A Natural Path to Remission?

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Dear Jido,

I just joined a great company but I have found one flaw: a co-workerwho works no more than four hours in an eight-hour workday.
He spends too much time at lunch, shopping, making personal phone calls, and chatting with other workers. His behavior makes me think that he has no respect for his fellow workers or for the owners of the company. To make matters worse, I have to pick up the slack. He has been working with this company for over five years – and I just don't understand how he keeps his job.

Should I make waves and complain about his performance, or just go with the flow?

Signed, Hardly Working

Dear Hardly,

Your question borders on one of Jewish Law and not just friendly advice. I would therefore recommend that you seek rabbinic counsel before proceeding. However, I will give you some general words of caution.

Since it appears that you want to say something to the owners, youmust be very careful about speaking lashon hara.In general:

1) You must first speak to the person who, in your eyes, is not behaving properly. It could be he is only paid for half a day’s work. It could be he has permission to act as he does, and by speaking to the owners you would only be casting yourself in a negative light.

2) After clarifying the situation, should you decide to take the matter further, when relating negative behavior to anyone who would know the person, you must be objective and not emotional about your report. Since you state clearly that his behavior is affecting you,
that is often difficult to do.

3) If you don’t feel that the owners will do anything about it, meaning there will be no benefit in telling them, then you should not broach the subject with them at all, because it then just becomes speaking evil about others for no beneficial reason.

By all means, let the offender know that you are picking up his slack, and tell him you want to protect him lest the owners find out and take disciplinary action. In no event should you use any threatening language or cause animosity. Perhaps he doesn’t realize how much he’s slacking, and by working with him to fix the situation you will be making the department better for him, for you, and for the company.

Best of luck, Jido