about stuff that seems like it should be lower stakes than it apparently is.”

    This could indeed mean they are unsuited to the job! It could instead mean they are overworked and burnt out. It could also mean that their boss once said, “let me know when the whining gets to a certain level, and we’ll figure out what needs changed,” and this has been their shorthand ever since.

    If someone otherwise liked and respected had sent the email, I’m guessing the email itself would not be a huge problem. Which should mean that it’s also not the main aspect of the problem, in the case of HR that’s more generally tone-deaf, unresponsive, and uncaring.

    So rather than focusing on the one email and on apologies for the one word in the one email, treat it as a symptom: focus on what’s wrong, systemically. The most helpful “ask” might even be, “the head of HR is obviously burnt out and overwhelmed; we feel they may be need of more–and more responsive–staff.”

    That show of compassion will likely align your best interest with the best interests of the company, and of the HR department, and of the jerk head of HR. And then start submitting his resumé to head hunters (no don’t…well maybe, yeah, do it.)

  24. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    LW2: I was your prospective employee once (the traffic tickets, not the pregnancy).

    Even in a major metropolitan area, things get screwed up and the person with the traffic tickets may not know they have a legal action looming over their head. Major metropolitan areas can still have legal subdivisions that don’t talk to each other, and can have bureaucratic snafus of all kinds.

    In my case (northern Virginia), in addition to the state vehicle registration and the state drivers license, you had to pay an annual tax to the county for your vehicle, and you had to get an annual safety inspection. And then they changed the timing for when those had to be done, and I moved from one county to another at the same time. On multiple occasions, I received a notice, I sent a check, they sent the check back and said I was paid up. It took three years to get it settled.

    The fact that she promptly went to deal with the issues probably means she didn’t actually know where they stood, not that she’s a habitual scofflaw.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      or could mean she only chose to pay the fines because it was holding up her new job. We don’t know.
      Do companies in the US normally pull offers over old arrest warrants?

      1. Lisa*

        It would depend on what the warrant was for. Generally when you fill out the forms for the background check it specifically says you don’t have to disclose minor traffic violations (the exception would be for jobs where a clean driving record is important). If the warrant was for something violent or otherwise serious it would be different.

      2. Head sheep counter*

        I mean arrest warrants would appear to perhaps impinge on someone’s ability to do their job… as jail is quite the WFH situation. So it depends on what the warrant is for. It also would depend on the job requirements. If a clean record is required… then yes… the offer would/should be pulled (for a outstanding warrant). That could be appealed perhaps if its easily resolved like this situation. Unless one needed to have the person as an insured driver.

        Also given what can disqualify you, I would suspect that having a flag in your background check would be a showstopper if there were plenty of candidates. Its all situational (like everything in the hiring process).

  25. Hiring Mgr*

    Is it too late for the HR head to pass off his email as a typo? Maybe he intended to refer to the team as fine wine, in that they just get better and better and time goes by but he used the incorrect word choice

  26. Tracy*

    I think that pulling a job offer for a position that hard to fill for a traffic ticket is just an excuse not to hire a pregnant woman. I had NYS threaten to put a warrant out for my arrest over a toll because I went through the EZ Pass lane and didn’t realize a family member had borrowed my transponder. I was in college and didn’t receive the initial letters because my car was registered at my parents’ house and they just threw my mail on my bed. This whole debacle was over FOUR DOLLARS. My entire fine ended up being $25.

    I’ve worked for toxic bosses who would use any excuse to get rid of a pregnant employee so this really burns my buns.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      The issue is whether this company has previously pulled any offers over arrest warrants for traffic tickets, or let them continue.

      Also check too whether there is any race bias in this and past decisions, not just pregnancy status

  27. JSPA*

    #2, I have personally encountered all of the following situations.

    I saw an absent minded professor nearly arrested in class for his dozens of parking tickets. He believed they had all been taken care of by bringing his faculty ID and registration to the campus police HQ; but half the tickets were on the side of the street that was city, not campus, jurisdiction.

    I had a friend who had left a domestic violence situation, and thus had not gotten notification of tickets that had been racked up by her ex, driving her car, and delivered to her old address.

    I once found out in a routine search that I was listed for a traffic ticket in another state, on a car that I’d sold and had properly transfered, more than a decade prior. (I had neglected to remove old duplicate copies of old insurance and registration from the glove box, and this was before everything was computerized, so I’m assuming the new owner handed over the old paperwork).

    I could keep going.

    IMO, that the hire took steps to cure the problem immediately once notified suggests that this was not something nefarious in her past, but a simple failure in the notification process.

    As for pregnancy…someone compentent and pregnant is an entirely solid hire!

    Your hiring manager should be glad to get her, rather than somehow putting your failure to hire for 4+ months onto her shoulders. Beyond the legal issue (which others have addressed), it’s not her fault if your hiring process is slow or your payscale is low, such that you now have had an entirely headless department for months (!) and thus have built up excess anxiety about an (entirely normal) upcoming planned absence. The sooner she can start, the sooner she can set up solid planning for her upcoming planned leave.

  28. Fluffy Fish*

    The number of people turning unpaid traffic tickets into some grand indictment on the person’s judgment is bananas. Although given how our society feels about punishing people who do wrong a shouldnt be. IMO issuing warrants or throwing people in jail over traffic tickets is excessive.

    She had traffic tickets that when made aware of them she took care of. Let it go.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Yes, very much this. It’s not as big a deal as some people think it is. Letting it go is perfectly reasonable.

      Frankly, I’m far more worried about a hiring manager who wants to rescind an offer to a pregnant candidate most likely because of that pregnancy.

