Rumors and Lies

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about trust: Now, the department watches every move I make and emails back and forth when I am going into the supply room and they have someone patrol the area.

I began working on 1/5/09, I came into work on 1/06/09 and was shown to my desk by a coworker. So, I began cleaning out “the desk”. Inside one of the desk drawers, underneath paper and boxes there was a calender. I said, “Here is a calender.” No response from other co-workers. I took it out of the drawer and unwrapped it and placed it on my desk. The person that does the supply ordering for the office came and saw the calender on my desk and surprisedly stated, “There is the calender that I have been looking for”, I have been looking for it for days”.

Now remember, this was my first day here. Come to find out there had been three others that had sat at this desk before me. A few days later rumors began to surface that I stole the calander. I confronted this person and she accused me of giving her a threatening look. She even went as far as to miss a couple of days of work. Now, the department watches every move I make and emails back and forth when I am going into the supply room and they have someone patrol the area. What should I do?

Signed, Mistrusted

Dear Mistrusted:

I’m sorry to say this, but it may be too late to do anything to make this better, since it started months ago. At this point you should write a letter to your manager or boss or to HR, and tell them the story from the beginning. Tell them the names of anyone who heard you ask about the calendar to begin with. Then, ask them for assistance in clearing your name by investigating this matter. Tell them exactly what has happened recently, along with any proof you have, or anything specific that has been said or done about you.

At the same time you should be working to build positive relationships with people. Surely someone there has seen you in a more positive way by now and could vouch for you. Show that you want to be part of the group, not being apart from it because they distrust you.Frankly, they don’t sound like very nice people, if they are doing what you describe. So, maybe this just isn’t an office where you will work well.I’m wondering how you know about the rumors, emails and watching you, unless someone has told you. If they have, list their name as a witness, and ask them to speak up for you the next time someone say something bad about you.

Keep in mind, if you think this is all about the calendar incident:

1.) Calendars are not expensive items and rarely special ordered for someone, so it would seem strange for all of this to be over a paper calendar.

2.) You don’t know for sure the woman really HAD been looking for the calendar. She might have just made that up to create problems.

3.) It sounds like there have been many more things going on than just the calender issue–including accusations, allegations of threats and taking time off to avoid you, allegedly. So, there are a lot of things you should be talking to your supervisor or manager about. If you’re not careful you’ll end up with no job.

So, get this out in the open and make it clear you want to be a good team member and a good employee, but you also want to be treated with respect and trust, since you have done nothing wrong. Don’t work on this alone–get your supervisor or manager involved. Best wishes with this. 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.