I saw something I shouldn't have; what should I have done?

I was using my boss’s computer today, while mine was being fixed. She had left her paycheck on her desk, partially covered by some other papers, but with the amount end sticking out. I saw it – couldn’t help it. No big deal, and I would never repeat such information to anyone.

But when I mentioned to my SO that I had seen it, he said I should have put it in her desk drawer. Our office is quite secure, so I’m not concerned about anyone else going in there and taking it, and it’s not out in plain sight anyway, unless one is sitting at her desk. If I moved it, she would know that I saw it, and that would be awkward. So I just left it there, didn’t touch any of the papers on top of it, and I’m going to pretend like I never saw it.

If she realizes that I may have seen it and asks me, I intend to say, “I wasn’t poking around on your desk, just using your computer.” (And she’s fine with me using her computer, rummaging through her desk drawers for stuff, or even checking her e-mail while she’s gone. She’s given me all of her passwords, so no secrets.)

What should I have done? Put the check in a drawer, thus alerting her that I know now her salary? Or ignored it and pretended that I didn’t notice it?

So how much does she make?

Oh and I would have left it where I found it.

I think you did the right thing. It wasn’t for you to see, therefore you make like you never did see it.

You were correct not to touch it; nobody would be benefited by relocating it for her. If she really cared about other people seeing it, she wouldn’t have left it out; and as you say there was little risk of it being taken. Moving it into hiding would only have complicated the situation (perhaps even making her think it had been lost or stolen, if she remembered that she hadn’t put it in the drawer and didn’t think to look there).

I might be revealing my lack of experience in corporate affairs with this question, but if she trusts you with this information, would she really mind you seeing her paycheck? Giving you those passwords and letting you check her email is a huge sign of trust, and it sounds as if she’s very comfortable with you knowing a lot about her.

And I think you handled it perfectly.

:stuck_out_tongue: Not tellin’.

If it had been my check and it had gotten moved, I’d have thought it was stolen or something.

I’d say pretending you never saw it is the best strategy. I wouldn’t have touched it.

If your company is large enough with a specified pay scale, you could probably figure out her salary within 10% anyway.

You did fine.

Next time, don’t mention it to your SO.

Just want to make clear, I did not tell him the figure that I saw. Just that I had seen the check.

I would NEVER EVER tell someone else’s salary.

I meant, don’t mention that you have seen anything to your SO.

As I said, you did fine.

I was in our church financial manager’s office when she wasn’t there (doing something legitimate, I forget what). I saw some sort of notice on her desk that had a grammatical error. The next day, talking to her on the phone, I mentioned what I saw and pointed out the error. Her response was that she wasn’t pleased with the idea that people who were in her office would be reading things, even if they were lying around in plain sight. Lesson: pretend you never saw it.

Absolutely. You handled it perfectly.

I don’t understand what would be so bad about this unless your boss makes very little.