How to ask a superior to keep something discreet / confidential

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By Samyr Ahmad

How to ask a superior to keep something discreet / confidential

I am about to send an email to my boss (cc’ing the chief accountant & HR) so that the email has only 3 recipients. How would I say to my boss formally to keep this topic between the three of us, and that I would prefer if it wasn’t disclosed to others?

The topic is that I’ll have to take leave due sudden illness of a close family member as my last duty. I don’t see that anyone else other than the individuals in the email need to know.

4 Answers 4

three can keep Counsel if two be away ; and, if I knew my Cap was privy to my Counsel, I would cast it into the Fire, and burn it

How to ask a superior to keep something discreet / confidential

You shouldn’t need to disclose the exact circumstances around your leave to anyone (with one exception, see below). Simply say “due to an unforeseen family event, I need to take leave for SOME_PERIOD.” Your employer does not need to know the full details of this, and you should not disclose anything you aren’t comfortable disclosing.

The exception: If you’re in the US and taking leave under the provisions of FMLA (or a similar law elsewhere), you may need to disclose the relationship between you and the person who has fallen ill (to verify that it’s valid use of FMLA).

Tell only people who absolutely require this information. Provide the bare minimum via email; never assume that email is 100% confidential, and always assume that there’s a chance your email may be forwarded to someone you don’t want to see it. If you need to provide additional details do it in person, behind closed doors, and ask that it be kept confidential.

Just say something along the lines of “I consider this information confidential” or “I am presenting this www.besthookupwebsites.org/flirt4free-review information in confidence”. If you can get away with just saying “I need to take leave for personal reasons” and not giving the information in the first place, do so. Otherwise, you should look into whether there’s a single person who can approve the leave, and ask them to keep the reason confidential. In many companies, if you tell your boss “I need to take leave for personal reasons; it’s been approved by HR.” they won’t inquire any further.

If you can have a face-to-face meeting with your boss, then skip the email altogether and inform him/her in the meeting. As noted, you do not need to provide any specifics besides the bare minimum fact that you have to take X many days leave “to attend to a family matter.” If your boss asks for more information, use your judgment on whether to provide it or not. You can provide a little more but still no need to provide full details (e.g. “a health issue of a family member that I need to assist with” should do it).

Same for HR, unless there is some specific policy which applies to your leave which requires to disclose more information. You can send that as an email or ask for a meeting with an HR representative who handles leave/attendance matters. As a rule, provide the minimum necessary information to HR.

You might also want to meet with HR before you talk to your boss, if you have questions about what/how much/how you can/should disclose to your boss. HR can sometimes provide good guidance on that.

I don’t see where the chief accountant fits into the picture, but if they need to know, then you can request that your boss inform them. Good luck!

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