Social & Interpersonal Skills

Reasons Your Coworker Gets Away With Everything (And Tips To Deal With It)

Do you work in a job where your coworker gets away with everything, yet you can’t even breathe the wrong way? Maybe your coworker comes in late, does a poor job, and breaks all the rules daily, but your bosses reprimand you for small errors.

Don’t let your blood boil too much over it because it happens frequently. Here’s some information to help you understand what might be happening and navigate it more effectively.

Favoritism: Why Your Coworker Gets Away With Everything

Favoritism is one of the top reasons your coworker gets preferential treatment, and it exists on all rungs of the corporate ladder. Ohio State University confirmed it in a report they released that revealed some startling statistics. The survey concluded that 25 percent of U.S. federal employees reported that their supervisors gave certain workers favored treatment.

More than 56 percent of executives outright admitted that they preferred certain workers to others and were likely to promote them first. Moreover, 30 percent of human resources agents confessed that favoritism exists during promotional decisions.

Not only is it common for managers to play favorites with their employees, but human resources specialists are aware of it in many cases. That information is enough to make any unfavorite employee feel hopeless.

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Other Reasons Your Coworker Gets Away With Everything

Favoritism isn’t the only reason your coworker gets away with everything. You may also find yourself being subjected to the following causes:


Nepotism is similar to favoritism, but it involves showing special treatment to family members and friends. Some organizations’ guidelines don’t prevent managers from hiring their buddies and cousins into the same workspaces where they lead. Such situations are unfair because the managers naturally favor their loved ones.

Kinships can affect scheduling decisions, pay rates, promotions, and work volume when the supervisor doesn’t exercise neutrality. Therefore, you might feel like your coworker gets away with doing nothing, and it might be 100 percent true. The managers and leaders could be ignoring the worker’s incompetence or laziness because of blood relations or friendship ties.

Back Scratching

Your coworker might do favors for the employer that you can’t see. For example, he or she might come in early or fill in when people call in sick. The employee may be an asset to the company in that regard.

That doesn’t mean it’s fair for the worker to get biased treatment if it affects the other workers. However, it’s a real possibility. They may value your teammate and want to do everything they can to keep their “go-to” person.

Read More: 5 Types Of Toxic Coworkers & How To Deal With Them


Company snitches are people who get close to management by monitoring their coworkers and telling them everything they do. These individuals are often opportunists looking to get ahead, no matter whose toes they crush.

The preferential treatment might be a reward for helping the leadership rid themselves of workers they labeled as problematic. Don’t be surprised if you see that same coworker first in line for a promotion.

Personal Relations

Romantic relationships in the workplace are not as uncommon as they should be. A company named Zety surveyed about 1,000 workers, and 58 percent knew someone who had “tangoed” with the boss.

Thus, the reason your coworker gets away with everything could be very personal. Humans naturally tend to treat their romantic partners differently from how they treat others, and you could be getting the short end of the stick in one of those situations.

Honest Work

Not all reasons for a worker’s royal treatment are negative. You could be witnessing your employer’s appreciation for a person who gives them 100 percent most of the time. You may have only seen instances of blind eyes and laziness, but the employee might have done the work of three people when you were off.


Many employers respect their long-tenured workers, and they hassle them less than newer employees. Maybe your coworker has been there since the doors opened and knows the processes better than some of the managers. In that case, your bosses may find this person irreplaceable and make extra efforts to accommodate him or her.

Medical or Mental Illness

Perhaps your coworker gets away with working lightly because of a hidden condition. Managers aren’t supposed to disclose physical ailments or mental health conditions of any people who work for them.

Thus, they might be accommodating your coworker’s ailment privately, and it might seem like he doesn’t do much work becuase of a restricted work schedule.

Poor Management Style

The problem could be that your manager has poor management techniques. Maybe that person doesn’t like confrontation. So, he or she ignores the slacking employee instead of addressing the problem and dealing with backlash. Your manager’s passiveness isn’t directed at you, but you still get caught in the crossfire.

What To Do If Your Coworker Gets Away With Everything

Now you know many of the most common reasons another worker can get away with murder. Let’s talk about some things you can do about it. These are some suggestions that could help you:

Speak To a Manager

You have the right to consult with your manager if you believe he or she treats your coworker more kindly than you. It might even be necessary if you keep getting stuck doing the other person’s work.

You can request an open-door discussion with your manager and the employee to present your concerns. Keep in mind that the meeting could go different ways. It might resolve the issue or cause tension between you and the other worker.

Another idea is to ask your manager for help if you get stuck with the other employee’s tasks. Tell him you don’t have enough time or manpower to get all the work done and ask for an assistant. Your manager will either give you someone else to help you or tell your coworker to shape up.

Read More: What Would You Like Your Manager To Do Differently? Real Feedback From Employees

Contact HR

The human resources department is the one which you can call to smooth out issues your direct managers cannot resolve. You can go to them if your supervisors give another employee special treatment and hurt the workplace morale. They may launch an investigation and act on their findings, or they might find that nowrongdoing has occurred.

Bring Your Best Self

It might be hard to ignore the way your bosses treat your coworker, but you can’t do anything about it at the end of the day. Therefore, you might consider taking the high road in this situation.

Take your best self to work and be a rockstar at your job. You might get management’s attention and enjoy some special treatment of your own.

Befriend the Coworker

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?” It’s been around for a long time, and it might help you in your situation. Consider getting to know your “cool” coworker and befriend that person.

You shouldn’t do it if the individual seems shady, but try it if your coworker seems like a respectable human being. You might form a bond and receive proxy benefits.

Maybe the managers will allow you to get away with everything once you join the preferred clique. It’s an idea if you don’t mind participating in a bit of gameplay.

However, bear in mind that you can be friendly with them but don’t cross the line. There are many reasons why works colleagues are not your friends.

Consider Your Options

If all else fails, you can consider looking for work elsewhere. However, you may end up walking into a new job where the dynamics aren’t much different from the ones as your current gig. It’s the luck of the draw with jobs these days.

You can give yourself an advantage by reading employee reviews to see if you notice any nepotism or favoritism comments. Try to get one foot in the door at the second job before leaving the first job.

That way, you can see how the dynamic is before you decide. Don’t waste your time changing jobs if you notice the same behaviors rewarded in the new location.

Many people suffer through situations like yours, and they watch their coworkers get away with all types of foolishness. The biggest problem is that some of the higher-ups don’t care about what’s going on in the lower ends of the corporation. The problem is even worse when the managers are inexperienced or the leaders lack a sense of integrity.

You can’t do much to change your coworkers’ or bosses’ behavior other than the tips mentioned above. You can improve your work performance, try to resolve the issue, and move on if you find the job intolerable.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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