I don't usually post stuff like this on forums, but this time I feel I must. This will likely be a long read, so grab a beer and settle in. I have a coworker with whom I graduated college (same engineering program). In fact, there are several of us from the same class in the same office of around 20 people. There are less than 100 people in the company, across three offices. I have been with the company over five years at this point. I am currently working on two projects. One for my boss, who is the office manager, and one for this coworker I graduated with. She has been there a little bit longer than me, and is one career stage higher. Note however that she is not my boss - the office manager is. I just happen to be working on her project at this time, so with respect to the project you could say she is my manager. Dealing with inclement weather has never been a problem at this company; if you awoke to foul weather, you were always trusted to make your own adult decision about working from home. Earlier this year a severe weather policy was developed, which is a pretty incoherent policy that fails to stay on message. It's not entirely clear what the policy really is anymore - it's like nobody proofread it. What I gathered from it is that now we are to ask our project managers for advance notice to work from home in the event of bad weather. On Thursday, the Friday forecast didn't look great - not a ton of snow, but rain/sleet beforehand that would cause slick roads. I sent an email to both of them asking if it would be ok to work from home Friday due to the forecast. My boss replied quickly and said "No, that's what vacation is for." Think what you will of that, I then wanted to make sure I understood the unclear policy, so I hit reply all (myself, my boss, and my coworker managing my other project) and said something to the effect of "Ok, so then if I understand right we are no longer allowed to work from home in inclement weather unless you close the office?" There is some discussion (again, unclear) of this in the policy, and I wanted clarification. He replied in his typical one-liner management style, "Read the policy." Getting frustrated with the lack of proactive management, I wrote back and basically said that with all due respect, I have read the policy several times, and noted that my asking for approval basically was adhering to the last paragraph of the policy. I then also pointed out that I had actually asked our one and only human resources guy to clarify something in the policy the day the policy was released, and that I never heard back (which is unfortunately very typical). So, yeah, I've read the policy and made that clear. I then said thanks, forget that I asked. And that was basically the end of it (you'll note that my boss never offered a clarification for the part of the policy HR didn't clarify - again, no proactive management, strictly reactive). So I went to work yesterday, where I was one of 5 people in the office, including my boss (but not my coworker who is managing my other project). Sat in the corner at my desk and had virtually no communication with anyone since what I'm working on does not require me to speak with anyone and the other four people who were there all sit on the far other side of the office. But whatever, I went to work like a good employee. Around noon I receive an email from that coworker/manager of my other project (she was out on vacation yesterday). She basically told me that she stayed quiet the day prior on the topic, but that she agreed with my boss. Fine, whatever, should've stopped there. But she then went over the line, and went into some diatribe about how yesterday was my last work day before 10 days off, and literally accused me of trying to start my vacation early, calling into question my work ethic, character, and integrity. She literally challenged my ethics to work from home: Hey, it's cool that she's an expert on where I'm most effective, in the office at work or in my home office at home where I'm alone with no kids, no TV, no distractions whatsoever. But she knows it all I guess. She then started droning on about "opening the floodgates" for working from home, insinuating that I was about to start abusing working from home privileges, just now after five years of not abusing it? WTF? The reality is that in five years of working there, I have ALWAYS ACTUALLY worked from home when I needed to, I have never sat at home and screwed off. I have hit every single deadline I've been handed in five years, I've stayed as late as 9:00 PM, worked weekends, you name it. I've busted my ass at this place the entire time I've worked there. At the end of her email, immediately after her accusatory insult, she had the audacity to say she isn't trying to stir the pot, and that she doesn't want any more time spent on this discussion over email, and that we can discuss it in January when everyone is back. Sorry, it's not up to you to decide when the conversation is over, especially immediately after insulting and offending me - again, know your role - you simply aren't my boss. Her and my boss live a couple blocks from work, within walking distance in the inner city. I on the other hand plan on having a family and putting my kids in schools other than crappy inner city school It's important to note that when she replied to my email, she dropped our boss off the chain so it's now just her and me. My boss didn't see what