Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about misstating facts to cover shortfalls:
I have to do a daily cycle count of inventory that is turned in to the home office. The company does cycle counts daily instead of a yearly physical inventory. The cycle counts are never to the home offices liking, and my manager was getting bad feedback from his bosses. So he asked me to adjust the inventory to make it seem better than it is.
I know what I am doing is against company procedures, and I could get fired. I have been doing this for a year now. I worry all the time that at some point someone is going to catch me. The stress caught up with me on January 24 2009, the day I had a heart attack. After going back to work two months after my heart attack. I found out that he didn’t allow the other employees to falsify the cycle count. So I stopped too, until he got in trouble for the cycle counts for the last two months going bad. Now he has asked me to start again. I am ready to stop doing this for him. I feel I could lose my job if I tell the home office what I have been doing. Is there anything to help me?
Signed, Tired of Lying
Dear Tired of Lying:
From one perspective, this is very complex–but I think you know it is essentially a matter of deciding whether you want to be ethical or not–and if you want to potentially be breaking the law.
Think about this–while you were gone no one was doing your manager’s dirty work for him. He probably knew they wouldn’t do it. So, he waited until he could ask you to lie for him because he knew you would. Is that how you want to be known? It seems you only have three options: You can continue what you are doing and hope for the best–knowing all the time that you are being dishonest. You can report your manager to the home office and tell them you have felt concerned about your job but realize that the truth must be told. You can talk to your manager and tell him you cannot continue to falsify reports and that you are afraid both of you will get in trouble if you continue.If you can convince your manager to stop this practice you will have done both of you a big favor. It is true that the home office may eventually find out, but at least you will have stopped the false reporting.
On the other hand, I am concerned that if the truth ever comes out, the fact that you quit making the false reports won’t be enough to save your job, if you never reported the falsehoods. You know about the reports and how significant they were.. If they were relatively unimportant, you may find it best to convince your manager to stop, and both of you can resolve to be honest in the future. If they were significant or involved something that cost your company money, you may find the only thing that will make it right will be to tell your home office.
You may want to discuss this with an attorney to find out where you stand legally. Your attorney could even write the letter you send to your home office. I know this is going to be tough, but you’ll be glad to have it taken care of so you can move forward feeling better mentally and physically.
Tina Lewis Rowe