One of my coworkers is especially nosy and keeps tabs on when I come to work and leave, and how long my lunch break is, how many times I go to the restroom and how long each break takes, and so on. Every time I check my phone he notices and writes it down, then later he'll come to my desk and say "You've wasted 14 minutes today. Why?" We're in the same position. He says he has a running log of how much time I waste and he's going to submit it to our manager. Should I just let him and hope my manager doesn't care, or should I say something to him or my manager now?
First, take a defensive position.
Arrive 5 mins early, leave 5 mins late. (if possible)
Don't go to HR, yet, although they may need to be called in.
Normally, I'd say go to your coworker first, but this person is up to something and you don't want to tip him off. Take this up with your manager ASAP, as this is not about time, this is harassment. Mention coworker's timing your use of the bathroom. This is not normal or professional behavior on his part.
Tell your manager that he's making you feel extremely uncomfortable in telling you how long you were in the bathroom. If your manager suggests you go to HR about this, do it.
This is the very definition of workplace harassment, and should be dealt with by management or HR (start with management).
This is a direct attack and somewhat creepy. Talk to your manager about it. Ask your manager if this guy is supposed to be monitoring you in the bathroom etc,. and that it's weird and upsetting that he does and makes no secret of it and threatens you with it.
You can move forwards from your managers reply. Your manager should at least talk to the guy. Best to proactively nip this behaviour in the bud. Don't wait for the weirdo to do whatever he wants with his log and then react.
I like Richard U's answer, but another tactic you might consider is to say,
Let's go to our manager's office together to discuss this with him/her right now.
Do so in a calm, helpful tone. I think you will learn how serious they are about reporting you. If they are serious and you go right then, I think (hope?) it will be clear to your manager how weird, unsettling, and inappropriate this behavior is. I think it will also be clear how much time your co-worker is wasting monitoring your wasted time (the irony, no?). You will also be there to defend yourself or correct any misconceptions by your boss. After that, I would be sure to follow up with your boss and let them know it's your intent to be a productive employee and if he/she has any concerns about your productivity or work ethic, to please let you know immediately so you can discuss. Also let them know how this whole thing has made you feel (worried, creeped out, etc.) and then let them take it from there.
If they aren't serious (they don't want to go discuss this with your boss), you go discuss the entire thing with your boss and let them handle it.
Whistleblowing is only whistleblowing if you actually whistleblow.
Threatening to whistleblow is not whistleblowing at all. It is threatening.
The only allowable case is "I will whistleblow you for X unless you stop doing X".
For any other case of "I will whistleblow you for X unless you Y", that is extortion and that is a serious crime in many jurisdictions. For instance, "I will whistleblow you for X unless you give me $100", that is plain extortion.
Now, in this case, you haven't clearly stated what exactly he wants from you. Has he already made a quid pro quo demand like a favor, lunch, transfer of workload, money, etc.? Or is that the next shoe to drop?
He's already placed his head in a noose. It's normal for two different people to recall conversations differently. If you inferred from his conversation a quid pro quo, all the evidence weighs against him. His denial is not credible, and a search of his desk will reveal copious notes as to your activities, proving your claim.
The point is, this is a very petty and foolish man. Very sad for him.
The kindest thng might seem to be to ignore it. But to protect yourself, this does seem like a "race to HR" situation. The first one there gets initiative: the second will be on their heels in defensive mode. I would think about what he has really been asking for, then go to HR and tell them what he's been up to.
The answer here is similar to answers on all other questions about coworkers and performance, or coworkers and "tattling:"
Be accountable for your own work/performance/timeliness and don't worry about others, or what they think of you.
Unless this coworker is your boss (he isn't, according to your post) it doesn't really matter what he thinks. As long as you and your boss are on the same page about your work, it doesn't really matter what he thinks. If you have good accountability with your boss and are on the same page with them about your work and your performance, then don't worry about this coworker - (say it with me this time) it doesn't really matter what he thinks. If you're not sure of your standing with your boss, well then - you should be taking care of that regardless of a tattling coworker.
If your coworker continues to bug you about these things, take your own favorite ignore/dismiss approach (smile and nod then continue with your work. Or say "that's nice" and go on with your day). Don't engage, dispute, or argue with the coworker - doing so just gives fuel to their fire. You're not accountable to them, so there's no reason to give them implicit accountability over you by way of trying to prove or disprove their opinions.
There is nothing for you to tell your manager if you have been doing your work. Let your colleague submit his notes to your manager. Hopefully your manager will then have the sense to ask your colleague why he is wasting time spying on you instead of doing his assigned tasks.
To all of the other answers, I will supply this tidbit:
Have your resume ready. While a well-run company would at the very least respond to your cow-orker's report with a directive to focus on his own assigned tasks (if not disciplining him outright), there is always the chance that it will make trouble for you.
That would be a sign that you don't want to work there, so even if you are not terminated, if there is even a hint of taking action against you, bail.
It's clearly harassment. He's not your manager. Even if he was (and it was within his right to monitor your work performance) it would still be extremely poor behavior.
Absolutely do not negotiate with this person or engage in pie-throwing (keeping counter-tabs, etc).
If it is legal where you are, use your phone to record audio of these conversations. Talk to your manager. If they don't believe you, let them listen to one of the clips. If they still choose to side with this person (perhaps they already have a strong personal relationship) or just remain passive (many managers are afraid of conflict), look for another job.
(Also: don't steal his notebook (or similar), as this could land you in trouble.)
