Should I Report Boss-Employee Relationship?

Question to Ask the Workplace¬† Doctors about a supervisor involvement and favoritism to a coworker: What bothers me is that I’ve approached him a couple of times in regards to the co-worker’s work performance and my supervisor for obvious reasons is covering for her.

My supervisor is the one who hired me two years ago. He has started a relationship with one of my co-workers. What bothers me is that I’ve approached him a couple of times in regards to the co-worker’s work performance and my supervisor for obvious reasons is covering for her. He also covers for her in meetings, and I’m 90% sure that he gave her the same raise I received, even though she is on Facebook and MSN messenger or shopping online all day.

Yes, she does get some work done, but how much do you expect her to get done with all the surfing? I know for sure that she and my supervisor are dating. My supervisor’s friends and I are acquaintances and have shared their insights with me. I have also caught them shopping together. There was one time before this when I had first found out, when I spread the word behind his back. (Bad idea.) I have since learned from this and have kept my mouth shut. At that time we did not have an HR department. Now, because of company changes we have more than enough HR resources.

I’m not sure how to approach this problem. I really want to get some professional advice before I make any moves or make any at all. The office is a bit tense, because he and she have seen me at the same furniture store. In fact, when I was there I actually approached them. The first time I spread rumors I apologized for it. I moved on and worked harder at work and worked harder on myself to become a person of stronger character. I have quit smoking and now I’m working to get in great shape. This is something I see as another challenge that needs to be handled with respect and research. However, I lack the experience to make good judgment on the matter. I definitely won’t go talking in the background again, but I don’t know if I should be doing anything at all. Other than of course to focus on myself and keep on improving the things that I have control over personally.

Signed, Wondering What To Do

Dear Wondering What To Do:

Your essential question seems to be whether to contact HR about this situation. I think you are wise to be hesitating about that, and certainly you are showing good judgment to not talk about our speculation (or facts) in the office. I can imagine that is frustrating to think that your supervisor is overlooking the lack of contribution of a co-worker for any reason. However, consider the following, to keep a realistic and practical viewpoint: Unless you are having to do more work than is reasonable for your position, you are not being harmed if she is being helped. It’s irritating and seems unfair, but it is tolerable. If her lack of work is creating a significant disparity, deal with her directly in a civil way by pushing back a bit on work she should be doing. Ask her for assistance when you see she has time; leave some things for her to do if that is the way the work is set-up; involve her in tasks that pull her away from her other activities. If that doesn’t seem to be effective or if you feel more comfortable handling it with the supervisor, have a list of the things you think are too much for you to do and ask if someone else can help or if work can be realigned. Pay raises are not only about work quantity so maybe your boss can justify the raise for her, or maybe everyone got a raise without regard to work. If you are ever denied a raise based on your work but she receives one, THAT would be a reason to ask for a re-examination of your performance compared to hers, and it would be appropriate to get HR involved.

Apart from that, I think you should bide your time and stay focused on your own work and being a strong team contributor. Such relationships often don’t end well anyway, and even a supervisor in a relationship can usually see that there is a limit to how much the girlfriend or boyfriend can get by with. Not only that, but if you know about it, others do too, and likely the truth will come out in some other way. This might be a good time to develop an even stronger network within the organization. Perhaps your whole team could benefit from some meetings, projects or activities that show everyone the value of being good team members. If another employee is being an exemplary contributor write a thank you letter and send a copy to your supervisor.

Those positive actions will do more good than the dubious satisfaction of negative actions, no matter how justified.So, the bottom line is this:If you are being harmed, you should first try to talk to your supervisor, then go to HR, If there is a rule against a boss-employee relationship HR may take serious action and you will be in the middle of it. However, to protect yourself it might be necessary.

If you are not being harmed, see if you can work with the situation by ensuring you are not overloaded with tasks or projects and by doing so well at your work that you stand out as the strong member of the team. Others will recognize your efforts and so will your supervisor.It sounds to me as though you are doing well with your experience and your self-critique about what happened before. Keep your focus, especially on having a well-balanced and healthy life. That way work issues such as this, which tend to come and go, will not stop your progress in life or in your career. Best wishes to you!

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.