I have a very autistic person in my team who quite often criticizes his teammates in public emails, causing lots of complaints.

  • We are in a Nordic country and it is not very common to fire people here, so we won't do that.
  • A lot of people have tried to explain to him the issue before and failed; He continues to criticize people publicly and thinks he is right, and he doesn't see the harm.
  • I'm going to have a meeting with him tomorrow and will try to explain the issue to him again in technical language (he is in IT).

The issue is that he sends emails and includes a lot of statements like "Mark committed this code and caused this problem". He doesn't need to email everyone about this issue; he can avoid mentioning specific people's names. Currently, he does it quite often, and that frustrates people. I will have a session with him soon, and need some hints on how to communicate this to a person who is very literal and can't read between lines.

How can I communicate the harm to him and get him to change his behavior so that he does not criticize coworkers publicly?

  • 62
    To clarify, are you this guy's manager?
    – user44108
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:23
  • 46
    "need some hints on how to communicate this to a person who is very literal and can't read between lines. How would you approach this?" Directly? Whenever an employee isn't catching subtle hints, as a manager you need to be direct. Autism being in the mix doesn't really matter. So what have you tried before? How direct have you been with this person? When you say "he thinks he is right", does that mean you didn't tell him he was wrong? Have you been softening all your criticism so far or did you outright tell him "This can't happen again and I need you stop doing it."?
    – Lilienthal
    Aug 8, 2018 at 15:06
  • 13
    "in public emails" - are these emails actually public, or are they team-wide / company-wide? "thinks he is right" - his open criticism is not right, but are his criticisms factually correct?
    – Aaron F
    Aug 8, 2018 at 16:36
  • 13
    How do you know this person is autistic? Is this something they have talked about and told you themselves, or are you assuming they are because of how they interact with others? If they've talked about their autism in the past and perhaps how they have difficulty reading social cues because of it, that may give you an argument to help convince them why they should listen to you.
    – David K
    Aug 8, 2018 at 17:25
  • 10
    had chat with him this week. explained him the issue in a technical way with drawing on a board. was direct but not rude. he was happy after our chat.
    – Mark
    Aug 11, 2018 at 18:18

14 Answers 14


Full disclosure: I am autistic (Asperger's syndrome) and I have fought hard not to be the guy you are describing.


We have a great deal of difficulty understanding why something that is true (or something we see as true) would cause offense, so trying to make a "how would you feel if..." style argument would likely result in "I would feel that they respected me enough to tell me the truth".

understand that you are dealing with a neurology that does not work the same way as most people's

Someone with autism is often confused by niceties.

You might say:

I think you may want to consider softening the tone of your emails

The autistic person will break that down into all of the logical statements.

"I think" (okay, this is an opinion) "you may want to consider" (YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I WANT) "softening the tone" (what's wrong with my tone? There is no tone, I'm just telling the truth!!!)

see the problem?

There are many experiences/feelings that someone with autism has a hard time relating to, just as you cannot relate to what causes an autistic meltdown.

Now, while the following might be considered rude by most, an autistic person will appreciate the factual nature and bluntness.

Dave, in the future, you will direct your criticisms to me, and ONLY me.

Do not try to explain how others feel, do not try to tell him what is wrong.

Tell him what you want, be blunt be firm.

Many of us with autism don't even understand our own feelings so we certainly won't understand the feelings of others.

Back to this point:

he continues to criticize people publicly and thinks he is right, he doesn't see the harm.

You may want to give him a copy of "How to win friends and influence people" because that was a godsend to me. It puts forth rules and details as to WHY the rules work.

He doesn't see the harm because he has no frame of reference. You need to put it in terms that make sense to him. Either the book I mentioned above, or a simple.

Dave, I want it done this way. If you don't follow this instruction, you are not doing your job. I am holding everyone else to the same standard and I will not make an exception for you.

Finally, don't let him hide behind his autism.

A diagnosis is not an excuse

We all have to live in the real world, letting him get away with behavior that hurts the team will not help him or your team.

