Life Advice



Co-Worker Spreading Lies

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I have worked in the same office for 18 years. For many years, there were five of us in our division: three women and two men. One of the men left for a different job a year ago, and he was replaced by a woman, "Carla," who is very difficult to work with. In fact, I'm convinced that she is a liar and a troublemaker.

The only man left in our division, "Fred," is quiet and shy but fundamentally a very kind man. He has never married, and I don't ever remember him going on a date. He lives with his mother, goes to church and does not seem to have a lot of other activities. I'm not sure if he has any friends.

Carla claimed that Fred asked her on a date, which I found difficult to believe. She then claimed that Fred committed sexual assault on her, which I found impossible to believe. She reported her claims to human resources, and they investigated. Poor Fred. I thought he was going to have a heart attack!

It turns out that the most aggressive they found him to be was to agree to give Carla a ride home after work one day when her car was in the shop. He said he dropped her off and went home to have dinner with his mother, and his mother backed up his story. Carla made up all kinds of scary stuff, and anyone who knows Fred knows those things didn't happen. Human resources concluded that they had no proof of any wrongdoing, so they would let the matter go. They encouraged Carla to file a police report if she wanted the matter investigated more thoroughly. She declined to do so.

I am determined to get rid of Carla. I used to love my job, but now I dread going to work because I have to interact with her every day. I can only imagine how Fred feels. The two other women in our division agree with Fred and me and don't want anything to do with Carla. Do you have any advice for us? -- Dreading Carla

Dear Dreading Carla: My advice is for the four of you to visit the human resources manager of your company. You can ask that Carla be fired, or, at a minimum, moved to another department. Explain how awkward your work has become because of this drama queen. It really is true that one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel. Sexual assault allegations are not to be taken lightly, and it seems like your human resources department did their due diligence.


Dear Annie: This is in response to the letter to you about intermittent fasting. A nutritionist on NPR described how it works. It takes your liver about 12 hours to process the food you eat in a day, and then it starts processing stored fat. So if you go 12 hours between meals, you don't store fat (assuming you don't eat TOO much). And if you go longer without eating, you burn stored fat.

I've been doing this for years, and didn't know there was a name for it, and it's helped keep my weight steady without having to give up the foods I like. You would do your readers a service by looking into this and perhaps recommending it. -- Burning Fat

Dear Burning Fat: Congratulations on your success. Keep up the good work. I am amazed at how many readers have sent in letters telling of their positive results with intermittent fasting.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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