My wife is the only one in her team was given an old desktop at company, everyone else have a laptop. Both of us using Mac, and her company's IT department cannot figure out a way to install VPN to allow her work on a Mac (plus Excel on Mac is super frustrating than Windows, and 99% of her work is based on Excel) .

She asked for her boss many times for a laptop or turn-in her desktop for a laptop, but seems her boss is a type of person that worries about her job more than anything else and afraid to ask, so she just gave excuses like no budget or admin person doesn't allow.

Periodically, her team want to work from home, but given the fact my wife cannot work from home, they blame behind my wife's back about why she cannot buy a windows laptop for company. The fact is we do not need a windows laptop at home, we already have two Mac which are enough for our personal life. It was icing and her boss decide to let everyone work from home, and forced my wife to take a PTO. She did not follow but went to the company even with danger and risk on the road.

It is a public traded company, I do not believe they cannot afford a laptop. I think the problem is coming from her boss, a head of group under a department. Sounds to me she is either afraid to lose her job or just doesn't care about her people, therefore she does not support her team, and even asking for more work from the department while her group is already exhausted.

Personally, I think we are not obligated to buy a laptop just for work, while all other people have the laptop but only my wife doesn't. At what point what should she do to correct this?

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    @JoeStrazzere a team where all but one person gets a laptop, the other employees harass that employee about wanting her to buy her own laptop (not on company expense), and the manager does a WFH day where that employee is instructed to take PTO instead? That sounds really sketchy to me. Unless the OP is misrepresenting things the OP's wife sounds like she's really being singled out here in multiple ways.
    – enderland
    May 8, 2018 at 21:25
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    @JoeStrazzere I suppose a lot of that depends on whether OP's wife is the only woman on the team... your points are well taken though, I've cleaned up my comments here.
    – enderland
    May 8, 2018 at 21:52
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    This question is going to be nearly impossible to answer without a location tag.
    – Neo
    May 9, 2018 at 0:01
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    If they blame your wife behind her back, how do you know they do that?
    – Mr Me
    May 9, 2018 at 8:34
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    @JoeStrazzere workplace.stackexchange.com/q/112060/2322 :\
    – enderland
    May 10, 2018 at 22:03

3 Answers 3


At what point what should she do to correct this?

I am assuming US or similar for this answer and IANAL.

At this point, she should concede that her only option is to by a Windows laptop, or simply do not work from home. Laptops are cheap, but I can see why you would not want to buy one. However, the company is not obligated to get her one.

In most countries, companies do not have to provide you with a method to work from home. WFH is a privilege not a right. (Unless you have it negotiated as part of your employment contract/agreement)

The piece that makes the company seem a bit off is forcing your wife to take PTO day because she could not work from home. The option should have been given for her to come into the office as normal while the rest of the team is remote. This is something you may wish to ask you local labor folks about.

That all being said, it is crappy that she is the only one without a company provided laptop and is put in this awkward situation. If I were your wife, I would look for somewhere else to work and put this place in my rear view mirror.

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    She might not be allowed to bring company data (excel sheets) on to personal hardware. Plus who is reasonable for backups and securing that laptop- what if it gets stolen and is not up to company security code? (Its a publicly traded Company) I would not do company work on a personal computer unless i was using it a dumb terminal.
    – Morons
    May 9, 2018 at 11:52
  • @Morons Good points.
    – Neo
    May 9, 2018 at 11:53
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    @Morons that has an easy solution: VPN, then remote from your (personal) laptop to your (work) PC. She could even do this from her Mac (provided they get VPN working on it), Microsoft has a free Mac-based RDP client. Of course, if they can't figure out the (usually trivial) task of getting VPN working on a mac, they may not be up to the task of supporting RDP either.
    – dwizum
    May 9, 2018 at 14:29
  • @dwizum That's what i meant by a "dumb terminal".
    – Morons
    May 9, 2018 at 14:32
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    @dwizum: The issue isn't technical (it can be done) but legal (does the company's privacy policy conflict here?). Some companies only care about privacy in the sense that they can sue any malicious use by an (ex) employee after the fact. Other companies keep a tight lid on things and wish to avoid leaks before they happen (e.g. R&D or trade secrets). Different priorities, different privacy policies. It's perfectly possible for the company to only allow access to the data on company devices and prohibit a BYOD approach. Regardless of whether RDP exists or works over VPN.
    – Flater
    May 15, 2018 at 10:45

She should file an HR complaint over the unfair treatment during the bad weather where she would be 'forced' to take a PTO because the company did not provide an asset that would allow her to work. They should have given her the day off, paid, without docking PTO if the office was closed.

Don't make the complaint about the lack of laptop, make it about the threat of a forced PTO or travel in bad weather option. The boss will be in a lot more hot water than the laptop issue.

Advice to contact a lawyer was sound too.


Working from home is a commodity.

She has been given a desktop computer which the company believes it's sufficient for her to fulfil her duties.

She should use the provided tools and it's slow she should communicate that.

In case she is unhappy with her job then she needs to negotiate her situation. Working from home, as I mentioned, is a commodity, and if it is a big deal she should make it clear in that negotation.

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