Boss Wants Me To Sign Instead of Her!

Question: to Ask the Workplace Doctors

My boss is the HR director. She was presented with a temp agency service agreeement and she wants me to sign it. I am very uncomfortable with this request; after all, she is the supervisor, not me and I have no other signing authority with the company. I want to be tactful-can you advise me?

Signed, Worried


Answer:

Dear Worried:

Is the signature block for an “Authorizing Official” or “Witness” or “Company Representative” or “Temporary Employee” or something else? Usually there is a title in parenthesis below the signature line that can tell you who should be signing.If you know for sure you should not sign such a document (and if not, it should make you wonder what shenanigans your boss is up to!) just say it nicely but firmly.”Barb,I just looked at this again and see it’s for an authorizing official to sign. I can’t legally do it.”If she says it’s OK, say it again, “No, I can’t. It’s for an authorizing official to sign. I can’t legally do it.”Or, you could take the questioning approach: “Barb, I see this signature is for a supervisor. Why do you want me to sign it, since I’m not a supervisor?”Or, “I don’t think I should sign this, Barb. I don’t have any legal authority and if something should go wrong, it could look bad for you and me both.”You could suggest an alternative, such as having another manager sign it. (They won’t.)I can understand that this is a bit delicate, but she can’t force you to sign a legal document, especially something she should be signing. So, just say that you’re not the right person to sign it, and stick with that. You can say it nicely, but it will need to be said.This is a bit unusual for us to hear about, so if you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe