Employee Complaint Investigations: What Human Resources Won't Tell You

Updated on July 27, 2018
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

Other employees may share your problem and you just don't know it. How much do you trust the Human Resources to provide complete and accurate information?
Other employees may share your problem and you just don't know it. How much do you trust the Human Resources to provide complete and accurate information?

Workplace Investigations: Observations From An HR Insider

Are you an employee who has been accused of workplaced wrongdoing? Alternatively, are you thinking about filing a complaint with your HR department or corporate compliance hotline? If so, you may not have a practical understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. This is especially if you have never been involved in an internal complaint investigation.

While all companies have different processes for managing complaints, here is a list of key observations, based on my years as a corporate HR Investigator.

Following the list, I've included specific advice about how to file a complaint against a coworker, customer, vendor, or manager.

What I Will Discuss

  • Tips and observations about employee complaint investigations based upon my experience as an investigator in corporate human resources.
  • Specific tips for how to file your own complaint against a coworker, customer, vendor, or manager.
  • What to do next if your complaint isn't successful the first time.

Highlights of the Employee Complaint Process

  • Be clear when describing the issue that prompted your complaint. Human Resources codes each case (discrimination, sexual harassment, etc), and it's important that your case gets the right code so it gets the proper attention.
  • If you don't feel you're getting good service from your HR investigator, find out more about them, in a low-profile manner, and document your communications with him/her. With sufficient reason, you may request another investigator.
  • Ask upfront for an estimate of how long the case should take to resolve and arrange for periodic updates. If you don't hear anything, check in.
  • Watch the tone and content of emails you send to investigators. They are likely keeping records of their communication with you. Be responsive to questions and don't change your story.
  • Ask clarifying questions if the company tells you to keep your matter confidential, particularly if you are a nonsupervisory employee. Who are they specifically forbidding you from discussing the matter with? (The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that companies cannot automatically request that employees refrain from discussing the matter with other employees.)
  • Keep documents, details, and witnesses to support your claim.
  • If you have a lot at risk related to your complaint, consider consulting an attorney.
  • Your relationship with the HR investigator is a business one. Treat it as such. They are not there to be your friend.

Before you file that complaint with your employer, do you know what the complaint process involves?
Before you file that complaint with your employer, do you know what the complaint process involves? | Source

How the Complaint Process Works

You're in the Database

If you are assigned a case number, your complaint was probably entered into a computer database. The company tracks case details such as name, job title, and contact information for the complainant, Person Complained About (PCA), and any named witnesses.

Additionally, the computer record captures a summary of the allegations you made. It can be pulled up years later. Who can access it now? Well, plenty of interested parties.

Your case may be shared with a number of key players who "need to know."
Your case may be shared with a number of key players who "need to know."

Who Is Informed About Your Complaint?

You trust HR to share your complaint with key personnel on only a "need-to-know" basis. But here's the kicker: because executives desperately want to know about compliance and people issues that affect their department, this "need to know" list can become quite extensive.

Too many people may be in the loop when HR is unable to effectively push back against unnecessary requests from nosy executives. Depending on the nature of your complaint and the politics in your organization, the distribution list can include a long list. This includes executives both inside your department and out, plus employees in the Law department, personnel in Audit, Finance, IT, Security, Compliance, and multiple layers of HR. That's a lot of inquiring minds crawling all up in your confidential business!

Who Else Shares Your Complaint Issue?

If only you knew how many complaints mirror your own! The truth is: you're probably not alone, although it can sure feel that way.

HR tracks, counts, and reports on complaint data, and they typically use a labeling scheme to code allegations (e.g., theft, sexual harassment). This permits data analysis on large numbers of complaints. For example, the company may look at trends in the number and types of discrimination cases for this year versus previous years.

Of course, how HR codes your case is important. Hopefully, you were very clear about what issue prompted your complaint. Why is that important?

Other employees may share your problem, but you just don't know it.
Other employees may share your problem, but you just don't know it. | Source

Why Your Complaint's Code Is Important

In the face of significant pressure from top executives, sometimes HR management re-codes "borderline" cases, so the numbers don't look quite as bad. For example, an allegation of discrimination might become a generic management conduct issue. This is such an ethically slippery slope! And it's how systemic problems are swept under the rug.

Is it Possible to Stay Anonymous?

If you make an anonymous complaint, a good HR Investigator can often logically deduce who you are. That's simply good detective work!

Your Information May Not Be Protected

HR may routinely email detailed investigation reports to one another or executives that are unencrypted and not password protected. That's your information they're handling sloppily.

HR employees may accidentally leave materials on copying machines and printers or displayed on computer screens when they leave their desks "for just a moment." The investigator might even take your case file home. File materials may contain information that is not only personally identifying but also very sensitive, putting you at risk in more than one way.

How Safe Is Your Information?

Your information may be safe with HR ... or not.  If HR works in open officespaces, there may be many opportunities for passersby to overhear   conversations about you or to see your personal data.  That hardly feels confidential now, does it?
Your information may be safe with HR ... or not. If HR works in open officespaces, there may be many opportunities for passersby to overhear conversations about you or to see your personal data. That hardly feels confidential now, does it?

Executives Are Treated Differently

You suspected this was true. Executives and other special people are often treated differently than you. Their investigations are often faster, more discreet, and more informal.

When they misbehave, their consequences are typically less severe and poorly documented. Even when serious misbehavior is substantiated, they may have a broader range of face-saving options (e.g., early retirement, a mutual resignation agreement). Sadly, instead of holding them to higher standards, HR representatives often do the opposite.

Your Case Will Be Talked About

Your case may be discussed in internal HR team meetings or special meetings with Law, Audit, Compliance, Executives, or others. However, it's not a gossip session; it's a business meeting about your case. There can be a discussion about the facts of your case, findings, and recommended action steps.

What if You Get a Bad Investigator?

There are investigators who are good at their job and others who are not. Your investigator may

  • be poorly trained or inexperienced
  • have a performance issue himself/herself or
  • suffer HR issues of his or her own.

Some companies rotate their HR employees through various HR sub-specialties (e.g., Benefits, Training), and you may have been assigned the new investigator who doesn't know EEO law or company policy very well.

If you don't seem to be getting good service, find out more about the investigator in a low-profile, respectful manner. Also, be sure to document your communications with him or her. With sufficient reason, you might also request another investigator.

What if HR Is Swamped With Complaint Investigations?

There are a number of factors that could affect how long your case takes to be investigated. Case volume tends to peak at certain times (i.e., during performance evaluation season, layoffs, reorganizations).

The investigator may have a huge caseload, may be going on vacation, or may be out sick with no back-up. Such factors will affect the amount of time needed for your case to be resolved. Your case may also be handed off to another investigator.

To avoid surprises, ask upfront for an estimate of how long the case should take to resolve, and arrange for periodic check-ins, as appropriate. If you don't hear anything, check in. Don't assume that no news is good news.

Reader Poll

How much do you trust your Human Resources department to resolve employee complaints fairly?

See results

Take Notes!

Your friendly HR person is taking notes on all your communications with him or her. Are you doing the same?
Your friendly HR person is taking notes on all your communications with him or her. Are you doing the same?

All Communication Is Documented

A good investigator is documenting every key discussion he or she has with you. This includes the conversation date, time, and what was said. It may also include voice mails that were exchanged. Copies of emails and important documents are also kept in the file. Watch the tone and content of the emails you send to investigators!

Who Can You Talk to About Your Case?

When the investigator tells you to keep the investigation matter confidential, it's going to feel like you cannot talk to anyone about this. Maybe he or she even presents you with a company document that directs you to refrain from talking to others about your case.

You may wonder whether you can discuss the matter with your spouse, clergy person, therapist, lawyer, best friend, a coworker who is experiencing the same problem, your union representative, and so forth.

Don't suffer in silence. Know your rights. There are, in fact, people you are legally permitted to discuss your case with and others you cannot.

Ask clarifying questions if the company provides you with such a document or if the investigator makes such a request. Why? In 2015, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that (nonsupervisory) "employees have a ... right to discuss discipline or ongoing disciplinary investigations involving themselves or co-workers" unless there's a substantial business justification. (How else are you going to find out that several other coworkers were also sexually harassed by the same manager?)

This employee just overheard your phone conversation with HR and is intrigued.
This employee just overheard your phone conversation with HR and is intrigued. | Source

Beware of Cubicle Eavesdropping

If you are talking to the investigator via phone, he or she may be sitting in a cubicle or talking to you while using a cell phone in a public location. After all, office space is at a premium. In these cases, others might overhear the details of your conversation, thus fueling the gossip mill. Is that what you want?

How You Communicate with the Investigator Matters

The investigator is evaluating your credibility, and it impacts the outcome of your case. For example:

  • Do you change your story?
  • Are you responsive to the questions asked, or do you wander off-topic?
  • Do you have documents, details, and witnesses to support your assumptions and claims?

Beware of Conflicts of Interest

The investigator might be friends or former colleagues with the person complained about. Check out the investigator's LinkedIn account to see if the two are connected. If you have good reason to believe there may be a relationship that compromises your investigator's neutrality, then consider requesting a new investigator.

A Complainant or Witness Might Receive HR Feedback

On occasion, it becomes apparent that the complainant has a major contributing role in the conflict. In such cases, the complainant may receive feedback (or even discipline) as the case is resolved. Alternatively, during the investigation an unrelated compliance matter could also surface. In cases I have investigated, that has often occurred.

Electronic eavesdropping, or covert monitoring, sometimes occurs during HR investigations. If you think you're being watched, you probably are.
Electronic eavesdropping, or covert monitoring, sometimes occurs during HR investigations. If you think you're being watched, you probably are.

Electronic Eavesdropping Is Possible

Depending on the nature of the case, the investigator may electronically monitor your company email as a part of his or her research. This can be done in real time, and employees typically have no idea it's happening. I know because I've done it.

What Happens if I File Multiple Complaints?

HR often has a short list of employees who repeatedly file complaints—sometimes against the same employee and at other times against lots of different coworkers.

Maybe these folks aren't getting what they need. Maybe they are highly sensitive. Maybe they are abusing the system. Snarky HR investigators may refer to them as "frequent flyers," but each allegation has to be investigated on its own merits.

There's another group of red flag employees who have a history of prior complaints against them, yet they somehow manage to stay employed. Eventually their luck will run out. HR knows that where there is smoke, there is often fire, so do not let this dissuade you from filing a complaint.

HR Is Betting You Won't Contact an Attorney

HR investigates many complaints and trusts that most employees will not go to the trouble or expense of contacting an attorney about their workplace concern. The more you have at risk, however, the more you should consider consulting one. Lawyers do tend to achieve more attention and better results.

What if Nothing Was Done After the Investigation?

If the allegations were substantiated (i.e., found to have merit), you may be told simply that the matter was "handled appropriately." It could appear to you that nothing was done if the PCA wasn't discharged or transferred to a new department.

In fact, there are probably outcomes that you are specifically not told about because of concerns about the other party's privacy. For example: a disciplinary write-up, a reduced performance rating, remedial training, early retirement, a pay cut, demotion, a big promotion denied, or a bonus that was withheld. You may never know exactly what was done to the offender. They have their privacy needs, too.

A Confidential Case Report May Describe Case Details

At the conclusion of your case, the investigator may write a report about your case. A typical report contains background information on the key parties in the complaint, allegations made, steps taken during the investigation, the investigator's evaluative findings, and any actions taken.

