I am an engineer working as a temp for a company that usually hires its temps full time when the temp assignment is done. The manager of the company has asked me to lie about my overtime hours so the company won’t be charged the overtime rate by the temp agency. I don’t think this is right, but I am afraid that saying so to the manager will hurt my chances of getting offered a full-time job. What should I do?

If I have the proper understanding of what is going on, then this is pretty cut and dried. Your employer is asking you to lie to the temp agency in order to save money. As a result, the temp agency does not get its just compensation and you get cheated out of your overtime pay. This manager is clearly off base.

There are so many layers of mistakes by the manager. First and foremost, he is making a decision to cheat the temp agency and you. Secondly, he is asking you to take part in his dishonesty. It is flabbergasting that he is asking you to partake in a lie that not only compromises your integrity but also targets you as the victim.

My advice: Tell him that you will not lie to the agency. Of course, this means accepting the consequences. This is an excellent opportunity to store up treasures in heaven while forgoing something you would like to have on earth.

When you stand up for a moral principle, you will never regret it. If you are persecuted for your rightful action, you have an exceptional opportunity to offer that to Jesus.

I am sure that the desire for financial stability plays a role in your desire to not compromise the relationship. However, if you think this through, even if you don’t compromise your work opportunity, you may want to reconsider staying with this company anyway. It is important to consider that a future with that company would probably only mean continued challenges just like this.

From what I have seen over the years, companies that are willing to engage in unethical practices of this sort often have a culture of exploitive relationships and compromised standards.

I would encourage you to seek other employment because, in my opinion, this situation is only going to get worse.

The relationship you have with your employer is in some ways similar to other interpersonal relationships, including marriage. Of course, unlike marriage, the work relationship does not need to be “till death do you part.”

And, of course, it is not sacramental. However, from a functional perspective, there are similarities.

For example, the marriage is often a magnification of the courtship — for better and for worse. If the courtship was marked by genuine love and true self-giving, the marriage will be too. If the courtship was manipulative and shallow, the marriage will be even worse. A fiancé who uses you and cheats on you will tend to become a spouse who uses you and cheats on you.

Many people have the opportunity to court potential employers through temp work and internships, as well as through vendor and client relations.

If you interact with other companies, take note of the way they treat their vendors and clients. Also observe whether or not the employees seem happy with their situations. Choose the good ones and work to make the relationship prosper.


Catholic author, speaker and business consultant Dave Durand is online at DaveDurand.com.