Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about starting a false rumor:
My husband and I met at work a few years ago and were just married in August. In our office, there is a young lady who is very flirtatious with all the guys, including my husband. She has even accused a few guys of sexual harassment and eventually admitted that they were not true.
Then shortly after our wedding, one of the managers came into my office to talk to me about something that this lady had told her. She told her and a few other managers that my husband and I dropped my stepson off in front of someone’s house and left him standing outside their door and drove off to go to our wedding. This is a blatant lie. My stepson was the ring bearer in our wedding and we would never leave him anywhere unattended. Then we had to go out of our way to clear this up with management.
We did not want this fabricated incident to be reported to child services or anything like that. My husband and I would like to fight for custody as soon as we get settled and we are worried that any rumors she is circulating might hurt our chances of getting custody and helping my step-son get out of the poor living conditions that he currently endures. Management made her apologize to my husband and she did so in a laughing manner.
Now, she is actually favored by management and they treat her better than other employees. We thought about seeking legal counsel about her intentionally hurting our reputations. My question to you is, shouldn’t management have done something more? Shouldn’t misconduct be punished, not rewarded? What type of example is this setting for other employees? Should we alert HR to the situation since this is the third false story she has made up to hurt fellow employees? Is there anything else we can do? Thank you in advance for your advice.
Ms. Loose Tongue has been caught in defamation of you and your husband, and she was forced to apologize. You say that she has told two other lies that could cause co-workers serious problems, yet she continues to be favored by management. Should she have been punished? At the very least, she should have to put this apology in writing and your manager should sign this as a witness. You have a right to request this. A copy of it should be in Ms. Loose Tongue’s file in the HR office, and the original plus copies should place in your safety deposit box should you need it because her false story surfaces as you seek custody of your step-son. HR should be able to help have this done.
Also, other co-workers whom she accused of sexual harassment may want to request the same kind of action. Not only can false stories of sexual harassment damage those accused, they also can cost the company if corrective action is not taken.Pursuing this matter with HR will alert the company to the damage done and potential damage that may be caused by Ms. Loose Tongue who has flirting ways. Also it should safeguard you and forewarn your co-workers and protect your company. Be discreet in all of this. In short, do not make whatever you do grist for gossip of co-workers. Before you go to HR, apprise your manager of what you have decided to do, and you may want to tell her that if HR cannot accomplish this for you, you may need to seek the help of an attorney to get a written apology.
I would not say why you want this to your manager unless you already have, or anyone else. HR also use occasion to advise this woman that she is there to work and not flirt. That, however, is not something you should advise them to do.Weigh this advice and you may want to seek a (usually 30 minute free) consultation with an attorney before initiating it. Realize that our advice is not legal advice. Our site does not dispense that. Do let us know what you do and how it works out.
Try not to let this annoyance become an obsession. Rather focus on doing what you can to create a pleasant productive working environment. That means finding ways to make your boss and co-workers’ jobs easier and the atmosphere one in which thank you and praise is frequent. Think WEGO.