    2. Hiring Mgr*

      I couldn’t agree more – to me this is so incredibly minor, I can’t believe anyone thinks this is worthy of a pulled offer

    3. M2*

      It depends on if they let it go before or if they rescinded offers in the past for people who had similar warrants.

      You can’t discriminate for pregnancy but that also means if you rescinded an offer for someone else who wasn’t pregnant for a traffic warrant then you might need to do it for this.

      During covid a relative was an executive at a big name organization that was open for the entirety of covid (think hospital or grocery store etc) and I said to them, “make sure the older people are in the back or not around people so they don’t get covid.”
      My relative rightfully said we can’t discriminate on age. People can’t get special treatment because they are over 65.

      Same thing goes for this. She shouldn’t have the offer rescinded if other people had warrants/ tickets and they kept their roles but if people had offers rescinded due to it you can’t let her stay because she is pregnant either…

      Were there any other red flags? How were the references? I always ask HR to do a more in depth check if something comes back off at all.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        “It depends on if they let it go before or if they rescinded offers in the past for people who had similar warrants.”

        It doesnt. There’s absolutely nothing that says because you did something in the past you have to keep doing it.

        “Were there any other red flags? How were the references? I always ask HR to do a more in depth check if something comes back off at all.”

        Again, traffic tickets. There is no need to dig deep because someone has a few traffic tickets. There are plenty of employees that are hired and turn out terrible despite a squeaky clean background. It’s latching on something that is wildly insignificant and making it into an issue.

        1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

          It matters if most of the previous offers pulled were for people of colour. You’d deserve to get your arse sued.

          1. Brain the Brian*

            Yep. Discrimination based on race and socioeconomic status that often accompanies traffic tickets is pretty much the only reason any of this should matter.


    #2 As someone who works in the transportation field, “lost” traffic tickets are ridiculously common in the USA. Especially if you get a ticket in a jurisdiction other than where your car is registered.

    #4. Our job posting has the full salary range and a likely hiring range. For entry level positions it’s usually the base up to 10%. We also write that it’s unlikely for us to go ever above the midpoint, even for the most experienced professional. We verbally repeat this when scheduling interviews and several decline, admitting they thought they could negotiate hire.

    1. Rosacolleti*

      But if that’s the case, she would surely have expressed an OMG moment when the OP mentioned it – it doesn’t souls like it was a surprise to the candidate which is a different thing altogether

      1. metadata minion*

        Different people react differently to this sort of thing. Maybe she was trying to stay calm and professional. Maybe she just had a quiet “oh, shit, I never paid that??” moment and took care of it, figuring that the LW didn’t want to hear excuses. Maybe she had no idea that she had tickets, but thought that would sound implausible/irresponsible/something and wanted to go figure out what the heck was going on before explaining.

      2. Hiring Mgr*

        To me it still comes down to the fact that these were traffic tickets. That’s it. Very minor.

        I just don’t think ignoring a couple of tickets, even to the point of a warrant, is indicative of some huge character flaw or would make them unsuitable for the job.

      3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        I don’t read it as not being a surprise? LW says they emailed her about it, which means if there was an OMG moment, LW wouldn’t have seen it. The candidate then presumably emails back a brief and professional response letting LW know they’ve taken care of it.

      4. biobotb*

        How can you make that assertion? The LW emailed her, and doesn’t mention whether she responded or not. She wasn’t there to see the candidate’s reaction.

        1. Rosacolleti*

          Dear xxxxx, thank you so much for letting me know what you discovered. I immediately checked xxxxx myself and have taken action (blah blah)

          I’m obviously surprised/appalled/embarrassed to have these serious issues without being aware. The role sounds amazing and I’m thrilled with the offer. I understand that the legal matter might be of concern and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss it.

          1. biobotb*

            What exactly is this response? I wasn’t asking what the candidate should have said.

            I was pointing out that your assertion that she *didn’t* express an OMG reaction is unfounded. First, because the LW doesn’t say whether or not she responded, let alone what she might have said. And also the LW sent an email, so she can’t know what the candidate’s reaction was, because she wasn’t there.

  30. High Score!*

    OP1, save all the emails from your manager. Editing them before sending them to his wife feels off. He may be reading something into the pleasantries that are not there and trying to figure out how to act on them. If his wife is that “reactionary” then there might be a reason.

  31. Llama Llama*

    Good gracious. Assuming the worst that this lady didn’t pay traffic tickets. It’s just not paying the government for something they did mildly wrong (ie you a fine instead of anything else!).

    I work in payroll and found out the other day that at some point in 2020 17% of people at our company had garnishments. People are bad at paying bills and it shouldn’t be a hindrance for a job.

    You can sike your self up that she got that ticket because she ran over a child construction worker in a school zone that had construction as well or you can admit that the boss is discriminating against a pregnant person.

    1. Delta Delta*

      Yeah, this “she should be forever banished to the underworld” mentality over the tickets is bananacrackers. There are SO MANY reasons a ticket could be missed. I’m a lawyer and I do ticket defense. I was in court one day in 2017 or 2018 when a lady showed up to deal with a ticket she got in 1983. There were various administrative issues, none of which were her fault, that led to the ticket getting lost. 35 years later she lived in a different state and only learned about the outstanding ticket because she couldn’t renew her license due to an out of state suspension connected to the 1983 ticket.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        And even if she didn’t “just miss” the tickets, they are just tickets. They’re not murder charges.

  32. CommanderBanana*

    It’s entirely possible the candidate had no idea there was a warrant out for her over these tickets. I have a family member who has been a background investigator for years and it is waaaaaaaay more common than you might think for people to have things like this that they have no idea about pop up in background searches.