In the report, the HR Investigator also frequently documents credibility assessments for key parties in the complaint. You will not typically be granted access to this report, although some states consider investigation records to be part of the employee personnel file and therefore do allow access.

When a case is substantiated, the investigator must debrief management and even defend findings. Appreciate your investigator when you know they're doing a conscientious job.
When a case is substantiated, the investigator must debrief management and even defend findings. Appreciate your investigator when you know they're doing a conscientious job.

Substantiating a Case Takes More Effort

Let's face it: it's much easier for the HR Investigator if a case has no merit. When a case is substantiated, the investigator must debrief management and agree on discipline and/or remedial action. Then, discipline must be administered and documented. The investigator may even have to present the case to his or her own management and vigorously defend findings and recommended actions, plus seek consult from the Law Department.

This extra work is simply a part of the HR Investigator's job. Appreciate them when you know they've been a conscientious investigator.

HR Is Not There to Be Your Friend

The HR Investigator may come across as neutral, polite, and professional, and you may trust him or her. You may even perceive that you have HR in your corner. However, if you decide to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or take other formal action, that same HR Investigator will be helping to respond to your complaint.

In this case, that nice HR person will be helping to defend the company against your claim. Your relationship with the HR Investigator is a business one, so treat it as such.

Before you file the complaint, make a list of the offensive behaviors and how they are having an impact on your work and the business.
Before you file the complaint, make a list of the offensive behaviors and how they are having an impact on your work and the business.

What to Do Before Filing an Employee Complaint

Against a Coworker, Customer, or Vendor
Against a Manager
1. Name (or list) the offensive behavior(s).
1. Name (or list) the offending behavior(s).
2. Describe how the behaviors impact your work and the business.
2. Review your employer’s policy manual or intranet for the complaint process and specific policies you believe your manager has violated.
3. Describe your attempts to manage the issue yourself.
3. Collect relevant supporting documents and details, including a chronological listing of dates/times/witnesses of the offensive conduct, emails, phone or text messages, etc.
4. Assemble any supporting documents and names of witnesses, in case they are needed.
4. Describe your attempts to manage the issue yourself and the results.

Where and How to Complain

Against a Coworker, Customer, or Vendor
Against a Manager
1. Approach your manager when s/he is relaxed and open.
1. Depending on your company’s specific complaint procedure, you may need to file a grievance with your union, a written complaint with Human Resources, have a verbal discussion with the next layer of management, etc.
2. Clearly and concisely describe the offensive behavior, the impact on your job and the business, and the solution that you seek.
2. Clearly and concisely describe the offensive behavior, the impact on your job and the business, and the solution that you seek.
3. Ask for your manager’s help or advice in solving the problem.
3. Ask about next steps in the complaint process. When the complaint is resolved, agree how and when to check back in with your manager about the outcome effectiveness.
4. Agree how and when to check back in with your manager about the outcome effectiveness.
4. Document your conversation immediately afterwards. What was said? What was agreed to? Who was in the room?
If your complaint against a coworker wasn't successful the first time, ask for your manager's direction and explore what other steps may be necessary.
If your complaint against a coworker wasn't successful the first time, ask for your manager's direction and explore what other steps may be necessary.

What to Do if Your Complaint Isn't Successful

Against a Coworker, Customer, or Vendor
Against a Manager
1. Check back in with your manager according to the agreed-upon time frame.
1. Review your employer’s policy manual or intranet for the complaint process, paying specific attention to retaliation if you have suffered tangible outcomes for complaining or the offensive behavior has increased in frequency, severity, etc.
2. Briefly recap your complaint and the advice your manager issued.
2. Write a one-page summary of your complaint, unsuccessful attempts at solving the issue, and reiterate the impacts upon your job and the business.
3. Describe the actions taken and the results (i.e., how your work and the business are still being impacted, the offending behaviors have increased in frequency, severity, etc.).
3. Name the policy you believe was violated and the solution that you seek.
4. Ask for your manager’s direction and explore what other steps may be necessary (e.g., involving HR or a higher level of management).
4. Establish an electronic trail by sending this summary via email to the person you originally complained to, and copy Human Resources requesting help.
 
5. Continue to document key conversations and collect relevant documents. You may eventually need to go higher in the organization or complain to a government agency.

Parting Comments

HR Investigation processes differ from company to company. Should you ever need to file an internal employee complaint, this insider's list of observations can help you ask questions, set shared expectations, and understand the potential pitfalls. Good luck in your dealings with HR and others. Above all, remember that in the grand scheme of life, this is a job. Practice good self-care emotionally and physically. You'll get through this.

Questions & Answers

  • I have gone to HR more than once about my boss berating me through emails and accusing me of something that was not true. I am not the only employee who has complained to HR over this manager. Since this has happened more than once and other people have also complained, HR seems to be doing nothing. Who should I contact about this issue?

    If you know the names of the other employees who have complained, you may want to first check with them to see what happened, if anything, in their cases. Talking with them may generate additional names you were not aware of.

    Sometimes HR does address issues privately with the person complained about (PCA), while the complainant never knows exactly what happened. This is because the PCA was counseled, coached, had a note to their file, received remedial training, etc. but still remains in his/her job. However, you specify that after complaints by multiple employees the manager's behavior hasn't changed.

    Upon contacting other employees, it would be most helpful to you in carrying the issue forward if you could make a list regarding the following:

    1) who complained and their demographics, if you suspect demographics is an issue (e.g., gender, race)

    2) what they complained about

    3) approximately when they complained

    4) which HR employee handled the case, and

    5) what the result of the complaint was.

    You may not know all of this information, but try to fill in what you can. (Some coworkers may not want to be involved.) Next, look for trends. For example, if complainants have been all females or if all employees were complaining of being yelled at and accused of doing something they didn't do, then note the trend.

    Print out a copy of the email in which the manager falsely accused you of something. Print out copies of any other relevant documents and outline your overarching complaint (covering the group of employees). The more organized and logical you are in your presentation of your complaint, the more convincing a case you'll be able to convey.

    Next, make an appointment with the Director of HR and present the information. If you've already talked with him or her (or they are part of the problem), then go up the organizational ladder. If you don't like that option, you may also complain to your boss' boss and go up the chain there, presenting the information you compiled.

    It is most helpful if a group of several employees meet to complain about the lack of action. In the meeting, make sure you know what solution you're looking for. Do you want your boss retrained, demoted, fired?

    If it were me, I'd team up with prior complainants and lodge a group complaint against HR for failing to adequately respond to a trend of managerial misconduct. There is power in numbers. Good luck.

  • Is HR allowed to divulge the name of the complainant to the person the complaint is against?

    While experienced HR representatives typically try not to divulge the complainant to the person complained against (PCA) during a workplace investigation, it often becomes apparent from the line of questioning. (That doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't report wrongdoing!)

    What people don't realize is that sometimes the identity of the actual complainant is surprising. For example, if sexually harassing comments were allegedly made by Person A to Person B in front of three witnesses, the complainant could be the person receiving the allegedly harassing comments, any of the witnesses, or anyone who was told about the incident. What a complaint is, is a suspected violation of company policy and/or the law.

    Remember that you shouldn't be retaliated against for making a complaint in good faith. Therefore, technically, it shouldn't matter if the PCA knows the identity of the complainant. If you are at all concerned about how your company approaches this, ask general process questions before saying that you have a complaint.

  • Can HR refuse to provide me with the action on a complaint I made?

    It's important for HR to respect the personal privacy of ALL parties in an investigation and maintain confidentiality regarding disciplinary matters or personnel actions to the extent that it is practical and appropriate. Thus, you may never know the outcome of an investigation beyond that "the matter was appropriately handled."

    Some personnel actions may be obvious to you. For example, the person complained about (PCA) is discharged from their job, demoted, or transferred to a different department. Other serious personnel actions may not be obvious to you. You'd have no idea they took place. These might include a cut in pay, loss of a bonus or other form of compensation, formal write up to the PCA's personnel file, a coaching or counseling session with upper management or HR, or remedial training.

    This doesn't mean you shouldn't be alert or concerned. If the offending behavior repeats itself, certainly report it again because the action wasn't sufficient.

  • I was suspended with pay after my HR director made a complaint of intimidation against me. That was over three years ago, and I have not been interviewed by the company yet. The HR Director is no longer working for the company. Can the investigation continue without them? If the complaint was found to be malicious, then how can the company follow up since the complainant is gone?

    Are you saying that three years ago you were suspended with pay pending results of a company investigation, and you were never called back to work? (That would be truly outrageous.) Or, instead, have you returned to work and the investigation was just never completed, to your knowledge? (Consider returning to work as a signal that someone dropped the ball in communicating back to you that the investigation was over.)

    Either way, it's a troublesome situation because employees like you are entitled to a neutral and timely investigation, and they should know when the investigation has concluded. Three years is not timely in anyone's book. I suspect the Company just didn't communicate results back to you, but you need to know the outcome of the complaint ASAP and be brought back to work if you're still on paid leave. Start the process of asking questions with your management. Tell him/her that you are confused about where the complaint against you currently stands and you would like an update on its status. (Ideally, you'll want to hear that the investigation was CLOSED on xx date and the matter was UNSUBSTANTIATED.)

    To answer your general question about whether an investigation can be conducted when a complainant like the HR Director is no longer employed: Yes. The company has to do the best it can in investigating the case with the information and resources it has available. The case wouldn't necessarily be dropped. The rationale is that the person complained against is still employed and is alleged to have committed wrongdoing; if guilty, they could continue to commit wrongdoing.

    I suspect there some key facts you're not aware of that would make this whole situation much clearer (e.g., performance or stress-related issues with the HR Director). Whatever the case, I wish you the best on resolving the issue and working happily and productively in the years to come.

© 2013 FlourishAnyway

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 days ago from USA

      Jane/Tia - There's so much content there. Why do you continue to work there? Isn't there somewhere else you can be successful and not have to put up with this garbage? This is the time to find another good paying job before we see another economic downturn. I don't know what the opportunities are in your area, and I wouldn't quit without another job, of course. You do what's right for you, but remember that this is not the only place to work.

      If for some reason you think you need to stay in this extremely difficult environment with this terrible boss who is friends with HR and coworkers that you say do drugs, then I recommend distilling your complaint down to several policy-violation allegations. Number them 1,2,3 and make them crystal clear. Then write them down. For example, "I witnessed an apparent drug deal on company property in September in violation of the company Drug & Alcohol Policy. When I reported the matter to HR, it was not fully investigated, and I was later retaliated against." The big thing here is WHY you think your boss is treating you differently from other employees? Is it that he doesn't like you (a personality issue, for example)? Unfortunately, that is ok. Or instead, is it because of a reason that is protected by law and/or company policy (e.g., a protected factor such as sex, national origin, race, religion, disability, age, veteran, making a complaint, etc.)? Since your local HR person is buddies with your boss, one of your persons complained against, contact your corporate ethics line or district HR representative to complain.

