Mandatory meeting at work. Uh-oh ...

A few of my coworkers and I received an e-mail this afternoon telling us that we must attend a meeting on Monday afternoon to address a “very serious issue” in the company. It didn’t go to everyone in the department – only a handful of us got invites.

It sounded ominous, so I e-mailed one supervisor and asked what was going on. She said that the company VP will be talking to us about ethics. I half-jokingly said, “I hope it’s nothing I did.” She wrote back a few minutes later and said “I don’t think you were involved in it.” :eek:

So it seems that this meeting was triggered by a specific incident. Although I’m presumed innocent (for the moment, at least), I’m one of the few employees who has to attend this refresher course in ethics. And I have absolutely no idea what prompted this little gathering.

Everyone on the guest list is a pretty good employee. I can’t think of anything we have in common that separates us from the rest of the cubicle dwellers. Is this just a generalized warning about office misconduct? Is this a sign of mass firings ahead? Are we being assembled to form a team of superheroes to wipe out unethical behavior in the workplace? I guess I’ll find out on Monday afternoon.

Any Dopers wanna speculate on the reason for this meeting? I’m getting an ulcer over here.

Well, my dad had to attend a mandatory meeting on the signs of drug use this week.

But, it wasn’t announced by invitation only–it was required that everyone attend one of two meetings. Dad thought it was silly, but his plant manager has a bee in her bonnet about drug use in the plant, brought on by anonymous rumors.

The only time I saw something like that, it was for many people (including upper ones) sending e-mail jokes that crossed the line and get someone really offended. It was taken very seriously and they all seemed like pariahs for a while. I have heard of the same thing for web abuse, gossip etc. that disrupts the workplace or makes someone be offended.

I got one of these a few years ago. Two groups of employees got invitations to different meetings. I figured out what was happening pretty quickly and started packing my stuff.

Those of us in the second meeting were told that we were on the lay-off list. Only the lay-offs weren’t happening immediately for most of us. We were offered a retention bonus if we didn’t quit until we were laid off. A few people were laid off, but most of us weren’t. Those of us who were not laid off received half of the retention bonus (which was only to be paid out upon termination, so it was a gift) when the decision was made that there would be no more lay-offs.

We were laid off a year later, with no forewarning or retention bonus.

I have been laid off twice and seen several more first-hand. The ones that I have experienced have been ambush style. People get called into offices at about the same time spontaneously, a manager and HR person is there, you are caught by surprise but figure out the whole thing in seconds and they go over the details. Companies usually hide layoffs as tightly as possible for many reasons until it happens. An ominous meeting information is not a good way to achieve that.

I am not saying it can’t happen but it doesn’t fit the standard layoff profile. OTOH, a negative organizational structure change such as demotions, invitations to be laid off voluntarily with severance or something of that nature would be a better bet.

That’s exactly what confuses me about the guest list. One guy has been with the company for 16 years and is considered a model employee. There’s also a woman who takes on multiple extra projects, the nice guy who’s constantly praised for his work, and two women who work from home. As for me, my supervisor says that she always trusts me to do my job without supervision. None of us have done anything unethical that I know of.

Oddly enough, all of the “troublemakers” (the slackers, the pranksters, etc.) were left off the list. Even the guy who joked about calling in a bomb threat earlier this week to get our boss out of jury duty. Weird.

I’m with Shagnasty. You get ambushed if it’s a layoff. Whole point is to shellshock you, offer a package and get you to sign the resignation contract right then. They don’t telegraph you a few days in advance.

Why did I immediately think of G. Gordon Liddy and the Plumbers?

It sounds to me that it IS something that you were involved in. I once had a boss call me for a meeting, and he told me it isn’t any thing bad. Then he fired me. You can imagine my joy that it wasn’t any thing bad.
They use ethics as an all inclusive term any more, so the meeting could be for you laughing at the dork’s joke about the bomb threat. Be sure and not talk to the boss and try to get info from her. She’s giving you the big freeze, so anything you say to her is just going to be weighed against you, either now or further down the pike.
Best wishes,

Or it could be that the invitations went out to employees in certain specific types of positions that are being given an ethics lecture in response to an incident elsewhere in the company. Something nasty is about to hit the fan and all of you are being given an ethics lecture as a way to a.) prevent further incidents and b.) look good in court later - “Yes, your honor, all of our employees in x, y, and z positions receive ethics training. Clearly, this is an isolated incident in which this employee acted in contravention of our policy.”

So it may just be a CYA, and they’re not telling you about it to avoid tipping their hand. Or maybe thay trust you and want you to act as snitches.

