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Dilemma: How do I bring the rumor mill to a grinding halt?

September 4, 2012 By Editor

While I was at my company’s recent annual sales meeting in Las Vegas, my CEO invited me to dinner at Bouchon at the Venetian. Everything was strictly business, but apparently someone from my company saw us, and now the tongues are wagging. Is there some way I can stop the talk? Or is it better to say nothing and hope everything blows over?

— Name Withheld, Events Manager

Take the wind out of its sails

Gossip is totally inappropriate in the workplace. And if it’s about you, it can make you uncomfortable whenever you see people talking in hushed tones. So, what should you do when the rumor mill starts grinding you down?

Our readers believe you should:

  • Forget about it.
  • Speak to the culprit.
  • Get help to quash the gossip.

Forget about it

When other people are wallowing in the mud, it may be time for you to take the high road.

A director of human resources thinks you can do this by doing nothing at all.

“If only people were so willing to communicate about critical business issues! Ignore the gossip. Continue to be a professional and the wagging tongues will be on to the next ‘story’ soon enough.”

Speak to the culprit

On the other hand, if you feel like enough is enough, you could confront the gossip head on.

Alison E. MacAvery, human resources manager for MC², explains why you may want to consider this risky action — and maybe not.

“If you know firsthand who initiated the rumor, you could confront him or her in a calm, professional manner. But that could be a bit dicey. It may be best to just let it go, move forward and keep smiling!”

Get help to quash the gossip

Rather than taking on the rumor mill singlehandedly, you may want to ask for some help.

Jenna Bodenmann, corporate marketing manager, offers a few avenues to explore.

“Rumors are going to flourish whether you address them or not. Speak to HR and your boss about it. After that, don’t worry about it.”

Elizabeth P. agrees with this approach.

“If this was strictly business, you don’t have anything to worry about. Speak to a supervisor and go to HR if the gossip gets worse. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to avoid gossip in the workplace, but there is power in numbers.”

Nicole Cerone, marketing assistant at MC², suggests you ask your “ally” to go one step further.

“If this happened to me, I’d have a tough time just letting it go. Ask your supervisor to call a meeting to discuss with members of the staff what really happened in Las Vegas. This way, you can put some of the gossip to rest without having to address the issue with your co-workers by yourself.”


  • This events manager needs to remember this rumor concerns two people. With that in mind, a visit to the CEO’s office may be another option for her to consider. He has enough “juice” to find out who started the rumor. Or he could have a meeting with everyone who attended the conference, and let them know either the gossip stops, or he’ll take some drastic actions. Would you agree?

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