update: my new employee is the parent of my child’s bully

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer whose new employee was the parent of her child’s bully? As a result of the bullying, they’d had to move, involve the police, and get a restraining order. Here’s the update.

I appreciate that AAM allowed me the space to get my thoughts in order before I said or did anything stupid. I should have gone to HR my first day as Jane’s manager, but I was not thinking straight. Things had been going so well at home that I didn’t want to jeopardize it by bringing Jane back into our lives.

Within a few days of my question posting, my junior team lead “Sam” asked me directly about my weird behavior around Jane, which had been going on for about two weeks or so. In the org chart, I’m Sam’s superior but not by much. Sam and I have worked together in the past but not closely enough that he knew about my connection to Jane (her child bullied and assaulted my child and the courts were involved, among other things).

I told Sam about my history with Jane, providing limited details with minimal legal documentation and proof which my lawyer advised me on and he was shocked but incredibly supportive. He let me know that Jane had been very vocal with several other staff including him since my first day, warning staff to stay away from me, that I was toxic, dangerous, that I had slept with her husband and broken up her marriage. All I could do was laugh at that. It hadn’t occurred to me that keeping my distance would give Jane a chance to try to damage my reputation, but she didn’t get very far. I’ve worked with everyone else on this team on and off for most of my career, so they were all very skeptical.

Sam and I met with HR and walked through my history with Jane to create a plan for Sam to manage her going forward. HR was wonderfully supportive and thanked me for communicating with her in writing as it was probably the safest thing I could have done under the circumstances.

Then we learned a few things we didn’t know. HR had been planning to reach out to me because when my predecessor hired Jane, he had done so without putting in the paperwork for a background check. This is one of the many reasons I replaced this manager. Our company requires us to use a fingerprinting service run out of the sheriff’s office for a full background check before starting employment. My predecessor let her start without one and just marked “passed” in her employee profile without adding the appropriate documentation. When pressed, he said he lost it. HR was able to confirm Jane had never gone. Before I started as her boss, Jane had been given a 30-day grace period from HR to get fingerprinted, missed multiple appointments, and had been pushing back on it with my predecessor’s support. He’d left no documentation for me or record of this issue, which didn’t surprise us, and now there was only a week left in the grace period. HR needed to discuss terminating Jane if she didn’t get fingerprinted for her background check within the next 10 days. All of this is based on state regulations and company policy and thankfully had nothing to do with me. There was no other job or department she could be moved to that didn’t require a background check.

Sam took over from there and all I know is they met with Jane, explained that Sam would be her manager going forward, and made an appointment for her to get fingerprinted that day, and she enthusiastically agreed to go. And didn’t. And never returned any calls or contact attempts from HR or Sam, which was honestly the best way this could have washed out.

My family is doing better than ever, work is great, and my amazing kiddo is healing and finding joy again. They even helped their new school start an anti-bullying and mental health program to help younger students if they feel unsafe. We’re going to be traveling to see relatives and have some fun this summer, so we’re very excited. I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my chest.

A huge thank you to the AAM community for just letting me get all my thoughts out.

{ 317 comments… read them below }

    1. the cat's ass*

      Sounds like Jane is a dumpster fire across the board. Glad it unfolded like it did, OP!

      1. ferrina*

        Truth. Her response to seeing OP was to start spreading the most vicious lies she could come up with? And she refused to get background checked? The more we learn about Jane, the clearer it is how weird and awful she is.

        1. UnCivilServant*

          The willinness to lose the job over the background check makes me think she was convinced she wouldn’t pass the check. Given the reported behvaior, I agree.

          1. MassMatt*

            I have to wonder if given her terrible behavior there isn’t more awful stuff in her background even than the court case involving OP’s kid being so severely bullied.

            Shame on the OP’s predecessor, not only for failing to do the required background checks, but for hiring such a terrible person in the first place. I really doubt someone like this was able to pretend to be decent during interviews, and they no doubt skipped checking references also.

            Good riddance to both of them!

            1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

              Yes, she didn’t resign, just disappeared? OP was not her first rodeo. Her initial instinct: “The best defense is a good offense. I’ll take control of the narrative.”
              is fine. Be a great employee, a good colleague.
              She just misunderstood the term offense. Doesn’t mean offend as many people as possible. And narrative doesn’t mean create one of complete fantasy.

          2. Learn ALL the things?*

            That’s where my mind went too. You don’t refuse a background check that strongly if you’re confident you can pass it.

            And frankly, she was probably right that her background check would include some red flags. OP said in their initial letter that when they were getting the order of protection against Jane’s son, the court also issued a warning to Jane, so I would expect something like that to show up in a background check.

            1. RVA Cat*

              Given Jane’s behavior and lies, I’m guessing there’s issues in her background check completely separate from the bullying situation. Fraud or embezzlement comes to mind.

              1. The Real Fran Fine*

                Yup. Or physical abuse of someone else. The kid had to have learned it somewhere…

                1. Boof*

                  Honestly in some ways that’s the saddest part to me; there’s probably a reason Jane’s kid was a terrible bully, and given Jane’s behavior towards OP and background checks, well, I’m kind of sad for that kid even if obviously horrified at what they did to LWs kid; at least I’m relieved LW’s kid is out of there and has such a great parent as LW who has their back. LW your kid will be ok, thanks to you! And I’m glad you “won out” at work despite Jane’s preemptive attempts to spread poison (albeit, pretty transparent / unskilled attempts, but hey, at some places that aren’t good that might actually fly)

                2. Greg*

                  As someone who was bullied and spent a long time sorting it out I’ve realized: it’s never the kids. Sure, they’re the ones doing the actions. But the adults in those kids’ lives, both the parents, teachers, and other authority figures, are the ones that bear the most responsibility to protect the kids getting bullied.

            2. Ashley*

              I have to wonder if Jane’s would have come back with the warning, and if there company could tell who the warning was against. (If some one has a restraining order against them does an employment background check show who the order of protection is for.)

              1. badger*

                I doubt it. In a lot of states the information about the petitioner is held confidential. The fact that there is one and the person who’s subject to it might be public record, but generally the petitioner’s info is not, even on a basic background check.

                But on this one it likely wouldn’t matter anyway because the restraining order is against a child. A warning might not show up anyway if Jane herself wasn’t a party to the case.

            3. The cubes are scary*

              I had to file a Protection From Abuse order and my now ex-husband’s employer automatically ran background checks annually and he lost his job. Couldn’t’ve happened to a nicer fella. Turns out the violence stemmed from his new cocaine habit. Who starts using drugs in their 50’s?

              1. OrigCassandra*

                I tried a few different kinds of alcohol in my late 40s after previous teetotaling.

                I discovered that I liked hardly any of it. (Prosecco and champagne are okay, including in the form of mimosas and bellinis. I don’t hate most white wines. Otherwise, eh.) So I pretty much stopped drinking again.

                I’m really enjoying the no-alc cocktail trend at restaurants. Those I like!

          3. Observer*

            she was convinced she wouldn’t pass the check.

            OF course not. And the company made it clear that they *were* going to act on the information in the report. So, just ghosting was probably her best move, since she didn’t have the decency to actually QUIT.

            1. tangerineRose*

              From everything we’ve heard about her, she sounds like someone who wouldn’t pass a background check.

          4. Worldwalker*

            I’m rather curious to what that background check would have turned up — especially since she has been dodging it since before the LW became her manager. And the previous guy just waved her through? IMO, there’s something very skeevy going on there, too.

          5. Fishsticks*

            Honestly, that made me wonder if the bullying and its aftermath isn’t the only thing that appears on her background check that she’s worried about.

        2. Elle*

          It’s interesting that “she slept with my husband” was where she went with it. I mean, it’s classic mean girl behavior, which does make sense considering her child’s behavior, but wow. It’s such a dramatic move to pull at a brand new company.

            1. JSPA*

              Let’s not assume the second parent (whether present or absent) is better, either. Its possible they all deserve each other. Or that any one of them would be a better human if they didn’t have to deal with each other. No way to know.

          1. Yadah*

            “It’s such a dramatic move to pull at a brand new company.”

            Especially when LW had worked with many of the employees before! Like stepping into a new situation and trash talking a boss that almost everyone else knows and generally likes is absolutely wild.

