Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m scared. I have worked somewhere for two years. Someone with
whom I used to be a close friend got me the job. I have also been her
“sidekick” when we’ve travelled to dog shows. That’s been true for
years, but now I am in a new relationship, something that’s made her
very jealous. She’s been badmouthing Sammy, whom I genuinely like.
I know he’s short, balding, and just an electrician, but this is making
me happy. Anyhow at work I was called in and asked questions about
things she’s been doing that I have known are not kosher. I didn’t go
to management to tell them about it, mostly because she’s
intimidating and I was afraid she’d fire me if I went behind her back.
Do I have to tell her what I have said to them? We’re not friends
anymore because I don’t like or respect her but I am still afraid of her.
Your primary obligation is to yourself and your conscience, and to your
employer. It sounds from what you’ve said that you are guilty of a sin
of omission: knowing something inappropriate was going on and
keeping your mouth shut. That may or may not be viewed as
complicity.So if your primary goal is to keep your job, coming clean
asap is the best thing to do.
Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If part of
that truth is that you felt intimidated, it’s okay to say that. While you
may have shame about cowardice, it is still brave to admit whatever
your role has been. Even if you didn’t do anything actively wrong, you
may be viewed as less trustworthy.
Don’t discuss this with her. If asked, say you’ve been told by the HR
department not to discuss this matter with anyone, and that includes
her. If she pushes, say it again and report it to HR. It may be a
belated time to create more distance between you, but that doesn’t
make it any less important to do immediately and clearly.