The more co-workers you have, the greater the chances of you eventually having a problem with one of them. Problems may arise due to personal differences between you and the co-worker. Or, perhaps she is a slacker who consistently violates company policy. Maybe her work habits and ethics are different from yours. There are usually ways to peaceably resolve workplace conflict; on occasion, however, it may be necessary to report the matter to your boss.
The Boss Is Busy
Most bosses have a boatload of daily responsibilities to handle. For this reason, dealing with an employee tattling on a co-worker is unlikely to be on your boss's list of priorities. This doesn't mean it's never appropriate to tattle on a co-worker. Just don't take petty personal issues to your boss. If you perceive that your co-worker's behavior is a threat to you or others, negatively impacts company productivity, or violates company policy, it is appropriate to tell the boss.
Work Out the Petty Stuff
Petty personal issues can usually be worked out between you and your co-worker, without getting the boss involved. It's just a matter of communicating with each other in the right way to resolve your differences. If you're unable to resolve the differences, agree to disagree and keep it moving. You don't have to report every single violation of company policy to your boss. For instance, your co-worker may sneak in a personal cell phone call or surf the Internet during her downtime, but you don't need to say anything. If you report every single violation, your co-workers and boss may label you as a “snitch.”
Tell Your Supervisor
When there is low employee morale in the workplace, the result can be decreased productivity. When the problem with your co-worker starts to negatively affect your morale or the morale of other employees, it's okay to tell the boss. Resist the urge to talk with the "big boss." Instead, speak with your immediate supervisor. Going to the big boss is considered going over your supervisor's head, and may cause friction between you and your supervisor.
It's appropriate to tattle if the co-worker's behavior is hindering your ability to perform. If the co-worker is acting like a bully or gossiping to cause friction between you and other employees, it's okay to tattle. If you are contemplating quitting, it's okay to tell. In many cases, the supervisor would rather handle the situation than lose a good employee. If the co-worker is stealing from the company, it is okay to tattle. Telling on a thief protects the company from financial loss.
Talking to the Big Boss
Talk to the big boss only when your immediate supervisor fails to address the situation you reported. Before going to the big boss, speak with your intermediate supervisor again to see if she intends to handle the situation. Advise her that your next step is to tell her boss about your co-worker's behavior. In many cases, the supervisor will handle the situation. She understands that if you go to her boss, you are also indirectly tattling on her for not addressing the situation.
Faizah Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company and "Truth & Church Magazine." Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high-school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.