            1. Jake*

              Bullies don’t think like that. They almost always just act out of desperation (which is why many bullies were actually former victims of bullying). They get dumped in a situation where they don’t know what to do, so they try to exert dominance immediately as their innate extinct. The logical part of their brain that says, “hey, this person is pretty well liked around here and has no evidence of being a crazy person” is drowned out by the emotional part that screams at the top of it’s lungs, “YOU ARE IN DANGER, NEUTRALIZE THREAT BY SHOWING YOU CAN’T BE MESSED WITH!!!!” Sometimes this results in physical violence, but more oftentimes in adulthood it results in rumors and innuendo. The sad part is that if it wasn’t at least partially effective, nobody would do it.

              1. Random Dice*

                This is a thoughtful and insightful comment, thank you for writing it, Jake.

            2. goddessoftransitory*

              And that she apparently thought it would work! “I know I’ve known LW for ages and she’s always been a warm, effective colleague, but now this new person hitting the ground running with these rumors has totally changed my attitude!”

              I mean, it probably does/has worked for Jane to a limited extent in the past–bullies repeat their actions a LOT because they stick with the first thing that works–but it also says a lot that Jane apparently never considered how this was going to come across for HER.

              1. AcademiaNut*

                The fact that she’s got stuff that would show up in a background check and get her fired (or not hired in the first place) implies that she isn’t necessarily very good at her bullying. Most horrible bullies might end up with bad references, or get fired, but they don’t end up with things like restraining orders or criminal records. And lots of rumour spreaders and bullies and abusers slide through life just fine, because they’re reasonably subtle and can fake nice behaviour when needed.

          2. JSPA*

            Exactly! Being a lying liar aside, the fact that she thinks THAT is what would reflect worst, on the LW, in a work setting says reams about her views and fears and willingness to project (and nothing about the LW).

          3. Leenie*

            It’s wild to me that she’d choose something that makes her personal life look a bit messy, in that it reflects badly on her own husband, and not just on the LW. But she’s clearly someone who is making a set of calculations that would never occur to me.

          4. Kindred Spirit*

            I’d have thought she would have gone with a perversion of the actual story, such as “OP falsely accused my child of xyz” to set herself up as the victim. Jane is a mess, and a background check would probably reveal even more about her troubled past.

          5. learnedthehardway*

            The level of stupidity combined with maliciousness is really kind of stunning.

            1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

              My brother the attorney always told me that there are no master criminals. They are dumb* people doing dumb things.
              *Dumb in the sense that they do not think of consequences. I want this, so I will take it. He disrespected me, so I will assault him.”
              This person thought, I need to protect my job. I will get her fired.

              1. Bitte Middler*

                In a similar vein, I am always dumbfounded by conspiracy theories that involve complex machinations and absolute secrecy by the supposed evil people behind the conspiracy.

                I always think, “Have you MET humans???”

                1. Grandma*

                  My mom in her later years listened to a late night radio guy who liked his conspiracy theories. One she shared with me claimed that the Navy had developed an invisible ship, literally invisible, and it was a BIG secret. I suggested to mom how unlikely it was that a naval ship of hundreds (thousands?) could keep a secret like that. People like to share juicy secrets. “Loose lips sink ships” may make it in the middle of a war, but not likely in the 80s. I didn’t chime in on the scientific “no-way” aspects of that particular conspiracy theory though.

                2. AnonForThis*

                  Tbf, every now and then a formerly classified document will pop up that reveals that these things -do- happen! Not nearly as often as people think, but just often enough to fuel the conspiracy theories!

                3. Helen Waite*

                  Those who believe in those kinds of conspiracies have never been involved in project management.

              2. goddessoftransitory*

                Yep. In the real world there are precious few Moriartys. Much more the Wet Bandits.

              3. Worldwalker*

                Well, we can’t be sure of that, because the smart ones wouldn’t get caught.

                It’s pretty obvious, though, that most criminals do not do much in the way of cost/benefit analysis. I think I’ve posted the story before about the two guys who needed money for beer/drugs/smokes and decided the best way to get it would be to rob a convenience store. It’s a long story, but it ends up with them crashing the gate (literally) into a secure government nuclear site, with cops from five different jurisdictions in hot pursuit. And, yes, they won’t be seeing the outside world for a decade or two. Aside from an arrest and a slew of convictions, what did they get out of it? Something like twenty bucks and a carton of cigarettes.

                “Should we steal your mom’s car?” … “Should we rob a convenience store?” … “Should we try to rob another one?” … “Should we drive with our lights out so everyone notices us?” … “Should we turn right here, or smash through the gate at this security plaza that can be seen from orbit?” … they never gave a thought to the negative outcome of any of those decisions. They just figured everything would go the way they wanted it to.

                And that is why, by the way, increasing punishments for crimes doesn’t lower the crime rate. Someone who thinks he’s going to get away with armed robbery, like these dudes, isn’t even considering what will happen if he gets caught. These guys clearly never gave a moment’s thought to the question of “what if this goes badly?” That’s true of criminals in general: One reason they are criminals is they only see the positive aspects of committing a crime (“I’ll get money!”) and not the negatives (“I’ll be doing 15-20 in the state pen”). If they were willing or able to think through the cost/benefit analysis, they wouldn’t be criminals in the first place.

                Famously, in England, pickpockets worked the crowds at the public executions … of other pickpockets. Then, as now, they thought they wouldn’t get caught.

                1. aqua*

                  This is a bizarre and excessively simplified understanding of the causes of crime. “If they were willing or able to think through the cost/benefit analysis, they wouldn’t be criminals in the first place.” What about people for whom the cost of not doing the crime is not having money for food or rent?
                  Crimes happen because someone performs an action that is criminalised in their society. Actions are criminalised based on political decisions. Some criminalised actions are generally agreed to be harmful (e.g. murder) and some are much more ambiguous or generally agreed to be positive (e.g. drug use, campus protests).

                2. Random Dice*

                  To be fair, low-income childhood lead poisoning is a huge problem in the US. Low-income housing has a lot of lead paint where babies and toddlers can chew or suck on it. It causes brain damage, poor decision-making, emotional instability. A huge percent of lead poisoned kids end up in jail.

              4. Random Dice*

                The smart criminals don’t get caught, or steal/murder on such grand scales that the justice system fails to added their crimes.

          6. Nonprofit Lifer*

            Given that the OP said they moved across the country, it sounds like Jane did too. A divorce often precedes a new move/new job. So I wonder if that lie wasn’t a two-birds-one-stone move to slander the two people she hated most at that moment.

            1. Boof*

              I think it was county, not countRy – like a much smaller move. It threw me at first two I was like “omg wat are the odds?!!” then I realized the odds are less wild because it’s a smaller radius

            2. Moira's Rose's Garden*

              In much of the US, moving across the county will put you in a different school district, different church parish, different local grocery & etc. But it’s not so far that you’re out of the “employment watershed” if you will, of a large company or municipal employer, as a for instance.

          7. Tupac Coachella*

            I would guess that the Drama Of It All was part of the appeal. “She slept with my husband” is dramatic enough to get attention and cast a shadow on OP’s personal character, casts Jane as a victim of OP, and people are highly unlikely to fact check it. No one is going to go up to a work acquaintance and say “hey, question-did you sleep with Jane’s husband?,” but it’s salacious enough to spread if you’re the type to gossip. In her mind, it’s the perfect rumor. She just didn’t count on OP having any established credibility (or her coworkers being uninterested in OP’s personal life).

            1. Ellie*

              Well I would. If someone said that at work about someone I knew, I’d pull them aside and say, ‘hey, it’s none of my business, but X has been telling people that you slept with her husband and that their relationship broke down because of it. I’m not interested in that at all, but I thought you should know just in case there’s more to it.’ I mean, even if it was true, she took a job in the same departments as her husband’s affair partner? That’s pretty poor judgement. But obviously she never got her fingerprints taken because there’s something in her past that disqualifies her, so she was lying on multiple levels.

          8. Abundant Shrimp*

            Right, that blows my mind the most. Imagine starting off at a new job with going around telling people, all of whom you have just met, to stay away from her new manager, who they have worked with and know well, because the manager is toxic, dangerous, and slept with her husband. The absolute audacity.

