Please don’t collude

If there is one thing that I would add to the current discussions concerning racial equality, and injustice it is this – please don’t collude.  According to the Cambridge online dictionary, collude, means to act together secretly or illegally in order to deceive or cheat someone.

Collusion is synonymous with plotting, scheming, conniving, and corruption. Individuals who collude usually form alliances of two or more. Typically, one person ‘fronts’ the strategy, but be in no doubt; these are joint immoral enterprises. What’s more, they have little or no empathy for the impact of the diabolical strategies and, actions they visit on others.

Examples of collusion in the workplace include:

  • The formulation of false or overinflated disciplinary allegations or, performance issues
  • Forcing someone out of their role so that the position can be given to someone else
  • Deliberately giving an individual more work than they can cope with – aka setting them up to fail
  • Scapegoating an individual, and spreading false rumours
  • Subverting policies, or breaching them to achieve the desired (nefarious) outcome  
  • Failing to speak up or call out acts of collusion
  • Participating in acts that disadvantage someone else – even on the instuctions of senior colleagues
  • Agreeing with others to provide false statements

Compounding and enduring damage

Few individuals on the receiving end of collusion escape entirely unscathed. Some people recover relatively quickly with few side effects. Whereas, others suffer horrendous mental afflictions and worsening of existing health conditions. To compound matters, they may also lose their jobs, careers, and self-esteem. Recovery can be a long and arduous road – and a positive outcome is not guaranteed.

Consequences of collusion

Colluders, to put it mildly, participate in high-risk corrosive behaviours Potential consequences include public exposure, disciplinary action and, or the possibility of being named as a co-respondent in legal proceedings.

Take the high road

Avoid collusion in all its forms like the plague – no matter who asks you to participate. Take the high road and treat people with kindness, fairness, dignity, and respect, even if you have to resist peer and senior pressure. Remember you are responsible for your actions or inactions. As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”

Aim high – you won’t regret it.

© Dawn H Jones

Hello, I’m Dawn. I am an HR specialist. I hope you found this blog useful if you’d like to receive regular content, we’d love to have you – press the subscribe button.



  1. Thank you for your honest description,assessment and effects that collusion can have. I hope all who read this will see clearly what to do if they see it or are embroiled in this truly negative behaviour which negatively impacts people.

  2. Hi Dawn,
    Thank you for writing this much needed blog on a topic that is not often discussed publicly. Your words resonate profoundly with my experiences.
    I agree that it is important for us to be aware of the ways in which collusion takes place in the workplace. We must call it out for what it is – unprofessional and unacceptable behaviour.
    Have a blessed week 🙂

    1. Thanks, Nichole for taking time to leave a comment. I’m glad that the article resonated with you and served you well. A blessed forthcoming week to you also.

  3. Well done Dawn, an excellent read.

    It brought me back to an experience I had in the NHS some years ago.

    Many colleagues have also shared experiences of being ousted out of their roles on trumped up and fabricated charges. The collusive ‘practice’ is real and in some respects expected behaviour.

    In my case I did not put up with it and took legal action against line manager, HR and the trust. It was not easy but the right thing to do as the Employment Tribunal upheld all of the claims that I had brought in respect of unfair dismissal, discrimination and victimisation.

    Being exposed to collusive behaviour is traumatic as the perpetrators are attempting to take away your career and livelihood. I would encourage all staff exposed to it not to tolerate it and to those doing it to stop it.

    Thanks again Dawn

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