I think this behavior clearly falls into the category of "harassment". You don't have to say a great deal, but I would give your supervisor a heads up. In the years that I have managed people I have never seen behavior like this that doesn't escalate, or at the very least, continue far past most people's ability to tolerate it. As far as when you come and go, most professional work environments aren't so rigid that you can't be flexible here and there as long as you are putting in the time expected. Unless you are punching a clock I can't see concern over a 15 minute longer lunch offset with 15 minutes at the beginning or end of your day. That said, if you are being more lax than you should be, it is still harassment and the issue is still between you and your supervisor.
You do nothing.
If he asks you questions that are inappropriate, tell him you're not going to answer his questions.
Him: "You've wasted 14 minutes today. Why?"
You: "That's not something I'd discuss with anyone but our boss Beth."
If he makes threats to do stupid things that are not actually going to harm anyone, just acknowledge you heard him.
Him: "I'm keeping a log of how much time you waste and I'm going to submit it to our manager."
There is no benefit in you going to your boss about this, and no benefit in talking to him about it.
Let fools reap their folly.
I was in a similar situation except I was the tattler. Half my group showed up 4 hrs late, left an hour early and slept most of the rest of the time (6 people on night shift). Telling my boss did nothing. Telling on my boss to HR did nothing. So I called a work stoppage with the half of the group that was working. The boss asked them why they hadn't reported the problem to him then fired me and I got blacklisted from ever working in the city's high tech again. (Another company informed me of this.) I'm a rat, paid a high price and feel I did the right thing anyway. The omerta good ol boys club rules.
I'm assuming you've already spoken to your coworker about why he's acting that way and tried to resolve the situation without escalating it up to your manager. Assuming that I would get ahead of this since you don't know how the employee is going to approach the manager, what kind of spin they're going to put on it or how much they will exaggerate things (eg: "15 minutes" may become "almost an hour"). How your manager takes it largely depends on these details plus their relationship with that employee (is that employee a friend or a nuisance to them).
Talk to your manager privately either through email or face to face and put your own spin on it depending on what you think would go over better.
Hey there are some rumors going around that I'm unproductive. Are you happy with my work so far?
This will help make your coworker's tattling seem like he's just spreading rumors and if there are legitimate concerns about your productivity it gives your boss a chance to help you address them and shows that you're willing to improve.
The other option is to say something like
Hey [boss], [coworker] has been trying to micromanage me instead of doing his work. I've tried talking to him but he's persistent. This is starting to affect my productivity. What do you think I should do?
This way paints your coworker as the problem. He is not doing his job and is actively harming your productivity with his antics.
Ok, first of all, that guy is extremely creepy. Yes, this has been said before, but this is harassment, since monitoring how you use your time or your performance isn't his responsibility.
Apart from all the great advice I have seen here, you should probably try to understand the reason behind his obsession with you. There might even be a racial/xenophobic/sexist/homophobic reason behind it (I have no data about you, I don't know if any of those apply), and that would be way worse. I mean, if he is calling you out for 14 minutes, there must be something else going on... I would say "wasting" that much time is far below average (between coffee and bathroom breaks, stretching legs, reading something on the internet or whatever)...
Yes, I believe you should go to your manager (you feel harassed and controlled by a coworker, that's certain to impact your work). But maybe you should also talk to your coworker the next time he talks to you like this. He might understand that he's losing time as well and that his behaviour isn't acceptable.
Just start taking the notes how much time he wastes recording your time.
Your colleague is on thin ice. Why not make some waves.
Steal the notebook where he notes these things down. Go to HR. Tell them
"I found this notebook of mr colleague and I noticed, that these are the times I go to the toilet, when I come and when I leave. This is a gross violation of my privacy and quite frankly, quite creepy and borderline malicious. This is seriously not OK with me."
It is true, HR is not your friend - but they are not his friend either.
Or you could bluff it. Tell him that you found his notebook yesterday, took copies and one more snide comment from his part and you take it to HR. I'd not favor that solution though, it requires a head-on confrontation and he seems willing to risk those, given his behaviour.
You could also involve others, start spreading the word to your other colleagues.
Have you noticed that mr. X keeps a record of when we all go to the toilet and for how long? That is so creepy. I wish someone would do something.
Fight your enemy - where he is not. Make successful accusations about his creepy character, and his notetaking habit will only discredit himself - not just now but in the future.
I think the real issue is "Whose time are you wasting?" If you "waste" 14 minutes a day by checking your phone, stretching your legs, chatting at the water cooler, etc. Are you charging this time to the company, or is it your own time. In other words, you could be "at work" for 10 hours, but only "work" for 8 hours, and get paid for 8 hours. Thus you are "wasting" 2 hours of your own time, and his argument has no basis.
Where I work, we have an unpaid lunch. I can take 10 minutes, or 2 hours for lunch. I cannot get paid for that time, so it doesn't matter how long I am gone.
Get a pair of over the ear headphones and listen to white noise. That way, you won't hear him.
Are you salary or hourly? If you are salary, you are expected to get your work done on time. If you are hourly, do you get paid in increments of 6 minutes? 15? I am paid in 6 minute intervals. So, my start time and end time can vary by as much as 3 minutes without impact. Any single event less than 6 minutes is insignificant. Going to the bathroom is a normal human function and does not require a time exemption.
I like a lot of advice here but most of them centers around the idea of paying back the coworker or making the coworker notice how you're arriving earlier or leaving later. I think these advice are counterproductive especially since your manager has not spoken to you regarding this matter.
I would just ignore it and if your manager comes to you, explain the coworker is noting times you go to the bathroom and for how long. You feel threatened by this and ask for clarification on why he's recording these times.
Ask him if it is his job to supervise you. If he says no (which he should, since you are in same position, no?), then you could say "well, maybe you should be focusing on doing your job instead of doing stuff you are not hired to do".