    Sometimes they never got the notice about the ticket, or paid it and a clerical screw-up didn’t log it, or the warrant itself is a clerical error, or even meant for someone else, or they moved and didn’t get a notice, or any number of other things. “Warrant out for their arrest” sounds really dire, but it’s astonishingly common to have stuff pop up that the subject of investigation had no idea was out there.

  33. kiki*

    So I worked at a background check company for a few years right out of college. It’s surprisingly easy to get a “warrant for your arrest” over parking tickets and it’s more common than you think amongst job seekers. It’s especially common if for folks who have moved or traveled a bit. People might expect that if a warrant for your arrest is out there that the police have been tirelessly trying to find you or something. That’s generally not the case for parking tickets or other small violations. A lot of times they send one to two letters to the address they have on file for you and then after a certain amount of time issue a warrant. And if you’ve just moved or are changing location during the timeframe they’ve sent the letters, you might just never receive one. Often “warrant for arrest” in this case means that the police will arrest you if you’re pulled over or something but will immediately release you once you’ve paid the ticket.

    So is it the best thing to find on someone’s record? No. But SO OFTEN the situation really boils down to, “I drove over the speed limit five years ago and for whatever reason didn’t receive the two letters asking me to pay and now there’s a warrant for my arrest.” When I worked at the background company, we would offer this caveat on the explanations we sent to employers because “warrant for arrest” sounds so alarming but it isn’t necessarily.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      Dreadfully important context! I wish you’d been awake at 1am EDT when the comment section first exploded on this issue to provide it. :D

  34. Sled Dog Mama*

    For #2 let me tell you about the 2 times (years apart) I got bench warrants issued for me (In the particular jurisdiction a bench warrant isn’t an arrest warrant, it’s closer to a notice to appear before a judge but they don’t necessarily notify you that one has been issued so you might only find out if you get pulled over for another infraction and the officer tells you).
    The first time I got a speeding ticket when I was 18, I didn’t see the speed limit sign. I showed up, waited my turn spoke to the attorney first offense so it was reduced to improper equipment. Here’s the catch, in that jurisdiction you had to pay the fine or make arrangements to pay before leaving the courthouse, because improper equipment was a higher fine (but no points on license so considered a reduction) I didn’t have enough to pay the fine on me. I left the courthouse to get the extra cash, paid the fine that day. Luckily they did mail me a notice of the warrant so I was able to sort it out but apparently at 18 I was supposed to know everything about the rules.
    The second time I moved states, in every state (3) I’d lived in before you had to get that state’s emissions and/or safety inspection prior to being able to register your vehicle. In this state you had to be registered to get the safety inspection, the state only started requiring safety inspections the year we moved there so we didn’t even realized we needed one. The vehicle I was driving at the time was registered in my husband’s name so he handled transferring the vehicles from state to state. Got pulled over for no safety inspection. I went straight to the garage and got the vehicle inspected that afternoon. Sent in the paperwork and a check to cover the fine and court costs, thought it was taken care of. Several weeks later I receive a notice that I failed to appear in court and a bench warrant had been issued. Between the postal service being slow and the court office being understaffed my paperwork had not been processed until after the court date.
    There are lots of ways people can be trying to do the right thing and end up with a bench warrant due to rigid rules in the court system.

  35. No Tribble At All*

    #3 – “whiny” employees. No wonder the head of HR is not widely liked or trusted. I’d get rid of this guy because he is preventing the department of HR from doing its job. People aren’t going to report things to HR, people are going to be stuck, because they don’t trust him.

    I find it FAR more likely that HR didn’t consider all employee use cases when rolling out whatever change. When my company rolled out timesheets, people complained on principle (foolishly imo) but also complained because you couldn’t put in vacation time ahead of time! If you were on vacation on a Friday, you’d still get nastygrams because you couldn’t sign your time card on Thursday! There were tons of things like that.

  36. Fuzzfrogs*

    Re #3: I am a union steward at my job, and at a monthly meeting of our local, the HR Director of another company in the bargaining unit was asked to come in to talk about how their benefits would change due to a structural change. (Legally required, nothing the union could do about it, so they figured, let the union members hear firsthand how this will impact them.)

    The first thing this HR Director did, in front of a room full of union members? Talk about how staff who want more benefits are selfish, because [insert convoluted logic for why]. The union hall was ICE COLD and VERY SILENT after that statement.

    1. Anecdata*

      Our head of HR, in an all team meeting, answered a question about “could the company please offer paid parental leave” with a looong discussion of how much our health insurance rates /would have/ gone up if he hadn’t worked so hard to keep them low… and y’know, he “understands why women would want this but it’s not fair to raise everyone’s health insurance costs just for a benefit for a few people”. my eyes about boiled out of my head with rage.

  37. vox*

    for the traffic ticket/warrants. i used to work at a company that did preemployment background checks and drug tests. first, your vision of the little old lady at the courthouse is exactly accurate ha (or at least it was 20 years ago when i was in the industry). regardless, it’s traffic tickets. people get tickets, they forget, it’s not a big deal. warrants go out faster than you expect these days. it would be silly to pull an offer over a traffic issue. i’m sure the person is horrified. also, before pulling the offer over it – check your application. does it say you must report convictions, or does it say arrests? because a warrant isn’t a conviction, nor is a ticket. you can’t not hire them because they failed to report it on their app if your application doesn’t ask the right question. you pull an offer on someone because they have had a warrant – which would be adverse action – even a pregnant person (or any protected class) – but you need to be careful. have you checked everyone for warrants/tickets? are you sure you dont have anyone else who isn’t in a protected class who has ever had a warrant/ticket situation? don’t get sued because a candidate you thought would be enough of an asset to hire happened to lose track of time to pay a traffic ticket or two.

