Written-Up Up With No Explanation

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about write up for gossip: I was not told what I said or who I said it to. I was given a sheet that said I violated the work code on gossip.

Today I was written up by my HR department for gossip. I was not told what I said or who I said it to. I was given a sheet that said I violated the work code on gossip, and it gave an explanation of what that meant, and then it had a space for a signature.When I asked for details or what I was accused of doing, besides a vague accusation of “gossip,” I was told that I couldn’t be given that information because it would reveal my accuser. Is this legit? Can I be written-up and not told the exact reason why?

Signed, Told Why But Not Who

DearĀ Told Why But Not Who:

You have not been arrested, and to the best of my knowledge there’s no law that says you must be given your rights when given a written warning. Ask The Workplace Doctors answers workplace communication-related questions, not legal, but I think it is best that you reflect on the kind of talk you have with coworkers rather than hold a grudge against you boss for writing you up.

From here, of course, I don’t know exactly what you said that has been judged as gossip. It is natural to vent frustrations about others with whom you work, but it is not good business; not good for others or you. It might make us feel superior to gossip about coworker’s personal lives that make them look bad, but that’s bad business too. To be written up for gossip indicates that you’ve been badmouthing others in your workplace.

Look in the mirror. Ask, “Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, what nasty talk have I said about someone or them all?”A Manager of Human Resources provides an even dozen Dos and Don’ts that might guide you, should you wish to learn from what you’ve been accused: 1. Never say anything negative about anybody 2. Always be positive 3. Leave your problems at home 4. When in doubt, ask your boss 5. Never assume ANYTHING 6. Find out who’s related to whom and who’s politically connected to whom 7. Avoid the ass kissers like the plague (I’m sure you can think of a more politically correct term than I provided, I just can’t think of one now). 8. Do whatever it takes to do the best you can 9. When writing a report for others to see, re-edit it at least 3x. 10. Be kind and generous to everyone, regardless of how you truly feel about them. 11. OH – the big one – Never ever go out drinking or on a date with anyone from work, it always comes back to bite you on the butt (Again, another politically incorrect term). 12. Keep a record of every contact you make in the job world, you never know who may be able to help you in the future. —-Dan Kearney, HR Manager, Harvest Valley Bakery, LaSalle, IL

If you are frustrated about the “way things are going”; about who isn’t doing what they are hired to do; talk to them directly. Help make others jobs easier and more effective. That’s what you would want coworkers to do rather than gossip about you. If they are having trouble in their personal lives or causing trouble, gossip won’t help them. This is more a sermon than I’m sure you wanted when you sent in your question. Signing a warning simply indicates that you have been given notice that you are warned. You can submit an explanation and refutation of it if you think that it is unfair. My signature sentence is free as is our advice: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Isn’t that the kind of feeling you want from working with others?

William Gorden