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Basically, here is the situation.

Colleague X broke a rule. Colleague X told me via chat that he broke the rule after I directly instructed him not to do so. I report Colleague X to the manager. I saved proof of the messages just in case. This rule Colleague X broke is relatively serious in our organization.

I feel like I did the right thing, but now I fear retaliation. Since I'm the only person that knows Colleague X broke the rule, if he's confronted, he's going to know I was the one that squealed. I fear that he'll simply make up stories and lies as a form of retaliation.

Can I do anything to protect myself or am I basically screwed if this person decides to make wild accusations? What should I have done differently?

  • 2
    What rule was broken? And where did your authority come from to tell your colleague not to break it. This makes a lot of difference. If it's a security rule or a clothing convention for instance. – Kilisi Jun 21 '17 at 8:08
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    @JoeStrazzere Might have been something like this: X: I could just do foo, that would solve it. OP: No wait, we are not supposed to do that. It's explained in manual M that we under no circumstances are allowed to do foo. X: Well, I just did foo and the world didn't end, so what? – skymningen Jun 21 '17 at 11:44
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Short Answer: Make sure you haven't done anything that could be used against you, and you have nothing to worry about. But inform your manager of your concerns and why.

With your colleague, you had proof via their message to you that they had broken a rule. This is what you kept for your manager (did you show this to them?) as the evidence. If there is no reliable evidence of any wrongdoing by you, then management will likely see your colleagues accusations as blowing smoke.

To answer the question "was it the right thing", clearly that is irrelevant at this point, however if there is something that may cause damage to the company either financially or by reputation, then you did indeed have an obligation to report it. The fact that you were the only one who knew about it really doesn't come into as you have already believed it was serious enough to warrant reporting.

The only thing I would suggest is to talk directly to your manager about your fear of retribution from your colleague given that you were the only one who knew about your colleague's actions.

  • I haven't done anything that could be used against me. However, this individual has already demonstrated that he can lie in my eyes. I'll inform the manager I spoke with tomorrow about my concerns. – Bob Sanders Jun 21 '17 at 6:12
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    But inform your manager of your concerns and why Tread very carefully here, because in the reality of time and space there is nothing: not even a hint of retaliation, only your fear. You risk sounding overly concerned or adding an unfounded accusation. – user8036 Jun 21 '17 at 7:45
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    Given their infraction (and the supporting evidence you have) this person's credibility will be at rock bottom so I'd expect you manager to take any retaliatory claims they make with a big pinch of salt. – motosubatsu Jun 21 '17 at 8:16
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    @JanDoggen The way I would approach it is simply to say "I was the only person who knew of this, so it is very likely he knows it was me who reported it." That way you aren't adding accusations, merely information. – Jane S Jun 21 '17 at 8:40
  • @BobSanders As long as there is no evidence to support any claims made by your colleague then I'd suggest that they will be taken with a grain of salt. – Jane S Jun 21 '17 at 8:41

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