    • profile image

      Jane 

      9 days ago

      Since about April of last year, my boss has continued to harass me at work. It started when he called a meeting and made every person in the room tell him that we knew our jobs better than him. A few days later I was talking with a co-worker about what had happened. My bosses girlfriend (who is his bosses secretary) overheard this conversation and told him about it. He immediately revoked my early shift and was offish to me. (I was working an early shift because the noise levels in the office are very loud and it makes it very hard to get work done, stressful environment). Two other people on the team had/has special shifts as well. His excuse why he pulled the shift was that there was not a business need. Yet, a guy had a late shift, and there was not a business need for that. My boss Kayode is friends with a guy in the warehouse who I am pretty sure sells marijuana. I saw another employee give money to the warehouse guy; Corey in a covert way. Corey has a “gangster” type persona. Although I did not see any direct exchange between my boss Kayode and Corey but had a feeling they had dealings with each other I made a report to HR telling them what I thought, nothing happened (if they drug tested half the employees would be gone). In February, every employee does a survey and ranks how their manager is doing, I rated him based on how I felt he was as a manager (not very good) this survey is supposed to be anonymous, and he figured out it was me who rated him poorly and again continued to be offish to me. The employee handbook states that he cannot retaliate against me or probe employees on why they rated them a certain way. We had at least 5 meeting where he continued to force me to explain my reasons for the ratings. At one point I was so frustrated because he kept harassing me and raising his voice, I asked to be excused and went to the bathroom. Because of all that I was written up on ‘misconduct’. He constantly takes my co-workers aside and interrogates them if I am talking about him, which is building a hostile environment because people are very uptight and stressed out all the time. He is always gone takes extra-long lunches (2 hours) and then tells us it is not our business where he is and he doesn’t have to explain himself to us. His girlfriend is always eavesdropping and telling him things that “we are saying” which half the time it is not true. He has a friendship with HR and plays softball with her husband and his girlfriend is always talking Spanish with HR especially when other are around – ethic problem? When the hurricane was here and we had to evacuate, he and his girlfriend left work a day before anyone else on the team and they were gone for about a week, he abandoned his team during crisis. During my employee review, he scored me low because of ‘attendance’, ‘conduct’, and not completing work. My attendance was pretty good, other than the early shift sometimes I would come in late, because I always got the work done and didn’t think it mattered. Also, because of the hostile environment, stress, and anxiety it was hard to face him every day. Not completing work was a lie, I did complete the work but he was saying that I missed parts, which I did not and co-workers will vouch for that. Plus, if he said he does not have to learn our jobs, how can he honestly know what I completed and what I did not? A co-worker is deaf in his ear and he made some complaints about the noise levels. My boss said to him “you need to check into yourself to figure out what is wrong with you, that you have a problem with the noise”. The most recent event took place on 10/13/2017, a week before the entire company received an email about an offsite meeting, most of the team was interested and wanted to go, our boss only let one person go (his favorite). When asked why no one else could go – because we all received an invite he got very angry and went on a tirade about how he does not have to explain himself to us for about 30 minutes. Then he went off about when he is away from his desk it is no one’s business (no one even brought that up) for about another 20 minutes. The next day, he took each one of my co-workers (not me and my ‘friend’ but everyone else) outside to interrogate them. Another co-worker (who was interrogated) walked up to me and asked me if I will go outside and talk with him. I said ‘okay, but I haven’t done anything wrong’, he said ‘I know let’s just go outside and talk’. He told me that our boss wants him to write an email explaining what issues Will and I have with our boss. I said that I do not have any issues other than he is lazy, late, etc but you agree and already know that. He said I know but he is pressuring me to send this email and I have to send it to HR and Operations manager. I said “ I never said anything at the meeting, it was Will that asked the questions, so I do not understand why we are here’. He said “Tia we both know he wants you gone and he is really pushing for this email’. As he said that our boss walks up very angry and said ‘you both are on the clock get back inside now’. Alex said “You told me to find out what issues Tia and Will had so I could write that email”. He got even more mad and said “I did not give you permission to bring Tia out here to tell her everything.” I then said, “he is not telling me anything, he was asking what issues I have.” He was red-faced and told us to get back to the office right now. As we were approaching the front door he told Alex to stay back – I went inside back to work. About 35-45 minutes later Alex comes back in by himself and his face was red (mad or crying) and ignored everyone who talked to him including me (which is very unlike him). I sent him a text asking if everything was okay and he ignored me again. About 20 minutes before lunch I was called into the HR office with my boss, and was interrogated about why I am saying things about him (which I did not say anything). HR and him continued to gang up on me accusing me of saying bad things. Finally the interrogation stopped and I went to lunch. I later found out the reason Alex was so upset was our boss told him to stop talking to me because I will accuse Alex of sexual harassment. He was coercing/blackmailing Alex into writing that email. A couple of days later, our boss was forcing everyone to send him our work (when he never did that before) but he started to do so when complete. The project I was working on was not complete so I did not send it to him. That morning he came up to my desk and leaning close to me told me in a very intimidating way to send him my work. I asked him nicely to please stop harassing and trying to intimidate me and I will send him the work. He got mad and started pacing back and forth and went into his bosses office. When I got back from lunch I was put on a paid suspension (at the time I didn’t know for how long but 3 weeks and 1 week was a pre-planned vacation). During that time no one attempted to contact me until the day before they wanted me to return 11/16/2017, they did remove my previous write-ups. In my absence, they hired Kayode’s girlfriend’s sister (who lives with them) that is cronyism. Since I have been back he is continually being passive aggressive scheduled my breaks (when we never had scheduled breaks before and are the only department that does now) so that I am not with my team and has me doing entry-level work as a form of punishment despite the team being behind. Twice he has followed me outside when I take my break and constantly looks at his watch trying to intimidate me.

      There are other instances of him being aggressive to other employees to which he has violated the employee handbook on numerous occasions and yet he is still allowed to work there. It was brought to light that while he lived in Connecticut he was arrested for throwing a bottle at a car and pulling a gun in a road rage incident, the guy Kayode Modeste has a serious anger problem.

      I have notes and recordings of some of these instances, I would like to know if there is a case against him or my employer FedEx.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      Emily - There has to be a lot more to the story because it just sounds really spotty. Take a look at the attendance, grievance, and discipline policies and see if they are following them. Find out what you're really being suspended for if not for attendance. Can you prove compliance with the attendance policy with timecards or other evidence?

    • profile image

      Emily 

      3 weeks ago

      So, I was suspended for attendance(I don't have an attendance issue) I was never served the suspension paperwork(never given a write up) I was pulled in one day and told I would be suspended in the future for 3 days, with no pay. I have now grieved the issue and HR for the negligence. My company is not union, should my HR manager be addressing the grievance even though it is against her actions? (there is a lot more to the issue, but this is the jest of it)

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 weeks ago from USA

      Lola - It's suspicious that the investigation didn't include an interview with you, the person complained about (PCA). File for unemployment with the state, as you should learn more about exactly why you were fired and their decision during unemployment proceedings. You might also consider contacting an attorney to review your case, filing an appeal of your termination with your former employer, and filing an EEOC claim although I'll caution you that it could take years to resolve that.

    • profile image

      Lola 

      6 weeks ago

      I got administrative leave with pay for accussations of discrimination and code of conduct, HR did an internal investigation with SOME coworkers almost 3 weeks later they fired me after 13 years.. and didnt get a chance to defend myself or even talk. Asked for the 40 page investigation result that hr told me they got have not receive it!! Can i just get fired just like that!!!!!!!??????

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 weeks ago from USA

      Margarita - Your situation is sad, but this is not an HR issue. HR involves workplace investigations. You are talking about Child Protective Services with your state government. I wish the child well.

    • profile image

      Margarita 

      7 weeks ago

      Why if a person have a felony for

      Domestic violence 3

      child endangerment

      Wrecles endangerment have a machete and they come and get the baby at her grandma's house and place the baby with some stranger person and when you figure the baby back to the mother after the felony the committee hello what can of Dhr worker is that my opinion is what can the law enforcement is this are y'all serious They need to do something about this human resources in guntersville Alabama play dirty puting the child and danger I'm so sad and upset y'all need investigation this folks

      Thanks

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Rhonda - Will your boss let you see the signed statements since they seem to be so important? If not, will she share with you what the signed statements are about? Is there an inappropriate relationship of any kind motivating the favoritism or a policy violation you need to alert the company to?

      If you are unable to resolve an ongoing conflict with your manager, you can go to his or her manager or to HR and ask for help with solving the problem. Or, you can go to HR to file an employee complaint.

      You need to decide whether you want to approach the issue from a complaint perspective or productive, problem-solving perspective. A lot of that depends on the specifics of what's going on. If you're deciding on the complaint route, know the solution you're seeking, the rule or policy that you're alleging was violated and by whom, and have your facts lined up, including an alleged motive for mistreating you.

      If you're going a problem-solving route, ask for assistance in creating a better work environment and lay out the communication, relationship, and leadership issues that currently exist and any unsuccessful attempts to solve them.

    • profile image

      Rhonda 

      3 months ago

      Hi I have had problems with a co worker for several months, being rude, disrespectful, and telling me how to do my job, also telling my boss when I make mistakes. My boss also has favoritism issues with this person as well as one other coworker in my department. I have talked to my boss several times about this situation and the same things continue. I have not gone to HR as I am trying to not make a big deal about this. But unfortunately gossip has gotten around about me and the coworker and my boss is unhappy with me and has talked to everyone in my department and has stated she has signed statements of some sort. I am contiplating seeking HR help at this point. What do u recommend?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Rodney - It shouldn't because that would be retaliation.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Neutered Manager - Unfortunately, you are the recipient of guilt by perception -- the perception that enough unsubstantiated complaints should equate to an assumption that you have a management or interpersonal style prompting others to respond to you in this way. This obviously is frustrating. The company seems to be placing responsibility on you in a "where there's smoke, there's fire" manner. It would be helpful if HR could indicate what behaviors of yours are allegedly troublesome so that you could change them. Try having an open conversation with HR for your personal and professional development as well as your peace of mind. Be respectful but express your disappointment and fears about your future career path with the company. They SHOULD be able to tell you what behaviors you need to work on. Be open to any feedback and don't go in angry although I'm sure you feel that way.

      You could also look at the situation another way: 1) you no longer have to manage people who are malignantly deceptive, 2) the company cared enough about you that they're taking you out of this stressful situation, 3) if it's genuinely not a problem with you, then the new manager should face similar accusations. I hope this is helpful.

    • profile image

      Nuetered Manager 

      4 months ago

      I have worked for my employer for over 28 years 19 of those in management. Recently an occupational employee and I got into a verbal disagreement regarding the scheduling of another occupational employee. the person I was speaking with threw themselves to the floor and said "Did you see that he pushed me down" loud enough for another manager to hear, now I never touched this person and never made any moves that could even be interpreted as initiating physical contact. When all was said and done they changed their verision of their story from what they said at the time it happened to "he caused me to fall down" HR investigated and found no merit to his complaint, however I was told by HR and my Director that because there have bee multiple complaints of no merit filed against me that I should consider how I interact with others. This concerns me on multiple levels

      1. They are unable to provide any specifics about what I should do differently, making it quite difficult to change.

      2. They are using previous complaints against me, despite the fact that their own investigations found that I had not done anything wrong.

      3. My career is now in jeopardy and I am being forced to take a new position with no direct reports, so as to avoid potential future complaints.

