Open Thread

by epi on December 12, 2012

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil December 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

Q: A coworker recently quit. A friend knew of this and shared it with me before the boss knew. Once the person gave notice the boss found out that I knew beforehand. When I was called in and asked if I knew I told her that I had. The boss then asked if I had heard this specifically from my friend. I told her that had heard it from them. They are now saying that I was out of line and feels I should have lied to the boss. The boss is not know for her forgiving nature and can be very vendictive. Was I out of line by not covering for her?

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Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Your boss should not be hounding you and your fellow employees about another person quitting. That person would have quit no matter what, and it is not legal for the boss to fire someone or harass them because they think they know they’re going to quit. However, your mistake was to let on that you ever knew. Then, when you were asked by your boss, you should have said “It doesn’t matter how I knew, it wasn’t information I could share with you anyway.” People are free to quit whenever they like. It does sound as though you were caught between a rock and a hard place, but since you did spill the beans to your boss, your coworkers are now not likely to share information with you in the future. Perhaps that is for the best, since apparently “knowing things” is an offense in your place of business. I would apologize to your coworker, and say that you felt put on the spot and had to make a difficult decision. That would help smooth things over, even if you felt you did what you had to.

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Jerry December 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm

(Actually, in most cases, it is legal to fire someone before they quit. Just sayin’ . . .)

No, Phil, you were not out of line. No one should put you in a situation where you have to lie to the boss. Elizabeth’s line that “It doesn’t matter how I knew, it wasn’t information I could share with you anyway,” but with a vindictive boss, you should be ready for retaliation.

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Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Right. Since most work is at-will, either party can terminate that employment at any time. It’s not ethical, though!

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Phil December 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hi,
I appreciate that in most situtations you wouldn’t be asked but the issue is that the person quittting told the boss after the fact that other people knew and named names. Add to the fact that the boss already knew who it was and it spelled (to me anyways) that it was a setup to catch me in a lie since she has fired people for less I am glad I went with my gut instict. As far as blabbing I don’t share information with anyone (except in this case).

Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

What a mess. It sounds like a really dysfunctional work environment. I’m glad you made it through the situation unscathed.

Jerry December 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm

So let me get this straight: the person who wanted you to lie for her had already told the boss that you knew? With friends like that, who needs enemies.

Robert December 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Is cursive more appropriate for a thank you note. Or letter to a friend. Than print?

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Winifred Rosenburg December 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Ideally, cursive is preferable. However some people’s cursive is difficult to read so if your print is more legible, go ahead and print.

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Katharine December 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Q: My SO (male) has a female friend and former girlfriend (Luisa) that I have a bad first impression of, even though we haven’t met yet. She drinks heavily and acts inappropriately and rudely towards him and other people I care about. She has gone so far as to put me down and undermine things that I have achieved to my SO. On one occasion when alcohol was involved and Luisa slept over at his house (along with some other friends), she got undressed, got into his bed, and asked him to join her. My SO also disapproves of her behavior and respects that I feel uncomfortable, but since she lives on the other side of the country, he says he doesn’t see her enough to feel justified in cutting her out of his life entirely. Since I respect him and his choices, I am fine with their friendship as long as I never have to see her.

However, Luisa is coming home for the holidays, and my SO and some mutual friends are planning an evening out that involves her. I feel that judging Luisa before I meet her would only be stooping to her level, and insisting that she be excluded from the festivities would be petty. I am confused and apprehensive about how I should act while I am with her, especially if she acts inappropriately. Is it uncalled-for for me to assertively (but not aggressively) confront her if things get out of hand? Please advise.

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Country Girl December 14, 2012 at 5:13 am

I’d like to be honest with you Katharine, if another woman put me down before meeting me as well as tried to cheat with my SO, I would feel perfectly justified in never giving her another chance. Besides having more than 3 strikes (from what you’ve said) it seems really obvious that she still has feelings for him. There is no good reason I can see for you and your SO to involve yourselves in that kind of mess. Because of my own experiences, I also want to be honest in that hearing you say that he “doesn’t feel justified to cut her out of his life” would be a huge red flag for me. She has put down his significant other and tried to engage him in cheating! Either one of those on their own is more than enough justification to cut her out of his life. And since she doesn’t live nearby, it really takes far less effort to cut her out of his life than it does to keep her in it. While you say that SO respects that you feel uncomfortable, if he is so bold to ask you to spend an evening with this foul woman, then I would say he is sort of proving that he does not.

If that is how you really feel too, please know that it is ok. (It has taken me more than one bad relationship to learn that always being agreeable doesn’t make you a great girlfriend, but respecting yourself does.) If you feel that something is wrong or uncomfortable, it is ok to say so and stand up for yourself. You can say “Honey, you know that Luisa has put down both you and me and very clearly tried to ruin our relationship. I just can’t see a good reason to get to know or spend any amount of time with someone like that. Let’s plan to get together with the rest of the group another night.” If SO loves and respects you, your voice will be heard.

That said: if by some chance you get the impression that this is a good person who had some out-of-character missteps (em, I don’t), and by some chance you do want to attend an evening with her (I wouldn’t), I think you should have a chat first so you can get on the same page before this event. Let him know that you plan to go in open-minded, but if at anytime you feel uncomfortable you should BOTH be prepared to cut the evening short. (Again if it were me, it sounds pretty clear that she still has feelings for him and will act inappropriately, so I would avoid the situation in its entirety.)

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Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I think there was someone in the middle of all of that. Quitting person told coworker B who told the OP. Still – I wouldn’t trust the lot of them.

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Jerry December 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Not the way I read it, but you’re right not to trust them.

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