Manager Falsely Accused By Subordinates

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about accusation by subordinates: It was said that my wife, their manager, said that one of the women would spread her legs to anyone

My wife, who is a senior manager, was accused of saying something about three of her subordinates. It’s an outright lie that she said anything she was accused of saying. (It was said that my wife said that one of the women would spread her legs to anyone.) My wife and I are trying to be good Christian people and my wife is the only person I know that would not lie about anything(not even a white lie). The company had to write her up as company policy. What can we do to clear her name?

Signed, Trying to Help

Dear Trying to Help:

I can imagine how frustrated and hurt your wife feels over this–and how you feel on her behalf. It appears that the company chose to believe subordinates who quoted your wife. My first thought, as an outsider, is that your wife must have had a conversation about one employee to another for them to even think about making up a story, especially one of that nature. However, I’m afraid there probably is nothing specific your wife can do at this point except show through her behavior that the story was absurd and she was falsely accused.

You don’t have to clear her name if she is well thought of, but it would be good to ask that a rebuttal statement from her be placed with the reprimand in her personnel folder. That way if someone who doesn’t know her in the future sees the reprimand they will also read her side of the story.The underlying issue here is why would a subordinate dislike your wife to the extent that they would completely make something up. It’s hard to avoid that with some subordinates because they will look for the slightest reason to create grief for a boss.One thing that helps is to never, ever mention an employee’s name to another employee, except to commend them.

No matter how much one employee might dislike another one, their loyalty will be to each other and not to the manager. So, they immediately tell someone who tells someone and in the process the story is exaggerated.Your wife probably said something slightly negative or even just agreed when someone else did, and it grew from there. She’s not lying when she says she didn’t say what she is accused of saying. But, the employees who heard it think that is what she meant or would have said or might have said, and they all talk about it so much they start believing it.

Urge your wife to keep her focus on being the kind of person who is respected for her work and her positive treatment of others. She should never make or encourage judgments about the morality of employees, since it has nothing to do with work. She should also be careful to not let hurt or resentment show in her dealings with those who lied about her and falsely accused her. It might be that other employees will ask her about it. She should just say it was a personnel issue and she wants to move forward from here and not talk about it. (I think her faith has examples of how to treat those who trespass against her 🙂

This troubling time will fade away before long because your wife’s work and actions will tell the truth about her. Best wishes with all of it. 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.