  • 4
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Masked Man
    Aug 9, 2018 at 3:38
  • 1
    Would you add a note about how to handle this in a situation between coworkers instead of manager-to-employee? Follow-up: Is there no foreseeable way to handle this situation without involving management?
    – user30031
    Aug 10, 2018 at 1:25
  • 17
    +1 for breaking it down into all of the logical statements. That's probably a better way to express my common frustration of, "Why do people insist on reading more into things than what's actually there, and then make false accusations from it?"
    – AaronD
    Aug 11, 2018 at 18:33

I'm autistic, and by coincidence our workplace autism support group recently discussed this kind of issue.

As a generalisation, autistic people are often prone to accidental rudeness, because we don't understand norms and have difficulty anticipating how our actions might affect others. But we aren't intentionally rude, and when we learn that some specific behaviour is upsetting others, we would look to change that behaviour, assuming it's something that's we can change without harm to ourself*.

For instance - I always used to send emails with just my name as a sign-off. A manager told me that this could come across as brusque to people, and suggested signing off with something like "Cheers". I have done this ever since. I still don't really understand why it matters, but I understand that it does matter, and it costs me nothing to do this.

Of course, some autistic people are also jerks, and some people who are jerks claim "autism" as an excuse for not making an effort to be nice. From your account, I can't tell which of those applies to your co-worker, but you can probably use the same approach either way.

  • Make feedback specific. Talk about particular behaviours ("criticising co-workers in group emails") not generalities ("being rude to co-workers").
  • Avoid making assumptions about his motivations, or what he does and doesn't understand. For example, "when you do X, the people that you're talking about feel bad" not "why are you trying to make people look bad?"
  • Present a template for desirable behaviour. "Instead of writing 'Mark committed the code and caused this problem', you could say 'The problem comes from a bug that was introduced on Tuesday' and then focus on what the problem is and how to fix it." One option here is to start by working from one of the problematic emails and show how to improve it (thanks Everly Foxton for this suggestion). In some cases "we did X" may be a good substitute for "Mark did X" (thanks Captain Man).
  • If your workplace has a code of conduct, it may be helpful to tie it in with that.
  • One of my co-workers has a checklist in his signature file for emails; every time he sends one, he works through the checklist (and then deletes it) to make sure he's sticking to the rules he wants to follow in his communication.

If he wants to understand why the behaviour is a problem, you can have that conversation too, but that needs to be a separate discussion. "It's unnecessary and it's hurting people" should be enough reason to change that behaviour; you shouldn't encourage the idea that he needs to understand the reason for other people's feelings in order to respect them.

After that conversation, if he continues to behave this way while knowing that it's hurtful for others, his possible autism is irrelevant. Being autistic may be an explanation for accidentally treading on somebody else's toes, but it doesn't give us an excuse for knowingly hurting them.

*Caveat included because some autistic behaviours like stimming can be important for stress management, and suppressing them for other people's comfort can be a bad idea. But I don't think your co-worker's emails fall into that category.

  • Emails signed with just the first name is the norm here (IT sector, Finland). I know it varies from country to country and I assume it's just a matter of people assuming that deviating from the norm carries some hidden meaning.
    – JollyJoker
    Jul 12, 2019 at 13:40
  • @JollyJoker Yeah, pretty much. And in this case I was perfectly happy to adhere to the norm that makes other people comfortable, once somebody pointed out that there was one!
    – G_B
    Jul 15, 2019 at 2:57
  • There is a hard-to-detect form of autism where being too NOT picky about sensory stimuli causes problems. I.e. summer no AC and the (neurotypical) roomate is too nice to complain until they can't take it anymore and explode.
    – user86150
    May 26, 2020 at 15:55

If the employee was not autistic, you could point out facts and lead them to the conclusion you want:

When all those people read that it was Mark who caused the problems, that lowered Mark's reputation with them. This causes Mark pain and it can cause our whole team pain if the customer starts to think we have people on the team who don't know what they are doing.

I don't recommend you do this with your very-literal employee. You'll just end up in an argument about lying or hiding the truth.

