My Co-Worker Shoplifts

images-177Dear Evil Skippy:

I stopped at a drug store with one of my co-workers during our lunch break a few days ago. While we were there, I saw her put some make-up in her bag and then leave without paying for it. I was so stunned that I did not do anything or say anything, but it has been bothering me. Should I tell her what I saw? Report her to the store? What would you do?

– Jane Doe

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Everyone Thinks I Am The Office Thief

Dear Evil Skippy:

We have had an office thief for the past month. Many of us have discovered money is missing from purses or backpacks that were left in our desks. We haven’t been able to figure out who the culprit is, but for some reason a few people suspect me. I am guessing it is because the thief has not taken anything from me. I am not the thief, I swear. I would not be writing to you if I were. How can I convince them that I did not do it?

– Innocent

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One Employee Feeds Squirrels; The Other Fears Them

images-176Dear Evil Skippy:

I work at an office located near a forested green space. For years, we have had a few squirrels hanging around our common outdoor areas. One of our newer employees started feeding them and the squirrel population exploded. They don’t really hurt anything but they have lost some of their fear of people and often get real close as they scurry by or as they beg for treats. (The feeder is trying to get them to eat out of her hand). Now another employee has raised the ADA and says she has a “disabling phobia” of rodents, including squirrels. She says we have to eradicate the squirrels and make the other employee stop feeding them. Of course the other employee refused to stop feeding squirrels when we approached her to see if she would voluntarily quit. She said it is her right as an American to feed wildlife. (Really). We don’t want to be seen as anti-animal and we also want our employees to feel safe, but I think our phobic employee does not really care about rodents. She dislikes the feeder and I suspect she wants to make her suffer.

How would you untangle this mess?

– Supervisor

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My Co-Worker Bores Us With “Fun Facts”

images-175Dear Evil Skippy:

I have a co-worker who keeps derailing real conversations by telling the rest of us some “fun fact” as he calls them. For example, when we recently talked about the finale of “True Blood”, he took over and told us the origins of vampire legends. If someone mentioned they had ribs for dinner, he would probably tell us how cave people cooked their dinosaurs. His habit of killing the conversation flow with his learning moments is annoying the “heck” out of me. What can I do?

– Going Nuts


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My Interviewer Asked Me Out On A Date

Dear Evil Skippy:

I applied for a job several weeks ago but was not selected. A few days after I was given the “thanks but no thanks” news, the guy who interviewed me sent a text asking if I would like to go out to dinner. I misunderstood and thought it was for an interview for another opening. I called him to schedule and then realized he was asking me out on a date. He told me that he couldn’t have asked me out if they had hired me. I declined the date invitation and now think I was turned down for a job only because this loser wanted to score a date. Would you file a complaint if you were me?

– Angry

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Do A Good Deed

Please pardon a deviation from the usual “Evil Skippy at Work” fare. Yesterday afternoon, the world lost a special person and I am in no mood for snark, sarcasm or the expected scintillating Evil Skippy wit. (I do so hope you think ES is scintillating).

Fred Ketteman was a delight and a joy to know.  Smart, sassy and a little bit snarky, he served in D.C. during the Kennedy administration, traveled the world as a purser and had a decent run as a Jeopardy! champion.  We won many a trivia championship together — and here is the trophy to prove it.

Workplace issues can consume us, but in the entire scheme of life they are so insignificant. Be kind to someone today. Tell someone who is special to you that they are special. Spread some joy. Life is beautiful, so make the most of it.


Ten Unbelievable But True Workplace Incidents

Dear Readers:

Many of you have posted comments here (and many more of you have sent private messages to me) expressing amazement about some of the things people have written to me about their workplaces. Some of you go so far as to express disbelief. This just tells me that some of you do not get out much and/or have never worked in human resources.

Without further adieu, here are ten crazy, hard-to-believe things that I have experienced during my tenure in the wonderful worlds of H.R. and employment law. Believe!

– Evil Skippy and/or Jim

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Hot Tub + Supervisor + Employee = Trouble

Dear Evil Skippy:

Hypothetically, if a supervisor made out with one of his employees while naked in a hot tub (but the two have never dated and are not a “couple”), does it count as sexual harassment? I am wondering if it would make a difference if the employee encouraged the supervisor to start making out. This hypothetical employee does not want to file a claim unless this counts as harassment.

– No Name

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How Do I Warn Applicants That Their New Boss Will Be Attila the Hun?

20060924_223207_atillaDear Evil Skippy:

I am the hiring manager for a large sales department. We are organized so the sales professionals have assistants to coordinate paperwork and scheduling (and allow the sales reps more time to schmooze customers). One of our sales managers is very popular with customers and upper management, but he is a terror when it comes to support staff. He wears them down until they burn out and quit. How can I warn applicants about what to expect without making him sound like Attila the Hun?

– Beth

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The New Manager Is On A Spending Spree

images-174Dear Evil Skippy:

I manage a professional office where many of the employees have private offices – with doors and everything. No cubicle farm for us! The company gives new executive employees or promoted employees (who move up to one of the nice executive offices) a stipend to decorate the space. One of the newly promoted managers is well off and wants to use her own funds to go beyond the stipend. We told her no because we don’t want one of the offices to be out of place when compared to the rest of the offices that did not have an unlimited budget. The new manager won’t take no for an answer. She says since it is her money, the company should not care how she spends it. She is starting to wear us down. Do you think it would mess things up to have one office be obviously grander than the others? What would you do?

– Stymied

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