Ask Alma: My Co-worker Lied about her “Dead Sister” to Get Time Off

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Dear Alma,

I work with a woman who came to work and said her sister died. She didn’t have enough time off so I and another woman donated time to her so she could take off for the funeral and still be paid. To make this long story short, I have a friend of a friend who’s her friend and she said she doesn’t even have a sister. I can’t believe she lied about something like that. I think she should be fired, because she’s a liar. I’m not sure how to bring it to the attention of her supervisor. I told my co-worker, who also volunteered time and she is mad too, but she doesn’t want to tell on her. She said maybe she’s having some problems. I think we all have problems but we shouldn’t make up lies about the death of loved ones. I cannot stand to work with her or see her face, because she can’t be trusted. What do you think I should do? Should I contact Human Resources or tell her boss directly?

Signed,
No Good Deed

Dear No Good Deed,

Ahhh what, excuse me? How about the first person that has never told a lie at work take two steps forward! Ummm, that’s alright, you don’t need to make room. Don’t get me wrong, lying about your sister’s death is jack-shickity. But what does that have to do with you? Should you contact HR or tell her boss? Tell her boss what?

I truly understand this to be a grown-up matter, so why don’t you take a grown-up approach. Ask her, straight up, did your sister pass away? If she says, “yes,” offer your condolences and go back to your desk.

Maybe in her mind, her sister did die, a sorority sister, step sister, sister in Christ. She may have a cousin she loves like a sister. We don’t know her circumstances or what was in her heart. Ok, yeah, I’m stretching it and, it appears, she did, too. But right here is where I’ll cut her some slack and us a slice of patience and understanding.

This is serious business that ain’t really none of your business. I’m clear on you’re A and B options, so let’s consider my C option: Spend time doing the best job you were hired to do at your own desk. With whatever few extra minutes you have, kick it up a notch, and go the extra mile. If you focus on the work on your desk and the responsibilities in your own office, you won’t have time to walk down the hall carrying “buckets of you being upset” to the boss’ office. You feel me? What has happened with this woman is between her, her boss and Human Resources. Stay out of it! I know you’re mad about your time and you feel like she has used and abused you, but, you know what – what goes around comes around. You were trying to be a blessing and you’ll be blessed for it. Don’t look for her to repay you. Your good works will come back to you, in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: alwaysaskalma@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.