Instead, I recommend focusing on the point of the emails your employee sends. Take one single email as an example. Ask the employee what the purpose of the email was, and if necessary prompt with some examples:

  • regular weekly status email
  • report of investigation into a problem and steps taken to solve it
  • explanation for why something is late or wrong and what's being done
  • etc

Then ask (gently) to what extent naming the specific mistake and the person who made it supports that purpose. Possible answers:

  • showing it wasn't me who made us late
  • showing we know what the problem was and will fix it
  • explaining all the details that led to the problem
  • summarizing everything that happened in the week
  • getting someone to provide specific information or do a specific task

Now provide a helpful rule. For example, most managers and customers don't want all the details. They want to feel reassured that things are being handled. When you provide all the details to such people, they can feel anxious, as though they are being asked to make a decision or approve the decision that was made. Leaving out details can help these people, and they will ask for details if they want them. So a rule is "don't overwhelm with details when a decision is not being asked for." A different rule might emerge in your conversation. I'm not sure what (besides naming individuals) is going wrong in these emails, or why.

Next, work together on the spot to re-word the email so that it supports the purpose, without upsetting co-workers as the original did. That might mean cc-ing less people, including less details, changing the order of points, or adding reassurances that processes have changed or whatever. Show how the reworked email is following the rule.

Encourage the employee to bring important emails to you for a similar process for the next little while, until you are confident the rule (whatever rule emerged during the meeting) has been internalized.

  • 14
    The problem is that is that if Mark (repatedly) causes problems and is in pain for me pointing that out, I do not care about his pain. The way to stop being shouted at for stupid thigns is - to stop doing stuipid things, not to complain aobut the shouting.
    – TomTom
    Aug 8, 2018 at 16:39
  • 13
    That's why I said not to talk about Mark's pain to this employee. To this employee, what matters is logically supporting the point of the email. If the point of the email is "we will be 4 days late, sorry" or "can I have that URL I asked for" or "sure was a busy week wasn't it?" then details about Mark's commit are likely to be off-topic to that purpose. Also, if you're not Mark's boss, you trying to "fix stupid" is off topic for your role. I find this way of explaining things works with a lot of people who are stirring up drama without really meaning to. Aug 8, 2018 at 17:11
  • 2
    +1 as someone with autism, I can say that this would work. Aug 8, 2018 at 17:21
  • 2
    @TomTom the problem is that many people perform worse when they are under lots of stress. You basically risk increasing the problem of his underperforming by the process of shouting. Aug 10, 2018 at 10:18
  • 3
    @TomTom there is at least one option left, tell manager and let manager handle it. Managers are quite often better at communications than technical people. Aug 10, 2018 at 10:58

Autism comes in many different characteristics, but most Autists understand objective rules very well but have problems understanding the fine points of social rules.

To help your team mate, you should formulate clear, objective rules and explain them to him like the rulebook of a game or like the instructions that make up software. Some examples are:

  • If you address an email to a customer, don't refer to any co-worker that wasn't mentioned in the previous 3 mails of the same chain.
  • If you have to refer to a co-worker, don't include names. Refer to them as "a colleague of mine" or "the technician who installed X"
  • In emails to a non-technical person, don't explain technical details and don't explain the causes of anything (be it a bug or delay of something else).
  • If the customer asks for a reason for the delay, answer [insert default answer here].
  • If the customer asks anything that is not your core responsibility, forward the mail to me.

You have to expect that he follows those rules literally, so the way you formulate them is of utmost importance! If you leave obvious loopholes that any "normal" person wouldn't think about twice, your autistic colleague will sooner or later make the wrong decision and justify it with the ambiguous rule.

  • 2
    Words in quotations that describe what should be in the quotation, rather that actually are what's in the quotation, such as "include default answer here", should be surrounded by brackets, not parentheses. Aug 9, 2018 at 14:59

Be clear and be unambiguous in what you say to him.

Be upfront and talk about what you want to discuss so that he's clear on that. Be clear that you understand that he has autism, and that's the aspect (the communication) you're addressing, not his standard of work.

Show him what he wrote and describe what effect that had on the recipients and what aspect of it is inappropriate.

