workplace practices

is it OK to put up a Christmas tree at work?

A reader writes: I work at a public university, and together with a few colleagues, I supervise a group of graduate students who work in a shared lab office space. Our lab space is a little dreary — there are no windows, and there’s a fair amount of dusty old academic detritus. To add a […]

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how can I stop my employees from giving me holiday gifts?

A reader writes: With the holiday season approaching, I need some advice. I agree with you that gifts in the office should only flow down (managers can give gifts to employees, but employees shouldn’t give gifts to managers because of the power dynamic). My office used to collect funds to purchase something for the owner […]

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do I have to chip in $100 for a Christmas gift for our boss?

A reader writes: My coworkers in my department like to give one another gifts for various events and holidays, like birthdays. It is a nice thought, and typically the contributions are small ($5 to pitch in for one gift card), but for Christmas, we all chip in to buy a gift for our boss. It’s a minimum […]

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do I have to drink to fit in at work?

A reader writes: I’m an intern doing a semester at a company with a prominent drinking culture among employees. Most of my coworkers go out to the local bar multiple times a week on work nights, and some have even come to work very hungover two or three times in a week. I once overheard […]

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I’m in recovery and my office just moved above a bar

A reader writes: I recently quit drinking and I am four months sober. It’s been going well for the most part, but my job has just relocated to an office space that is directly above a bar. Upon signing the lease papers, our very small office (less than 10 people) went down to the bar […]

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my boss goes overboard for Halloween

A reader writes: I’ve worked six years for a man who goes way over the top with Halloween. Our office becomes a haunted dungeon with spooky lighting, a disturbing soundtrack, gothic pictures and dust covers, and toys that use sensors to jump out at people and make loud noises. For reasons I don’t understand, my […]

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should I ask my employer to take down a Blue Lives Matter flag?

A reader writes: I am a C-level employee at a multi-state company that has more than 50 but fewer than 100 employees. Recently, we started a social media campaign to show all the amazing things our coworkers do outside of the office — side businesses, hobbies, etc. One of our employees makes beautiful, wood-crafted American […]

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