  38. Sneaky Squirrel*

    #2 – For now, and moving forward for all future checks, wait for the bg check to come back and make sure there’s nothing else besides the two outstanding warrants for arrest. After that, still send the formal pre-adverse action to give her the fair chance to explain. An email telling her about the warrants may not meet all of the legal requirements of a pre-adverse action.

    It sounds like there are two issues here (assuming nothing else pops up on the bg check). 1) The outstanding warrants for arrest. 2) A potential history of speeding. The point of a pre-adverse action is to allow a response and it sounds like she’s resolving the outstanding warrants issue; so your next question to ask is whether her history of speeding is an issue for the company. Is normal for your managers to need to drive company vehicles/travel on behalf of the company or are you creating a hypothetical that doesnt often happen? If she only had two speeding tickets over the course of 7 years (the normal length of a bg check search history), is that truly enough for your company to consider that indicative of a driving risk?

    #3- Part of HR’s job is change management. Good HR’s role is to serve as a strategic partner and facilitator for change. But even the best of changes will have people that are upset. I would argue that if this is a major change and the head of HR can’t handle the “whining”, then the head of HR needs to yield it to someone who can. And realistically, we’ve all felt the urge to call our colleagues/clients whiny before. People are dramatic over the dumbest things. But it’s never a good choice to share your personal feelings over colleagues/clients in a work environment like that, especially in a documented/traceable format.

    1. Kesnit*

      “Speeding” does not mean “excessive speeding.” I would be surprised to find someone who never goes above the speed limit. And yet, looking at my traffic docket for next week (I’m a prosecutor), I see tickets for going 1-9 mph above the posted speed limit. Or, as I have seen written, 40 in a 35…

      1. I Have RBF*


        In practice, I follow the basic speed law – drive safely according to conditions. Conditions include how fast the other cars around you are going. IMO, it’s reckless and dangerous to doggedly drive 64 mph in the fast lane when the rest of traffic is doing 80. If you are going to be dogmatic about the speed limits, do it in the slower lanes instead of causing a wreck being “righteously law abiding”.

        Same with stop lights. I’d rather get a camera ticket for pinking a light that rear-ended by the guy who follows me through on my bumper.

        I keep my eyes on the road and on traffic, not on the speedometer. It is more important to me to be alert and aware of what the people around me are doing than an arbitrary number on a dial in a shadow. I have avoided a lot of accidents because of being very attuned to what other cars are doing.

        IMO, camera tickets are nothing more than revenue seeking by municipalities.

  39. NothappyinNY*

    I wish AAM would come back and address the difference between traffic tickets and open warrants.

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      I wish people in the comments understood the difference between arrest warrants for unpaid fines vs criminal conduct.

    2. Katie A*

      The point is that the warrants are for unpaid traffic tickets. Having gotten a ticket at some point wouldn’t have been disqualifying if it had been paid, and ticket can turn into unpaid tickets and then a warrant for a bunch of different reasons. Some of those would be disqualifying for this position and some of them wouldn’t be. If the warrants were for a more serious crime, the crime would be disqualifying in and of itself. So it matters that they were for traffic tickets.

      Honestly the LW shouldn’t have gone outside the established process, but they did, so now they have to deal with that. Given that the company has been trying to hire for a long time and this candidate is an otherwise good choice, the LW should talk to the people involved in the hiring process and they can figure out what to do next. Someone (probably the hiring manager) could reach out to the candidate and see what she has to say. Then they can make a decision with more information.

  40. Another Hiring Manager*

    When I write a job description and decide on the salary range, I am putting the dollar amount we’re willing to pay on what I think the work is worth. The range is no more than $10K and honestly I prefer $5K. In one job, I was told I could post a certain range, but we were never going to pay above the midpoint posted (I fought that and lost). In another, I was told to post the maximum we would pay, and that worked out better.

    5-15 years of experience seems like a rather wide range as well. I recommend reviewing job descriptions and qualifications. It sounds like these haven’t been looked at in detail for a while.

    1. NotARealManager*

      I agree. If the range is 40k (and on some job postings I’ve seen ranges up to 90k) and the years of experience are from early/mid career to senior career level, is it really all the same job? I’d say if you’re comfortable hiring either a junior person or a senior person to fit your company’s needs, I’d make it two different postings.

  41. Googledit*

    I think the best response is to talk further with the potential employee to gauge your reaction and find out some more details. I think this will tell you a lot as to whether this is an offense for which she should not be hired.

  42. Anecdata*

    A lot of municipalities issue arrest warrants for failure to pay a ticket eventually (with, as many commenters have noted, no corresponding responsibility on the municipalities’ side to make sure the ticket was actually delivered to the driver)

    For example, the private contractor in charge of tolls in my area is Notorious for a) misreading license plates, b) sending toll bills to old/wrong addresses and c) just failing to process payments (and they want you to call them and read of your debit card # — you don’t get any automatic receipt).

    1. Katie A*

      You can get arrested for failing to pay or failing to show up for court to contest the ticket. It’s not really for the traffic ticket itself.

      That’s true in other countries, as well, not just the US.

      1. Magdalena*

        In my country you can get your wages garnished or lose your license. Putting people in jail for unpaid traffic tickets is ridiculous.

    2. melissa*

      No. You can get arrested if you just ignore them and also don’t show up for a court date to argue/pay them.

    3. I Have RBF*

      You can get arrested for having certain unpaid bills, as well as traffic tickets. Do a Google search on criminalization of poverty in the USA to start with.

      While in theory we don’t have debtors prisons, and theoretically prison for debt is illegal, in practice certain kinds of debts will land you in jail.

      “The criminalization of private debt happens when judges, at the request of collection agencies, issue arrest warrants for people who failed to appear in court to deal with unpaid civil debt judgments.”

      Yes, it’s a racket, and a multimillion dollar one at that.

