Social Question

somechick4321's avatar

Should I tell my friend the truth and take the risk?

Asked by somechick4321 (74points) January 29th, 2024

I have a friend. Let’s just call her Lilly. We work together. She’s a really enthusiastic and nice person. When I needed help she was the first one to help me. When my car broke down she offered to drive me back and forth to work for a couple weeks until it got fixed. When I was short a money she gave me money and didn’t ask for it back. When I have to vent, she actually takes the time to listen to me (most people don’t). I was happy for her. She worked very hard for this job and finally got after years of hard work. Unfortunately, I had a discussion with our boss. He told me that he didn’t think that Lilly is performing well on the job. He told me that in a week he’s going to terminate Lilly from her position. The boss told me not tell anyone this information, especially Lilly. I feel so bad seeing Lilly smile everyday knowing her fate. I feel really wrong talking about the job and smiling in her face knowing she’s going to be unexpectedly fired. I really want to warn her, but if she finds out word will get out. The boss would know that I told her and we’d both get fired. Lilly has done so much for me. Should I take the risk and let her know about the termination?

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28 Answers

jca2's avatar

What kind of boss gossips about other employee in the workplace? Boss sounds like he’s bad news.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Being such a good friend, I definately would tell her.

janbb's avatar

What good would it do to tell her about it? If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen and you could jeopardize your position by telling her. But you could go to your boss and tell them about the difficult position they put you in by disclosing it and also reinforce your good opinion of your colleague.

Smashley's avatar

Talk to her in private, and lay it all out there. Tell her about the dilemma you’re in. In the end, your boss doesn’t care about you, so don’t give up a real friendship over their bullshit. Maybe your friend will be able to pretend she is surprised, while secretly going out and looking for a job, and things will be fine for you. Maybe they won’t go fine, and you’ll be just another victim of a badly run business. If it’s possible to go over the bosses head, then this might be a good time to do so. If the boss over them is any good, they’ll recognize the unacceptable position you’ve been put in.

At any rate, damn the man, real friends are worth more than bad jobs. Might be time for both of you to start polishing up that resume.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Your boss may be testing you to see how much you can be trusted, and to see if you are a gossip.

Keep your mouth shut.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wouldn’t. What good would it do? Honestly.
Your boss is an asshat for sharing such sensitive info with a mere employee.

Smashley's avatar

@elbanditoroso – the hell kind of test is that? Please, let me force you to choose between loyalty to your employer and love for your friend, for no other reason than I feel like it? It’s unacceptable for a boss to put an employee in that situation. The boss should be fired, and attempting to see that through could be OP’s best shot at the best outcome. Beyond that, the friend needs to know that she needs to find a new job. To not tell her this crucial information is a betrayal.

Personal integrity is more valuable in the long run than screwing friends over.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Smashley never underestimate the cravenness of managers, especially poor managers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So listen to @Smashley and tell her. And maybe she’s really not so nice and finds a way to sabotage the business before she goes.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Maybe the boss wants to fire BOTH of them & he’s depending on the friendship to be able to do it!!! There are two times that I don’t believe in total honesty…
(1) NEVER tell a friend that their partner is cheating on them!!!
(2) NEVER tell a coworker that they are getting ready to be fired…especially when told NOT to tell!!! The boss didn’t keep his mouth shut for a reason & you being fired is the most logical reason in my book. The boss doesn’t have a valid reason to fire you, so don’t give him one!!!

ragingloli's avatar

You should tell her, so that it givers her at least a week to search for a new job.
What a piece of shit that boss is.
Not even having a talk with her to discuss her performance.
Just going straight to firing her.
And another instance of a company giving no notice to fire someone, but expecting 4 weeks notice from an employee if they intend to resign.
And so what if she “sabotages” the company? It would be deserved.

chyna's avatar

I had this similar situation come up. I told the coworker he was getting fired and it happened within a few hours of me telling him. He was prepared and was appreciative.

jca2's avatar

She sounds like a good friend. Good friends are hard to come by.

If you don’t tell her, she probably will not find out that you knew it was going to happen, but it might weigh on your conscience. I think you have to decide what’s more important to you- your friend (conscience) or your job. How well do you like your job? Maybe the boss will do this to you one day, if your performance lags. He’ll gossip about you to other workers and they’ll know the end is coming for you before you know.

tinyfaery's avatar

I recently had a work situation where someone I trusted and thought was my friend straight up lied to my face when I asked her a direct question. When I found out later, I was crushed. That friendship is over.

At the end of the day you have to live with yourself and your choices. How is future you going to feel about your choice to side with a heartless employer that doesn’t care about you at all instead of your loyal friend? ¯\(ツ)

Forever_Free's avatar

It was not right of the boss to share that wil you. There are only negatives in telling her. Don’t do it.
Be there for her when she is let go. I also would not share that you knew with her. It would only alienate and compromise the friendship.. There is nothing positive that can come from divulging the information. Not cool of him at all.
I have been in a position of having to decide and having to tell someone they are let go. I never would share that with a colleague. HR or the Bosses boss would be the only ones confided in.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tinyfaery I agree. Some thing’s are more important, lots of jobs out there.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

He may want TWO fewer employees ! !

smudges's avatar

@ragingloli‘s answer made me think of something…if the boss hasn’t had a meeting with her regarding her performance and hasn’t documented said meeting, she could, if nothing else, get him in hot water with HR. At most, she could sue the company. I believe you have to counsel an employee three times and document each time before you can fire them.