Then describe what would have been a more appropriate way of saying what he should have said.

Most importantly, listen to him, try to learn what his difficulties are and address those. Let him know that he's being supported and isn't being disciplined or singled out. You're trying to help him, not punish him.


I am an Asperger. In addition to the very good answers by Richard and Geoffrey, consider sending him to an interpersonal skills course of some kind, as a corollary to the How to win friends and influence people book that RichardUs excellent answer refers to. I hope he is open to the possibility — the fact that you know he is autistic (I assume he told you himself?) is a good start. However, finding the right course may be difficult, and sending him to the wrong course may come across as insulting (by having a job at all, your employee is among a minority of autistic people¹, so his interpersonal skills may be well above average among us autists), so you'd need to be quite careful here.

Some things that helped me, either a little or a lot:

  • I've done a lot of social skills training as a child, and I would not have reached where I am now without this.
  • When I was a university student, a friend lent me some books on psychology. Those are actually helpful, they explain how people work. It's a lot easier (for me, at least) to accept rules if there is science behind them.
  • More recently as an adult (during a period when I was living in Sweden), I participated in an utveckling av grupp och ledare (literally: development of group and leaders) course, which was also very valuable. This is an immersive course in which participants learn about group dynamics. I learned a lot about how messages come across (for example, see I-message). You said that you are in a nordic country, so it may be available in your area. I'd actually recommend this one to anyone who works in a team, of any neurological condition, which de facto means I would recommend everybody to take this course, period.

¹I read somewhere unemployment among diagnosed autists is as high as 80%; although there may well be biases affecting this measurement, it's likely true that it's pretty bad, and interpersonal skills in a majority neurotypical world are a major factor.

  • Not all readers understand Swedish. Can you put a translation in parentheses? Aug 10, 2018 at 16:44
  • I agree that choosing the right course is important here. Methods that work for neurotypical people don't always work for us. (In some cases I have doubts about whether they even work for NT people, but that's not my problem...)
    – G_B
    Aug 11, 2018 at 3:55
  • @PeterMortensen it is "development/growth of group and leader(s)" with growth in the sense of personal growth. Also if I don't recall incorrectly gerrit is a UK relocated dutchie, not a northener... Aug 11, 2018 at 14:58
  • gerrit : Yep, I would guess 80 % could well be true, that's why the mummy funds are such a big thing, you know. Aug 11, 2018 at 14:59
  • Also there is no reason to call it a "condition". Several of them are quite a bit better at what they do than your average office normie. Aug 11, 2018 at 15:09

Very sorry for your trouble. This sounds a lot like me, 30 years ago. (I wasn’t diagnosed with AS until 11 years ago.) I was in my mid 20s before it was really brought home to me that other people had feelings that I was hurting with my behavior. It happened when a coworker chewed me out fairly brutally in response to something clueless I said. It hurt like hell, but it was what I needed.

I am guessing that this employee is still fairly young, in his 20s, and hasn’t suffered enough consequences yet to force him to recognize the problems in his behavior.

I agree with Richard U that you need to speak to him straightforwardly. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t understand nuance yet. On the other hand, bear in mind that he may well be thin-skinned — I certainly was, at that age. Perhaps not so blunt, e.g.:

  • “When someone makes a mistake, don’t email them about it. Email me about it. I will take care of it.”
  • “Don’t talk to them about it either. If you need to talk to someone about it, talk to me.”
  • “If this feels frustrating, I’m sorry. Please try to understand that your directness is causing a lot of frustration for your coworkers. This needs to change.”

Of course, if that doesn’t work, ramp up the bluntness as much as necessary! There’s a saying I read in a novel somewhere: when dealing with a mule, first you have to hit it between the eyes with a 2x4. That gets its attention.

Follow up the meeting with an email. Speaking for myself, I can absorb information much better in written form than from spoken words. It also provides him with something he can refer back to whenever he wants.

