I had been at my job for nearly 10 years when I got the call from my boss. He wanted to know why Helen, one of my coworkers, would be under the impression that I'd used company money to purchase a plane ticket for personal use. As he explained Helen's accusation, I realized where her assumption had come from—I had to fly to Oregon for work, my ticket was on Alaska Airlines, and my brother lives in Alaska. So Helen saw the ticket in my inbox, noticed the Alaska part, and jumped to the conclusion that I was on my way to see my brother using the company dime.
As my boss and I talked through this misunderstanding, I felt myself growing more and more angry with Helen. It was bad enough that she'd gone to my boss without talking to me first. But what really got me was that she made a very serious accusation of immoral—and illegal—action on my part. By the time we hung up, I was livid.
It was a good thing I was working from home and not able to stomp over to Helen's office and ...1