Should I Rat Out A Co-Worker?

Do you ever feel like your colleagues are “getting away” with stuff at work? Have you ever wanted to rat out a co-worker for not being completely honest? In today’s “Ask J.T. And Dale,” career experts J.T. O’Donnell and Dale Dauten tackle the following question...


Dear J.T. and Dale,

A co-worker strolls into work late and then spends 20 minutes in the bathroom, putting on her makeup. And she ducks out for lunch.

There is NO WAY she is working eight hours, but she is putting in for that.

Our boss has said that he doesn't want to "police" everyone's time, but I know others are noticing and now starting to do the same.

Should I say something?

- Silvia

So, what should you do in this situation? Would you mind your own business or would you rat out a co-worker? According to Dauten, there are two possible outcomes to ratting out your co-worker in this situation. First, since he’s already told you that he doesn’t want to police people, he might be annoyed that you went to him about this situation. Second, he could institute some kind of “Stallinistic” management techniques as a result of you making him aware of this behavior. And who’s going to be to blame for that? You. “I’ve seen this a lot,” said O’Donnell. “I’ve worked in HR for many years and this person is eventually going to “hang” herself.” According to O’Donnell, she’s going to keep taking too many liberties and she’s going to go too far, and it’s going to catch up with her. When the boss does find out, he’s going to be really upset and he’s going to be embarrassed, and he’s going to take action. However, she said he might already be aware of what’s happening. “Maybe there’s stuff happening that you don’t know about,” she said. “Maybe she’s not getting promotions, maybe she’s missing out on key opportunities. So, he just might be disciplining her in a different way. . . .You don’t always know everything that’s going on.” Finally, the company might not necessarily measure performance based on how much time is spent in front of the computer. If this person is reaching or exceeding her goals, the company might be perfectly fine with this behavior. So, the bottom line is, you probably don’t want to approach your boss and rat out a co-worker in this situation. Instead, focus on bringing value to the company. Want to ask J.T. & Dale a question? Email your question to advice@jtanddale.com.  

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