In the longer term, you might want to look into ways to help this employee get more of a clue. I’m currently reading Asperger's on the Job: Must-have advice for people with Asperger's by Rudy Simone. Haven’t read very much of it yet, but it seems like something I could have used 30 years ago. [Edit: having finally finished it, I strongly recommend it for anyone on the spectrum and their employers. Great book, valuable resource.]

I learned a lot about human behavior and motivations by reading a wide variety of fiction. Fiction told from other points of view is good for developing empathy. Maybe try to encourage him to read more?

Postscript: oh yes, it occurs to me that part of the problem may be that he’s angry a lot and hasn’t really identified why. If he knows what’s bugging him, he’ll probably tell you, because he’s blunt; but it’s possible that, e.g., auditory distractions are driving him crazy all day and he doesn’t realize it consciously. You might want to explore this with him.


First of all let's take your diagnosis out of the picture. Even if it is not just your speculations and person does really have a medical condition you should not hold it against him. If you assume that he criticises because of his condition then it looks like you are trying to discredit him. But what if his criticism is valid?

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary.
It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body.
It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
     -- Winston Churchill

In healthy team you would not be afraid of criticism.
Criticism should not be feared or considered harmful.

Recognising mistakes is important and normally it is good to provide feedback to those who introduced a problem as well as to everyone else on the team so they could learn from experience of others and avoid making the same mistakes.

Hence he is right to point out the problem to everyone on the team including person responsible for introducing the problem. It seems that your colleague is trying to promote certain transparency and open communication which is a good thing. Embrace it. Tell those who complain to take it easy as everybody make mistakes and being told about them is a learning opportunity.

Also worth noticing that it is quite common for IT professionals to spend more time with computers and code than with people hence their social and communicative skills may be less advanced than what you would expect from typical people's person. Still, everybody benefit from direct, straightforward and sincere communication. You have more to lose if you try to hide issues and protect people from valid criticism.

  • 4
    It's important to separate pointing out a problem from blaming people. The approach of "send all email criticizing person X" is a terrible approach. It guarantees defensiveness and anger, and ends up obscuring the real problems. You want to keep your eyes on the goal, which is improving things, rather than criticizing people.
    – DaveG
    Aug 9, 2018 at 14:03
  • 3
    It's one thing to criticize a person directly: "Mark, your commit has caused a lot of problems" and another to blame them publicly. Further, just because some criticism ends up being useful doesn't mean it's open season to just go around telling everyone you think they're wrong. Aug 9, 2018 at 15:18
  • 2
    +1 because sometimes we need balance between neuro-typical and autistic reactions to actually move forward. The only thing I'd add is that I would not name the individual who "broke the code". I would refer to the commit/revision number. Individuals might have several commits in a single day, a revision number is more precise. And it means that if I receive the email, I will check to a) if I broke the code (oops!) b) what the issues are and c) if I can fix them (even if they didn't originate with me). Because that's what good team mates do and that's how we make things better.
    – Pam
    Aug 10, 2018 at 9:39
  • 1
    Additionally, blaming people for the problem commit obscures the fact that the entire team contributes to the problem, even if it was one person who actually wrote the code and pushed the commit. Aug 10, 2018 at 17:36
  • 1
    Publicly shaming people for their mistakes tends not to be an optimal way to deliver criticism.
    – G_B
    Aug 11, 2018 at 4:02

Treat This as a Process Problem, Not an Interpersonal One

You are attempting to change someone's behavior, rather than treating this is a process problem. This is a bad idea in general, but when a person has a neurological disability, attempting to change them rather than the process is almost a non-starter. Don't do that.

Instead, reframe the communication issues as process problems. Specifically, the problem seems to be that unmoderated communication with this person causes friction for the organization. Once you've frameed it this way, reasonable accomodations and process-based solutions will present themselves.

As one example, rather than trying to change his behavior, or relying on a level of social perception that may be unreasonable, focus on collaboratively buffering the communications. Specific steps might include:

  1. Define some classes of communication (e.g. comments on code commits, work requests, change orders) that often generate friction.
  2. Define a new two-way process that filters communication to or from the individual through a supervisor or aide who can smooth out the rough edges.
  3. Work to eliminate opportunities for offense, while also ensuring that you aren't punishing or needlessly isolating the individual.