      This does not seem right to me. Am I crazy, or is it inappropriate for complaints without merit to count against me.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Mary - What you can do is complain of retaliation to corporate, noting that you've already talked to plant HR and nothing has been done. Be specific and have all your facts lined up before placing the call. You shouldn't have to put up with this.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Robert - Your questions and concerns are indeed justified. There is most certainly risk here. I have faced this situation as an investigator from multiple angles (e.g., where the contract employee is complained about or is the one complaining).

      Even though your employee is working on-site at the client's business, s/he is still technically YOUR company's employee. Thus, your staffing company must think about the multiple impacts if you were placing employees in harm's way by assigning them to an abusive, harassing manager.

      You must also be concerned about retaliation. The fact that the complaining employee "no longer works there due to other reasons" is a potential red flag, especially when you don't know the full story behind the investigation.

      Your staffing company could be sued--as other staffing companies have been successfully sued--for failing to protect employees from sexual harassment at a client's worksite, continuing to assign them there, and permitting retaliation. You don't know what you don't know in this case, and that's the problem.

      Your company may be barred by the client from talking with your client's employees, but you can take a statement from your employee and investigate the matter the best you can by talking with relevant witnesses (staffing company employees), for example.

      It's important to work out your protocol on how to handle this so that you can communicate it with the company. I recommend discussing the broader issue with an attorney and also taking a look at the standard contract between your firm and your client organizations. Also be sure that your employees have received anti-harassment training.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      Finn Liam Cooper - Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your perspective.

    • profile image

      Mary 

      4 months ago

      I made a complaint to HR over how my boss treats me and other employees. I am the only female on the production floor and before my complaint, I was in training to become production manager. Since my complaint, a member of corporate came down and gave me a different job title and a huge raise. But, the person I complained on has went out of his way to make my job harder. I get berated in front of the other employees, talked to like I’m stupid, and told I’m not manager material because of my outside relationship with the guys. (Which there is none). I’ve talked to HR numerous times and nothing seems to be getting done. The other guys see it and don’t like it at all because they feel like I’m being pushed to quit. What can I do now?

    • profile image

      Robert 

      4 months ago

      Jimmy- We have a staffing firm in which our team members work at multiple client properties and are managed by our clients management team. One of our team members has an allegation and possible harassment claim against one of my clients management team. We brought the concern and claim up to the managers hierarchy, and after a week of investigation by their HR department they told us that the investigation was completed and the handled accordingly however, will not provide us results. Our team member no longer works there due to other reasons, but showed our client provide us the results to the investigation of their management team?

    • wpcooper profile image

      Finn Liam Cooper 

      4 months ago from Los Angeles

      A lot of stuff here and you have a really well organized and informative guide that covers the casual that people may not think about (HR may come across and neutral or your friend ) to the more serious (that HR will ultimately defend the company). When you work somewhere you are either an asset or a liability. You have to be cautious to avoid the latter category.

      Contacting a lawyer can sometimes be risky because if you go local, you may run into a company that actually works with the organization with which you are employed. So be cautious.

      Going through a process where you file a complaint (and want to retract it) can be tedious and then of course, there is always retaliation.

      Ultimately the HR person, (there are various official titles for this position) is not your friend.

      Sometimes though, being inspired to move on could be the best thing that could happen to you too.

      Good article.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      nelida - HR files are indeed company records and just because you file a complaint doesn't mean you'll necessarily know what action was taken. True.

    • profile image

      nelida 

      5 months ago

      I recently turn in a report to HR. They are refusing to provide me with the action on that file. Is this true

      Personnel & human resource files are company property & confidential.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      Lilian - The supervisor shared information about potential retaliatory behavior that they probably weren't supposed to! You can go ahead and apply but chances are slim you'll be hired. When you're notified of your rejection, ask why. Don't be afraid to file a complaint against the company with the EEOC or your state's human rights board (whichever is the process in your state). Or, just accept you'll never work there again and move on, using the supervisor as a positive reference to get another job. Do you really want to work in a place with HR like that and a manager who harassed you?

    • profile image

      lilian 

      5 months ago

      Hi, i have a question.. i am applying again to the company that i used to work a year ago.. before filing my resignation i complain file a complain to hr for a manager that harass me. that case settled and i didnt sue anyone. after two months i quit because of my own health issue and personal problem. the Hr says i can call just in case i want to come back.. and now i am applying again, the supervisor says the HR doesnt want to hire me because of that harassment issue. now i want to know if this is just right and no discrimination?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Chris - The "reasonable person" language comes from legal court cases. Your HR folks took it straight from the law. Chances are if the comments you allegedly made are that innocuous, most reasonable people would think so as well. That's my take.

    • profile image

      Chris 

      6 months ago

      My hr department has a policy regarding harassment, inappropriate comments etc and the verbiage describes comments than any "Reasonable Person" would be offended by. I have been accused of inappropriate comments that frankly are very innocuous. How does one determine what a reasonable person finds offensive?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Anon - Your company may have a policy that this is what is standard protocol, and if you don't comply with that policy you may be perceived as refusing to participate in an investigation or interfering with the company's ability to fully investigate the complaint. Check your company policies. My experience is that more people were fired for violating the terms of the employee investigations policy (by violating confidentiality of the interview, for example) than many other corporate policies. Of course, you also can use the opportunity to restate your case.

    • profile image

      Anon 

      6 months ago

      If I am involved in an hr complaint (acused) and have been interviewed by an hr representative, am I legally required to write a statement post review?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      Lianne - You say that you have an employment contract. Are you covered by a union? Is this an individual contract? Read your contract thoroughly and look at how disputes are handled in the contract. For example, are both parties bound to a grievance system that includes arbitration as the final resolution? Your answers lie there.

    • profile image

      Lianne 

      6 months ago

      My husband and I use to work with the same company on the same job site and throughout his employment at that site he was being targeted. Meaning upper management was trying to get him to quit or they kept trying to find a way to get rid of him. ( they randomly drug tested him five times in six months but in the last 4-1/2 years previous they ransomed him once. Well he decided to quit and a couple of days later he was talking to his previous supervisor who happens to be his brother and let it out that he was gonna get a lawyer and sue for the way he was treated. A few days after that a project manager approached me and asked what was I going to do about work since my husband didn’t work there anymore and I told him I was going to stay through the turnaround and that I didn’t think that my job was dependent on my husband working there. Later that day I get a phone call from the drug testing lab saying that my urine sample was unviable and that i had to go retest. So I asked the question. When I took random drug test a few days ago and instead of a random they did a wall to wall and watch my urine come out of my hoo-ha into there test cup. When the rep from the lab checked the temp and performed a drug test there on site everything was good, I passed and got the clearance from our company safety rep to go back to work, so that a couple of days later now all of a sudden it was unviable. I got shoved into a van and drove down to the lab where I told the manager that when he stopped me in the parking lot I had just come from the bathroom and that I don’t think I can provide an adequate amount of urine. So I tried three times and all three was a insifficient amount and then time was up and I was given a fail. When we got back to the job site and I went to clean out my office, the project manager stopped me and accused me of being on dope and offered me help. I said help for what, a drug problem I don’t have. I told all of this to my safety manager before I left and he said he would take care of it over the weekend because he was there when I passed the test and the lab rep confirmed it. Well I went home and waited a week for someone to call and no one did. While I was at home I was going over all my drug testing paperwork and my employee contract and the lab rep and company safety man told me to fill out my own drug testing paperwork which is illegal and they got me to fill it out for everybody that day ( 45-50 ) employees. And the employee contract states that he I was suspected of doing drugs that they would come and tell me that they suspect and then I would have to go and see a counselor and then they would determine if a urine sample was warranted. But it didn’t harm like that. And the legal definition of random is not the whole company working at that job site and then given a wall to wall drug test without having certified medical personnel there looking at your privates while taking the test. My question is : what premise would you sue for about the safety manager failure to open an investigation on the claim that I had made about being targeted.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 months ago from USA

      Derrick H - Since it's a very large company, you probably you have a compliance line. One or more of you should anonymously call that and give specific details about the coworker who is slamming things around the office and behaving erratically and unprofessionally. Reference fear of retaliation and workplace violence and do NOT give your name, since this person is a relative of your manager. If he has made specific threats, be sure to mention those. Be sure to describe all of his behaviors rather than just your fear of him. Describe why you think he may become violent (e.g., Does he verbally blame someone specifically? Does he talk of weapons? Does he drink on the job? Does he yell at others in the office? Has he talked of self-harm or harm to others? Does he no longer care as much about his appearance? Has his job performance deteriorated? etc.)

      If you don't have a compliance line, then write an anonymous letter with all the details and send it to the HR Director with a copy to your VP.

    • profile image

      Derrick H 

      7 months ago

      Hi, one of my co workers announced a promotion recently. I and a few other team mates applied, but did not receive an interview. One specific co worker is really upset and has been slamming things around the office, ripping down decorations from the walls, and giving everyone the silent treatment. Despite being a very large company, he is a close relative of our manager, so we cannot go to them. Many on the team have talked about filling a complaint with hr, but are afraid of retaliation. After nearly 2 weeks of this, we are worried he may become violent. Should we file a complaint with HR? Again, there is a fear of violence, but also of retaliation from management.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 months ago from USA

      Tracy - Specific personnel issues need to be directed to your Human Resources office and management. For starters, you might ask what the plan is for your career advancement is and what you need to do to be promoted. All the best to you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 months ago from USA

      Confused222 - You're obviously torn up about this. I'm sorry you've had to deal with this type of behavior at work.

      When records don't exist, it simply comes down to the credibility of the accounts provided by the people involved. Rather than try to overthink it, just make the allegation and provide the most convincing account you can (e.g., witnesses, notes, details regarding dates and behavior, etc.). It's not a court of law, meaning there's no beyond a reasonable doubt type of standard. A weak investigator who is terrible at his/her job may claim it's a "he said/she said" situation, but a professional investigator will make a logical judgment call based on the facts presented. (People Complained About [PCAs] actually admitted wrongdoing fairly frequently to me as an investigator.) Even if it's unsubstantiated, there's the benefit that a complaint is on record against him. It may be part of a broader pattern, or your complaint may be the first in establishing one. If he does it again (or if he goes to retaliate against you) there's a formal record on file. And remember: to not complain is to condone. Since this continues to bother you, a complaint can help you get it off your chest and hopefully improve the workplace for not only you but others.

    • profile image

      TRACY Edmonds 

      8 months ago

      I have been working at store 298 Smokey park highway for almost 5 years I have worked my butt off I have been manager in training on paper now ever since 2017 this is my third time being up for manager well they moved me on nights where I will soon be shift manager over the night crew they haven't yet started training me they have their farovites at the store well that's who they're focusing on to move up Matt Clontz recently moved Destiny Ann Price up to manager she walked out more times than I can count and we were very busy came in the next day still had her job she fights with everyone on the store Matt tells the other party that she's got alot going on in her personal life but anyway I am getting tired of being jerked around by MrClpntz I texted him earlier to see why I haven't been trained yet all I want is a change to prove that I can and will be a very good manager but nobody will give me a chance cause they're a lot of favouritism going on in the store I feel like he's holding that position over my head cause he doesn't want me to leave I love my job and I'm very good at it I was supposed to be manager way before 2 of the managers even thought about the position and it's just not right I am getting over looked and be little and discrimination on in more ways then one when it comes to me becoming manager and that's not right I have alot to offer to the company and like I stated above all that I ha e ever wanted was a chance and an equal opportunity I thought that's what Burger was all about equal opportunity everyone gets theirs when do I get mine

    • profile image

      Confused222 

      8 months ago

      What do investigators do when you don’t really have any records or proof of what happened? I didn’t say anything for months, and only spoke out when another coworker reached out to me because he’d done similar things to her and, when she understandably started ignoring him, lashed out at her and told her not to believe anything I’d said about him (even though I hadn’t said anything). She has a screenshot of him mentioning me, but I don’t really have any evidence except for things I texted friends while some of his behavior was happening, and requests for other people to come with us so I wouldn’t have to be alone with him. Is there any chance HR can dig into our skype conversations or anything? I am pretty sure he has apologized there if he came on too strong or things like that. I think he’s just going to say that I’m badmouthing him or twisting things around to make him look bad, so it just kind of feels like a he said / she said (but at least I’m not the only one complaining!). My allegations aren’t super serious, just lewd/inappropriate behavior that has made the workplace an uncomfortable place to be.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      8 months ago from USA

      SP - You have a choice on this: 1) overlook her as a difficult person, 2) try to build the relationship, or 3) make her life as stressful as she has been making yours.

