Sometimes, when she is supposed to be at a meeting, Gina goes shopping instead or returns home for several hours.
Q: I recently discovered that my supervisor is behaving inappropriately. “Gina” often has to attend meetings outside the office, so she is frequently gone for long periods of time. Sometimes, when she is supposed to be at a meeting, Gina goes shopping instead or returns home for several hours.
I’m trying to decide whether I should report this to her boss or human resources. Although I like Gina personally and don’t want to be a tattletale, I believe this is actually a form of theft. Should I say something or just let it go?
A: Informing on the boss is a risky proposition. But if you have solid evidence that Gina misrepresents her whereabouts and uses paid time for personal business, then you have a valid reason to do so. However, you should carefully assess the hazards before taking such a serious step.
Talking with human resources would probably be a safer bet, since upper managers may be tempted to “protect their own” by suppressing negative news. A competent HR manager is less likely to dismiss your concerns and more likely to launch an objective investigation.
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If you do go to human resources, ask for explicit assurances that your identity will be protected. While this might seem like a logical assumption, some HR folks are not as strict about confidentiality as they should be. If you have any qualms about their trustworthiness, keep your information to yourself.
Should you choose to make this report, please understand that any subsequent investigation will be confidential. So if your supervisor is eventually disciplined for cheating, odds are that you will never know.
Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.