How to Refuse to Do Somebody Else's Job at Work

The key to refusing to help your co-worker is to refuse in a friendly and professional manner.
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As a team player, it is often necessary to pitch in and help other co-workers complete their assignments. However, you must use your judgement while helping out to make sure that other co-workers do not continuously take advantage of you. When you have a co-worker who consistently asks you to carry his workload, the issue needs to be addressed. Stand up for yourself by letting the employee know that you are not responsible for doing his job. There is a tactful and professional way to do this.

    Step 1

    Communicate with your co-worker. Explain that you are bogged down with your own workload and are unable to accept any additional assignments. This is a nice way of turning down the work. If you say this every time he asks you to do his work, he may stop asking altogether.

    Step 2

    Refrain from telling your co-worker that you don't know how to do his work. Your co-worker's rebuttal could be, “I'll show you how.” This can put you in a bind, especially if you are the type of person who dislikes confrontation.

    Step 3

    Avoid providing an explanation. Instead, refuse to do the work without apology. You don't have to explain why you are not going to do someone else's job.

    Step 4

    Advise the co-worker that you feel like he is taking advantage of you. Provide examples of work you have done for him in the past. Keep the conversation professional to avoid heated emotions.

    Step 5

    Tell the co-worker that you are going to report him to management if he continues to ask you to do his work. This tactic most likely will prevent future requests. If you must go to management, provide documented examples of the co-worker not pulling his weight. One way to do this is to keep a journal. Log in the journal the dates you did the work, as well as the project details.


    • If you have any doubts about where your job duties begin and end, ask for clarification from your supervisor or boss.

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