Let us know what happens.

Fortunately, no. I didn’t even know about that until one of my workplace friends told me (she was upset that she gets called on the carpet for every minor infraction while Joke Guy gets away with everything – our boss supposedly giggled at the bomb threat comment.) A few months back I asked him to stop sending me e-mails referring to female coworkers as “chicks,” “little fillies,” etc. Maybe the boss is pissed that I criticized him. :rolleyes:

That’s what I’m hoping. If that’s the case, I wish the Powers That Be would tell us up front and not make us worry all weekend.

Just to avoid confusion here, I should mention that I have two immediate supervisors. The one who said she didn’t think I was involved in the mystery incident is the good one. The one who giggles at Joke Guy’s antics? She seemed happy with me when I was covering for another coworker on maternity leave. That coworker is returning to work on Monday, so I’ve been booted back down to peon status.

I’ll definitely report back on Monday and let you all know what happens. Thanks for all the feedback and good wishes!

Any difference in the positions of those who were invited vs. those who weren’t?

I periodically have to attend ethics meetings because I have access to some internal company information (which I don’t use but is in the same database as information I do need). The meetings are just lectures on what information can and cannot be released to the public. It’s no big deal.

Also, we sometimes have ethics lectures that are only for people who have direct reports, people who work with outside vendors, etc. I think the people who work from home also get their own lectures on what can and cannot be done from company vs. home computers and other information security types of things.


Any update ladybug? Hope everything went well at work.

Yes I am wondering as well!

Well recently at my work something similar happened. Some employees were called into a meeting. Others were not. One of the NOT called into the meeting workers was let go while the rest of us were in the meeting (which ended up being about “Hey were firing “D” while you guys are in this room. Hope you said goodbye to her earlier because she will be GONE when you get back.”)

Wow! Two bumps. I always though I was invisible around here. I’m honored. :slight_smile:

The subject of the meeting was plagiarism. It seems that management caught three instances of plagiarism last week (before anything went to press, fortunately), so the Powers That Be decided we needed a refresher course. The lesson consisted of a single-page document defining plagiarism and telling editors what they can and can’t do. Why this couldn’t have been done on Friday, I have no idea. I may have to pay another visit to the “Meeting Pimps” thread in the Pit.

Anyway, the VP announced that he will be doing spot checks of all our past, present and future work. Anyone caught plagiarizing will be fired and publicly identified as a plagiarist, legality be damned. Incidentally, the definition of plagiarism now includes:

[li]Using material from a press release.[/li][li]Using any secondary sources, no matter how well attributed.[/li][li]Using any material submitted by a contributor that turns out to be plagiarized (this despite the fact that we make all contributors sign a copyright release acknowledging authorship of the entire work).[/li][/ul]

As for the reason that so few people were on the invite list … the managers decided to break us up into groups. They just neglected to tell us they were doing this. My (good) supervisor told me this morning that quite a few panicked employees asked why they were singled out (“I guess I should have mentioned that in the e-mail,” she said. You think?)

So no mass firings and no secret superhero meeting. It looks like Rhubarb called it:

Fifty fluffy-wuffy points to you, Rhubarb! :smiley: And thanks again to everyone who followed this little saga.

Waydaminit. From point 2, do you mean that something like, “In Wednesday’s issue of World Weekly News, Batboy has officially signed with WWE, Inc., and will appear in next week’s Wrestlmania LXIV,” would be considered plagiarism?

Yep, that was my understanding of it. We have to track down the original sources and speak to them directly. So, using your example, I’d have to interview Batboy and a representative of WWE to confirm the Wrestlemania appearance.

This new rule is gonna be hell on one of my coworkers – she’s required to put about 10 news items in each issue. That’s in addition to all the court decisions she reads and summarizes. Did I mention that it’s one of four publications that she writes each month?

Well, I can understand that they might want to say that second-sourcing is not acceptable, but I totally disagree that it’s plagiarism.

For a different take on the OP: The last time I remember receiving such an email (which doesn’t count the several similar ones that I’ve deliberately forgotten), the email went out mid-morning for a mandatory, all-team, technical support meeting for that afternoon.

It actually was a surprise baby shower for a co-worker. Complete with cake!

So once in a long while, these meetings are worth going to.

snip/ “Using material from a press release.”

Huh? Seriously - hey everytime I write a release it is in the hope that it is directly picked up and used! I would be more than happy to see my entire release used in an article, verbatim, without any need to attribute.

BTW - I am a PR consultant / account director…