Co-Worker Telling Lies To Get Me Fired

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworker lies:

I am a 23 year old male working at an airport as a part time employee in the IT field; it has now been about 6 – 7 months. Firstly, I have to say that I am a very good worker. I do my job and more and I go home and ignore most of the work drama. I also work at another job full time and they love me there… honestly I have never seen as a “bad” employee and I have worked in many other places. I just never had to deal with this personality before.

Early on during my training, my co-worker would leave 30 minutes early because there was an overlapping shift change. My co-workers would say that it was ok according to our boss since we didn’t take a lunch (I knew it was against the law here, but I thought why fight it if everyone else is doing it).

Eventually, the entire group was told to not leave early in a conference… The co-worker was not the “lying one” during this scenario. I worked for about a month, and I kept talking to a co-worker who was obviously exaggerating the truth in order to get what he wanted. Eventually, I started to confront his lies and state the truth, as well as not argue with him in order to let him know that I know he is lying.

The lies were mostly about work and he would use the words “the boss wants us to do,¬¶” I would then question co workers and my boss and no one would know anything about it. It has now been 4 months later and I started to learn that this co-worker has been talking to my boss and telling him all these lies to get me fired.

Examples: I leave 30 minutes early (which I haven’t been doing for a long time) I don’t close tickets I don’t do my work saying I surf the internet instead of doing my work and that I steal The list goes on. I also got a work evaluation last week and I scored lower then I expected. I scored a 2.8 out of 5.

After my boss talked to me, we talked a bit and the conversation led to “If you leave early or surf the internet during work this will get you fired.” At this point, I did not learn that my co-worker was spreading lies, so I never thought much of it and went on, when a week later I found out that what the boss said back then was something he may have suspected me of doing. I am now at the point where I would like to confront this lying co-worker. I am unionized, and we have an HR department. How should I do this? I read a few other threads similar to this and I was told not to confront the individual alone.What I had in mind would be to talk to the lying co-worker and try and reason with him and get my boss involved in this. Is there something else I should keep in mind or do?

Signed, Want The Truth Known

Dear Want The Truth Known:

You should not confront the coworker alone. You already know he lies, so anything that happens will be lied about. He could say you threatened him for telling the boss, that you tried to buy him off, that you admitted your guilt or any number of other falsehoods to make you look even worse. The most obvious thing to do is to go back to your boss and ask for some serious discussion time.

Tell him what you suspect and tell him you would like to have an investigation conducted by HR or by him, to clear your name. Have a list of the things you believe have been falsely said about you and vehemently deny them. Make sure you tell your boss that it isn’t enough for him to assure you he doesn’t believe gossip–you want the lies about you to stop immediately.Keep this in mind: If the coworker would lie about you to the boss he certainly would lie about you to others, the union and HR.

So, insist upon this being looked into, cleared up and the culprit being told to stop.If your boss doesn’t respond strongly enough, go to HR. The only way the union would be involved is if there are some clear rules about how an employee has to deal with a fellow union member and that is usually not in the rules.You have a lot to lose with this situation if you don’t take strong action. You’re even being accused of criminal conduct! You could easily be fired. But, you have a lot to win if you can show your boss the truth about your performance and behavior. He won’t find out if you don’t push it. Ask for a review of your computer to show how many websites you visit and when. Ask for a verification of your working hours by talking to others. Ask for an investigation that will require the gossiping employee to show proof. But, do NOT confront the coworker without your manager present. It will do no good and could cause you a lot of harm. If he brings up the subject tell him bluntly that you don’t trust him to report the truth about it and if he wants to talk to you about it you want the boss there.In the meantime, ensure that you keep a journal of your work and evidence to show what you are doing. When it’s possible, check in with your boss before you leave. Take the initiative to provide proof, but don’t be so excessive you become a pain in the neck over it. All you’re after is to show that you are an honest employee and the other person is lying. Above all, don’t continue to be passive about your concerns. This is your career and something as serious as this has to be out in the open and cleared up.Best wishes to you. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

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.