What is the idiom/phrase you can use when someone tells you to do (the work) that he is assigned to do (in reality it is assigned to him).

For example:

XYZ company is located in Harbor port premises in Dubai city.

Mike - officer at XYZ company.

Joe - the Security Administrator XYZ company and works at the harbor port gate.

Mike (calls joe on his extension at the gate): Hello Mr. Joe. I have these 3 gentlemen flying in from London to Dubai by flight # 9W-216 tomorrow morning. They are coming to visit us. They need to enter the harbor port security gate at 10:00 am. Just check whether their gate passes are still valid. They had visited us last week so it must be still valid.

Joe answers: Ok, let me see.

Joe sends the entire spreadsheet with the list of people who have valid gate-passes to Mike by email.

Mike (after receiving the list, again calls Joe): Joe, whats this list for ?

Joe: You can check in the list for their names.

Here It is Joe's job to do the checking. But he unintelligently dumps the list to check for the men on to Mike. Mike like to respond to him by saying,

Joe you are __________ or Jor you cannot ___________.

PS: For Joe its seems a simple task that Mike can do, while Joe simply misses the fact that its a gross inconsistency on his part (thinking) to expect it from Mike which could mean in principle and considering this example in its extremities that Joe could get away without doing any job and still get paid. This usually occurs when foot-in-the-door requests go haywire.

2 Answers 2


You mentioned that it's Joe's job to do it, so strictly following your fill-in-the-blank example, I'd say:

Joe you are responsible for that/checking the passes.


Joe you cannot expect me to do this.


Joe you cannot unload this on me.

However it may be more natural to say:

"Joe, that's your job."

Or more explicitly:

"Joe, I asked you to check if the visitors' passes are valid, not send me a spreadsheet."

Joe would be shirking (not very colloquial):

v.tr. To avoid or neglect (a duty or responsibility).
v.intr. To avoid work or duty.
American Heritage Dictionary

or passing the buck (idiom)

Shift responsibility or blame elsewhere
American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms

Or just simply being lazy. If this is part of Joe's job responsibilities then this would be avoiding his duties and may be a case of workplace "misconduct."

Also, he may be being "insubordinate" if he's supposed to follow instructions from Mike, who may be his superior.


Two fast phrases that should explain adequately would be "No offense, but I am not authorized to do that." and "No offense, but that would not be my responsibility." The meaning is quite plain to see in these.

A common idiom that is often heard is:

No offense, but that is above my pay grade.

The idiom is rather flexible and can be used in many situations, but it has a similar intended meaning when it is used seriously. However, it is often said in a jocular tone to diffuse any possible angry reply.


  • is there a diplomatic way to convey the same thing without being authoritative rather a witty comeback...
    – AMN
    Oct 15, 2018 at 18:59
  • I think all of them are diplomatic - especially in companies today. Maybe I misunderstood, but for security reasons alone these small things need to be done correctly. The "above my pay grade" idiom is especially diplomatic when it is used well. People use it seriously all the time, it is certainly not just a witty comeback.
    – user22542
    Oct 15, 2018 at 19:07

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