DH and compulsive liar co-worker


We are in a very serious dilemma. My DH and I own a business and we have employees who are W2 and contract. There is one that is under contract who is a compulsive liar. My DH and I often introduce ourselves as co-workers of this fellow rather than as “bosses”. We don’t like to be saying to others that we are the owners. It’s kind of embarrasing and seems like if we are showing off or something. Anyhow, this guy has gone as far as lying about the ownership of the business. He has told many of his friends/relatives that he is the owner of the business. There is one time where he told this other guy that he owned the business and it turned out that this guy is a good friend of my DH and he mentioned to our co-worker, “Really? I thought, _____ was the owner…” (meaning my DH). Of course, this friend told my DH and this made my DH upset. The co-worker has lied about many other things. My SIL works with us and she once was trying to transfer a call to this guy and she noticed that his line kept ringing so that he could pick up. She had to go over to his office to tell him and as soon as he heard her steps going towards him, he picked up the phone and pretended to be on the phone (keep in mind that all this time another co-worker has been observing all of this without him noticing). So she tells him to pick up the line that its for him. He tells her that he is on the phone speaking to some client. She then tells him, “No, you are not, so pick up the line…it’s for you…”

Another incident, very important one, he tells another co-worker that he is fed up because at the office he feels that its a one way street. That he feels he does not get support from anyone. This other co-worker told my DH and DH became very upset because he always puts everything to a side to help out our employees and for him to be saying this, is like a stab on the back. Anyhow, he confronts him by asking him how he has been feeling lately and asks him if he feels that he gets enough support from the office and this guy answers postively. My DH is totally upset now because this guy tells our other co-worker one thing and he tells my DH something else. It seems to us that he has become greedy. He makes close to 200k a year and still wants to take more than he deserves. He lies on very important paper work and this makes us more concerned thinking that he can get us into trouble. He is our top sales guy, but sometimes we think that he just makes sales by lying on business apps. He has stolen clients from other co-workers/producers. He has done this because since he is our top producer, therefore, whenever some new client calls he goes over to the other producers desks and stands right behind them to the point where he can see their what is on their monitor and notices that they are working on client XYZ therefore, he then goes back to his desk and tells them that Mr. XYZ is supposed to come by to see him. BANG! he steals one from the others like that. The others totally believe him and give up and pass the client up to him because no one can really prove that he is stealing them.

I did not want to make this so long, but bottom line, we want to confront this guy, but don’t know how. Any ideas? Do we call him a liar straight up? Do we confront him with a bunch of lies that he has said? Or do we just let him go. Over all he is a nice guy, but starting to seem as a hypocrite. Very disturbing. He seems like he is sick! His lies are to the point where even he himself seems to believe him. By the way, everyone that knows him knows that he is a big time liar. He says lies like if it is the straight true. It’s really bad… HELP! :confused:


You need to take a course on human resources and management. And, you need to have a good employment attorney on retainer.

You ARE the boss. Don’t call yourself a “coworker” and don’t act like a “coworker”.

If you do not have a system in place to document performance on at least an annual basis and a system to deal with unacceptable behavior in the workplace you need to get one set up and start using it.

His behavior is unacceptable and I would fire him. But, when and how would depend upon what documentation had already occured, what type of employee his is, etc. If he is a contractor, buh-bye tomorrow. If he is a full time employee of the company, you will need to ensure you have properly documented and if he does not begin performing to your clearly established standards then terminate him.


It’s an either/or situation. Either this person is absolutely vital to the success or your business, or he is not.

If so, you need to delicately modify his behavior. Probably a tough thing to do.

If not, he’s under contract. If he violates the terms of his contract, terminate his behavior, and him.

Just be careful, firing someone nowadays requires a solid and honest paper trail. I doubt you could get rid of hiim overnight from what you say.

You don’t state the nature of your business, so specifics aren’t possible. But, if he represents you and he lies on anything official (apps, etc.) his lies make you complicit in his dealings. After all, business owners are responsible for the actions of their employees, legally and ethically.

And I doubt your other employees are terribly happy with him and his actions, and may impact their abilities and loyalties.

I own a business and if it were my situation, I’d be starting the paper trail as we speak. Everyone except moms are expendable.

Good luck


I’m not really sure what you can do about his lying. Unfortunately a lot of people in sales have a very “flexible” version of the truth. That his dishonesty is so transparent could be a very real liability for you and your husband.

I wonder though about him being a contractor rather than an employee when it sound like he has an office there. Are you rock solid in his classisfication as a contractor rather than an employee?