      Can you talk off the record to a supervisor you trust or to your union steward about her pettiness and why she seems to be "dogging" you, especially now? Maybe they can give you some encouragement, inside information, or constructive criticism that can influence your approach.

      The company has entrusted her with a management role so they believe in her in spite of past complaints. That doesn't mean that they haven't noticed issues. Have others made complaints about her poor interpersonal treatment? If she treats others like this, too, remember that one thing that gets HR and upper management's attention is lots of grievance activity, especially if it comes from multiple people against a specific person and there seems to be a unifying theme. Grievance activity signals problem hot spots. While management could write employees up for many rules infractions that get overlooked, it's also a two-way street. You and your peers could probably register lots of grievances on issues you're overlooking because you choose to.

      Whether you ignore her, kill her with kindness, or make her world rain with grievances, remember that people usually respond reciprocally. You give, you get. I hope this helps you in standing up for yourself while also keeping your job.

    • profile image

      SP 

      8 months ago

      I work in an Airline, we have a Union, and I am a Health and Safety Rep. There is a Duty Manager that I have had a grievance filed a few years back in regards to Bullying and Harassment. I have now experienced the same attitude within 2 days. 1. Counters were now busy, therefore I went to the counter phone to call scheduling department. She has asked a Supervisor to tell me to get off the phone. I later went to tell her I was on the phone with scheduling. Her answer was " you must not be on the phone while working and it is busy now and we are trying to get these passengers checked in. The counters and baggage drop off were clear. I felt that was not called for, as many other times agents are on their cell phones and or on the counter phones. Then the next day again she centered me out on 2 incidents. And again asked a lead if I asked the passenger to take off his glasses while doing a passport check, to then ask another supervisor to take out the gum in my mouth. (with that gum, I had also given a gum to my GF and she too was chewing, therefore I feel she is bullying and harassing me. AGAIN. Yes, I had grieved her twice before about the same thing. What is your opinion on this and a lot of us agents feel she needs to be either fired or take a course on how to not to talk down to her employees or bully them? Basically, I had enough of her. Regards SP

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      8 months ago from USA

      Shanarae Daguro - While coworkers might need to know that you will gone for a specific period, they aren't entitled to gossipy details from your supervisor, especially if she is sharing information beyond a "need to know" basis. The answer to your question really depends on the reason you're not working and what she's told whom (e.g., you've received discipline, have a medical issue, are in jail, are caring for a sick family member, funeral leave, jury duty, out on workers comp, etc.). In general, however, you might try talking directly with her first, then taking it to her manager, then to HR. Try to approach it professionally even though she hasn't been professional.

    • profile image

      shanarae daguro 

      8 months ago

      Hi what can i do my x boss likes to tell everyone everybodys bussiness

      well i dont like her talking about mines so far she told 4 people why im not working i need to do something about her shes always talking about other poeple . i need feedback please

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      8 months ago from USA

      Brandon - I'm just seeing this, as it was inappropriately marked as a spam comment. You've asked 5 times in 2 weeks so you're definitely on their radar as being upset. When they say they'll figure something out, try to get a "when" out of them, explaining that you have financial obligations you need to meet. When that falls through, chat up HR. It's likely they won't know either. During organizational acquisitions everything it often feels like building a bridge as you cross it -- not a wise thing to do, and scary certainly. You may want to fast-track a job search given the low trust environment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      Em - If you have a complaint against your HR person, simply file the complaint as you would against other employees and cite the appropriate policies that you believe have been violated. HR employees aren’t exempt from complaints.

    • profile image

      Em 

      9 months ago

      I need to file a complaint about the HR person. I have been scared to do so out of the situation becoming worse. She already retaliates by sabotaging and withholding work from me. She will not communicate with me in regards to work purposes. She continuously tried to get me in trouble without success. She told management she feels she is in a hostile environment because she thinks I want her job. So I'm being retaliated against and sabotaged because she is threatened by my qualifications and education. I don't feel like I should be treated poorly because she is afraid I'm after her position.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      Robert - I appreciate the kind sentiments. Employees often don't understand many of these points unless they work in Investigations. Have a great weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      9 months ago from USA

      Chris - No, it's certainly not ethical to fabricate evidence falsely stating that the employee was provided notice of a "last chance" before termination. However, in proving the situation you'd have to rely on either the supervisor's admission that he lied or the cell phone recording. The problem with making such a cell phone recording is that if the supervisor didn't consent to the recording, then the person who is doing the unauthorized recording may have broken state law. Check your state law on recordings. You can appeal an unemployment decision, but that just amps up the stakes. Often, it brings an administrative law judge into the process. Besides, this was during an employment probationary period. Usually an employee knows in advance what is expected. During probation, an employee is expected to meet all requirements. Look for another position and chalk this one up to experience.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      9 months ago

      Thank you for this detailed article about how HR works when an employee files a complaint,

    • profile image

      Chris 

      9 months ago

      Ohio worker 3yrs was fired for attendance on 01/05/18. Was called into office that morning for missing the day before (used call off number) supervisor presented manager and employee with 2 write ups, One saying the employee refused to sign backdated from 10/18/17 stating that the employee was going to be put on a probationary period for 90 days and If missed any days in said period will result another write up following termination , which was the 2nd write up.The employee contested the write up from Oct. stating that they never had any knowledge of it until that morning 01/05 and didn’t understand how it was leading to termination if no prior knowledge or information was relayed about the infrastructure and that supervisor never mentioned it or ever showed the employee or manager til then.Well after the employee pleaded his case to the manager,The supervisor admitted that he never addressed the issue or paper with the employee(recorded on cell) til then. Is this ethical? Was denied unemployment also.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      10 months ago from USA

      Lateres gather - You need to go to your Payroll office and take your payroll stub so they can decipher the deductions and tell you what's changed. Could it be a wage garnishment? They'll be able to enlighten you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      10 months ago from USA

      Ann - I'm trying to clarify this situation, and like you, I have more questions than answers. If you're disabled, shouldn't you be already listed as such with the store's HR department? If you are accustomed to dealing with a specific person in HR, can you turn to this person for quality information? Where's the written policy on this? (Ask!)

      Can your manager (or someone in his/her chain of command) step in to help you get the answers you need? Who cut your hours and why? (That seems to be the initial issue you had before they went all ADA on you. You need an explanation.) Do you have previous documentation denoting the company's acknowledgement that you are disabled? If so, then can they explain WHY they were wanting a recertification now?

      I wasn't clear that you were actually requesting a reasonable accommodation from them. Were you? If not and you were simply venting your frustration as a complaint about your hours being cut unexpectedly, then I don't understand why they would make you submit medical information. Surely they didn't make non-disabled people do that. Also, medical information shouldn't be handled by just another associate, if that was the case. It's too sensitive for that, as you point out. If there's no medical department, sometimes a designated person/role in HR will handle it, but not just any associate.

      You can ask to see your personnel file if you wish (you have a right to review this, typically in the presence of HR). No medical information should be in there, but if they are unprofessional it could be comingled. Point this out to them if you see it.

      It's old school (1990s and early 2000s) to try to automatically argue that employees are not disabled as a way of trying to get around the ADA. That's what many companies used to do. However, the ADA was amended back in 2008 to be broad and inclusive when it comes to defining who is disabled. I'm wondering how up-to-date their education is.

      Try to get the answers to these questions internally first by going higher within HR in a constructive manner. If that doesn't work, file a formal internal complaint about the way you were treated by HR. You could also consult an employment attorney and make a formal complaint with the EEOC or your state's employment or human rights commission.

      Lastly, because I am myself disabled (I have MS) and had a longstanding neurologist who changed practices before retiring recently, let me clue you in on what I learned. When doctors change practices or retire, your records do NOT automatically transfer to your new provider or the doctor's new practice. This may even be the case if a doctor's practice is purchased by someone else but s/he still works there! ASK your new doctor or practice if s/he has ALL of your medical records from your previous doctor/practice. If not, then YOU go to the previous doctor's practice and ask how to get those transferred. Whether we're talking work-related issues, medical continuity of care, or claiming social security disability somewhere down the line, this step is way too important for patients to skip. If you don't do this, it's like starting over with a new doctor and no history.

      Ann, it sounded like this issue started with being upset over hours being cut and blossomed unfortunately into disability-related treatment concerns. I wish you well in getting the solutions you seek.

    • profile image

      Lateres gather 

      10 months ago

      My check atub is opp and my pay seems different it looks like it money missing somewhere. Need help in fimding out. Whats really going on

    • profile image

      Ann 

      10 months ago

      I was declared 100 percent disabled with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, stress , anxiety and migraines in 2013 back dated to 2010 - I have worked for Ross stores since 2014. They also are aware that I have some limited physical limitations stemming from auto accident having nothing to do with my disability. Because I called the hotline to advise that I was overtly in a panic and stress because one hour before my work shift was to start, I was called and told they cut my hours and that I did not need to come.....that made my work total for the week 3.5 hrs.......I had major panic issues all day ....quickest investigation I ever saw......they gave to me a job accommodation questionnaire and the first page It asks me to sign away my Hippa rights, it goes on to "ask the doctor" to fill out the rest so that Ross can determine if I have a disability that needs to be accomodaton.......3 times I have given to them the JAN for Bipolar Employees ...today HR called....I requested a witness to be present during the phone call between HR on phone, mngr and me and was told that no I could not have one because not Ross policy.....I advised them that they did not seem to understand the ADA nor how it works and that if reasonable, ADA over rides Ross policies and in fact requires them to change policies to accommodate. The conversation was useless and indimidating because I asked them what they did notes from the previous two years concerning my disability and they just brushed me off.........this questionnaire is something I should not even have to fill out.......I have already been deemed disabled by the state of Florida......in it it also asks the dr if I have a physical or mental impairment, what is it and what meds I take.....I told them all these questions were illegal and was like I was talking to a wall..........to top it off, my dr of many yrs ceased private practice to become a director of a hospital and I have only met with my doctor once......also I am finding it mind boggling that they want a dr to fill out but then tell him to give back to associate.....they ask him to sign it and print his name.......but to not ask for his lic number..........?? This all seems very illegal to me.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      10 months ago from USA

      Leslie - It's probably a disability-related complaint, with the disability being whatever her illness is. Since you were advised of the complaint by your assistant principal, go back to that official and ask what the status of the complaint is. They don't necessarily have to tell you the substance of the complaint. Your objective should simply be protecting your own health and getting the work done. The less you know about the complaint the better because of retaliation concerns.