  43. Glazed Donut*

    For the salary range – I’ve seen plenty of job postings include a disclaimer along the lines of “While this is the total range for this position, candidates are often hired at 25% of this range unless extraordinary experiences…” etc. I think. being clear in that regard (rather than explicitly spelling out requirements) is a kindness to the applicant. Requirements can be a bit hazy at times and many applicants will squint and find a way to make their backgrounds fit the requirements listed when in fact the org may be looking for something much more specific.

    I’ll also add that for a while now, job sites/social media/advice columns have been hammering the “always negotiate!” side of job offers. Given that many of those who don’t take the role are young, I wonder if they have a somewhat skewed idea of how salary negotiations work and believe they can negotiate their way to a higher salary elsewhere.

    1. kiki*

      For a while now, job sites/social media/advice columns have been hammering the “always negotiate!” side of job offers. Given that many of those who don’t take the role are young, I wonder if they have a somewhat skewed idea of how salary negotiations work.

      Yes, while I think negotiating IS really important and it should be done by more people, especially people from underrepresented groups, I also think it hasn’t been clear that to negotiate successfully for large amounts of money, you really should have some reason/justification. If you are coming into a role with no experience or expertise, if you can show that the market average for entry-level employees is higher, you should demonstrate that. If you’re entry-level but have some experience that would lend itself to this role (that wouldn’t be shared by other applicants), you can use that to negotiate. If a company is hiring a cohort of employees fresh out of college and offering them all $60k across the board, a prospective hire in that case probably doesn’t have a lot of room to negotiate and that’s okay! It’s probably worth seeing if they’ll be willing to move a little higher, but you’re going to look really out of touch if you ask for $80k because you have some experience from your part-time internship where you mostly shadowed full-time employees and did low-level tasks. If you had an internship where you created a new internal tool that improved efficiency of the department by 15%, you could use that to ask for a significant bit more, but it wouldn’t be the same for a “I successfully did all the paperwork I was asked to do” type of internship.

  44. Deschain*

    All employers that process background checks should have a pre-existing list of criteria for what’s acceptable and what isn’t, so if you work up that list, then things like this won’t present a problem because you have a base guideline. Your background screening company should be able to provide you a standard list that you can revise. For example, maybe you allow up to but no more than one misdemeanor for petty theft in certain roles; no more than three misdemeanors total of any kind; no felonies of any kind, etc.

  45. Ess Ess*

    At my company, it’s pretty common to ‘clean up’ email chains when forwarding emails. Instead of making the new recipient read through unrelated information in all the chain, you delete any of the parts that are not relevant to the current email. So in this case, if the boss was forwarding the email in order to do something about the shirts, there is absolutely no reason the accountant should have to read through the OP’s response about the conference.
    The relevant info for the accountant (whether it is the boss’s wife or not) is that there is a conference and the info about the shirts, possibly in order to have them in time for the conference.

    I see nothing inappropriate about what the boss does in order to keep email chains relevant.

  46. Head sheep counter*

    For all you “Traffic Tickets are no Biggie” folk… might I cast your attention to this:

    The reason for enforcing traffic laws can be for nefarious reasons… but it can also be because… killing pedestrians is frowned upon.

    Its also considered bad form to take out bicyclists.

    Taking out other drivers… isn’t a good look either.

    I’m figuring given the commenters here that there’s a reason for the uptick in car caused mayhem. Because… shrug… its no big deal to speed. Its no big deal to be pulled over for erratic driving. Its no big deal to tailgate. Its no big deal to make unsafe lane changes. Its no biggie to not yield to ambulances or other emergency personnel (hope that response isn’t for one of your loved ones).

    1. Admin Lackey*

      That’s a nice strawman you’ve got there. As people have pointed out, we have no idea what the tickets are for. Sure, they could be for something like hitting a cyclist (though I feel the LW would have mentioned that!) or they could be a parking ticket.

      No one is saying its NBD to run over pedestrians, they’re saying that you can get parking tickets that turn into warrants for a whole range of behaviours and so someone shouldn’t be denied a job out of hand because they have outstanding tickets. They’re also explaining the many ways in which tickets may not get to people!

    2. AMH*

      I don’t think people are saying that tickets shouldn’t be issued? I actually fully agree with you — in the past decade, I’ve become increasingly impatient with the US transit infrastructure and cars in general, despite living where I absolutely need to drive. I don’t speed, and I’ve been working really hard on correcting all the little bad habits I’ve acquired in a lifetime of driving.

      What people are saying here is that traffic tickets going unpaid and a warrant being issued doesn’t necessarily say anything bad about the applicant.

      I got a traffic ticket for going 5 over in an area where the speed limit had just changed, and the signage was not yet up. I didn’t know about the ticket, because it was automated. Despite circumstances, I should not have been driving 5 mph over, and I would have been happy to pay the ticket — but I didn’t, because I never got it, and I had a warrant for my arrest.

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      that isn’t what people are saying.

      traffic tickets (of what kind we don’t know but are minor enough to be fines) are not a reason to not employee someone unless there’s reasons related to driving/insurance.

      no one is advocating people drive 60 through a school zone or hit bicyclists (really?)

      people are saying its obscene to hold them against an applicant when it has zero bearing on their job.

    4. Jackalope*

      Traffic violations are treated differently than other violations in the US because yes, they are less serious than criminal violations. Frequently if something is endangering someone’s life or health it becomes a crime, not just a civil violation. For all of your examples, most of the civil traffic violations are things like going a few miles an hour over the speed limit (if it’s too far over it turns into something else) or a parking issue.

