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Get Any Accusations in Writing

If your boss refuses to provide a documented authorization for anything he or she asks you to do, then you are not obligated to do it. You cannot be charged with not following orders if those orders are not written in your job description or in another formal document.

If your boss tells you to do something that seems inappropriate, ask for that instruction in writing. One reason bad bosses get away with inappropriate behavior is because there is no trail of evidence. The spoken word can always be denied, and if it comes down to your word against your bad boss's word, your bad boss wins. But if you have documentation that clearly indicates your boss's intention, then your boss is responsible and accountable for whatever he or she asked you to do. 

If your boss insists that you do something which seems inappropriate or unusually risky for you, but refuses to write those instructions, then you write email to your boss restating what he or she told you to do. For example:

December 20, 2005


You have requested that I use my personal credit card to purchase gifts for our clients in the amount of approximately $3,000. You also instructed me to submit a voucher for reimbursement for this expense and you said you will approve it. I would like to be sure I understood you correctly before I proceed.

Employee Signature

Ask your boss in email when he or she finally agrees that you have correctly understood the instructions. Politely explain that this document will be your formal authorization just in case your boss is unavailable due to illness, accident, or any other reason, and someone else must approve your work.

In the example above, it is inappropriate for you to be required to use your personal credit to fund your employer's business expenses. If this happens, ask for a company credit card or a purchase order number for the vendor.

Remember: in corporate environment if it isn't in writing, it doesn't exist.


The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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Last modified: September, 12, 2017