The goal here is to set everyone up for success. Presumably, this person is a valuable member of the organization, but is situationally unable to contribute as constructively as some people would like. So, maximize the opportunities to contribute in a constructive way while avoiding situations that are inherently unconstructive. Continue to modify the process as much as practical for all involved.


It is not unusual for someone who is autistic to not understand social situations and not to understand the harm of some actions. However, in this situation there is no need to understand the harm. You told him not to do it, and that should be enough. You told him that his behaviour is harmful. You can tell him that the behaviour is harmful, whether he understands it or not. And because it is harmful, whether he understands it or not, he mustn’t do it. And if he does it again, contrary to your orders, he will apologise in person to the person harmed.

And then you make clear he understands that this is an order. And that he has to follow this order.

@Aaron: "It is not very common to fire people here" doesn't mean he can't be fired. It means it is very highly preferable to the OP to fix the problem than to fire someone. But if an employee came up with the attitude "I can do whatever I want, I can't be fired", then they will go, even in nordic countries, even with autism.

But that's not going to happen, because the whole situation is not about someone who is intentionally causing problems, but someone who because of autism just doesn't get it.

  • 3
    Fair enough, in any other company, but this person can't be fired. Why would they follow an order they don't agree with when there are no repercussions and they know it?
    – Aaron F
    Aug 8, 2018 at 17:17
  • 1
    @AaronF There are always repercussions. Maybe they can't sack you, but they can give you a zero annual pay rise for the rest of your working life, and refuse you a reference if you resign voluntarily. And actually, those are two of the mildest options compared with other ways to make your working life hell...
    – alephzero
    Aug 8, 2018 at 19:15
  • 1
    @gnasher729 correct, it doesn't mean that he can't be fired, but the end of that sentence was "it is not very common to fire people here, so we won't". Therefore the employee won't be fired, and it's fair to expect any answer to take this restriction into account. (Anecdote: a friend of mine in Sweden told me about an ex-colleague who didn't like their job, and spent six months playing computer games and talking on the phone to recruiters. Management were fully aware of what this person was doing, but didn't fire them, because it would have cost the company more money to do that than to not)
    – Aaron F
    Aug 9, 2018 at 10:25
  • Re: the last few comments. Those are all highly hypothetical points, best the stick to facts in this context IMO. After-all, is there aren't direct AND immediate AND well-communicated consequences for a specific action then a person on the spectrum will likely miss the connection.
    – user30031
    Aug 10, 2018 at 1:31
  • 2
    This is tricky because if the person you give the order cannot tell the difference between a hurtful comment and a non-hurtful one (which seems to be the case here) then they cannot follow your order, whether they want to or not.
    – Erik
    Aug 10, 2018 at 12:41

There are probably two rather different topics which you might want to discuss with your team member, and I think it helps to identify them straight away.

First, you require your team member to moderate their behaviour (since it risks creating tensions within the team). Rather than using vague terms (like moderate) which you might usually use with other boisterous/disruptive team members, it might make sense to impose some clear rules about how you expect them to report the issues that are causing problems.

Remember though that since there are some triggers for his behaviour, he does need some sort of an escalation process so he knows that his feedback and opinions are helping you to improve the team.

Second, your team member might want to modify the behaviour of other team members. This is probably more of a long term project for them to understand the skills needed to influence others (and these standard techniques are maybe easy to understand but not obvious or easy to apply). Showing them explicit examples of how they can reasonably make requests to others will probably help. (When you do this, it makes that problem in my work so I would find it easier if you did something specific)

It is also worth emphasising that effective teams often consist of different types of people - the aim of your discussions is not to 'normalise' the whole team, rather to improve the communication of best practice (and maybe to improve task allocation, grow skills, etc).

from the perspective of someone with a very 'direct' communication style, and high expectations of others

  • 5
    Telling him to "moderate his behavior" will at best confuse him. That's the sort of phrase a neurotypical person would understand, and not someone with autism. The clear rules are a much better idea. Aug 9, 2018 at 15:50
  • @DavidThornley, That's what I thought I wrote. The manager understands 'moderate', and needs to translate this to rules. Aug 9, 2018 at 15:53
  • 1
    My apologies. It looked a little off to me (possibly because I'm on the spectrum). Aug 10, 2018 at 15:17

There's nothing you can do

Given that you have stated that you won't fire them, and that other people have tried and failed to explain the issue to them, then you can only deal with it by accepting it.

