Co-worker doesn't pay back loan- do you "tell" management?

Recently a friend (no, not me, I am notoriuos tightwad) got some spiel from a co-worker at our small company (app. 35 employees) about how she was in some bind and needed $20.00 that night and would somehow be able to pay her back the next morning (yea right). That was two months ago , and when my friend has repeatedly asked for repayment, she gets sobs stories, promises of next paycheck, etc. My friend in incensed, as is thinking of telling our manager about this. My question is, is this appropriate? Not exactly a work matter, but the exchange occured at work- my friend does not associate with the borrower in any way, has never seen her outside of work, and was in fact surprised that this person asked her for the loan in the first place. Any thoughts?

It is a personal problem and it seems immature and petty to bring a work manager into it. I know your friend deserves the money back but we aren’t talking a huge amount here and it is a personal matter.

Always keep your personal problems with coworkers between yourself. Nobody else wants to see or deal with it.

While the situation is odd and reflects very poorly on the coworker, I can’t think for one second why your friend should complain to management. Frankly, I think the complaint would reflect just as poorly on your friend as it would on the recipient of the loan.

If I’m in management, my thinking would be the following:

  1. You are unable to manage a minor dispute on your own, which doesn’t bode well for your ability to work with other people in general

  2. You manage your money so poorly that you feel the need to hound someone for two months over $20. Why can’t you realize the person you loaned to is a schmuck and let it go?

Your friend should really chalk it up as a lesson learned and let it go.


That’s what I was thinking, but let me add that to me the 20.00 would be a fair exchange for never having to deal with the person again, but to my friend 20.00 is a big deal, which begs the question of why she would loan money she can’t afford to lose. But in this case, it is not a problem just on principal- she could really use that 20 back.

I actually meant to make a comment to that effect.

There have been plenty in times in life (some not nearly as distant as I would like) where $20 has meant a lot to me. But my wife always says that you should never loan money that you can’t afford to lose. I think those are incredibly wise words. It’s one thing to go out on a limb for a relative or a close friend…but for someone you’re not close to?

Hopefully, if this ever comes up again, she’ll just say “no.”

Totally inappropriate.

It’s a personal loan. The reason your acquaintances may know each other happens to be via work, but work’s involvement ends there.

To involve management would be ridiculous. It’s nothing to do with them.

I agree that it’s nothing to do with the management at work. But it’s possible that if your friend threatens to tell management, her debtor will pay up.

Same opinion as everybody else. This is a purely private issue, and there’s no reason to involve the management. Managers aren’t primary school teachers nor judges. Besides, what would she expect the management to do, exactly? Reimburse the 20$ on the company’s money? Discipline the coworker? Fine her 20$?

I too am in the habbit of assuming, when I loan money, that I won’t ever get it back. It’s great for peace of mind and for friendly relationships.

Keep management out of it. See if the freeloading co-worker will agree to pay back $2-5 a week or so until the loan is paid off. Have your friend explain that she needs the money too, and she loaned it on the expectation it would be paid back.

Oh, and tell her to never ever ever do anything like that again.

You should give your friend the $20 and tell her you took care of it.

Question-what does she think managment is going to do, or be able to do?

I am an HR person, and my initial reaction was also “oh, dear God, don’t drag management into this.” It is a personal matter. And it could reflect negatively on your friend. If your friend needs $20 now, she probably needs her next raise even more.

However, one reason occurred to me that management perhaps should know about this. Because if this coworker is making a habit of this behavior, management may eventually have a problem on its hands. Maybe this coworker is a crook or con artist of some sort? So maybe your friend can ask if there is a policy about borrowing money from coworkers and if so that it be communicated to this person, or to the team in general. But don’t expect management to act as a collection agency.

My SIL fell prey to a coworker who borrowed money (I think to the tune of $2000) under some pretext and then never came to the office again. Yeah, SIL was ridiculously gullible, but it sux to work with a crook.

Unless management consists of a guy with no neck named Vinny who lists “leg breaking” and “defenestration” as hobbies, I’d tell co worker to file it under “Sucks to be you.” :wink:

Strangely, there’s a similiar situation at my work with a coworker. She’s borrowed small amounts of money from a whole bunch of people - $10 - $20 from about 15 or so people over the last few months. Some have been paid back, some haven’t, some partially, etc. But it is getting to be problematic for everyone involved. She’s a nice enough person, with too many personal problems and a life that seems like it’s not quite together, but for no good reason other than poor judgement. She’s also an assistant with a much smaller salary than most of us - the amounts aren’t enough to hurt any of us, and it is difficult for her to pay it back. So, we keep being put into this awkward situation - help her, which isn’t a financial hit, or don’t, and feel incredibly guilty when she sits at lunch and eats free crackers, or nothing, and talks about starving.

Management is getting involved as of yesterday or the day before, but I haven’t the first idea what they can or will do, beyond ask her to stop requesting loans. She’s was to meet with the manager today, but I’m not there. AFAIK, they’re involved because her work habits are slipping, and people have approached the supervisors with lists of issues, the money-borrowing only being one of the problems. If this thread is still active on Monday, I’ll let you know what was said or done, though.

I’d sy eat the 20 bucks and call it a relatively inexpensive lesson in why you don’t lend money (at least without a written, signed, notarized argeement, and maybe not even then) to people yo both do not know well, and of which you have no reasonable expectation that they will pay you back.

I can think of two possible reasons to take this to management. If the person has
done this to several people in the workplace, or if the borrower is in some position to
threaten the job security of the lender.
If it is presented to management, it should be made clear upfront that there is no
expectation of management collecting the money, just that it’s a problem in the
workplace. Of course, in doing that, the lender is almost assuring that they won’t get
I can’t remember all the times I’ve been taken like this, but I do recall one instance
because it was pretty low. We were in VN and a friendly acquaintance to me he had
to go home on emergency leave, I think it was the death of a family member, can’t
recall the specifics. Anyway he was supposed to be back in 30 days or so. I loaned
him 5 or 6 hundred, only to find out a few days later that he wasn’t coming back and
knew it. There was no emergency situation, just a con.

Put a lean on her persons Person. She’ll be paying it back after she finds out she can’t get a loan, credit card, or can’t rent an Apartment.

Of course it ain’t worth the hassle or money to do it, but it sure would give her the WTF effect it you did.

IIRC, there has been a “no soliciting, borrowing” policy in every job that I’ve ever had, and it’s there for just this kind of thing.
I could go either way with notifying management, and *definitely * tell borrower that I would do it.

Ditto the advice to kep management out of it. T’aint their problem. In the grand scheme of things, it’s twenty bucks. Even if it were two *thousand * dollars, it still wouldn’t be management’s problem… until you sued her in small claims court and had her wages garnished.

Let it go.