We are a team of 10 people, and one of them is leaving early. They are supposed to work 8:00 hours like everyone else but they are working about 7:30.

Our manager is out of office till next month.

Do I have any moral responsibility to inform my manager about this action of my colleague?


Thanks everyone for positive feedback. I will take the advise and will stay quiet.

BUT I still don't believe in people leaving early regardless of any reason unless arrangement are or will be made to cover the time. Discipline is a much needed skill these days...

In my case the person is well under performing and for years... and I don't believe our manager is monitoring progress of any of the employee at all in sense of time keeping or day to day work.

  • 31
    "Discipline is a much needed skill". Depends on the role. Arguably the ability to "withstand 10+G without blacking out and still be able to perform life critical decision making" is a "much needed skill", but I would be very surprised if that came up in my performance evaluation this year.
    – Aron
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 14:14
  • 6
    I've been in a similar situation. It's a tough lesson to learn, but basically it's none of your business. If this person's habits impact your own work, then you might speak to the manager about missed deadlines, etc. But complaining about the other person's work habits, etc. is A) almost like criticizing the manager for not noticing/taking action B) does not inspire your fellow coworkers to trust you C) will shine a lot more light and scrutiny on yourself. The best thing to do is to let this guy dig his own hole.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 17:21
  • 14
    Does this work both ways, i.e. can everybody go after exactly 8:00 even if there is a ton of things to do to meet a deadline or some such? Do you know for a fact that this person hasn't worked overtime when it was needed in the past, etc.? Are you even as productive as (s)he is? And if the answer is yes to all those questions, doesn't it matter more than counting the minutes before leaving? Discipline for the sake of discipline isn't as valuable as a skill as you think...
    – Relaxed
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 17:53
  • 5
    What you believe in is irrelevant except as it guides your own behavior and that of people who report to you. This is neither. Getting involved will make the manager's job harder, not easier. Work on your own productivity.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 19:09
  • 5
    "Discipline is a much needed skill these days..." this is a fallacy. Getting job done on time (or earlier) is a needed skill.
    – luk32
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 13:50

6 Answers 6


If I understand your question properly, this comes down to a matter of Fairness and Responsibility.


"Everyone should work the same hours otherwise it isn't fair."

By saying this, you are basing your happiness and satisfaction upon the actions of others. Bad news: you will never be happy or satisfied.

Someone wiser than me once told me to look up and look down. There will always be someone above who makes more, gets more perks and has more freedom. Conversely, there will always be someone who makes less, is more micromanaged and downtrodden. Instead of concentrating upon what will make me more happy, I'm busy worrying about everyone else.


Who is responsible for dealing with each employee? Their boss? Their co-workers? Their subordinates?

If you don't sign the person's (check / evaluation / timecard), then you aren't responsible for them. By trying to manage that employee, you are doing someone else's job, not your own. What do you think your boss would say to an employee who tried to do your boss's job?


  • Did the employee make special arrangements to work a shorter in-office day?
  • Has your boss and the employee already spoken about their (lack of) hours?
  • Does the employee have some situation that requires them to leave early, like a child or parent they need to take care of?

My advice to you is to mind your own business and worry about doing the best job you can.

  • 76
    Also the person may be doing additional work from home. We had a senior manager get upset about the hours people were working in the office until it was pointed out to him that most of the people he was complaining about were putting in 10-12 hour days every day.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 17:05
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    @HLGEM - Gotta love the "Butts In Seats" style of management
    – BryanH
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 17:08
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    Further, this person could be cut some slack because he is going to medical treatments or because he is just better at his job than other people. Or it could have been something he negotiated when he was hired. There are many things that could be behind this that someone who is not his person's manager may not be aware of. Or he might even be coming in earlier than the OP, but the OP is not aware of that.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 17:14
  • 3
    Also consider that if you did inform the management then when you put a foot wrong your colleagues are even more likely to point that out.
    – Ed Heal
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 17:18
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    @Ed Heal: I know I would. If someone tattled on me, I'd be watching every single thing they did and then point it out with gusto when they were on SE and not doing their work or if they were 1 minute late to meetings or lunch. I mean, if that's how it is, EVERYONE should be held to that exacting facist standard.
    – coblr
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 20:25

In short, no, you have no responsibility to do the manager's job.

At some point in our career, we have all been in that situation. It's so frustrating. I am working my rear end off and "that dude over there" just comes in to collect his paycheck, and when he/she is here, they just "mail it in".

A pain, no doubt about it.

But realize that intra-office dynamics can be complicated and some people will resent you inserting yourself into the situation by "reporting" on the situation. Instead focus on productivity, make sure that work that is not getting done by that person has the opportunity to be highlighted because the output of yourself is that much higher.

A 10% difference in work over time should become evident. Only if it stops you from performing your own job, or makes it impossible to complete deliverables should you start considering more direct action.

Always seek to influence without authority directly first before doing something damaging to your relationships by attempting to draw/apply "the authority".