        3. djx*

          This was almost refreshing in its’ batshiateryness:

          ” Jane had been very vocal with several other staff including him since my first day, warning staff to stay away from me, that I was toxic, dangerous, that I had slept with her husband and broken up her marriage.”

          1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            When someone new begins their first day with scurrilous allegations against an established co-worker my BS monitor goes into overdrive.

        4. Certified Scorpion Trainer*

          i’m surprised she didn’t get canned for spreading those kinds of lies about her superior

        5. Momma Bear*

          It sounds like that particular trash took itself out. Not surprised Jane’s run at the company ended as it did but glad it was all on her and not OP.

        6. goddessoftransitory*

          It became pretty clear that Jane’s version of “getting settled into her new role” was pretty much preemptive strikes against the LW and just hoping the person who hired her giving a “shrug emoji” in response to a required background check covered everything.

      2. Ellie*

        Oh yeah. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that. I can’t believe she and OP’s predecessor thought that she could just… not turn up for her fingerprint security checks? That’s a massive level of naivete right there, from both of them. I am so glad things ended so well for OP.

    2. Heffalump*

      She dug her own grave. Nice that she made it so easy to terminate her when push comes to shove.

    3. Chauncy Gardener*

      Wow! I’m so glad this worked out for the OP and her family. Bullet dodged, and apparently taken by Jane. All good!

    1. Miette*

      An update so nice I had to read it twice. Best of luck to you, OP, and good riddance to Jane. May she never darken your door again.

      1. Annie*

        Me too! This is the best possible outcome ever! Congratulations on getting your life back!!

        1. aspirational yogurt*

          Me three! Enjoy the up-coming vacation and best wishes for an unremarkable future.

    2. English Rose*

      So am I, I’ve thought about this one a few times since first reading it. What a horrible situation, now hopefully resolved.

  1. Tio*

    I am so happy for you, LW! This sounds like the easiest possible resolution for everyone, except Jane, who kind of sunk her own boat there, so I don’t feel bad about that.

    I wonder what the former manager’s deal with her was though? Did he know what she was hiding or was he just that bad at his job that he couldn’t be bothered to do it? If the second, ironic that he picked the worst possible case (someone with a legal issue in their past) to end up being the one he was covering for. It’s like the epitome of a “What could go wrong if we skip this part?” fable.

    1. starsaphire*

      My AAM-Fanfic brain is coming up with ALL sorts of ideas on why this “oversight” happened, but of course we’ll never really know.

      OP, I am SO glad to hear it worked out this way. You did all the right things – go to HR, allow them to change her line of reporting, and step back and let Jane sink herself.

      I am so happy to hear, too, that your family is thriving. Wishing you all the best!

      1. sofar*

        Same! I immediately fixated on, “OK but what’s the hot tea with Predecessor and Jane?”

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          Me too! I want an update to this update! But not really, I want OP and their family to go on living their best lives and put this all behind them. Happy travels, OP!

        2. quercus*

          Yeah, Jane and Predecessor is a good question. I’m not saying every single accusation is a confession, but sometimes they are.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Yeah, her accusation got me thinking that she might have slept with the predecessor to get away with this.

        3. Ellie*

          My take? He scheduled it, she had a curly excuse as to why she didn’t go, and he was too lazy to follow it up. Maybe he knew he was on the way out, and it wouldn’t be his problem?

          1. Abundant Shrimp*

            But then why did he check “passed” instead of forgetting to do anything about it at all? and come up with a whole story about lost paperwork instead of admitting he hadn’t followed up? Such odd behavior.

      2. NerdyKris*

        Honestly it might just have been laziness or not caring. It’s easy to get into the mindset that it’s a pointless formality, or that it hurts people with minor convictions. I don’t think there’s anything more salacious than “I need to fill this position and I’m not starting over because of a technicality”.

        1. Tio*

          Honestly this is probably the case, especially since he seems to have moved on before it really would have been “his” problem, but still. I do wonder…

          1. Observer*

            Honestly this is probably the case, especially since he seems to have moved on before it really would have been “his” problem,

            I think that this gives him too much credit. Keep in mind that he did not “move on” of his own accord. He was either fired or “allowed to retire” after Jane got hired – and this was one of the reasons for that. The LW says that her predecessor had many issues.

            1. Smithy*

              I’m of the opinion that it was general lack of investment and care in procedures, and this was more cumulative over time.

              I used to work in a large children’s hospital where getting finger printed/background check is mandatory for all employees and we also had to do drug tests – even ones that never have any interactions with children or families. I just don’t think its that uncommon for people in teams/departments that don’t fall within the core work to think that those rules aren’t as relevant to them. Even if they’re incredibly relevant to keep institutions in compliance.

              1. Annony*

                Yep. It can be really annoying. I worked at a Children’s Hospital and had to get fingerprinted every five years. I was fine with that. But when I left, my boss wanted me to stay on as an affiliated researcher (not paid, no need to access anything on site) to finish up some research papers. I literally just needed to maintain access to my email and a few folders on the server. I had been fingerprinted less than 6 months before I left. They told me I would have to do it again to be approved. At that point I just decided it wasn’t worth it.

            2. Tio*

              Very true! The thing that gets me though, is that she was pushing back with his support. So he must be invested in this, for some reason. Otherwise, the lazier option is to tell her to bring her butt and to the check and have it be her problem. Fighting with your own HR for something that’s standard procedure is kind of an investment!

              1. goddessoftransitory*

                It really does come down to “do you actually think we’re going to forget this?” Background checks aren’t run for funsies.

        2. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

          agreed. If there was any malice in the hiring, I would believe it was Jane who scoped out where the OP worked and maybe applied multiple times, intentionally, until she found an incompetent manager that gave her the “in” she was looking for.

          1. Zelda*

            But OP didn’t work there at the time. That’s how Jane got hired. Had OP worked there, Jane could not have been hired.

            1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

              The OP worked for the employer at the time that Jane was hired, but was promoted to a new department.

              From the original: “I received a promotion last month after several stressful years.” and “The company filled an open role at my new location just before I was promoted.”

        3. Rebelx*

          Or she gave him the same enthusiastic “yes I’ll definitely go to the appointment tomorrow” that she gave HR before leaving, and he believed/trusted that to be the case, and maybe also assumed it would come back clean because that’s the case 99% of the time, so he just marked it off as complete. He maybe didn’t even realize it never actually got done until HR came asking. If he was otherwise not very competent at this job, it’s probably more likely this was yet another example of incompetence and not necessarily malfeasance.

      3. Baunilha*

        My guess (and I’m totally fanfic-ing here) is that Jane lied about having something minor that would show up on her background check, so the previous manager decided not do it out of charity.

          1. Kit*

            Glad I’m not the only one who jumped there – I wouldn’t have if her attempted smear campaign didn’t include “OP is a homewrecker!!!1!” as a key lie, but… well, the ‘lady’ doth protest too much, I think.

        1. Ellie*

          I just can’t imagine anyone willing to take that risk though, for a stranger. It’s more than him risking being fired, in many cases you can go to jail for falsifying that kind of information. You would certainly be kicked out of the industry. If she were a friend or a relative, I can see it, but otherwise… it’s just got to be shocking incompetence.

      4. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        My brain did the same thing! I have a theory, but to spell it out would be an infraction of the fanfic rule, so I will not indulge. ;-p

      5. Random Dice*

        Mine too. I thought “did she give him drugs or sex for him to do assiduously keep *forgetting* to follow standard hiring practices?”

    2. Dust Bunny*

      I’m going to hazard a guess that they were friends or relatives and he was trying to help her get a job. That seems like an awfully big invitation-of-trouble to go through just out of laziness.

      1. Teacher Lady*

        Certainly possible. It could also just be that perhaps Predecessor Manager just took a liking to Jane – who knows, maybe they just clicked and that’s why she was hired – and PM’s sense of connection led them to not push the background check issue.

        1. JSPA*

          It’s like magnets. Many different flavors of lazy, difficult or jerk coworkers have a near- mystical ability to attract and latch on to others of the same flavor.

      2. Momma Bear*

        This was my thought – that they knew each other somehow and the previous boss was just trying to rubber stamp her hiring.

    3. Elle*

      I want to know this too!