As far as him being the owner of the company…as a contractor he is the owner of his own company that represents yours. So, his version of the truth might not be totally off. Also, since he is a contractor, you can’t really manage his day to day activities. Independent contractors are given an assignment and are left to accomplish it using their own methods.

How long has he worked for you? How long are the relationships that he has with your customers? If he is a problem liar, chances are good that these relationships will not go way back. If he is basically honest on the important things, then perhaps the customers are forgiving of some of the smaller lies he comes up with. In fact, sometimes there are situation where people would prefer to be lied to, like an excuse as to why a certain product is late, etc. Not saying that is right, but just letting you know what is the “norm” in the sales industry. (My ex and I used to own a manufacturers’ representative firm).

I’m sure you are already aware that either way you go with this there could be big consequences. I am not too sure about what to give as far as advice. I guess praying for wisdom is a good way to go.


What 1ke said is absolutely right; dump him immediately if he is simply a “contract” worker (unless there is something specific in his contract about giving notice, etc.) You can always find another top salesman; this guy is far more trouble than he is worth to you. It may be a good idea to speak to a labor lawyer first, just for your peace of mind.

It sounds as if he believes he is running the show - delusional, if you ask me; don’t enable him.

Best wishes in this; I’ll say a prayer that it is resolved quickly.


You do have a good solid non-compete in place, right? Since he is a contractor, you just need to change the locks, change the passwords to your systems and say bye bye.


He is our top producer, that is why it is difficult to confront him. He has been with us for 4 years now. I understand that business owners are responsible fot he actions of their employess and that is why it is scary to find out that he does not comply with his work and also the thought of letting him go. Every time my DH spots a “mistake” like this guy calls it, he tells him. My DH is thinking about auditing this guys work. Depending on the results we will take it from there, but still not sure how. By the way, our business deals with insurance. For instance, a teacher with a masters degree will get a better rate compared to a janitor (assuming good driving record). Therefore, he will make almost everyone a teacher in order to give them a great rate and that in itself is lying. My DH has to, lately, be on his back and its almost like baby sitting…:o DH wonders about how many times he has lied on his work… DH likes for everything to be legit and it totally ticks him off to know that our employees are not doing their work the way they are supposed to. A mistake is different from what he seems to be doing. That is why DH decided on auditing this guy.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated:)


It’s funny that you mention that he believes to be running the show because there has also been times where he complaints, to others, about how the business has grown because of him. He knows he is the top sales guy and this totally makes him feel invincible or something. He does not seem to understand that everyone’s role is vital to the growth of the business.

Thank you for your prayers.


The companies that you sell insurance for will drop you if they learn about this. They are taking on more risk than your customers are paying for if he is writing them policies based on the wrong employment group. This is easily verifiable. This guy does need to go. I still don’t understand why he is a contractor and not an employee.


Yes we do. Producers are not allowed to take our current clients whenever they leave the company.


I don’t know what exactly labour law looks like where you live, but traditionally, an employee is someone who is answerable to the boss in the performance of his duties, is included in the structure of the company, is bound by the rules of the workplace etc, which extends to include fixed time and place of providing work. A contractor is a fundamentally independent person, who is on par with the other party to the contract.

To build up on the above, you aren’t his boss, strictly speaking, if he’s a contractor and you want to play by the rules. In that case, you’re the economically and socially superior party to the contract, but legally your position under that contract is equal to his. In turn, if he’s an employee, his position is subordinate to you.

If he has issues, you may want to help him. His job is stressful and he’s under great pressure to perform well and have good results. He must understand that not everything goes in your company and it might be a good idea to tell him that you’re perfectly understanding of human limitations and you understand that he can’t do more than humanly possible and you don’t hold him to superhuman standards, but he shouldn’t hold himself to superhuman standards either and he shouldn’t merely pretend to keep up with the standards he sets for himself if he knows that he isn’t really keeping up but just pretending he is.

As for keeping him from getting you in trouble, I believe if an honest (and private) conversation doesn’t help, you can start notifying him that he isn’t fulfilling the contract and then warn him that you will cancel the contract if he keeps doing what he does, and then actually cancel it. With an employee, you’d need to abide by a more complicated, formal and transparent procedure.


It doesn’t matter that he brings in more business if he lies on the insurance application forms. It is never acceptable to do wrong in order to produce a good outcome. ie - lie on a legal document to bring in more business.

You need to read his contract thoroughly paying special attention to the terms about termination of the contract. Follow these to the letter and get rid of him.

His lies will come back to bite you if you continue to keep him on. You also will need to review all of the policies he has sold because some of these could be fraudulent.


