My staffer asked me why we do not offer a donor service on our web site. I explained that our web site was testing a similar service for another branch of the organization and that we were not ready to move forward.

She responded by sending me a list of other organizations that do offer this service. I told her I was aware of that and that we would pursue it when we were ready.

I found out today that she went around me to our web developer and asked her to make the change to our site.

The staffer ignored my answer, refused to accept "no" for an answer, and breached my trust (and the trust of our web developer, as well as the developer's time).

Suggestions? I am not an overly strict supervisor per se (don't read that much into that!), but I cannot accept this behavior.

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    Right, so what's your question? We can't tell you what to do. Nov 8, 2016 at 22:41
  • Sounds to me like this person did more than simply breach your trust: she walked all over you. First she gave you attitude regarding a decision which is entirely yours to make, then did not accept your very reasonable answer, and proceeded to lie to, and manipulate a fellow employee into doing her bidding. If this is not cause for termination I don't know what is.
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 8, 2016 at 22:43
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    So is your question, how to clean up the current situation? How to prevent this from happening again? How to rebuild the breached trust?
    – Anketam
    Nov 9, 2016 at 0:11
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    Just for completeness; did she tell the web developer "please do this for me" or did she tell them "the boss wants this done?" I think that's the difference between "official warning" and "fired on the spot".
    – Erik
    Nov 9, 2016 at 8:46
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    How could that even happen? If you are the one making the decisions the web developer should not do it without your agreement. And there should be no use for her in trying to make the developer do it. If you are not the one making the decision then she had a different opinion, but there is nothing you could do about it.
    – skymningen
    Nov 9, 2016 at 10:55

4 Answers 4


Suggestions? I am not an overly strict supervisor per se (don't read that much into that!), but I cannot accept this behavior.

Have you talked with her about her actions?

If not, sit her down and tell her in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable. Also tell her that if something like this happens again you will have no choice but to fire her (if you are actually in a position with this authority).

Then you could talk about why she felt the need to act this way and why you didn't want the site updated now.

Nip this in the bud before it gets worse.

  • 1
    How do you trust such an employee ever again though?
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 9, 2016 at 1:25

To my knowledge, lying to your employer is cause for termination.

Manipulating fellow employees by lying to them about what the boss wants done - in blatant disregard for said boss's instructions - is just a whole other level of attitude.

Frankly, it sounds like her attitude was rude and arrogant from the very moment when she initiated the conversation regarding the donation feature.

I'm not sure whether this level of insubordination can be met with anything short of immediate termination. This person is clearly a manipulative, toxic employee. How can you ever trust her to follow directions again?

  • 1
    I agree, she doesn't deserve any chances. Clear dishonesty and breach of trust on many levels to further her own agenda.
    – Kilisi
    Nov 9, 2016 at 1:21

You are responsible and accountable for the design choices you make regarding the format and features of your organization's website. You are also responsible and accountable for your web developer's activities on te website and any of the time she spends on the website.

The blunt fact is that she is neither responsible nor accountable for what she wants to do.

Sit her down and tell her that going behind your back is unacceptable. Even more unacceptable is going behind your back and unilaterally arrogating herself of authority that she has not been delegated to have the changes she wants made.

Tel her that she is going to get fired for insubordination the next time she does it. If she wants anything done, she talks to you, makes the case and works with you and through you. Nothing - and I mean, NOTHING, is done behind anyone's back in your organization.

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    I'm pretty sure this has gone beyond a simple sit down ...
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 9, 2016 at 4:21

The staffer ignored my answer, refused to accept "no" for an answer

From what you typed, you never gave "no" as an answer in the first place!

If anything, I would commend your employee on trying to be pro-active, but let her know that in this case it wasn't acceptable.

You didn't explicitly (as in "No, we are not ready")tell her not to try and get the service up and running, maybe she thought that you didn't have enough time to get the service up and running, and that she was doing you a favor by trying to get the ball rolling.

(Unless this is a repeat offender, then by all means FIRE her)

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    "We would pursue it when we were ready" is a pretty clear statement in the negative, considering that OP has the authority to decide when "ready" has happened.
    – Xavier J
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:01
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    @codenoir I agree, it is pretty clear, but it is not explicit. Some people hear things differently, from one day to the next, and it always helps to be explicit.
    – Prodnegel
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:02
  • That's true. HOWEVER, if the staffer was confused by the answer, it's the staffer's responsibility to speak up and get a more clear answer; most especially if it means there's going to be an expenditure -- in this case, someone else's time.
    – Xavier J
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:04
  • I agree, but if the staffer just misheard OP or OP was not explicit enough, then they would not "think" that they are confused at all. I think that if this employee does mishear like this often, then this is also means for termination or punishment.
    – Prodnegel
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:06
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    I did not give you the entire conversation, of course. But this employee knows that I make the decisions on the site, especially such fundamental changes in how we accept donations. The "no, not now" was made quite clear.
    – Alplily
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:25

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