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I have this buddy of mine who is looking for employment in my company. His hiring manager knows about his attitude problems after speaking to his former colleague (taking medical leave almost every single week, showing up late for work on days he decided to come and generally irresponsible and does not take ownership of his work at all).

However, that's not all. This buddy of mine has been accused of stealing office supplies from his previous workplace but there was never a formal case. He was just discharged when his contract ended.

Would it be appropriate to share such information with his hiring manager?

His hiring manager is a good friend of mine from university.

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    You're contemplating going out of your way to make trouble for your buddy? – Kilisi Oct 18 '18 at 2:55
  • Just an email or phone call away, not really that difficult – Javier Oct 18 '18 at 3:13
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    I think 'snitch' is a terrible word that only serves to perpetuate a perverse culture of silence. That said, there really is nothing to report here but an unsubstantiated accusation. – jcm Oct 18 '18 at 3:15
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    yep, easy enough to make accusations without proof, but I'm just surprised you're trying to sabotage a 'buddy'. I must have a different interpretation of the word. – Kilisi Oct 18 '18 at 5:02
  • This buddy of mine has been accused of stealing office supplies... Who made the accusation and who told you? – BSMP Oct 18 '18 at 5:24
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How much have you seen personally?

In general, I've found that it's hard to know the whole story. There are situations where you have first-hand knowledge of co-workers violating policies or otherwise being obtrusive. However, you've said that you were told by a former co-worker that the potential employee was on medical leave weekly: Does the potential employee have any legitimate medical issues? Or, perhaps, does the former co-worker have any reason to exaggerate the claims that you've laid out?

Benefit of the doubt.

In general, I've found it's best to give the benefit of the doubt to individuals when you don't have first hand accounts of misbehavior. This will often circumvent the question of "being a snitch."

On being a snitch.

That said, being a snitch is a real concern: I've often had to balance my opinion on 'the right way to do something' with the perception that I'm over-concerned about what somebody else is doing on their own time. It can seem petty and excessive. I've found it helpful to stage the question in your own moral standpoint:

  1. Are you sure that the potential employee stands guilty as accused? You may be preventing someone from gainful employment based on a rumor, or you could be saving your employer months of pain.
  2. Would you feel comfortable working with the potential employee? If it doesn't bother you personally, what motivation do you have to mention something about someone's past?

Also, as some comments have reflected, the word 'snitch' casts the conversation in a negative light. You're not a snitch by telling your employer something important about a potential employee. You are a snitch if you happened to have been involved in the scheme to pilfer supplies from the previous employer.

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My friend Niccolò would say that the only reason you would say anything at this point is if you believe that (1) your buddy will get hired, (2) he will steal from your employer, (3) he will get caught, (4) your employer will be furious about this, and (5) your boss will find out that you knew your buddy was a thief and you did not speak up about it.

If you think this chain of events is unlikely then you should not volunteer any information. Otherwise, if you thrust yourself into the evaluation process with this kind of derogatory news, you raise as many questions about what kind of person you are as you do about the candidate.

Of course, if the hiring manager asks you for your opinion of your buddy's honesty, then you should tell what you know and how you came to know it.

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This buddy of mine has been accused of stealing office supplies from his previous workplace but there was never a formal case. He was just discharged when his contract ended.

If it's not on the official record as a reason for separation, then you would be raising an unsubstantiated allegation, which puts you at risk if someone equally chatty spills the beans to the "grapevine" about why he was passed over for this position. Do you want to be paying a portion of your paycheck to this person for an extended period of time?

Sounds like there are ample reasons that are already known to not hire this buddy. If they are willing to hire him knowing about rampant absenteeism, unwillingness to meet work day standards and a lousy attitude about his work.... despite all of those things, is "hey, he stole a bundle of paper for his printer at home" going to override all those other red flags, warning flares and alarm sirens that they already have?

I don't see that this is information that they need to make a decision. It seems like a pretty clear "slam dunk" that your buddy is a DO NOT HIRE candidate. I don't see that there is evidence to back up this claim. I don't see how this makes you look better or more professional, and it would possibly put you at some personal financial risk.

If you remain silent, they hire him, and you find yourself in a work environment where no one ever has paper clips available, post a question here asking about how to deal with the guilt, and I'll show up to take responsibility for your situation.

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I think the answer is very easy here:

  1. If you are 100% sure he was stealing with evidence, then you can give a hint to the hiring manager if you really want.
  2. However if you have even 1% doubt and only hints/possibilities of him "maybe" being a thief, then it's best to just leave it.

In my opinion, I would just let him loose and leave it for someone else to catch him and for him to get in trouble in the near future. So far it seems like petty theft.

As he gets more confident it should snowball and get him into a lot worse crimes, and of course the consequences will get worse which will have a better chance of fixing his behavior. As compared with right now if someone was to tell him "stop stealing pens".

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