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Asked to lie? Try diplomacy, but draw a line

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “Recently, my supervisor abruptly terminated one of my co-workers in front of me and another employee. She then asked the two of us to give her written summaries of what we had witnessed. After reading our reports, she told us to rewrite them based on her version of events, which is basically a lie.

“My co-worker changed his report, but I said that I had written the facts as I remembered them. Now my supervisor keeps pressing me to say bad things about the person who was fired. Lying is against my principles, so this is totally stressing me out.”  Honest Abe

A: Your supervisor should never have put you in this awkward position.

One possible solution is to choose your words carefully and construct an accurate version of events that doesn’t contradict her story. But if walking that fine line is impossible, you may simply need to tell her that you are not comfortable commenting on your former colleague’s performance. However, you would be wise to omit the word “lying” from that conversation.  

You should always be careful when complaining to your boss. Here are some helpful tips: How to Complain to Your Boss.

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