Is one bad apple poisoning your team?

Question: “We have an employee who lies about her time, doesn’t do all her work, complains about co-workers and tries to change policy for her benefit. The administrator ignores all of our complaints. How can we handle this difficult employee?” — Anonymous


It appears that administration is willing for this employee to continue this behavior. That being the case, do your job effectively, professionally and productively and eventually the offender will trip up and action will have to be taken. We can only be responsible for our jobs and our sphere of influence. So be it. I know this causes morale issues, but the rest of the staff needs to stand together and perform their duties correctly. Good Luck!

How does what this person does affect YOUR job? If she lies about her time, doesn’t do her work, or changes policies, unless it DIRECTLY affects you (and I mean you could lose your job), it’s the company’s issue, not yours.

When it comes to complaining about coworkers, if the claims are outright lies, then the offended person can file a complaint with HR. If she’s just complaining in general, the person can still file a complain. And even if she’s disrupting others by her actions, tell HR.

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The snafu in these situations is that it’s easier for you to try and resolve it yourself than getting really involved and escalating it up the corporate ladder (or even outside the company to the state). If the situation is that bad, and it is seriously affecting your work ability and emotional/physical health, then do something about it. Otherwise, just ignore her. Maybe she’s just looking to get attention and push everyone else’s buttons. Think about it!

This sounds just like a secretary we have working with us. Almost to a T!! What we have established here is “work orders”. Any time we need something completed we write up a “work order” ticket and submit it with the request for work to be completed. Many other tasks that I would normally have her do I simply do myself to ensure that the work is done. Even complaints to HR have gotten nowhere. This is just what has worked for me to ensure that my job is done efficiently and with the best of quality.

Get rid of them now because you will only be getting rid of them later. Getting rid of them now helps because in that amount of inevitable time you could have hired and trained someone new.

If you are not the person to do so I would steer clear of being connected to any gossip talk with them and always be sure to keep note of what is happening. If you have a manager this is a concern they would need to be made aware of and as a manger I like to have detailed specifics, so start collecting. Remember you are not a “tadle tale”, this is an important concern that effects company morale and quality of work. Good Luck.

Why is it the Admins are always the ones trying to solve all the office problems??? Do yourself a favor and let people fight their own battles. Do your own job to the best of your ability, and unless her performance directly affects you, ignore her. As another writer mentioned, she’ll eventually trip herself up, or she’ll quit and go do it again at another company. If you strive to be an exemplary employee, it will be noticed and you will receive recognition for your own work. Don’t let the shuckers and jivvers bother you; they are everywhere!!

Unfortunately, “there is one in every office.” The advice here is sound: if it doesn’t affect you directly, let it go. These things have a way of working themselves out. In my job I have this type of person and her job directly affects mine. It’s a hassle, but I track all my items, document when I need to and lock up my file drawers. I have reported this person’s lack of integrity to my manager several times, but at my company, no one is interested. They chalk it up to personality issues because we are both women . All I can do is make sure I am covered, and eventually the truth will reveal itself.

I hate to say it, but most of the previous comments are accurate in that almost every employer has one or more of these types of people. They are also right in saying the best way to deal with it is to just ignore it and concentrate on your own job, unless it carries over and affects yours. For example, you said they complain about co-workers. (98% of the people I work with do that.) But when someone tries to complain to me about others, I try to get the complainer to see the other persons rationale for what was done, try to get them to see the other side. This usually gets the complainer frustrated, and eventually they learn to stop coming to you with complaints. As for everything else you mentioned, just ignore their behavior. You can’t control what others do; you can only control what you do.

Your attitude is key in this situation. This is a great opportunity to be positive in the midst of challenge and negativity. If you are not her supervisor, there’s not much you can do to get rid of her so I suggest that you be professional, document anything that’s important, and keep looking for the positive every time you hear a complaint coming from her. If you feed her whining with more chatter or complaining about her to anyone else, you’re only adding to that negativity. Be above that. Focus on what you want in the office atmosphere and hang out with those who promote that. When she starts her negative chatter your only comment could be, “is that so?” with a little smile as you move away from her. She will cease once she realizes the audience has left.

I agree with the above, and would add, that your feeling of aggravation with this person is wasting a lot of energy that could be devoted to getting promoted. This person is going to affect your self-confidence so try to set borders and goals that will allow you to succeed. Years from now, when you’re in a more responsible position, you’ll probably notice this person still there making life miserable for those around him/her.