      Also, I thought that it was never explained in the first letter how this woman got to this company, because the OP had moved their family across the country. Did she follow OP, or am I missing something?

        1. Clisby*

          Yeah, as I read it the move was to get the children into a different school. At least where I live, you wouldn’t have to move very far for that to happen.

        2. Elle*

          That explains a lot. I guess it wasn’t a far enough distance for it to be actually sus for Jane to pop up, then. That’s positive.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        County, not country

        I remember having to reread it myself in the original letter.

      2. whimbrel*

        I went back and checked because I also remembered reading ‘country’, and the original post says OP moved her family across the ‘county’, which makes much more sense.

      3. SometimesCharlotte*

        She moved across the county, not country – I had to read that twice myself!

    4. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

      Some managers are just lazy — it may not even be that deep.

      Also — amazing how much harm can come from lack of action rather than bad intent.

    5. RagingADHD*

      Since the predecessor was replaced for performance issues and neither HR nor LW was surprised to discover they had ignored procedures and failed to leave documentation, the most likely explanation is that there was no deal or secret backstory.

      The predecessor was bad at their job across the board. That’s why LW got the job in the first place.

      1. Resentful Oreos*

        That is my guess, as well, putting all we know about Former Manager together. I think he was just lazy and bad at his job – the kind who should have been fired a long time ago, but now they’re “letting him retire” to save face. He may well have coasted on charm and superficial “he looks competent” for most of his work life.

    6. Observer*

      I wonder what the former manager’s deal with her was though?

      Yeah, I was wondering the same thing.

      Did he know what she was hiding or was he just that bad at his job that he couldn’t be bothered to do it

      I could see either being the case. The LW mentions that this failure was “one of the many reasons” his job was open. So, clearly bad at his job.

  2. Ariaflame*

    One could speculate about what the background check would find, but just not having to worry about her again will likely be enough.

    1. Justme, The OG*

      The LW had a restraining order against Jane’s son, so I winder if she was also named in it.

      1. Petty_Boop*

        Per the LW in her letter, the judge considered adding Jane to the restraining order, but instead put a warning in her record.

      2. Rainy*

        As Petty says, the prior letter says Jane wasn’t named, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jane has had prior run-ins with the law given the severity of the issues with not just her child, but her entire family.

        Also, the fact that Jane went straight to accusing LW of sleeping with Jane’s husband makes me wonder if Jane was sleeping with LW’s predecessor.

        1. ThisIsNotADuplicateComment*

          That’s exactly where my mind went to. It’s one thing to just let a hire through without doing the paperwork because you’re lazy, it’s another to push back once you’ve been caught!

          1. Rainy*

            Cheating accusations out of the blue so often seem to end up being projection by the accuser.

            1. Zona the Great*

              If only I could go back and tell my teenage and young adult self that sage advice!

        2. Keyner*

          Yeah, when someone tries to tell me a weird sexual rumor about their coworker, what I hear is “I’m doing weird sexual stuff with a coworker.”

          They don’t always or even usually spread the rumor about the same coworker they’re involved with, BUT this is one of the big ways drama magnets tell on themselves.

        3. Pastor Petty Labelle*

          Given how vehemently she attacked OP and the fact she almost got included in a restraining order tells me this is a volatile person. She probably has more than one altercation on her record.

          I had a client once whose ex and his family was like this. They all had criminal records, the sheriff knew exactly where to find them to serve the latest on them. And they all blamed everyone else — everyone was out to get them.

          1. Rainy*

            I lived down the street from a family like this many years ago. The matriarch was known to all and sundry as Loveknuckles, due to her tattoos, and there were an indeterminate number of children living in the house (indeterminate because they were in and out of juvenile detention). While they lived there, the cops were there pretty much daily. My across the street neighbor, who was a cop, literally recognized her because he’d arrested her so many times. He told me that even the kids had rap sheets as long as his arm. The oldest kid was maybe 17. Loveknuckles herself assaulted and badly beat one of our neighbors over a parking dispute.

            When the family moved out, they stole all the interior doors from the house.

            1. I Have RBF*

              !!!!!! WTF!!??

              Why would anyone steal a bunch of interior doors? Were they related to Jeff Bezos and making door desks for him?

              1. Rainy*

                I have absolutely no idea. When the first one went past balanced on a pickup truck load of their possessions I thought it was weird. When every load of stuff had a door in it somewhere including the closet doors, I had no idea what to think.

        4. Ellie*

          I doubt that would cause her to fail her employment checks. My money is on her having some other kind of history that has nothing to do with OP.

    2. Nomic*

      You can do a background check on anyone. You don’t need their permission. All you really need is their name (and any aliases) and a DoB. The problem is this only works (usually) on a county-by-county basis. I don’t know why they company didn’t do a local background check with legal name and date of birth, unless maybe the needed permission to do so?

      I suspect fingerprinting may run against a nationwide database, I am unfamiliar with that side of things.

      1. Rainy*

        If you’re being fingerprinted for your bg check it’s probably going to the FBI for an identity summary (pulls up your whole national rap sheet, basically). They’re not foolproof but they’re going to catch pretty much anything that involved you being fingerprinted, regardless of what name you were using at the time.

        1. UnCivilServant*

          Not necessarily the Feds. My employment background check fingerprinting went through the State Police. They probably poll the same databases, which makes the exact agency moot though.

          1. Kyrielle*

            This. For a while I worked on 911 dispatching systems, and I got fingerprinted very regularly by all our client agencies before I could remote into those systems. Understandably! Each check was run against various local and state databases and also a national database that got reports up from each state/government entity. But it didn’t explicitly get sent to the feds, just run through the database they maintain.

        2. just here for the scripts*

          Teachers and anyone who works at the schools get fingerprinted in NY and NJ—and yes it gets cleared by the feds

          1. 1LFTW*

            CA schools do this as well.

            My local government does background checks and fingerprinting for pretty much all applicants. They state up front that public sector work is likely to bring workers into contact with vulnerable populations, which include kids, but also elders.

      2. Learn ALL the things?*

        In my experience, most organizations that run a background check will have a specific policy and procedure in place for that, and they won’t be likely to deviate from it. It’s easier just to terminate the person who refuses to comply than it is to decide on an alternate procedure and get it approved by all the higher ups. They might do that for someone truly great that they have a lot of trust for who can’t get down to the sheriff’s office for fingerprinting due to uncontrollable circumstances, but they’re almost certainly not going to go to all that trouble for somebody who has already had a fraudulent document indicating they’d passed a background check and who is currently refusing to get fingerprinted with no extenuating circumstances.

        1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

          During the pandemic and subsequent shutdown of many of our govt services a lot of things got pushed to the back including fingerprinting and certification checks. Even if you wanted a police check there was a longer wait time, that’s the only time exceptions were made on a case by case basis.

      3. Tio*

        Given OP says the background check ” is based on state regulations and company policy” the state regs part sounds like it might need a very specific type of check that the county office wouldn’t meet standards for. And if they have to fingerprint anyway, it makes sense if they have it all done at an approved place together. If you have nothing in your background that flags, this would be a pretty small ask.

      4. Goody*

        I’ve had to be fingerprinted as part of becoming a Scouts leader. I had to go to the police station for mine, although there may be other options. The database is maintained by the FBI.

        1. Resentful Oreos*

          I had to be fingerprinted because I was working in the admin office of a chain of private schools – not a place where I’d see a kid, but, because the job was technically “working with children” I had to be fingerprinted anyway. By then they had LiveScan, which meant no messy ink smears, and all I had to do was pop on down to a UPS store location. Boom, done.

          Having a disability that limits your ability to get around, or living way, way out in the boonies, can mean more trouble getting printed, but honestly, for most people it’s so easy, that I am sure Jane had something to hide by dodging the requirements for so long.

    3. Goody*

      The original letter said that “Timmy” was finally facing other legal consequences for his behavior. Did not specify if that was on relation to OP’s child, but I suspect not. So perhaps his parents were also charged in relation to later actions.

  3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    Good gracious. It sounds as though the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as the saying goes.

    I’m very glad kiddo is doing so well now.