      1. Head sheep counter*

        Actually harming someone with your vehicle will indeed have other consequences than a simple ticket. However, the reason to enforce traffic laws is to prevent harm. At least when done correctly. Residential speed limits have to do with how much time it takes to stop unexpectedly. This… is because… you might have to stop unexpectedly to avoid…causing harm with your vehicle. People have poor ability to understand how long it actually takes to come to a stop. Judging distances and other people’s behavior is something that time after time we prove to be, as a whole, just terrible at.

    5. Head sheep counter*

      Traffic laws being enforced correctly, directly leads to lower pedestrian deaths, cyclist deaths and lower accidents in general.

      We might all speed a bit or do things that will get us pulled over that on the surface are not singularly big deal. But the reason to enforce (again when done correctly) is to slow traffic and mitigate the fatalities.

      We do not know what the tickets were for or why there was multiple warrants. But the assumption/fantasy that the tickets leading to the warrants were errant traffic cameras and lost mail… speaks to trying to minimize why we have traffic enforcement. And I assume that the comfort in that minimization is that folks are ok with the consequences of not enforcing traffic laws.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        again, people have offered explanations based on lived experience.

        we’re not here to adjudicate this persons traffic tickets. we’re here to discuss the implications of those tickets on hiring.

        are you saying that people who have had traffic violations shouldn’t be employed?

        1. Head sheep counter*

          No I’m not saying it should prevent employment (unless a clean driving record is a requirement for whatever reason). I’m saying that fanfics about how this could have been due to crazy cameras, lost mail, “the man” or that its just not a big deal… is… not great.

          I would think having multiple warrants for whatever reason on a position requiring a background check would… lead to further discussion. And that ideally the company would have an existing policy about what is acceptable and what the next steps are.

          1. Fluffy Fish*

            it’s not “fanfic”when it’s incredibly common. i get you feel very strongly about people who break traffic laws but to me what’s “fanfic” is deciding that this person is a horrible human who willingly speeds recklessly and maliciously decided not to pay their tickets.

            a warrant for an unpaid fine is not a warrant for a criminal act. the simplest explanation is its an oversight. not that there’s something deeply nefarious going on.

      2. JustaTech*

        I think the issue you are seeing here is that there are two kinds of “traffic tickets” -moving and parked.
        Moving violations are more serious and more likely to be a safety issue, and I agree should be taken seriously. (My state has a law against using your phone while driving and it’s a primary offense, but people are very rarely pulled over for it.)

        Parking violations are inherently less likely to be a safety issue because the car is not moving.

        Also, no one is saying that, even if these were just parking tickets, that the candidate shouldn’t have paid them! Of course she should have paid them immediately. And she did pay one and is in the act of dealing with the second.

        What a lot of people are saying is that this is not the kind of egregious moral failure that should get someone denied a job (and possibly cost them their health coverage just before one of the most health-care-intensive experiences of their life, if they had already left their previous job).

        We don’t know if these were moving violations or not.
        Yes moving violations should be addressed more seriously, and everyone should drive more safely.

        1. Head sheep counter*

          Where I live (California) traffic tickets and parking tickets are different. I am uncertain if you’d get a warrant for unpaid parking tickets (I do think you’ll eventually lose your license). So my being offended is based on the fact that traffic tickets = moving violations and thus the comment. I don’t know that it is a major moral failure one way or the other for either ticket… but it does say something… not great. I do not think it should per se hinder employment unless a clean driving record is required. I do think it would be fair to be a factor in assessing an individual’s judgement (I believe this letter was for a management position).

          1. I Have RBF*

            I live in California. They do issue warrants for unpaid parking tickets.

            Self-righteous strawmen aside, there is a lot of arbitrary nonsense in parking and camera tickets.

            1. Head sheep counter*

              Per several sources (city websites): No. Parking citations are not criminal violations in California. This means that you will not be arrested for failure to pay parking citations. However, there are substantial penalties for unpaid parking citations. Late fees can more than double the original citation amount. You will be unable to register your vehicle until the overdue citations are paid. You also run the risk of having your vehicle booted or towed if you accumulate five or more overdue citations. In addition, your income tax refund could be withheld to pay parking citation fines.

    6. Stuff*

      Okay, I’m going to step into this because US traffic safety is something I have a related master’s degree and work experience in. For context, I actually don’t drive myself, and my US traffic safety work is on the pedestrian side, looking into our rising pedestrian death counts.

      Firstly, we don’t know what the traffic tickets are for, and that’s pretty important factor here. Speed traps in which jurisdictions deliberately manipulate speed limits to create situations where people unknowingly speed are very much a thing in parts of the US, and while speeding is certainly a major factor in pedestrian and cyclist deaths, getting entrapped into a speeding ticket to pad out a town’s budget isn’t actually an indicator of a dangerous or irresponsible driver.

      Secondly, I’m not a fan of the punitive approach in the first place. Research has overwhelmingly proved that humans tend to drive at whatever speed the road design makes them feel comfortable driving, regardless of the safety or posted speed limit. In fact it’s very, very easy to not even realize you are speeding on many of these roads. When that’s the issue, cracking down on the drivers can only get you so far. The core issue to solve isn’t driver behavior, it’s road designs that encourage high speeds.

      Third, yes, we should hold drivers responsible, but at the same time there should be limits. I’m a big fan of the consequences fitting the specific crime. So if you commit driving violations, that should impact your ability to drive. Not your ability to have a job and pay your bills, something everyone needs to do (and yes, I am aware that the US makes it so that the ability to drive is very often unfairly a requirement to have a job, something that holds my career back significantly as a non-driver). I don’t necessarily think a job revocation is commensurate with the offense, here.

      What cracking down harshly over things that are very easy to do without realizing does is sacrifice public trust and support, and push drivers to get increasingly defensive, which in turn really hampers the ability of people like me to get anything done.

