Slandered By My Boss!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an accusation of sleeping with: The accusations are false and I hate that I have to go back to work for her.

I was told by a manager of mine that the director of the spa I work in accused me of sleeping with the director of the hotel. The director then sent the manager a work e-mail telling her to spy on us and to get some of the other employees to do the same and report back to her. I told the director of the hotel and gave him the e-mail. We reported it to HR. The accusations are false and I hate that I have to go back to work for her. What should I do?

Signed, Don’t Even Want To Be Around Her

Dear Don’t Even Want To Be Around Her:

You are certainly correct to be upset and I’m glad you and the hotel director reported this to HR. If the spa director thought you were doing something wrong she should have handled it herself, not attempted to get others to watch your activities and report them to her.On the other hand, according to how the email was written, it could be viewed that she talked to a manager (a supervisory role) and merely asked her to observe any wrongdoing by you and the hotel director.Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of what will happen, even if the spa director is considered to have been in the wrong. It could be you will still have to work around the spa director if you want to stay working there.

Until the matter is investigated and an HR decision is made about whether or not the email was inappropriate–and if there should be disciplinary action or dismissal for the director–you could either limit work (which would be like punishing you financially!) or you could focus on work and not interact with the director except as required to do the job.If she continues as the director and you continue working there, that approach may become your full-time method of operation. It certainly isn’t optimal, but it would limit contact while still allowing to retain clients and do the work you enjoy in a setting you generally enjoy.You may also want to use this as a time to open communications rather than closing them. After its all over and would not seem you were trying to create problems during the investigation, consider asking to meet with the director and openly express how hurt, angry and slandered you felt when you found out about her efforts to catch you doing something wrong.

You could say that you want to keep working there because your clients are important to you, but you also want to feel assured that you don’t have to watch your back all the time. You could then say, “What can we do to put things back to a better situation?” Or, “How can I be sure I won’t be embarrassed like this again?” Or just, “Do you have any thoughts about the situation?” She probably will tell you she thinks she did the right thing, based on what she was observing.  But, at least it will get the two of you talking together again. Or, it will be a warning to her that you will call her on her unfounded accusations. Keep in mind also that the spa director will probably feel humiliated and as though she is viewed negatively, if HR questions her about how she handled this. So, that may keep her from similar actions in the future. She may have learned a lot from this experience. And, you may find you prefer to simply come back to work and act as though this foolish accusation of hers never happened.

The big issue now is to wait and see what HR does. Perhaps you could ask them if they have ideas for how you could limit interactions.Or, you can decide it’s too embarrassing, irritating and awkward to keep working there, so you find another salon. I wish there was a magic solution for this, but there is not. The best thing for right now is to wait for the HR investigation or for an indicator of how they are going to handle it.As a final thought, there might be a temptation to talk about this a lot with the hotel director, who was accused along with you.

But, spending far too much time in close conversation will probably just lend credence to her accusations. Keep your interactions with him limited, to avoid the appearance of wrong doing. Hopefully very soon the error of her suspicions will be obvious and you will be shown to be a good employee who was falsely accused.Best wishes to you 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.