    • profile image

      Leslie Hans 

      10 months ago

      I work for a school district and my secretary has filed a complaint against me. I was told about this, not by HR, but by my assistant principal a month after the complaint was filed. I was not told what the specific complaint is. I do know the secretary had been suffering from medical issues and let me know by text message that she had a non-contagious stomach illness that I have had family members contract in the past and I knew this illness to be highly contagious.I contacted my mother-in-law, a tenured nursing instructor at a prestigious university's school of nursing, to see if there was a non-contagious form and she said no. People who contract this are quarantined just like my brother-in-law and my mother, who both were exposed to this illness in a hospital and nursing home setting. My secretary continued to come to work and brushed off my questions about being contagious. I asked her if she should let the school nurse know and she did talk to her, but I do not know the content of that conversation. The day we got out for Christmas break, I went to the nurse to pick up a report for a meeting I was going to attend. The nurse asked me to tell my secretary when I returned to my office to please send her a doctor's note stating she could be at work. I asked the nurse if it would not be better for her to ask that question. She said, no, you can ask her. When I returned to my office I said in passing the secretary's desk that the nurse would like for you to get a note from your doctor that you can return to work. My secretary said, "Why?" I said you may want to call and ask her. I then entered my meeting. From that point on the health incident has not been mentioned to me. We returned to work after the break and it has been business as usual. I had and still have no idea why she filed a complaint against me. Not sure how to respond. Do I have the right to contact HR and ask exactly what is the complaint?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      10 months ago from USA

      Confused - If it's a grievance, obviously work with your union rep on questions but my general impression is that no, you don't need to disclose specific names. However, failing to do so impacts credibility and the ability to do a thorough investigation. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Confussed 

      10 months ago

      If I am going to file a grievance regarding issues that are being discussed about me at work, do I legally need to disclose the name of co workers that warned me of a possible set up by supervisor/Manager?

    • profile image

      Brandon Reynolds 

      10 months ago

      I have been working with my employer for 14 years. We were recently acquired by a much larger company. 2 weeks ago my manager and one of the executives talked to me about a new position and asked if I was interested. I told them I was but would need more details on the compensation package. When I came into work the next day, I was told that my current position has been dissolved and I will now be working in the proposed position full time. That was 2 weeks ago. I have had no training at all, the job description I was given this morning was not how the position was presented to me 2 weeks ago, and I still do not have details on my new compensation package. I was told everything would remain the same, and then last week I was told my quarterly bonuses would be moved into one end of the year bonus. I of course told my CEO that I was promised to be paid the same and I can't live on being paid a bonus only 1 time a year. Also, I have no idea the metrics I would need to hit to actually get the bonus. I have asked about my new compensation package at least 5 times in 2 weeks and my CEO is telling me " we will figure something out for you!" The company that acquired us is very corporate and we have an HR representative at their company. Should I reach out to her or do you think I should contact an attorney? The company I work for is very underhanded and I am scared at this point of retaliation if I file a complaint. Thanks for your help!!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      10 months ago from USA

      Reall - She was simply telling you that as an agent of the company (a management employee), it is her duty not her choice as to whether to report this complaint now that she is aware of it. She cannot pretend it didn't happen because you are unsure about pursuing the matter. Maybe she could have said it a better way, but that's all she meant. She has no choice but to report it for investigation. You want this.

    • profile image

      Reall 

      10 months ago

      I recently filed a complaint of sexual advances and harassments of a manager who has been employed with company for some years. I've been employed for 4 years now and experienced this type of behaver from him off and on the entire time. He recently make a vulgar suggestion in front of 2 of colleagues, which was surprising, needless to say I took that as an opportunity to report him since in times passed I had no other witnesses, i.e., his word against mine. I reported the incident to my immediate supervisor who is also responsible for reporting the incident. I recently met with both my supervisor and the HR Generalist who took an official statement and interview me and others. When I shared my reluctancny to interview, My Supervisor is an officer of the company and made it clear to me that she had an obligation as such to report. That made me feel as if she was more interested in protecting the company than correcting this issue. I read in your article that company's consult a group of individuals, 1 you mentioned was their attorney's. What I am wondering now is if I should seek my own legal counsel?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Helen - If you are going to complain, then you and your coworker are best served by complaining together and citing the written procedure for filling jobs that says they'll be posted. Strength in numbers. If you're turned town by or retaliated against, you'll have a trail of evidence of your complaint. If companies have policies they need to consistently follow them. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Helen 

      11 months ago

      The department I work for promoted a newer employee to department manager without posting the position. We were told it was due to his experience. I've been there for fourteen years and another supervisor for over 20 years. We are both female. The person they promoted has only been here for a year and is an older male.

      He consistently makes errors and just recently was given a verbal and written warning. A couple months ago, the other supervisor and I were told we had to spot check his work. Our HR department is now making us do weekly meetings to go over his errors.

      When they promoted this person, HR allowed it without posting the position. The other supervisor and I report to this person and he does our evaluations.

      We are worried we will be retaliated against because of the type of person he is. He lies and throws other people under the bus when he gets questioned over his mistakes. He has been caught multiple times in his lies, but upper management does nothing. He thinks he isn't doing anything wrong. He is not qualified for this position.

      I feel our employee rights have been violated. HR is no help.

      ANY advise on how to handle?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Heartbroken C - Anyone can anonymously report an issue.

    • profile image

      Heartbroken C 

      11 months ago

      My Ex Now Was Sleeping with her boss From star Market For $ For 8 hurtful Ditressing months and got a raise in 2 months and He Came and slept with her in my home in Dec 2016 can i report them both they caused me a lot of mental distress

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Sharon - You spoke your mind.

    • profile image

      Sharon Suppa 

      11 months ago

      I want to bring to attention how Mattress Firm treats their employees. Thanks to an executive decision, probably from someone much wealthier than I and who have not had any complications from weather events, my husband, in Sales, was placed in danger today. He was forced to work in an area with 3-4 inches of ice on the roads, fell down in the parking lot, and obviously made no money since most honorable businesses were closed in our area.

      Mattress Firm, in their greed, chose to try to grab more money, rather than take into account they're employees. He spent the day explaining to customers that no deliveries would be scheduled until after this weather event. What a productive day! After spending 20 min just trying to get out of our driveway of ice, Mattress Firm got their store open, though no one here was concerned with buying mattresses as many are still without power. Shame on you. I am not a litigious person, but you Deserve a lawsuit! Greedy. It is my greatest hope, that Someone in the company will pass this on, though I doubt it. They are pretty threatening to their employees. What a disgusting company.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Rain - Before taking any severance package, see an employment attorney and tell him 0r her the facts of your case leading up to the agreement.

    • profile image

      Rain 

      11 months ago

      I've been dealing with hostile environment, harassment, and sexual comments from my General Sales Manager for over 7 years. I went to HR back in 2014 regarding his comment of "jump off a bridge and die" where HR made him apologize to me. Even after that his comments persisted and made sexual comments asking about my breast size & asking me to have sex with his brother in 2015. In 2016, he humiliated me and made fun of my appearance where I end up crying. I text him telling him those comments are unwanted and it makes me feel uncomfortable. 2017, he decided to intimate me and put his chest against my arm while grabbing coffee. I finally went to HR to tell the every event that has happened and after the investigation. My HR said my General Sales Manager denied all sexual harassment. They investigated all the women in department & no one came forward to any sexual comments from my manager and there is no proof or evidence of sexual harassment because they can't interview my witness who no longer works at the corporation (company rules). They Offered me a severance package which isn't enough to get by. What can I do?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      no name - The decision to suspend the person being investigated is the company's discretion. Clearing one's name simply involves moving forward positively with management and HR being fully aware that you did not have a substantiated case. I wouldn't get too wrapped up in name clearing. Just be glad it's over.

    • profile image

      no name 

      11 months ago

      if someone is being investigated for bullying should that person be suspended whilst the investigation is underway ?, and if all was unproven what steps can the wrongly accused take to clear their name ?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Lily1991 - There's not just one incident involving Barb, and you say you've never been called by your actual name, just by a racially offensive nickname. Your relationship with Barb needs a reset. Rather than let this get further out of hand, you have several choices:

      1) address it with Barb constructively and directly if you feel comfortable, making sure to tell her what has offended you so that she can stop/change her behavior

      2) report the matter to the manager who may or may not act, as he's offsite and may not understand its urgency -- BUT his failure to act will make the matter worse and get him in trouble

      3) report it to HR which should launch an investigation.

      Depending on your rapport with the manager who hired you, you might consider placing a phone call to him to alert him that you plan to contact HR. This is not required, however, and ultimately how you handle it is your choice, no one else's.

      It's critical that professionals act as if they respect one another in the workplace. How does she expect your patients or coworkers to demonstrate respect towards you if she doesn't? Moving forward, you might also consider saying something such as, "I'm offended by that," "that's inappropriate," or "I take exception to that" when a racial or inappropriate comment or action occurs. That puts the harmdoer on notice that you're not okay.

      You don't have to put up with being called this in the workplace. Best of luck in resolving the situation, Lily.

    • profile image

      Lily1991 

      11 months ago

      Thank you for writing this detailed article.

      I’m dealing with a supervisor who’s saying racial derogatory remarks to me and also racial profiles people. I’m not new to having dealt with racism,however when it comes to be my supervisor that is the person who is doing it what do I do?

      I’m going to write about the incidents that have happen and if any of you can suggest on how I should approach this it will be helpful cause i can’t let her continue this.

      Ive only been there for 3 weeks.My clinic director was the one who hired me and he’s a very sweet man. Unfortunately he had to go on my 2nd week to manage the other clinic which is larger and new.At that point the only supervisor I had was a lady who also works as our X-ray technician. Ill give her the name (barb). Barb was nice to me on the first week , I never had any negative thoughts towards her. However once my clinic director left she changed quick. She avoided me. When her husband came to visit I had a question for her after she answered he made the remark like “ I didn’t know she knew how to speak English”? Right away I was shocked to hear her husband say that but I thought maybe he has a dumb sense of humor and I said “yes I’m still learning English” to go along with the dumb joke and walked away. My supervisor never said anything to her husband she laughed with him. Later on that day ,as he was walking out he said “hey” I look up at him and he told me “speak English only” I told him what!? And he laughed ,shook his head and walked out . I did not understand what was going on. I have never met this man and all of a sudden he felt like he could talk to me that way?

      I stayed contemplating on what I should do. I thought Barb Is not like her husband I should ignore it. Well after that I made a joke saying I speak Spanglish to a coworker after that Barb kept calling me Spanglish as a matter of fact she has never called me by my name. Only Spanglish and constantly pokes fun about Hispanic people.

      She also made a face of disgust when I told her my husband was from Germany . Like she couldn’t stand the fact of a white man being with a girl outside his race.Tried to change my subject quick.