    1. Specks*

      Oh, for sure. It’s extremely rare for kids from well-adjusted, healthy homes to act not just as bullies but as bullies violent and extreme enough to warrant a restraining order and what sounds like lots of other legal trouble. The kid learned it somewhere, and now we know where, at least in part. Kind of makes me feel sorry for the kid and I really hope someone intervenes and they turn it around, instead of perpetuating that kind of dysfunction and cruelty for more generations.

  4. Donkey Hotey*

    Yowza! I try to give people the benefit of the doubt but refusing fingerprinting really makes me wonder what else is going on there.

  5. DeskApple*

    this may be the most beautiful update I’ve ever read on this site. your son is a true hero!

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      Just want to point out that the LW used they/them pronouns when talking about their child, so I don’t think their child is their son.

      1. DeskApple*

        this is a good catch! I only can skim on my phone in between projects so for some reason I thought Timmy was name of OP’s child.

        1. Jennifer Strange*

          Yeah, I had the same issue when I was re-reading the original post. It happens!

  6. A Simple Narwhal*

    About as good an update as you could hope to get given the circumstances, I’m glad your family is healing.

    It’s one thing if Jane had been truly remorseful about her and her child’s behavior and was trying to just be a good employee and move on with her life, but the fact that she actively tried to damage OP’s reputation and threaten her employment shows me she only regrets the consequences and not her actions. Good riddance, may she stay far away from OP.

    1. ferrina*

      Yes! So glad the company supported OP, and Jane clearly was about to be fired and showed herself out. I’m so glad it was resolved quickly and OP is able to move on with their life.

    2. Project Maniac-ger*

      Yeah it was disappointing to hear that Jane did not take the high road there.

    3. Ro*

      Sometimes a child is a bully because their parents are awful (not always lovely parents can have problematic kids) but it is often behaviour they are copying or their parents are rubbish at parenting and never teach their kids about the impact of their actions.

  7. Richard Hershberger*

    I don’t see how any of the bullying stuff would show up on a background check on her. I wonder whether her not going is due to flakiness, because there is something else back there, or she isn’t smart enough to realize that there isn’t. None of these suggest she is someone you would want as an employee.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Flaking on multiple, repeated reminders? Pushing back? Risk of losing job if she didn’t? My guess is that there was something there that she didn’t want found.

      1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

        It’s possible she knew that passing a background was a non-starter because of other incidents.

        1. Ellie*

          Yes, this has got to be it. Otherwise, why not attend and get fingerprinted, instead of ghosting? Whatever it was, it was bad enough that she knew her only chance was to avoid having it done at all.

          Or of course, the other possibility… her fingerprints are on file somewhere because she committed a crime that she was never caught for. If she lets them fingerprint her, she puts her hands up for the earlier crime. I have an acquaintance that got caught that way… he committed some minor harassment that involved sending letters to people, and the police ran a DNA check on the paper. Matched a series of burglaries and assaults against women going back ten years. We can only speculate what her problem was, but given the history, not much would surprise me.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            Right? I’d have just gone, but then I know that if you run a background check on me or run my fingerprints you’re not going to find anything juicy.

    2. WellRed*

      I think the background check would have revealed the on the record court warning at the least.

      1. Phony Genius*

        According to the original letter, the restraining order was against Jane’s son, not Jane. I don’t know if a court order against a minor shows up on background check of the parent.

        It was not made clear in the original letter if the bullying extended to the bully’s parents. However, this update shows that to be the case (at least with one parent).

      2. Curious*

        I don’t think so. The “on the record” reference seems like it would show up on the transcript of the proceeding for the restraining order against the kid — and thus could be used as evidence in a future proceeding against Jane — but is unlikely to be indexed with reference to Jane, and so I wouldn’t expect it to show up in a background check for Jane.

      3. KaciHall*

        per federal regulations (FCRA) only convictions or recent dismissals can be reported on background checks for employment. arrests, contempt of court, that sort of thing will not be reported. only actual charges with disposition cases in the last seven years (some states may be more restrictive).

        that said, I know this because I work for a company that does background checks. Jane probably isn’t aware of what will and won’t be reported.

      4. Garblesnark*

        I’ve received and processed many background check reports in my day and never seen anything like that. It’s possible Jane was worried about it – many people have misconceptions about background checks – but it would surprise me if that disqualified her.

        Personally, in Jane’s position, I would have likely gone to the background check appointment close to the 30-day deadline; they take time to process, and this seems like the sort of company that would let someone work while the report is being run.

        (Unless of course her whole goal was to be a thorn in the LW’s side or something.)

    3. Prgrmmngr*

      the bullying stuff may not be apparent on the background check, but I’m guessing this is one of those families where the kid’s horrible behaviors have been developed by observing their parents

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Maybe, maybe not? If I recall (and I’m going to go re-read) correctly, Jane was officially warned on the record. I have no idea if that would or would not show up on a background check.

        Given the pattern of her behavior, I honestly wonder “what else is there that even the LW doesn’t know about?” because its all bananapants.

      2. Goldenrod*

        Wow! What a fantastic update on so many levels. As someone who lacks faith in HR, it’s nice to see a story where HR did the right thing.

        Also: I have to think that OP’s child’s bully learned their behaviors directly from Jane. She clearly has some skeletons in her closet.

        Amazing!! Thanks for the great update, OP! I am so glad this worked out the way it did.

    4. BethRA*

      In the original post, OP mentioned that Jane’s own behavior was bad enough that she was almost included in the restraining order. It’s possible that what she did to earn that warning would show up on a background check, or that she has a history of awful behavior beyond the bullying case, or both.

      1. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

        Right, this. Human behavior is all about patterns. So sad that cycles of abusive awful behavior tend to keep perpetuating, but I’m happy for the LW that this insanely bad coincidence was resolved! It’s the stuff of nightmares.

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        Awful people do awful things repeatedly, and to multiple people. They don’t stop doing awful things even when the law intervenes. Plus, they pass the awfulness on to their kids (as in this situation). I’d bet Jane has plenty of restraining orders she’s earned on her own.

    5. Petty_Boop*

      The OP said in the original letter that at one point Jane “acted out as badly as her bullying son” (paraphrasing) and almost got put on the restraining order herself, but was instead “warned on the record.” While that may or may not show up on a background check, my guess is Jane feared it would, OR since she’s clearly not mother of the year, she may have similar anger or other issues that resulted in actual charges that WOULD show up. All my complete speculation of course!

    6. Anon Office Drone*

      I’m curious about that as well. Did she keep going to work those 10 days, or did she flake after that day’s no-show at the appointment?

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        OP writes that Jane didn’t answer any calls or contact attempts after the the no-show, so I’m guessing she did flake after that. What a terrible excuse for a human.

    7. Rainy*

      Timmy’s bullying wouldn’t show up on Jane’s bg check, but Jane retaliating against other parents the way it sounds like she did against LW might, if Jane did things like assault them, damage their property, etc. But if Jane is generally combative (as it sounds like she is), she may have been arrested for assault previously, and if she has impulse control issues etc she may also have a record for DUI, shoplifting, or something else that would show up.

    8. jasmine*

      I don’t think the thing with the restraining order is enough to guarantee losing her job. I’m guessing there was something else concerning that would’ve showed up, bad enough that she knew for sure she would’ve be able to keep the job. Or maybe it was a lapse in judgement. Who knows.

    9. Irish Teacher.*

      Obviously I am only speculating here, but given the combination of her avoiding the fingerprinting/background check, her child’s bullying and her own support for that bullying, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she had a history of aggressive or criminal behaviour.

      While there are many reason children bully, not all of them related to parenting, not by a long shot and while there are plenty of children whose parents have issues with aggression or involved in criminality who are lovely kids (I teach a few of these), possible causes of bullying do include imitating the behaviour of parents and other adults in their life, having adults in their life encourage them to treat certain groups (such as minorities) poorly and acting out how they are treated themselves.

      Given her attitude towards her child’s bullying (it seems like she went beyond condoning it and into actively engaging in it), her behaviour in this job (spreading lies about the LW) and her avoidance of a background check, I’d say there’s a good chance one of those is true and that she has a history of behaving in ways that might possibly show up on a background check.

      Not that it really matters beyond being yet another reason that the outcome was the best for everybody. This is definitely not somebody any company wants working for them.

