A colleague has a history of misrepresenting my actions to managers. This is making me look very bad in my company, and is otherwise negatively impacting my brand here.

A typical example is: ask me to arrange a discussion. After the discussion, he write an email to me, CC'ing the manager, misrepresenting what I said in the meeting. For example, if I made a statement "X", he wrote that I made statement "Y", as well as say that I arranged the meeting.

This not only makes it look like I'm making nonsensical statements, but also that I am initiating meetings to make them, which creates the impression I'm wasting time. I feel like the colleague is doing this intentionally to make me look bad.

How do I respond to this kind of behaviour?

Note that this question initially had a legal component which has been removed, so some answers you see here may discuss legal issues.

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    This question is being discussed on meta. Because of the migration it was automatically locked when it was put on hold; I unlocked it to allow the community to edit it (as indicated on meta). Instead, the community quickly deleted it. I have undeleted to allow people time to make edits. If edits and reopening aren't forthcoming, we can always delete it later. I prefer to err on the side of allowing people to improve the question, particularly when there's already been a lot of confusing churn. Feb 28, 2018 at 21:31
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    @TinaJ, sorry for all the back and forth with this question. I tried to rework your question to fit our guidelines. Please let us know if I got anything wrong, or if you have any additional information to add.
    – David K
    Mar 1, 2018 at 17:30
  • TinaJ, please rollback to whichever version you find most accurate. @MaskedMan I will not get in an edit war with you.
    – David K
    Mar 1, 2018 at 17:39
  • Why exactly is "who called for the discussion" such a huge deal that it is something to be accused of? It happens quite frequently in the workplace that Adam wants Bob's opinion on a certain topic, and Bob is not free to discuss that topic right then, so he asks Adam to schedule a meeting. Now, you could argue that Bob asked for a meeting because he did. However, Bob could also legitimately claim that Adam asked for the meeting because he (Bob) had no reason for it if Adam hadn't come asking for it. It doesn't contribute anything meaningful to the issue at hand.
    – Masked Man
    Mar 2, 2018 at 16:40
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    @MaskedMan the OP has the line "he has hostile office competition", implying that the actions "he" takes are both intentional and with the aim of making OP look bad. OP then continues to define the actions taken - noted in the question. I'm unsure where you think we're putting words in to the OP's mouth?
    – bharal
    Mar 2, 2018 at 18:29

3 Answers 3


Take notes during the meeting, as minutes of what was said and agreed. At the end of the meeting, write them up and send them out yourself.

Try to do that before the toxic colleague sends out their version. And keep the notes in case anyone wants to check.


IMHO, if you answer in the same email by hitting "reply all" and answering / updating his points where he got it wrong (intentionally or otherwise), that would be sufficient to get your point of view across.


A good manager would see past this petty manipulation.

I would just reply and cc your manager (he started it):

That is not my recollection of my words. It is certainly not my belief that 2+2=5. It is you that requested the discussion.

It doubt is rises to legal libel.

Might be legal to record a conversation. Not the same but as club member one the instructors was just plain hostile to me and other member. Her group of friends would vouch for her. I recorded her, played it to the manager, and he fired her.

  • I have heard recording voice in the US is illegal.
    – Mary
    Feb 25, 2018 at 23:20
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    @TinaJ - In some areas it evidence obtained through covert audio recording is not admissible in court. Some activities are also protected (IE in some areas you can not record amorous activities with out consent). However anything done in a public setting is not protected from recording. However it is not criminal to record a conversation that happens publicly, in an area where there is no expectation of privacy, or in a place where both participants of an otherwise private conversation are aware that the recording is taking place Feb 26, 2018 at 12:38
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    @TinaJ and IDrink, There are definitely states where it is illegal to record private conversations unless all parties are aware of the recording. I would consider a meeting between two people in an office as a private conversation. If you do choose to record a conversation, make sure to understand your local laws. Even if it is legal, a recording may violate company policy and would certainly come across as unprofessional behavior.
    – David K
    Feb 26, 2018 at 15:01
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    @TinaJ - HR's job is to protect the company not you. That is why they are making it more difficult. They have no incentive to acknowledge the problem until you or someone else takes the steps to give them that incentive. Until you get a lawyer involved their best strategy is to deny there is any problem. Often once a lawyer gets involved companies throw the manager overboard in hopes that it will end the sinking of their ship. Feb 27, 2018 at 15:42
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    @TinaJ - If you do threaten to get a lawyer I would expect them to fire you for cause nearly immediately. Because that will discredit your lawsuit Feb 27, 2018 at 16:01

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