Should She Be Fired?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a partner false accusation:

I have a new partner in my meter reading job. I have just recently found out she told our boss that I was going through another co-worker’s desk. I requested a polygraph, but that declined because my boss and the city manager did not believe the allegations. My boss wants me to try and work with her and forgive her for the sake that I am a better person and older and wiser. I have to work with her side by side and I do not want to anymore. I am not a troublemaker and I am deeply hurt. I have taken this young girl under my wing and tried to be a mentor to her, and she has lied and said something awful about me. I know it’s not true, my boss knows it’s not true, and other employees that were questioned know it’s not true. How do I request that since she is on probation that she be dismissed. There is no question I feel like I am working in a hostile environment.

Signed, Falsely Accused

Dear Falsely Accused:

Have you spoken with your co-worker about her allegation? If so, how did that go? Did she apologize or explain her reason for making a false accusation? Have you shared your opinion with your boss that your co-worker should be terminated? Apparently you have stated that you do not want her as a partner in meter reading.

Should you insist and persist in stating that you do not want to work with this co-worker? That depends on the answers you have gotten to the questions about why she make the accusation and how she has responded to you and those who do not believe her. Was her false accusation a sincere effort to do what she thought was her duty? Did she misinterpret some act of yours? Was her intent malicious? Are there other things that might cause you and the organization to mistrust her? Or to trust her?

If the co-worker has not provided a reasonable explanation for her accusation and shows no remorse about the accusation, it is understandable why you do not want to work with her and think she should be fired. The purpose of a probationary period is to learn if a new hire can do assignments and if she/he has earns the trust of those in the organization. How do you say that you think she should not be a permanent employee? You simply tell your boss and the Human Resources Manager that.

The question is should you do so? The answer to that question is one that you must weigh in light of what has transpired and any offsetting factors of which you are aware. The fact that you have written us is an indication that you want to do what is right and what is not unkind. Should you forgive and try to forget? We have not sided with you or your boss. Rather these thoughts are meant to add to your weighing what is best in light of all you know and feel. It is a weighty matter and you are to be commended for not making the decision only in anger. Will you let us know what you choose to do and what is the outcome of that?Our signature WEGO symbolizes the kind of careful decision you are weighing–considering if this co-worker has earned he way off probation.

Follow-up Postscript: The co-worker, our boss, and the HR person sat down and talked last Thursday. She cried and was out of control a couple of times in the meeting. I know they were surprised at her behavior. We were in the meeting 2 hours and her mother called on her phone three times. That is one thing I had complained about, and they saw it first hand. I know she is young. She is 20; I am 35. I do have a kind heart and feel sorry for her. But she was caught in a lie and maybe the unknown of not knowing what is going to happen in the meeting that we have on Monday morning is what is scary for me. She definitely said the things she said about me to make Brownie points with the boss. It’s almost likes she likes conflict.

My heart aches and I have made myself sick this weekend worrying about it. Also let me add that my boss and the hr person has been 110% supportive of me. I am worried that emotionally it would be very hard for me to forget. I worry everyday when I get in the truck about what she is saying. I feel like I should forget it–that I am too old for this 1st grade gossip. Personally I know I have more adult experiences and I should be the bigger person, but I was hit with this blind-sided and it hurt my feelings.

More: Take your head and heart to the meeting on Monday. Together, in light of what transpires, your boss, HR. co-worker, and you can face this unhappy behavior with maturity, grace and in keeping with the best of all concerned at heart. Right?

William Gorden