      Finally, I can absolutely believe she didn’t know about the tickets. I don’t even drive and I’ve still had the state come at me over unpaid bridge tolls three times. This kinda stuff can happen, and I don’t think it says much about someone’s personal judgement.

      1. Head sheep counter*

        I agree that the design of roads contribute to the speed folk feel comfortable driving at. Although, I think that people’s judgement of safe is often quite askew (see texting while driving, driving while impaired, speeding on roads with blind driveways, passing school busses, teenagers etc). In my local community, the police are famous for enforcing 25 mph. During the pandemic this took a back seat and sure enough our streets started moving significantly faster and folks started dying in larger numbers. Guess what’s back? Enforcement.

        I mostly wrote in protest to the fanfic that filled in the facts as if this is no big deal and that in general downplay or even push to get rid of enforcement. We should as, as a whole, get rid of money making schemes and traps for things that are informed by racism (enforcement only where one community lives but not where another… or to keep another community out/unsafe). Those are real issues. However, this letter wasn’t about any of that. The facts as stated were that there were 2 warrants out apparently for traffic violations. For a position that required a background check – I would hope this would lead to a further investigation/discussion or that there would be a policy about what kinds of things cause what kinds of next steps.

        1. Parakeet*

          There is very little fanfic going on here. There are a lot of people, including people who have done background checks for a living, multiple lawyers including one who has done ticket defense, and others who would have had opportunities to observe common patterns, explaining how common it is to have a warrant out for an unpaid ticket, and why. This is happening in reply to the people who don’t understand that.

          1. Head sheep counter*

            The FanFic portion is that we know nothing. We know that there are/were 2 warrants and apparently they are traffic ticket related. Are the tickets for speeding? or for cameras? are they for tailgating? Who knows? Did she never receive the ticket? Who knows?

            Could have been that she’s a chronic speeder in front of schools and is always given the ticket by “The Man” and chooses to use the tickets to wall paper her office. We just don’t know. The assumption is on her side per these comments and my point is that it needs further investigation.

            1. Starbuck*

              The people pointing out all their own experiences of extenuating circumstances are mostly reacting to comments saying this is definitely a disqualifier because it shows something obvious about their character or attention to detail – because those people don’t know either.

      2. JustaTech*

        Thanks for providing an expert perspective!
        Yes, stroads (they’ve got shops and homes like streets, but are wide and fast like roads) are a huge problem for pedestrian safety, and all the 25MPH signs in the world don’t slow the traffic down on a road that was clearly designed for 40MPH.

      3. Brain the Brian*

        Thank you for a cogent, informative response. I learned something from reading your comment!

    7. Chicken Dinner*

      I once got a so called “speeding” ticket in traffic so slow & heavy I was driving under the posted speed limit, because a cop made a dumb mistake he was too embarrassed to admit, and felt like he had to save face by ticketing me.

      Long story short, I there was an unclothed female mannequin (painted up and used as a Halloween and underground club decoration) strapped into the back seat of my car because the trunk was filled with other decoration items and there wasn’t room to fit her in. He thought he was seeing a nude or topless woman, and after he pulled me over, peered into the back, and realized what was actually up, he announced he was giving me a ticket for speeding, going 20 miles over the limit in traffic so heavy it would have been physically impossible to go that fast even if I was a lead foot. I was FLABBERGASTED. It ended up being cheaper to pay it then take day off work to drive 3+ hours one way to the city the ticket was issued in to try and fight it.

      I know of so many people issued sham tickets because cops needed to make quota it’s not even funny. “Rolling stop at a stop sign” is a really popular one for this because (pre dash cam anyway) it’s hard to fight & a low enough fine most people don’t want to bother.

      And I know of plenty of people issued legitimate tickets whose offenses were extremely minor, not putting anyone at risk of harm when they happened, and often something they didn’t realize was ticket worthy, or was a one time error, something we ALL are prone to making because we are human and none of us are perfect. NOT the worst case straw man scenarios you are listing.

  47. Head sheep counter*

    For the specific letter here (#2) I think the response needs to be consistent with company policy and needs. Do you/have you denied employment for similar offenses in the past? Do you regularly reach out to candidates to have them clear their warrants? Does this type of offense impact the job (eg one needs a clean drivers license for insurance purposes etc)?

    If you don’t currently have policies/thresholds to answer your own requirement for a background check, this would appear to be a gap.

    FWIW – when I went through a background check, warrants would have hindered my employment (I believe I would have had a chance to appeal/fix).

  48. Seen Too Much*

    LW 3 – my company just went through pay banding and making sure everyone was equitable. So the salaries we list on our postings are accurate. The most we would go over is maybe $1k. And that would be for a really great candidate. We never go under the bottom. As far as I know, they never lowballed anyone. At least in the 2+ years I have been here.

    Still, I always ask if they are comfortable with the salary range as posted. You would be surprised (or maybe not) how many people either say they didn’t see one (it is on our internal application that they filled out) or ask for much higher anyway – think $60k job asking $100k+. They always think they are soooo great we will have to give them more.

    I have had directors apply for entry-level positions and think we are going to magic a job for them in their preferred range.

  49. Luanne Platter*

    Letter 2: a 5 year old warrant for unpaid tickets would typically go alongside a suspended license. If a driver’s license is a requirement for the role, I can’t imagine the candidate will clear. But definitely an issue to discuss with the lawyers.

    Regardless, the manager needs some training / coaching on laws concerning pregnant workers, whether this candidate is hired or not. Good luck!

  50. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

    Here’s a scary one for the “just open your mail/tell the post office to forward your mail” people: I got email from the Social Security Administration last year, saying they had denied my application for disability benefits, and would send me a written explanation in the mail within 10-15 days. The email said that if I wanted to appeal, I had to do so within 60 days.

