My Employee is Tattling on Her Coworkers

by Evil HR Lady on August 7, 2018

I have an employee that monitors everyone else’s schedule. We are a retail organization, so schedules change from week to week. If someone is late, or two people swap shifts, I’ll hear about it from her. Other than this annoying habit, she’s good at her job. She just likes to hover and tattle. Of course, this drives her coworkers crazy. Can I keep the schedule away from her, citing privacy concerns?


To read my answer, click here: My Employee is Tattling on Her Coworkers

Leave your own answer in the comments!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie W August 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm

GREAT ANSWER!!! That person is creating a toxic environment for all of her coworkers. I’ve worked with a Nosy Nancy. Our manager said very helpful things like “just ignore her”. People were quitting. We had turnovers and were training all of the time because of her and our manager’s unwillingness to deal with it. A few of us considered going to our District Manager with our complaint. We didn’t because… we didn’t want to be tattletales.


Camellia August 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Great answer! I have a question about word choice. You suggest saying, “Helen, I’ve asked you twice…”

Would it be better to say “I’ve TOLD you twice…”? To say “asked” seems like 1) a softening of the message and 2) like Helen has a choice.


cajun2core August 7, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Good catch Camellia!


Evil HR Lady August 7, 2018 at 10:53 pm

You’re right. That is much better wording!


Jill August 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

I might turn to Helen with a confused yet annoyed look on my face and ask, “Why are you telling me this?” or “I’m not sure why you’re telling me this?” A few times of that should hopefully convey that you find it a really bizarre thing for her to be monitoring something that isn’t her job to monitor.

I mean, I’d be annoyed with tattling and I’d want to convey that annoyance.


Goober August 7, 2018 at 5:05 pm

The more blunt approach is to tell her, “Monitoring that is a management function. You’re not a manager. While you’re trying to do a manager’s job, you’re not doing you *own* job.”


Becky Mcintyre August 7, 2018 at 3:38 pm

I wouldn’t call that employee nit-picky and annoying. I’d call her a busybody and morale buster. The very first time she brought this up, the supervisor should have dealt with her. Even if there is a problem with people coming in late and switching shifts, is none of the business of the colleague if it does not affect her hours or workload.


grannybunny August 7, 2018 at 5:02 pm

The reason why managers are hesitant to confront tattletales is the fear that some of those “tales” might be something they need to know, such as whistle-blowing about more serious infractions. That being said, you nailed the solution: if you want to stop something, quit rewarding it. More specifically, if you want to stop an employee from being a tattletale, quit listening to their tales. I’m not sure about disciplining them, though, if they persist in coming to you. When it comes to motivating workplace behavior, I’m more into using carrots to reward than sticks to punish.


Maria Rose August 7, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Totally agree with Grannybunny as to handle this situation. I get the impression that this person is not part of the “work/friend group” but a worker on the team (probably the one who gets stuck filling in for all the problems with the schedule)
To avoid repeat continued “tattle tailing”, the person who makes the schedule should be evaluating the given availability by each employee to actually worked availability. You will be surprised how often this doesn’t match. (A lot of employees will state one availability to get hired and then after a few weeks have a totally different availability). Based on schedule switches, you can request a new availability, especially if you are making a schedule using a computer model to schedule. You can’t just print out schedules and not do followups on it to keep it functional. The only one who should be doing schedule is the one who writes the schedule, not the employees.
Okay, there’s no I in the word team but neither is there a U. Listen to the employee, react to the situation and take corrective action to avoid a repeat situation.


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