      1. Boof*

        Yes exactly; it’s out of LW’s hands but I do feel a little bad for Jane’s kid(s?); not excusing their behavior at all nor does it impact what LW needed to do (well, really sad the SCHOOL didn’t handle it WTF). Just sad.

    10. Observer*

      I don’t see how any of the bullying stuff would show up on a background check on her.

      She was formally reprimanded by the court, so that could be a possibility. But I also strongly suspect that there was more that might show up. She claimed that the LW slept with her husband, blowing up her marriage. Which means that there was a divorce in there somewhere. And given her behavior with the LW’s family, I imagine that the divorce was not anywhere near amicable.

      because there is something else back there,

      I would say that this is absolutely the most likely scenario.

      1. Evan Þ*

        I don’t think we can depend on her telling the truth even about there really being a divorce.

        But yeah, that part isn’t unlikely.

    11. Resentful Oreos*

      She kept blowing off reminders – not just one reminder, but *multiple* reminders. That goes beyond “flakiness” or executive dysfunction into she’s doing this on purpose. Calendars with reminders exist, and, people who want to keep their jobs are going to input “get fingerprinted at Location X on Y date at Z time” in their calendars with a reminder.

      Jane flaked and flaked and flaked again. She definitely had something to hide, and it went far beyond little Timmy’s juvie stuff.

    12. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      The on the record warning wouldn’t show up on a background check.

      But given the things she was saying about OP, this is not her first run in with someone she didn’t like. I would bet you dollars to donuts, that she has a criminal record and it is not minor like a marijuana conviction or a minor in possession thing.

  8. Elle*

    I would venture a guess that the fingerprint would have turned up something in her past….

  9. WellRed*

    Happy for this update both personally and professionally, though I’m a bit disappointed that the company was willing to keep Jane, despite not only past history but current behavior badmouthing OP. God knows what the background check would have turned up!

    1. ferrina*

      I don’t know if they were willing to keep Jane. It sounds like the more the company learned about Jane, the more they wanted her out. By the time OP came forward, Jane was on borrowed time anyways (from the background check), and it was easiest on OP and the company to just let Jane leave due to failure to get a background check. That’s something where OP’s name stays out of it and Jane is still out of the company. If Jane had gotten the background check and stayed, the company would have probably taken bigger action to either push Jane out or switch her to another team.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        That’s how I read it as well….someone from perhaps legal looked at it and said “lets just let this play out to see if we can do this the easy way first….”

        1. Observer*

          I’d be willing to bet that this was *exactly* what happened. And why not? Much less stressful for everyone.

          1. Petty_Boop*

            And with the added benefit of no blowback on anyone, especially the OP, no ability to blame the OP on Jane’s part and start a nonsense lawsuit, etc… Just a quiet-ish disappearance with her tail between her legs.

            1. 1-800-BrownCow*

              Additionally, no chance of Jane trying to get unemployment. If she doesn’t meet the requirements for employment, either by not getting the background check or failing the background check, she would be denied for unemployment.

      2. Sneaky Squirrel*

        This is how I read it as well; the company sounds like it was already knew they would have to terminate on a simpler, more clear-cut manner and chose to see if that would more easily resolve the issue. It is very likely that terminating for cause would have taken much more steps because they would have had to ensure there was proper documentation in place should Jane attempt to take legal action.

      3. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yeah, I think the company knew she was digging her own grave and they didn’t have to do anything aside from letting her keep digging. And if the company had really wanted to keep Jane on, they maybe could’ve given her slightly more leeway wrt the background check, but since they’d spoken to OP and they were already wary b/c of the predecessor who hired her, they held firm to their policy. And she just…let it happen. I’m sure she honestly didn’t want to work with OP anyway, but if that were true I don’t know why she didn’t just gracefully resign instead of ghosting them. (I mean, I know why, bc she’s a terrible person, but that was not a good move, Jane.)

    2. Sparkles McFadden*

      This is actually the textbook way of handling things like this. The company did everything in the right way. They let Jane blow herself up and kept the LW out of it. It’s all hard facts that Jane can’t spin. Jane didn’t comply with company policy, so no one anywhere can claim “Oh, it’s because of her history with LW.” They also had Jane report to Sam, thus removing LW from the situation. If Jane had actually gone for the fingerprinting, and the background check miraculously came back clean (which I doubt), HR and legal would have found another way to cut Jane loose.

      I always do my level best to avoid HR, because HR exists to protect the company, not the employees. That said, I always feel bad for the HR people because they deal with crazy people like Jane all day, everyday. They have to follow procedures even if the procedures go against what they, personally, would want to do.

  10. Panda*

    I’m so happy the situation resolved itself fairly quickly and that your family is doing well!

  11. Dust Bunny*

    Okay, now I’m wondering what else Jane has in her past besides conflict with the OP.

    Hunh. Well, I guess that worked out in the end.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      From the original post, Jane behaved badly enough in that situation to almost get a restraining order (her bullying son actually got one). The judge went with a written warning, on record, instead

      She is not a nice, kind, or balanced person

      1. Berin*

        I would also add that bullies are usually not born, they’re made. Given her child’s behavior, not surprised to see Jane flame out in this way.

        1. Bear in the Sky*

          Her child’s behavior, and how she responded to it. She didn’t say, “I’m appalled at Timmy acting like this, I’m so sorry, I’m at my wit’s end with him myself,” or anything like that. If she’d handled it that way, she wouldn’t have been almost included in the restraining order.

          And… her kid isn’t just the usual kind of kid bully. It’s rare for kids bullying other kids to go so far that the law gets involved, let alone a restraining order *against the kid* being handed down. For that to happen, it has to be way extreme.

  12. Nebula*

    So glad to get an update on this one and wow, Jane is a real piece of work. All the best for the future, LW.

  13. OtterB*

    I don’t know what shows up in a background check, but Alison’s recap of the original post said LW had to involve the police and get a restraining order.

    1. Petty_Boop*

      But the restraining order was against Timmy. Mom (Jane) was only given a “warning on the record” for also being “almost as bad” as Timmy at one point. She may have feared that official warning would show up.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Or she might have other Bad Stuff on her record that she didn’t want them to see.

      2. Ama*

        I think a lot of people don’t know what information a background check actually pulls — Jane knew she’d been involved with the legal system so she might have thought everything about the situation with her son would come up.

        Jane also had already told lies about the OP so even if she thought OP hadn’t yet said anything about the bully situation, Jane might have believed the background check would reveal the actual truth about their history.

  14. dorothy zbornak*

    I am so glad this worked out for you and your family! Also, kudos to your kiddo for getting involved in anti-bullying, that is amazing.

    1. m0rgan*

      Could be wrong, but I read that as Jane ghosting not only the appointment but her job as well. Here’s hoping the LW doesn’t have to deal with her ever again.

    2. knitcrazybooknut*

      The OP said: she enthusiastically agreed to go. And didn’t. And never returned any calls or contact attempts from HR or Sam, which was honestly the best way this could have washed out.

      This is usually classified as a “no-call, no-show” and is considered a voluntary termination. Additionally, if she didn’t go to the fingerprinting and 30 days had passed, she didn’t complete her required onboarding tasks, which is another way to terminate her employment.

  15. SleeplessKJ*

    Pretty sure that background check would have brought up the restraining order. And probably more.

    1. Petty_Boop*

      It woudn’t as the restraining order wasn’t against Jane, but against her son, Timmy.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I don’t think a restraining order against a child wouldn’t have the parents’ names on it though.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      You know what’s interesting? I was curious if a family member’s restraining order would show up on a background check and in my google search I’m finding that they don’t show up even on your own background check if you have one because they are civil orders and not criminal convictions. Who knew? (Not me, but IANAL.) (And that means I could be wrong about this so mea culpa if so.)

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Correction: I think it depends on what kind of background check you’re getting, because court stuff can appear on some kinds of background checks. But in any case, it is good to know (not necessarily good, just good to know) that restraining orders don’t appear on criminal records. And who knows if Jane knew that already and maybe it’s because she didn’t that she never got fingerprinted.

        Anyway, good riddance to Jane! May she step barefoot on a hundred Legos a week.

