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When Should You Rat Out a Co-Worker?


In the article, “When Should You Rat Out a Co-Worker?” featured in The Kansas City Star, Jim Holland guided employers on what should be done when an employee reports troubling concerns of a colleague to management.

Jim said, "We were amazed at the number of calls from employers asking what they should do if they think they have an employee who might be a potential terrorist. They're worried that if they say something, they could be accused of discrimination."

Clearly, Jim said, management and co-workers should be hyper-vigilant if fellow employees are spewing hate speech or saying things like "good for the shooter." Also clearly, they should pay close attention if they know an employee is afflicted by domestic violence or threats.

In the former case, Jim said, employers have the duty to call in the "hater" and say such talk isn't acceptable, then take disciplinary steps, up to dismissal. In the latter case, employers should call in the threatened employee, ask what kind of protection might be needed and then follow through.

"An employer's prime obligation to employees is to prevent harm from happening," Holland said, recognizing that it's impossible to forecast every outcome. Any employer who has experienced workplace violence says in hindsight that "maybe they could have done something about it" by taking strong steps, even if it cost more money, he said.

To read the full article, please visit The Kansas City Star.


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