Can I Press Charges On Coworkers For Lies?

Question:

Two of my coworkers claim that I pushed one of them and then called her a traitor. This is such a bogus lie. I come to work and do a great job and I go home. I have not spoken to these two individuals for the past 3 weeks. I stop talking to these girls weeks ago because I have seen how evil and mean they can be. Should I hire a lawyer to help fight these accusations and clear my name? I think a polygraph will be helpful in this situation. This is a federal position with TSA and I am also seeking advice from our Union. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Signed,

Seeking Advice


Answer:

Dear Seeking Advice:

No, don’t get a lawyer to clear your name. Don’t waste your money. You are not suing them for damages nor are they suing you. What do you think a lawyer might do; have them or you take a lie detector test? You have requested your union’s advice, and, if you should request Human Resources or personnel investigate this accusation have not already. An investigation might already be underway because you say these two made an accusation and they must have made it to someone to make trouble for you. So what can you do now? I suggest that you continue to do a great job; focus on being the most cheerful, productive and responsible employee in your department. That probably will do more to clear your name than anything you might say for yourself or against those two who have badmouthed you. Don’t gossip about this. Just hush your mouth and tend to business. Don’t talk about this matter, even though you are angry. Don’t tell others these two coworkers colluded in a lie. Allow the investigation to discover the truth. If and when you are interviewed, cooperate and don’t exaggerate.

You see, I suspect there was trouble between you and them some time before these past I don’t speak to them. Why? Because you say you have not spoken with them for three weeks and you “have seen how evil and mean they can be.” Something has gone on. It is not a sure thing that you can prove that they told a lie, but the burden of proof is on them. Neither can they prove you pushed one of them and called her a traitor without evidence. It is unlikely that your workplace will demand or provide an opportunity for any of you to take a polygraph exam. Rather, a report after an investigation will likely be based on the credibility of each of you. And unless they can come up with a solid story, your managers should warn them against false accusations. The more important thing is that your bosses get to the bottom of what is going on and insist that you don’t allow personal conflict to interfere with work. Your coworkers and you were hired to do a job, not to feud. If you and your coworkers were players on a volleyball team, a good coach would insist you knock off the badmouthing and play. And she would pull you both out if you didn’t set up each other for shots. None of us is indispensable at play or work.

This accusation should prompt your superiors to knock some heads together. Possibly what needs to be done is to clarify job descriptions and spell out the rules of who talks to whom and about each other. They should have skull sessions that engage the minds and wills of all of you coworkers to cut out interpersonal pettiness that distracts you from doing quality work. Conflict need not be allowed to fester. Does this make sense? If not seek the consul of your superiors, Human Resources, friends outside of work. Don’t allow it to sour you. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and from here it seems to me that is what needs doing where you work.

William Gorden