      2. doreen*

        That depend on exactly what “background check ” means and who exactly is running it. I used to run criminal histories when I worked at a state agency, and I would get information regarding restraining orders, even expired ones, even from other states . I would know if someone applied for various sorts of licenses or if they had a previous “rap sheet” run because they applied for employment that required it ( as a child care worker for example) But what a state agency can see when performing a legally required background check is not necessarily what a private company can find out.

  16. I should really pick a name*

    I’m very curious as to why the LW’s predecessor was actively supporting Jane in avoiding the background check.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      I don’t think they were so much supporting Jane as just bad at their job. LW said they replaced that person for a lot of reasons. Wouldn’t surprise me if they’d let others slide on the background check, but those people were decent and took care of things when the mistake was found.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Jane had been given a 30-day grace period from HR to get fingerprinted, missed multiple appointments, and had been pushing back on it with my predecessor’s support

        That’s a step past negligence.

    2. Nea*

      Considering Jane’s go-to of immediately slandering LW, I could see Jane working on the previous supervisor’s sympathies with a tale of woe about how Jane and her family were the victims of false charges, so please overlook this one little bit of paperwork…

      Or maybe the previous person was just lazy and didn’t want to deal with stuff like that in more than Jane’s case.

      Either way, congratulations to LW and enjoy that vacation!

  17. My Boss is Dumber than Yours*

    I’m really glad to hear that Jane is out of that job. I’m truly hopeful she never works again and her entire family spends the rest of their lives penniless and miserable.

  18. Ex-prof*

    So glad you’re safely out of that! And dollars to donuts Jane’s fingerprints match those of some crime(s) in the cold case file…

    1. UnCivilServant*

      In this case, it’s more slander than libel, and there were no actual damage caused as nobody believed the slander, so the courts wouldn’t have any remedy to order.

    2. Ess Ess*

      Agreed. There were many witnesses that could attest to Jane’s attempts to sabotage OPs career with false stories so there would definitely be a case there. But I can understand OP wanting to limit any more exposure to Jane. However, I wonder if OP can reach out to the judge that gave the formal warning to see if there are any repercussions for continuing the behavior after the legal warning?

    3. Petty_Boop*

      Would actually be slander, which is spoken, versus libel which is written, e.g in a newspaper/tabloid. And in this case, if the OP’s colleagues were willing to testify to what she’d said to them, the OP might’ve had a case. BUT she’d also have to prove that damage was done to her career, reputation, earning potential, lost a promotion as a result, whatever. And it sounds like her team and company (thankfully) had her back so there was no blowback from Jane’s outlandish slander!

    4. Shoot another shot, try to stop the feeling*

      Slander, not libel.

      Slander is spoken, libel is legible.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yes, I confused slander with libel. I knew in my head but typed the wrong one while trying to keep them straight. LOL

    5. Clisby*

      Not in the U.S. (although sounds like this would be slander, not libel.) Lying about someone is not slander/libel in itself. Proving that requires proving your reputation was actually damaged, and it doesn’t sound like that happened here.

    6. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      It wouldn’t even be worth it. The best possible outcome here is for OP is to never have to see Jane again, not become involved in a legal battle with her.

      1. Observer*


        Especially since you need to prove damages in order to win anything – and I’d also bet that Jane is effectively judgement proof.

    7. Pescadero*

      It’s easy to sue for slander.

      It’s hard to win – mainly because you have to be able to show damages.

      1. Pony tailed wonder*

        I wonder if it would be advisable for the OP to ask HR to take a note of the slander for possible future reference. Who knows what Jane will do in the future and I think the company might want to cover themselves more, just in case.

  19. Juicebox Hero*

    This was one I’d been hoping/dreading for an update on, and I’m thrilled to see that things are going so well for you and your kiddo.

    Dreading because so often the a-holes in these situations are so good at twisting the truth and making themselves look innocent or even like they the victim, and the target has to give up and retreat because they just can’t win. I’m always happy when my cynical side is wrong :)

  20. m0rgan*

    Sounds like she had a lot more to hide then just her family’s past with yours.

    Sorry you had to go through all that & glad to know you’re family is doing well. Onward and upward – hope you have no more encounters with Jane and her family.

  21. CzechMate*

    Sounds like………………………..your child’s bully may have learned some things from mom. That’s incredibly sad (and kind of frightening–it sounds like she may have some questionable legal things in her past in addition to your legal battle) but it’s great to hear that you were backed up and that she’s out of your life!

  22. RecoveringSWO*

    I bet if OP sued Jane for defamation, the court would be inclined to add Jane to the restraining order. But I’m sure it’s much better for this saga to end as-is with all parties moving on, especially since OP and her lovely kiddo are doing well. That said, OP you may want to just double check that HR and Sam have some sort of contemporaneous notes about Jane’s false accusations. That way, if trouble restarts, you have evidence from a third-party of this further history of bad behavior. Hopefully it’s not needed, and your family can continue thriving!!!

    1. Boof*

      it’s probably not a bad idea for LW to save some sort of official documentation/witness references of what Jane did in case she does somehow pop up again in LW’s life / the restraining order comes back into play for some reason. It seems unlikely but given it’s apparently a small world and Jane’s already caused LW serious grief twice, if LW can just save a few things now, well, they’re ready to go if something happens again.

    2. 1-800-BrownCow*

      I’m no expert, but I don’t think OP can sue Jane for defamation. Definition of defamation states that the statement made against a person must damage that person’s reputation. OP said she laughed when Sam told her what Jane had said and that everyone else on the team was skeptical as they all had worked with Jane off and on over the years. While Jane very much seemed to be trying to damage OP’s reputation, OP basically says that Jane did not. While Jane is a horrible person for making false claims like that and attempting to make OP look bad, it’s not really something OP can sue her for. If Jane’s lies had caused OP to lose her job, major financial loss, ruined her family or anything else damaging to her life, then she might have a case to sue Jane.

  23. Dasein9 (he/him)*

    I’m so glad to hear you and your family are thriving, LW. Given the way Jane went on the offensive regarding you and failed to do the background check, I’d suggest hiring a private investigator to confirm she’s not up to any other nefarious stuff that concerns you or your family. It would probably be wise to keep a very close eye on identity security, etc.

  24. Water Everywhere*

    This is the best possible update! I’m happy you & your family are doing well.

  25. zolk*

    Joining, I’m sure many commentors, to note I am DEEPLY curious what would’ve turned up in the background check if she had gone to get fingerprinted. Clearly there’s more going on!

    I’m so happy for OP and their kiddo who can both rest a little easier now. And the colleagues, too! Imagine having this new person coming in and trying to start something! So stressful.

  26. AnonInCanada*

    I’m glad everything turned out as best at it could, considering the circumstances. I’m happy that you and your kid will be able to look forward from this, and that this is the last you have to deal with Jane and her bully kid. Hmm, wonder where the kid gets their behaviour traits from? Something something apple not falling far from the tree something something.

    I also hope, now that your employer knows what they need to know about your tumultuous relationship with Jane, that they make sure everyone in your building is aware she is persona non grata, and that police should be called if she steps foot on the property.

  27. Awkwardness*

    Hooray for OP! So glad this issue is resolved.

    On a side note, I am always amazed how often a situation gets resolved due to details that have nothing our little to do with the original problem.

  28. Fluffy Fish*

    Not only is it likely she had something that would have popped on the background check, with the old manager going so hard to basically help her avoid it, it sounds like she told him some sobb story and he fell for it. i mean not having it done in the first place could be just plain incompetence but actively supporting her not going is something else entirely.

    something similar happened with an employee we hired – hiring manager knew they couldnt access a certain secure location but believed the sob story and thought he could just sneak him through with a “he’s with me”.

    regardless no longer your monkey.

    1. Goldenrod*

      “Sounds like Jane was avoiding the background check for a reason.”

      Yeah! A couple of the lessons here:

      1) Always do the background check!
      2) When a toxic person badmouths you, it won’t always work if your peers already know and value you.

      1. NeonFireworks*

        Around 1998, one of my colleagues found a security loophole, broke into my work email, and sent some interpersonal rubbish to a third party.

        The third party responded, “I know for a fact this didn’t come from NeonFireworks. What’s going on?”

  29. Nilsson Schmilsson*

    A great finale to a horrible, horrible situation. All the best to you and your family, OP!

  30. CR Heads*

    Glad Jane is gone. Separately, I’ve never heard of getting fingerprinted for a background check. I guess this must be some kind of government or law enforcement position?

