How to Deal with Lying Colleagues

the departed lewischandler

What’s the deal with lying colleagues these days? Your office has at least one Pinocchio, and they’re either your superiors or colleagues. You probably can detect the person who constantly lies about everything, even the most minuscule of things. Despite his or her befuddling nature, you have to deal with the person in question. But how can you if they’re continually telling fibs? 

Since we’re in the middle of election season, a co-worker of yours may want to mimic a politician - Hillary Clinton, we’re looking at you - and become the biggest liar in the office. It may be their ultimate goal in life. Who knows? They’ll tell a fib about taking the stapler. They’ll tell a lie about finishing an assignment. They’ll even deceive you regarding who took your lunch! 

If you think it’s an impossible endeavor to deal with a lying colleague, then think again. There are various ways to tackle the problem head on (without a helmet) and ensure you can get your work done effectively without resorting to violating the ninth commandment. Or is that the third commandment? 

Well, whatever number it is, here are eight ways to deal with lying colleagues:

See also: How to Lie on Your Resume and Get Away With It

1. Detect the deception

hercule poirot

Put on your Sherlock Holmes cap, stimulate your little Hercule Poirot gray cells and start to detect the deception (with a smoking, bulldog pipe no doubt).  

Well, if you’re not into detective stories then in other words, you will have to investigate just what exactly your colleague is lying about, when they told this fib and potential reasons why they would even lie. If they have told lies in the past then you will have to dig up this as well. This is all part of the detective process.

2. Collect the necessary evidence

Now that you have performed your investigation, you should gather the evidence and put it into a detailed report. This will help with the potential confrontation (see below) or assist your superiors in taking the appropriate steps (see below) to reprimand these fibbing colleagues. Remember, the evidence shouldn’t be conjecture or hearsay, but based on facts. Without facts then you’re simply speculating.

3. Analyse the situation

Once you have concrete proof that your co-worker is lying left, right and center and metastasizing into Richard Nixon, you should take a step back and analyze the situation. This analysis should consist of a couple of things: determining the reasons for the deception and how you will confront the matter (talking to the person about it or taking it up with management).

4. Confront them

the rock vs vin dieselvulture

First, calmly ask your colleague if you can speak with them for a few moments. Second, once you do begin to speak with them, do so in a quiet and non-threatening manner. Third, show them your report and inform them that you may have to submit it to management if they continue to lie about everything and anything at the office. The liar may be resistant and hostile, but eventually they’ll see the light. They may be so combative that they’ll urge you to tell your superiors. Before you know it, it’ll turn into a WWE match. Where’s referee Earl Hebner when you need him?! 

[Prodcut #102]

5. Become a stool pigeon

You have either confronted the person and they told you where you can shove it or you have decided instead to become a stool pigeon and snitch on them. This is another direction you can take the entire matter because then at least the lying individual will be punished by management and perhaps fired and replaced by someone more competent and honest (or at the very minimum, a little bit more honest).

Nobody ever wants to be yellow and begin to snitch on their co-workers, but when lying starts to go out of hand then you will have no other choice. If you want to feel better about singing like a canary then perhaps you can seek suggestions from some of your colleagues. This way, you gathered feedback from others and what they would do if they were in your shoes.

6. Avoid the lying colleague

Ostracizing was a popular union measure during the early- to mid-20th century. It would punish those workers who would disagree with unions and go against their wishes. Well, you could implement this technique into your personal conduct or the whole office’s manner. 

Whenever this lying colleague approaches you when it’s not related to work, you simply ignore them and tell them that you have work to do. Or the office can exclude this colleague from unrelated work social situations. If several of your colleagues are going to the pub then do not invite the lying co-worker. 

In most instances, a lying colleague will spread lies, gossip and innuendos about you or somebody else. They’re high school drama queens, who need to seek attention and create a tense atmosphere. It isn’t healthy to have them around you.

7. Instruct other coworkers about lies

A bad seed can infect an entire office. The bad seed, who constantly lies and tells unfounded gossip, may encourage others to act in the same deplorable and uncouth manner. Prior to or after working hours, you should have a team meeting and tell everyone that lying will not be permitted in the office because it will hurt productivity and relations (it’s simple passive aggression). Perhaps you could go as far as warning them about the office liar that has infiltrated the workplace.

8. Make a public spectacle of the fibs

the departedlewischandler

Lastly, a public confrontation may be the best solution of them all. Making a public spectacle of the co-worker who tells lies may be just as efficient at sending a message, as voting for a third-party or independent political candidate. Showcasing their lies, deception and terrible behavior to the rest of the workplace may finally end the shenanigans of this worker, who must always resort to dishonesty to get whatever it is they desire.

See alsoTrue Nature of Lies: Why Do People Often Choose to Hide the Truth? 

Indeed, no one can ever claim they’re Mother Teresa. We all have told lies from time to time at work. In fact, one-fifth of United States workers concede to telling lies because they wanted to appease a customer, cover up a missed deadline or protect a colleague, who may have been wrong or told a lie. 

It becomes a problem, though, once a colleague continually lies on a regular basis. This threatens the integrity and infrastructure of the office landscape. Heck, their lies may even have an effect on your career, especially if you’re a manager, supervisor or team leader. Once you find out a colleague has uttered several fibs then it’s best to nip it in the bud, as soon as you can. 

Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at, says it best: 

It may seem cliché, but honesty is the best policy. Even if you are motivated by the best of intentions, being deceitful can seriously compromise your credibility with colleagues and negatively impact your career progress. The vast majority of hiring managers – 85 percent – say they are less likely to promote an employee who has lied to them or other members of the organization.” 

Do you have a colleague who constantly lies? How do you handle it? Let us know in the comments section...