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Stop just short of filing charges when a boss steps way over the line

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “My manager suggested several times that I should not leave my purse on my desk, because it could easily be stolen. I told her I wasn’t worried about it. Last week, however, my purse suddenly went missing. I asked my manager if she took it, but she said no.

“I immediately cancelled my credit cards and called the police to file a report. At that point, my boss admitted taking the purse and said she never wanted to see it on my desk again. She feels she had every right to do this in order to prove her point.

“Human Resources turned the issue over to my manager’s boss, who is the CEO. I’m afraid he won’t do anything, because they’ve worked together for ten years. I love my job, but I’m extremely angry and have considered filing theft charges if my manager isn’t held accountable. What do you think?” Victimized Employee

A: I think you have every right to be furious. By taking your purse, your boss clearly overstepped her boundaries and caused you unnecessary anguish. Then she compounded the offense by lying to you.

If your CEO has any sense at all, he will surely talk with your manager about this highly inappropriate behavior. But since he won’t necessarily share that information with you, you may never have the satisfaction of knowing that she was reprimanded.

Although your anger is certainly justified, filing theft charges is a bad idea. In addition to wasting valuable police time, escalating the situation could damage your own career. So instead of trying to punish your misguided manager, see if Human Resources can get her to offer a sincere apology.

Are you doing something stupid as a manager? Check this list to find out: How to Be a Lousy Leader.

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