    1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      I’ve had it done for work at a college, a daycare, and for temp work.

    2. Seashell*

      I think my spouse was fingerprinted when going to work for a large financial institution. I don’t know if that’s commonplace, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some do that.

    3. Willem Dafriend*

      Not necessarily, I got fingerprinted for the background check for a camp counselor job in college because I was working with kids, and for another college job where I was working with rare books. Both of those were 10-15 years ago, so it’s probably even more common now in jobs where there’s a lot of trust involved.

    4. anonprofit*

      IIRC I had to do it for a temp admin job at a factory. Getting it done was such a pain that I considered backing out of the placement.

      1. Resentful Oreos*

        I’m lucky that there are LiveScan places near me. Otherwise it would depend on how long the job was. If it was for just a week-long job, yeah, that’s a big ask unless the temp agency now has the prints and this means you are cleared for every job. But if it’s longer and/or this means “no more prints ever because they have them on hand now” then I’d suck it up and get it done.

    5. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      When I used to work for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, anyone working with children had to be fingerprinted. Volunteers and employees.

    6. STG*

      All of my employees have to go through it because of regulations regarding criminal justice information. We don’t work in law enforcement specifically but we do support them.

    7. BeachGlue*

      I’ve had to get fingerprinted at every job that involves working with children, or where the company works with children (even if I don’t have any interaction with the kids… think off-site administration for a non-profit that supports children, even though I never had any contact with any of the children the non-profit served). I believe there’s some big FBI database of all these fingerprints.

      1. Petty Betty*

        I also have to do it volunteering for the ren fair because I work with kids.

    8. allathian*

      I’ve never had to get fingerprinted for a security check at a job, and I work for the government in Finland and sometimes work with data that’s covered by GDPR.

      But I have a EU-ID that’s valid for traveling within the Schengen area, and the only country I might like to travel to that isn’t on that list is the UK, and that means that the fingerprint of my right index finger is on file somewhere. I’ll get a passport if I’m traveling to the UK.

      The cops will only take my fingerprints if I get arrested, or possibly for elimination purposes at a crime scene.

  31. Csethiro Ceredin*

    Wow, Jane really worked with OP to show who the problem was! I’m glad to see such a happy ending.

    No wonder Jane’s kid is a horrible bully with such examples.

  32. TJames*

    Unfortunately, it’s unlikely Jane will see this as a wake up call and realize that she’s now being held responsible for her bad acts and that she needs to change her ways. This will likely only add to her sense of victimhood, her belief that she and her family are being persecuted, that their rights are being violated, that “those people” are out to get her. She’ll respond by putting on her red cap and doubling down on her obnoxious behavior.

    1. Resentful Oreos*

      And Timmy will emulate his mom’s behavior, and learn to be a “piece of work” just like Mommy. Because parents are our first teachers.

    1. Crystal Clair*

      No indication yet as to whether Jane was fired but it looks like it is heading that way. I imagine Jane will have a massive meltdown when that happens.

    2. WellRed*

      She never got fingerprinted and ignored follow up calls from the company so I think she’s definitely gone.

    3. Observer*

      The LW says that she ghosted the company. So, all’s well that end’s well… Or the trash took itself out.

    4. Petty Patty*

      From OP’s description, it sounds like Jane never returned to the office after she blew off yet another fingerprinting appointment.

    5. Petty Betty*

      She skipped her final fingerprint scheduling, ghosted the company’s calls and never came back to the office. If it were me, I would consider her as walking off the job site and no-call, no-show; so quit with no notice, ineligible for rehire.

      1. 1-800-BrownCow*

        At my company, and other places I’ve worked, a no call/no show for 3 days is considered voluntary termination of employment.

  33. Nat20*

    I reread the inital post before the update, and I was so nervous for you all over again. But this is one of the best updates possible! All was basically resolved on its own, without any awkward or explosive confrontations or further hassle for you. Amazing!

    (With a mom like that, I’m *shocked* that her kid is such a bully. Shocked, I tell you. /s)

  34. Resentful Oreos*

    Oh wow, Jane, like mother like son I guess! You can see where Timmy learned his lack of morals and conscience! It also sounds like the former HR director was protecting Jane for whatever reason, which is immaterial now, as he’s gone and so is Jane.

    Jane repeatedly dodging fingerprinting appointments was a huge red flag. I had to be fingerprinted, decades ago, and it was still so easy; lots of places will do the “livescan” method (no messy ink). Fifteen whole minutes out of my day after work, once. No reason to keep flaking out on fingerprinting unless there is something to hide.

    I’m glad all this got more or less organically resolved on its own without the LW having to do much or go through a whole lot of trouble. The trash took itself out! (Literally in Jane’s case!) And LW’s kid is thriving and doing good. I’m glad for LW and kid that it all worked out quite easily.

    There was probably all sorts of shenanigans by Jane and/or Former HR that got covered up or let slide during their tenure there. Good riddance!

  35. Irish Teacher.*

    Sounds like things worked out as well as possible, given the situation. I am really glad to hear that. And your kid sounds absolutely awesome, using their experiences to help others.

  36. Adrina*

    I hesitate to believe any word Jane says but I would not be surprised if her husband had in fact left her because of this whole situation – what with her having had to move to another part of the county as well.

    1. UnCivilServant*

      Makes me wonder how big the county in question actually is. In my corner of the country, they’re fairly small and a reasonable commute could cross several. In others out west, they get larger than some states.

      1. UnCivilServant*

        Sorry, that was assuming a US locale. Other countries also have counties of varying size.

      2. 1-800-BrownCow*

        I agree, the county may not be that big. I could easily move to the other side of my county and still work at my current job. I live and work on the very east side of my county but between the size of the county, the turnpike crossing my county (and an exit very close to my work), and the highway systems, my commute to my current job would not be that difficult from the west side of the county, where some of my coworkers do live. My husband actually commutes 2 counties away from where we live to his job, so I can easily see that Jane may still live where she did before, but got a job at OP’s place of work on that side of the county. Sounds like basically OP’s family moved just to get their son in another school district will a little distance between their new school and the old school, but still stayed fairly local. They possibly have family in the area or other connections and didn’t want to move too far.

    2. Industry Behemoth*

      Agree about Jane’s husband possibly having left her. He could be a good person who stayed in a bad marriage, for any number of reasons. Then this bullying nightmare finally convinced him to get the heck out.

  37. TiggerTime*

    One thing I was concerned about when reading. The original letter was that if Jane took a job in the OP’s workplace, that means her family now lives in the area and the child in question might end up back in the victim school. I’m very pleased to see with this update that that does not appear to be the case.

  38. Cookingcutie*

    As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s wonderful when rotten people get their comeuppance. As they also say, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. This reminds me of the story where a man was cut off and given the finger in traffic to walk in to see that he was interviewing the offender.

  39. Puggles*

    This is the kind of update I enjoy reading. I’m glad things worked out for you and your family.

  40. K*

    I am SO HAPPY to read this! This has been one of the letters I have not been able to stop thinking about and I am so glad to hear you have a supportive workplace, and most importantly, that your child is doing so well!

  41. AnonX*

    Should OP perhaps seek a restraining order against Jane and the entire family for OP and her entire family? It is possible Jane got the job just to attempt to torpedo OP. Her child didn’t learn the terrible behavior from nowhere. I can believe given the child’s terrible behavior that Jane was seeking revenge and will try again. I also wonder if she didn’t tell OP’s predessor some sob story about OP and how Jane wouldn’t pass the check because of OP but it wasn’t fair, etc.

  42. Procedure Publisher*

    This update was appreciated. Sounds like Jane knew a background check would turn up something that would not look good on her.

  43. Bookworm*

    I remember this letter, OP and I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that, even if it seems to be working out, professionally and personally. Jane sounds like…a lot.

  44. MassChick*

    Thank you for this hopeful update. I’m so glad you at least had a supportive work environment after going through a horrifying ordeal. Hope your child continues to thrive.

  45. It Actually Takes a Village*

    I held my breath reading this update.

    I’m so relieved for you, OP, and so happy for your family. Your son sounds like an amazing person. I hope you have a wonderful summer and holiday!

Comments are closed.