Unless it’s a very small company and he’s the only boss. If that were the case she should at least check into legal options. She probably wouldn’t want to keep her job, but she might be able to take action against the SOB.

seawulf575's avatar

I guess, given the situation as stated, I’d go to HR. The boss has no business discussing disciplinary actions or employment actions with a subordinate…highly inappropriate. It is entirely unfair to you as it is not your job…you are not the employees boss.

Having had to fire people for performance issues, I know that it is a step-wise situation where you have to first tell the person what in their performance is not meeting standards to give them a chance to fix it. If they don’t or can’t fix it, you up the ante by doing a written warning, often with some sort of improvement plan to go with it. If the employee still doesn’t improve then you move on to termination. By that time, the employee knows they are on thin ice and could be gone soon. It sounds like “Lilly” is entirely unaware her performance isn’t meeting standards which makes me think the boss did none of this.

Telling Lilly is not the right thing. You could get sideways really quick in a situation like this. Let’s say you tell Lilly and she confronts the boss. Automatically he knows you blabbed and will likely not trust you anymore. Another scenario would have Lilly suddenly going to HR with claims of sexual harassment against the boss. True or not, it is a sure-fire way to pre-emptively block a termination.

All-in-all, you have been put into an untenable position and you need to go to HR. Going to the boss is too late. He already told you of his intentions. That ship sailed. HR could review the performance appraisals for Lilly and see if there are any write-ups that would warrant firing. But they would also be aware of the boss’s loose lips.

LostInParadise's avatar

i need more information. How long has she been at this job? How can she not know that she is not meeting expectations?

jca2's avatar

It might be that the boss hash counseled the employee and she still hasn’t improved.

Kropotkin's avatar

I’d be resigning in solidarity and giving that boss a piece of my mind.

But I appreciate risking one’s job is a luxury many can’t afford, particularly with the pathetic weak unions and lack of rights and protections for workers.

Lilly deserves to be warned just so she can start looking for a new job sooner rather than later and not have to suffer with this worthless dickhead boss you have.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If she quits she won’t be eligible for unemployment.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

I’ve worked for a number of bosses over the years who took me into their confidence about various things that were not yet common knowledge. But here’s the thing. Not once did one of those bosses share with me when a co-worker was about to be fired. That is totally unacceptable and would be worth going over their head about if you want to get them in trouble. Only you can decide that.

The benefits to letting your friend know early include that she could look for another job starting a week earlier so that she could be all the better prepared. Also, maybe she would want the choice of whether or not to make the decision to take some control back from the boss by coming up with a bogus reason of why she is quitting with no notice. That can look bad on your references, but if she feels it’s worth it to inconvenience the boss for a week, she may choose to do that. Of course, first you have to consider whether she will either be able to hide the fact that she found out early, or if you’re willing for the boss to retaliate against you if she lets on that she knew ahead of time.

@Dutchess_III depending on the reason the boss is firing her, she may not be eligible either way.

@seawulf575 I’m just now reading your response after I wrote mine out, and although I’m not going to bother to change what I wrote, you make some very good points! Especially about the possibility of her making a sexual harassment accusation against the boss. I myself would never do that type of thing but there are people who might. And definitely go to HR. It might even result in the boss receiving a reprimand, which would personally give me a good deal of satisfaction.

@smudges it really depends on what state you live in. Maryland is a free will state which means that either you or your employer have the right to terminate your employment without having documented reasons like you mentioned. Of course that all changes if there’s some sort of contract involved but a lot of jobs don’t have a contract. However, even in the state of Maryland, being so quickly fired and without proper documentation would probably make it a pretty sure thing that she could get unemployment.

janbb's avatar

@LifeQuestioner All good points. Also, we have no idea if the company is large or small so there may not even be an HR department to go to. I’d like to hear more from the OP about the specifics of the situation, without revealing too much of course, and what their thinking is now.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

I thought of one more reason to tell her but I think it’s too late to tack it on to my already really long response above. Let’s say you don’t tell her and it’s a full week until she finds out. What if she’s totally blindsided because the boss never communicated with her about the sort of job she’s doing and so she does not in any way see it coming. Maybe she goes and buys a new car in that week when she could have waited? I can’t imagine how devastating that would be when you’re now going to be out of a job until you can find a new one. Now you’ve spent all that money because you didn’t know ahead of time. Of course, still make your decision with all those other things mentioned above in mind.

kritiper's avatar

My philosophy is this:
Honesty is always the best policy, but some things are better left unsaid.

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