How to Deal With a Lying Co-worker

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Most people admit to telling little white lies, but even those can pose a problem if it's your co-worker who's constantly creating them. Learn to stop the stream of fibs and false excuses before they damage the office atmosphere or your reputation.

  • Collect as much "evidence" as possible when you notice that your co-worker is becoming a chronic liar. If he typically claims he told you to do something when he hasn't, start asking for written or emailed instructions that you can use if you get into a "he said, she said" battle in front of your boss.

  • Initiate a candid conversation with your co-worker, questioning him about work-related lies. Ask if there's been a misunderstanding rather than accuse him outright. Let him know, however, that if the lying continues and begins to jeopardize the team or the company, you'll have to talk to your boss.

  • Discuss the situation with your boss, supervisor or human resources department if all else fails. Leave your personal feelings out of the discussion. Simply discuss the practical reasons why your co-worker's lying is reducing productivity, causing discomfort in the office or harming the company's reputation.

  • Tell your co-worker that you have work to do and leave the room if she's gossiping and lying about other employees' personal lives. Once she realizes that you're not a willing audience, she'll stop coming to you with the latest "news."

Tips & Warnings

  • When you confront a chronic liar about her history of lies or excuses, consider having another person in the room as a witness or conduct the "conversation" via email so you'll have a record of the interaction in case your co-worker decides to lie about your demeanor or what you said.

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