      Last Friday we had a young girl come in and she has a really bad attitude. I told barb if she could talk to her and Barb right away said “wait is she black!? Black girls always have attitudes “

      Today I was talking to a nurse in the break room. I was telling her why I left a certain part of town cause my son was learning racial

      derogatory words. Barb right away said you mean like N*GGER!? Cause that’s what they are! I was shocked and could not say anything afterwards. Then she tried to cover herself by saying I’m not racist Spanglish so don’t worry haha”

      I’m upset cause I haven’t even been there that long and this is happening. Should I take this to HR quickly? Or should I approach our clinic site the man who is her boss?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      Blake - You're there to do a job, not take abuse. If there are violations of policy, particularly if they interfere with your ability to do your job, it's not being a tattle tale to report a legitimate, good faith concern. Even if the matter is not substantiated, HR has been alerted, and eventually a trend line appears. Stay strong.

    • profile image

      Blake 

      11 months ago

      Hi I appreciate your knowledge. I sometimes do not bother with HR. In this case I followed exactly what you said. As my manager said HR will conduct this investigation. I got verbally harassed in the office. And it's more of I want it brought to their attention. It was embarrassing when your other colleague(s) hear it. Instead I brought it to the managers attention as I wanted to report it. It seemed like it was a brush under the rug matter to them. But they weren't there when it happened. I don't want to get someone in trouble. I want to be treated with respect for the hard work I do. And my manager understood and did the internal protocol. I know it must be hard for HR to do these and make decisions and to keep them private on what they are going to do. I have a feel occurrences where I brought it to their attention and it had merit, and they apologized, and pretty much told me they will be handling it. And from what I heard before as anyone whether it's just a verbal warning the person being reported still has a right to privacy. I just don't want to look like a tattle tell, when others around just take the abuse of their co-workers and I don't.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      12 months ago from USA

      Patricia - I assume you’re asked by about an employment type issue (e.g., wage and hour, discrimination and harassment, workplace safety, etc.). Take it through the internal complaint process then the external process by filing a complaint with the relevant government agency. A lawyer is not necessarily required to do so. These are typically the proper mechanisms for attempting to resolve complaints. As a last resort typically people sue if they are still unsatisfied. There are a lot of steps to go before you simply file suit. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Patricia 

      12 months ago

      Hi I was wondering what one can do if you want to bring a suit against your company but do not have the money to do so.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      12 months ago from USA

      anonymous54321 - I wish you the best.

    • profile image

      anonymous54321 

      12 months ago

      Thank you! I appreciate your response. I think these are very helpful ideas and I will follow through. Thank you again for your thoughtful and detailed message.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      12 months ago from USA

      anonymous54321 - I'm sorry this happened to you. The judge is looking for any violations of company policy or law. Familiarize yourself with company policy so you can point out any specific violations by specific individuals. It might be good to have a copy of the policy on you when you meet with her. Provide behavior-based descriptions of what happened, including help, support, and training you requested and/or received from management and their responses (or lack thereof). Specify the manager(s) who encouraged you to step down. Calmly describe the impacts of the behavior upon customers/patients, you and your family, coworkers, and others. Don't guess as to why the group did this (race, gender, personal dislike, disability, age, etc.) unless you have evidence. Express any reluctance you have about whether this will stop now that you have stepped down from the leadership position. Describe any related incidents involving other victims that might represent a pattern.

      You don't appear to be the target of this investigation here, so relax and just state the facts. If a group ganged up on you and bullied you out of leading to the point you stepped down, they may do it to others and they may continue to do it to you even now. Good luck.

    • profile image

      anonymous54321 

      12 months ago

      I had received a promotion in January and a woman who has been with the hospital longer was unhappy about it. She proceeded to bully me, and turned one of my best friends at work against me, with a variety of lies and harassment. For the last 12 months, they have spread rumors about me (many ridiculous, such as "her boyfriend isn't real" or "she's taking extra vacation days the rest of us are not allowed to have") it's been frustrating. When confronted about it, she denies talking about me behind my back. To my face, she directly challenges my authority. It was difficult for me to be effective in the leadership role, was a great mental stress, and very demoralizing. All of the people involved are women, we are all different ethnicities, but I know the behavior was mostly about the promotion. Eventually, it began to affect my own work negatively, and leadership encouraged me to consider stepping down from the role. It reduces my salary in a very minor way (a few hundred a year) and they suggest that it is still on my resume, and they feel it would be best. So I did, I stepped down this week. I complained to HR about the bullying last month. They are being responsive but they did not stop me from stepping down. Now they are bringing in a retired judge who is going to conduct an independent investigation. I have to meet with her when I return from vacation. I am nervous. I just want things to be calm. I've already quit, and at the moment the bullying has leveled off. Is there any point to meeting with her? I don't have a choice in the matter, as HR has asked me to cooperate with her. What could this mean? What do I need to be cautious of? Please help!

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      12 months ago from USA

      Anonymous225 - Several months ago and you never heard one word from HR? That's inexcusable and might be a reason they are using outside counsel. I'm not sure how it became documented that you plan to file an EEOC complaint, but you might want to consider discussing the matter asap with an attorney who can advise you on how best to proceed.

    • profile image

      Anonymous225 

      12 months ago

      I filed a formal complaint several months ago with HR. I’ve not heard back. Today I’m asked to meet with their outside counsel. Should I secure my own representation? It is documented that I plan to file an EEOC complaint. I recognize this is there way of further investigate the matter, but I am skeptical as to why I wasn’t first approached by our in-house attorney nor any follow-up from HR? Shall I speak with them or continue with securing an attorney and filing with EEOC

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      12 months ago from USA

      Lari3366 - With a "taking" problem and a lying problem like this person has, one would imagine that she would have to have some sort of record -- either a police record or a poor employment record, or both. If you have no prior complaints before she came on the scene, a good work record, and all of the problems started when this person was hired, then point that out. Point out the dollar value of the items she has taken; make an itemized list.

      If you have others who can corroborate your story, provide names, times, dates, etc. If you have names of coworkers who can refute her allegations against you, by all means provide their names and information as well. The superintendent may be involved because it's an alleged theft and harassment issue. I hope they did the proper background check on her.

    • profile image

      Lari3366 

      12 months ago

      I am the senior person and head custodian of my building and my problem began when another custodian was hired to replace a deceased custodian. After the second day, this person started to clean out the custodial office of what she considered "junk", they were in fact personal items that belonged to the other custodian. When I asked her where these items were, she told me that she had thrown them out. Two weeks later, she shows up to work wearing the custodians shirt that was supposedly thrown out. This person is a well known thief and pathological liar, she has worked in every school in our county and has stolen from every building. My problem is that every time I report personal items, custodial equipment, cleaning supplies or building supplies missing to my supervisor, this custodian reports me to HR for either harassment, name calling or rumor spreading. Last week I reported 2500 pounds of water softener salt taken from the furnace room. Maintenance was contacted by my supervisor to see if they had taken it, which they had not and they are now investigating. The very next day she reported me to HR for calling her names and then an anonymous report was made each day for the remainder of the week against me for the same thing. The superintendent is now involved because of so many reports against me, it's my word against this person and anonymous reporters. Because she has reported me in the past, I now have a record, what do I do?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      Sally - Make your attorney aware of the situation and tell your boss and HR that your former husband just lost custody and has a vendetta. Discuss with your attorney if and when stalking charges need to be filed, if there is other behavior that accompanies it such as following you, threats, etc. It is NOT unusual for HR to get false and unbelievable complaints in this type of situation. It doesn't make sense that he'd jeopardize your livelihood and providing for your mutual children but when emotions are involved much doesn't make sense. Involve your attorney. Keep records. Keep a level head. Be safe.

    • profile image

      Sally 

      13 months ago

      So here is one. My EX HUSBAND filed an anonymous against me at my employer of 11 years. He just lost custody of our kids 2 months ago and now all of a sudden I was pulled into my bosses office yesterday to discuss a complaint that was filed against me. The complaint was presented to me as a peer of mine who claims I attended court dates without taking PTO. The complaint went on to state how this person witnesses me at court (where my ex was) and noted court dates I attended for rental properties of mine for eviction. First off - I am salary and my boss knew about all of these events. Being that I work 17 hour days and 8 hours days others I make up any 40 min court appearance (with travel) and over. The complaint went on to give personal details about my kids names and ages 11 & 13 almost 14 year olds and how when I work from home in the summer I work from home in lieu of a babysitter. Ummm my 14 year old doesn't need a babysitter and I will also not my husband is a teacher and home all summer. Then it went on to state that I misuse personal email. This I will stop but the ONLY Thing I used my personal email for was responding to his lawyer upon getting harassment emails from him. The complaint went on to list the names of all my lawyers I have secured in the custody case for the past 4 years. At this point, seriously anyone can just call in and say they are an EE and note they are stalking me (witnessing me) outside of work and I have to defend myself?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      Frustrated - I'm not clear on what organization you're referring to regarding mandatory membership in order to work at your employer.

      However, here are a couple of options for handling the mistreatment of employees: 1) consider organizing a union 2) the people who have been discriminated against can decide to complain to the state human rights board or EEOC (depending on what state you're in) for pregnancy discrimination and or other factors like race/sex because it's likely that if they've tried to fire someone they also have mistreated them other ways too 3) complain to the DOL about the exempt misclassification AND say the owner's spouse (name names) works for the DOL so you are making them aware from the outset of a potential conflict of interest 4) get the attention of elected officials with a petition type letter if you've exhausted other alternatives or get the run around from the DOL because of the owner's spouse working there (elected Democrats listen much better to working Americans on these issues). Remember, of course, that I am an I/O psychologist with HR experience, not an attorney, so you may want to consult an attorney about specific questions.

      In the end, you need to ask yourself if this type of abusive employer is really where you want to spend so much of your life. Many people change jobs and once they land in a happier place they wonder what took them so long. I was there once!

    • profile image

      I’m frustrated 

      13 months ago

      I work for a company where most of the the employees are classified as exempt so the company doesn’t have to pay overtime. The employees don’t past the test to be qualified for exempt status and most don’t even have job descriptions. The company also tells you that you have to be a member of the organization to work there but there is nothing in writing that states that it’s just this “unwritten” rule that we operate on. We attempt to fire people if they are pregnant and not married, and say that it is wrong. But it’s hard to go to the DOL because one of the owners spouses works there . Is there a way to file a complaint online anonymously because when I go to HR they just cover it up and say “we are working on getting it right” but it’s been 6 years.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      BB - You did the right thing with this sexual harassment allegation. As a superior and member of management, he automatically had the obligation as a representative of the company NOT to initiate you in a sexual relationship with you. Period. HR didn't properly investigate this. And I bet they didn't train him well either, based on how they are handling this. All too often the complainant (usually female) bears the penalty of being moved, disciplined, or even terminated while the aggressor/harasser is allowed to stay in his management position with a mere slap on the hand (if even that). That's wrong. If the matter isn't properly resolved by the company and you are not made whole, file a complaint with the EEOC and/or your state human rights board (look up the process for your particular state by Googling "how to file a sexual harassment charge in [specify state]"). Note that some very large metropolitan areas may have their own processes. Don't let any of this dissuade you. Don't sit down on this one. Document your case right now and save any texts, emails, photos, etc. for the record. Here's example information from the State of Illinois: https://www.illinois.gov/dhr/FilingaCharge/Pages/E... Good luck, and I'm sorry this happened to you.

