How to Deal with Boss’ Requests
Your boss sends you an email request. You read it and realize that what they are asking you to do just doesn’t sound right. It might you make feel uncomfortable and you may even think it might be illegal.
You know your boss is under a lot of pressure and they are feeling the heat. Right now, they are fighting to keep their job and are desperate to save themselves. What do you do?
“The first step is not to rush into a quick decision,” said Alan Hubbard, LandAjob’s Chief Operating Officer. “You want to make sure you understand the situation and what is being asked of you. Take yourself out of the environment so you can think clearly. There could be severe consequences if you say yes right away. That’s why you shouldn’t feel pressured to make a decision.” . A nonprofit organization, LandAjob helps Americans with disabilities find jobs and get job reimbursements up to $13,000 job expenses.
Once you have gotten away from your boss, take time to think about it, and figure out what is being asked Does it make you uncomfortable or is it illegal?
“You should ask any questions you might have of your boss if you want to pursue it with them,” said Hubbard. “If you have decided this is illegal or makes you feel uncomfortable or could cost your boss their job, you might want to explain it to them and say how it looks to you. This might be a case where the boss is able to see it in another light and not go through with it.”
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author, suggests ways to ask the questions.
Ask for the request to be repeated; and then paraphrase: “I want to understand this a little better,” said Taylor in a Business Insider article. “Are you saying you don't want me to document xyz for the Jones account?' 'Why do you want to do this?' 'Wouldn't that be inconsistent with our normal practices?' See where that leads."
Taylor says not to wait too long for the discussion with your boss and says it should be a “mutual brainstorm” session.
"That said, if you wait too long or are unresponsive, it may be more difficult to eventually challenge your boss," she said. "Once you've gathered the facts, make your move."
In your response, a themuse.com article suggests you respond with the method you receive it in whether it be in person or via email.
“If you determine what you are being asked is illegal and/or unethical, you want to make sure you are documenting everything to protect yourself,” said Hubbard. “You don’t want to hurt your professional reputation. There could be possibly repercussions from your decision, and you want to be safe and keep your job.”
Your next step could be to either go the management or the human resources department to let them know. You might also want to consult with an employment lawyer to protect yourself if you become a “whistle blower.”
That’s why it is important to make sure your responses are saved and written carefully and simply. This is not the place to make accusations and threats.
“Whether you agreeing to the request by saying yes or turning them down, you need to get right to the point and don’t be wordy,” said Hubbard. “You want your response to be right to the point.”
If you decided to go forward with doing what your boss is asking you and the worst thing happens with you getting caught, you need to know your legal rights.
"You could end up in a lawsuit or even jail, if your boss is involved with something nefarious," said Taylor. "Just because you were obeying your manager's orders will not provide a defense. On the flip side, don't get aggressive in response and bully back. It won't get you the results you want by going on the offense. Stay in control."
You should also understand this might mean you will have to leave the company.
“This is where you have to decide whether you want to continue working for the company, probably depending on how they responded to you,” said Hubbard. “You should be conscience of your own professional reputation. That is something you don’t want to risk.”
(LandAjob helps Americans with disabilities find jobs with their free database of more than 600,000 jobs in the United States. They can also help you learn how to find out how to get up to $13,000 in job expenses and reimbursement.)