A colleague in the same team spends most of his time (if not all) conducting private business activities through company’s electronic communication systems or his own cell phone during regular working hours dedicated to company. Usually he comes in office at 9am and leaves at 10am for hours then show up again in the afternoon around 2pm or 3pm. Not mention sometimes doesn't appear for the whole day at all (there is no need for us to work outside the office). Even when he is in the office at his desk, it doesn't seem he is doing company's job - surfing internet about his own business and making/receiving a lot of phone calls which are not work related. It has been like that for almost 3 months. This is definitely against company's policy and I think it's unfair to other team members because we are in the same team and have to share more workload on the projects. However, it seems that our direct team manager knows what he is doing as I overheard they were talking about his private business sometimes - I sit just next to him, but the manager doesn't do anything and even covers him by assigning him less jobs. They are in very good personal relationship though as what I know.

Should I report to higher level management or HR in this case? If yes, what and how should I do? Should I only report my colleague's misbehavior or together with my manager's irresponsibility? Would people think I am a snitch if I do so?

  • I don't see "violence" in what he does. Maybe you meant "violation"?
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 2:42
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    Can you put in concrete terms how it affects your work?
    – jcm
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 2:49
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    So basically you want to report to HR about your manager not doing anything to the colleague that affects your work performance? What would your other colleagues say? Do they feel the same and would have your back when you go ahead with your complain to the HR?
    – quacky
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 3:06
  • @jcm We are working full time as a team on various projects with different deadlines, anybody could be very busy or not that busy from time to time. But if a particular member can be consistently at leisure for almost 3 months, others(including me) must have to share more workload to meet the deadlines even though I cannot give a specific number of quantities about the workload. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 3:55
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    @Jane: Sorry about that. First time here to ask question, thought my question would get more exposure if I give it more relevant tags. Also, thanks for correcting my miswording previously. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 4:59

4 Answers 4


Hmm. Tricky one.
You don't want in any way to imply that your manager does not know what is happening or cannot see that the coworker is doing what he is doing.
There may be circumstances in which your manager and/or HR know about this and due to reasons that are not disclosed to you cannot do anything about it (medical reasons come to mind first).
It's not your job to assess if this guy is doing his job and/or is violating any policies. If you feel this could be helpful express your concern to the manager in a 1:1 setting, in a non-threatening/non-confruntational way.
At the end of the day, do the job you are paid for and make sure that the amount of work that is assigned to you is fair/doable/manageable. (with or without a slacker as a coworker you should definitely speak up if you think that the amount of work you are given is unreasonable - cannot be done in the given time).

  • Thanks for answering my question, I'll consider your suggestion seriously. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 5:07
  • It's not anything else for sure (medical reasons, etc.), just conducting private business activities during working hours with his buddy being the manager. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 5:16
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    In my experience, the managers might be doing something about it that isn't visible to his team mates rather than being unable to do anything about it. I agree that having a talk with the manager to express how seeing the teammate violating policy with no consequences is affecting your work and giving the manager a chance to fix the problem is the right way to go.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 13:29
  • Spelling note: I think you mean "assess".
    – woz
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 18:13
  • that's hilarious. fixed. you know you can just edit the reply to correct problems like this directly, right?
    – Mircea
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 18:44

Should I report to higher level management or HR in this case?


The individual doesn't report to you. And you indicate that your common manager knows of this individual's action.

So no, it's not your role to report on the misbehavior of others.

Just focus on your own work and let your manager be responsible for the actions of his department. Managers need to get the work done, so if this individual's actions prevent the department from getting things done, the manager and the individual will have to deal with it. These things have a way of catching up with the people involved.

Make sure you don't cover up for this individual or for the manager. If someone asks where he is between 10 and 2, just say that you don't know. Or if you saw the individual leave the office, just indicate what you actually saw happen.

Would people think I am a snitch if I do so?

Yes, of course. What you are considering is pretty much the definition of a "snitch".


Maybe he has a smaller contract, like 6 hours a day or less, so he can work on other own projects the rest of the time. Or him beeing away is at customers.

You don't know and as long as the manager knows about it, all is fine. Unless you want to report the manager for not doing his job properly. ;-)


This is not really the type of violation you go to HR with. The worker is not productive and the manager does not seem to care. It is not like a breach of a security policy. Going to HR would be calling out the worker and manager (who is also your manager). There are a lot of ways that could go poorly for you. You can't just report your colleague without reporting your manager as the first thing they will ask is did you take this up with your manager. You can take it up with your manager but you already said the manager is aware.

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    I don't think this is very productive. For workers who care, as the OP clearly does, seeing this situation can eat away at their attitude like a cancer. I've been there. Probably a more productive way to handle it is to just look for another job, since there aren't many things an employee can productively do about this type of thing. Unfortunately, I've seen this in about 50% of places I've worked, so that's no guarantee either. Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 18:52
  • @AmyBlankenship It is not clear what you mean by productive. My answer is simply should it be reported to HR. I did not mean the only other option is to continue to do your job. I just removed that line.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 19:07
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    If you think there's something else productive that could be done, you should probably include that in your answer, since at this point it's just "suck it up, buttercup." Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 19:35
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    No I don't have another option. Again the stated question is should it be reported and my answer is no. Yes this is a problem but it is not the OPs problem and staying away is in my opinion the best option.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 19:45

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