    Around day 50, having heard nothing, I contacted my congresswoman’s office. Her staff got a copy of the letter within a couple of days, and emailed it to me. I still don’t know whether the post office lost the paper letter, or if it was never sent, but it hasn’t turned up, eight months later.

  51. Emily Byrd Starr*

    I’m relieved to learn that Letter 2 wasn’t what I initially thought: that the pregnant woman parked in the handicapped spot, and they didn’t see the pregnancy placard on her car, so she got ticketed, and now OP is considered not hiring her over it! Yes, I know that this situation would be bananacrackers, but based on some of the other things that I’ve read here, nothing can surprise me anymore.

    1. JustaTech*

      Wait, what’s a pregnancy placard?
      Is that something you have to specially request from your doctor because you’re having a bad pregnancy, or is it offered to everyone and I missed it?
      That would be a really good thing to have available.
      (Not at all suggesting that people might not need to use the handicapped parking spots while pregnant, I’ve just never heard of it.)

  52. Goldenrod*

    OP 3 – I have to laugh, the worst boss of my entire career was HR leadership (and President in charge of a huge organization) and the most inept and evil person I’ve ever worked for. And had zero respect for employees.

    So all I can think is: THIS TRACKS. No one ever did anything about her, so I’m sure he’ll slide by too, but man. I think he should be fired. I think HR leaders should at least model basic respect of employees. But I have never seen that, so I’m jaded.

  53. Kuleta*

    Re LW2: A former apartment neighbor of mine moved out three years ago. DMV took two years to update neighbor’s address in their system. Neighbor is employed at a government entity, and just this week received yet another snail mail from there that still has them listed at former address.

    1. Chicken Dinner*

      A friend of mine ended up with a bunch of serious DMV issues because they were sending everything to a place she lived several years and two addresses beforehand, and she filed her address changes with the DMV *religiously*.

  54. Head sheep counter*

    Honest question:
    Where you live, are traffic tickets and parking tickets the same thing?

    In California they are very different. Traffic Ticket = moving violation and Parking Ticket = a ticket for a parking offense.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      Here, we have three categories:
      1. Parking tickets. This is self-explanatory, although the parking rules on most streets are designed to be incomprehensible upon first read and drive up ticket issuance.
      2. Traffic tickets. For things like mild speeding, missing a stop sign, running a red light, etc. that *could* endanger someone’s life, but in this case did not. These are still considered quite minor; I got a camera-issued one for missing a stop sign last month that was $100 and didn’t add any points to my license.
      3. Criminal violations related to driving. Usually reserved for actual accidents, DUIs, etc. — but occasionally used for excessive speeding, if the police can prove it was reckless driving. These are considered appropriately serious, and I would take them quite seriously in a hiring process. But they’re not “traffic tickets.”

  55. Just me*

    RE: the traffic tickets, I’d side with the manager on this one unfortunately and it has nothing to do with her being pregnant…it isn’t the traffic tickets themselves that is concerning. If they were PAID and/or recent but not excessive numbers of them it would be a non-issue, but the fact that she had no problem leaving them unpaid to the point that it had resulted in a warrant out for her arrest…yikes…that either shows incredibly bad judgment or an impressive level of absent-mindedness. The fact that she is dealing with it now doesn’t really make it a lot better given that she is doing so in order to get the job, not because it was the right thing to do ages ago. I wouldn’t want someone with that value set anywhere near my company.

    1. Observer*

      ’d side with the manager on this one unfortunately and it has nothing to do with her being pregnant

      Except that the manager IS concerned about the pregnancy. It’s going to be very hard to convince a jury that this was not an excuse. Especially if she has an even halfway competent lawyer who can show how easy it is for perfectly competent and law abiding people to get messed over.

      Anyone who has dealt with this stuff is simply not going to accept that this show such incredibly bad judgement, especially since everything else about her was positive.

      I suggest that you read the comments for why your claim simply won’t fly with a lot of people.

    2. Brain the Brian*

      You’re reading a lot into the letter than is there. I encourage you to read this section’s extensive threads… or as much of them as you can before your eyes hurt.

    3. Chicken Dinner*

      I knew someone who had major issues with the DMV (an ancient ticket, license & registration renewal) because despite her updating every address change directly with the DMV as soon as she moved, every time, they were sending all her paperwork to a place she had lived several years and two addresses beforehand.

      Tell me, did that reflect badly on HER?

  56. Jam Today*

    A friend of mine was pulled over and told there was a warrant out for his arrest for I think an old citation for an outdated inspection sticker. He had completely forgotten about it and certainly didn’t think he was on the run from the po-po.

  57. Karma is My Boyfriend*

    Re: the unpaid tickets.

    I imagine the job seeker either forgot, or never expected them to turn into a warrant! I used to be on the Board of a known housing nonprofit in a small town, and the families we worked with often had no idea they still had unpaid debts—they moved, the company stopped calling, false info about debts falling off your credit report after 7 years, and on. This is information we’d come upon while doing credit checks. Once we heard the reasons why, we were often willing to work with them.

    There are a lot of commenters in here that have apparently never made a mistake.

  58. Dee*

    I’ve had warrants out for traffic tickets. Not because I am a reckless driver or a shady criminal, but because our legal system is often insane. I had a warrant out twice. Both times were for minor tickets. One was a BS ticket I had fought, won, and then it wasn’t deleted in the system, turning into a license suspension and warrant. The other was an unpaid camera ticket for turning right on red, that had been sent to an apartment from which I had just moved.

    Traffic warrants that can be resolved with a quick payment through the system are not worth rescinding an offer.

    Also, I hope it goes without saying, neither is pregnancy.

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