  • 35
    And don't forget, nobody likes a snitch. Bring this up is more likely to negatively impact your career than the person who is leaving early. Coworkers will not trust you, you boss will be wary of you and this coworker in particular will likely be less cooperative with you and may turn the others against you.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 17:09
  • @HGLEM Why would the boss be wary after the fact? By reporting the coworker the OP has demonstrated that he's an honest worker that respects the contract between employee and employer.
    – user17041
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 6:51
  • 1
    @SpaghettiCat, the boss might appreciate it, but more likely not. It is more likely to make you seem petty, disloyal, and overly worried about policing others than respectful. Also, it might seem that you think the boss is doing an inadequate job, or that you want to do the boss's job. Finally, the boss may now be worried about what petty things about him/her you are reporting to his/her manager.
    – user45590
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 8:21
  • @dan1111 I don't see how the boss can perceive it as disloyal when you're allying yourself with management; that demonstrates you are loyal to the company. Your other points I agree are possible.
    – user17041
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 9:20
  • 1
    @SpaghettiCat, it depends on one's perceived motives. I find it quite likely that the boss won't think "wow, they are so committed to this company", but will instead think "they are really quick to turn on those around them" or "they want to put down others to get ahead" or some other thing.
    – user45590
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 12:02

Unless it's impacting your work, leave it alone. If you'd feel justified over "moral" obligation, then it's only justified if your co-workers happen to be equally obligated by their morals to:

  • Come by your desk and distribute religious materials
  • Tell you how you're supposed to behave in yours sexual, family, spiritual and other practices.
  • Tell you how "morally" you're supposed to work less, work more, do the work of others, or not give a damn about others.

In short, live and let live.

  • 14
    Its a bit of a stretch to take a stand about a lack of responsibility and say somehow that it should allow others to talk to you about your religious or sexual practices. I understand the point but hyperbole isn't necessarily helpful.
    – ThatGuy
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 16:48
  • 8
    The OP mentioned "moral responsibility" as a motivator, which is why I took that direction.
    – Xavier J
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 21:29
  • 4
    @ThatGuy Unfortunately, it's not hyperbole. There really are people who believe it is their moral responsibility to lecture others regarding their religious or sexual practices. Often they sincerely believe they are being helpful.
    – Benubird
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 8:48

As a great unknown 21st century poet once wrote, "Snitches get stitches."

Stay in your lane, focus on your job, the guy wants to risk his job to leave 30 minutes everyday that is on him. It is none of your business. Pretend it is like a movie and everyday he escapes work 30 minutes faster without consequence you can pretend it is like the main character in the movie who just got away in time and lived to see another day. Make it a positive and try to make it entertaining. Throw a pinch of cayenne pepper into the boiled potato workday and tell him the next day someone was looking for him when he should have been at work.

What I am trying to say is let the guy live his life the way he wants to live it. There is no moral obligations, this is not some serious situation, don't be that guy. Workplaces work like this 99.99% of the time. You have some rich guys at the top who take advantage of the little guy and do not work as hard as the little guy yet get paid more. The amount of money this guy makes the company he should probably need to work 50% of the day if you want to talk about fairness and equal pay, but that is not how it works. If he leaves 30 minutes earlier and that is one of the little ways he wins in life let him be. We are not robots we aren't meant to work 8 hours every day. Plus he might have some other stuff going on in his life(you know that thing people do outside of work).

Eat good, party hard, pray even harder, let be, let live, eat fiber and don't be a snitch.

  • 1
    Not sure why anyone would downvote this, but I gave you an upvote to compensate :)
    – Ardee Aram
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 7:40
  • 3
    Maybe because of the horrible wall of text
    – user8036
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 8:19
  • 2
    Thanks @ArdeeAram! I think people are just lacking fiber in their diet which causes questionable behaviors like down voting. :) Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 17:50
  • 6
    You can't win. If you are concise, you get people complaining that "this forum is not for terse answers; it should provide details for future generations." Yours is a little more complete with a dash of humor, and you're getting static about the "horrible wall of text." Whatev. I enjoyed it. Have an upvote. Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 18:58
  • Wasn't it a 20th century poet? Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 22:02

Don't get involved. Getting involved makes you seem like a small-minded person who keeps tattle sheets on coworkers. At the end of the day, your coworker will succeed or fail based on the totality of their output -- including how well they get along with others -- not based on a perfect tally of 480 minute (8 hour) work days. If the coworker does great work, then they will prosper, even if they occasionally leave early when the boss isn't looking. If they do poor work, then their career will splutter and stall. You don't need to be the time-boss if you aren't their manager.


If you feel that your coworker isn't putting as much effort in as the rest of the members on your team, consider speaking to that individual about it in private. They may have a good reason for this or may be putting in extra effort at home when not in your view. Don't assume that they're just being lazy; figure out what they're doing to make them feel as though they can leave early.

As others have noted, I would not suggest going to your manager about this, as it will only foster discontent between the employee and the rest of the team. If you talk to them about it, there's a good chance they'll realize the negative impact that they are having on other members of their team and possibly change their ways without anybody getting hurt.

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