Monday, February 01, 2010

Be Careful of Sharing Too Much Information About Your Problems at Work!

Since we're not that far into the new year, I feel I need to give a reminder that you can't always trust everyone at work with information about your problems/issues. This is especially true when it comes to something as sensitive as a race-related problem and/or allegations about potential violations of federal statutes, such as discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.

Sometimes, people have an interest in your problems that is rooted in genuine concern and a desire to help you work your way through your problem. But, sometimes, folks just want to ask questions because of the gossipy nature of discussing such things at work. They want to be the one to know what's going on, but they may also be someone who ends up sharing details about what you're saying that can end up making there way to the person you are talking about or to higher-ups in your department or in the company, as a whole.

It's not necessarily a desire to gossip that might make someone repeat things you've said. Some people are simply malicious--even people that you think are cool with you. Never assume you know someone's motivations. You can't get into anyone's head. You only know what you do and why--and some of us don't even know that!! So, don't assume there isn't a reason for someone to betray your trust. If people think they can get a promotion, curry favor, get a raise or bonus or possibly a nice assignment, they may decide it's worth going behind your back and playing the role of the company man. And, that spells bad news for you!

You want to be the person to share information about your issues at the time and place of your choosing. You don't want to be forced into conversations or attacked based on leaks. You certainly don't want to be subjected to retaliation because someone is disclosing your concerns and/or your plan to deal with a sensitive issue at work.

By having loose lips, you might be giving someone the motivation to step up attacks against you or to accuse you of things that might lead to personnel actions like suspension and/or termination. Pick your battle and your soldiers wisely. Don't let your mouth cause you more problems at work than any you might already be dealing with.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loose Lips Sink Ships.....

5:22 AM  
Blogger Fighter said...

I am currently dealing with a workplace issue & an internal investigation was carried out. The HR, to my surprise was quite conciliatory as they are afraid I would lodge an external complaint. I am off work on stress leave at present. I don’t know what awaits me when I return to work.
All the while people at work keep asking me what was going on. I don’t reveal anything at all because I am thinking they are all waiting to see me fail in my career. As far as I am concerned they are my opponents & a bunch of wicked racists.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say, Your comments and blogs are always right-on-time. And exactly the tools that I need to fight the good fight.

I always appreciate your candor, and honesty for Black Workers. The world is a much better place when strong Black leader's and bloggers such as yourself are around.

Give me and other insight for dealing with workplace issues

8:30 PM  
Blogger M said...

I have filed a discrimination/retaliation lawsuit against my firm. Consequently, I was terminated after 12 years of employment. Now, my wife who is working for the same company and is also a woman of color, is receiving subtle retaliation on the job, and overt retaliation during the discovery process on my case. She was subjected to engage in deposition testimony. I would like to expose the fact that the company is being sued for discrimination. Is there any way for me to do so? Your help is much appreciated.

5:39 PM  
Blogger S. Mary Wills said...

Fighter, keep up the silent treatment. You don't know who was asked to find out what you were up to and who is on a mission to get information for office gossip or to gain a reward from your employer. I've always said that one of the hardest things was dealing with "friends" and coworkers at work who were willing to sell me or someone else down the river. I've seen unjustified and out-of-cycle bonus checks and promotions given to folks who went back to management with details about someone's case/complaint.

Also, Fighter, document your leave of absence. If you pursue action, you should ask to have your leave reinstated. You shouldn't have to suck up your leave because of workplace abuse. Something to consider. But, definitely, get medical documentation--especially if your pressure, etc. is up.

M, your wife, is protected by federal law. You can't go after a spouse because of issues with the other spouse and you can't retaliate against someone to prevent them from speaking out against discrimination. Sounds like she might need to be a party in your complaint or file her own, depending on how out of hand this is getting. They may just be waiting to fire her at a later time, but are setting up pretexts, fake reasons to get rid of her, to punish you and get rid of someone they feel is an internal threat, your wife.

A friend had the same issue of wanting to publicize the racism and complaint against our employer, but you run into issues of corporate lawyers coming after you for destroying their public image/brand.

You don't want to give your former employer anything they can use as a distraction from the main issue, their violation of laws prohibiting discrimination, etc. But, trust me, I understand where you're coming from.

Focus on your complaint--PROVING YOUR COMPLAINT. Your lawsuit is in the public record.

Good luck with the lawsuit. If you'd ever like to share tips or thoughts with my readers, post a comment and I will place on the main page.

That goes for you too, Fighter!

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Work at Home said...

Your post is very informative. I agree about it. We should be very careful in sharing too much information.

7:36 AM  

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