From the way you’ve described the situation, your DH’s knowledge of this guys actions and his failure to censure him may already have you in a jam.

I’m not a lawyer, and my advice is to get a good one if you don’t have one already and work this through with him/her. But what you are saying here is that he is committing what could be a felony - gross misrepresentation with intent to defraud - depending on your state. I assume your firm in an insurance brokerage house. Ask yourself, if, in your firm’s selling a policy, a janitor is called a teacher on the app, then he has a DUI, and the company underwriting the policy discovers that the app is fraudulent, can and will they deny paying the claim? And if they can and do, then the victims and the perpetrator (your janitor) are not going to be reimbursed for all claims for damages, both medical and physical. In that instance, in all likelihood, both parties are going to be looking to sue someone and, since the janitor probably doesn’t have deep pockets, the agent/contractor and the firm he works for (either as an employee or as a contractor) is in line to take the fall. THAT’S YOU !!! From what you’ve described, I would think your client (the janitor) has a very good claim against you. He acted in good faith on the actions of your representative and he was damaged because of the fraud of your representative, and/or the complicity of said representative’s employer. He’ll (the janitor) plead ignorance and from where I stand, you may well be defenseless in such a situation.

And ( this is the fun part) that may be before the Insurance Commissioner in your state gets involved in citing and prosecuting you for violations of your state insurance codes. Believe me, you don’t want a bunch of state bureaucrats crawling around your business. That’s downright painful.

Sincerely, you’re in one of two positions here, bad and worse. Your can’t let your heart or your emotions get in the way of this one. This guy is bad news.

Can’t see it any other way. Sorry.


why is this person still under contract?
why was he not let go the first time his activities were discovered?
if he lies or commits other improprieties while working for this company, and it is shown the owners knew about it, they could be in serious trouble.
as former business owners, I know what I am talking about, and even a lawsuit over a matter in which they are totally innocent can be expensive enought to break a small business.


The guy is a liar.

If you confront him about his statements, which will he do:

A) Cop to it and change his behavior.

B) Lie about it.


The guy is a “compulsive” liar.

Will his behavior:

A) Change.

B) Stay the same.


If you answered A to the above questions, be prepared for more frustrations and headaches. If you answered B to the above questions, congradulations! You’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to deal with this individual is to get rid of him ASAP.

Check the terms of the contract, and get rid of this guy. Asking him to play nice will make the entire situation worse, believe me. I’ve run a small business for over 25 years, and this is a no-win for you with this guy still in your employment.


Thank you all for your responses :o . We have decided to get rid of him. We can’t be like this too long. It is basically that he was given a chance before and he just blew it again. We are still in the process of auditing him to find out how many “mistakes” he has made…:blush:


I hope you take the advice of the other posters and retain a good attorney, plus document everything, before terminating his contract.

200K is probably a salary he is willing to fight for, or at least make you hurt over.


hate to scare you, but not much choice here…

my dh works for a major insurance company…
training people on issues just like this…
policy training and such
it’s also the nature of his job to have to hire/fire/train employees…

#1 Fire him for fraud, gross misconduct, and either insubordination or failure to complete contract. Be clear it is because you found fault with his work.

#2 Get a VERY good attorney, because some of the “mistakes” you say he made are federal offenses that can cost you your business, your license, your bank accounts, and, in some cases, even jail time. All he has to do is say you knew and or pressured him to do it for the sales.

#3 Report the problem to the insurance companies you represent (if advised to do so by your attorney) and have a THIRD party company audit your comapny, not just that guy. Yes, it will cost a blooming fortune, but there’s really no other way to keep your companies integrity. You covering your own backside looks like coverup. You having an independent 3rd party do the audit looks like a sincere desire to find and correct an problems.

My dh read this and is really worried for you.


I agree with the posters who tell you to fire him. Top-grossing or not, he is unethical and you don’t want to benefit from his dishonesty. I’m a nurse and I absolutely agree with those who say document, document, document. Places, times, names. It sounds as though this guy has ruffled enough feathers and caused enough discontent that you will have plenty of employees who willing be willing to write their hearts out. That is what holds up in court. Good luck.


Lemme me see if I have this right- he made 200,000 dollars last year and he’s bagging on y’all? :confused:

Most of advice here is to phase him out, so looks like gonna be a opening in y’all’s office soon, I’d like y’all to know I’m available. I promise, I make 200k a year in y’alls office when ya walked in the door I’d be singing praises, “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy,” I’d make sure EVERYONE in town knew who the bosses were. :cool:

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