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TL;DR

Co-worker doesn't do his job and is trying to blame me for his low performance, what is the best way to get out of this situation? Is talking to his manager a good option?


At my company, my boss asked me to do some side work on another team because they didn't have enough people at the time (only one person was left), this situation wouldn't go on forever, but it has been going on for some time. The work I do on the second team isn't too bad, just annoying, but the person who was left on this team was just terrible.

First of all, this person has a company of his own (more like, he owns an eBay account that sells some products) and he spends a lot of his working hours inside our office handling problems that his own company comes up with. He's constantly going out to pick up personal calls, and recently he gave his ramal number to his own clients, who have started calling him on the company's phone. He also spends a lot of time (around two hours) just hanging around the office using his cell phone, probably taking care of his personal business.

None of that should matter to me, except that at the beginning of my "helping", he gave me a lot of tickets to work on saying it was necessary for me to get some experience. If I asked him how to do something, he'd say "I'll let you work on that for a while" and proceed to take care of his company. He would then forget he asked me to do anything and only show up to ask me how it was going when a superior asked him how it was going. Many times some solution he had wouldn't work and I had to ask other people how to solve it. I wouldn't mind doing this at all, because I'm learning after all, but all the time (I found out later) he wasn't working on anything our company needed, he tricked me into thinking he was doing essential office work that kept him very busy, while in reality he was managing his own company from his cell phone.

When I realized that I got really mad, but I didn't want to do anything because I didn't want to create a toxic environment by complaining to him or to his manager. Instead, I've tried as hard as I could to stay only on my own team (whose work I did there started getting slower because of all the demands this person was throwing on my back) and kept swallowing this person's actions all the time. Then, when he started sending me messages when I had already left the office to ask for something his manager asked him how was going, I couldn't take it anymore. When I informed him I still had not done it, he started being ironic when I asked him to teach me how to do it, ending up with him completing the task. I then started focusing more on my own team instead of doing his job for him and that seemed to get him annoyed, but he never complained to me or demanded I did more work on his team. Instead, another employee told me that this person was asking my manager if I was relieved from this person's team, because I wasn't doing anything to help him anymore and that he was going to file up a complaint about me to his own manager.

The thing is, I was informed I was going to leave his team (since they hired two other people to help him), so I just focused more on my own work instead of his demands. My manager and coworkers were aware of this and stood up for me, but he said he was filing a complaint and we never found out if that was true or not. His own manager seems to be aware of this guy's behavior and terrible work habits, but he only complains and fight him without ever solving the problem properly. To make matters worse, he's now on vacation and this guy has started getting even more annoying and explicit about managing his business and spending free time during work hours. Another employee noticed he was taking pictures of his teammate's notebook when he thought no one was looking, as if he was trying to get evidence for something. He also called a woman once and pretended to be a cop (a crime in my country) to get her scared because she owed him money (I listened to the whole conversation as it happened beside me), while collecting her data (such as SS number) from a company he used to work on (and who didn't remove his access).

Is there any way I can let people know what he's doing, specially his manager? It doesn't seem ethical nor appropriate to behave this way and still try to shift the blame to other people... my major concern is that people will listen to his complaints about me and not look into his behavior, making things end up badly for me because of that. The only ones who know about what he's doing are those who sit around him and those who worked on his team previously, I never complained about him to my manager or his, so I'm not sure if there's a formalization about how displeased I was.

This is my first job, so I'm afraid to handle it improperly and on a non-professional basis, as I feel I've already done it.

  • 1
    Is "ramal number" their private phone number? I'm not familiar – TankorSmash Jul 10 '18 at 16:58
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    English isn't my native language. In my country, "ramal" is a phone number provided by your office to you or your team that you add to the company number when calling, like an extension. For exemple, if the company's number is 423-1356, after you call them and there's a menu prompting you to type the "ramal", then you type the specific number provided by the company, the "ramal" you want to talk to. – Felicia Jul 10 '18 at 17:17
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    For the record, in English we'd probably call that their "extension", or "company phone". The extension is the actual number you dial, and the phone line it comes in on, but "company phone" means the number they're given by the company to use, presumably, for company business only, which would probably have the same connotations. – Nic Hartley Jul 10 '18 at 17:35
  • It's also not "toxic" to report someone for not doing their job. Toxic is if, say, you harassed this person for their clothes every day; reporting that someone is managing another business on company time is very much not toxic behavior. That said, it could turn into a toxic workplace if they find out, and they likely will. In theory, they'd accept the criticism and improve, but in practice, not everyone is a perfect superhuman with infinite patience and capacity for understanding. Bad days happen, as do pet peeves. – Nic Hartley Jul 10 '18 at 17:38
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Document everything you are doing and continue working as normal. If you are doing a good job then you have proof to back up that claim if he ever decides to report you to your manager.

You can even document the times he is on personal calls while in the office if you really want to bring it up with a manager so that you can show how much company time he is wasting on personal matters.


However when you say:

He also called a woman once and pretended to be a cop (a crime in my country) to get her scared because she owed him money (I listened to the whole conversation as it happened beside me), while collecting her data (such as SS number) from a company he used to work on (and who didn't remove his access).

This is a massive red flag that you should report right away to the old company and to the police. Impersonating a cop while using another companies software would reflect badly on the old company (and possibly the current one to some extent) and would cause some negative attention.

This sounds like an unstable employee who might cause some damage to the company if he is forced to leave, which is why I would recommend bringing the old company and the police into this situation. If you have any proof of this taking place I would report it immediately.

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    You need to speak to his manager immediately, then let it go. Just hand off the facts and walk away. He may try and get back at you if confronted, so be prepared, and document any retaliatory actions on his part. If I were his manager and I was given proof of his running a side business while I was paying him, I would show him the door immediately. – Bill Leeper Jul 10 '18 at 15:12
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    @BillLeeper since the problem employee's manager has demonstrated an utter inability to actually do anything about the problem, while fighting with and complaining about said problem employee, I would suggest taking this to that manager's manager or HR (especially in the case of making the threatening call/impersonation/using unauthorized data) -- if that was done on company time, and especially if it was done using the company phone, that creates a huge liability for your company. – Doktor J Jul 10 '18 at 17:44
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    @BillLeeper relevant quote regarding problem employee's manager: "his own manager seems to be aware of this guy's behavior and terrible work habits, but he only complains and fight him without ever solving the problem properly." – Doktor J Jul 10 '18 at 17:45
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Document, document, document.

Document anything you do. Report what you did. When e-mailing him, CC it to your manager. This will defend your position as "the one who do".

Contact your manager and ask him to raise the issue to the higher tier. Contact your HR and (IT) security and describe and prove the issues with this worker. Ask your manager to assign you fully in their team again, because you want to work for their team and do not want to be connected to that worker any longer.

HR are very sensitive to legal consequences to the company. And such employee is a ticking bomb. IT security will take extra care for limitting the backfire this employee can try as a revenge.

Word it like you are concerned about your company's image when some of this employee's tricks fail (the lady identifies she was threatened by an impostor and raise it to the court). You can also argument, that two sallaries are paid for one task (and one is paid for nothing), so the company is losing extra $X per month.

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Talk to your manager and ask for advice.

You stated that your manager and colleagues already stood on your side against that person so it should be an easy talk; just ask for direction and hints to handle this situation properly following the company culture/guidelines/whatever.

You may discover that that person is already known company wide and any threat is to be handled as noise.

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