Coworker Told Boss I lied About Time

Question:

I am an exempt employee, and we have to post a time sheet showing both our intended time to work and actual time worked. We post it outside our cube for all to see. An employee that never works her required 5 hours OT or her regular 40 hours got busted and told the boss I was fudging my time. I suppose to take the heat off of herself. I received a heads up about it from the boss. I had been tempted to call our HR compass program and never did. After this out of anger I did and reported her. With regrets, I asked them to pull the request and they said they could not. How do I work with her knowing that she is being investigated because of me? I should not feel bad as next time it will be someone else. But I do how do I deal with feeling guilty?

Signed,

Guilty or Not


Answer:

Dear Guilty or Not:

You are uneasy because you complained about your co-worker behind her back just as she had about you. After complaining to HR, you felt regret and asked for your complaint to be returned. However, HR refused, just as the Post Office would have done if you dropped a letter into the slot and reached in to pull it back. We all occasionally wish we could undo what we have done, especially when we say something critical of another person behind her/his back. That feeling is uncomfortable and it is good that it is uncomfortable. That’s the way it should be. Why? Because, none of us want something said about us that would not be said to our face. So live with your feeling of guilt. Appreciate it. Decide if it is uncomfortable enough that in the future you will first speak to the individual about what bothers you about their attitude or behavior. Then in light of how that if it is not received well or is serious enough, you can alsosay that you are reporting it above and are inviting him/her to come with you to make that complaint.

I am sorry that I cannot relieve your guilt, but long ago I learned the lesson of what can result from bypassing a colleague to make a complaint about him. The next day I was physically pinned to the wall about that when the superior did not keep my complaint confidential.

Learning to work with actions taken against us and of actions of which we disapprove is par for the course. Conflict with co-workers does happen and incivility can result. Confronting conflict creatively, without deception, will always be a challenge, but is usually possible. Now you will have to decide whether to face up to this co-worker and fess up or to remain silent and wonder what an HR investigation will turn up, if anything. After all it was natural for you to talk with your boss about the fudging accusation made by that co-worker against you. Perhaps it was not necessary to take your anger to HR. But you did. So now live with that. Just from now on be the kind of co-worker you would like others to be to you and for your company. Does that make sense? Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden