Q: My coworker does nothing all day. We're a small company, so I can plainly see her checking her home e-mail, trolling Web sites, ordering clothes, and then going out for a long lunch. When a project is due, she delegates work to others, who don't realize she's backed up because she's done nothing for weeks. I want to rat her out to our boss, but I should probably just shut up, right?
A: "Wrong: Too many people shut down when moral courage is required. Start respectfully, raising the issue with her privately. If she stonewalls, take another coworker with you for a second try—and tell her your next stop will be the boss's office."
— Rushworth M. Kidder, founder of the Institute for Global Ethics
"I agree; you can talk to your coworker first. But after that, it's perfectly okay to tell your boss that a coworker is underperforming. Your boss will want proof, so be prepared to back up what you say. Mere impressions won't be enough and could make you look like a complainer."
— Anita L. Allen, professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
"I'd take this opportunity to shine as the company star. Instead of getting mired in what your coworker is—or isn't—doing, focus on your own work. Make sure your boss knows how diligently you're working."
— Lisa Caputo, chairman and CEO, Citi's Women & Co.
Get more expert advice on how to win at work (with a losing team)
From the June 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!