The Crime of Omission

What does the word, “Omission” mean?

1. Someone or something that has been left out or excluded.

“there are glaring omissions in the report”
2. The action of excluding or leaving out someone or something.

“the omission of recent publications from his bibliography”
3. A failure to do something, especially something that one has a moral or legal obligation to do.

“to pay compensation for a wrongful act or omission”
synonyms: exclusion, leaving out

My father-in-law warns me about the dangers of staff who regularly omit relevant information from their reports.

When you find your people, it’s important to find someone who can give you the ENTIRE story — the good, the bad, and most importantly, how they are responsible for the problem — so you can take the correct action as a manager. Otherwise, they are committing a crime of omission, which is very dangerous.”

I didn’t get that when he first said it. To be honest, it’s hard to deal with an issue that you personally have not encountered yet, which is common to many old people’s advice.

An example of this is a long-term staff who recently departed my father-in-law’s employ.

Gio (the staffers name) has an outstanding loan of Php 8,000 with the Legaspi office for 3 years already.

He kept silence of this when we ask him to do turnover and clearance.

I held the release of his last paycheck to answer for it.

If he sees you, ask him why he commit the sin of omission?

Sent from my iPhone

But I learned firsthand when I dealt with my own office staff:

My office staff came to me one day admitting to me that she has forgotten to compute the number of hours of a sales staff’s payroll from a certain time period. She thought that she has included it in the payroll but neglected to see her daily time record tucked somewhere else.

She told me that the agency did not want to cover such expense since it is negligence in our part. Hence, she went to me because the staff was creating a ruckus already for having her salary delayed.

I was surprised.

Staffers usually do get upset when back pay get delayed, but her anger was unnecessary. Our staff know we always fulfill our obligations and there’s no need to be angry for a simple mistake that is easily rectified by writing a check.

After further questioning, I found out the REAL reason why the staff was upset.

She wasn’t upset because her back pay was delayed. She was angry because it was delayed TWICE.

She was not included in an earlier payroll because of a careless mistake. When she reminded our HR, our HR promised they will amend it and her backpay will be included on the next payroll.

Then the HR forgot about her backpay AGAIN.

This meant that her back pay was delayed for an entire month!

The first one was folly, but the second time was total negligence.

Fearing for her job, our HR tried to ask the agency to cover up her mistake. When the agency said no, then the HR came to me for help in writing the check.

This my friends is a crime of omission — when someone tells you the story but covers up some relevant information because they look bad.

Be careful when a person commits the crime of omission. Anyone can do it — friends, family, staff members, government officials.

It’s not what they say.


It’s the same as the cheating husband who tells you that he’s been hard at work the entire day, but neglect to inform you what he was doing for lunch.

It’s the same as the friend who tells you of an acquaintance who gossiped about you, but neglects to inform you her part in the equation. What was she doing there listening in the conversation anyway?

I can go on and on, but the most important thing is, if someone you know commits a crime of omission, be careful. Open your eyes. No matter what a person says, listen closely to what he/she does NOT say, instead of just what the person is telling you.


I am learning this and hope this benefits you too. Have you ever been on a receiving end of someone committing a crime of omission?

Have a great weekend!

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