How to Deal With Tattletale Coworkers

In workplaces throughout the world, there are all kinds of toxic people making their co-workers' lives miserable. One of the worst types is the office tattletale, who is forever keeping track of her colleagues' perceived misdemeanors and reporting them to the boss. This type of behavior wastes time, creates conflict and destroys trust.

Protect Yourself

As a first step, and as a general rule of professional behavior, do not do or say anything that someone might pick up and use against you. Do not indulge in petty dishonest behavior, do not gossip and do not break confidences. This will not only make it impossible for the tattletale to tarnish your reputation, but it will put you in a stronger position if and when you decide to take steps to solve the problem.


A bail-jumper will probably become the target of a professional bounty hunter.

People tend to behave badly for a reason. If you are to deal with a problem co-worker it is worth trying to understand what is motivating her. Just as in kindergarten, an adult tattletale is likely to do what she does because she feels somehow left out of the team or group or that she has been treated unfairly. The effect is a breakdown of trust among members of the team.

Make Changes

The way to tackle a snitch is to strengthen her bonds with the rest of the team. Make sure that she is invited to lunch with everyone else. Talk about your work so that it is clear that all members of the team are pulling their weight. Praise and thank the tattletale so that she knows that her contribution is recognized and valued.

Involve Management

As a last resort, speak to your manager directly. This has to be done quite carefully, so that you do not come across as a tattletale yourself. The best approach is not to make any accusations but say something like, "I feel that Mr. X has a problem with me. Would it be possible to sit down with him and have a talk about it?"