    • profile image

      BB 

      13 months ago

      I got romantically involved with a supervisor who was also much older than me. He initiated it and I resisted repeated requests to see each other outside of work for several weeks then gave in. Even then i thought it was strictly platonic until he kissed me. It lasted about 2 weeks then ended badly. he reported me to HR for threatening him (something I said impulsively in a heated moment outside of work when I broke it off) and denied any romantic relationship to HR. I was suspended for 9 days and HR determined his claims unsubstantiated but we were both written up for fraternization. I missed so much work and wages, was humiliated by our employer becoming involved, and he works full time somewhere else and only works there one or two days a week. It doesn't harm him being suspended (he missed one work day, I missed 7). He is also very good friends with management due to working with all them in management at a different company for many years. What does it mean for me to have this write up on my file? This is still affecting my work because our boss (who is part of that good o' boys club) is now keeping us separated so I cant work the days he is scheduled. Do I have to sign the write up? (I have been informed there will be a write-up but have not received it yet). What are consequences if I do not sign the write up? I feel that missing so much work was severe enough. HR did not even communicate with me and subsequently end my suspension until the same day I filed sexual harassment complaint to get my side of the story on the record... I feel he was trying to have me fired for dumping him by using the angle "I don't feel safe at work now".

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      Exhausted - You appear to have two problems: being bullied/ganged up on by a group of coworkers and not being adequately represented by your union. Your union has the OBLIGATION to represent you fairly and impartially, else you may pursue action against it: https://legalaidatwork.org/factsheet/labor-unions-... You shouldn't be interviewed by HR without *adequate* representation from a shop steward. Insist that the rep who failed you NOT be your representative this time. Nor should anyone who has ties to the accused employees be representing you. Emphasize to the union that you're the victim here and you're just trying to get a fair shake, as you haven't received that in the past. Also note that you can potentially file a grievance about any discipline rendered by the company.

      On the bullying issue, you need to know what work rule you allegedly violated. HR should cite the work rule or policy, tell you your behavior that was in violation, and you need to say, "Let me get this right. You say that I ... (repeat your understanding)." Then say you DISAGREE with this assessment of facts, as you are the victim. Refuse to sign any disciplinary notices if you do not agree with them. And if you are not adequately represented, write "inadequate union representation" on the disciplinary notices and collect your copy.

    • profile image

      Exhausted 

      13 months ago

      I work in an uncontrolled environment, 16 years of favortisium, the boss likes to hold the spoon to stir the pot. A year ago I was written up for verbally attacking a coworker, I reached out to the union to file grievance to prove this was over exaggerated , union failed me . Recently a coworker overheard the same coworker talking about me to a group of coworkers, she went at them to stand up for me. It became a very bad situation , after management did investigation the group denied the allegations and conversation that was over heard and made a false claim against my coworker who stood up for me, now the 3 of us have to go to HR, I wasn’t even around to hear what had happened but am still being talked to. At this point my coworker and I feel ganged up on and I fear suspension since my last write up was a year ago, what can I do to protect me and my coworker?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      Anonymous - When he does something in the current organization, report him and bring up the fact that he was fired from the prior organization for the behavior. (Although technically you don't 100% know that for sure, as it could have been a resignation or mutual agreement on paper. However, your current employer could have a negligent hiring issue on their hands if they didn't perform an adequate reference check.) If he supervises you or threatens you, it's time to involve HR. Document everything. If you need to involve the police, do so.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      13 months ago

      I was been harassed in my organisation and due to that I left the company and joined another and then complained against that person. He got terminated from the ex company and joined the organisation where I am working currently. Kindly suggest what needs to be done in this situation as I was been threatened by this person many times.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      Threatened - Seek legal advice quickly, particularly because you do not feel safe and you believe that HR bears some responsibility in not protecting you. The most important thing at this point is your safety. Keep copies of those texts obviously.

    • profile image

      Threatened 

      13 months ago

      I filed a complaint against an unstable coworker. My confidential correspondence to HR was made public and the accused coworker has sent threatening text messages to me. Do I have any protection under the law?

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      14 months ago from USA

      Allyson - I have a feeling that you are strong and resilient and will find something that rewards you for your talents. There is often power in numbers, so I'm glad your coworker went to HR. I'm rooting for your success.

    • profile image

      Allyson 

      14 months ago

      FlourishAnyway - Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful reply! I think I will concentrate on expanding my network some more; I'm hoping that even with all these doors seemingly closing, I can find a path better suited for me that keeps me in the field that I love. My coworker went to HR today, so I'm hoping that does some good as well. Hopefully I can check back in around graduation and provide a follow-up to what I experienced and whatever resolution was proposed. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      14 months ago from USA

      Allyson - I'm sorry this happened to you, and I do understand how things just spilled forth when you talked to HR. This is the way some complaints are reported. Let me remind you that as a female in a STEM career (IT, right?) and your skills are sought after. I'm sure you have more acceptable job options for making $15 an hour until May. Don't underestimate yourself or paint yourself into a corner by assuming this local government job is all there is right now. Don't assume that this jerk has ruined anything for you either, although I absolutely understand the discomfort and second-guessing yourself. You may not have taken the easy path by spilling your guts about this jerk, but you didn't do anything wrong. Regardless, you don't have to put up with bad management and bullying, an employer who doesn't support you, or retaliation for raising a good faith issue against another employee.

      You have a couple of options for dealing with the workplace conflict. Do what feels right for you.

      1) You could look for another job and quit. (Look to your college placement office for help in securing another part-time IT job. Check for jobs on campus and look at Indeed or SimplyHired.)

      2) You could formalize your complaint by going through an elected official since this is local government. I've seen people do this effectively in state government. With the situation you describe, there are potential issues of nepotism in government, sex discrimination (specifically with that woman he was trying to convince the team to bully), and retaliation (against you for speaking up).

      3) You could tip off the local press about the inappropriate hiring practices in local government and provide examples/details. I'm sure they'd be interested. You'd probably want your identity to remain confidential, and for your own peace of mind, it would be better not to be working there at the time it took place.

      4) You could resign yourself that this is just a short-term job, and they're not going to chase you away. Thus, you could look for allies in the workplace and just bide your time.

      No matter what choice you make, I'd recommend strengthening and broadening your network. Look into joining women's professional organizations, specifically in your chosen career field. Talk to your campus placement office now about professional placement following graduation. If you have a level of comfort with a mentor who knows your work ethic and talents, you might open up about what's going on and seek assistance with locating a new position. Develop a list of people who can provide positive recommendations. I wish you the best.

    • profile image

      Allyson 

      14 months ago

      I am a student worker for local government; I just made my first HR complaint (against a member of admin to boot because "go big or go home," apparently), and now I find myself constantly asking if it was the right thing to do. This individual is a very young man with no degree in a position he really isn't qualified for -- so he is cocky, and honestly doesn't know how to manage, makes us all do the work and takes the credit for it. He makes $100k/year where I made $15 an hour. He motivates through job security (ie, "I've fired people for less" or "if you keep doing these things for me I'll write you a good review") and has a reputation for hiring his friends (who are not qualified, either, and end up getting fired or resigned before they are fired).

      Before I complained, I had a reputation around the office as someone who can get things done quickly and professionally, able to take on bigger projects than I should be allowed to, and there was even talk of hiring me after I finish my degree. However, as much as I loved my job and my coworkers, the working conditions were substandard (his friend who was hired later got a desk, student workers got to sit on the floor with a laptop - we're IT - to do work orders) and I was becoming morally and ethically opposed to his management style.

      There was the aggression and anger he saved just for us - he would never show that to management - when things didn't go his way or he was feeling pressure. He's threatened to fire us over mistakes he's made. He attempted to hire a friend for a supervisor position in the department and the individual was passed over for an older woman with a plethora of more experience and business acumen. He made it clear that it was not his decision and he only "went along with it" so they could "share the blame if/when she fails." He attributed this to her age. He also openly wondered in front of us about her age and, because of a special program with a neighboring government, wondered if she was just going to "retire right after being hired." He attempted to position the team against her before she even came on board so we would see her as a threat to our hours and job security -- and then gave us a way out, telling us to "watch her" and report to him if she can't lift more than the required 25 lbs. If she can't, despite her qualifications, he would fire her for being "unable to meet the job description."

      Ultimately, it turned out she's a great hire and doing a fantastic job, and a very sweet woman. He's done nothing but try to tear her down since she started but she's been very persistent.

      One day enough was enough and I found I was able to transfer to another department right next door. I was accepted for the position, given a date, and wrote the manager a polite and professional thank-you note giving him a two weeks notice of my transfer. I received an email from him right away saying, "Please be prepared to discuss with me in detail the reasons for your sudden transfer." I was scared to be in the same room as him, alone, so I went to HR and initially just asked what my rights were as a student worker (spoiler alert: none). But I could request a third party to be there if I wanted.

      But of course that prompted some questions, and next thing you know I'm telling them everything. It wasn't planned, I didn't have papers or supporting documentation. HR took my complaint seriously, but I was under the impression they'd just save it for after, and if somebody else ever complained they could refer to my original one. Lo and behold, my simple transfer has turned into a full-blown investigation. My manager is made aware immediately and he, quite obviously, hates my guts at the moment (he's been trying to build a relationship with the new Director for a while now, and I've ruined it). Every time he looks at me, there are waves of hatred emanating off of him and I'm honestly concerned he may do something to my car.

      Most awkward 2 weeks ever passes, I'm in the new department, and it's come to my attention there's been some gossip. I've lost some friends on Facebook, people are avoiding me, and it seems like even upper management is treating me differently. It's being framed strongly that I lashed out in retaliation of him not giving me a shift I needed (which caused me to have to apply for a second job). I'll admit it was what made the decision for me, but I had wanted to leave for a while now. I never planned on discussing in detail with HR my concerns, it just happened.

      My coworkers will be interviewed next week, and I know for certain what they say will corroborate my story, but I feel like I've ruined my chances of getting a job now. I believe that something fruitful will come out of the investigation, but I also think it's a classic case of "winning the battle but losing the war." I never wanted upper management to see me in anything other than a positive light and I feel this manager will now make it his life's goal to ruin any opportunity I have in the future (for example, a large, international technology company we work with was very interested in my application before -- now, they definitely are not).

      Morally, ethically - I think I did the right thing. But did I do the right thing for myself? Should I have just taken the aggression and manipulation until I graduate (May) and avoided this whole mess? I feel like a social pariah now, and I wonder if I should just quit altogether. Even with my coworkers meeting with HR, there are enough people that now dislike me that if the manager is fired or transferred, it will still be miserable for me later.

      Sorry for the wall of text. Thank you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      16 months ago from USA

      Jermaine - If you're a union employee, then seek assistance from your union rep. It's been my experience that when grievances are filed in union environments, there are multiple copies of the complaint, with one going, for example, to the company, another to the complainant, another to the union steward. If this is not your situation, then you might consider filing another HR complaint -- this time about the process itself, referencing your first complaint and a refusal to provide copies. Name names (i.e., the person who declined to provide you your grievance) and know what solution you seek. Also understand that if you are asking for notes of a verbal conversation that you had with HR (rather than a written document you submitted), the company can usually legally decline to provide that to you.

    • profile image

      Jermaine 

      16 months ago

      I made a complaint about one of my supervisors to hr and after the grievance process nothing was done and the person was made the person I directly answered to my original copies of the statments were lost and they are refusing to give another set isn't it illegal for them to withhold this information from me

    • FlourishAnyway profile imageAUTHOR

      FlourishAnyway 

      16 months ago from USA

      mia - Can you give more context?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)