I'm going through a messy situation with my employer (described here to some extent). I'm still on the PIP despite telling them I will not give the written statement they wanted me to give. They seem to be trying to decide how to get rid of me and in the mean time collect any evidence they can.
One thing I've noticed is that they keep asking me which other employees I've talked to about being on a PIP or other things related to this issue. Am I required to answer this question? Can someone suggest a professional way to refrain from answering this question?
I feel like this line of questioning will only cause trouble for the other people I've spoken to, but I do not want to lie either. For the record, I haven't been telling people about everything going on. A few of the employees closer to me know some of it, and it has become obvious to others that there is something going on between me and the management because of the extensive meetings with HR and my manager's attitude. I'd appreciate if anyone could give an example of a good blanket statement to use to respond to this. That is if you think refraining from answering is a good idea. Up to this point I've been answering these questions with the names of the people and what I've told them.
( 7 months ago )
I feel like this line of questioning will only cause trouble for the other people I've spoken to, but I do not want to lie either.
I fully agree with that. Both in general, and specifically in your situation, I can see no good coming from telling your boss about what you said to coworkers. So just say:
I am sorry, that was a private conversation.
Or, if your boss asks whether you talked about it at all:
I am sorry, I cannot give you information on my private conversations.
If they insist, just repeat that.
They may not like that answer, but apparently they don't like you anyway, so it does not seem it matters what you do.
Of course, they may ask the other person, and that person may answer - be prepared for that. Beyond that, there's not much you can do.
Legally, I don't think you are required to report your conversations with coworkers. There may be certain things you are not allowed to tell them (or not), but in that case the burden of proof is on your employer. If you are unsure on that point, consider contacting a lawyer or some other legal help (such as a local trade union or similar). You could also ask on https://law.stackexchange.com/ .
To avoid the problem in the future, you could try to avoid talking to others when your boss can notice, but that may not always be practical.
On a general note, I find it highly unprofessional and impolite to insist on details about someone else's conversation. If there is a well-founded suspicion that there was something illegitimate going on (harassment, transmission of company secrets, ...) an employer can ask about that specifically, but that's about it.