7 Ways to Survive the Workplace After You've Been Wrongfully Accused
They say you never know exactly how it feels, until you find yourself in that position. I recently found myself in a position where I was wrongfully accused and I must say I never expected to feel so many strong emotions from that singular action.
The incident took place in the space of two days, but I spent the next few weeks afterwards being hurt, angry and feeling slightly betrayed, that no one believed my side of the story.
What Really Happened: How I Was Wrongfully Accused
I worked in a digital marketing company and had been really keen on building an email list of my own for a while and when a colleague informed me he'd managed to build one of his to a 100 emails, of course I was interested and asked he give me his list, seeing as we are in the same niche.
He agreed to sell this to me at a price (wrong, I know) and the transaction took place.
Somehow, my boss found out and we were both summoned. From the inquiries during the summon, it turned out what I thought was my colleague's personal email list (he'd informed me it was and showed proof to back this claim), turned out to be one of my company's lists.
As expected, my boss was angry and served us both queries. Every explanation I gave as to my innocence went ignored and in the end, we both were placed on a one-week suspension without pay.
That singular incident taught me a lot and while I spent the first one or two weeks after it being angry and feeling betrayed, I also learnt to move past it and here's how I achieved that
It's okay to feel hurt and angry if you find yourself in his position and deciding to take legal actions can be healing.
7 Ways to Handle the Situation When You Get Wrongfully Accused
.1. Present Facts that Prove Your Innocence
I should warn you though that this doesn't always work (like in my case), but it at least gives you a fighting chance to defend yourself.
The workplace is filled with office politics and sometimes, if you step in a wrong toe, the result might be an atmosphere of subtle hostility and the high likelihood of being wrongfully accused of an act.
So, if you ever find yourself in such a situation, present facts that prove your innocence as best you can. If possible, get other colleagues to vouch for you and hope this works to exonerate you.
2. Try to Reach Out to Someone Who will Believe You
Everyone should have that one superior who knows what they are capable of and will hopefully, vouch for them at times like this.
This doesn't just happen out of the blues though. You'd have to make it possible by portraying good qualities beforehand like honesty, reliability and integrity so if you ever find yourself in a tricky situation, standing up for you won't be such a difficult thing to do.
Reach out to this superior and calmly explain your side of the incident, presenting your facts as you go and hopefully, they get to see your innocence and punish the true guilty party.
3. Be Calm and Know These Things Happen
If, however, the lying colleague wins, while you might be tempted to gasp in disbelief and go into an angry tirade (which you would be entitled to), you should know this would hardly work in your favour.
Sad as it it, lots of people have been wrongly accused and you also won't be the last.
It is at this time you should understand that these things happen; it is one of the hazards of the work place environment.
Have you ever been wrongfully accused? How did you feel?
4. Learn From it and Try to Protect Yourself
You should learn what needs to be learnt from the incident (and there's always some lessons to be learnt) and move on.
However, moving on doesn't mean leaving yourself to chance. These 'evil' colleagues are still present and it won't be hard for them to accuse you wrongly again and this time, it would be a lot easier for people to believe them seeing as your reputation has been slightly soiled.
You should instead, do everything you can to protect yourself and this includes keeping your distance unless when absolutely needed.
You also might want to keep every documents secure or your personal items locked away, that way they have less access to you.
5. If You Must Leave to Heal, Then Do So
If you find you are unable to work in the same space after being wrongfully accused, then you should move on.
This was what I did. I found that workplace toxic afterwards and knew working there would now be a drag. It also didn't help that I lost my passion for the company and knew my continued stay there would be less productive since I'd need to drag or force myself to do the things I once found pleasure in.
You might also want to do the same, instead of subjecting yourself to unhappiness and dissatisfaction in a job you no longer love.
6. Take Legal Actions If Necessary
If it makes you feel better, you should consider taking legal actions against all offending parties who wrongfully accused you. No one should be allowed to go free for wrongs they committed, especially if this was done intentionally.
7. Learn the Office Etiquettes of Your Next Job So You Know to Protect Yourself
Lastly, you might want to take the time to study the office rules and etiquettes of your next place of work before mixing in.
Also, while mixing in, it still might be in your best interest to put subtle measures in place to protect yourself so you don't get a repeat of what happened in your previous employ
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Farrah Young