Accused of Having a Relationship With a Client

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors regarding being falsely accused of having a relationship with a client. 

Question: I am a support worker and have been accused by a tenant of having a relationship with a client, who is another tenant. What should I do? Signed, Worried

Answer: Dear Worried: I am assuming that you work as a caregiver in a residential setting. Apparently, one of the residents has told your boss that you are having a relationship with a client (another resident), which would be against the rules. The big issue is: Are you having a relationship that is against the rules? If so, you may face penalties for it. If not, you should ask for an investigation to allow you to clear your name.

Talk to your manager and provide any witnesses or evidence you might have. You may need to explain why some things looked like a problem but were not. Or, you may need to explain the reasons for the complaining tenant’s actions. Don’t talk about it to either of the tenants. It might look as though you are trying to influence the tenant or threaten him or her.

Make sure you are not doing anything that could make you look as though you are in the wrong. One way to do that is to focus on your work and stick to that. Ask your manager for advice about how to do your work without getting a complaint like this in the future. And, work at being such a good employee that you will be trusted, even when false accusations are made.

I know it’s frightening, but if you have done nothing wrong, hopefully your manager will realize it after the matter is investigated. Best wishes to you with this. Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.