Falsely Accused Friend

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about reprimand for not doing a job:

My friend is a mechanic. He rotated a customer’s tires and the customer accused him of not doing it. His boss made my friend sign a paper which made it sound as though he admitted doing wrong. (I told him not to ever do that again.) He was suspended for two days because the customer made a big deal about this problem. What should he do?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

I can imagine that both you and your friend are concerned. I doubt that there is much either of you can do about this situation, unless there is a way to prove that the work was done and the customer lied.

You’re correct that if your friend didn’t do anything wrong he shouldn’t have signed a letter that made it sound as though he DID do something wrong. On the other hand, unless you have seen the letter you don’t know exactly what it said. Even if you have seen the letter you don’t know exactly what your friend did about the tires. I’m not alleging that he did something wrong. However, there really is no way to know unless you can see the customer’s tires, know what else was going on and know what conversations your friend had about the situation.

This may simply be one of those apparent injustices that your friend will need to work through, making an effort to stay positive about work. I’m sorry there isn’t a magic way to make this right. But, without some clear proof, it would be almost impossible to get your friend’s boss to change his mind, I’m sure.One way you can help him is to advice him to keep his focus on his work and not let this make him bitter or negative. If he thinks it will be helpful he may want to talk to his boss to explain his side of the story. But, whatever he does, he should remember that many people have probably made similar mistakes and this may become a minor problem in a short amount of time if he ensures he does excellent work consistently.Best wishes to both of you in the days ahead.

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.