What other option do you have? As you said, he thinks he's right and doesn't see the harm. You cannot change this behaviour unless you're willing to resort to some sort of disciplinary action.

Logically, your employee is correct: there was a problem, caused by Mark, so they stated that.
(If Mark doesn't like being called out for the problems they create, then maybe they should take more care in future?)

From the point of view of your employee, you're asking them to withhold information but the reason you give isn't logical: why is avoiding hurting someone's feelings more important than the success of the company?

Potential solution

Perhaps your processes need to be improved?

Software testing, code reviews, continuous integration; so that a commit by Mark can't create such problems in future.

If you have things set up so that business-critical issues are unlikely, then situations as the one you describe will also be unlikely.

  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user44108
    Aug 9, 2018 at 12:04

How would you approach this?

Simple, effective and instant solution whether the person is autistic or not.

Take away or otherwise control their email. Depending what sort of email setup you have you can control who a person can send to or a whole host of other things.

It's always best to proactively solve problems once the 'soft' solutions fail. Quite often it's best to prevent the issues before they even start, many companies lock down their emails.

As a network engineer I have done similar things many times. I get permission from upstairs and just do it, I don't need to rationalise anything with staff or seek permission or input beyond that.

  • I'm waiting for someone to point out 'but they need email for blah blah', well plenty of places have found out that they don't, lots of ways of handling internal communications and or filtering external ones.
    – Kilisi
    Aug 9, 2018 at 6:50
  • 11
    I think taking away his email when he doesn't understand what he's doing wrong can backfire tremendously.
    – gerrit
    Aug 9, 2018 at 9:48
  • 3
    This reads like you're trying to control the symptom and not its cause, which is a short-sighted solution in my opinion. Also, it comes across as if you don't care about feelings of other people: "Worker doesn't function, so punish until he does" is what this answer feels to me.
    – DarkDust
    Aug 9, 2018 at 19:03
  • If the employee finds a way to work around not having access to email, that just means the same problem will move to a new method of communication, and nothing will be fixed.
    – Erik
    Aug 10, 2018 at 12:44
  • 2
    The question doesn't say "in front of clients". It sounds more like it's being done publicly within the company, to people that the person in question needs to communicate with to do their job. So they'll probably move towards face to face, or through internal chat, or whatever.
    – Erik
    Aug 10, 2018 at 13:11

I would like to answer your question with a question. Why is it the autistic person's problem that others can't handle the truth?

Would you ask a woman to stop wearing objectively appropriate clothes if your other workers had a problem with her attire.

No. That would not be right in these times. Neither, should you blame someone who is objectively telling the truth, for the reaction of others.

This is not his fault. It is the rest of us that need a talking to.

  • 11
    There are plenty of studies that show a good team dynamic is absolutely vital to the success of a business. So to answer your question, If one person is making others uncomfortable then regardless of how right or wrong they are this is a problem for the team. Aug 9, 2018 at 8:17
  • 10
    'This answer is not only objectively bad, but is the absolute worst answer on the page as determined by vote counts. Grldsndrs gave the worst answer to the OP's question.' Did those comments seem mean and out-of-line? That's because they are - even though they're literal truth, it's not really appropriate to say. I'm hoping this gives a nice illustration why a "Hey, it's just telling the truth; it's not part of the problem" is not the right attitude to take on a situation like this.
    – Kevin
    Aug 9, 2018 at 21:22
  • 4
    It's worth remembering that all we know is that the employee sends out email to everyone blaming a team member for a problem. He's not necessarily right.
    – DaveG
    Aug 10, 2018 at 16:54
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Aug 12, 2018 at 4:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .