Dear Carolyn: What Do I Do When My Boss Orders Me to Lie?


With apologies to Carolyn Hax.

Dear Carolyn: My boss is a highly respected, highly placed person. He got himself into a jam by keeping a serial wife-beater around on our staff. He got caught recently when folks found out he’d known for a long time what the wife-beater had done. Now he’s trying to get himself out of the jam by telling his staff to lie about what he knew and when. What should I do?

(Asking for a friend)

— Sarah H.S. in D.C.

Sarah H.S. in D.C.: Is your “friend” being paid enough to risk jail time? Because that’s where this path leads. Ask John Dean. The thing about lying for your boss is that eventually the lies will come out, and then your “friend’s” fate will be as bad or worse as your boss’s. Usually worse, because the big players often skate and examples are made of the less powerful employees who went along.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about your personal reputation, don’t care about your credibility, don’t have any principles and don’t have any plans for the next 3 to 5 years, sure, go along with your boss’s directions. But a boss who will order his employees to lie to save his own skin will sell you – your “friend” – out with without hesitation.

Get yourself out of there, girl.

— Carolyn

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