she said to me. The problem with her accusation is that not only is it inappropriate, accusatory, presumptuous, and borderline abusive, it simply isn't true and she literally has NO reason to think that. I've worked directly on TWO projects with her in five years - the very first project when I was brand new, and the project I'm working on now, that I've been on for one month. Both projects have went just fine, no problems at all. NO basis to make such accusations. I mean this is literally the most out of left field **** I have ever had to deal with here. Merry Christmas to you too. Here's the real problem with this situation: she's dating my boss. Like several/most in the office, I've never had a great relationship with my boss, but it's always been functionally tolerant. He simply is not a people person. She thinks he's the greatest thing ever, and that's fine. They are two peas in a pod. To be honest, I couldn't care less that she's dating my boss, and haven't for the two years or however long it's been as long as there were no problems between her or any of the rest of us who are subordinate to our boss. But now that I find myself in a bad position with her, I'm a dead man walking no matter what I do. I have not done anything yet, except fume about the situation and think about my options. My options as I see them: 1) Do not respond to her email. Forward her message to my boss (and possibly the HR guy), highlighting the relevant problems with it. Given the quality of our relationship compared to his relationship with her, I'm on the losing end of this battle. I genuinely do not feel I can get a fair, objective shake on this option. 2) Do not respond to her email. Forward her message to the HR guy, highlighting the relevant problems with it. Hope HR does something about it, but she is everyone's favorite, right up to the CEO, so that isn't going to happen. HR will likely be apathetic, given the track record of not even responding to emails about policies and insurance questions from employees. 3) Respond to her email, basically tactfully and professionally laying out the situation and the problems I have with her accusations; I need to stand up for myself and set things straight. This will either be the end of it as nobody else will be involved, or it will just get uglier thereafter and come undone and everyone will end up involved anyway. I can almost guarantee it will be the latter and not the former. She will likely tell my boss about it at some point, if she really truly hasn't already - I'm sure she told my boss she replied to my email, but likely left out the part about the insult (remember, she dropped him off the email chain at that point). I'll likely end up getting fired since I'm an at-will employee who doesn't have the favor of upper management like she does, despite not being in the wrong here. Anything I say will likely work against me, no matter how tactful and/or correct it is. 4) Respond to her email with a very, very short one liner saying something to the effect of from this point forward our relationship will be strictly professional since she has such a low opinion of my character and just make it clear that what was said was not appreciated, and don't address it any further with her. Forward her message to HR like above. 5) Do nothing and take her abuse. Not happening. I figure whatever I do, short of option 5, I end up shitlisted or terminated. Bottom line, while she's managing my project and I'm happy to work with her and follow her direction on that project, she is not my boss, she is not my meal ticket, and I don't have to take abusive garbage like that from a coworker. She may be a career stage above, but she's not my boss and I know for a fact she would never say to some other people in the office what she said to me. I also know that if I said to her what she said to me, she would absolutely bite my head off and I'd be instantly terminated. But since she's the star performer in the eyes of both my boss who's dating her as well as the CEO, in the wake of ineffective and seemingly apathetic HR, I honestly feel like I have ZERO recourse. What do I want to do? Option 3. What I should do in a normal company? Option 2. What should I do at this company? Option 5, which to me isn't an option and just flat-out isn't right. I think she didn't like that I responded to my boss, "With all due respect..." and then clearly laid out my case for having read the policy and stood up for myself and didn't allow myself to be treated like an idiot, and she felt the need to jump in and defend him. And therein she decided she'd get a couple jabs in. She should've just said nothing like the day prior - the whole thing was done. But if she really wanted to tell me she of course sided with my boss, then fine, do that, and leave it at that. Anything further is just destructive and asking for problems. Funny, there's no policy against intra-office superior/subordinate relationships. This is a prime example of why most companies don't allow it - I truly feel I have nowhere to turn. Options? I am actively working with a recruiter to get out of here ASAP - along with a quarter of the office. But in the meantime, I need to do something about this situation. Her and I were friends on both a personal and professional level for a decade, but not after this. Not sure when I fell so unbelievably out of favor with her, when I've barely ever even worked with her. Whatever.