Accused at Work of Name-Calling

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctor about name calling: She emailed me at my work email and stated that she overheard me saying negative comments about her and name-calling her a certain nickname

I work at a community college in one of the student services departments (where I have a professional job), and there is a female coworker who is accusing me of name-calling her. She emailed me at my work email and stated that she overheard me saying negative comments about her and name-calling her a certain nickname. Furthermore, she stated that there is another coworker that can attest that they heard me talk about her.

Basically, she emailed me to let me know that she wanted to know why I was talking about her. She threatened me and stated that if she ever hears me talk about her in any way that is “non-related work manner” she will report the issue to her supervisor and my supervisor. I have already spoken to my supervisor about this and she is supporting me 100% about this since she knows that it is not true. I sent an email to my supervisor, her supervisor, and to the coworker, asking them that I want to discuss the matter in person with both our supervisors present. I do not know what to do about this since this is the first time that something like this occurs? Please advise. Additional info: -I am female.

Signed, Accused Of Name-Calling

Dear Accused Of Name-Calling:

You’ve done the best you can to clear the air. Of course it’s hard to prove you didn’t call this individual a name if someone there says you did. That becomes a she said, I didn’t say matter. The best you can do is to admit if you spoke about this individual at all and pledge never to do so again. Should the meeting you requested take place, you might ask this “witness of your name calling” to be more specific about the conversation, when and where and why she said you called a nickname.

More importantly use this situation as a time to learn if either of these individuals has other complaints about you. Learn from them if there is anything that might be done to make your working with them more effective. Get clarification about who does what.

Coworkers need clear job descriptions. Spelling out the dos and don’ts of their communication is most effective when done collaboratively.Possibly this unfortunate accusation can motivate your supervisors to convene those in your work area to work on ways to work together more effectively; serving your internal and external customers.

Probably you have played and replayed the conversation in which this supposed name-calling took place. Now is the time not to obsess about it and to determine that in the future you will avoid personal gossip. Don’t allow this accusation to sour you on either the witness or individual. You don’t have to be told you are not teenagers and petty gossip is not what you are hired to do. My concluding signature: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS is my way of saying think big and don’t allow pettiness to distract from the good things you are pledged to do.

William Gorden