Falsely Accused Of Making Fun of a Wedding Photo

Question:

I was confronted by a coworker and my supervisor in a meeting. The coworker said that 3 different indivduals came to them saying that I said something negative about her wedding photo.

I was shocked and upset because I never said anything of the sort about her wedding photo. During the meeting after I said to her that I did not say anything and that I wanted to know who told her this, she stated that she promised the individuals that she wouldn’t bring them into it.

My supervisor on the other hand made the statement that if one person told you something I wouldn’t believe it, even with two, but three means something was said. I again explained to both of them that I did not say anything and that I think one person told her this and that person is the one said well three people told me she said the same thing.

My question is what do I do? Can I get written up or put on an work improvement plan for this mess that is clearly gossiping lies?

Signed,

Worried


Answer:

Dear Worried:

According to your work rules and policies, it might be possible for your supervisor to ask for sanctions such as a write up or improvement plan. Usually something this minor would be handled with a verbal reprimand or a counseling session, depending on if there have been problems about this type of thing before where you are involved.

If your organization has an HR section or if there is someone higher than your supervisor you should write out what happened and say that you would like this matter fully investigated so you can clear your name. Insist upon having the truth found out so you don’t need to feel you are under a cloud of suspicion.

You might want to say that you do not need to be told what employees said what things, as long as the supervisor knows and can verify that you are innocent of the accusation. If you do that, you certainly must be sure you did not say anything even remotely like the comment being reported about. But if you truly did not say anything negative, you should insist that anyone reporting otherwise must own up to their lies.

If you did say the negative thing or something similar, get it over with as soon as possible so you can move on. Write to the employee and copy the supervisor and say that you have thought and thought about what you said, and that you did say, “XXXXX” (Your version of what was said.)

Explain why you said it, perhaps to in part make it sound a bit less harsh. “I was in a grumpy mood in general that day and may have sounded more mean than I meant to sound.”)

Say that you are sorry you said anything at all and you have learned a big lesson from it. BUT, if you didn’t say the thing you are accused of saying, don’t ever even suggest that you might have said anything wrong and instead stick to the truth which is that you did not, do not know why anyone would lie to say you did, and want it fully investigated so you can clear your name.

This is probably the tip of the iceberg with communication problems in that office. Make sure you do not contribute to it any further. Don’t discuss this any more than necessary and let it fade away. Then, be wary of any personal and non-work related comments. They come back to bite you every time!

Best wishes! If you have the time and wish to do so, we’d like to know what happens with it.

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.