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Background

I work on a three person team. For the sake of anonymity, lets call me Sarah, coworker one Bill, and coworker two John. Bill is great. He gets his work done and never has any issues. I myself try to get everything done on time as well, and between Bill and I, there are never any issues. However, John is constantly not doing assigned tasks, lying about it, and in general phoning it in. Normally, Bill and I try to look past this.

Incident

Last week, there was an incident where John very clearly lied about doing a task. He said he finished it, but he just didn't do it. When asked by our boss, we did mention it.

Boss Action

So yesterday, our boss brought all three of us into a room, and told John, very explicitly, that we'd accused him of lying. Obviously, this made things very awkward. He got angry and denied everything. Bill got angry as well and accused him of other things, and I just sat there uncomfortably.

The meeting ended without sort of actual resolution, except that the boss told John that he needs to communicate better. Later, a few minutes after I'd left, I got a text from my boss asking if John has accosted me in the parking lot, which he hadn't, but it makes me nervous.

Question

Is the action that my boss took, ie sitting us all down together and telling John what we'd reported, a bad thing? It's made a bad situation worse (even without me having now to worry about being accosted in the parking lot) and I'm worried that our working relationship will now be completely broken.

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    Your working relationship with John might not last for very long. – gnasher729 Nov 11 '17 at 21:52
  • Could be considered a hostile working environment now. – Andy Mercer Nov 13 '17 at 21:33
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The way you report this, your boss hasn't handled this very well. He shouldn't have said that you (you and Bill) accused John of lying, he should have said that you accused John of not having finished his task, even though John said he did. He should have made it work related.

You may be worried, but the one who needs to be really worried is John. You and Bill tried to overlook his behaviour, but that might end. The way you describe it, Bill has had enough of John's behaviour. And your boss might not want a repeat of what happened.

If John just grumbles and does his work, be fine with that. If John grumbles and visibly doesn't do his work, well, up to you what you do with that. If John complains about you going to the boss, which you didn't, and which would have been justified if you had done it, then it is time to tell him that all you did was not lying to your boss, and that if he worked like his two colleagues, he wouldn't get in trouble like he did.

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    In particular a good boss would try to understand why John is behind - whether he needs a lower work load, additional training or would be more happy with different tasks etc. Boss may be looking to get rid of him anyway, because he may also have seen already through John's way of hiding low motivation /productivity. That would also explain him asking about any parking lot issues etc. If he could leverage any harassment claims against him, he'd be gone the faster. So be careful to stick with the truth. – Frank Hopkins Nov 12 '17 at 1:41

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