Can't Control Co-Worker's Lies
Dear Annie: I have a co-worker who consistently spreads misinformation in order to get out of doing her job. She often makes up policies that don't exist to try to trick other departments in our workplace into doing her work (even when that means the work gets done incorrectly by people not trained for the job we do). In the past, I've tried printing out policies and coming to her with physical evidence that what she's saying is not true, but she gets very verbally aggressive, citing her many years of experience, and always has an excuse for why she shouldn't have to do her fair share of work.
Since we work in the same department, it makes my job much more difficult when I have to explain to others what the real policies are and the proper procedures for the work we do. I'm unsure of how to respond when co-workers ask me why they've heard differently from what I explain to them in this regard. I don't want to speak negatively about my co-worker, especially to people from other departments who I hardly know, but I'm not sure how to delicately explain that she was being untruthful.
She has a significant amount of seniority, while I'm a relatively new grad with less than two full years of experience, so I doubt she'd face any corrective action if this was brought to HR, as others have made complaints before me, and with her aggressive personality, I know I need to be careful in how I handle this so as not to incur her wrath. Can you suggest a way to graciously explain to co-workers from outside departments why they've received incorrect information? -- Honest Worker
Dear Honest Worker: This is exactly the type of problem that you should bring to HR, especially since you've already tried confronting her directly with no luck. It shouldn't be on you to undo her damage, and HR shouldn't be deterred by the fact that you're a recent grad while your co-worker has some seniority at the company. Assuming they take their work seriously, they will be your advocate.
Another idea is to consult your direct manager, assuming she is also the manager of your co-worker. Be sure to articulate how her behavior is hindering the company's productivity as a whole -- not just inconveniencing you.
Dear Annie: I would caution "Regrets Being Nice," the person who allowed a homeless man to move into their house, that in many jurisdictions, the friend will have established tenancy under the law. They should consult a lawyer before doing anything else. It's quite possible that a formal eviction process is required if the friend refuses to leave, even if they paid no rent. -- Trying to Help
Dear Trying: Thank you for this advice. It's always wise to consult a professional. Many readers wrote in suggesting that "Regrets Being Nice" seek legal counsel.
"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 http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.