Guarding the Tongue in the Office
Question: In the office where I work there is a great deal of gossip among the employees about the office manager who is feared but not very well liked. I am aware that it is forbidden to speak ill about someone else and even to listen to such talk. How can I avoid getting caught up in this kind of talk without alienating my fellow workers?
Answer: Your situation is unfortunately a very common one and it presents a real challenge. The only solution is to take the initiative of approaching each one of your fellow workers who is likely to draw you into such forbidden conversation and ask him or her to do you a favor and leave you out of such talk. You can explain your request as based on a resolution you have made to avoid talking about people.
It is likely that you will be branded as being sanctimonious but this is preferable to violating the command against lashon hara.